My Word for the Year is Focus

my word for the year is focus

Earlier this month I was talking on the phone with one of my favorite creative cohorts, Cat, who is currently traveling the country in a RV with her husband. She brought up that she had not chosen her word for 2016. I admitted neither had I. Cat then started talking about what she thought hers should be.

Not long after that conversation, I jumped out of bed one morning realizing that I found my word for the upcoming year and inspired by my conversation with Cat, it was FOCUS.

This year my word was inspirit.

It was my intention to fill others with the creative spirit that I hoped they saw in themselves. While the word represented my intention, I thought I was going to achieve this virtually by creating online products, like an ebook or ecourse. In the end, I lived this word in a different way – by gathering together friends around a table to create, dream and craft, while socializing and sipping tasty beverages and noshing on yummy treats. It was a simple concept to not only nourish them but me as well.

When I first chose my word, I had no idea what my year would look like. I was in the middle of a job search after being laid off from a longtime position. I was feeling hopeless after countless opportunities fell through. I was struggling, not only financially, but also emotionally and spiritually. My days (and some nights) were spent doing whatever contract work assignments came my way, which never left much time for me to feed my own creativity.

It was here that the idea to bring people together through creativity was born.

Before I could overthink it, I created a Facebook group and sent invites. The first event, Creating Plus, filled my own heart with creativity and slowly healed my soul. A few months later, I decided to try another event. This time it was a visioning party, where everyone who attended brought a dream and left with a visual reminder to achieve it. After that, there was an online Artist’s Way group I facilitated and a couple of informal gatherings I hosted at my house, including a chocolate truffle making class and an intimate beach stone and beachglass painting and wrapping afternoon.

Reflecting on the last year, I see how the word inspirit subtlety guided me. At a time when my life was falling apart, I was bringing people together around creativity and creating the community I craved. Eventually, my career turned around, and I now have two part-time, remote marketing jobs I love and a couple of clients to supplement that who bring me joy.

So when the word focus hit me that morning not too long ago, I knew what my creative direction for 2016 should be. After all the lessons learned in the last year, I now need to apply them to a specific purpose. It’s also a reminder for me to focus on what I am working on at the moment and to be present. I know a portion of my purpose is to inspire and build community, like I did this year. But now I need to figure out how I can truly embed that into my larger life vision and perhaps career.

And as the wise, Michelle Schroer of Restart Spark reminded my a couple of week ago:

Let it be easy

What have you chosen as your word for the upcoming year?

What I Learned Writing About Creativity for Almost 10 Years


Nine years ago today, I began writing this blog. It wasn’t my intent to still be writing it nearly ten years later. I started it as a way for me to understand and explore this (at the time) seemingly mysterious quality that I felt I did not possess. To recap, I had just turned 30, left my job in Washington, DC as a museum educator and returned home to Cleveland – a place I had not lived permanently in 12 years.

Before any of that occurred, I had been fascinated by creativity.

After all, I had a degree in Art History and had always been more expressive than others but never really felt creative. In my late 20s, I started reading everything I could on the topic. At that time, the selection was limited the Artist’s Way and Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. I completed an online Creativity Coaching class and I started attending a monthly applied creativity group gathering in my neighborhood. Here, I learned that I was not alone in my quest for understanding this thing we call creativity. There were other seekers just like me out there and they were practicing their creativity every day and integrating it into their lives and careers.

And then I moved back to the Midwest.

I had dreams of being a creativity consultant and trainer, but when I told people this while out networking they just looked at me like I had 3 heads. I needed to find that creative community I had experienced in DC, so I turned online. At that time, blogging was unheard of and hardly anyone even knew what Twitter was, but I was determined to once again connect with those other creatives and seekers I knew were out there.

I started this blog as a way to document my own explorations and a way to educate others. Through my posts and social sharing I was able to connect with other like-minded souls. For awhile, I was one of a handful of individuals actively pursuing this quest as well. I can count Tanner from Creative Something and Mike from Brainzooming as my earliest cohorts in this space online.

