Here’s Your Permission Slip

On Monday, at the end of story time, I said you need to give yourself permission to be creative/call yourself a writer.

Well…

I decided some of you might want or need a permission slip. So here you go.

Save it to your computer and print it out. Sign it and date it. Tape it to your monitor or a mirror where you see it frequently.

Give yourself permission.

6 Keys to Creativity: Part 1

Today on the podcast we’re starting a series on the 6 Keys to Creativity that inform how I operate.

Let Me Tell You a Story

Have I ever told you how I started writing? Or anything about my creative journey?

No?

I want to do that now, then.From the time I was about 7 to 16 (I’m guesstimating), my mom was a babysitter. My job, if you can really call it that, was helping to entertain the kids.

That included telling stories.

Even my brother loved my stories and frequently wanted me to tell him a bedtime story.

Eventually, I started writing them down I would also write poems. I was on the school paper and yearbook. But even though I wrote, I didn’t call myself a writer. My writing was mostly just for me at that point.

Don’t get me wrong. I had teachers who encouraged my writing, but those were mostly on school assignments. I didn’t think it was really that big a deal.

Fast-forward to college.

I was waiting for one class to let out so my class could start. I think it was Introduction to Sociology, if I remember correctly. A classmate came and sat by me (on the floor in the hall) to wait, too.

I was reading Writer’s Digest.

Her: “Oh. Are you a writer?”
Me (hesitating): “Yes.”
Her: “What do you write?”

To be totally honest, I don’t remember the rest of our conversation. It was *cough*  years ago.

Why do I remember this much of it?

It was the first time I gave myself permiossion to say I was/am a writer.

This is why I say that you are the only person who says you can or can’t be creative. It’s why I say you have to give ourself permisssion.

No one else can do that.

If you hven’t yet given yerself permission to be creative, to be a writer, to be whatever, do that now.

You might have to do it more than once. That’s OK. Just keep doing it until it sticks.

January Wrap-Up

Is it just me or was January both the longest and the shortest month ever? I didn’t quite meet all of my goals for the month, but I did pretty good.

My theme for the month was “content.” As in, creating content. To help with this, I participated in the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I ended up not completing the challenge, for a variety of reasons. However, I did get more posts up than I usually do in January. That’s a win itself.

Other things I did for January is

  • 5 Days to Increased Creativity challenge
  • 5 Days to Planner Peace challenge
  • Signed up for and started a Tunisian crochet class with Toni Lipsey of TL Yarn Crafts.
  • Finished two crocheted shawls.
  • Planned out the next JEN Enterprises Presents title (hybrid planning).

January was a challenging month, but it was ultimately a good one. I’ll have another wrap-up at the end of this month too.

Begin at the Bell

The following is an excerpt from 80 Creativity Tips.

A friend of mine said this before writing exercise we did at the kick-off party flash meeting with a lot for the local National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) group.

“Begin at the bell” is actually pretty good advice. When it comes to working on our creative projects, we almost always say we don’t have time.

Make time! Otherwise, it will never get done.

Get a timer. Set it for no less than 15 minutes, preferably 30. If you can, have a bell ring to signal the beginning. If not, start the very second your hand comes off the timer.

Whatever it is you do, then do it. Right. Draw. Paint. Cook. Dance.

Create!

When the timer goes off, you can stop, but not before. Give yourself at least that 15 minutes. If you are going good when the time is up, turn the timer off–or reset it–and keep going.

At the end of your time, step back. Look at what you have done and pat yourself on the back.

This is important: Do not evaluate or critique what you have done. Now is the time for creating, not for editing or judging. There will be time for that later.

Here are some tips for you on your work with a timer:

  • Don’t look at the timer. Turn it away from you. If it’s on your phone, turn the display off or turn your phone over.
  • Don’t stop and wonder how much time you have left, no matter how much you want to know.
  • Time isn’t important except as a way to get started. Unless there is a hurricane or a fire, the amount of time that’s passed isn’t important.
  • If you’re writing or drawing, keep your hand moving. Pause as seldom as possible to work out a hand cramp if you need to. (As a side note, if you’re getting cramps like that, it means you’re holding your pen/pencil/paintbrush/knitting needles/crochet hook too tight and need to loosen your grip.)
  • Focus on what you’re doing. This music or TV on in the background? Tune it out. There are people who said they have to work in complete silence. Those people really get any work done. Distractions are a fact of life, even if it’s just your cat jumping up on the desk. Learn to deal with it.

Remember you’re creative in your life, not separate from it.

New Challenge Starting Thursday

Yes, you read that right. A new challenge, 5 Days to More Creativity, starts Thursday, January 10.

Here’s what’s going on.

You will have a total of five prompts. Post a picture of each prompt on your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter page using the hashtag #morecreativitychallenge.

Here are the prompts.

1. Carry a notebook at all times.
2. Know what’s in your tool box.
3. Write every day.
4. Give yourself permission.
5. Put your inner critic in jail.

Check back on this blog every day starting Thursday for more information about the day’s prompt.

Meditation for Creativity?

I confess, I’m on the fence on this one. Then again, I’m on the fence about meditation in general.

So why am I talking about meditation, especially as it relates to creativity?

I know some people do benefit from it. I’m not opposed to it. In fact, I have no doubt that if I made it a regular practice, I would benefit from it.

For the times I do meditate, I use Insight Timer. It’s available for both Android and iPhone. It has some meditations directly related to creativity.

What do you think about meditation? Does it help you with your creativity?