Do Animals Influence Your Creativity?

Here’s another one from that brainstormed list I mentioned yesterday.

Do animals influence your creativity?

On a purely story-telling level, I say yes. They always provide something for you to tell – or write – a story about. With the way our two dogs play and interact, there is always something to tell that they’ve done.

On an inspirational level, I say … sometimes. If Gabby (she’s a shih tzu) comes in when I’m in the middle of something, it’s usually because she wants attention. That’s not necessarily a useful thing. I am always aware of when she comes in. Sometimes she will beg for attention. Other times, she will settle down and lie in the floor by my chair.

On a psychological level, I say yes. Both of our dogs are always mood-lifters. Gabby knows when I don’t feel well and she stays very close by at those times. Zack (he’s a schnauzer) knows, too, but he’s more apt to keep his distance. When I’m in the living room, for example, and not working on anything, he’ll sit on my foot and lean against my leg so I know he’s there. If it’s a particularly bad time, he’ll force his nose under my hand so I have no choice but to pet him. My life is definitely better because of these two critters.

So to answer this question, I have two definite yeses and a sometimes. Ultimately, I think that means, for me, that animals do influence my creativity. They definitely influence my feelings of well-being, which is the real influence on creativity.

What about the animals in your life, past or present?

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Weather and Creativity

For me, I know my mood can be influenced by the weather. Sometimes I wonder if I let it, if my creativity could be too.

By “if I let it,” I mean that since I have decided to prioritize my creativity, I work on it every day. I intentionally do something creative – usually writing. When I signed up for the Ultimate Blog Challenge (a challenge to blog daily throughout October, if you’re not participating and wondering what I’m talking about), I sat down and brainstormed a list of posts for the entire month. Some of those have changed, but I’ve mostly gone by the list. That’s why today is about weather and creativity.

The thing of it is, I would be almost as productive if I did rely on a connection between weather and creativity because there is something inspiring in just about all weather. If it’s bright and sunny, I want to make/write something. If it’s rainy or cloudy, I want to make/write something. If it’s storming? Well… That depends on the storm. If it’s severe, I want to hide. If it’s just a regular thunderstorm, I want to make/create something.

If it’s snowy/icy, I want to hibernate. That’s my only real exception.

What do you think? Is there a connection between writing and your creativity? I don’t mean in general. This is on a personal level.

Is It Better to Work in Silence or With Background Noise?

There was a time that I would say it is better to work with some background noise. Hands-down. I thought I got more done and it felt kind of more like an office-with-coworkers environment. I typically had the TV on Food Network. It wasn’t ever up loud, but enough that I knew there was something going on.

Sometimes I would work with music and often found myself singing along. Obviously that wasn’t very conducive to getting anything done.

Then the cable company made some changes and we could no longer get cable through just the TV connection and had to have a box. When we moved here, I misplaced my box, so I was basically forced to work in silence. (I have since found the cable box but still have not yet hooked it up.)

I was surprised at how much more I got done. I was surprised to notice that my creativity had apparently been dulled by the background noise. I had effectively made it where I couldn’t hear myself.

That’s not a good position to be in.

I’m torn. I don’t know if I want to connect the cable box or not. I’m afraid it would mean reverting back to bad habits. (At the same time, though, I miss Food Network.) Now, the lack of TV does not mean I always work in silence. I’ve found Evan Carmichael on YouTube and his productivity music playlists. They’re mostly dance music with little-to-no lyrics. When I have a lot of stuff to do and I really don’t want to do it or I have a short time to work, I turn on one of those videos. (They’re about an hour and a half each.) One day, I got more done than I thought possible.

I don’t listen to the music a lot, but I have discovered it can be an effective tool for getting me in the mood/mindset to get things done.

What do you think? Do you work better in silence or with background noise?

Happy Birthday, Mom!

I thought about not doing this, but I decided I had to.

You see….

My mom is a great friend and she’s a wonderful cheerleader for me. She has encouraged my creativity all my life. I don’t remember a time when she said that I would never make any money as a writer or that I should do something different. In fact, it’s in very large part because of her that I am a writer.

