“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” ~Rumi, The Essential Rumi
These ways of thinking need to get busted, and what better way than changing your mindset.
Here are interesting ideas about creativity to address these myths and misconceptions:
1. Creative expression varies from person to person
Creativity is not only about arts, crafts or hobbies. It permeates all areas of your life – how you think, manage situations, create solutions to problems, and deal with life in general. You can be creative without necessarily creating with your hands.
Here are a few ways to express creativity differently:
Whip up new recipes by imagining what ingredients work together and picturing out how to cook them;
Do a makeover or transformation of your jeans by hand-painting, cutting the legs to turn to shorts, creating a hobo bag instead of dumping it to the rubbish bin or donation box;
Sew a hole in your favorite dress or shirt and put a patch or flower fabric with a button on top of it;
Concoct a perfumed deodorant from natural and readily-available ingredients in your kitchen.
For finished colored pages, read here about creative ways to enjoy them more.
2. Creativity is “out of the box” thinking
Creativity is a way of looking at a situation from a new angle, vantage point, thinking process, or perspective, to reach a solution. It is thinking, doing, and feeling differently as others do. It means veering from the usual, traditional or commonplace.
3. Creativity is inherent in everyone
When you were born, you didn’t start out with words. You worked with images and your creative imagination to make sense of the world. Creativity is in you. It may lie dormant but it’s there.
4. Creativity is a problem-solving tool
Creativity is a tool to deal with situations, problematic or not.
You may think up of solutions creatively by asking:
5. Creativity can be learned
I didn’t know much about creating coloring designs in 2014 but I vowed to learn the creative and technical aspects of doing it.
You, too, can learn to be creative… or learn the tools to pursue your creativity. Have confidence that you can do it.
6. Creativity is never lost
You think you lack creativity when you became a lawyer, doctor, accountant, investigator, police, or politician. These are professions that demand logic and objectivity.
However, just because you are in a strongly left-brain run environment doesn’t mean you can’t be right-brained, which is the realm of the creative brain. You can be both. That’s how brilliant doctors who try novel ways of treatment are able to perform surgery much faster as usual, or they are able to discover breakthrough healing modalities.
Also, just because you think you have not been doing creative stuff since a child of six means that you’ve lost your creativity. Your creativity stays with you and is never lost. Try using your non-dominant hand to doodle or write anything. Try the opposite of what you’re used to doing. Soon, you’ll have it back.
7. Creativity is a choice
Decide to spend an hour a day to perfect that stroke is a choice. Practice writing fiction every day. Keep a daily doodling habit. These are creative expressions and doing them is a choice.
8. Creativity is vital to life
Picture a boiling kettle with a closed lid that has no outlet. When it can no longer take the pressure from heat, what happens? It would explode.
It’s pretty much like blocked creativity. If you don’t let it go, soon you become irritable, lethargic, lifeless, stiff, bored, tired, and sick.
If you keep holding back your creativity for whatever reason, you must stop now. Sing, dance, write poems, doodle, do lettering or calligraphy, or think up a new recipe. Liberate your creative sparks. Doing so would keep you well and alive for a long time.
Tips to Relax Rigid Mindsets on Creativity
Here are simple ways to boost your creativity:
Be like a child.Creativity is a child's domain and an easy way to get there is through play.
Embrace your creativity. Denying it blocks your creative juices.
Play with ideas. Brainstorm. Ignore the notion of right or wrong. There should be none. Even the ridiculous are welcome. You never know just what you end up with.
Make room for new ways of thinking and doing. Think outside the box. Cultivate new values. Develop new mindsets. Create new habits. Pursue new ways.
Go beyond your comfort zone. Enjoy your discomforts. Try new, different, untried and unconventional thoughts, ways or solutions.
Pursue creative activities that you enjoy. Then, pursue them.
You’re the keeper of your journal but your journal is not always safe from prying eyes that could cause untoward circumstances.