But then life got in the way.

As much as I loved writing about creativity, I also had a job and sometimes school to attend. I eventually did have a career in training – but in a marketing role, where I found a use for my newly found creative confidence. I let this blog (and sometimes) my creativity fall by the side, as what I determined were more important concerns took over.

Do I regret this? Sometimes.

What I don’t regret are all the people I have met along the way and all the lessons I have learned about creativity. Writing this blog and experiencing my own creative growth have given me a new career and a confidence about my own writing. It has also taught me much more about what it means to be creative:

1. Creativity is unpredictable, yet predicable – This may seem like a contradictory statement, but it’s true. Creativity is a not a duality but an all of the above. So while creativity sometimes seems to be unpredictable, it is very predictable. There are certain tools and routines that help you become more creative. It is usually through the incubation phase of the creative process where a seemingly unpredictable idea comes from. But the idea is not random, it’s a product of everything you know, and thus very predictable. The key is to keep absorbing as much as you can, so your brain can connect the dots.

2. Creativity requires intention and attention – To be creative, we need to choose to be creative first that is where intention comes in. By starting from a place of creativity we can truly embrace all that we can create. This is where attention comes in. Putting an intention to be creative is a wonderful first step, but it needs to be followed by action and steady action that often comes with creating something new every day and not just when we feel like it. This steady momentum is why some of the greatest creators are successful.


3. You must fail first to succeed at creativity – Find me one creator who has never failed. No, seriously, I’d love to meet them. Most people aren’t successful as soon as they pick up a paint brush or type words onto a blank page. More than likely, they’ve failed along the way. I know I have. Creativity is a process and we all must work through our own process to determine what success looks and feels like. With that said, creativity usually includes wrong turns and mishaps, and sometimes those same things we thought we failed at lead us to our greatest creative success.

4. Creative inspiration surrounds us – The problem is that we never go looking for inspiration, so when it happens we think it is magic, but it’s not. In order to be creative we must accept that all of our ideas are really built from someone else’s. They come from filling a need that someone else has or are a new life on existing ideas. That’s why we need to open our eyes and absorb everything around us and then process it. Some people process it through meditation or exercise or taking a shower or working on their craft. It’s this synthesis of ideas that makes creativity special.

5. Everyone is creative in their own way – So far this has been the biggest lesson I’ve learned about creativity. I always thought creativity meant that I needed to know how to draw well. But then I met creatives that excelled at cooking, decorating and even improv. It made me see creativity as a more uniquely innate attribute. For myself, I’ve learned to embrace being creative in all sorts of ways, and it’s allowed me to see my creative potential in a new light. I admit I am a dabbler and that is what I excel at. I am also a big vision strategic thinker, but I can’t draw a straight line – maybe some day I’ll learn. But for now, I am happy being able to improvise a recipe, make a collage or write a blog post. And that is my expression of my creativity. I am sure in the future it will evolve to encompass more creative acts and I look forward to it.

Looking ahead to the next 10 years, I want creativity to be the norm. I’ve watched it move from the fringes to the mainstream in a short amount of time, but really:

I want to live in a world where everyone believes they are creative.

The Creativity Challenge

The Creativity ChallengeWhen I found out my online friend and fellow creative, Tanner Christensen had released a new book I immediately asked him to send me a copy to review. I’ve known Tanner probably as long as he has been blogging about creativity and sharing his insights with the rest of us who appreciate his pragmatic approach to inspiration. That’s what I love about him. He writes about creativity in a way that is practical. There is no magic wand or secret formula he has to share. He gives you a real perspective on what it’s like to create.

