This is the third in a series of eight. If you'd like to catch up on the previous writing prompts, here they are:
We all need creativity in our lives. We need the ability to produce, give back and add value. I'm certain this is a tenet of being human and feeling useful. Now, how we use it is a different story. I'm sure there are things we all have to do and sometimes we don't do them. We feign that we're too tired, not enough time, not enough money, not enough people around us to encourage us. We blame work and other family responsibilities. In other words, there's always something else that we can put in as a reason we're not doing things that fulfill us. We can live a lifetime of adding in excuses and the whys of why we're not living, why we're not doing things we love.
What I've come to know over these last four years of blogging and this last 18 months of picking up a camera is that we absolutely need to make the time to do these things. To meet the creative muse or the Spirit that feeds us, makes the world a bit brighter because we're in it. Sometimes, we don't know what we're supposed to be doing. Usually it's hidden in the things we do for free. I know people say that all the time, but it's the moments that we feel most alive. It doesn't have to be what everyone tells you you're good at. It might be something that no one knows you enjoy. The secret is carving out more time to do it.
LIFE + WRITING PROMPTS VOL. III
1. Since many of you are writers and creatives, check out this 1998 interview of Toni Morrison by the Paris Review. You'll note she talks about creative rituals, her favorite pencils. Pay attention to yourself over the next few days. What are your creative rituals? You likely have them and never noticed them. I mentioned in the other posts about writing or creating when you're closest to your creativity. For me, it can be any time. But I do best in the mornings. The challenge has been getting up in the morning. Another funny thing has been that when I go out to shoot photos, I tend to head to the same spots over and over again. I also have to stop at Chik-Fil-A for a spicy chicken sandwich, waffle fries and a lemonade. It's become a habit. Sometimes, I may clean the entire house. Sometimes, I might procrastinate writing things down for months. All of us have rituals. It may not always be that way, but every time I head a certain direction, I'm going to stop at Chik-Fil-A. Take a moment to think of the things that you do before you create. Think of the things you have to have in place, how you do what you do and what your rituals are. Note: as you come closer to your purpose and discover your passion, you realize you're willing to do things you normally would not do. Rise early, stay up late.
2. Do you have what you need to make the most of your creativity at this time? If you're painting do you need art supplies? Is your space cleared and ready? Do you need to rearrange things? Is it time that you need to carve out? Are you thinking about doing what you love more than you actually do it? Is there something small you can do that puts you more in the mood to create?
3. Recommendations for creative reading:
Maxine Clair's Imagine This: Creating the Work You Love
Anne Lamott's Bird By Bird
Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch Author, Publisher, Entrepeneur (APE): How to Publish a Book
I've posted the Kindle links for the books above. However, all of them are available in hard copy. I've read these. If you can get these and read them over the next year, I'd recommend it. I've been reading them off and on for a couple of years. Some I return to as well. I'm currently working my way through Lewis Hyde's The Gift and it's really been a blessing. It's enhancing the way I look at what I give out, what I create and how I choose to present it. I'd like to think these prompts may have come out of reading parts of the book. I've been blown away by the ideas presented in these books. I try my best never to suggest anything that hasn't helped me in some way. Each has helped me along in terms of art, writing, business or just getting down to business and getting the work done. Disclaimer: The links provided are my Amazon affililiate store links.
4. Action item: Creativity can require motion but I believe much of it happens when we can be still and connect. It allows us the space to think, listen and be present. I believe the best ideas also happen in the midst of activities we don't have to think about - washing dishes, showering, driving and other daily moments. This action item is about NOT being in motion. Our lives are too busy, perpetual motion. The art of being still and being present is key. Can you find a space to do that? The park, near the river, the ocean or wherever you like to get to. Be safe. But get to a place where you can have a moment and think. If you're planning ahead, pack yourself a little lunch or go and pick up a sandwich and head to the spot. Take a book and something to write in and with. If it's possible to not look at your phone for this hour, please try it. You'll be glad you did.
5. Action item: We can create anything we want. We must watch what we speak into existence. What we choose to ask for. What our subconscious moves say about the future we create. While thinking about this last prompt, one of action, I realized I needed to also hone it myself. When you read this, the clock begins and for seven (7) calendar days there's no negative speaking. [my clock begins the moment I publish it] No counter talk. Not for yourself or others. These seven days should be about encouragement, speaking life, speaking things into existence. If you need to be quiet rather than speak or complain or put bad words into a situation then just do that. Shut up. Also, we might have to tell some of our family members and loved ones that we're on a 7-day hiatus from talking badly about other people or ourselves. Let's give that a rest. We can do that. We can be gentle with the way we speak and think about ourselves and others. We can work towards it. Sometimes, we need to learn to keep our mouths closed until our thoughts can align with what we want the most. During this time we need to watch our thoughts. Think the highest thoughts of and for people,of yourself. Sometimes we get into a rut. If you like, write some of the situations down that you're working through and then figure out a way to speak positively over them.
Note: sometimes, situations and events are what they are. We can't change them. But speaking over them changes us and gives us new perspective. I'm not asking you to be unrealistic. However sometimes we need to get a handle on how we deal with things. We need a way to see them differently if we can't completely quit.
Wishing you a wonderful week ahead and an outstanding Monday....be sure to sign up for updates. I hope what I've been posting is helping you. It's been blessing me. I sincerely believe we're all better when we help one another and when we can access our gifts and creativity. It puts us in a space to be effective and to live a good life. I can say it's helped me meet some of the people I love the most. It helps me deal with the rest of the world. Being able to photograph people, places and things, being able to write down and capture what others are feeling. Sometimes creativity also helps us to not feel alone. When you have nothing else, no one else, when everything has gone to shit you usually have God, yourself and your work. It's a needed life preserver. Those things will keep us afloat when all else tends to go wrong. I've been thankful for the ability to create over the last few years when my years were awful. It kept me grounded. It kept my heart open and allowed me to find and create a home in this world.
In other news, I've also seriously been considering creating a newsletter before the end of the year. I have no idea what the theme is or what it'll be about but if you'd like to keep up with the creative journey and get a bit of love in your inbox then just sign up here.