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All in "how to"

4 Cool Ways to Show Off Your Colored Pages

As an avid or casual colorist, you may have wondered what to do with your completed coloring pages.

Surely, you want to glance at them regularly to reminisce the moments you spent coloring – whether alone or with your community. You want to hold on to that earned sense of joy and gratitude at how coloring may have led you to make peace with yourself and others and be on your way to healing.  

And, yes, there is this thing called pride in your creativity and having completed a masterpiece.  

Is there a way to bask in that pride for much longer?

How can they continue to inspire you? 

How can you show them off (if that’s what you want)?

How can you maintain this connection with your finished art pieces on an ongoing basis?

How about giving them a makeover or a new home?

Certainly, they can’t remain incognito in the pages of your coloring books. Soon, they’d be forgotten and end up in your stockroom, garage, donation bin, if not in the trash can. That would be spell T-R-A-G-E-D-Y and D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R. 

Well, rejoice! It’s not the end of the world. There are plenty of ways to show off your work and if you have rights to brand them (as what PLR content provides), then you may leverage them for added income.  

4 Cools Ways to Show Off Your Coloring Pages

Here are simple ways to fix your situation:

First, Hang on Your Wall or Art Gallery

This is the simplest way to showcase your finished coloring pages. Frame them and hang them on your wall. If you want, create an art gallery to share with your family. If space is a concern, you always have the option of switching the pages out as new colored pages come in. 

Second, Create Cards 

You can create cards from your finished colored designs for all sorts of occasions – wedding, engagement, graduation, birthday, anniversary, housewarming, retirement, among others.

But then, who said that cards are merely for special occasions? Why not give them to say thank you, to celebrate a friendship, or for no reason at all?

Creating cards from your colored pages is simple – just in half for that old-fashioned, handmade look. If you want a more professional look, you could always photograph, scan and plug each one into a card creator or app.

Third, Make Bookmarks

You usually keep bookmarks for yourself but, hey, why not give them as gifts?

To create your bookmarks, cut your colored pages into bookmark sizes and shape. To avoid ripping, tearing and discoloration, you need to laminate them. After all, you want them to last for as long as possible.

Fourth, Use as Gift Wraps 

For something small to gift to someone, why not wrap it in one of your coloring pages! That’s a fun and creative way to wrap presents, isn’t it? You may also use them to wrap giveaway souvenirs for parties that you’re hosting. That would be cool.  

What do you think of these possible uses for your colored pages?

Have you done any of these?

Would you consider doing any one of them? 

Let me know what you think in the comments section below.  

Start a Coloring Practice in 3 Steps

Coloring is an inexpensive, easy, and fun way to de-stress and unwind.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or under the weather, coloring can make you feel better. It can clear your mind of clutter and make you feel calmer and more in control.

You may feel a bit silly, confused, or even a little embarrassed to begin coloring as an adult; but, hey, coloring is an “in” thing among adults and even if the adult coloring book industry has dipped in sales, it still is a major player and won’t disappear anytime soon. Perhaps, not ever.

Getting started may be the hardest part if you’re a beginner but once you realize just how peaceful and calming coloring is, it may be hard for you to stop.

3 Steps to Start Your Coloring Practice

Here are three simple steps to start coloring:

1) Get a Few Coloring Supplies

You don’t need any fancy supplies to start coloring. In fact, you don’t need much of anything to color.

To start with, get a blank sheet of paper, a pen or pencil, draw your design or image, and add colors from crayons or pens you already have.

I bought my coloring supplies from a local art store when I started coloring. They were quite expensive but since my adrenaline was high for coloring, I didn’t mind.

You don’t have to take that route. There are many inexpensive and reasonable options, as follows:

First, if you already have a personal collection, use it. Look around. You may not have realized it but what you’re looking for may just be right under your nose.

Second, if you’re a mom like me, scour your kid’s supply box or bags for crayons, markers, coloring pens, or paints. I have three kids and over the years, we have accumulated a bunch of coloring pens, markers, pencils, pastels, and paints. We have already discarded a whole lot but still have more.

