Tag Archives: Blockers

Why So Serious?

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Blockers to Creativity

A few months ago I learned a very valuable lesson about being in the right frame of mind to allow creativity to flow through me, unhindered. And, like with so many of the really important lessons in life, it came through pain and being humbled.

I was involved in a project that became extremely important to me. I spent hours, weeks, months on it, thought about it in-depth throughout this time period, discussed it incessantly with others, studied it from every angle. The culmination of the project was several presentations infront of a few hundred people. The first few presentations I gave it my very best, my all, but somehow it didn’t come off well and I could not understand why. Of course, my inner critic was much harsher than others, but I knew that I wasn’t portraying what I had to give with the real creativity I felt. I was frustrated and confused.

Just before one of the last presentations, I kicked back with some friends and we got into a great round of banter, laughter, and down-right silliness. I was in a great mood! That evening’s presentation was magic. I was in flow, and each moment took on a life of its own, portraying exactly what I had meant it to.

I learned a powerful lesson about not taking myself so seriously that I become over-invested in my projects and lose sight of what they are meant to be- fun, in the truest sense of the word. Let go, relax, and enjoy the ride.

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer

Angela

Tonight, 11:57pm, she’s sitting on a bar stool at Eddie’s Taphouse. Tomorrow night, 11:57pm, she’ll be laying on the floor in this same spot.

She spends nearly every minute she’s not at work here. It’s where she and her friends celebrate all the significant and not so significant occasions in their lives. It’s where she comes because she has nowhere else to go.

Just like on the tv show Cheers, everyone here does know her name, and they really are glad that she comes. She always feels welcome and appreciated here. Tonight, she has no idea that just under 24 hours from now, she’ll walk in for the last time.

Monday’s 4 Minute Writer topic: Wine Glasses After the Party

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No Idea Where to Get Ideas

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Blockers to Creativity

Perhaps your life is full of the routine- bills to pay, traffic to fight, deadlines to meet, errands to run. You want to infuse some ‘heart and soul’, some creativity. And you have no idea where to start. So you don’t. And life goes on- the bills, the traffic, the deadlines. It’s a rut, but you have no idea where to start.

So many times, the answer to seemingly difficult questions is to go the simple route. Instead of arbitrarily adding something to your life, use the mundane you are already involved in to ignite ideas. Start to really pay attention to the world around you as you move about in it. When you sit in traffic, look around- what is the person in the car beside you doing? What does it feel like to be inching along for what feels like hours? What is your opinion of the flashing digital display advertising teeth whitening? Hone your skills of observation and be aware of your gut-level responses. Write these down and see what direction they take you in: maybe you start a blog about what you notice, or discover a new interest to explore further. The more present you are in your life, the more you’ll find your ‘heart and soul’ and find opportunities to pursue it.

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer

Big Brown Puppy Dog Eyes

Her eyes go wide with excitement, turning into perfect circles, framed by protruding triangular ears. Her tail swings so rapidly- can that thing fall off if it moves too quickly? At other times the eyes are shaped like sideways almonds, head hung low, tail drooping. She confesses even before I notice the garbage torn apart on the floor.

Right now, her eyes are barely open. She’s had a long day full of chasing sticks and making sure the neighbourhood dogs know that this is her turf. Her body begins to twitch as her eyes glaze over and start to see images in another place.

She’s a good dog, knows what she wants out of life: a little playing, some petting, peeing in the tall grass, sunning on the back deck, and the more food the better!

Behind those closed eyes she watches the plate of KFC that’s sitting too close to the edge of the counter tumble down right in front of her face. Now she can spend all night enjoying the aftermath as the scene replays itself over and over again. What a happy dog.

Tomorrow’s 4 Minute Writer topic: Angela

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Dealing with the External Critic

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Blockers to Creativity

Every time you create something, a piece of you goes into it. Sharing that creation with others can be intimidating, especially if you are sensitive to the opinions of others, which most “creative types” tend to be. There are several things to consider in sharing your work like : the relationship you have with those you share with and the type of feedback you have received from them in the past, how important it is to you to get your work “out there” regardless of the response, and what thoughts you have in the back of your head on what you might do if you get a negative response (“I’ll never get up in front of an audience again!”)