Here are seven practices to keep your journal safe and private:
Journal privately. Find a place where you can write without being disturbed and bothering about people passing and peeking.
Close your journal pages when not in use. Don’t leave your journal open, even in a private place like your bedroom or office. You don’t want any of your family members – no matter how dear they are to you – to read what’s written on them.
Put your journal away as soon as you’re done. Never leave your journal anywhere public as this exposes your vulnerability. It would invite prying eyes, may be picked up inadvertently or worst, stolen intentionally.
Assert your privacy. Label it with something like “confidential,” personal property,” “please don’t touch,” “return to… if found,” or something to that effect.
Choose simple over flashy. Shun attention. If you can help it, do away with ones that arouse interest and curiosity. Keep away from intriguing journal covers like “Journal of My Sexcapades,” “Journal of People I Hate!” or “Journal of Dark Secrets.” Such titles are just too tempting for a thrilling read.
Camouflage. Put a simple, plain-looking or scruffy jacket to your journal. You may also put it among your other books on the shelf. If creating your own, use covers of vintage books.
Lock away your journal. Keep your journal in a safe place like a locked file drawer, desk drawer, safe box, or a secluded special place that others can’t easily access.
Taking these extra measures can protect you from being exposed to unnecessary risks and consequences.
As a child, you drew portraits of your family, birds, bees, butterflies, flowers, trees, and anything that caught your imagination. It didn’t matter if they weren’t recognizable. Abstracts were good. What mattered were those playful acts of doodling, stroking, coloring, erasing, cleaning up, and everything in between. They were fun and exhilarating.
You were an artist. You never doubted it nor gave it a thought. Creativity flowed naturally. You were in that zone.
Until you grew up!
Now, you doubt your creativity. You deny having a creative past. You convince yourself that you can never be an artist.
Yet, deep inside is a persistent yearning and longing to let down your hair, kick off your shoes, and release that locked up inner child, your creative self.
It’s scary, isn’t it?
Your hands feel stiff. You don’t want to lift a finger. It’s impossible to draw a figure.
You hold off. You need to send that email. Something important crops up. You promise to do it later. Later becomes tomorrow.
Then, you buy every artsy stuff you find and swear you’ll start that project you’ve been holding off. ASAP.
If you think that’s you, you’re not alone. That’s me too and even if I may have inched away from the shackles of fear and doubt, I still face them occasionally.
I’m scared. I’m not good enough. Even if I am doing it, I feel I can’t.
When we bombard ourselves with negative images, these thoughts grow into us until we live them.
But there are doable ways to defeat fear by proving it wrong.
Free Your Creativity in 10 Playful Ways
You can always come up with your list, but for starters, here is one to consider:
1) Draw a dot.
If you can’t draw a stick, let the tip of your pen kiss your paper. You just made a dot.
A dot ends a sentence, but it also marks a start of something big.
Now, draw two dots. Connect them and you have a line.
Proceed with more dots and see your dots unravel.
In art, it’s called pointillism.
“Pointillism a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image.” ~Wikipedia
We often hear the term doodle these days?
What does it mean to doodle?
A doodle is a drawing made while a person’s attention is otherwise occupied. Doodles are simple drawings that can have concrete representational meaning or may just be composed of random and abstract lines, generally without ever lifting the drawing device from the paper, in which case it is usually called a “scribble”.~Wikepedia
You can doodle just about anything, with or without meaning, random or purposively. There’s no need for you to focus. Doodle while attending a webinar, talking over the phone, waiting at school for your child, or watching TV.
Forget your fear. You can do this!
3) Use your left hand.
“Left-handers are wired into the artistic half of the brain, which makes them imaginative, creative, surprising, ambiguous, exasperating, stubborn, emotional, witty, obsessive, infuriating, delightful, original, but never, never, dull.” ~James T deKay
I’ve tried this method many times in the past and it worked at waking up my dormant creative self.
It’s a bridge to the inner child and subconscious.