Third, hunt for used coloring supplies at your local thrift shops.  They would be in used condition but not completely tattered. In one of my trips to Value Village, I found a set of Grumbacher Deluxe Opaque Watercolors at $7.99 Cdn. A brand new set sells at $49 Cdn or $35.99 US. It was a great find.

Fourth, go to your dollar store. There are lots there.

There’s no stopping you from buying fancy coloring supplies. However, if you’re just starting out or simply testing the waters, go for used, discounted or inexpensive ones. You can then go premium as you progress in your coloring practice. You save a handsome lot that way.

2) Get Yourself a Coloring Book

Finding an adult coloring book these days is easy. If leaving the house is an ordeal, shopping online is a convenient way to go. Shop around town and find one at your bookstores, shops, department stores, or grocery. You may even find one at your local thrift shop as I did. Have a look at what I found in one of my treasure hunts. 

3) Sit Down and Start

Find a comfortable spot where you can do your coloring. Sit down and color.

Keep in mind that:

  • You are alone with yourself (except when in a coloring community).
  • No one can judge you nor tell you what to do.
  • There is no rule to follow – not even rules in color combination – except yours.
  • You don’t have to be perfect in anything – strokes, colors, time, musings, emotions, outputs.
  • You are accountable to no one.
  • You need not show your artwork to anyone if you feel uncomfortable doing so.
  • Your process is your own.

Know that there is no right or wrong way with coloring. You do as you please with what goes on while coloring. What you get out of it is a personal thing.

Why don’t you try it, if you haven’t yet? See how it goes, how it feels, and how it works.

If you are already into it, please let us in on your experience:  How did you get started? What steps did you follow? How did it go?

Thanks for dropping by!

A 13-Step Guide to Create Your Own Coloring Pages: Not as Hard as You Think!

The craze over adult coloring books has subsided but there still is a significant demand or volume of sales for it in the book market.

If you are looking at creating your own, there is plenty of room to do that. Besides, you can always create a hybrid product that incorporates coloring designs into journals, planners, calendars, cards, bags, mugs, fabric, among others.

This opportunity should be a source of inspiration and motivation to you.

Your Coloring Hobby Need Not Be Expensive

Coloring is a pleasurable activity that brings significant health benefits to your mind and body. It works on releasing happy hormones to relieve you of stress, calm you down, let you sleep well, and maintain your level of energy even in stressful situations.

Yet, maintaining a coloring habit can be strainful to the pocket. Take these for instance:

  • Coloring books. You don’t only buy one coloring book to work on. You buy more. You don’t only buy once but you buy every time one catches your eye or your favorite artist releases a new one.
  • Coloring supplies. Then, you need to buy your coloring supplies; not just any kind. You don’t want used ones but new. Because you color on a regular basis, your supplies get depleted and you need to replenish them.
  • Coloring events. You decide to join a network of local colorists who meet regularly. There is a “minimal” fee to attend, excluding food that you bring to share or buy at the venue.

Yeah, it’s fun but where does that take you?

What if you create your own designs?

What if you publish and sell them in online shops or offline bookstores or outlets?

What if you organize your own coloring events and use your own designs for participants to color?

What if you open your own online store and sell digital copies of your artwork?

What if?

Have you thought of all these possibilities?

Why not?

The possibility of creating your own coloring pages to feed your hobby may not be for you. You may not have the skills, inclination, motivation, or openness to do it… and all you really want is just to color. 

That’s fine. 

However, if you do, then this is for you! 

How to Make a Coloring Book? One Page at a Time!

To reach a destination, you always start with a single step. That’s also how you create a coloring book – one step at a time. 

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. ~Lao Tzu

Before I came up with a finished digital image of a cancer-stricken woman, I had an image of her in my mind. I then sketched her with a pencil, occasionally erasing parts that didn’t go well. 

I inked it, scanned, and went through various other activities to achieve the result I want. 

Voila! Done! 

I drew other women like the Geisha, Ndebele woman, Chinese, and Afro, following the same process that I learned from others then tested and polished to achieve the results I want. My other illustrations also followed the same process. 

