Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Prize Divides Us

"When the archer shoots for no particular prize, he has all his skills; when he shoots to win a brass buckle, he is already nervous;
when he shoots for a gold prize, he goes blind, sees two targets, and is out of his mind.
His skill has not changed, but the prize divides him. He cares! He thinks more of winning than of shooting, and the need to win drains him of power."
~ Tranxu

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thomas Leonard Tells How to "Unhook From the Future"

"As coaches we know that goals are important, yet so is being detached from the outcome. Since attachments, especially compulsive, unthinking ones, are so unattractive."

28 Principles of Attraction by Thomas Leonard
From Principle #2: Top 10 Ways to Unhook from the Future

You are most attractive when you're living in the present moment, not living in the future or striving for it. But how does one keep focused on today, yet still attract a better future?
This Top 10 List will help you make this important change in how you live and think.

1. Give up the goals which are seductive.
We all have things we want to achieve or acquire and nothing is wrong with this. But when these types of goals get us worked up to the point that we become more passionate about the future than we are about today, then it's easy to get into trouble. Whether it's a goal to get married, make a million dollars, change the world or become somebody, these kinds of goals can lead one down a seductive path where the future is far more interesting than the present. As a result, you lose the present, which is where the real gifts are.

2. Perfect the present.
When your life isn't as you want it to be, the first thing we tend to do is to set a goal for a better future. Not bad, but if you'd take the same energy and perfect the present right now, you'd probably attract a better future instead of trying to acquire it. Very different approach. The idea is that a better future will find you when you have made the most of the present you've been given. The present is a superb teacher; the future is a seducer.

3. Stop watching television.
People get hooked by advertising messages -- they cause us to want and 'need' more, which is kinda fun, but usually very expensive, given we give up our present quality of life in order to afford that item, tangible or intangible. The tendency is to acquire a lifestyle and confuse that with having a life. If you stop watching television, the future won't be as seductive, because your present will be more appealing.

4. Stop motivating yourself.
Positive self talk, affirmations, external motivation and other 'force' measures can be very, very effective. But they tend to be expensive because they put the blinders on and turn you into a horse running on a track. Better to enjoy all of what you already have to the point that you don't need to change a thing. At that point, a better future will find you, without the expense of motivation.

5. Stop trying to become a better person.
Give up. I've coached too many people trying to become a better person that they lose their humanness. Ego is a very, very positive part of you. Faults are rich and wonderful teachers. Mistakes are golden. Weaknesses are usually just hidden strengths. So, stop trying to improve, declare the game over and get to know 100% of YOU, just as you are. Stop trying to change yourself and you'll start living much more in the present. The future does not need you to improve, but it does need you to evolve. You can only evolve when you are in the present, not striving for a better future. This is a tricky one, so stay with the it and work it out for yourself.

6. Stop over-planning.
I don't mean not to plan for your financial future or to give up your important goals. But it's tempting for some personality types to think that fully laid-out plans and perfectly identified goals are the right thing to do. In fact, they may simply be a mind exercise to reduce risk and fear. Identify a vision or sketch out a plan and then learn-as-you-go, but learn quickly. Better to become a rapid in-the-moment learner than become an expert planner. Life is accelerating so quickly, that most planning skills are irrelevant by the time you master them.

7. Stop hoping.
Life may improve for you, but not because you're hoping. A popular bumper sticker says it all: "Since I gave up hope, I feel so much better." If you're living in hope for something to occur or improve, you're simply escaping from the present. We all need an escape from the present from time to time; just don't turn hope (aka the future) into your personal ZIP CODE.

8. Give up future-based possibility.
There is a lot that's possible in life and many of the best things that will happen to you during life will be things that you never saw as even possible. But does expanding your thinking to consider what's possible make these things happen more often or sooner? The jury is out on this one. But the idea is that if you see the possibility in the present, instead of what's possible in the future, you'll be a lot better off and more attractive.

9. Stop hanging out with strivers.
Strivers can be very fun to be with, but the net result is usually a drain of your energy. Strivers need lots of encouragement and energy from others to keep up their pace. Find folks who are happy with themselves and who are involved in creative endeavours which express their values instead of seeking to succeed.