And The Creativity Challenge is no different. In it, he has compiled nearly 150 challenges to get you creating. Because, like I said before, Tanner is about the science of creativity and using proven methods to help you spark new ideas. Therefore, the challenges come in the following 5 types of problem solving techniques:

  1. Convergent is just like it sounds. These challenges require you to combine elements to come up with something new.
  2. Divergent requires the opposite of convergent thinking and asks you to deconstruct elements to see where they fit into a new solution.
  3. Lateral is likely the way we are all accustomed  to solving problems. These challenges ask you to follow specific steps to the correct answer.
  4. Aesthetic is all about the visual. You will be required to use your visual senses to complete these challenges.
  5. Emergent is another style that most of us may be familiar with. Ever have a brilliant idea right before falling asleep sleep at night? That’s emergent thinking.

Each challenge has a brief introduction based on a piece of research or other proven example and is followed by an activity. Some of my favorite ones include finger paining a masterpiece of your emotions, exploring other cultures through food, movies or books and tuning into Mozart – believed to increase creative thinking.

What I love about this book is that it is very accessible. You can flip through and choose a challenge whenever you are feeling blocked or simply looking for inspiration and quickly complete it. Creativity builds on our previous experiences and successes so the more challenges you complete the more creatively empowered you will feel.

tanner-christensenQ. Who should read The Creativity Challenge and why?

Tanner Christensen: The Creativity Challenge is a book for anyone who is willing to rattle their thinking in order to generate new ideas, explore their imagination, solve complex problems, and find new ways of entertaining themselves.

It sounds cliche and a little broad to say that, I know, but it’s true! The book was designed for anyone who finds themselves regularly stuck, either unable to spark that elusive genius of inspiration, in a daily routine, or behind some ambiguous creative block. Often times when we get stuck — in any of these types of situations — all we really need is a tiny push to see things from a different perspective, or to uncover the parts of our circumstance we weren’t otherwise paying attention to. Those little pushes toward creativity don’t have to be complex, but we get so wrapped up in our stuck-ness that we fail to see exactly how to shake ourselves free. With The Creativity Challenge I wanted to give more than 100 fun activities anyone could do to push themselves a little bit outside of their regular way of thinking in order to see what’s out there in the world, what they’re capable of.

But more than anything, I wanted the book for myself. Even after researching and writing on creativity for more than eight years, I get stuck all the time. And it sucks. But I know I don’t have to remain stuck, and the challenges in this book help remind me of that fact.

Q. What does a typical day look like for you? How do you get inspired?

Tanner Christensen: Most days are overwhelmingly the same for me, but that’s not to say they aren’t without their little surprises or inspirations. I wake up every weekday fairly early, around 5 am, to make time for the gym. Exercise makes me feel good and gives me a little momentum in the morning for what comes next. And what comes next is catching up on everything I need to get done that day.

I’m a full time designer at Facebook, so much of my time is spent collaborating with content strategists, product managers, engineers, and fellow designers to carefully craft products for millions of people. A lot of my day is also spent chatting with friends, which involves everything from planning out episodes for my podcast (Creative Something Podcast), catching up with old friends, or helping brainstorm ideas with a few peers I like to mentor. All of this chatting typically sparks some memory, emotion, or thought in me that feels almost overwhelming. In these moments I’ll feel drawn to write down whatever it is I’m thinking or feeling, and I’ll do that either by making a quick draft in Tumblr for my blog ( or by using my app Prompts on my phone.

At the end of the day I like to come home and relax for a minute before reviewing code for updates to the apps I’ve created, read a book (I just finished reading We Learn Nothing by Tim Kreider and highly recommend it), flush out some of my writing from earlier in the day, and after dinner I’ll make time to research and try to write a draft for my blog.

It sounds like a lot, but much of my time is really spent simply thinking and trying to sort through my thoughts. I find that giving myself a few minutes throughout the day to simply sit and ruminate is the most rewarding thing I can do, not only because it helps me destress and make sense of the sometimes chaotic days, but it also tends to leave me feeling inspired and motivated.