13 Steps to Make a Coloring Page

Through the years that I’ve been creating line art, I’ve come to settle on a personal creative process that is an iteration of those I saw others do and those I learned from experience. 

My process involves pretty much nine steps, as follows:

1. Conceptualize

This is a quick process that does not require much thinking. It is here where I think about what to create based on a theme, topic or idea.

At times, this process can be unnecessary as creating a coloring page can be random or from out of the blues, when inspiration strikes. 

2. Research (Optional)

This is an optional process that I do when I lack knowledge or information on something I like to focus on.

For instance, I search online, the library, or my collection of books, when I need quotes to use. When I drew an image of an African Ndebele woman, I researched online about the tribe particularly on the dominant facial features and attire of their women. Drawings of flowers can be based on imagination or stock information, but when needing accuracy on specific aspects, research comes in handy. 

3. Sketch

This is when I put pencil to paper to draw what’s in my mind. Sketches could be a product of conceptualization and research but it can be anything random. It can even be doodles. Do whatever works for you.

For supplies, I often use Staedtler HB pencil. There are many brands to choose from, including pencils kids usually use at school. There is no hard and fast rule for this, only that which works.

4. Erase

This goes hand in hand with sketching and is done to delete mistakes or unwanted strokes.

For this, I use the kneaded eraser or putty rubber.

Kneaded erasers can be shaped by hand for precision erasing, creating highlights, or performing detailing work. They are commonly used to remove light charcoal or graphite marks and in subtractive drawing techniques. However, they are ill-suited for completely erasing large areas, and may smear or stick if too warm. (Wikipedia)

I use to like Staedtler’s retractable eraser but supply for the refill is hard to find and they leave residues or shavings all over. The kneaded eraser doesn’t have this kind of mess although it can smear and get sticky with aging and hot weather. 

5. Ink

I ink my drawing using Sakura’s Micron ink pens with the thickness of either 01, 05 or 08. I have tried other brands but the Sakura Micron pens work best for me.

After inking, I discover remaining pencil marks that I either erase with the kneaded eraser or clean up at Adobe Photoshop. 

6. Digitize

This is where your scanner comes in handy. I scan my images with the following settings:

  • Color format: black and white (instead of grayscale or color)
  • File type: JPEG
  • Brightness: 100%
  • Resolution: 1200 DPI.

If your scanner can only do 600 DPI, that’s fine, too. Others recommend a resolution that’s higher than 1200 to capture the details; however, my scanner can only do until 1200 DPI and I have no problem with that.

7. Clean Up

Now that I have a digitized copy of my image, I go to my favorite photo editing software, which is Adobe Photoshop, to clean up my images. I have tried other applications but I always go back to Photoshop even though I pay a monthly fee for subscription to Adobe’s suite of tools. It’s just a personal preference but if finance is a concern for you, or you don’t have Photoshop skills nor the patience to learn it, use whatever works for you. 

Clean up involves any one or all of the following:

  • Erasing pencil marks and unwanted elements in the digitized image
  • Smoothening the lines
  • Thickening or thinning the lines
  • Adding or subtracting elements
  • Compositing or combining images.

8. Vectorize (Optional)

Vectorizing an image is one that I almost always do it because I love that clean look. I use Adobe Illustrator for this. I simply drag my image from Photoshop over to Illustrator then click image trace. I then do the needed adjustments to create the look that I want.  

The finished product from Adobe Illustrator is a vector image when saved in SVG. Vector, unlike raster, images are those that can be scaled to any size without pixelation or loss of quality. However, my purpose for vectorizing is just to achieve a clean look. At the end of it, my coloring pages are saved in non-vector formats. 

This process of vectorizing is optional but recommended to give your images that crisp, clean and professional look.

9. Save in Your Desired Format

Once done with vectorizing, I drag back my image to Photoshop and save it in preferred formats. I always do JPEG and PDF for my coloring pages, but if an image requires transparency, I create a PNG file. In special cases, I save an image in SVG format at Adobe Illustrator if a vector image is needed. 

