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?

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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,

ronnidesigningfairy

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

coffeecup

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.

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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.

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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,

ronnidesigningfairy

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

A Year of Weird Mirrors

weirdmirrors

2017 was an uphill climb for many people.

I wrote, I created a lot, I experimented. I learned about my limits and boundaries. I worked in my Brain often (my sketchbook), and created pages and pages of activities for my book.

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I also questioned myself.

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As I created and doodled and poured out my ideas and gathered resources on a page surrounding the theme of Movement, I wrote what was causing my perceived lack of movement:“My frustration of not feeling a clear path.” Next to those words, many months later I wrote, “As I design what I love to do?” The path was there, developing. I was doing what I do. What I do now. But I didn’t feel it. There was a cluster of thoughts telling me I was directionless, which had me acting crazy pulling from the air all that I could. I’ll try this, I’ll try that. It was confusing. Opposite.

It was a year of Weird Mirrors. 

(Check out my full page of designing to Movement on Instagram.)

You may already be in the process of becoming. Morphing into what is next and you don’t see it. Those whispers, quiet longings. But when the Outside World doesn’t acknowledge or mirror your enthusiasm, the creative buds get cut off. You don’t follow that thread of energy.

It can be subtle whispers from your Soul.

  • I want to draw on ceramics (I collect pictures on Instagram)
  • I am interested in fashion design (My Pinterest has a ton of pictures)
  • I would still like to make a zine, even though it seemed no one cared (I feel sad about this and yet still pulled)
  • Rubber stamps fascinate me (Lots of instagram pictures gathering in my feed)
  • I want to dance again (I cry when I watch dance movies)

Sometimes we don’t recognize that depressed feelings happen because we cut our Soul off. It’s leading us, and we just blew it off. We see these longings as impractical or silly. Don’t abandon yourself.

We need to be inwardly focused, not outwardly when this occurs. Don’t look to the audience, the readers, the followers. Look to what you are excited about. Block the rest out. Because if there are Crickets and the Mirror is the wrong one, at least you are filling yourself back up and leading you to true fulfillment inside.

I give you permission.

Until next time,

ronnidesigningfairy

Creative Resources

creativeresources

Other Innovative Teachers Who Think out of the Box:

More jumping off points for your creativity and imagination that float my boat and I hope, will float yours too.

How to Avoid the Holiday Overload When You are a Sensitive Creative

Creative people are sensitive people. We can enjoy the subtle differences among Yellows, a beautiful piece of music brings tears to our eyes, and a mall this time of year is the equivalent experience of throwing on all the lights at 3 a.m. when you were sound asleep. Overload to our sensitive systems can happen easily during most of the year when there is way too much stimulation and Christmas/Holiday time is all about mass stimulation, and yes, that sounded naughty.

My husband and I were brave enough to shop two stores during Black Friday. There were tremendous sales, people rubbing elbows in crowded aisles, overheated rooms and STIMULATION. After about an hour of grabbing what felt like anything shiny and half price, or even triple below the price, I felt like a kid opening up the twentieth present at Christmas. You are excited, happy, and a little fried and twitchy. I imagine this is what gamblers feel like after a big win. You want more adrenaline, more wins, more more! But being a sensitive person I felt the effect on my body as if I had a large glass of caffeine. I was wired and I had no idea how I was ever going to calm down. After several hours after shopping I started to come down and stare at what we bought. I don’t even know what we picked up. I wasn’t sure of my name. I forgot what month it was. And why was my left eyelid twitching so much?

Holidays are tough. I probably sound like a Grinch but I am just focused on the overwhelm heading my way. Unlike the kids, I have a different experience of Christmas. I remember last year spending DAYS wrapping until I never wanted to see Scotch Tape again. We spent money we didn’t have. The house was wall to wall decorations in weird places. And I am learning that for a parent there is a whole lot of the have-tos which make the experience not so much festive for an adult. 

You have to:

  • Buy presents for the mailman
  • Fill out a Christmas Letter filled with exciting details of the year and I am notoriously private
  • Send out holiday cards after you have no money for postage after you spent all the money on holiday gifts and brave the POST OFFICE LINE
  • Decorate the front yard while trying to keep the new puppy in the backyard but she sees you in the front yard and is flipping out and trying to find a way out
  • Send a gift to a relative who told you to disappear and have a good life
  • Make cookies? I am notoriously awful at cooking so this really causes major stress
  • And now the kids informed me they want to celebrate something called Advent. What is Advent? Does it involve buying more gifts or baking? Please say no.
  • There’s decorating the church with Greens and driving around the neighborhood watching flashing lights so I can have a migraine.
  • There’s holiday parties…I really hate small talk. It’s just cruel.
  • There’s also lots of talk of Jesus, of course, which is a bit awkward when you are Jewish. Conflict of interest.

That’s a lot of Have To’s.

Is there a sure sign of overwhelm? You feel way bitchy. And I mean way. I bet my list even sounded a tiny bit bitchy. Your crankiness can spill all over and those nasty thoughts can even escape if you are not careful and you can scream the F word in front of the kids when you didn’t mean it, or tell one to please stop talking because your ears are going to explode. It doesn’t mean you are the Incredible Hulk having a moment, but it does mean you took way too much on and your circuits are frying. All this stimulation and constant excitement is not meant for a sensitive system. A small tree with a few lights in the middle of the Forest to visit? Yes, that sounds more like it.

Is there a solution??? This year I am having limits. A whole new concept I am learning. It’s an interesting thing that explains and sets what I can and can’t do, and what I am willing to do. You want cookies for your class? Well, then Dad will have to go buy some. Family wants to go to a holiday party filled with noise and kids running around? I am willing to do this one other thing like buy all the presents, but I will stay home and watch Rudolph with the Dogs while you visit. It doesn’t mean I don’t care or want to participate, or not part of the family, it just means that I need to take care of myself or Christmas will be renamed The Migraine Holiday, and January will bring in a bad case of the Flu. Thank you for understanding.

Happy limit making, my friends.

Dedicated to supporting my fellow creatives survive the Holidays,