Q. What’s one takeaway you’d like to see readers come away with after reading The Creativity Challenge?

Tanner Christensen: The one takeaway I hope The Creativity Challenge conveys is that, while creative thinking can sometimes be challenging, there’s always something small we can do for a big impact. Whether it’s a change in perspective, trying something new, or seeking out help, creative insights are always accessible if you make a small move to reach them.

Meet Tanner and connect with him!

Tanner Christensen is a creativity expert, author of The Creativity Challenge, a web developer, entrepreneur, designer at Facebook, and part-time artist.

He started blogging in 2008 with the goal of researching and sharing answers to the question: How can we better understand our creativity in order to do more with it?

After more than seven years of researching, writing, and sharing creative ideas and inspiration, more than 100,000 people subscribe to Creative Something and more than 50,000 people visit the blog every month.

Personal Website



Creating Plus

watercolor pencilsFor many years, I created in isolation. Yes, every once in awhile I would attend a collage or jewelry class, but those were the exceptions. The problem I found, was a common one: motivation.

And I wasn’t alone. The more I talked to friends, the more I realized that they too had a desire to create but because of their job and family responsibilities didn’t have the time or even the energy to devote to creating on a regular basis.

At about the same time, two things were happening in my own life:

  1. The first was that a friend and I decided to do a hot chocolate tasting tour of our city. It made me see community in a different way. Gathering, often in a coffee shop, we sipped hot chocolate and talked about our lives. That sense of connection was something I had lost, most recently working at home.
  2. The second was my own personal exploration of creativity and spirituality: how the act of creativity is a sacred and communal act. This all collided with me seeing an online sale of the Creative Circles Guidebook authored by Connie Solera (someone I had gone on a mini creative retreat with here in my hometown). When I purchased it, I promised her I’d keep her creativity alive here, since she now lives in Arizona.

And that is how Creating Plus was born.

Creating Plus is a gathering intended to bring people together to create an artsy project while sipping delicious beverages and tasting yummy treats. And that’s just what happened when I invited a few friends, who were also craving creativity and community to join me earlier this year on a Sunday afternoon.

The host prepared a hot beverage – this time it was hot chocolate but in the summer months, I envision offering cocktails and mocktails. Each person then was asked to bring something to sweet to share, and did they ever. We had a delicious chocolate trifle and someone even made hot chocolate cupcakes.


I provided the project inspiration. For this gathering, we experimented with paint – creating color blocked canvases using tape, embossed designs painted over with watercolor pencils and flat backgrounds covered over with a single image.

I also asked everyone to bring a base they wanted to work on, whether it be a wood block, canvas or something else. Myself and the host provided the remaining supplies.

After I showed the demo pieces I had created beforehand, we all set out about creating and conversing and snacking for the rest of the afternoon. I created a Facebook group in advance, so I asked people to post images of their created works taking the communal creating experience virtual. Brooke, one of my friends who attended, wrote a blog post on the experience that nicely sums it up.

Communal Creativity 

But that wasn’t the last of my experiments with communal creativity and keeping the Creativity Circles inspiration alive, I have facilitated two other groups since then – one online and another local in-person gathering. I’ll be sharing those stories in the future to inspire you to form your own sacred creating tribe.

How have you created with a group? What worked? What didn’t? And how did you keep the inspiration alive? 

Creative You: Using Your Personality Type to Thrive


Has a book ever arrived in your life at exactly the right moment?

For me, that book was Creative You: Using Your Personality Type to Thrive by my friend, David B. Goldstein and his co-author Otto Kroeger.

A couple of years ago, David reached out to me to review the book when it first came out. I was excited for him but hesitant. I had stopped blogging, and so kindly promised I would do so when my blog was back up. And then after it was back up, I kept putting it off. About a month ago, I was at my local library browsing the shelves when I saw David’s book. I immediately pulled it off the shelf to check it out. I knew it was a serendipitous sign, since I had recently started to seriously explore my personality style and figure out, for once and for all, what my type was.