Use this guide for familiarity with file formats acronyms:

  • JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group
  • PNG – Portable Network Graphics
  • SVG – Scalable Vector Graphics
  • PDF – Portable Document Format
  • TIFF – Tag Image File Format.

I don’t normally save in TIFF format. 

To save on time, I always do formatting in bulk, not by piece. 

10. Test print

I print out a copy of my pages, usually just a sampling, to see how well they look.

11. Review

I review the test prints to check on the following:

  • Font type
  • Font size
  • Spacing of text
  • Adequacy of allocated space
  • Margins
  • Clarity of message
  • Thickness of line art
  • Placement of elements
  • Balance
  • Grammatical errors
  • Typographical errors. 

12. Enhance (Optional)

I do the needed enhancements after printing test copies of the pages. Otherwise, they are good to go.

13. Compile

When I have completed all the pages I need for one document, say this 31-Day Gratitude Coloring Journal, I bring them over to a publisher or word processing application. I use Microsoft’s Word or Publisher for this. When dealing with images only, I also use Adobe’s Acrobat. 

When I have everything in place, I save the document in two formats:

  • Native file format – Microsoft Word may be saved with .doc or .docx extensions while Microsoft Publisher is .pub. You need the native file formats so you can edit or refer back to the original document. 
  • PDF format – Files in PDF format are handy for sharing files in an easily readable form as well as publishing to platforms (i.e. Createspace) that require a PDF file. 

This process is what works for me. You may try it as is or tweak it for your own good. Again, whatever works is best! 

If already creating your own coloring pages, how do you do it? What process or steps do you take?

If not yet, is creating your own coloring pages something you would try?

I would love to hear what you have to say about this. 

Please share your comments below to enrich this post. Thank you!

5 Popular Journaling Techniques for Beginners

5 Popular Journaling Techniques for Beginners

Journaling is a free world to explore. There is no right or wrong way to do.

However, there are others who have come a long way to show how they do it. Following are 5 techniques, models or styles to choose from:

1 – Freestyle Journal Writing

Freestyle journal writing is a no holds barred kind of writing.

It is done your way –  unrestricted, non-restrictive, not time-bound, unadulterated, uncensored, unstructured, non-directed, and uncontrolled.

It may be random, though not always and not as a general rule.

You write without strict consideration (or serious thought) of the following:

  • what to write (topic or theme)
  • why write (goal)
  • how long to write (duration)
  • how often to write (frequency)
  • how fast you write (speed)
  • what order or guide to follow (structure)
  • where to write (place)
  • what to write on or with (material)
  • how to write (format or presentation)
  • when to write (time)
  • how much to write (length)
  • how to write (tone).

The bottom line is - journal in your own terms.

2 – Guided Journaling

As the term implies, guided journaling follows a guide, model or blueprint.

You get directions by way of:

  • prompts
  • instructions
  • guidelines
  • structure
  • topics
  • themes
  • templates
  • questions
  • patterns
  • examples
  • quotes
  • spaces
  • dots
  • timing
  • reminders
  • ticklers.

Here’s an example.

For a 30-day gratitude journal, you get leads on what to write about on each day of journaling.

You may be asked to list down 3-5 things that you are thankful for identify concrete ways or specific actions to express gratitude.

For inspiration, you find quotations on top or below a number of lined pages.

Blank spaces are provided for doodles or drawings.

In general, you follow a guide for each day of journaling.

3 – Art Journaling

Journals are great to express creativity, whether done through free journal writing or guided writing.

However, there’s a third way that has grown in popularity among artists and non-artists alike.

It is art journaling.

Art journaling is keeping a visual or graphic journal or diary using art, imagery and text.

Graphic art is touching, moving and powerful.

An art journal is usually peppered with words or phrases, drawings, doodles, sketches, paintings, charts, cut-outs, photos, shapes, stickers, symbols, quotes, conversations, poems, songs, stories, patterns, graphic marks, and whatever feels good to be on the journal pages.

