Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: creativity

The New Wave of Healing in the Dark Times . . .

We live in dark times; and, if you feel your life is completely sunny and care-free, you really should make videos about how you keep the dogs-of-malevolence at bay; then, share them widely so the rest of us wouldn’t have to suffer so much…

We live in dark times; and, I assume that most of the folks who are reading this engage in some form of art—painting, singing, playing music, dancing, sculpting, writing, and so forth…

However, this blog focuses on Reading, Writing, and Publishing; so, if you don’t write or publish, I’m fairly sure you read, right?


What’s with that rather hippie-like title up there, The New Wave of Healing in the Dark Times . . .?

The simplest way for me to explain myself is to point toward that link up towards the top of the left side-bar that says, #MainStreetWriters, then share a quote from the Founder of that movement; plus, share another quote from a post two days ago called, Dystopia & Apocalypse ~ Two Seemingly Immortal Genres . . .

Quote from the Founder of the Main Street Writers Movement:

“These are scary and uncertain times, but we must continue to use our voices and to listen to our neighbors’ words….strengthen the national literary ecosystem through passionate engagement at the local level. Let’s honor and amplify our communities’ underrepresented voices. Let’s buy from local bookstores and small presses. Let’s leave our houses and dance in the streets to the sound of each other’s words.”

Now, the quote from that past post (and, I can safely say that, even if you’ve already read it, it bears re-reading...):

This is your assignment.

Feel all the things. Feel the hard things. The inexplicable things, the things that make you disavow humanity’s capacity for redemption. Feel all the maddening paradoxes. Feel overwhelmed, crazy. Feel uncertain. Feel angry. Feel afraid. Feel powerless. Feel frozen. And then FOCUS.

Pick up your pen. Pick up your paintbrush. Pick up your damn chin. Put your two calloused hands on the turntables, in the clay, on the strings. Get behind the camera. Look for that pinprick of light. Look for the truth (yes, it is a thing—it still exists.)

Focus on that light. Enlarge it. Reveal the fierce urgency of now. Reveal how shattered we are, how capable of being repaired. But don’t lament the break. Nothing new would be built if things were never broken. A wise man once said: there’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. Get after that light.

This is your assignment.

D’ya get the idea?

I’ll boil it down a bit:

If you have even a scrap of creativity, realize that it is Light.


Cast your Light as far as you can!

We all need more Light

BTW, if you take this link, you can get a poster with the “This is your assignment” Credo…
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Boosting Your #Creativity

I’m going to share two ways to boost creativity—a website and a particular article on that site… Medium

The site is called Medium and here’s a bit of what they say about themselves:

“Medium is a different kind of place to read and write on the internet.

“A place where the measure of success isn’t views, but viewpoints.

“Where the quality of the idea matters, not the author’s qualifications.

“A place where conversation pushes ideas forward and words still matter.”

The thing is, you can read there; but also, you can write there:

“However, the real value of Medium isn’t our tools. It’s all about the network, the connections with other people, and the stories you create. Well-designed networks reduce friction and help good stuff be found. Connections allow the whole to become greater than the sum of the parts and new paths to discover and build meaning. After all, isn’t that what every writer wants?”

Interaction is Key:

“Reading these stories is not passive. Every highlight you leave changes the way others interpret the story — and maybe even the way the author thinks about what they wrote.”

So, boost your creativity by reading great articles on Medium (you can follow particular writers and/or follow tagged ideas) and share your creativity on Medium by writing articles.

And, here’s their Huge Promise:

“When you sign up for Medium, you are joining a community of millions of thinkers and doers offering their best ideas and moving conversation forward on the biggest issues and interests of the day. Because great writing deserves a great audience.”

And, here’s an article from Medium to start you off—9 Ways To Dramatically Improve Your Creativity.

To encourage you to take that link, here are the topics discussed in the article:

1. Learn Through Collaboration
2. Do Something You Love
3. Find Inspiration From Other Industries
4. Unplug (Or Just Do Nothing)
5. Walk
6. Set the Right Mood
7. Use the Six Thinking Hats Technique
8. Ask For Advice or Feedback
9. Pick a Terrible Idea

I dare ya to go read what Larry Kim says about those ideas; and, that link of his name will take you to other articles he has on Medium :-)
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What’s the #BigMagic about #ElizabethGilbert?

Back in 2012, I included a video of Elizabeth Gilbert in the post, Must Writers Suffer Melancholy, Anguish, and Depression?

I consider that video a Magic Performance

She captures Something Elusive about writing and infuses it into one’s soul

I’ve watched it more times than I can count; but, until very recently, I took no notice of her books

So, because of her most recent release and a friend giving me an Amazon gift card, I bought three of Ms. Gilbert’s books.