I went home that afternoon and dove right into the book and to my surprise discovered, not only am I an INTJ, but also that Creative You offered so much more than just a synopsis of my personality type. In fact, I see it now as one of the premier books on creativity and living a creative life.

The book is broken into three distinct parts. The first debunks twenty of the top myths that still persist about creativity. When I started this blog, almost 10 years ago, it was built on the premise of myth #1 that I didn’t have a creative bone in my body. Since then, creativity has hit the mainstream, yet for some reason that myth persists.

The remainder of Part 1 allows you to determine your personality type based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. I have taken this test so many times since college, but it wasn’t until now that I finally received an accurate report on my personality type.

Part 2 is where it gets interesting. This part explains in full detail the creative style of your personality type, including your strengths and weaknesses and how best to express yourself. You get to dive deep into yourself and discover how to best nurture your creativity.

My favorite was Part 3. This is where you learn how to apply your creativity to your daily activities. Far too many of us believe that creativity should only be assigned to our work lives or creative hobbies. Here we are presented ways in which to live our creativity, whether it is public speaking, collaborating with others or simply playing. It’s a nice conclusion to a thoroughly researched book and lets you take your creativity style and share it with the world.

I asked David the following questions and he responded with very thoughtful responses I hope will encourage you to explore your creative style.

David_B_GoldsteinQ: What was your inspiration for writing Creative You?

David B. Goldstein: Like all of us have from time-to-time, I had one of those ah-ha moments. While we can’t possibly develop all of our ideas, I knew this one was important enough to be brought to life and shared. In a workshop while noticing the artwork of my classmates, I made a connection between the personality types of my friends and their painting styles. By itself this idea was exciting and as I saw more connections that extended way beyond painting, quickly the concept took on a life of its own. It became clear that our personality is related to the very nature of how we are creative in all aspects of our life. Whether we are cooking or writing a business plan, we are all creative in our own ways!

But sadly, many people consider themselves as uncreative or not living up to their creative potential. And, through interviews, I often found they were discouraged away for the wrong reasons. Today we all need to be creative and along with my revelations, I became inspired to spend years researching, writing, and speaking to show people that we all are creative plus we can be helped by simply understanding our own personality type and finding our unique style.

Q: Why is learning your personality type important to creativity?

David B. Goldstein: You can never go wrong by learning more about yourself and knowing about your personality type gives you power for creativity. Doing anything new means standing up and being different. In our culture, we claim to love what is different but actually when many people come face-to-face with different items on the menu – they often go for the same old chicken club. Creativity takes courage and the best way to have the confidence to be creative is to know yourself and your creative style. Knowing your personality type will help you understand the environment where you come up with your best ideas, it will help you realize the unique way you see the world, it will give you insight into your decision making, and will help you understand your own creative process. Once you know who you are and what your strengths are, you know what you are bringing to the table – and you can gain the courage to stand on the table to share your ideas.

Q: Is there one takeaway you want our readers to know about personality type and their creative style? 

David B. Goldstein: The most important thing to know from my work is that there isn’t just one “creative type.” In our book Creative You, we don’t assume you have the same creative style as we have and show you what has worked for us. Instead we guide you to find your own creative process and your own unique style.

Learn more about David and connect with him!

David B. Goldstein is a management consultant, speaker and the originator of the “creative-type” concept. David speaks about how everyone can be creative in their own way using their natural strengths.

David is a researcher with a science background and an M.B.A. in Management of Science, Technology and Innovation, who uncharacteristically is also an internationally recognized artist. He was commission by the Pan American Health Organization/WHO to create their symbol to promote and protect human rights and David was invited to speak before a global televised audience for World Health Day.