10. Stop using if/then formulas.
Whenever I hear someone start out a sentence with "if" or "when," I know they are living in the future. Entrepreneurial types, being optimists, are really good at this. The trick is to take out the words "if" and "when" from your vocabulary. That will help you stay in the present and not set you up to have what you want to occur be conditional or hinge on another person/event, such as "When I get my degree, I will make more money." Better to say something like, "I am really, really enjoying my studies." See the difference in orientation?
Want more insight and guidance into how to be attractive? CoachVille's Pro Coach Membership (only $99) provides much more, direct from Thomas Leonard, on this and 49 OTHER chapters. See below for more info.
Comment at the Best of Thomas blog to share how even just the above helps you.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Robert Genn on Making Mitakes

A list of mistakes

October 13, 2009

Dear Sherrie,

This morning, Michael Epp of Bowen Island, B.C., wrote: "'Just take away everything that doesn't look like a horse.' That's what the sculptors say. Which implies that as long as you avoid all the obvious mistakes, you'll end up with something good. By definition, perfection is merely an absence of error. Is there a list of mistakes for artists to avoid making?"

Thanks, Michael. Your note caught my attention because it had some wonderful assumptions. The horse concept is a vital one because it stresses creation by reduction, in other words the removal of material. This removal does not imply mistakes, but rather the vacuum created to disclose the horse in question. The other three prime suspects in your note are the words "good," "perfection," and "error." In the art game, all are subjective and mighty arbitrary. Nevertheless, I'm on your question like a fat kid on a Smartie.

Don't assume there is only one way. Don't assume that mistakes are a bad thing. Don't think for one minute that everyone agrees with what "good" is. Don't fall into the trap of thinking perfection is attainable or even desirable. Don't assume the existence of error. Art is not based on a catechism.

Art is something else. It is, for better or for worse, the bending of personal will. And while some artists may attempt standards such as academic standards, commercial standards or intellectual standards, there will always be significant creators who don't give a hoot about standards at all.

The main thing you need to think about is process. Your process. Individual decisions cannot be taken from some list. They are the result of your previous moves, including your errors. They are also the result of your noted winnings. This is how you-as-a-person becomes you-as-an-artist.

Funnily, in youth, we are often rigid. We tend to think there is some secret, some Holy Grail that will have great art appear on our easels. We may even dream that fame and fortune will arise from this correctness. As we grow older, we realize just how limiting were our earlier conceptions. Art is something else. Art is fluid, transmutable, open ended, never complete, and never perfect. Art is an event.

Best regards,


PS: "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." (Scott Adams)

Esoterica: There are two kinds of students--recipe takers and recipe fighters. The former listen to the instructor, try to get it "right," and often succeed in doing so. The latter strike out on their own, pay the price of rugged individualism, and fail often. In art, it's all about failure. In art, the journey outshines the destination. In art, mistakes are golden.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Oh Happy Accident!

Mitch Ditkoff sent a message to the members of Create! Innovate! Get Out of the

OK. Here's one of the little known secrets of innovation. Much of it happens
"by accident." In other words, what you start out to accomplish doesn't quite
manifest, but while you're in the act of attempting to manifest it, something
ELSE appears. Or, more correctly, you SEE something you did not expect.
Innovators (ever curious, attentive, alert) NOTICE that something and DO
something about it. Other people blow off the moment as a mistake. "By your
stumbling, the world is perfected." Sri Aurobind

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

TQ says"Your Attitude Makes ALL the Difference"

"Sooner or later, those who win are those who think they can." ~ Richard Bach

Your TQ Training Challenge for Thursday, October 8, 2009:

Speak Enthusiastically -- Motivate and Inspire Others...
Did You Hear What You Just Said?

What you say and how you say it have a significant affect on both you and your listener. Choose the words that convey the most positive and powerful influence possible.

Speak in a positive, powerful and uplifting manner for the rest of the day. Then notice how it changes the way you experience the world and how you feel at the end of the day.

"Our attitudes control our lives. Attitudes are a secret power working twenty-four hours a day, for good or bad. It is of paramount importance that we know how to harness and control this great force."~ Tom Blandi

Mike's 10 Commandments to Writing Success

Mike's 10 Commandments to Writing Success/Complete
By Michael P. Geffner

These principles represent the best advice I can give anyone interested in making writing a career. Study them, learn them, and, most of all, do them. You'll be amazed by the results.

