Creative Joy

There Is Space for All of Us

December 6, 2017
Worried someone else is creating "better" than you? Click the image to discover one simple phrase that will help >>>

A few weeks ago, I received an email from an acquaintance and fellow blogger, someone I respect a lot and whose work complements mine. Her message revolved around a topic I had covered myself on Becoming Who You Are a few months back. I read her words, savouring them and enjoying how she approached the subject. And then I felt a twinge:

This is fantastic. I wish I could have expressed it like that.

The twinge is something we all face at one point or another. It’s a natural part of creative work. Watching someone tackle the same ideas or techniques we’ve tackled and watch them do it in a way that, in our opinion, is better. Watching someone take a conversation we had and transform the ideas we discussed from good to great. It’s fun—this is part of why I like this kind of idea-based work—but it also pushes an insecure button inside me that says “I wish I could do it like that too.”

And then we have a choice. We can buy into the idea that the way the other person has done something better, more useful, more valuable, etc. We can use that twinge to fire up our inner critics and give them ammunition for weeks.

Or we can notice the twinge, think “Oh look, a twinge,” and then read like a writer, unpacking why we like their words so much, what we like about them, how they’ve done things differently, and so on. Not so we can berate ourselves for not matching it, but so we can appreciate it and to learn.

If theirs is a style we want to emulate (not copy, emulate) we can examine their words and pick out aspects of the structure, tone, vocabulary, and voice we want to use. We can make a mental note of how that writing feels to read and think about how we want the people reading our words to feel, and so on.

But we can also just acknowledge a simple truth: there is room for all of us. Reading this acquaintance’s words, I noticed that while I felt the twinge, I was also aware we have very different writing styles. While I love reading her writing coming from her, it’s not a style I could adopt myself without crossing the line into creating a persona that’s not authentic. And while I wouldn’t write like that myself and feel like I was being authentic in doing so, I love reading her words and I love reading that coming from her because it is her. I am not that writer. But she is, and it fits her personality and her ambiance perfectly.

Some people will love reading her words on the topic, some people will love reading mine. Some people will love reading both and appreciate the different perspectives we each bring.

There is room for everyone. Someone somewhere is waiting to read what you have to write. They might not read your words today, tomorrow, or even this year. But the wonderful thing about writing, and sharing is that those words will be there, in your style, expressed in your way, when they most want or need them.

Photo by Taylor Leopold on Unsplash

Action & Momentum, Creative Joy

Every Day Is a New Opportunity

December 28, 2016
Newsflash: you don't have to wait until next week, month or year to start that thing you want to do. Every day is a new opportunity, starting right now.

How often do you think about something you’d love to do more of, less of or differently, then think “Great, I’ll start on Monday”?

Yes, there is something to be said for pacing ourselves. We can only take on so many commitments at one time and we do ourselves and our work a disservice when we spread ourselves too thin.

But there is also something to be said for harnessing our enthusiasm, for using that drive as steam power to create, for engaging that energy and using it to drive ourselves forward. Continue Reading…

Recommended Reading

Are You Ready for the 2017 Reading Challenge?

November 30, 2016
Are you ready for a 2017 reading challenge? Click through to get your 26-book and 52-book challenge checklists!

With one month left in the year, it’s time to start thinking about 2017! I love reading and, the last few years, I’ve read over 100 books per year. This year, with a new baby, I’m changing things up and creating my very own 2017 reading challenge I want to share with you.

There are two versions of this challenge you can try depending on how ambitious you’re feeling. The first is a 26-book version, which evens out at a book once every two weeks. The second is the 56-book version, which is the equivalent of a book a week. I’m planning to start with the 26-book version and see how things go. Join me?