David has been interviewed by the Huffington Post, Psychology Today, Women’s Fitness, and Innovative Excellence. He has spoken at the Creative Oklahoma Forum, the Association of Psychological International’s Conventions, written for The Bulletin of Psychological Type, The American Bar Association’s Law Practice Today, and posts the Courageously Creative blog. As an entrepreneur for nearly 25 years, David founded an early digital imaging company, pioneered one of the first Internet startups creating an award-winning web-directory company. David also founded a research firm specializing in intellectual property, providing clients with information on the novelty and infringement of patents. Over the years, he has served as a consultant to technology start-ups, Fortune 500 companies, universities, hospitals, and government agencies.

Blog: Courageously Creative

Twitter: DavidBGoldstein

Are You a Big C Creative?

balboa parkIf not, don’t worry. Neither am I. And that’s ok.

Several years ago, I used to introduce myself as an artist with a small a. One time someone expressed to me that she didn’t like to hear me say that. She felt I was diminishing myself by doing so. She believed I should embrace being an artist is with a capital A. But that’s not who I was, and I was perfectly happy with that.

Much like how we have become caught up with being a creative with a big C. Being that type of creative means to me that you have achieved something great and given it to the world. I think of Steve jobs and the iPhone or the writings of Maya Angelou. I realize I have not done that…yet!

And I am fine with that.

To me, being a small c creative means that you are heading in that direction. That you are taking all the necessary actions to get to that big discovery or life changing invention. It’s not that I think less of myself but instead realize that my creativity is still a work in progress.

glass palette

You don’t have to wait to create your masterpiece. Here are some ways to embrace your little c creative while working toward being a big C creative:

  • Create more little aha’s. Daily inspirations can lead to big breakthroughs. Focus on moving forward with your discovery. Every little breakthrough gets you there.
  • Build your creative dream in 5 minutes a day. You don’t have to devote large chunks of time to your creativity. Set aside just 5 minutes a day and write, paint, dance, whatever it takes to move your creativity along.
  • Have an inspired conversation. Find a friend and discuss a new creative topic or find a new person to chat with and get inspired by all they have to teach you.
  • Play like a kid. When was the last time you simply played? If you can’t remember, then get out there and do it. Play opens us up to new ideas as our imagination is stretched.
  • Be everyday creative. Find ways to infuse creativity in your daily tasks. Add a splash of color to your wardrobe, create a new recipe or find a different route to work.

How will you nurture your little c creative? 

Spring Clean Your Creativity

Do you clean your house when spring arrives? Why not clean your creativity too?  Spring is the optimal time to revisit and tidy up all aspects of your creativity and creative practice from your physical to your mental and psychic spaces.

After a long winter, our creativity may be stuck in the doldrums. I know for me, winter is a hibernation and incubation time. It’s the time where most of my creative ideas are formed and shaped. Spring is the time I make them bloom.

Here some tips to spring clean your creativity:

Physical space: This is the first place I start. I believe that creativity thrives with a blank canvas. Begin by clearing the the clutter. Remove everything from your work space, and I mean everything. Wipe down the surface with a damp cloth.

Now that you have a clean surface, slowly add things back to it  while being mindful of what you truly need. Toss out things like dried paints or brushes or other tools that no longer work for you. Recycle any paper scraps that you don’t need. Finally, organize the rest in a way that make sense for you.

Additional ideas:

  • Add some plants to your space. According to research conducted at Texas A&M University, adding potted plants and flowers to your office can significantly enhance problem-solving and creative thinking skills.
  • Paint your ceiling blue. According to research out of the University of Minnesota, people in rooms with 10 foot high ceilings were found to have more abstract thoughts than those, who focused more on specific details, in 8 foot high ceiling rooms.

physical space

Mental space: Next work on your mental space. Sit in a quiet place and reflect on the creative ideas that are filling your mind at this moment. Yes, I realize there might be a lot.

Take out pen, crayon or pencil and paper – or voice record app and get them all out. You can list them, mind map them or whatever method works for you. Capture all your current project ideas and inspiration. Next assign deadlines to them. These can be to finish them the next day or the next year, but whatever they are, mark them in your calendar.