To start your art journaling practice, you need whatever art material that’s handy like:

  • Writing materials – pencil, ink pen, markers, paper, notebook, cards, post-it-note, journal, pastel, gesso paint
  • Coloring materials – paint, watercolor pens, colored pens, gel pens, glitters, charcoal, dye, paint brush, gel printing plates
  • Graphics materials – cut-outs, magazines, photos, illustrations, stickers, washi tapes, stamps
  • Cutting materials – scissors, cutter, knife
  • Gluing materials – paste, glue, tapes, stickers.

Remember: Except for your pen and paper (or journal), everything else is optional. 

Artistic or flat?

Colored or plain?

Clean or messy?

Planned or random?

Comprehensible or not?

They are immaterial.

What counts is expressing (or making sense of) what you think and feel in graphics and visual form.

4 – Bullet Journaling

Bullet journaling is a way of keeping track of things you want and need to be done following a structure or system.

Read more about bullet journaling here.

5 – Bible Journaling

Bible journaling has become a popular way of keeping a journal.

For this, you only need your bible and a pen. Art materials such as those detailed in the art journaling technique are optional.

The main idea is to find spiritual inspiration in the Bible or to let the Bible speak to you and give you guidance.

You then illuminate on the message by interpreting the bible verses in an artistic or creative way. These may be one or all of the following:

  • highlighting important verses
  • drawing
  • doodling
  • painting or coloring
  • embellishing.

Here are simple steps to do bible journaling:

  • Pray. This is where you seek guidance or inspiration on anything you wish.
  • Find a bible verse. You may do a page every day, randomly open a page or select a verse, or start with a familiar or meaningful verse.
  • Read. Read the verse or page that you have selected.
  • Reflect. Pause for inspiration or guidance.
  • Do art. You may start by sketching your idea first then outlining and coloring them.

These steps may seem daunting but they’re really not.

Besides, you may innovate or come up with your own.

The Best One

Among the techniques presented, which one appeals to you?

What possibilities do you see for yourself?

Perhaps you have your own way… or why not come up with one?

These are just five of the countless ways of journaling; say, if there were a billion people who are into journaling, there can be a billion ways to do it.

Again, there’s no right or wrong way with journaling; not even a fixed way to do it.

What’s important is for you to start journaling, commit to it, and keep doing it for as long as you can.

You’ll be amazed at just how much you get out of journaling.

For tips on how to journal, read this post.



Daily Gratitude Practice: 9 Easy Ways to Nurture Thankfulness

Daily Gratitude Practice: 9 Easy Ways to Nurture Thankfulness

We are all familiar with more ways than one on how to practice gratitude; however, we either forget to do so, find it uncomfortable, icky or cheesy, or simply take it for granted.

If that sounds like you, why not start small and let the habit grow into you.

The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings. ~Eric Hoffer

You never know what wonders it would do, to you and others.

How Can You Practice Gratitude in Your Daily Life?

Consider these practical ways to express and show thankfulness where it is due, and reap your rewards of positive aura from feeling joyful, peaceful, contented and forward-looking.

#1 – Write a “Thank You” Letter or Note

There is probably someone in your life right now that you need to thank. It is best that you take time to send them a handwritten letter of thanks. This adds more meaning, especially at this time when reaching out to people is as easy as pushing a virtual button. The time that you take to express your feelings by writing them down means more lasting rewards than using electronic media.

However, if this feels like an ordeal, go ahead and send a “thank you” post-it-note, text message, email, private message at Facebook (via Messenger), or whatever means that doesn’t intimidate or scare you from expressing thanks.

#2 – Create a Gratitude Calendar

On your gratitude calendar, write down 3, 5 or 10 things you are grateful for each day. Identify people who have touched or moved you in some way. After writing them in your calendar, read them out loud. Keep this calendar where you can see it constantly.

#3 – Keep a Gratitude Journal

Instead of just jotting down on a gratitude calendar, take it further with a journal where each day you express your thankfulness with just a list, detailed expression, or art. Learn how you can cultivate thankfulness through a gratitude journal HERE.   

#4 – Say It Out Loud

Each day, say “I’m grateful for you” to important objects, events and people in your life. Saying thank you to objects like your purse, comb, mirror, notebook, pen, or dress may sound weird or silly. But try it anyway. You’ll be amazed at how much energy it gives you to thank things that serve their purpose 24 hours a day with not a smirk, grunt, cursing or complaining.

