Sunday, March 29, 2015

Allowing Creativity

No matter what you create, I'm sure you have experienced 'the creative block from hell' at one point or another. Whatever you name it, it's the moment where you can't catch a whiff of creativity to save your life. It's like waiting for the resounding applause but only hearing crickets chirping in the night. 

How does one find creativity when creativity is no where to be found?

When we are lacking in the creative department, it means we are too busy over-thinking things. We have stepped into our left brain logic and can't find a way next door to our beautiful right brain.

How do we get over there?

You may have noticed that children are super creative. They come up with stories, ideas, plans...whatever they want, because they don't over-think things. They have not been tainted by a world forcing left brainy-isms on them. (Brainy-isms...I made that one up.)

Act with child-like curiosity. Go play on the swings and laugh. While you're at it, yell out, 'I can see my house from here.' Just don't go to the playground when there are kids around--you will get glaring looks from other parents.

My sister and me on the swings. No other kids around, except our own.
Photo credit: Tamara Hanson 
Another thing you can do is step away from your project and pick up a new project. Colour, paint, draw--tap into another creative source that will get your creativity flowing. If you feel like writing but can't get into your current project, then write something else. Write a love letter, a grocery list, or just random things on your mind. I find that when I'm stuck, I'll write whatever is on my brain at the time. It spills out onto the page and I let it loose. These thoughts want to be heard, so let them have their 15 minutes of fame. Once they have been satisfied, you will be able to move on to your project.

Go for a walk, do yoga, read a book, cook a meal, play with the dog--any of these things will help you get clear minded.

Meditation is also helpful. Meditation helps calm the chatty mind and put you into a state of clear thinking.

Also, while you are at it, go to YouTube and find music that is for focusing and clarity. Or, just find music that you love. Put on your headphones or dance around. Focusing on the music will help kick start the right brain into doing what it's supposed to do--Create! 

Finally, do not get upset. That's the worst thing you can do. Getting upset will push you further and further away from your creativity. I don't have the statistics on this, but I'm willing to guess that every creative person has felt the strain of creating; it's almost like banging your head against a brick wall.

You aren't alone in this. Grasp whatever inspiration you can and run with it.

For other ways to find more inspiration, click on this link: The Amazing Creative Inspiration Blog Carnival . You will find some fabulous tips from amazingly creative people.

Keep on creating, friends!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Love Your Writing

Several years ago (too many to count) I went on my first writer's retreat (unless you count the one time I had 1.5 hours of alone time in my office!).

Strawberry Creek -Photo Credit by Tamara Hanson

I loved it and it was a great way to sit and write without being disturbed. There were only 11 of us at a beautiful log cabin out on an acreage with no distractions: No TV, no Starbucks, no nearby mall, no internet, and no one vying for your attention.

Everyone had a purpose and were taking advantage of this time to do what they love...write. Some were writing poetry, a couple were writing screenplays, and others were writing short stories, articles and memoirs. I was working on my novel plus, tidying up other writings that I never got around to fixing.

It was quiet and beautiful. I walked and talked (briefly) to the other writers. I read, I wrote and I wrote some more. Not only did I eat amazing food that was lovingly prepared by three awesome women, I had the pleasure of meeting the owner of the cabin, award winning Canadian author, Rudy Wiebe.

The last night that we were there, we all read from our own work. It didn't have to be the stuff we had been working on at the retreat; we could read anything we had written. I chose to read something from a book I wrote a few years ago.

I'm not one for reading to an audience--it's a bit unsettling, and this was my first time reading my work to anyone. But, after it was all over, I was so glad that I did. It was a moment of getting out of my comfort zone and opening up to something that I had never done before. (Read my blog about comfort zones here.)

The point of this is: Even if you think that you can't read your work to someone else, give it a try anyway. Even if fear has gripped you tightly, think about how you will feel many years down the road or on your death bed: will you be sorry you didn't take the opportunity?

Taking that seemingly daunting step to share your work will be one of the greatest accomplishments of your life. You will not regret it! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

To Boldly Go....

If you popped in here because of the Star Trek reference, I apologize--this blog piece is not about Star Trek, nor is it about Leonard Nimoy (rest in peace, buddy).

However, this post is about trying something new. About getting out there with your writing; getting out of your comfort zone and to boldly go to a place you haven't been before.

I took a chance last week by uploading one of my books to Wattpad. If you haven't heard of Wattpad yet, it's a place where people can read other people's work for free.

What will you find there? Lots of poorly written fanfiction about One Direction. Okay, I'm only partially kidding...sorta. The good news is you can find many lovely treasures on Wattpad from hard working and focused authors. In addition this, Margaret Atwood and Paulo Coelho are two well-known authors who like to upload their short stories to Wattpad. Why? They can provide links to where readers can buy their books. So, really, it can be a handy promotional tool, as well.

Here's the back story of my book, Just Between You and Me: I came up with the idea late one night while I was feeding my 3 month old son. My son is now 12 years old. Yep, this book has been languishing on my computer for 12 years. Oh, and I have other books written, too, but never have shown them to anyone. Some are older than Just Between You and Me.

Anyway, I had been writing for so long and not really doing anything with my stuff, that I started to wonder what the hell I was doing with my life. I needed to get one story out the very least. I had to let other people read it, and get a feel for what it was like for others to read and comment on my work.

I'm not sure why I chose Wattpad. Maybe it was just an easy platform to bounce off of. I had been hiding behind a computer for a very long time.

So, have you been hiding behind your computer for too long? Is it time to test the waters and see what happens? Once you step outside of your comfort zone, it begins to feel a little bit more comfortable. Trying something new is all part of the expansion and growth of creating something we love.

Keep writing! Keep being bold! 

P.S. You can read Just Between You and Me (for free!) here