1) Be a letter writer, not a resume sender. Resumes get shoved into the bottomless pit of file cabinets or dumped into the black holes of wastebaskets. Learn instead to be an aggressive composer of letters, though not sending these so often to the same editor that you become increasingly annoying. There's a fine line between persistence and being a nuisance. Don't cross that line, lest you risk turning people off who control your fate in the industry. In your letters, sell yourself like a salesperson, with you, of course, being the valuable commodity: who you are, what makes you different and better, what passions you have, how eager you are to work hard, and why you-and not someone else--should be working for the publication. The stationery and envelope should be of the highest quality (first impressions count!) and smaller than standard letter size (the small size virtually guarantees you'll be put on the top of the pile by the secretary). The letter itself should be flawless and tightly constructed, and the envelope should always be marked "personal and confidential" (to pass the gatekeeper). Your singular theme should be this: I know I can make a difference at your publication. You need people like me. You must use me.

2) Come up with five solid ideas, things hopefully you're passionate about and expert in, and write a couple of paragraphs on each (exactly what the story is and how you'd be attacking it). Make sure these "pitch letters" are well written (the editor will be judging your writing talent every step of the way) and targeted at the appropriate publications, ones publishing similar type stories. Fitting your story to the right publication is key. It should be as natural as a hand slipping smoothly in a glove.

3) Timing is everything. Spot trends and hit publications quickly with story ideas based on these, before someone else beats you to the punch. The hot item of the day approached uniquely is always a great way to get into print. Believe me, a well-timed pitch is gold!

4) Establish as personal a contact as possible with editors. Try to establish a phone connection at the very least, but face time is infinitely better and should without question be your goal. It's harder to reject a real live breathing person than a faceless name at the top of another letter. In fact, in your letters to editors, write a sentence about how you'll be calling on a specific day to discuss your "wonderful" ideas. This opens the door for your phone call. It won't be easy. It's like telemarketing at this point. But remember: Every rejection puts you closer to a sale. Though you'll have to pass some gate keepers to get to the top editors, always be professional, polite but pleasantly forceful. And if anyone asks what your business is with this editor, say it's personal. I mean, let's face it, your career is personal. Also, as a way around secretaries and assistants, you can call before 9 AM and after 5 PM-when they aren't there. And be prepared what you'll say if the editor actually gets on the line. Don't ramble. Get to the point and get off. Less is better. Make contact and leave on a high note. You want editors liking you enough to take your phone calls, not dreading the next one.

5) Study and immerse yourself in the marketplace. You need to get in the game to win it. Read media columns and industry magazines, join writing clubs, scan the net for resource sites, buy market books, get insider newsletters. Know the business inside out. Talk the talk and walk the walk. Editor and peers will know a professional when they see one.

6) Read what the best writers in your particular genre are doing. If you're a magazine writer, get yourself a copy of the annual anthology Best American Magazine Writing. If you're a short story writer, pick up The Best American Short Stories. See how it's done at its best. It'll be a great guide for what YOU should be doing. And read not for enjoyment but to learn. Study the writer's art and craft, and even try to imitate it. In pop speak, this is called Modeling.

7) Networking is nearly as important as talent. This took me a long time to understand--and believe. I always felt that the talent alone would get me to where I wanted to go. Not true. I found that out the hard way. You need to know people. A lot of them. My advice: Write "networking letters" to major editors (at the top of the masthead), not asking for work (never do that in a networking letter!) but simply for advice on how to succeed as a writer. I mean, these are the industry leaders you'll be contacting. They know a ton of inside info you don't, as well as a ton of other influential people in the business. Try to arrange a face-to-face meeting, between 15 minutes to a half-hour long at THEIR convenience in their office. You'll not only likely get some wonderful advice but will also establish yourself with a power broker. If he or she likes you enough and believes in you, he or she will likely consider you for future or current work (without you ever asking), or might refer you to another power broker. In other words, it multiplies naturally. One contact could lead to six. And after every visit, write a thank you note for them both graciously giving you their precious time and imparting some great information. Networking can also include your friends and family, who may have contacts in the field. Don't be afraid to reach out for help. You'll be amazed how many people will reach right back.

8) Do something toward furthering your writing career every single day. Read a book on writing. Write a pitch letter. Apply for a writing job. Set up an interview for a writing job. Write a networking letter to an editor. Arrange a meeting with an editor. Read a book by a great writer (not so much for entertainment but analyzing what the author does to achieve a certain effect). Read magazines and newspaper articles about the industry in media/publishing sections (This is a wonderful way to find the names of top agents). The thing is, you need to be proactive and be it daily. Action breeds action! It also adds up: A single "positive" every day builds into 365 in a year!