Here are a few key tips to help you evaluate how you share your work:

1. Are you open to feedback? Getting an outside perspective/constructive criticism allows you to see your work in a new way. This can be a great opportunity to make your work even better.

2. Try to be objective Separating yourself from your work can be difficult. Remember that the spark that produced the work is still in you and has an abundance of ways of expressing itself. Passion and skill work hand in hand. We can always learn more skill.

3. Consider the source Any feedback on how to improve your work should be done with the intent to help you. If you perceive that this is the intent, weigh the comments- take what you can work with and leave the rest. If not, consider the comments more a reflection on the speaker than on you.

When our emotions are at stake, things get tricky. That’s part of what keeps life interesting…

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer

Vibrant

I see it and my eyes light up. A gentle electric current zaps my pleasure receptors and I know the serotonin is flowing. I am taken into the world of flaming oranges and crisp greens. I’m flying now, through depthless oceans and golden dunes. My tongue is dragging behind, lapping freshly squeezed grapes from grandma’s vineyard. All night long I careen through canyons, run marathons without breaking a sweat, and belt out amazing lyrics to adoring throngs. I don’t want to be taken away from this world, hurled into the strain and striving of waking life. There the confines of my blinders keep me in mental locked-in syndrome, unable to climb the heights or soar like I do when I’m asleep.

My only consolation is that one day, while I’m riding alongside a group of wild horses, I’ll just keep riding and not have to stop.

Tomorrow’s 4 Minute Writer topic:

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Banish the Inner Critic

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Blockers to Creativity

“I can’t believe I said that! What an idiot I am!” Admit it, you’ve heard that voice inside your head. And then, what do you know, you feel like an idiot. And you stew on what you did. And you dig yourself deeper and deeper into a hole. It’s dark down there, way, way down there. Depressing place to be.

It’s that same nasty voice that tries to convince you not to pursue your creative dreams. “Your stuff isn’t any good. No one will like it. You don’t have any ideas.” Well forget that voice! Rather than listening to it, relegate it to the realm of insignificance. It’s not about debunking the content of the voice, the inner critic. Trying to fight on its ground just digs you a hole. Pushing it to the side and continuing on your journey leaves the critic sniveling in the corner- no one’s listening. So what if your stuff isn’t good or no one likes it? If you want to write, write! If you want to dance, dance! Enjoy the process, getting words out of your head and onto the page, or learning new ways to express who you are- enjoy the discovery along the way. The 4 minute writer is the perfect way to bypass the critic and enjoy the ride.

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer

Food

Pass the pizza
Pass the pretzels
Don’t let my ice tea run out
Waitress, can you get me some more hot wings- extra sauce.
So much trash! We call this food? May as well head to the back alley behind McDonald’s and chow down, same dif.
How is it possible that we eat so much crap and still live to our mid-80s? Do our cells slowly transform into plastic proving to be durable until critical mas and then we just cease to function? Maybe that’s what cancer really is, the plastification of he human body caused by excess chemical intake.
We don’t even know what real food is anymore. Even Farmers’ Markets bring us ‘local’ food from hundreds of miles away- and who knows what they have to do to get it here ‘fresh’.
But, this is the world we live in- artificial food, artificial flowers, synthetic fibers, fake smiles and facades for relationships.
Does anyone still look for ‘Real? Does anyone still take the time to look at what may lay beneath the rug, between the pages of hardcover books, or inside the eyes of their lover?
Take a moment, maybe two. Look deeply into the eyes of your love, unflinching, unwandering, undistracted. What do you see? What do you feel with no escape, no distraction to take away this glimpse into what’s Real?

Tomorrow’s 4 Minute Writer topic: Vibrant

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