10 Creativity Goals You Can Acheive

  1. Start a support group for your chosen craft. Writers, artists, musicians and programmers alike need support from people who understand what they do. Get together with some friends in your field and let them bring you back to what you love about your craft.
  2. Write one complete essay or short story, polish it up, and submit it for publication! Don’t focus too much on whether you’ll get accepted. I recently found some old rejection letters from top notch publications. I submitted things to them in college without knowing much about the publications, and yet, I’m proud that I sent those things out. In fact, I’m inspired to do it again.
  3. Re-read an author you’d written off before: Is Proust too self-absorbed? Are Faulkner’s “sentences” too convoluted? Try again. You might still dislike the writing, but maybe you can put a finger on why.
  4. Start a blog. Why not? Or revitalize your old blog if it’s become stagnant. Make it the online home for the things you’re most passionate about, whether that’s writing, fashion, art, music, news, quotes … Whatever you love? Share it.
  5. Dust off an old piece of writing you’d given up on years ago. You’ve probably learned a lot since you wrote that piece. Do you remember what problems it had that bugged you? Are there little gems in there you’d forgotten about? Maybe now you know enough to
  6. Write a letter to an author or artist whose work taught you something. You can mail it or just post it on your blog. You’d be surprised at the responses you get!
  7. Spend a few minutes nurturing your creativity every day. When you get home from work or school, just sit down with your thoughts and let your brain run loose a while. You’ll feel more relaxed afterward, and it will keep the creativity flowing.
  8. Read 12 books in 12 months. Read more if you have time. The point is to bring new information and ideas into your life.
  9. Try a new platform for writing, blogging or networking. Test the waters, and see if this new platform brings out something interesting for you.
  10. Try a form you previously labeled yourself “bad at.” Don’t expect to be good at it just because you’re trying it again, but see if you can approach it from a different angle and learn something new.

What other creative goals do you have? What do you do to keep your creative work fresh and inspired?

Ommwriter and The Chirp Chirp Chirp

Tonight, I decided to try out Ommwriter as recommended by the lovely Gala Darling. It’s a really neat program — good for getting into yourself and “being alone with your thoughts” as the intro video promised. Just for fun, I decided to see what happened if I put on my head phones and wrote with Ommwriter for a while. It was pretty nice. Check this out:

Summer night sounds.
the chirp chirp chirp
she remembers sleeping soundly
she remembers things one should not recall
the rythm of her sleeping heart beat
baby tree
mosquito hovering
cot mattress doubles as dream bed and stair case sled
for controlled fall
where there is no fall
for rushing the windows
for hogging the light
for it all
falling asleep hidden in the wide open
under the watchful gaze of windows
opening onto grassy lawn
shuddering green
make up
anything
you can be?
shhhh
secret sisters sheets and sweets
under showers graceful streams
awkward mirrors and shaking things
thigh inspection
magic tricks in the corner
see?
how she looks with her arms
wrapped around her shoulders
mostly she remembers
girls in mirrors
standing, staring, comparing
i wish i had your hair, she said.
Melanie discovered herself in the bedroom as the other girls went to play school.
Melanie’s father killed himself one Sunday afternoon
after church
Melanie stood before the full-length tilting mirror inspecting
just-formed breasts like on the first day
little girls are little boys that way
young adams until they
see themselves
girls stand in mirrors and reflect on one another’s eyes and hair and breasts
girls always trying to be the best

the chirp chirp chirp
the night alive and shining
the warmth outside
moist air like
summer drips on you
from sticky sweet stars
sweat rolls down
from summer scars
dragged behind the setting sun
into exploding horizon
she is allthe campfire crackle
she is dry leaf
pine needle

the chirp chirp chirp
the shadows of nothing
move across the street
the moon peering out
behind the trees
the grass green green
the sticky sweet
the summer pouring dripping night and day
the sap that rolls
the amber smell
the camp fire and the clay

the chirp chirp chirp
the door unlocked
truth or dare and sneaking boys
and wishing boys would sneak
the magnolia leaves dried
would crackle on the fire

the chirp chirp chirp
the sweet goodnight
giving chase on moonlit streets
racing past on bikes
sniffing out the entrances
sniffing out the woods
the fecund smells of childhood
bugs berries snake spit
the man with the ax, the devil kids
the chirp chirp chirp

the chirp
the chirp
the chirp chirp chirp
the shhh sweet baby
the hard sleep
the cry goodnight
the dogs in the distance
the fight
all mud in your hair now
all mud down the drain
bark back bark back bark back
and run

run the moonlit yard
run the long night bark
run the chirp chirp chirp

Ok, so that’s totally unedited, right? But… wow. It’s been a long time since I could just sit down and free write like that. So nice. Try it out.

2010 Resoutions and Getting Started on the Right Foot

glitter_shoesChristian Louboutin Piagelle glitter 10 cm

How do you feel about New Year’s resolutions? Did you make any resolutions at the start of 2009? How’d you do?

For years, I didn’t set any because I felt it was setting myself up for disappointment. Last year, I got a wild hair and decided I would (1) lose 10 pounds and (2) read 12 books in as many months.

On the first goal, I didn’t actually lose any weight. However, I took a systematic approach involving regular exercise and careful eating choices. I developed a pretty good exercise pattern, and I learned to challenge myself a little bit, which made a huge difference in my overall sense of health and well-being. I still have some unhealthy eating habits, which is probably why I’ve stayed about the same weight despite exercising more. I want to improve that, but I also learned this year that I really don’t believe in punishing myself just to be thin.