Eat Pray Love was Magic

The video I mentioned up there was done after Eat Pray Love had become a phenomenon—selling over 10 million copies.

I’d imagined it was some light, frilly thing about taking a year off from work and living it up

Turns out it was an extremely well-written, lyric book about taking a critically-needed year to heal and rebalance a life sorely-torn

So my first answer to the question (without the hashtags) What’s the Big Magic about Elizabeth Gilbert? would be:  she could suffer a devastating divorce, bring on more suffering with a rebounding affair, and somehow convince her publisher to pay for a year’s travel to Italy, India, and Indonesia so she could reconstitute her identity

Oh! And then write a book about it all.

I also bought her novel, The Signature of All Things, which I won’t read until I’ve finished a chunk more of my research for my next book

And, I bought her newest book, Big Magic, slotted further down the reading road

You can watch a slew of videos with Elizabeth talking about Big Magic and here’s a bit of a synopsis:

“…this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers powerful insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and to let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love (and how to face down what we most fear).”

If my Muse were not the lovely martinet she is, I would be reading Big Magic right now—my next book needs a certain amount of preparatory care and feeding—and the Muse is confident I’ll begin reading Big Magic at just the right Magic Moment

I’m not allowed, yet, to know too much about that book but YouTube has a series of podcasts about Big Magic in Ms. Gilbert own voice (look in the right side-bar on YouTube for more of the series…)

And, speaking of her voice—it has Big Magic

It’s a combination of her tone and timbre (in a lower, provocative range) along with the pace of delivery (modulated by passion and concern) and her amazing ability to talk off-the-cuff yet make perfect and lyrically-delivered sense

Take A Listen………

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Everyone Can Be {More} Creative . . .

We all have the “creativity-gene”.

Everyone Can Be Creative

Image Courtesy of Flavio Takemoto ~

Or, if you prefer, we all have the Will to Create.

Even if you think you’re not creative at all, I bet, within the past few hours, you faced some decision and made your own creative choice about what to do—no matter how small you felt that choice was

Writers, readers, publishers—folks who want to write, read, or publish—people who don’t want to do any of those things—everyone—the mother who teaches her child, the father who works at home, the child who dreams of greatness, the homeless one who wishes for better dreams

Some of you are in life-positions where creativity is demanded of you—every split-second.

Perhaps you have a justification and the resources to buy a book like The Oxford Handbook of Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship—the “First major volume to connect and integrate contemporary research in organizational creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship, with a multi-level approach”.

Some of you have little or no extra money and just want to enliven an otherwise somber existence—stoke the embers of creativity—raise the spirit of radiant living.

Most of you are probably expressing your potential somewhere between those two poles of my own imagination

But, speaking to that person who feels life has no space for their creativity, let me quote something from the Aspen Ideas Festival blog:

“…all humans have a natural ability to come up with creative ideas. Although some people might have unwittingly suppressed this skill, everyone can unleash it by finding the creative confidence to voice ideas….In kindergarten, everyone considers him or herself an artist. This notion slowly dwindles away because most people are afraid of judgment and failure. That’s where the mindset of creative confidence steps in.”

Creative Confidence

First, we have to believe, no matter how much our circumstances may seem to suck, that we have whatever it takes to find creative solutions to our life challenges.

Then, we have to locate the spaces of mind and heart where creativity is hiding.

Finally, we have to somehow find the will to express that spark of personal creativity.

And, usually, we have to repeat that cycle of steps, repeatedly, to get the inspirational bonfire blazing

Btw, that book I mentioned before, from the Oxford University Press, costs $225.

Perhaps you have or can find or borrow about $17.00 for a book by Tom and David Kelly—Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All.

And, for those with no chance of scraping up any extra money, these two videos, with one of the authors of that last book, may be just enough to kickstart your creativity

[ EDIT: after publishing this post… ] One more resource to aid Creative Confidence:

Today Is Your Last Chance to Vote in Our Latest Poll…
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What Are The Daily Rituals of Creative People?

Short post today—book recommendation and an infographic (from my Best Friend) to ponder deeply

The book:

Daily Rituals by Mason Currey

A bit of the blurb:

“Kafka is one of 161 inspired, and inspiring, minds — among them, novelists, poets, playwrights, painters, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians — whose daily rituals are recorded in these pages.”

Now the infographic:

Want to develop a better work routine?
Discover how some of the world’s greatest minds organized their days.

Click image to see the interactive version
(via Podio).

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