9) Write every single day, no matter what. Your mind is like a muscle. It needs a regular workout to stay strong and sharp. It's like the man who asks someone on the street, "How do I get to Carnegie Hall?" And the other man says, "Simple. Practice, practice, practice."

10) Don't give up. The secret to ultimate success of any kind, I'm convinced, is persevering in the face of repeated rejection. If a newspaper/magazine/publishing house/literary agency doesn't accept you at first glance, try them again six months later. Editors, people, and philosophies change frequently. If you're not the cup of tea for one, you might be for another. The trick to succeeding as a writer, I feel, is having the strength and conviction to jump hurdles. Never take "no" for a final answer. Simply consider it the start for coming up with a more effective approach. Bottom-line is, if you write well, have great ideas and are well connected, success is definitely yours!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sometime We Don't Know What We're Capable Of

"Sometimes we don't know what we're capable of until the game is on the line.
Sometimes the breakthrough comes in the 11th hour."
~ Mitch Ditkoff

Saturday, October 3, 2009

One Step At A Time

"All great masters are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line. Many a man had taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, October 2, 2009

TQ asks "How Many Hats Do You Wear?"

"The achievement of your goal is assured the moment you commit yourself to it."
~ Mack R. Douglas

Your TQ Training Challenge for Friday, October 2, 2009:

Preview ALL Goals -- Choose the Most Rewarding to Focus on...
How Many Hats Do You Wear?

To maintain a healthy balance in your life, keep a list of all your roles. Then, create a specific goal for each role every week.

Roles are the hats you wear, the responsibilities you have. Give each hat the special attention it deserves this week.

"To will is to select a goal, determine a course of action that will bring one to that goal, and then hold to that action until the goal is reached. The key is action."~ Michael Hanson

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ways to Get Unstuck

Susan Swartz says:
September 26, 2009 at 11:37 am
I am stuck creatively at the moment, and have been for some time. Don’t know quite how to get unstuck. Usually organizing paints, yarns, beads helps: just fondling the textures, viewing the colors and visualizing but this time it hasn’t worked. Nor has nature, which has gone through summer and now into leaves falling and chillier weather. I just can’t seem to pull it together: I am 2 swaps behind in artquilt postcards with a 3rd coming due; I started a jewelry business and was excited enough to buy (and organize) boxes full of new materials, but have an empty etsy shop. I went to Bead & Button and came home with lots of new projects and ideas I was excited about but have stalled on those. I keep cutting out photos and printing out projects but nothing grabs me. So I’m left with knitting a safe baby sweater and a scarf just to keep my hands busy. Help!
susan w says:
September 26, 2009 at 11:37 am
If I had ……. _____ would have happened.
If I had….. ____ wouldn’t have happened.
The tough part is recognizing those IF signs and acting with intention. No regrets, just lessons learned.
Mary Ellen says:
September 26, 2009 at 11:51 am
I find setting up a “play date” with another creative person gets me going again. WE can play with making art, by seeing art in shows, museums, or even prowling bookstores and by visiting art supply stores. Once we get started again, everything stars to look like an art supply store to me! Then I can drag my treasures back into my studio to feed my hungry art-beast.