One way to do this is by doodling with your left. You’ll observe things happening as you go along. For instance, you’ll notice yourself thinking up novel topics to blog on, writing effortlessly, identifying new ways of fixing a problem or getting inspired to paint.
Another way is using the question and answer method where your left-hand writes down answers to questions or prompts.
You may ask the following:
How are you today?
What do you dream of becoming?
What hurtful, negative experience can you not forget?
What do you love doing?
What are your plans for the future?
At first, writing with the left can be hard as this is something you’re not used to. Some written text would be illegible. You can get frustrated, but don’t give up. You’ll succeed soon.
In my experience, I noticed emotions swelling and surfacing. This is normal and is part of healing suppressed thoughts and emotions.
If you want to take the question and answer method further, use both hands consecutively. Let either one start then alternate with the other. It would be interesting to know what your left (creative mind) and right hand (logical mind) “think.” For sure, they’ll present themselves differently.
4) Dance and sing.
Dancing and singing release your happy hormones. If you think you have two left feet, dance privately where no one can lay eyes on your clumsy moves. Sing as loud as you can in your bathroom.
Release your energy. Be free.
5) Play on the trampoline.
This is really fun!
The first time I did this was with my husband. We were like kids jumping up and down and bouncing around. We could not contain our laughter and the joy afterward.
6) Go where your feet take you.
Have you tried just wandering around by yourself or with someone, without a care of time and space?
I recall doing this often as a child. It was scary and adrenaline-pumping each time, but I sure had the time of my life.
These days, my adventures are mostly predictable and not as exciting.
I should do this more often. I’m sure it would fire up my imagination to new heights.
7) Be grateful each day.
Being thankful for one’s blessings releases negativity and allows creative flow.
A great way to practice thankfulness each day is through journaling. By recording the things that preoccupy you, you’re able to get on with other important stuff in life. You’re able to focus more on the essentials, including opening up yourself to creativity.
8) Write fiction.
Fiction writing requires the use of the imagination. It doesn’t matter if what you write are fragmented, incongruent, or makes no sense. It would be great if all the pieces fall together because then, fiction writing could be a career path to explore.
But don’t worry about that for now.
Just write. Soon, you’ll get better at being creative.
9) Do Brain Gym.
Brain gym is a system of short and simple exercises that are designed to stimulate and boost brain functions.
I’ve done this with my family in the past and it worked at calming the mind, keeping focused, developing sharpness in thinking and reflexes, generating creative ideas, among other benefits.
I should add that Brain Gym is good for hyperactive kids or those with attention deficit. I saw this a number of times in kids I know. My sister who teaches dance to pre-schoolers use this before the actual class and noticed marked improvements in their behavior.
An example of brain gym exercises is the cross crawl that mimics the movement of young children who are trying to walk. This crawling movement creates or connects neural pathways in the brain that enables smooth and normal functioning of the body and mind.
This hormone boosts your mood and makes you more sociable and likeable. It regulates a range of behaviors including appetite, sleep, arousal and aggression. It is responsible for diminishing craving, achieving restful sleep, boosting self-esteem, relieving depression, preventing agitation and aggression, and reducing anxiety.
This is the pleasure hormone that is responsible for your feelings of bliss, contentment, euphoria, pleasure, fulness of appetite, controlled motor movements, and sharpness of focus. It is strongly associated with reward mechanisms while striving to achieve a goal or pursuing a rewarding experience.
Morning pages is a form of journal writing that you do upon waking up in the morning. How you do it is pretty simple.
3 Requirements of Morning Pages
While any form of journaling in the morning would work, the most widely known method of doing morning pages has three requirements:
Requirement #1 – Write as soon as you wake up.
It’s best to do your morning pages right when you wake up. It is when your mind is fully rested and relaxed enough to not overthink and rationalize. It’s also when you’re able to write honestly and from the inner depths of your mind.
Requirement #2 – Don't stop until you have done 3 pages.
This three-page requirement, which is roughly 750 words, is a good amount to come up with in-depth writing. If you stopped after one page, you’d only be scratching the surface with your journaling.