#5 – Practice “One Person a Day” Gratefulness

Take a different friend, family member, acquaintance, coworker or service provider each day of the year. Call that person and tell him or here how grateful you are for their presence in your life. You may hug the person, if that’s fine for you. This works a couple of ways. It lets people know that you care about them and appreciate them, and it also forces you to expand your circle of influence.

#6 – Say “Thank You” for Your Meal

Many people in the world don’t eat for days or are uncertain if they could even have water, but you may be more blessed than them in that respect.

You have several choices as far as what food to eat, how much, and when. You could try all sorts of expensive diets – paleo, vegetarian, vegan, keto, gluten-free – not because you have to but because you can afford to. You bulk buy, food binge, and go restaurant-hopping. You discard food that doesn’t suit your taste as easy as a snap. You get what I mean.

Whether you have an abundance of food or eat sparingly, express gratitude for the food you put into your body.

#7 – Give or Donate

You may lament the fact that you don’t have as many clothes, pairs of shoes or possessions as you would like. Find someone who has less than you. Give them something of yours. Perhaps, donate to your local charity, church, food bank or thrift shop. Collect your recyclable bottles and cans and hand them to people who depend on them for their income.

Doing these acts of kindness can make you realize how fortunate and blessed you are.

#8 – Share Your Expertise

Sometimes, all people need is a little boost in knowledge and skills to make a significant difference in their life.

If you are good at cooking, sewing, computing, writing a job application letter, or cutting hair, why not go to local community organizations or even schools to pass on your expertise to others? You may have worked years to achieve that level of proficiency but, hey, we all start somewhere, don’t we?

#9 – Let the Most Important Person in Your Life Know That You Appreciate Them

Go to the nearest mirror. Ask – Who is that person staring back at you? That is the person you should be most appreciative of.

You obviously love your friends and family, but you need to express self-love first before you can form the deepest relationships with others. Frequently look yourself in the eyes and express gratitude for who you are and what you have given yourself.

Tips to Reinforce Your Gratitude Attitude

What you do depends a lot on what goes on in your mind and heart. We’re talking of values and attitudes here.  To give you a boost in that respect, here are some helpful tips:

Tip #1 – As soon as you wake up in the morning, give thanks that you have another day to live. 

Tip #2 – Use all your senses to discover things to be grateful for. Touch. Feel. See. Smell. Taste. Hear. Live. 

Tip #3 – Smile and feel the warm sensation of positivity engulf your body.

Tip #4 – When you catch yourself thinking negatively, shift to positive mode immediately. 

Tip #5 – Rather than focusing your attention inward, look outward and realize what others have done for you.

Tip #6 – Keep a gratitude journal at your bedside. Use it at the same time each day or night.

Tip #7 – Keep “Be Grateful” sticky notes at places that you frequent at home and work.

Tip #8 – Have a list of “gratitude quotes” to refer to each day.

Tip #9 – Find a partner to practice thankfulness each day.  

How about you?

What ways do you express your gratitude?

What tips can you add to this list to spread the positive habit of daily gratitude?

Please feel free to share what you’ve got in your pocketful of wisdom!

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!

7 Healthy Journaling Practices to Protect Your Privacy

Only you have the right to your journal.

You decide who sees its content and who don’t.

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.

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. 


Journaling with Morning Pages: Start Your Day Right

Are you a morning person?

How familiar are you with morning pages?

If you are into journaling, have you tried it?

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.

It still is morning pages in a loose sense. What’s important is that you get into the groove of journaling and experience maximum benefits.

If you’re into morning pages, let us know:

  • how you do it
  • if follows the 3 requirements as discussed earlier
  • what doing your morning pages has done for you.

If you’re doing it differently, we’d love to know about it as well and learn from you! 


How to Deal with Self-Doubt in 7 Ways

Are You Ever Good Enough?

Many times, you doubt yourself.

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? 

What if?

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? 

What’s your story? We’d love to hear yours.