Creativity Today

A Different Way to Live Life

The Power of Writing Workshops

Last summer, I attended my first writing workshop at Writopia Lab. It was literally magical. I had been having writer’s block frequently for about three months, which was so frustrating. It had used to be so easy to become inspired and write a poem or a story, but, it had since become extremely difficult, and I didn’t understand why.

But then, I went to Writopia, and, suddenly, I could write again. I wrote plays, poems, and short stories in a warm environment full of people who loved writing just like I did. They all gave me feedback on my writing, and, because of that constructive yet informative criticism, I am a much better writer.

The Writopia logo.

The Writopia logo.

Although there aren’t Writopia classes everywhere in the world, there are certainly writing workshops everywhere. And I encourage you all to go to one if ever you find yourself without inspiration and even if you do have inspiration, so you have the opportunity to share and improve your work.

And if you can’t go to an official writing workshop, there is always another option: Talk to your friends who are interested in writing and create your own workshop! It will have the exact same effect as a professional writing workshop, with the added bonus of being with your friends.

Creative challenge:

This leads me to today’s creative challenge: write a story, short story, poem, script, essay, article, blog post, or any other genre you enjoy writing. It doesn’t matter if you are inspired or if you’re in the midst of writer’s block. Just write whatever comes to you. Bring it to a writing workshop near you and watch magic occur before your very eyes.

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Have you ever been to a writing workshop? If so, do you love writing workshops as much as I do? Do you feel they add to your writing abilities? Why or why not? Comment below to discuss.

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Is Journal Writing Really Effective?

I have a love-hate relationship with journals and journal writing.

My personal Moleskine journal.

My personal Moleskine journal.

On the one hand, journals are a great way to keep your thoughts and observations in an organized place where you know you will be able to easily access them later. Accessibility is something I have always loved about journals – after all, in our hectic daily lives, it is important to have some aspect of organization!

I’ve read that creative people with imaginative ideas always jot down their thoughts so they won’t forget them. British novelist and journalist Will Self is an example of this – he has said, “[a]lways carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever.” I agree with this philosophy, as thoughts are easily lost and I wish to remember as much as I can of my own personal musings and inspirations.

But, on the other hand, journals can be counterproductive, in my opinion, for two reasons:

  1. Sometimes my thoughts are simply too complicated to be organized into a journal. I find journals especially appropriate when I am traveling and documenting my vacation because my writings are full of concrete thoughts, so everything is much less chaotic.
  2. It’s often much more convenient to scribble away on a piece of paper or type into a word document or onto a phone (and with all the new technologies today, there are even apps to use as journals!) than to take out a journal, open it up to a blank page, and start writing. I often find that by the time that is complete, whatever thought I had in my head is gone!

Whether or not journals are the best way to document thoughts, it is still important to document them for future reference, as well as to make sure you retain all of your creativity and imagination.

Creative challenge:

And so I present my creative challenge of the day: Write down, or type (in a place where you know you will be able to find it later), any interesting thoughts, sentences, or phrases that come to your mind that you don’t want to forget. If someone tells you something funny, write it down. If you overhear a thought-provoking conversation (or any fascinating conversation, for that matter), write it down.

Use this collection of writing to inspire you in the future so you won’t easily be debilitated by writer’s block. Try to form some of your writings into a story, poem, or any other genre of writing, or perhaps try to create a piece of art based on them. I frequently use this method, and, I can promise you, it is both enjoyable and effective.

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Do you like journals and enjoy keeping them? Why or why not? Comment below to discuss.

And please feel free to share some of the phrases you have written down either in journals or other places. I always love seeing what kinds of ideas interest other people.

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What Does Your Handwriting Say About You?

My normal handwriting

My normal handwriting.

I have recently found myself writing my name in many different handwriting styles. I have experimented with several fonts, such as cursive, typewriter, and engraved, and I have also created a few of my own. This has become a new form of doodling for me, one which I never thought I would find so fascinating.

However, thinking back to it now, this new interest of mine makes sense. After all, I have always loved the written word, particularly as a reader and a writer, as well as each individual letter in a language. As a little girl, I always participated in school spelling bees and enjoyed every single spelling test I ever took. Although I can say with certainty that I loved spelling tests more than spelling bees because I could write down the words on a page and see how each letter looked and how it related to the rest of the letters to form a single, coherent, beautiful word. I also preferred spelling tests because I knew I would always do well, whereas in my third grade spelling bee, I came in second place, as I was eliminated on the word “mathematical,” which, of course, I will now always spell correctly.

My handwriting in a cursive font.

My handwriting in a cursive font.

My handwriting in an engraved font.

My handwriting in an engraved font.

My handwriting in an original font I call "shadow."

My handwriting in an original font I call “shadow.”

There is an entire field called graphology devoted to analyzing handwriting. Ironically, when learning about the different methods of handwriting analysis, I discovered my handwriting indicates that I have a creative personality. No surprise there!

But, there is something that I am wondering:

If you purposefully write in a different font from what you normally use, would this handwriting choice represent a different, less obvious part of your personality?

Creative challenge:

And so, I present to you the next creative challenge: first, figure out what your current handwriting says about you. Then, create a new font that you enjoy writing in. It should be similar to your current handwriting, but make sure there are some distinct differences. Write anything you’d like using your new style, and then use the handwriting analysis methods to see if your new handwriting reveals aspects of your personality, as your regular handwriting should.

