Creativity Series - Just Do It! {1}

On Thursdays I've been known to host a mini column called Real Talk where I address some 'issue' I've noticed relating to creativity, blogging and small business. This year I'd like to turn Real Talk into a regular Thursday column so you can depend on it. I think we all need certain things in life that we can depend on and I'm hoping that you'll help me keep the column alive by contributing your thoughts through a comment because what I write is mostly a springboard meant to spark ideas and that's where you come in.

I've been thinking of a way to sort of kick off this column again since it hasn't been that regular so I decided to launch a 10 week series (starting today) on the topic of Creativity and getting those creative wheels turning. Each week on Thursday I'll post a tip and then you can chime in with your thoughts and ideas. I'll also invite some guests to join in on the topic with their thoughts to inspire you. You can comment with complaints, worries, encouragement, fears, additional tips, whatever you want because the goal is for us to open up and get real. I'll try to include a creative exercise each week for those interested in jumping in...

A mind map that I did for myself in March '08. I tend to do one once a year around March. I map things a little differently than others as I don't start in the middle of the page and work outwards. When it comes to self exploration I am not a big believer in following rules and staying within the lines all of the time (wink).

So let us begin!

I believe that anyone can be creative, it's an inherent human trait and not reserved for a gifted few. Think back to your childhood when creativity was unstoppable. You spent hours playing, building, laughing, and daydreaming. Somewhere along the road to adulthood, creativity was substituted with practical, rational thinking in order to adapt and be productive at school or work. As years rolled by, many consider the direction of their lives and notice that something vital is missing. Some report that life has become nothing more than a monotonous hamster wheel of work, bills, and rushing to meet the needs of everyone else before (or instead of) of their own. Can you relate?

I was once a hamster in a wheel but I found my way out by discovering that the missing link was there all along. I needed to be more creative, even it if meant a complete overhaul in lifestyle. While I'm not a Psychologist or Counselor, I do have experience to share and I'm living proof that taking control of one's life to live better and with more passion is entirely possible. Aside from personal struggles in my life, I resigned from a lucrative, but hardly creative, career only three short years ago and today I'm very happy, successful in my eyes, and proud of myself for pursuing my passions because I sat on my dreams for many years. How did I do it? How do so many other creative types do it? Starting today I'll reveal a tip a week (10 weeks total) to reveal the various ways that I tapped into my creative voice. I'll also invite some of my friends who I feel can give you some awesome ideas.

The goal here is to share, build a conversation, motivate, and show you that if you're currently feeling zero creativity in your life then there is hope. I hope those of you who are listening to your creative voice will also chime in with tips on how you became more joyful, successful, and emotionally more tuned in too.

Here's Tip #1:

Look backward in order to move forward. Let's explore the topic of childhood creativity as mentioned briefly above. What did you love to do? One way to recall memories is a centuries old technique that I enjoy called mind mapping. Wikipedia describes it accurately, "Mind mapping is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea." For this particular exercise write, "What I loved to do as a kid" in the middle of a blank sheet of paper and jot down memories, ideas, and associations from there to form branches resembling a tree. This creative exercise is an effective way to organize information. Try to avoid pausing or editing because that encourages linear thinking and mind mapping is a freeform exercise to stimulate out-of-the-box thinking. In fact, once you complete this exercise, you may find mind mapping an effective, and creative way, to solve problems and form new ideas in the future, boosting creative thinking. Connecting with your childhood hobbies and dreams will help you connect to things you once enjoyed before convention set in.

Your thoughts? Any questions that you have for me or others? Any issues or ideas you have encountered lately in your own life around this topic? What did you love to do as a child? What would you love to do now? If fear and money were no issue, what would you change? Are you feeling inspired and creative or are you feeling a bit tapped?

Creative Exercise: Try to carve out some time and research mind mapping. Sit down in a quiet space and create your own mind map.

P.S. This weekly series will only be a few paragraphs long. Most of the 'meat' will be in the comments section. :)

Look for the next creativity post on Thursday, January 22nd! We'll be talking about something lots of us need help with...

(image from holly becker for decor8)