Write whatever comes to mind.
For the first half-page or page, you may find that you’re filling the page with blasé observations, but stick with it and you’ll likely end up with some gems in the rest of your writing. It’s all about being patient and committed.
While how long morning pages take depends on how quickly you write, people typically complete theirs within about half an hour. You’ll likely find that you get through yours a bit faster when you get used to writing them.
Requirement #3 – Write your morning pages by hand.
There is this thing with putting pen or pencil to paper that’s special.
Writing with your pen or pencil rather than using the computer creates a much stronger bond between yourself and writing.
Computers, on the other hand, can stifle that connection and creative flow.
It’s also much easier to jump into your morning pages when you wake up if you’re just grabbing a journal, not turning on your computer and loading your word processing program of choice.
Since morning pages are intended to be private, it’s best not to let anyone read yours. This makes it easier to write honestly because you don’t need to worry about being judged for what you write. In fact, you may not even want to reread yours later.
Flexibility with Morning Pages
Creating a habit with morning pages takes commitment and action. However, if these requirements constrain you, then go ahead – do journaling in the morning, your style.
If you prefer using your computer or tablet, do so. Nothing can stop you. There are even sites like 750words that are specifically designed for that purpose.
No one is devoid of mistakes. Mistakes are there for certain reasons. As Henry C. Link, a famous psychologist from the 1800’s who was alienated from his Christian belief at one point in his faith, said humorously,
“While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.”
This quote is true and applies even to designing a book cover.
As a self-published author, you create your own book cover due to necessity, zeal, naivety, or plain stubbornness.
You do it by trial and error.
There’s nothing wrong with that and it should not hurt you. Theoretically.
But it could. In many ways, it does.
Priority as Indie Author: Writing or Cover Creation?
But, hey! Which has more weight to you – writing or cover creation?
Unless you’re a graphic artist who’s trying your hand at writing, it may be best to leave cover creation to the professionals.
Easier said than done.
Reality is, not all indie authors can afford the services of professional graphic designers. It is worth saying though that indie authors these days have better options to get a professionally-designed book cover for way less. If budget is a big concern, try Fiverr. For a better-looking book cover, $5 shouldn’t hurt.
Nevertheless, go ahead and create your own.
Make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes under the premise that they could be costly. At least, for the meantime.
Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence. ~ Ovid
But first things first. What mistakes can you avoid to shorten and smoothen your learning curve?
Indie Author Mistakes in Creating Book Covers
Here are three costly mistakes that you, as an indie author, can avoid:
Mistake #1 – Not Knowing the Basics
How can you dive into book cover creation without knowing the basic concepts and principles of cover design?
Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. ~ Stephen R. Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
You don’t have to finish a two-year course in graphic designing for this.
You only have to learn a few basics:
First, you need to speak to your audience;
Second, use the following as your guide towards achieving the first:
This pertains to how you use (or not use) the following elements to create harmony, dynamic flow or movement, balance, unity, and focus:
Photographs, illustrations, or images
Typography refers to the visual component or aspect of the written word. This is about the style and appearance of text in the cover, expressed in terms of font types as well as their size and placement.
In your front cover, apply typography to the following:
Title – This should be the first thing that people read. Size and place it so that it catches the reader’s attention first. Placement may be at the top or towards the bottom.
Subtitle – This is a secondary, supportive and subordinate text component of your cover, which is meant to substantiate, expalain, or elucidate on the title. As an optional part, you may or may not have it.
Author name – This is your name or pen name as author.
This may seem overwhelming at first but their application would feel effortless once you use them.
Mistake #2 – Not Getting Feedback
Feedback is a great monitoring tool to gauge the performance of a person, event or thing (or in this case, your book cover). Getting valid feedback is important so that you can enhance your book cover to achieve its purpose.
Feedback could be written or verbal and may be taken from:
suggestions or recommendations.