My handwriting in a typewriter font.

My handwriting in a typewriter font.

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Do you think this challenge will work? What do you think your handwriting will say about you? Comment below to discuss.

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Eyes: Windows to the Soul

One of my eye drawings from last year.

One of my eye drawings from last year.

A misconception I have come across when discussing creativity with friends is that it is in its own category; it is not associated with other disciplines, such as psychology or science.

Well, I disagree.

People always have opportunities to be creative in everything they do, whether it is by being outwardly creative by making a piece of art, by solving problems creatively, or by incorporating an aspect of creativity into any analysis or experiment.

For example:

While looking back on many of the doodles that I have drawn both recently and in the past few years, I discovered a common theme: I love to draw eyes. I draw them absolutely everywhere and am highly interested in the prevalence of eyes in art throughout history.

Two examples of this stand out for me: Ancient Egyptian paintings and the symbol of the Evil Eye.

Ancient Egyptian Art. Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Ancient Egyptian Art. Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

I have always been fascinated by Ancient Egyptian mythology, and along with this came a great appreciation for their art. In their paintings, the Ancient Egyptians depicted people with their faces in profile, which, as I was once taught, was possibly to prevent evil spirits from taking over the souls of the people in the paintings. If the people had their entire faces showing in the paintings, the evil spirits would be able to invade by traveling through the people’s eyes. However, with only one eye showing, there were no visible entrances into the people’s bodies.

The Evil Eye, a symbol seen in many different cultures, is said to ward off any evil thoughts or looks that have been cast upon you. The Evil Eye is commonly worn as jewelry, but it can also been seen in art. I find it fascinating that, in this context, the eye is given power to protect the wearer from evil, something with which I would not usually associate it.

I soon began to wonder what it was about eyes that had captivated me (and my doodling habits) for much of my life, so I decided to research psychoanalyses of doodles. While I found a variety of answers regarding the meaning of doodling eyes, two analyses especially resonated with me:

My personal Evil Eye from Greece.

My personal Evil Eye from Greece.

Since eyes are often considered to be the windows to the soul, by drawing eyes, I may be either…

1. expressing my curiosity and desire to understand people and the world

                                                      or

2. reflecting my inner self through my drawings.

Either way, doodling eyes is a consistent and enjoyable part of my life.

Creative challenge:

This leads me to today’s creative challenge: Draw an eye and keep working on it until you are satisfied. Then, look at the meanings of different types of eyes (yes, there are different interpretations for drawing big eyes and drawing small eyes, for example – but don’t look at the interpretations until you have completely finished drawing) and see if the interpretation that matches the eye you drew represents your personality!

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Do you think interpreting doodles is an accurate method of revealing your personality?

And which explanation of doodling eyes do you resonate more with?

Comment below to discuss.

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Creativity is Key

I’m on a mission.

What is my mission, you ask?

My mission is to bring creativity into everyday life.

How can I do this?

One way: by changing the way we procrastinate.

As of now, procrastination has a negative connotation. Dictionary.com defines it as “the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention.”

Although it is seen as bad, procrastination is inevitable; we all find ourselves doing it. When we’re writing papers for work or for school, we slowly (or quickly) drift off to Facebook, or another internet site that captivates our attention more than the work we’re supposed to be doing does.

Some of My Doodles

But what if, instead of spending time on things that draw our mind away from our imagination, we spent it on the exact opposite?

Try to count how many minutes you spend procrastinating each day. It’s probably a lot (it’s okay – you can admit it – you’re not alone!). Now imagine what would happen if you spent that time working on a hobby or discovering a new one.

If you like to write, procrastinate by writing. Who knows, you might end up with a novel. If you like art, draw a picture, paint a painting, or sculpt a sculpture. Or, if you want to multitask and do some of your work at the same time, simply doodle (if you observe me throughout the day, you’ll notice that I am an avid doodler). Just be creative in any way possible.

Being creative opens up your mind to the possibilities in the world and allows you to look at the world through a more imaginative lens. Creativity and imagination are two of the most prevalent words in my life. I frequently describe myself using those words and they are the two of the parts of my identity that I have the most pride in. I love that I am able to sit down and write a story or draw a picture (with my favorite medium, oil pastels) and be happy (and amazed) with the result. To be fair, at the beginning, I was not the most amazing writer or artist (no one is – even those who have a knack for it), but, several years ago, I began to find time within my day to practice these hobbies, and I have since greatly improved. As a little girl, I was told “practice makes perfect,” and although no one is perfect (and I most certainly have not, and never will, completely change how I procrastinate), practice certainly makes better.

A Recent Oil Pastel Drawing

Too many people have told me they have no time to be creative. They say they have too much schoolwork or too many responsibilities, and taking time out of their busy schedules to work on a hobby is not conducive to their lives. Their work takes precedence over everything else.

And while I agree that everyone has a lot of work to do, a simple change in the common procrastination habits is all that is necessary to allow work and play to happily exist side by side.

And that is where I come in.

On this blog, I will post new suggestions of creative activities to do in different situations, such as while procrastinating. These activities will get the imaginative side of your mind running and encourage (and hopefully inspire) you to make creativity a priority in your life.

Creative challenge:

Here is your first creative challenge: Start (and maintain!) a blog about anything in the entire universe that interests you. Whenever you have an extra few minutes, use them to write a post.

Have fun!!

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How much do you value creativity in your life? Comment below to discuss.

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