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All in "creativity"

Journaling and Coloring: From Hobby to Creative Enterprise

I have been into journaling some 30 plus years ago, back when fancy journals weren’t in style. My journal was my go-to pal at various stages of my life.

And coloring? My interest in coloring started in early 2015 back when the adult coloring book market was flourishing. The books looked awesome, the designs to me were a source of envy. I thought “I must create art like that.”

I bought all sorts of coloring books, courses, apps, learning materials, and anything I could to get a grip on this thing called coloring.

I got a number of software applications that create designs automatically. They were okay but I wasn’t pleased with them.

To make the story short, I painstakingly learned to create my designs – from hand-sketching to transforming them into digitized print quality images.  I packaged my designs as coloring journals and published them at CreateSpace and Amazon. I also sold them at Fiverr and Etsy.

Since taking on my creative hobby, I have gained new meaning in life beyond being a work-at-home mom. Although I had creative streaks while at a young age, like all of us probably did, now I am confident about the idea that I am an artist.

Lessons from a Hobbyist

Here’s what I found out through the course of roughly four years pursuing my hobby:

  • First, it’s fun. It is like child’s play and enjoying a treat at your favorite candy store!
  • Second, it’s rediscovering my long-lost creative self again. It’s liberating.
  • Third, it blessed me with a strong sense of pride in my hands. It feels really good to let things come out of the realm of imagination and give it form.
  • Fourth, it can be a great source of income. I haven’t fully maximized my earning but I did earn something.
  • Fifth, it can be a life-long career especially when taken seriously so that it matures from simply just a hobby.

How to Transition from a Hobbyist to a Careerist

You know that a hobbyist is one who pursues a particular hobby.  A careerist, on the other hand, is one “whose main concern is for professional advancement, especially one willing to achieve this by any means.” (Source: Oxford Dictionaries)

It’s great to have a hobby. It keeps you up and going and always young at heart; but how about making a career or business out of it?

Why not? 

I am not there yet but I have learned valuable lessons that I live by, moving forward:

  • Have a goal. What do you want to achieve with what you have? Where do you want to be? How do you see yourself years from now?
  • Small steps matter. As a saying by Confucius goes, “It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop.” It’s also about practicing the Tortoise mindset: “Slow and steady wins the race.”
  • Practice, practice, practice. As you may have already known, practice makes perfect! It is also by practicing that you earn experience.
  • Learn from others. You don’t always have the answers nor the skills needed so you have to turn to others as a rich resource.
  • Develop your own techniques. You may copy or emulate how others do things. Let it be a start, but it should not be the end. There’s no place for stagnation in this dynamic world. Soon, you’ll discover that you are unique on your own. You can never replicate others nor can they replicate you.
  • Believe in yourself. It’s so easy to succumb to insecurity and self-pity upon seeing the remarkable works of others and how far they have gone. However, you should always believe in yourself. If you don’t, who would? No matter how well people cheer you on, it would all be for nothing if you run away from who you are and what you could be. As Jason Mraz’ song Details in the Fabric says, “Hold your own, know your name and go your own way… everything will be fine!”
  • Take action. After all is said and done, brilliant ideas are useless without action. Action makes things happen so go for it with the belief of success despite the odds.

So what now… or what are you waiting for?

If you’re a hobbyist, you may want to think about taking your hobby to the next level. However, if you are happy basking in the joy and solitude you get from your hobby, by all means, stay on with it. After all, you are the captain of your ship and there’s not one single path to everything.

But if you’re ready, why not?

It’s worth a thought, a try, or a challenge. For sure, everything starts with a single step.

You decide.

8 Positive Mindsets to Boost Your Creativity

Do you often wonder why you were not born with a paintbrush in your hand?

Do you envy those who can create art after art after art?

Do you imagine yourself launching your solo art exhibit or taking part in an art show alongside acclaimed artists?

Do you wish you were creative yourself?

Paintbrush. Art. Shows. They are tools of artistry that paint limiting images of creativity.

Defining Creativity

What really is creativity?

How is it to be creative?

Can you be one?

According to Robert E. Franken, author of Human Motivation (1994), creativity is

“the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others.

He cited three reasons why people need to express creativity:

  • To solve problems;
  • To communicate ideas and values with others;
  • To achieve novel, varied, and complex stimulation.

8 Positive Mindsets About Creativity

Many myths or misconceptions surround creativity. Martin Zwilling, Founder and CEO of Startup Professionals, discusses this in detail in his article “10 Myths about Creativity You Need to Stop Believing Now” at Entrepreneur.

“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:

  • How come?
  • What if?
  • What about?
  • Why not?

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.

Talk is cheap. Action speaks louder than words.

What are you waiting for?

Go, be creative!

10 Childlike Ways to Unleash Your Creativity

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

2) Doodle.

We often hear the term doodle these days?

What does it mean to doodle?

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. 

Try it.

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.

Go ahead.

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. 

Watch this video to see how Brain Gym is done:

Learn more about Brain Gym in this video here.

10) Embrace your creativity.

Change your mindset about yourself and your creativity. It only takes a “yes” to the idea that you:

  • are creative or have the potential to be one
  • need to let go of everything that blocks your creative soul
  • deserve to express yourself freely
  • are capable of developing artistically if you want to
  • creativity is not to be feared
  • can do it now!

Enjoy the ride with your creativity. 

The heck with your inner critic. No one can tell you what to do. Let not your fear hold you from reaching your dreams that creativity can help you achieve. 

I hope these simple ways would help you move forward in your journey towards creativity. 

Let me know what you think of this post and feel free to add yours to the list.