Jan Scarborough says:
September 26, 2009 at 11:56 am
I keep a journal (or should I now say journals) of notes, sketches and ideas. When I’m stuck creatively, going through these usually gets me going again.
Lillian Mederak says:
September 26, 2009 at 11:59 am
I do get in a creative rut once in a while too.
What works for me is doing something totally different….just forget about it for a while
Read a book….
get together with a friend
Your mind just needs a break!
Suzanne B says:
September 26, 2009 at 12:07 pm
For me, viewing work of others is always inspiring. Sometimes, the best source for me, is just looking at advertistments in magazines. I notice color combinations, placement of text, font style and size,etc and try to study the ads that really grab me and make me want to look at them.
ann rund says:
September 26, 2009 at 12:21 pm
One way I have found to get “unstuck” is to pick a word and force myself to dwell on it and turn it into art. Example: shelter was a word I used to come up with a watercolor painting of all my hats, and a small assemblage in house shape with some personal family memories inside.. One work= 2 art projects.
Lotus Vele says:
September 26, 2009 at 12:23 pm
My favorite way to get “unstuck” is to relax with my favorite music and a pile of my favorite art books. When there’s chaos at home, I use my ipod and tune out everyone. lol…
My favorite and most used prompt for my journaling is to describe/draw my present surroundings, what I am doing at the moment and how I am feeling. When the entry is done, I always end with the date and occasionally time.
Carol Wiebe says:
September 26, 2009 at 12:47 pm
I like to grab a book of poetry from a favorite poet or two, get a warm cup of my favorite beverage, and start reading. Poetry is so full of visual images, and wonderful word plays, that things start happening in my mind, art-wise, that I want to express and play with.
Gail White says:
September 26, 2009 at 12:53 pm
My favorite way to start creativity rolling is to just start. Grab some colored pencils and paper and color, just like I did when I was a little girl, such fun. I always like to remind people that creativity is not nesessarily inate, it can emerge at any time.
Patricia G says:
September 26, 2009 at 12:54 pm
well, I find that signing up for a one or two day workshop does wonders for me. First I’ll google the artist and see if I can figure out what will be taught and garner some ideas which I jot on random envelopes and scraps. That leads me to sketching ideas for pieces in my sketchbook. I will find ideas forming and will gather my bits and pieces because I hate to use the instructor’s pics and will use my things during the workshop. Pretty soon my head is buzzing with ideas and I’m getting excited. This way, for me, the workshop will be successful and I will come home with things that reflect my style and will be ready to continue working on them and branching out.
Connie Vickers says:
September 26, 2009 at 12:54 pm
When I’m stuck, checking website/blogs that inspire me is a big help, but if I really want to produce something something soon, I leave home. There is something about picking up my backpack and a bottle of water that makes it real. I don’t even have to go far I just can’t be at home where I can think about laundry, cleaning, whatever. Anyplace seems to work. Parks, downtown, historic spots, museums, anyplace away from the house. Then I get out the sketchbook and start. Amazing.
Linda Cameron says:
September 26, 2009 at 12:56 pm
When I get “stuck” I clean my craft table. There is often an unfinished project underneath all the piles of stuff, and just the process of putting things away starts to install new ideas in my head. Once my place is clean and shiny, if I still don’t have anything, I get my card maps out and close my eyes and choose one. Then it all seems to come together and I make at least 4 of whatever card map I chose. I also play in my journal, doing background pages ahead of myself, and adding collage pictures here and there as I go. Sometimes I just have to accept that there’s nothing going on, turn out the light, and go watch TV (but of course, I’m reading stamping magazines during the commercials!)!
Tilly says:
September 26, 2009 at 1:04 pm
When I am stuck, I ‘treat’ myself to a new magazine..( and , yes, I do have lots of them !!!) I go out for a coffee and read the magazine, all the while thinking what have I got at home that I can use to make their ideas my own… at present I am into card making so I would buy a card making mag and think about all the ways I could change the creations to make it my own, using MY SUPPLIES… forces my brain to think. Copying is easy, creating takes a lot of brain power…. ready set go!!!.cheers,
Peggy Schroder says:
September 26, 2009 at 1:28 pm
Being ’stuck’ has never been a big problem for me. It’s usually just the opposite. To answer the question in just one word it would be ‘Pictures’. I clip, tear, photograph, I save every picture that inspires me in some way. Of course that also includes books. The pictures use to go into a notebook until I realized how ridiculous that was! Next, I had A drawer called “Inspiration” that I would dump them into. Needless to say that has grown into many drawers…loosely categorized. All I do is open a drawer…grab a handful and thumb through the pics and before I get to the bottom of the stack I’m off and running. Usually in more than one direction!