The 26-book 2017 reading challenge

  1. A book you read in school
  2. A book from your childhood
  3. A book published over 100 years ago
  4. A book published in the last year
  5. A non-fiction book
  6. A book written by a male author
  7. A book written by a female author
  8. A book by someone who isn’t a writer (think Paul Kalathani or Richard Branson)
  9. A book that became/is becoming a film
  10. A book published in the 20th Century
  11. A book set in your hometown/region
  12. A book with someone’s name in the title
  13. A book with a number in the title
  14. A book with a character with your first name
  15. A book someone else recommended to you
  16. A book with over 500 pages
  17. A book you can finish in a day
  18. A previously banned book
  19. A book with a one-word title
  20. A book translated from another language
  21. A book that will improve a specific area of your life
  22. A memoir or journal
  23. A book written by someone younger than you
  24. A book set somewhere you’ll be visiting this year
  25. An award-winning book
  26. A self-published book

2017 Reading Challenge! Are you ready for a 2017 reading challenge? Click through to get your 26-book and 52-book challenge checklists...

The 52-book 2017 reading challenge

  1. A book you read in school
  2. A book from your childhood
  3. A book published over 100 years ago
  4. A book published in the last year
  5. A non-fiction book
  6. A book written by a male author
  7. A book written by a female author
  8. A book by someone who isn’t a writer
  9. A book that became/is becoming a film
  10. A book published in the 20th Century
  11. A book set in your hometown/region
  12. A book with a name in the title
  13. A book with a number in the title
  14. A book based on a true story
  15. A book someone else recommended
  16. A book with over 500 pages
  17. A book you can finish in a day
  18. A previously banned book
  19. A book with a one-word title
  20. A book translated from another language
  21. A personal growth book
  22. A memoir or journal
  23. A book by someone younger than you
  24. A book set somewhere you’ll visit this year
  25. An award-winning book
  26. A book you were supposed to read in school but haven’t yet
  27. A book with a character with your first name
  28. A book with a place in the title
  29. A book set in the future
  30. A play
  31. A scary book
  32. A funny book
  33. A book of short stories
  34. A trilogy or series
  35. A bestseller
  36. A book you own but haven’t read yet
  37. A book about philosophy
  38. An epic poem
  39. A Victorian novel
  40. A book of poetry
  41. A book with a colour in the title
  42. A book with an appealing cover
  43. A book about psychology
  44. A book about science
  45. A graphic novel
  46. A self-published book
  47. A book based on a true story
  48. A famous author’s first novel
  49. A book of non-fiction essays
  50. A book by an author you haven’t read before
  51. A book set in a country you’ve never been to
  52. A book set in the place you live today

2017 Ultimate Reading Challenge! Are you ready for a 2017 reading challenge? Click through to get your 26-book and 52-book challenge checklists...

The idea behind these challenges is to encourage myself to read books I might usually overlook or wouldn’t otherwise consider. If you’re not a huge fan of reading but would like to try to read more, creating a reading challenge is also a great way of gamifying this activity and making it more fun.

So what do you think? Are you planning to do a 2017 reading challenge? Leave a comment and let me know!

 

Action & Momentum

5 Ways to Swap Procrastination for Productivity

October 19, 2016
Do you want to swap procrastination for productivity? Me too! Click the image for five ways to get started with your most meaningful & important work.

As a master procrastinator, I’ve tried almost every trick in the book to change my lingering ways. Along the way, I’ve discovered two bittersweet truths about procrastination:

1. The experience of procrastinating is often way worse than the experience of just doing the thing we’re avoiding.
2. There is no “one size fits all” approach to switching procrastination for productivity Continue Reading…

Creative Joy, Entrepreneurship

How to Generate Creative Ideas

September 21, 2016
Do you struggle to generate creative ideas? Keep reading for eight ways to inspire your creative spark and turn you into an idea machine.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.”
—Steve Jobs

As a writer (and someone with an interest in creativity in general), I’m deeply curious about how we come up with creative ideas. This isn’t just an idle curiosity: with two blogs, several books on the go, and a business that relies on me to come up with new content and ideas each week, generating ideas is a necessary part of me being able to do what I do. Here are some of the things I’ve found most helpful for generating creative ideas:  Continue Reading…