New Book: Journal Your Way to Creativity

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

Blurb:
Journal Your Way to Creativity is a 90-day self-guided journal designed to help readers tap into their creativity. Some of the prompts may sound silly, but some of the silliest prompts tend to be the ones that make you dig the deepest.”

Format:
Print $6.99, click to buy
Kindle $3.99, click to buy

Sample Prompts:
5. Think about your reasons for believing you are creative. List five reasons why it is true.

37. What is your favorite color? Why? (Yes, you can have more than one but keep it to three or fewer.)

58. Give yourself about five minutes and ask yourself “What If I Were Creative?” Try to list 10 things.

82. What rules have you broken recently?

 

Why This Book?
As I mentioned, I am also a creativity coach. Sometimes the best way to reach people in order to help them is where they are. That’s not always physically possible, so I thought a journal of some type might be helpful. Once I got that idea in mind, it wouldn’t let go.

I debated how many prompts to include. I finally decided on 90 because that’s three months of daily journaling. That’s long enough to accomplish a couple things. It’s enough to make journaling a habit. It’s also long enough to start breaking down old thought patterns/beliefs and creating new ones. I am not saying it’s enough time to completely create new ones.

Sometimes it’s easy to fall back into old habits and ways of thinking, no matter how much we think we’re “over it.”

Here’s a not-so-secret secret: We’re never really over it.

Thought patterns take a lifetime to build. It makes sense to think they would take another lifetime to break down to make way for new ones. There are things we have to work on repeatedly, whether it’s maintaining a new, healthier lifestyle or thinking of ourselves as creative beings.

With this journal, which is part of Living Your Creative Life, it is my hope that we can build and reinforce our creative habits and beliefs.

About the Author:
I’m a freelance writer specializing in creativity, social media, and general human interest. I just released book #10! Journal Your Way to Creativity is available in print and on Kindle now!

I am also a creativity coach. But… what IS a creativity coach? Simply put, creativity coaching is a subset of life coaching where someone helps you with various aspects of your lives. I — and any other creativity coach — can help you with issues you may be having in your creative life, whether it’s finishing projects, finding inspiration, or how to get out of a rut. If you’re interested, I’d love to talk to you about it.

I am a fiber artist. I knit and crochet. I want to learn to spin, but that will have to wait a while.

I am available to speak to writers’ groups, civic organizations, schools, and conferences. I can do in-person presentations or present via Skype. If you need a speaker for your event, let’s talk! My speaking repertoire also includes living with disabilities and diabetes as well as creativity and social media as mentioned above.

A Short Announcement

I know I am well overdue for a blog post. I’ll get to that this week. For now, I have a quick announcement.

I have opened an Etsy shop. It’s Made by JEN Enterprises. I have:

  • books (including the 2018 Project Planner for Creatives and Create Your Own DIY Planner, all digital downloads)
  • planner pages (all digital downloads)
  • necklaces.

I will be adding more soon. I will include:

  • earrings
  • bracelets
  • more necklaces
  • more books (digital downloads)
  • knit/crocheted items
  • photos (digital and print)
  • cards (print)
  • crochet patterns (digital downloads)

Here’s the link to go check it out.

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!

Inspiration Station

&copy 2014 Jen Nipps
&copy 2014 Jen Nipps

You know how it goes. You’re going along, keeping on keeping on, and you run out of steam. You feel like you’re going through the motions and not getting anywhere. You’re in a rut. Your get up & go finally got up & went.

What’s a person to do?

Get it back, of course. You have to be motivated to get work done. You have to be inspired to be motivated. Where do you get that inspiration?

The easy answer? All around you.

The hard answer? All around you.

It isn’t a cop-out. It really is both that easy and that hard. It’s easy because we don’t have to go far to find a source of inspiration. It’s hard because, since it’s always around us, we don’t always see it.

One of my favorite sources of inspiration is my youngest niece. We’ll call her Miss J. She’s 5. She’s cute (absolutely adorable, actually!), smart, busy, and curious. She asks questions about everything. (I know. All kids do, but she’s the one currently in my life doing this to me.) Sometimes, a lot of times, I will find inspiration in the questions she asks me. I will get ideas for something to knit or crochet because of something she says. I take a lot of pictures of her.

She wants to know how I feel, how my leg feels, why Gabby (my dog) is running around outside like that, where Papa (my dad) is, when Nana (my mom) is going to be home from work.

She’s worried about not being able to read “good enough” for kindergarten in August!

She is a huge source of my inspiration for pretty much anything I do.

 

Putting Down the Needles, Picking Up the Hook

yarnI could be called a fiber artist, if you were so inclined. Sometimes I refer to myself that way because I do more than one thing with yarn. I knit and crochet.

I learned how to crochet about six or seven years ago. I learned how to knit in February.

Since then, I have knit more than I crochet.

I found a project, though, that is making me put down the needles and pick up the hook.

Jellyfish!

They are so cute! I need — want — to make at least 6 for my nieces and nephew. (Yes, I am going to make one for a — *gasp* — boy!

It’s all done in single crochet. I have the safety eyes and the stuffing for the head and everything! The only hesitation now is, WHAT COLOR?

I mean, really, it’s not like I don’t have choices. I might have to play a couple games of eeny-meeny-miney-mo.

I better get started.

How Jen Got Her Groove Back

Used under a Creative Commons license.
Used under a Creative Commons license.

I can’t actually say I have my groove back, or even that I have a groove, yet. I am, however, on my way to getting one.

As a result of having to keep my foot up for so long, I lost any kind of momentum I may have had. Because of my eyesight, it’s difficult for me to work with a computer in my lap. It can be done, but with a lot of difficulty. I prefer to use an external monitor adjusted for easy (well… easier) viewing and an external keyboard. It just makes my life easier. If I were working for someone else, they would call it accommodations. I call it doing what works for me.

Anyway, I digress.

Since I don’t have to have my foot up as much (though I still do a few times during the day), I can start getting back into a routine. It looks something like this:

Morning: Morning routine & housework (including tidying my office & living areas)
Noon: Lunch & a walk
Afternoon: Writing & marketing (and other work as it comes along)
Evening: Dinner, knitting or crochet/TV, family, & end-of-day routine (maybe another walk, especially if the noon time is too warm as the summer progresses)

It’s nothing major in the grand scheme of things, but it will help me get back to where I want to be, so it’s pretty major in that way.

I used to think schedules and routines were anathema to creativity. A few years have passed since then. (OK, more than a few.) I have come to realize that having a schedule and following a routine actually allows room for creativity. For me, creativity requires structure. If I have no structure and it can have free rein, nothing ever gets done. It’s funny how that works.

As things progress and I get assignments and other work coming in, I have no doubt the schedule will change. It will have to in order to accommodate deadlines. For now, though, this is a start. And I think it’s a good one.