Lynne says:
September 26, 2009 at 1:32 pm
When I am stuck I like to spend some time in fun, funky galleries and see what others are doing. Often, another artist’s work and the way they “see” will inspire my own work.
Sandra says:
September 26, 2009 at 1:33 pm
I like to play the “What if??” game when I get stuck.
What if I do…..
or maybe if I…..
I wonder what would happen if I….
Susanne Willert says:
September 26, 2009 at 1:45 pm
Sometimes a good night’s sleep will get me unstuck. Or walking away from something I am stuck on for awhile. I will see inspiration in random places when I am not trying so hard.
Sometimes, I find that just playing helps unstick me. No purpose in mind, just toying with my materials.
I usually generate too many ideas when I am feeling creative. So I try and bank surplus ideas for when I may not have any inspiration, but I do have time to complete a project. I do beadwork (as well as rubber stamp) and I have little zippered pouches that I put in ideas for my next project. So if I am stuck, I just pull out one of those. For other things, I jot some general notes, or a diagram for later use.
Cheryl L. says:
September 26, 2009 at 1:51 pm
When I am stuck, I go Googling…I am in an altered book RR where the owner provided words – pick a word and create your spread around that word. So, I went Googling and explored the meaning of each word (even if I knew it), and from that exercise, my spread was born. I’ve done this for other projects as well…it works for me!
julie m says:
September 26, 2009 at 1:52 pm
I have limited play/creative time but I spend part of it on the internet. Well, actually I spend too much of it on the internet, but as I browse I keep bookmarks for the sites that really speak to me. When I am stuck in a rut and can’t come up with any ideas, I go to that list and randomly roam around. I always find something that gets me going. My favorite way of getting inspired, however, is to take a walk in one of the green spaces or along the rail trail. Nature always makes me feel so good that my mind mellows out and things just flow.
Susan says:
September 26, 2009 at 1:57 pm
When I get creatively stuck, if it is at night I go away from the work and “sleep on it”. If it is earlier in the day, sometimes I will go for a cuppa (coffee or tea) or if I can’t work at all I will try to get myself to do something mundain instead of creative, and then once I am in work mode I will have another shot at it.
Lisa H. says:
September 26, 2009 at 2:01 pm
I don’t remember where I saw it (someplace on the internet), but I borrowed an idea from someone a while back and it helps me when I’m feeling bored creatively – I have about a 40″-long “clothesline” (string, really) thumbtacked to the wall above my workspace, and I hang things there (on paperclips or clothespins) that have caught my eye – pictures from magazines, pieces of fabric, color swatches from the paint section of the hardware store – if I need a kickstart, I look through them; sometimes take things down and maybe jumble them around on the table, pairing things up or making a sort of collage-y grouping – sometimes the strangest combination of images, textures, and colors will leap out at me and get my juices flowing.
Barbara Gregory-Pearlman says:
September 26, 2009 at 2:12 pm
Whenever I get stuck, I do one of two things:
(1) I pick a pile of chaos, which is not hard to find since I am not the neatest and I am a pile-maker, and begin to sort through it. Once I start, I am bound to come across some unfinished projects, some pieces of handpainted papers I had forgotten about, a few rubber stamps I had misplaced, or even a bag of goodies I had purchased at Michael’s or JoAnne’s and never got to use.
(2)Grab a scissor and go through some old magazines, any kind. It never fails to inspire me to cut out some words, some lettering that has caught my attention, a color background on an ad, an optical design, a color combination I’d never used before, etc.
I try to put these things I’ve cut out into a large box or envelope, but I find them all over the house since I’ll also discover some ideas in the newspaper and just tear them out and drop them onto a table or stick them in a drawer.
This technique never fails to get my creative juices spraying and me back to work. Give it a try!
Kathleen Loose says:
September 26, 2009 at 2:18 pm
Sometimes when I’m in a creative rut the thing to get me out of it is a few hours of cleaning the house. Generally the kind of cleaning that doesn’t require much cerebral activity … so that my mind is free to just go … and when I’m finished cleaning I often have the energy and ideas to create something. And if I don’t, well at least part of the house is cleaner!
Cindy says:
September 26, 2009 at 2:22 pm
Sometimes if I need a new idea for making a card I look thru the Stampin’ Up catalog for some inspiration. Sometimes I just sit there and think and think and think….hmmmmm.
Mary Anne Hawkins says:
September 26, 2009 at 2:26 pm
