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.

Oops, I did it again

*insert Homer-esque D’oh! here*

Remember when I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I had been having problems with my leg but it was almost healed? Well…. It healed. It looked good. Everything was closed.

And then it reopened. There are a variety of reasons for this. I won’t bore you with them. Let’s just say that I went to Wound Care on Monday. My final appointment was supposed to be on Wednesday. You guessed it. No “final appointment” for me. At least not yet.

However, things will be different this time. While I do have to have my foot up, I don’t have to go into hibernation again. And I won’t. I have some posts planned coming up, so I will do those. You won’t have to wonder where I’ve gone, because I’ll still be here. Living the creative life.

Onward!

Making My Way Back

fruitI have been trying to figure out how to restart this blog and to explain my absence from it. Then I realized I don’t really have to explain, but I want to. Some of you came here to regular (or semi-regular) posts, then I was gone all of a sudden. Some of you may have stumbled upon a dormant blog.

My last post was in January. It was an attempt to restart then, too.

For a long time, I tried to blog because it was expected. it’s what a writer needs to do to build a platform, to gain an audience. It felt forced to me, so it fell flat. Unfortunately, it probably sounded forced to you, too.

I apologize for all of that.

Now I am returning to the blog. While I hope you are here to read it, comment on it, and ask questions of me about whatever I post, I am doing it for me.

You see, for the past year, I have been dealing with some health issues that had me keeping my foot propped up for 8 of the last 10 months. In that time, I haven’t done much writing. I’ve done a lot of reading. I’ve done a lot of crocheting. I even learned to knit, which is something I have wanted to do for years.

I started a separate blog for the health stuff. It stalled too, although for different reasons. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be that personal. I wasn’t sure that I wanted people to know that I am diabetic and I struggle with that sometimes.

I realize, though, that is part of me. And the tagline for this blog is “Wandering on the creative journey.” That is part of the wandering. That is part of finding my way. That is part of finding me and making my way back to who I am, who I was, and — more importantly — to who I want to be.

I am trying to take a more healthful approach to life. I’m walking more. I’ve joined Weight Watchers. My blood sugar is consistently under better control. It’s still not perfect, but I’m working on it with my doctor. I got a FitBit for my birthday to help me stay motivated.

I will write about creativity and things I am doing. I will write about how things are going in my personal life and wtih my health. Since I am doing this for me, it will not be with any real regularity. There will be some weeks with daily posts. There will be some weeks with no posts. Most weeks will be somewhere in-between. And that’s OK.

I give myself permission to take things slowly and do what needs to be done.

The picture with this post? That was my breakfast this morning. A fruit salad of a green apple, some strawberries, and a couple Clementines. I also had a piece of toast. I should have included something with protein, maybe some peanut butter on the toast. I’ll do that next time. I enjoyed it, though. And isn’t that important too?

I think so.

Until next time.

Treat #1

A few years ago, I did a presentation on creativity tips to the Torchlighters Toastmasters group in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I had the entire presentation written out. It lasted less than 10 minutes, so the accompanying notes/article isn’t very long.

But here it is. One of the promised treats for your Trick-Or-Treating Halloween pleasure.

Four Tips for Overcoming Creative Roadblocks

What Is Life About?

(c) 2013 Jen Nipps Photo courtesy of Jen Nipps Photos
(c) 2013 Jen Nipps
Photo courtesy of Jen Nipps Photos

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw

This is my favorite quote of all time.

To me, it embodies the essence of creativity. If we don’t have a hand in creating ourselves, by our likes and interests and people we spend our time with, what would we be capable of creating?

Yes, we are made by a Great Creator and he created us. But we also have free will and minds of our own that we are capable of using. We can decide our own likes and dislikes. We shape ourselves, we create ourselves, based on these.

If we are made by a Creator, if we create ourselves, why, then, would we not be creative?

This supports my theory that everyone is creative but some of us just don’t know how to tap into that innate creativity. Often, some of us regularly use our creativity and don’t ever realize that’s what we are doing! Many of us continue to claim we are not creative when that is exactly what we are doing!

How many times have you heard a master cook say they’re not creative even while in the middle of cooking (creating!) some wonderful dishes? Or a teacher claim they are not creative when in the middle of coming up with (again, creating!) lesson plans? Or even a parent in the middle of making up (yes, again, creating!) games to play with their children?!

We create every day, often many times throughout the day. We might not call it that, but that is what it is.

An Unintended Experiment

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

Did you see my post yesterday that included a short story? No? Don’t worry about it. You don’t have to go back and look at it. It’s OK.

It actually worked out to be an unintended experiment. And it showed me a few things.

While there are blogs where short stories are posted and well-received, this is not necessarily one of them. It does not mean it was a bad story or that no one liked it. It does mean that when you visit this blog, that is not the kind of content you come here to read.

I have worked to make my mark in two distinct niches: Creativity and social media. Over time, I have discovered that I am making some pretty good progress in those two areas. They are broad enough that I can write about many things that fall under those two umbrellas. They are also what I need to focus on here.

So let’s call yesterday’s post a social media experiment. It may have been an unintended one, but that is what it was. After all, isn’t that what most, if not all, social media is? An experiment to find out what works? It’s kind of like throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks.

For me, creativity and social media stick. Thank you for helping me figure that out.