Let Me Back Up a Minute (Ultimate Blog Challenge)

I already had blogs written and scheduled to upload for Sunday and Monday before I read through everything about the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I mentioned at the bottom of Sunday’s post that I would be posting daily in October, but since it was at the bottom of the book launch post, I can understand how it might not have been seen. I’m here to fix that.

What is it?

The Ultimate Blog Challenge is intended to get you posting on your blog on a daily basis. It increases your community and raises your blog in the ranks of search pages. (A blog that is regularly updated ranks higher in search engines than a static website on the same topic.)

So, yes, I will be posting daily in October. After that, I will determine whether I will continue a daily schedule or go back to my previous three-times-a-week schedule.

Who am I?

I’m Jen. I have 8 books published, one out of print, and multiple projects in the pipeline in various stages of development. My main focus on this blog is the creative journey/path. I’ve even started a podcast about it. I talk about my struggles and triumphs and I try to give input/ideas about things that might affect you and your path too.

What are my credentials?

Well…. If you want official credentials, I don’t have any. I don’t have a degree in counseling or coaching or anything like that. What I do have is about 15 years of studying creativity in various ways (videos, books, conferences/lectures, etc.) I’ve written two books about creativity — Devoted to Creating: Igniting the Spark in Everyone (this is the book that is currently out of print, but I hope to have it available again by the end of the year) and 80 Creativity Tips. In case you missed it, I recently published the 2018 Project Planner for Creatives. I am now working on a new project designed to help people get in touch with their creativity. Look for Journal Your Way to Creativity by Christmas.

At some point, I hope to receive training as a creativity coach by the Creativity Coaching Association. I don’t know when that will happen. It’s not a necessity for me, but it’s just something I would like to do.

Anyway…

That’s it for the rewind to let you know about the Ultimate Blog Challenge and a bit about me and how I got started.

Happy creating!

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Fatigue and Creating

black and white photo of a porch light ona rock wallI have been talking a lot about making your creativity a priority and planning for it and so on. But…

Do you create when you’re tired? How?

That depends.

It depends on you and what you can handle.

And, to be honest, it will vary. There will be times when you can create while you’re exhausted and there will be times when you just can’t. There are times when I can create when I’m overly tired and times when I can’t.

Here’s the key: Listen to yourself.

You will know when you can keep going and when you need to rest. If you find yourself trying to write and you’re just watching the cursor blink, shut it down and get some sleep. If you keep making mistakes on basic knitting or crochet stitches/patterns, it’s time to put it down and take care of yourself.

Here’s the thing…

It might not even be physical fatigue that is interfering with your ability to create. It might be mental or emotional. It’s still an indicator that you MUST take care of yourself. Maybe even more than physical.

I can’t — and won’t try — to tell you how to take care of yourself. Everyone has somewhat different self-care methods. I like to get my nails done or just veg and watch TV or YouTube videos. If my issue is related to writing, I may knit or crochet or play with stamps or alcohol inks. I also like to have a cup of hot tea when the weather is chilly.

Your favorite ways might be different. Find out what they are. Remember them. Use them when you feel “off” or when you feel any kind of fatigue.

In the meantime, happy creating!

It’s Alive! (2018 Project Planner for Creatives)

Once upon a time (which was actually pretty recent in the grand scheme of things) in a galaxy not-so-far away (right here in the Milky Way, truth to tell), I started to work on a planner system. (And, yes, those were blatant references to Star Wars and Once Upon a Time, just like the Game of Thrones reference the other day. Oh, and I almost forgot about the Frankenstein reference in the title.) I didn’t really know what I was doing, just that I didn’t like any of the traditional planners I bought and never used.

I’ll spare you all of the back story and all of the different iterations this planner system took. Let’s just say that after a lot of work, the 2018 Project Planner for Creatives is here! And it’s live on Amazon.com and CreateSpace. I will have a digital version soon for those of you who want to print your own and fit it into your own system instead of using a bound book.

Click the image to be take to the Amazon page to buy it. (The link will open in a new tab/window, so be sure your pop-up blocker is disabled for this one.)

Front cover of a book, gray and black. "2018 Project Planner for Creatives" in white on the black band.

 

One quick housekeeping note: I am participating in a blog challenge for October, so there will be a post every day this month. After that, I’ll go back to the 3x/week schedule. Unless you all want daily content. Then I’ll see what I can do.

Happy creating!

The Planner Is Coming

Front cover of a book, gray and black. "2018 Project Planner for Creatives" in white on the black band.Does that sound too much like “Winter is coming” a la Game of Thrones? No? Hmm. Maybe I need to try harder.

