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Monthly Archives: June 2013

84 Susie Murph

Opening Up Through Podcasting

Creativity, to me, is a way to connect with the world and to find my place within it.

I’m one of those weird folks who is introverted while also being a total chatterbox. I really enjoy talking with people who interest or inspire me, but too much contact with people (even ones that I like!) wears me out after a while, and I need to do something that allows me to recharge my batteries. I channel that energy and need into doing something creative, sometimes just for myself.

I started podcasting for just that reason – as a way to open up and share my thoughts and feelings, even if no one was listening. I’ve always been better at expressing myself out loud than in writing, and podcasting really allowed me to have freedom from expectations, social norms and creative limits. Since there are no real “rules” to podcasting, I was able to take my “show” and do whatever I wanted with it!

I found that the less I tried to follow a plan or structure, the easier the words flowed, and the more genuine I could be as a person. I could open up and discuss things that interested me or made an important statement. I’m nowhere near the best podcaster out there – but I never set out to come across as any kind of “expert” on my topics. I just wanted to be another parent, sharing her point of view and experiences being a geek and raising children. And I was delighted to be welcomed into the podcasting community, and found support, encouragement, and relationships with amazing people.

Ultimately, because I was brave enough to start podcasting myself, what started as a way to “recharge” became an important part of my life, and has resulted in some of the best friendships and experiences I’ve ever had.

So the lesson from this story? Don’t be afraid to try out those creative endeavors! Take the plunge, and try something new and different. Write that story. Record that song. Paint that image. Whatever it is, you might be surprised by the far-reaching effects, even if you aren’t the best at that activity. You will never know what will happen if you don’t give it a try, and you might be very surprised by the results – even if your first attempt doesn’t soar, your life is richer for trying.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2013 in Creativity Guest Posts

 

83 Eric Bahle

Here’s the thing about creativity. Everybody has it. At least a little bit. All you have to do is watch a bunch of little kids play to see the truth of this. We’re all born with a creative spark.

Most people think creativity should be encouraged in children, but somewhere along the line (I’m not sure where) we set up a double standard. We admire creativity in others, actors, musicians, writers, but it’s from afar. I could never do that, we tell ourselves. I’m not creative, I’m an adult with a real job (whatever that is) and responsibilities.

I tend to think those lines of thought are excuses or defense mechanisms as much as anything. Because even though we’re all born with the creative spark, a spark needs to be nurtured into flame if it’s to endure. We’re each responsible for tending our own flame, and if we let it go out it’s our own fault. It’s easy to blame job or other responsibilities, and it’s true that there seems to be no end of forces trying to smother that flame. But in the end it’s our own fault if it goes out.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that it never really goes out.

It might be a tiny ember, barely glowing, but that’s enough to start a fire. You’ll have to fan it a bit, and feed it with some good fuel, but it’ll catch. There’s more good news. You get to decide how big a blaze, and a campfire can be as cheery as a bonfire.

Being an actor is great, but so is making up stories with your kids. There are some truly amazing musicians to admire, but I’ve seen amateurs with a few beers and a couple guitars having a hell of a good time. Any value judgment on creativity is purely arbitrary and not really meaningful. Whether you write poetry or do needlepoint, play cello for an orchestra or play Elvis songs on a fifty dollar ukulele, improv, flash mobs, chainsaw carving, it’s all feeding that creative fire.

There’s one more thing. This is another thing that scares people. You need to put yourself out there. You need to share it. Even if you don’t quit your day job, share your creativity with other people. Don’t be the guy huddled in a little room, building ships in bottles, and then hiding them away. True, he might be feeding his own creative spark, but he’s hogging all the light and warmth for himself. Campfires are always better with a few people sitting around them. Creativity flourishes in environments already rich with creativity. It feeds on itself and it spreads, you’ll get as many ideas as you give, because creativity, like enthusiasm and passion, is contagious. When you share, it makes it a little easier for someone else to share. When you’re sharing, you’re feeding not just your fire, but everyone else’s.

So go start some fires.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2013 in Creativity Guest Posts

 

82 Jessica Warren

The Creative Escape

Sometimes I find creativity sneaking up on me in the oddest places. When I’m driving, trying to fall asleep or when I’m just waking up, when I’m out and about and have absolutely nothing to write on et cetera. These are the times when I try to keep repeating the thoughts over and over in my head so that when I get home I can phrase it exactly as it is in that moment, then I see something else that decides to distract me from that thought and I have another creative moment and they begin to get jumbled together.

Ah, the life of a bipolar. Creativity strikes at the worst and yet the best of times and then becomes a whole mess that one must try to decipher. I like to think of it as that huge mess of yarn that we knitters and crocheters have to occasionally deal with that is a pain in the you know what, but once you get through it, you can turn it into something beautiful.

I can turn my messy thoughts into many different things, they can go from being a horrid mess that cause me to want to cry and go fetal into being a beautiful poem or a blog post that someone else who may feel the same exact way can relate to but isn’t able to fully express, to a painting that holds my pain and turns it from being something ugly into something lovely. I can tell a story that takes me away from myself into a world far away from everything I know. I can become someone else, I can be someone who isn’t a mess. I can be someone who is able to be happy when they smile rather than smiling for others.

I use my creativity as an escape to get away from myself.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2013 in Creativity Guest Posts

 

81 ThatBuddha

“Writer’s block? I’ve never heard of a plumber complain about plumber’s block.”

— Robert B. Parker

When I think about creativity, I think about that quote. I like that quote. It emphasizes that creativity does require work. There’s something liberating about that idea. For anyone who has ever said, “I’m just not creative” — well, you are. We all are. But it it does take a little effort.

Maybe you don’t want to do the work. Okay. Maybe you see it as a calling, a thing that must be expressed, never denied, lest it consume you. Right on. That must feel interesting too.

For me, it’s just a thing I do. It takes practice. But I know if I can get myself to focus for a couple of minutes, I will always surprise myself. Five minutes ago I felt like I had nothing. But I sat down and started writing and here we go.

I don’t think it can be defined. I don’t think there’s anything definite about it. I think about it like a flow. Sometimes the flow isn’t happening. Sometimes you produce garbage. That’s okay too. Nothing stops the creative process faster than the unwillingness to write badly.

Everybody has their own way. Some like to plan it all out in advance. I don’t know how they do that. I like to be surprised. I like to jam with it. I don’t have to know where it’s going. I just have to be there to let it happen.

I think of it as a wave on the ocean. Sometimes the wave isn’t there and I have to wait. Sometimes it hits so fast and hard that I can’t catch it. But when it’s right, I just try to stay on it as long as I can.

John Hughes wrote “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” in a weekend. That’s a good wave. But again, that takes practice. You can’t catch a wave from the cabana, so Parker’s right too. You gotta get out there.

Find your own metaphor. Find what works for you. Create the kind of thing you enjoy most. There’s no right or wrong. There’s no life or death hanging in the balance. If you do nothing, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Personally, writing is something that always makes me feel better. I’m happier when I’m writing. I’m happier knowing that today I got to have that moment where I sat down with nothing and got up with something. That moment where the characters are writing themselves? I love that.

So when I can, I show up, flow with it and see what happens. Good or bad, I’ll feel better than I did before. I’ll know I did something. And maybe someone got a chuckle out of it.

That’s a good feeling, man. There’s not a lot in life that feels that good. This is one of those things. So get out there and surprise yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

@ThatBuddha

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2013 in Creativity Guest Posts