Groups of Like-Minded Creatives

I have a question for you.

Do you belong to a group? Groups online, like on Facebook, are OK, but I mean in person. Are you a member of a group that meets regularly? Once a month? Every two weeks?

It doesn’t matter if the group is small or large, I think it’s important for creatives to belong to a group of like-minded people who engage in a similar or related pursuit.

For example, I belong to a knit/crochet group, a writers’ group, and a stamping group. Two meet once a month and the other meets twice a month. They’re all important for me.

A lot of creative work is done in solitude. Sometimes you need someone to talk to about similar issues. Other times you need someone you can brainstorm with to get out of the rut you’ve found yourself in. And even other times, you just need — or want — a friend who understands what you’re going through as a creative at the end of the day.

Groups can provide education, resources, and camaraderie, among other things. What groups do you belong to?

Happy creating.

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A Tale of Two Shawls

Two shawls, one in jade green on top of one in gray and mint greenIt’s no secret I like yarn. (And beads, ink, paper, stationery, etc.)

I don’t usually have more than one crochet or knit project going at once, but, well… I do now. You can see part of both of them in the picture here. Here’s how they came about.

Yesterday, I had an appointment. I didn’t know how long (or even if) I would have to wait. I didn’t take anything to work on. That’s unusual for me. I bought some yarn (Lion Brand Mandala in Echo Caves) and a size J/10 5.75mm hook. (Now I have a spare J hook since I gave my other spare away.) I started what is known as the “Virus Shawl.” It works up fast and is pretty no matter what type or color of yarn you use. (Here’s a link to the pattern’s Ravelry page if you’re interested. It’s easier than it looks. The hardest part is counting to 10.)

Then today I got to go to a JoAnn’s Fabrics and Crafts (the closest one to me is at Sooner Mall in Norman, Oklahoma). I shopped there a little while my mom and brother were with my niece to get her eyes checked and get new glasses. I had taken my new project with us and worked on it on the way up, but I left it in the pickup (it wouldn’t fit in my purse). Instead of going out to the pickup to get it–you guessed it!–I bought yarn and a crochet hook. This time, the yarn was Lion Brand’s Shawl in a Cake in the color Jade Pool. I bought a size K/10.5 6.50mm hook (now I have a spare of that one, which I didn’t before).

With this yarn, I’m making a variation of this shawl. I’m using the same weight of yarn (3, light) but a different hook. The pattern calls for a size M/N, which I used in the first shawl, but I wanted to experiment with the different size this time around. This shawl also works up quickly.

Since I started the first shawl yesterday, I will finish it before I continue working on the second one. I love the colors of both of them. I find them soothing and inspiring at the same time. It’s interesting how it’s possible to create something from, basically, nothing in a relatively short period of time.

What are you currently working on? Do you have more than one project going at a time?

Happy creating!

Slowing Down

For the past week, I’ve had to slow down. I’ve had a “hitch in my get-along.” In other words, I’ve had a back ache. It started simply enough and I thought it would resolve on its own, but no such luck. I resorted to going to a chiropractor this morning and already feel so much better.

I’ve been hurtling headlong, making great progress on the novel I’m writing. I didn’t write that much less yesterday, but it has made me slow down in other areas.

Slowing down makes me pay more attention to what’s going on, both with myself and around me. Slowing down, even reluctantly, makes me refill my well whether I intended to or not.

I know it’s hard to do, but I recommend taking the time to slow down before you make yourself do it, whether through injury or illness.

It’s worth it.

Happy creating.

Photo Break

Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is known as Little Switzerland and the Stair-Step Town, among other nicknames. Throughout the historic district, there are small parks and grottos with various flora and natural rock formations. This is just one of many.

Video: Working with a Creativity Coach vs. Self-Coaching

A couple years ago, I did a presentation to the Ada Writers, a local wrters’ group, on the benefits of working with a creativity coach versus self-coaching. I actually remembered to record it, so it’s on YouTube. I decided to share it with you today for a couple reasons because it’s still relevant.

This is, in part, a test. I shared a post with a podcast episode embedded to see how it would do. I’m wondering if I will have similar results with a video or if it will do better or worse.

Happy creating.

Formal Photography

Today I got to exercise a different creative art. Photography.

My oldest niece is a high school junior. Tonight is Prom. After she and her boyfriend got all dolled up, we took their pictures.

Telling people how to pose has never been my strong suit. I let other people do that with only making a couple suggestions myself. I don’t have permission to use photos of her or her boyfriend, so I’m only sharing a photo of her prom corsage sitting in its plastic box.

It’s been a while since I’ve shot formal portraits. Come to think of it, this might actually be the first. Well, for a formal dance, that is. Later on, if I get permission to share some of the other photos, I hope to be able to share some of my favorites. I’m particularly happy with one of her looking out a window.

Photography stretches my creativity in different ways than writing does. That’s a good thing. We (I) need to stretch our creativity in different ways so that we don’t get in a rut. Practicing more than one creative outlet is a good way to be sure we stay in touch with our creativity and sometimes refill our well in the process.

What are you doing to stretch? Where do you need more practice?

Happy creating!

Season 2 of Wandering on the Creative Path is Here!

I decided to open season 2 of the Wandering on the Creative Path podcast talking about Journal Your Way to Creativity.

How’s that for some blatant self-promotion?

You can hear it here:

Let me know what you think about it.

While you’re at it, also please answer something else for me: Do you like audio/video embedded in the blog posts or should I just keep it to straight text with supplemental images?

Front cover of the book, Journal Your Way to Creativity, by Jen Nipps

Print: $6.99
Kindle: $3.99

Happy creating!