When I was growing up, she was a babysitter. I helped tell stories to the kids. I told bedtime stories to my brother. Eventually, I started writing them down. I started reading Writer’s Digest and other writing magazines. In college, I was reading an issue of WD while sitting in the hallway, waiting for class to let out so I could go in for the next class. A classmate sat on the floor beside me and noticed what I was reading.

“Oh. Are you a writer?”

I hesitated. No one outside of my family knew about that. “Yes.”

“Cool.” She started reading whatever she had with her and that was the end of that conversation.

I can’t — and won’t — say I was very confident when I answered, but I was confident enough to answer. And that is thanks to my mom.

So, yeah, I just wanted to take this time here to tell her happy birthday. She’s the best!

(The picture here is one of the very few selfies I ever took. It’s my Mom and I at a Kevin Welch concert at the Goddard Center in Ardmore, Oklahoma.)

Do I Talk Too Much?

A few days ago, I seriously wondered this. I wondered if I talked about creativity too much or if people (mainly in my family and circle of friends) thought I was posting too much in general.

Then I started getting feedback on some of the posts I’ve been putting out. The consensus appears to be no, I do not talk too much. In fact, I might not be talking enough about all of this “creativity stuff.” At least, not yet. I’ll be getting there. I’ll be sharing my viewpoint and theories about creativity as well as parts of my own creative path.

(Speaking of, I’ve been doing some new things that I’m excited to share, but I’ll do that soon enough.)

The more I talk, the more I post, I have no doubt I will refine my thoughts and ideas about this particular topic. And then I’ll talk, post, and share more about that progression.

In the meantime, since it is the weekend, I’ll leave this as a short post.

Happy creating!

I’m Not the Only One Talking about Consistency

Yesterday I mentioned prioritizing your creativity and how being consistent can help that. The day before, I mentioned how being consistent can be beneficial to increasing your creativity.

For some reason, I can’t let this go. In large part, it’s because I have had such issues with procrastination and inconsistency in the past. I wanted to reassure you, too, that I’m not the only one talking about consistency.

Earlier this year, Roberto Blake talked about the importance of consistency. This video is about being consistent on YouTube, but it’s good advice for other areas, too. It’s a recurring theme in many of his videos. I think his channel is an important one for creatives to subscribe to and watch frequently.

Another one talking about consistency is Tara Swiger. She did a podcast episode about eight months ago talking about consistency. She’s another one that I think is important to follow, particularly if you want to make your creative pursuits a business.

In all honesty, I could keep going. But both of these videos are good places to start and will take about 30 minutes to watch them both.

What are some of your favorite resources to encourage/promote consistency? Share them in the comments.

How to Prioritize Your Creativity

Creative Commons via catchingcourage.com

In my last post, I talked about the importance of being consistent and developing routines to help you be consistent. Something that goes along with that, I believe, is making your creativity a priority. How do you do that?

In the guest post I did for Tierra Wilson’s blog (Why Every Entrepreneur Needs to Start a Writing Practice), I suggested for people to make an appointment with themselves to do a writing practice. The thing of it is, this also helps you prioritize your creativity.

Do you have a blog post that you have to get written and posted today? Put it on your calendar. Seriously. Mark yourself as unavailable for anything else during that time, unless it’s an emergency. This is an important appointment with yourself that you have to get done.

So you don’t have a post that you need to get out there, but you haven’t created anything in quite some time. The same thing applies. Put it on your calendar/in your planner. Make an appointment with yourself. KEEP IT!

After a week or two of this, prioritizing your creativity will start to become a habit. Not only that, you will start to develop a habit of consistency that people — and you — will come to expect. That helps in many ways.

I would recommend a paper calendar/planner (and not just because I have one now) because you generally don’t have something concrete to hold and see if you use a digital calendar. Yes, you can see it on your phone or your computer. For me, though, there’s something about holding that calendar, holding a pen, and marking it off as done.

Sometimes it’s the little things that help make prioritizing something important.

Happy creating!