Do You Have Creative Clutter?

Crayons scattered on white paperSaturday, I gave a talk at the Ada Writers’ Group. We talked about creativity, some tips, ways to jump-start your creativity, some creativity exercises, and more. We even talked a little bit about clutter. If you know me and my attitudes about housecleaning and clutter, this is at least mildly amusing.

I was talking about clutter. As in getting rid of it.

Here is the gist of what was said.

  1. I used to say I had creative clutter.
  2. When I was sick (long-term, a period of two years), I would toss something in my office and say “I’ll take care of it later.”

First, let me just say I was fooling myself with the creative clutter comment. I think we lie to ourselves far too much when it comes to clutter and our creativity (in general, not necessarily related to clutter).

Second, the clutter wasn’t creative. It was constraining. I couldn’t really think. I couldn’t really create in my office. In my self-described studio. There was … too much … stuff. It was everywhere. “Later” had finally arrived.

Let me just say that it’s not perfect. There are still some things that need to be done. Now, however, I have designated spaces for jewelry-making, product photography, writing, knitting/crochet, and videos. (For the record, the first two are in my kitchen, not in my office. My space isn’t quite that big.) It is a lot better. There isn’t near as much clutter and what there is will be easily managed.

What is the biggest difference I have noticed?

Other than being able to walk across the floor without knocking piles over, I have room to think! I know that sounds strange, but it’s true. I feel like I need to repeat it.

I have room to think!

The first time I came in the office to sit at my desk felt different. I sat down and mentally went “ahhhhh!” because it felt good. I turned to my computer and was able to do some work without feeling stressed or cramped.

All because I got rid of (most of) the clutter.

It makes a difference.

Stop telling yourself you have “creative clutter” or “creative organization.” It’s not. You don’t. It’s just junk. It’s clutter. There might be important things you want to keep — maybe even things you need and have been looking for — under the piles of stuff. But that’s not an organizational system.

Take it from someone who’s been there. Think about cleaning it up. I mean seriously think about it. And do it. It will be worth it.

What are some of your experiences with cleaning up the clutter in your creative spaces? Leave a comment and I might use it in a future episode of the podcast.

A Planner for Creatives

After I published Create Your Own DIY Planner, I had someone ask me if I were going to make an actual planner. At the time, I said no. But then I started thinking about it.

Well…

I’ve been working on “the planner for creatives” for a while. It has elements that I want in a planner – a submissions log, project planning pages, a master project list, and a content idea log.

Right now, I just need a cover and a better title than “Planner for Creatives.” That’s where you come in. Help me launch this planner in October! Send me your title ideas. If I use yours, you will get a free copy of the planner, estimated at a $20 value.

Send me your ideas ASAP! Deadline is September 29, 2017.

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!

Play!

I have started going to a local stamping group. We meet once a month at a scrapbook store. This month, the group coordinator showed us how to do a “polished stone” effect using alcohol inks.

I loved it!

I loved the flexibility of the inks and how they can look so vibrant and so muted, depending on what I added to it. I bought a couple inks and a bottle of blending solution.

When I got home, I looked up “alcohol inks” on YouTube. I found a couple things that piqued my interest. I went to Hobby Lobby on Saturday and got a starter set of inks that had a dobber, pieces of felt, 4 or 5 inks, a small bottle of solution, an instruction booklet, a small Distressed Inks ink pad, and some cards for inking.

I did a couple polished stones like the ones I did at the stamping group. Then I watched more YouTube videos. One was an artist dripping ink on a glossy canvas of some sort and blowing the ink through a straw. I had to try it. The picture with the post is what I came up with. I like it! A lot. Not just the image, but the inks.

I might be hooked!

This is a very new medium to me. Playing with it is getting me motivated and excited about other things I have in progress and need to finish as well.

When is the last time you gave yourself permission to just play with something new? For that matter, when is the last time you let yourself play, period? Have you considered that playing could be an integral part to reigniting your creativity? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Happy creating!

Planner Freebie

Yes. A freebie.

As creatives, we often have projects that wee need to know the status of even if we’re not actively working on that at the moment. It can be photos, art, writing projects, etc. It’s not usually feasible to see one project through, start to absolute finish (including placement and payment) before starting something else.

Enter the project log/submission tracker. Submission Log

This is a PDF you can download and use. It’s designed for a standard 8.5×11 page but can be resized to fit the planner you have.

(I had intended to post this last week, but I saved the post as a draft instead of scheduling it, so here it is, a gift to start off the week.)

Photo of the Day: Back View of the Crescent Hotel

If you’ve read any of this blog, you know I love Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It’s likely you have also seen some photos I have taken during visits there. Here is one I don’t think I’ve shared here yet.

Back view of the Crescent Hotel from East Mountain Lookout, Eureka Springs, AR