This is somewhat tricky because, unless you ask pointed questions about your book cover, the feedback you get may be on your book as a whole. The simplest way to deal with this is to simply ask.
What do you think of the book cover?
What struck you the most?
What message does it tell you?
How can it look better and be more effective?
Would you consider buying the book?
Ask your colleagues in the publishing industry, people in your Facebook group, customers, friends, or family members.
Another form of feedback is statistics and you can experiment on this through split testing. You make two or more copies of your cover and, all things kept constant, observe which one garners the most sales then go for it.
If all those are not enough, work with your gut. Ask yourself:
How does my book cover look?
What message does it give?
Do I feel right?
If I were walking past an aisle of books, would it jump at me?
Does it get my attention?
Does it point me to where I’m supposed to look?
Does it give me a great sense of what’s inside the book?
Would I buy the book?
Answers from yourself could be subjective especially since you created your book cover, but then it’s a way as well to get feedback.
Mistake #3 – Not going the extra mile
If you plan on creating your book covers for a long time or to work with cover designers for your books, you need to improve your craft on cover creation.
Here are concrete steps you can take:
1. Check out local or online bookshops and study the book cover of top sellers.
2. Search book clubs or fora for book reviews of top sellers and check out their book covers.
3. Visit the library for books on cover design.
4. Take short courses on cover designing. Skillshare is a great way to start given its wide collection of snappy, bite-sized, and easy-to-learn courses, such as the following:
What happens when you engage in the journal writing?
How does it work?
These are relevant questions you need to ask yourself most especially now when journaling has become a really big thing.
Before being drawn into this craze, it’s best to have a look at nine benefits you may possibly get from journaling:
Solitude and freedom
Relief from stress
Self-esteem and confidence
Positive mindset and energy
Data, insights and applied learning
Feel free to identify your own as journal writing is really a personal thing and one is good to one may not be to you
Benefit #1: Solitude and Freedom
When you sit down to journal, the first thing you reap is solitude.
A desire for solitude may be misconstrued as loneliness, emptiness, isolation, seclusion, privacy, detachment, separation and solitariness.
Indeed, you may engage in journaling when feeling lonely or empty.
However, it could be more than that.
Solitude is the state of being alone without being lonely. It is a positive and constructive state of engagement with oneself. Solitude is desirable, a state of being alone where you provide yourself wonderful and sufficient company. ~ Hara Estrof Marano, Psychology Today
More often than not, journaling is where you find:
Peace of mind
Sense of security
Peace of mind
It is in solitude where you let down your hair and become the person you truly are.
It’s enjoying the freedom to be oneself.
You lose yourself and claim it back, way better when you let it go.
The magic takes place in solitude
Benefit #2: Relief from Stress and Anxiety
To many, there is no place better than being alone journaling.
Journaling relieves stress and anxiety.
It’s calming, soothing and relaxing.
It is a powerful tool for self-expression.
When you write in your journal, you let go of thoughts and emotions that frustrating, troubling, stimulating, and even uplifting but stressful.
As a result, you gain clarity, self-understanding, focus, confidence, and strength.
Now you are able to face and solve problems with calm, grace and confidence.
You notice that your health condition improves. Ailments such as migraine, depression, anxiety, insomnia, heart disease, and other forms of illness diminish or disappear.
Benefit #3: Creative Spark
Journaling sparks creativity.
It is a tool for creative expression.
It challenges you to think, feel and respond in familiar, strange, novel or untested ways.
You doubt if you can be a good parent to your kids, a great partner to your spouse of 20 years, a competent employee to your boss of 12 years, or an excellent mentor to your repeat clients.
Do you have what it takes?
Do you measure up?
What do people say about you?
Are they satisfied with your performance?
You doubt if you’re ever good enough. It feels like you’re always short – shorty, short-sighted, short-handed, stopped short or short-changed.
Anything you do is always wanting.
At the end of the day, you always feel empty, deprived, down-and-out, alone, lonely, frustrated and dissatisfied.
