Creativity RoundUp

DSCN3878Some of you might know I’ve been participating in a blogging challenge hosted by ProBlogger. It has had me creating more content than usual, which is a good thing. I did get a bit behind, but I’ve still done a lot more in the past two weeks than I have in a long time here.

Other participants in the challenge posted on a wide variety of topics. The ones I tend to gravitate toward are about writing, photography, and creativity in general. No surprise there, right?

Here is a link-up of some of the creativity posts. I hope you like them.

5 Books That Will Spark Your Creativity – Two of my favorite books are on this list: Wired to Create and Big Magic. You’ll have to visit the post to see what else is there. I’m not going to ruin the surprise for you.

Why Am I Not More Creative? – I’ll just say some of the ideas and theories presented here are closely aligned with some of mine, including the idea that we are all creative.

How to Find Your Creative Side – Good tips, all. I particularly like the advice about experimenting. It can be fun and it works.

Why Being Bad Can Be Good for You – Have you ever thought that you don’t have to be good at everything? Being a beginner is good.

Book Review: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – We’ve already established above that this is one of my favorite books. She does a good review of it here.

Out of all of the posts about writing, creativity, photography, etc., it was difficult to narrow it down to just a few. I couldn’t exactly share of them with you. This post would be as long as a book. I think you’ll find something here you can relate to, though.

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Let’s Talk Planners

Creative Commons via catchingcourage.com
Creative Commons via catchingcourage.com

The other day, I mentioned that I had been searching for the perfect planner. None of the traditional planners work for me, though, because of space and missing elements that are key to me.

I started thinking about that and I wonder: What are some must-haves that you look for in a planner?

I will start us off in the comments.

So You Want to Start a Bullet Journal

I could tell you and show you exactly how to start your own bullet journal, how to set it up, personalize it, ad find what works for you. And I will do that, but fist, I want you to see something.

Carrie Crista has a two-part series on YouTube about starting a ullet journal. She describes how to get started here. The second video talks about how to use collections, trackers, etc.

Regardless of if you follow her approach or the system described in the original bullet journal video by Ryder Carroll, you need to make it work for you. If that means you have a separate journal for work projects, so be it.

In a future post, I will talk specifically about what I have done and why. Meanwhile, set it up, learn what it is, and make it work for you.

My Search for the Perfect Planner

For years, I have searched to find a planner that worked for me. I tried the DayTimer system several times. I tried academic calendars. I even tried several apps on my phone, computer, and tablet. It finally got to the point where I was trying to make my own.

I actually made some progress on it. I had a working title and some project pages described. I called it the KNOWS – Keep a Notebook Organization Working System. I started researching DIY planners.

One day, I happened across this thing called a “Bullet Journal” developed by Ryder Carroll. In his video and on his website, he describes it as “The analog system for the digital age.”

Someone else had been having the same kind of issues I had and already did the work to create a flexible planning system that would do everything I wanted — and needed — a planner to do. 

I abandoned the KNOWS and became a Bullet Journal convert.

I used it consistently for several months. Then, for various reasons, I quit.

Once again, I struggled. I knew I needed to get back to the Bullet Journal system. But it was so plain. How could I jazz it up?

Since I had found Ryder Carroll’s video on YouTube, I went back there. I typed “bullet journal” in the search and found Kara Benz and her BohoBerry channel and website.

Through her videos, I found out more about trackers, lists, collections, and other ways to add interest to my Bullet Journal.

Is it the “perfect planner?” No. But, like life itself, it’s a work in progress. I decided to have fun with it, try new things, keep what works, and change what doesn’t.

So, I guess the answer is also yes because it’s perfect for me and the changes life throws my way. One thing’s for sure: I’ll keep using it and helping other people implement it for themselves, should they want to.

Gullor Elegant Baoer 79 Classic Ciger Calligraphy Fountain Pen

I am a writer. Therefore, it should be expected that I will post about various writing devices here from time to time. Today is one of those times and it happens to be about a recent fascination of mine: Fountain pens.