Additional ideas:

psychic space

Psychic space: Finish up cleaning your creativity by revisiting the love letter you wrote to your creativity. Remind yourself that you ARE creative.

Often as creators, we let ourselves believe that we are not good enough to create. That’s simply not true. There is no correct way to be creative. It’s a not a destination but rather a journey we are all uniquely travelling. Remove those limiting beliefs about your creativity for once and for all.

  • Get inspired and try something new. Try my top 10 Creative Cures to help you explore new ideas and techniques. Do them all or do a few. While there is no formula for sparking creativity, there are small things that can help shift your perspective.

What will you do to spring clean your creativity?

How I Found My Creative Self

collageAlmost 10 years ago, I was working at (what I thought was) my dream job. I was an educator in a museum. What this meant was that I not only developed educational programs to teach visitors about art and architecture, but often I taught those same classes on a daily basis. From the outside, it sounded like a great job. Still to this day people don’t understand why I left.

It appeared I had a glamorous life living in the nation’s capital and doing what I thought I loved, until one day someone said to me, “be creative” about a work problem I was trying figure out. Those two simple words struck me and changed everything by taking me on a path to discover my own creativity and myself.

Although, like most people, I’d probably heard those words hundreds of time, this time it stayed with me. I started to ask myself what that meant. What was it like to ‘be creative?’

My initial answers were startling. I didn’t know what it meant. For as long as I could remember I’d been teaching and empowering everyone around me to be creative with the programs I led and the artists I worked with. But I didn’t know what that meant myself.


Because, I later realized, I’d been nurturing everyone else’s creativity but my own. At that point, I decided to step away from the life and career that I had built to figure out what being ‘being creative’ meant for me. It took me on a journey discovering not only that but who my real self was – and she was creative!

So how did I do this?

I started by leaving everything I knew: the city I lived in, the only career I had, my educational training. I stripped everything in my life away and moved back to the place I was born and had grown up in but had not lived in 12 years.

I also started by devouring everything and anything I could on creativity and started a blog on what else… creativity. As I delved into studying creativity, I learned techniques and the process that shaped my own path.

The first was brainstorming. There are so many different techniques out there (and I’ve probably tried most of them) but my favorite is mindmapping. As a visual person, I found this to be the best way for me to organize my ideas and plan for the future. I created dozens of mind maps plotting out everything from my current skills to my desired skills in order to find a new suitable career.

Another creative brainstorming tool I used was visual collage. Similar to a vision board, it allowed me to visually see my interests and strengths and goals. I simply found and arranged images that spoke to me and my future self. Once completed, these visual collages helped me establish my brand and discover more of who I really was.

creatingOnce I had a clearer vision of myself, I started experimenting – mostly through art. For me, creativity was the outlet that allowed me to become who I was meant to be. I signed up for classes on mail art, sea glass jewelry, collage, anything I could to exercise my creative instincts. I found I liked some more than others. But in the end, this allowed me to play and dabble and let my mind wander in a way I’d never let it before. It was here that I had some of my best ideas.

My other creative outlet was writing my blog. I had long dreaded writing as a creative exercise because I felt self-conscious about my style. I had even been criticized for it in graduate school. It was through blogging about my creative journey that I found my voice. The more I blogged for myself and others the louder it grew. Eventually it led to a career change and one that involved communications and social media.

But before any of that, I had to fail a couple of times.

Like the creative process, failure is a part of life. It’s at that stage where we learn the most about ourselves and our resiliency. The path to finding my true creative self led me down some dead ends. There were consulting projects that ended abruptly or ones that turned into nothing. With each failure, I learned more of what I didn’t want in my life and continued to strip it away. I felt the more I failed the more I grew.

Creativity is funny like that.

It’s always changing and evolving. There is no right or wrong answer and what I found was that there is also not a singular way of ‘being creative.’ It’s an individual journey we all need to take. It’s a journey that allowed me to find my true self through imagining the possibilities, trying them out and even failing. I know my path is an evolving one, but after this recent journey I also know it couldn’t have been done without tapping into my inner creative.

