Inspire Yourself

We are all on a different road.

We are all on a different road.

Sometimes it pays off to do something you fear or attend an event that you think might not really apply to yourself. I did this on September 12 when I attended a writing event presented by Liliana Hart, New York Times & USA Today Best Selling Author in Indianapolis, IN.

Creativity is a muscle. If you don’t exercise it, feed it good food, and treat it with respect and kindness, it will develop a beer belly, suffer from panic attacks while walking to the mailbox, and throw it’s back out from a nightly teeth brushing incident. I don’t want that to happen to my creativity and I don’t want it to happen to yours either.

At the speaker event, Liliana spoke about trends in the publishing industry and what worked for her and generally provided an overwhelming amount of advice to the authors in attendance. At first, I was pretty daunted by all the facts and how my path could never match what she and others have been doing.

You might not think a talk about business and industry trends would inspire creativity, but for me it did.

After reading through my notes and talking to some friends at the event, I stewed for a day. That’s when the creative energy hit me. I stopped for a moment as something Liliana said broke through the panic. Take advice with a grain of salt and stop what if-ing.

Think about that. No matter your creative outlet or career aspirations what is ultimately important?

The journey.

For me this was beyond motivational and inspired me to figure out what I really wanted, what I thought I was capable of doing without adding more stress to my already stressed out life. Ironically, this put some perspective on my already stressed out life and it didn’t seem so out of control any more, certainly not perfect but more manageable.

It doesn’t matter what other people are doing or what they plan on doing. What’s my plan? What’s yours? Write it down and stop worrying about what the market will do, what the neighbors will think, and just work on your goal.

The work won’t be easy. Easy isn’t the point. Feeling accomplished and excited about something despite being afraid is what will make things happen. Goals drive us forward and the amazing organ called the brain loves this stuff! It’s like, “Okay. Let’s go! Let’s do this shiznits!”

Find someone in your creative field and attend an even or just talk to someone else you know that might have been where you want to be. Ask for advice. Remember, each journey is different. No two are alike, like snowflakes. If something doesn’t work, make another plan and keeping going. There’s no end to the creative journey. That’s why I find it so fabulous.

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Your Creative A+

Alpha Waves 

Do you ever wondering how some people can be creative superstars? They seem to have ideas right and left, day or night, there’s no stopping them - unless one of us bonks them over the head with apillow, just kidding. Or am i? mawwwhahaha

The brain is a mysterious organ. There’s a lot about the brain that is still unanswerable, but what science does know are brain waves. Everyone produces them, some produce more of one kind or the other, but generally we are all pretty similar. 

So what gives? Why are some of us able to come up with a fantastic creative project with only a toothbrush, diet coke, and cotton balls? 

They have probably been in an alpha state recently or right before their creative epiphany. This is the state of the brain where we are awake but have been in a relaxed state of mind and being. We aren’t necessarily focused or solving a problem but just chill-axing. We could’ve been daydreaming or meditating and that brought an alpha state to our brain. 

Sometimes these states occur when exercising. Despite the physical movements that come with exercise, there is a point when I reach the ‘zone’. I’m moving, but my brain isn’t actively focusing or thinking of anything in particular. 

Then I get an idea. 

So, how do I make the grade, A+, and generate some Alpha waves to help a creative slump? Meditation might work, but if you aren’t into that, any activity (ironically) which can put you or I into a relaxed state of mind without putting us to sleep will do it. 

  • Walking
  • Listening to soothing music
  • Relaxing on a hammock
  • Listening to ocean waves
  • Taking a shower (A lot of ideas occur in the shower. It’s weird.)
  • Any repetitive activity might work, such as: knitting, gardening, mowing the lawn, or riding a bike.
  • Visualization techniques might work, too. At least, I’ve read these work for athletes to put them into an alpha state before competing. 

Let me know how you grade any of the above. Hope you become a creative superstar.  

Photo from depositphotos.com

My Mind Espresso Enhanced in Five Easy Steps

I'm overwhelmed. I want to give up. My head is tired. My body is weary.

There is all this... gunk... cluttering my brain. Focus runs away at every opportunity. Inspiration laughs at me. How can I get back to my creative landscape? If I'm not careful, the gunk takes over and obligations get the spotlight.

I need my mind espresso enhanced. Now, you might be thinking: Oh, yeah baby. Me loves the espresso. The real stuff is awesome, but the liquid variety is a temporary fix to my problem. In cases of emergency, this is the elixir of life, but I have to stop treating every day like it's an emergency.  

How do I get my mind espresso enhanced without becoming a Starbucks addict? 

1. Make a decision.

The cluttering of my mind results from either a) not committing or b) over committing. This shouldn't be rocket science, but if I don't have a daily reminder to decide and move on the OVERWHELM takes place. The only way to get my buzz of purpose is to commit. A decision creates focus which beats away all the other obligations.

2. Get The Blank Out of Bed 

UG! I hate this one. I've convinced myself for years I'm not a morning person. It's why I rely on the emergency liquid espresso. I examined that belief. It doesn't mean getting up at 3am or 5am to work on a project with blurry eyes. It means I am my most clear, focused and ready to get down and dirty in the morning hours. This also can mean the figurative bed, like when all I want to do is sleep at 8pm after a long day. I find my "cup of coffee" and make a habit of working at my peak productive hours and the hours I am given uninterrupted time.  

3. I Ding Myself for Tardiness

I learned to make a realistic schedule and stick to it. I have two days a week where I have huge chunks of creative time. Initially, the high of freedom grabbed me and other obligations would take precedence. Now, I am not late for these days. I can't complain about not having time if I'm not seizing the moments that are offered. This includes small chucks of time all the other days of the week, too.

4. Marathon a Favorite Artist 

Sometimes (gasp) I forget where the joy comes from. A little reminder is necessary. I read a book, watch a movie, go to an art fair or gallery, or listen to music. I find someone else's creations and stare or listen in awe of what they have accomplished. It inspires me and gives me focus.

5. Zen Myself Into The Ultimate Power of Gunk Destruction

This statement seems contradictory, zen vs. destruction. The truth is, in order to find mental espresso and for it to work properly, the gunk has to go. All of it - doesn't matter what - is hogging all my brain space and eventually nothing else is going to fit. Also, what's already in there is packed to the gills and it's difficult to make original thoughts. I make an effort to zen out frequently. I know I haven't in a while when the OVERWHELM is hovering.

After following my own advice, not necessarily in the order written, I've found that mental espresso is awesome at getting a creative project accomplished. I do indulge in the occasional espresso and usually require my morning cup of coffee, but I like having alternatives. How do I know this mental espresso works? I was two seconds away from trashing this post. I think I'm going to keep these steps close for the next time I'm feeling the urge to quit.

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