Sometimes when I absolutely cannot come up with a new or creative idea, I pick out something I haven’t worked on in quite a while.
For example, if I need a new supply of dyed or painted paper, I set up my work space the day before I’m going to do it. I just get it all ready, with everything at hand, then when I’m ready to go, everything is all set to start and I just sit down and start in.
If the thought of digging out everyhing you will need for a project seems too much, try this one–it really works for me.
Naomi DiVincenzo says:
September 26, 2009 at 2:41 pm
I grab one of my old magazines that I have set aside for later. They have lots of earmarked pages that I ‘plan to check out later’ and then forgot about for a while. I do alot of card making and book making, but I also work an average of 42 hrs a week, so I have quite a collections of ‘try later’ techniques waiting for me.
Timaree (freebird) says:
September 26, 2009 at 3:02 pm
I’ll give some prompts as there are already so many ways listed to get past a block.
Prompt 1: Make a deck of cards for the alphabet.
Prompt 2: Pick a card from prompt one and use it to draw an object that starts with that letter or write a poem or story with the subject being an object that starts with that letter.
Prompt 3: Pick a card and then pick a color that starts with that letter. Use it to paint either the background to a picture or journal page.
Hope you have fun. If it doesn’t get you going you are really stuck and then you might just go with blue and make a blue-whoo page.
susun says:
September 26, 2009 at 3:25 pm
Being stuck is my natural state at the moment and the only remedy that works, no matter how blah I’m feeling, is to rearrange my living space. Sometimes it’s furniture, sometimes a minor tweak like sorting my bookshelves by color or redoing the family pictures but, no matter what, I always feel jumpstarted and ready to begin something new. That something may be more of a challenge but I’m ready!
Molly says:
September 26, 2009 at 3:55 pm
When I am stuck on a project I leave it behind and go storming through the house looking for anything and everything than needs to be thrown away, given away or donated. Then I drive it to the dump. Our dump even has a “gift house” where you can put things that are too good to be thrown, not good enough to donate, but things that someone might want or could use. Then when I come home I have some “physic breathing room” and I am usually able to make great strides on my project! Works like a charm.
Mindy says:
September 26, 2009 at 4:17 pm
Usually when all else fails, I jump on the treadmill and get moving. As I zone out and mull over whatever creative problem I am stuck on, things inevitably bubble up and sometimes I even have to stop to jot down new ideas.
Cheryl says:
September 26, 2009 at 4:33 pm
Since I’m a quilter, when I get stuck I tend to look through my fabrics. Or sometimes I look through magazines, books, or patterns to get ideas. Or I talk it over with my quilting buddies. Or set it aside and work on something else.
Jill Badonsky says:
September 26, 2009 at 4:50 pm
I go for a walk, meditate, listen to music, or do one of the prompts in my book… which by the way I’m honored to have reviewed here. Thanks so much, Wisdom Woman… don’t put me in the drawing – I have 50 copies… actually please pick TWO names and I’ll send the second copy to the second winner.
~Jill Badonsky
Meredith Resnick says:
September 26, 2009 at 5:17 pm
I love Jill’s book (and Jill, too). She has an amazing, relateable way of connecting and communicating. Yup, she basically rocks.
Fran Podlesney says:
September 26, 2009 at 5:48 pm
I get creativity challanged more than I would like. Then I turn to old art magazines or just talk to my art buddies and sometimes the inspiration comes. Or, just ask the grandchildren if they need something and sometimes my muse will come running back!
Darlene Clark says:
September 26, 2009 at 6:04 pm
Thank you for recommending this book. What a perfect Christmas gift for my artist friends! Your recommendation last year of “When Wanderers Cease to Roam” also encouraged a couple of hits on Amazon for gifts.
Jennifer VanSchoyck says:
September 26, 2009 at 6:04 pm
You are all alone, house-sitting in the country. A loud crash sound comes from the basement so you……
Write a haiku poem about birds
Write about something completely normal and boring, but write it as if it was magical and unusual
barbara says:
September 26, 2009 at 6:30 pm
Most times when I get stuck I clean off my worktable and rearrange my supplies and try to finish at least one of the unfinished projects I find there. I have a tendency to “start” projects, then go off and start another before I have finished the last one. But my favorite way is to grab my camera and take a walk around the block, and shoot pics of the birds, the neighbors pets, trees and shadows, cracks in the sidewalk…everyday ordinary things. By the time I get home I am excited to get them onto the computer and something usually sparks and I am unstuck with ideas pouring forth.
wendy says:
September 26, 2009 at 6:47 pm