It’s because you doubt yourself and why is that? For reasons only you can tell. If you don’t know what causes your constant self-doubt, perhaps it’s time to look inside and think through it. Otherwise, self-doubt would be a recurring thief that would rob you of your confidence and self-esteem.
7 Ways to Deal with Self-Doubt
There are many ways to deal with self-doubt. Here are some of them:
Tip #1 - Accept yourself
Embrace who you are, warts and all. Who you are is who you are. You can never be somebody else. If you deny yourself of your own skin, who would be there to accept the real you? If there’s something you owe yourself, it is self-acceptance. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Tip #2 - Believe in yourself
Who you are today is a living person. You breathe, laugh, cry, buckle down under pressure, worry, question, get back up, fight, grow, change, and do unexpected things. Who you are now won’t be that person today, yesterday nor tomorrow. I believe in who you are and the world would believe you.
Tip #3 - Trust
Trust that everything will be taken care. There's a reason for everything and it would unfold at the right time.
Tip #4 - Listen
Listen - to others, your intuition or gut feel, the universe. There is so much to learn from. Wisdom abound but you have to tune in to the right frequency. Do this by silencing your inner voice, reaching out to others, praying and meditating, seeking to understand, and expressing gratitude.
Tip #5 - Act
Take action. If you do nothing, how can you expect things to change? Unless you can move things with telekinesis, a fork or spoon won’t move to feed you nor will you reach your destination if you don’t walk. Today, set your goals or objectives, plan ahead or picture the steps to achieve them, switch off your inner critic, and act. Easy to say but may be hard to implement. Still, you can do it as long as you take action.
Tip #6 - Expect the best
Think of the good. Instead of thinking negative or predicting bad things happening, decide to be an optimist instead. As long as you’re alive, strive to be better and expect great changes happening.
Tip #7 - Celebrate yourself
Be happy for yourself. Celebrate your breakthroughs, achievements, and victories, no matter how big or small. Affirm how awesome you are!
And, oh, don’t forget to do journaling to let these ideas slide through.
How about you, folks?
When self-doubt strike, how do you deal with it?
Do you buckle down, sway gracefully, or face it head on?
When you're experiencing overwhelm, how can you possibly manage it?
When you feel like drowning in a tsunami of various stuff – events, responsibilities, people, emotions, plans, condition, and expectations – what do you do?
How do you deal with it?
Regardless of your stature, situation or circumstance, you go through this.
How did you deal with it? Did you buckle down in the face of these challenges? Did you fight or run away?
Here are ways that you can deal with overwhelm as sanely as possibly:
First, accept it.
Life is not perfect. Overwhelm does happen to good or bad people, young and old alike, male or female… everybody. No one escapes it so embrace it. It makes life easier. Then, take it from there.
Take things in stride. This allows you to be aware of what’s going on. It buys you time to notice what’s important and essential or urgent and life-changing and puts you back in the proper mental frame to respond accordingly.
Third, figure out what’s next.
Think: What would you do next? Do you restrategize?
Here are possible steps that you may take:
Create a list – what needs to be done, what you want to get done, and nice if done
Purchase advanced tools
Take a sabbatical leave
Sometimes, the next best step is to do nothing at all.
Fourth, clean your clutter.
When your world feels chaotic, create order outside. Clean up your workspace, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, car, stockroom, bookshelf.
It does wonders to feel clean!
Fifth, be real.
Ground your choices on reality. It doesn’t make sense to simply ignore a deadline or to pretend that a complex piece of work can be done in 15 minutes. Make allowances.
Sixth, revise your commitments.
Promises are not made to be broken, but some need to be revised. Act promptly to revise commitments that you cannot or will not keep.
Seventh, first things first.
Take time to exercise, pray, meditate, and “defrag” no matter how busy you are. When you do these things first thing each day, you’ll notice yourself transform into a more joyful, resourceful, and resilient person.
First, last, and always, let a rising bubble of anxiety be your reminder to breathe.
Let’s toast to a short break and be back refreshed!