But seriously, I have the files uploaded for the 2018 Project Planner for Creatives. As I write this, I’m still waiting for CreateSpace to finish vetting/approving my interior files and cover.

I am also working on a way to make a PDF available for those of you who want the planner but want to print your own. While there are several project planning pages in the print version, I understand that might not be enough for some people, so you need the ability to print your own.

If all goes well, the planner will be available Sunday, October 1. It contains monthly and weekly pages for the remainder of 2017 and all of 2018. It has a place for limited advanced planning for 2019. There is a submissions log (previously uploaded as a freebie for you) and master projects list. There are project planning pages and a content idea log. There are extra blank pages to sketch/map/plan any other ideas you want to include.

I had hoped to be able to offer a spiral-bound planner, but that is not currently an option. I will look into alternatives for that for future editions, though.

In the meantime, watch this space. I will post a link to where you can purchase the planner once everything is approved and it is live.

Happy creating!

Why Did I Start a Podcast?

Image used courtesy of The Public Speaking Project under a Creative Commons license.

Why did I start a podcast?

Here’s the short answer: I wanted to.

Here’s the longer answer: I’ve been thinking about doing a podcast for at least a couple years.

That’s all I did though. I thought about it. I thought about what format I would want it to take. I thought about who I would bring on for guest spots. I thought about who I wanted to interview. I thought about what I wanted to talk about.

I thought. I thought. I thought. I thought. I thought.

This year, my word for the year has been “focus.” It seems, then, that starting something new would be opposite that theme. Right?

Well….

Wrong.

Here’s why: I have been interested in and studied creativity for at least 15 years. I knew any podcast I would do would relate to creativity. This year, I have worked on several projects that relate to creativity, tapping into it, reinvigorating it, and so on.

Because of that renewed focus on the subject, it was a natural extension to start the podcast this year. So I did. After I chose the platform I would host it on, I uploaded a few short episodes and then discovered I have a very limited amount of space. Many things I thought I would want to do — bring guests in for interviews, etc. — simply cannot happen right now or it would use up my available space very quickly.

Unfortunately, I am not at a place where I can pay hosting fees right now. That will come, I have no doubt. In the meantime, though, I had to reconsider my format. I asked myself two main questions:

  1. Do I want to go with my original ideas and have longer episodes, thus using my space faster and having to find a new host sooner than expected?
  2. Do I want to reconsider the format and go with shorter episodes?

Ultimately, I decided on the second one. Not only does it allow me to learn more about what I’m doing, but it’s also more…digestible. If you download it to listen while you’re driving from one place to another, you don’t have to have a long drive. Short, five-minute drives are sufficient and my episodes fit nicely in that time frame. You won’t be in the middle of a thought/idea (on the podcast) when you get to your destination.

Once I know more about what I’m doing and have a different host where I can bring guests on, my episodes will get longer. For now, I think they’re a good length.

Oh, and in case you missed it in a previous post, my podcast is Wandering on the Creative Path on SoundCloud.

Two Links

I’m going to do something I don’t usually do. I’m going to send you to other sites to read/listen to what I want to talk about. These links will open in a new tab or window, depending on how you have your browser set.

First, I have a guest blog up on Tierra Wilson’s Busy & Chic blog. It’s Why Entrepreneurs Should Start a Writing Practice.

Second, I mentioned I’ve started a podcast. It’s Wandering on the Creative Path and it’s on SoundCloud. Honestly, I don’t know if it’s going to stay on SoundCloud, so if you have any free podcast hosting suggestions, send them my way. Anyway, episodes 0 (the introduction) through 3 have been uploaded.

Coming Soon to a Podcast Near You

After years of thinking about it and occasionally talking about it, I am finally doing it.

What is “it”?

I’m starting a podcast. I have the introduction recorded (episode 0) and will be working on the first episode later today. I hope to have more episodes uploaded in a couple days.

What is it about?

Creativity, of course.

That’s the short answer. The longer answer is it’s about helping people reconnect with their creativity and be reminded that they are creative. It’s about the creative journey called life and how we each have our own ways of living it.

It’s called “Wandering the Creative Path.”

Here’s where you come in.

  1. I would love for you to listen to it. The introductory episode is up on SoundCloud.
  2. Are you a creative who would like to be interviewed about your creative journey? Send me an email! We’ll set up a Skype call where you’ll be recorded and uploaded to the podcast.
  3. Are you (a) convinced you’re not creative or (b) in a creative rut and want a coach? Email me! We’ll do a 15-30 minute coaching session and use it on the podcast.

If you want to participate but don’t want to be recorded, send me an email anyway. We can work something out.

Happy creating!