Creativity is…Love

I’ve been thinking a lot about this concept of creativity is…love for awhile, so it seemed appropriate to make it the topic of this month’s post. In the past, I’ve covered Creativity is…Taking a Leap and Creativity is…Learning.

How is creativity love? For starters, how many projects or ideas have you willingly begun that you didn’t love? Did not feel truly passionate about? What happended to those projects? They are probably sitting on a shelf somewhere hidden in a closet or simply thrown out. Creativity depends on our love and passion to bring an idea into fruition.

creativity is love

But all too often we do not honor that. Instead, I see article after article or blog post on how to move past creative blocks or simply how to even spark your creativity. But should we really need to move past resistance or conjure up our creativity if we are in love with it all the time?

Our creativity should be something we honor and cherish every minute of the day. After all, it’s what makes us human and what has kept our species in existence. So why don’t we do that? Are we too busy, are our minds too crowded or do we not see the value in it?

I think about my own experience of rediscovering my creativity. First of all, it took awareness and consciousnesses to acknowledge that I was even a creative being. Following that, it took intention and dedication to be creative every day and to find new solutions for all problems no matter how big or how small. Finally, it took love. Love to become passionate about my ideas and projects. Love to keep pursuing my creative growth. Love to sustain it.

When was the last time you honored your creativity in a positive way?  I challenge you to write a love letter to your creativity to show your appreciation and devotion to it:

  1. Choose whatever medium you feel comfortable expressing yourself in. Maybe it’s a basic handwritten letter. Or maybe it’s a collage, painting or other visual expression. It could also be a song.
  2. Get real with yourself. Dig deep. Find all the things you love about your creativity and capture that.
  3. Display it where  you can see it everyday. Put it in a prominent place on your desk or place it in your planner.
  4. Read it on a consistent basis. Choose a certain time of the day, week, month or quarter to review it and keep yourself in love with your creativity. Like any relationship, loving your creativity takes time and dedication.

How will you choose to love your creativity?

Inspirit is My Word of the Year

In my last post, I wrote about my word last year and how it guided my focus. This year my word came to me quite effortlessly and when I look back I can see how I intuitively arrived at it.


The definition of inspirit is to instill courage or life into or to encourage and enliven (someone). For as long as I can remember, that’s what I do. I love to empower people to be their most creative self. I realize now that is the purpose of this blog. At first it was a way to document my way back to my creativity, but in the end, I found that it touched more than my own life. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how true this is.

After having an inspiring lunch conversation with a close friend and collaborator, he commented, “you are an inspiration.” Sure, like I mentioned, that’s what I do but rarely had I heard a compliment like that verbalized. It was a jolt that shook me to my core. Maybe I was doing something that was bigger than myself and my own creative exploration.

This was only confirmed a few short weeks later when I received a seemingly random message from a longtime blog reader. I say seemingly random because I usually know or have somehow communicated with most of my loyal readers through emails or social media. This was different, because I had no clear idea who this person was. I did some detective work and sure enough he was legit. His comment that, “your work is an inspiration” struck me. He went on in detail to describe the projects he was working on and how he was making time for his creativity.

It was at that moment that I knew this wasn’t a fluke. After a year of feeling like I wasn’t succeeding. I wasn’t where I wanted to be in my career. I hadn’t started writing that book I dreamed about. My bank account wasn’t large enough. All of that no longer matter. What really mattered was that I was touching people’s lives and some people I had never met.

That’s why inspirit as my word for the new year is such a serendipitous choice. I have heard YOU and that’s what I hope to continue to do in 2015 and beyond.

Stay tuned to the space for information on a FREE Creative Cures workbook, an e-course on Finding Your Creative Meaning and a collection of essays based on my popular Creativity is…series plus lots more inspiration to live your creativity. One dose at a time.

What’s your word for the new year and how do you plan to live it?