Today I want to share a straight-from-the-package impression/review of the Gullor Elegant Baoer 79 Classic Ciger Calligraphy Fountain Pen. I have not had a long time to look at and evaluate the pen from all angles, so this is a first impression from a self-proclaimed pen snob.

From reviews I saw after buying the pen, it is apparently a copy of the Skywalker pen from Mont Blanc. Having never seen that pen, the comparison is meaningless to me. This is an attractive pen with a good price.

Straight from the packaging, it was apparent the pouch the pen arrived in had a hole in the bottom, making it unusable for me. If I were any good with a needle and thread, I could fix it, but I’m not. And let’s face it, this pen will have a new home in the pen loop on my bullet journal, so the unusable pouch is no big loss for me.

Some of my favorite features so far are:

  • Fine nib.
  • No bleed-through.
  • Minimal ghosting even on regular notebook paper.
  • Smooth writing.
  • Starts easily.
  • Screw cap posts on the end (and screws on there too) for better weight and size.

There is one thing I noticed. The product description claims the nib is 18k gold-plated stainless steel. However, there is no 18k plating anywhere on the nib.

It also says the pen takes international standard ink cartridges and includes a removable piston-operated iink converter. I was not able to remove the converter. For today, this was fine because I have a sample of Lamy purple/dark lilac ink I wanted to use. This might be a problem when I want to use a black ink cartridge, though.

When taking notes during a meeting this evening, I noticed a few skips. However, I am attributing this to operator error because I was writing quickly.

If you are interested in a starter pen at a good price, this is a nice option. At the time I purchased it, it was $5.50USD on Amazon. It ships from China, so I expected a long wait. It arrived a week and a half before the expected delivery date provided by the seller.

Even with such limited use of this pen so far, I would buy another one.

Is Creativity Dangerous?

I have to admit I was surprised when I saw this question for the first time. I suppose it goes back to the common myth of the starving/suffering artist.
Is creativity dangerous? The short answer is both yes and no.

It can be, especially if you buy into the myth that all artists/writers/creatives are drug addicts or alcoholics. (Let’s disabuse that right now. We’re not.)

There is, unfortunately, some relatively recent examples of this.

In his book On Writing, Stephen King admitted he doesn’t remember writing Cujo because of alcohol.

Julia Cameron, novelist and playwright famous for The Artist’s Way, has said at one point, she did not know if she could create without the crutch of alcohol.

These are two extreme examples. I think it’s important, too, to realize they overcame their dependence and are just as strong — if not stronger — on the other side of it.

Before you start using anything — even caffeine — as a creativity crutch, I would encourage you to examine your motivations. Can you create just as well or better without it? Do you feel like you absolutely have to have it before you can do anything?

Do what you can to avoid any kind of chemical dependence. (I’m obviously not talking about prescriptions you may need to function without depression, anxiety, or any other physical or mental health issue.)

So is creativity dangerous? 

Not inherently, no. Depending on what you bring to it, it can appear to be. However, creativity, in my opinion, is a natural state of being. In fact, we often create without knowing it.

No. I do not think creativity is dangerous.

15 Things to Do with Your Foot Propped Up


I have spent too much time over the past year with my left foot propped up. That severely limits what you can do. I’ve come up with a few things to do to help keep boredom at bay.

  1.  Learn to knit.
  2. Crochet.
  3. Read. A lot.
  4. Start a Bullet Journal.
  5. Color.
  6. Become an expert on surfing the web using a Kindle Fire.
  7. Watch movies.
  8. Practice handlettering.
  9. Practice penmanship.
  10. Talk on the phone.
  11. Start learning how to teach online.
  12. Brainstorm new writing projects.
  13. Listen to music.
  14. Eat too much. (Yeah, I try to avoid this one as much as possible.)
  15. Question why you do what you do.

Some of these are more effective than others and there are some I didn’t include, but have to keep something in reserve.