On the reading goal, I passed with flying colors. I revisited books I loved before and tried again with books I once hated, which was pretty enlightening. This is definitely a new tradition for me. For 2009, I didn’t have a clear plan of what books to read, and I just found them as I stumbled along. That resulted in some cool finds (re-reading the book that first got me interested in writing followed by a biography of the author), but it also left me floundering when I was too busy to even think about what to read. I think for 2010, I’ll better avoid slumps if I start with a reading list, so that’s my homework for the next couple days.

So, what about you? Do you plan to make a resolution? Or maybe you can dedicate your year to a theme. My sister (a painter) dedicated 2009 to creativity, and she produced some truly amazing work this year. You could dedicate 2010 to creativity, health, improving your career, planning your wedding, making new friends, or trying new things.

How will you gear yourself up to accomplish the goals you’re setting right now? We’ve all had resolutions that went absolutely nowhere because we didn’t have a plan or any motivation. I highly recommend vision boards, inspirational objects and themed play lists to help keep you focused. You can incorporate your goals into your daily routine in all kinds of small and large ways. You can tell people about your goals via your blog, Twitter or Facebook and get moral support from your friends that way. You can use 43Things to track your goals and progress and to find others with similar goals. You can even join Meetup groups of local peeps peeps who share your interests.

Personally, you know I love to publicize my goals and progress via the blog, since it keeps me honest. But there are some goals I prefer to keep to myself until they’re ready to be hatched. For those, I’ll be using vision boards made up of glitter, stickers and inspirational magazine clippings. What other ideas do you have?

Monday Night Nonfiction: The Longest Night

2126785055_f04203ab2ehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/stockportmike/ / CC BY-SA 2.0

Tonight is the longest night of the year, also known as the winter solstice. Before the day’s tasks caught up to me on this shortest day of the year — the longest night does come with the shortest day, you know — I made a list of 10 ways to celebrate the solstice. I don’t feel like posting them now as it’s a bit late to schedule a marshmallow roast among friends to help weather the longest, darkest, coldest night. Well, maybe it’s not the coldest, but it’s close.

But while we celebrate the new year on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, I think of the winter solstice as the real New Year’s Eve. After tonight, the sun starts coming back to us, the days start getting warm again, and we start moving toward summer again. Summer is my favorite time of year. It’s when I feel most at home in my own skin — sweating, getting dirty, and playing hard the way I was born to do. Summer reminds me of home, mud, first love, long days of swimming and crawfish, and all the best things in life. In fact, most of what I remember about childhood is summer. I guess that’s part of the territory when you’re from the Deep South.

My first winter was awfully rough. I moved to Maryland in April 2006, and that winter I felt very much alone, even though I lived in a crowded apartment. I was a stranger in a strange place, for sure. But over the past few years, I’ve learned how to cope with winter, I’ve made some friends who keep me warm at heart, and I’ve learned to dress properly for snow. I’m shocked to say now that I’ve actually enjoyed the cold weather so far this year. I know there’s plenty cold left to face, since December 21 is technically the first day of winter, but knowing that the sun’s coming back gives me hope. As the days get longer, we’ll be able to stay out longer, get more exercise, see more, do more, and before you know it, we’ll be sweating in the sun once again.

Now when I think of summer, I remember home, but I also remember my first summer here. I remember going to Gunpowder Falls with my new friends and running half naked through the woods. I remember people coming to visit us and how happy I was to share my new home with them. There is so much more to look forward to this year. This is my new year, and I am beyond ready to ring it in.

Dear 2010:

Welcome! Come on in, get cozy by the fire. Get naked if you like. Here’s a drink. Lets have fun. You are amazing and beautiful and full of potential. I can’t wait to see what kindof magical thing you will become.

TiLT: I think I can – I think I can – I think I can …

Although it’s been a wicked busy week, I promised myself I would do a TiLT post, so here’s what I am loving right this second.

china

  • Bigfoot
  • The way being busy has taught me more about the value of brevity.
  • The way our kitchen looks so amazing.
  • Pretty much everything Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross say, ever.
  • Bust magazine, and the interview between Rachel Dratch and Amy Poehler — it’s Dratch interviewing Poehler, but the whole piece gives a bit of cool insight on both of them. (You have to buy the magazine for this one, but it’s worth while, I promise!)
  • My ongoing search for powerful women. Ok, so this may sound all new-agey and stuff, but lately I’ve been reexamining my ideas about power. I’ve spent a lot of time meditating on “what is power?” and looking for examples of women who are really powerful in their own lives. It’s lead to some amazing realizations about my own goals in life. I’m probably going to write about it soonish, but in the mean time, here’s a snippet: Power isn’t about money, fame or influence. Power is about self-direction and self-validation.
  • Thinking about going to Christmas Eve Mass with my family. I probably won’t actually go because I can never really listen to the sermon, and I always want to sing along with the songs (that’s the point, right?) and I’m disappointed every time I remember that no one sings in Catholic church. I like thinking about it, though.
  • Sara Von’s ideas for “non-stuff” gifts. Notice that she includes a subscription to Bust magazine among her suggestions. Girl’s got smarts. (hint hint)
  • This amazing letter from Gala Darling.
  • Being almost completely finished with my Christmas shopping!
  • These freakish holiday paintings by Dana Ellyn

RAWR! And that is my TiLT. I knew I could do it. Later, team!