When I’m stuck in a rut (like I have been recently), I like to peruse craft books in areas I’m not active for inspiration. For example, I don’t do pottery, but I recently picked up 2 books from the library (one on plates, the other on cups) and was immediately struck by several pieces. I could see cards, collages, jewelry – all inspired by the works in these books.
Marcia says:
September 26, 2009 at 7:25 pm
I call this period a “dearth” and when I get stuck in a dearth I do a few things…1.) go thru my extensive library of books i.e. art,craft
creativity books and sometimes go to the library or bookstore 2.)start drawing…my dogs, my desk
objects,my partner…anything to get myself going
3.) Meditate..I sit still, try to let my brain go
blank then go for a walk with my camera and take
photographs of rocks, trees all my surroundings then come back and use them to create.
Lisa says:
September 26, 2009 at 8:54 pm
When I’m stuck in a rut I like to do a craft project with my 8 year old daughter. Her creativity and her lack of inhibition inspires me. She does what she loves and works intuitively without giving a thought about what others think or if it’s “right” or “wrong”. She creates art for the pure joy of it and reminds me what it’s all about. I try to work like her and it usually gets me through a rut.
Lynn says:
September 26, 2009 at 9:26 pm
I went to an Outdoor Art Fair today with another artist friend for inspiration, to see what’s new & chat with familiar artists. Then, went back to her place to create & craft with paper & paint. Doing art & crafting with a friend gets the creative energy flowing. Ideas constantly go round in my head.
Bev B says:
September 27, 2009 at 12:02 am
I like to buy a a new 8 pack of ‘Crayola’ crayons and color in coloring books. My other crayons work too, felts, pencils..whatever. I call them all my ‘crayons’, which drives my art friends crazy. But I do love coloing books.
janie says:
September 27, 2009 at 12:12 am
my creative muse seems to be out for lunch lately … but I know that all I need to do is bring my granddaughter Bellona over for a visit and she will help me find the most interesting things in my art room to ‘create’ with … maybe that is where my muse is … back in my childhood waiting for me!!
Carol says:
September 27, 2009 at 2:16 am
there is nothing better than taking a class, maybe not related to your craft, it can really kick start the brain. Yesterday I was teaching a jewellery class at a crafting day and had a few minutes to have a look what other tutors where doing and noticed some needle work on fabric going on that would translate into my beadwork. On the drive home there were all sorts of new ideas tumbling around in my head..they might not get out but that is another story…
Anonymous says:
September 27, 2009 at 5:15 am
What makes most artists professional is the fact they work on something whether they are inspired or not. Plus there’s often a deadline involved. This drives them even more. Sometimes it’s easy & sometimes it’s hard.
So when I am stuck, I just do it. Some of us need to discipline ourselves. If one was in an art class or workshop one would simply start the project, with no expectations of a masterpiece.
So trying a new technique or material might help.
Mimi L says:
September 27, 2009 at 5:35 am
I dip into my stash of magazines, tearing out images or just pages of color, to add to my image folders. Sometimes an idea for a collage surfaces. I also have a large floor-to-ceiling image board, similar to the clothesline idea mentioned above.
Ann says:
September 27, 2009 at 6:22 am
I get out some of my 3yo craft stuff and we’ll do a collage type project or a paint project together and his enthusiasm and creativity usually inspires me just by looking at the colours or items he choses to put together or by what he creates and the story he tells me about the item. They seem to see the world in such a clearer light than adults and it helps to unblock my ebbs in mojo!
Maggie says:
September 27, 2009 at 7:24 am
When I’m stuck in a rut I try to take on the mindset of someone I think could solve this problem or heave me out of this rut. When I’m trying to paint or draw I ask myself how would DaVinci do this, what would Matisse do here etc…
It’s also helpful with writing as in how would Hemingway end this story? What would Shakespeare think of this character? How would Salinger make this person more sympathetic? When we get out of our own limited minds and experiences and open up to all the wisdom of the masters who have come before us it frees us from our own limitations and opens us up to new possibilities.
Cecilia Swatton says:
September 27, 2009 at 7:43 am
I would love to see the responses to this topic collected — reading thru them is a delight!
I just returned from a long road trip, which included a visit to the Corning Glass Museum in Corning, NY. I was looking for inspiration for abstract painting compositions — and I found them there. I took lots of photos that in most cases were tight close-ups of sections of the glass artforms on display. The photos themselves won’t be used in my art, but the captured designs will be springboards of inspiration for a long time to come.
I’ve had the same experience when visiting Grounds for Sculpture in the Trenton, NJ, area.
I don’t work in glass or in sculpture, and perhaps that’s the reason that these two artforms inspire me.