Focus for Creative People – What to Avoid

avoidlistBig project to do? Deadline looming over your head? I give you…

Things (places, links, shows, etc.) to Avoid:

  • The news
  • Anything that starts out with “Trump did…”
  • Shiny things, glitter, new pens. New pens? Where? No, really, don’t look.
  • A marathon of Bee and Puppycat. Must. Not. Watch now. Maybe just one episode…
  • Cute dog videos.
  • She said what on Facebook? Are you serious?! Oh, I need to comment…no, step away from Facebook. Step back to work. There now. That’s better.
  • A survey to fill out? Okay.
  • Any episode of Handmaid’s Tale. Oh so sad. Oh so oppressive. Why can’t they escape out of there? Oh, what is the point of anything? Dang, don’t want to fall into that quicksand.
  • Answer the phone for Spam. Do I have a moment to answer a survey? Well, I did fill out that other one.
  • Any episode of the mindless, useless Bachelor series. It’s just so empty, so fake, so light and airy like balloons. Let those balloons fly higher and higher and hopefully, not get tied around a pole somewhere.
  • Now might be the time to re-organize my closet! No! Get back to work. Do you see what you are doing here?
  • I might have what disease according to the Facebook Feed? And is that freckle growing? And did I eat that one thing that has that chemical that can make my hair fall out in large clumps? Oh dear Goodness! I better get that checked out right now.
  • There’s a fire growing in New Mexico. How far away is that? I better go google it. Can it jump over state lines?
  • I need to help that person by teaching them…no, you don’t. Step away. Go back to the project. Didn’t we just have this conversation?


Replace with:

  • Relaxing or upbeat music to wall off the world why you work.
  • A dog baby sitter. Really need one of those.
  • A lock on the studio door.
  • A class in Detaching from Drama or Better Boundaries. Where can I find that right now?
  • No internet on your iPad or block Facebook from it. (Really helps but don’t be surprised if you feel that strong pull).
  • A separate room.
  • A reward at the end.
  • A few breaks to walk in the Forest.
  • Headphones.
  • Ida1

Remember, you need to create. It’s good for you. It’s your food. It’s what you do. Just don’t let the world pull you away from it.

Until next time,


p.s. Do check out our specials on Flying Shoes. 50% off if purchased with invisible socks.

Can they feel your spark? And instrinsic motivation


In my Creativity in the Workplace Graduate class we read an article that the professor wrote about what he learned while designing hats for the Cirque du Soleil in 1996. The article is called “The 8 Lessons for building a creative workplace.” This is my reaction reproduced here and shared.

Reading about working in a circus and a fun environment had me reflecting on my own shift in my business. I once had more of a counseling business for people and their animals. It was serious, rewarding work for the contribution I was giving and how I was helping, and I adored the animals, but emotionally weighing in my psyche, and after many years doing that type of work I focused back onto designing and creating online classes that were fun. I look at that progression in my business from one extreme to the next and it’s interesting and revealing for me that my latest creation is an imaginary mall that teaches design and thinking creatively. It’s fun and entertaining like a circus. Your workplace should be fun and feed your creativity, the article suggests.

I established an Instagram account to test-drive my creations from my mall. It’s an experimental place to try out what works and what doesn’t, much like the new acts in the circus, and like the Professor described, with others witnessing and hopefully, being inspired. I see that when I am most excited, I am most successful in my posts. The other day I happened upon a creative fashion design app, Pret-a-Template.  I could draw on my tablet and design clothes for my imaginary mall. You would think I just won the lottery! I played most the morning, lost in what Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi called deep in the flow. I was apprehensive about sharing my new shoe design on Instagram, but when I did, there was an outpouring of support of comments, the opposite of my last few lackluster shares.


Teresa Amabile, a creative theorist, describes intrinsic motivation as what excites and drives you. You are rewarded from within. Can others feel your deep intrinsic motivation then through your work? As mentioned in the article, leading to more innovative creations? I believe so. It’s that spark that we are attracted to in others’ work. I watched an episode the other day of the new season of World of Dance. There’s a group of LA youngsters called The LAB, back from last year. They dance with passion, fire and motivation. I could never get enough of watching them perform as they command the stage. Perhaps that is an argument in being excited about what you are doing vs. creating only what the market seems to want. That route doesn’t lead to innovative work or work with heart, although it can be profitable. I live near Sedona, Arizona. There is one artist that makes these standing deer figure sculptures. They have a funky, Native American, symbolic feel. I imagine his first sculpture was filled with heart & deep expression. Many years later he now simply replicates the deer in different costumes and they sell like crazy. They are devoid of spark. Can others see that or only other artists?

The other part of the article that fed me was the idea of rewarding your efforts vs. focusing on your failures. The idea of failure causes anxiety throughout my body for most even small efforts. I observed how this idea would be applicable the other day. My husband is also going back to school to finish his Bachelors degree in Business. His latest online class in Finance has challenged him to spend many hours after work struggling away on calculations, sometimes, late into the night. After getting through an intense problem there is noticeable relief. His upset was obvious when his professor graded his exercise by what was wrong or right leaving very little credit for all his work done the night before. He explained to me that his prior teachers always graded his effort giving him full credit. Why was this teacher different? His whole demeanor shifted in this class. I could see the air drain from his tires. This was a real life example of what I do to myself when I work so hard but a project doesn’t have glowing reviews so I discount the effort. I was squashing my creativity and poisoning my creative workplace, in this case, studio.


How will you reward your efforts? Where do you dive down deep in flow?

It’s been a while. I hope to share more soon and my journey through learning animation and attending Grad School.

Until next time,


Kantor, R. (2018?) 8 Lessons on Building a Creative Workplace. Retrieved from Drexel University website 9 June 2018.

How to draw a balloon animal: a lesson in shading

As you may or may not know balloon animals often visit the Idea Emporium Bakery and are partial to ice cream sodas. I don’t know a great deal about balloon animals that have came to life, but I can only theorize then, that the balloon animals are not lactose intolerant, which is a good thing. For fun, here’s a quick, fun lesson in shading.

First draw your balloon animal. A simple grey marker or crayon will work.

Now add your dark shadows. A dark grey or black will work. A balloon has very sharp shadows and highlights and looks very dramatic. Where ever your shadow will be your strongest light or highlight will be next to it.

Now we add the highlights or white where the light hits the balloon animal next to the dark shadows. Isn’t he cute? You might want to name him.

I went a step further and colored in the little guy orange. I added yellow for a mid color between the orange shading and the white highlights for a little BAM.

For a FREE exclusive Idea Emporium Balloon Inspiration & Exploration sheet, check out this Google Doc link here.