Capturing your Creative Ideas

A cliché with many meanings, for me: Get your creative juices flowing.

As a writer or artist, where do you find your creative spark? I rarely find it just sitting behind my computer or camera. I need to get up, move around, observe, experience.

For me, there has to be some sort of connection, a reality-based moment, to branch my works on. Even the most fantastical world is created from some molecules or experiences of reality.

I have said this before, but when I have a deadline and a mind block, I just walk away from my computer. I often walk my dogs, snowstorm or sunny skies. The flows of thought may be illogical to others, but somehow not thinking about what I want to write about breathes life into an idea. Often the idea for a post, a poem, a photo, can come at very unexpected times. And not focus on where I originally expected to go.

If I am not careful, ideas will vanish long before I am able to capture them. How do I remember them, during times that I am away from my desk?

If walking or in my car, I often voice-record them in my phone. Even the gist of it is enough to spit out, create, edit.

I keep small notebooks and pens by my bed for those midnight thoughts, in my purse or briefcase for on-the-road ideas.

Even when mediating or in yoga class, when my mind wanders (oops!) to a kernel of an idea, I will try to write it down as soon as possible or it vanishes.

I wonder—where do fellow writers and artists find your creative moments? And how do you capture your ideas when they come at unexpected times?


P.S. Ironically, though I wrote most of this piece yesterday, the opening line came to me today while lifting weights.  The idea of this piece into reality, once again.


#10MaD Release

I don’t always set an annual resolution. This year I was challenged to spend 10 minutes a day (#10MaD) with a goal in mind. I chose to spend time doing artistic pursuits, namely writing and photography. Much of my time has been spent writing, but the last week I have been doing several photography projects.

First, I volunteered to shoot a fundraising gathering of youth performers for Harmony 4 Hope, a wonderful charity that supports children’s rare disease research. Then I set up and tested out new lighting for a photo studio, to take head shots for a friend’s business website.

IMG photo studio

I love photography! I truly enjoy shooting in different environments, experimenting, viewing life through a lens. I can completely lose time reviewing and editing photos. I always want them to look “perfect”—and that vision can change from me to the person I am shooting for.

Interestingly, after writing almost daily for the past 2 months, a week of not writing had me yearning to put some thoughts to paper. Ideas flit in my mind, disappear when not captured, sometimes return, other times vanish.

But it makes me wonder—in my conscious choice of creative exploration, with this increased urge to write, have the daily habits become a mental release?  I will continue to explore and sustain them to satisfy that desire. It feels much like when you are on a regular exercise regimen, you feel that de-stressed and accomplished feeling when the workout is complete.

After writing this, I physically feel calmer. And mentally fulfilled. So I will continue my 10MaD routine…which often becomes a 30, 40, 50 minute routine. See where the journey takes me. Join me.




What is Your Excuse?

Wow– it is way, way too easy to knock myself down before I even start writing.

I have too many excuses for not actually starting that novel I have wanted to write.

  1. How do I start the process?
  2. Will it be good enough for anyone to read?
  3. Will I be confident enough to share it?
  4. I don’t have enough time.
  5. Some of real life is bound to creep in it. Will I piss anyone off if they mistakenly see themselves on a page?
  6. What do I do with it when it’s complete?
  7. What other excuses do I have today?

Today, to encourage myself to stop the negativity and postponing and to push myself forward, I am answering all these negative questions with positive responses:

  1. I have already started creating characters, one from a previously published short story I have long-wanted to know better.
  2. Yes, it will. Just remember that all books have some critics.
  3. I better! Maybe I should finally join the local library writer’s support group, once I get a few words on paper.
  4. Yes, there is enough time. Just grab it while fresh. Write in spurts if needed or at a set time of each work day.
  5. Once I read it, I will know if any part of the book is a little too real. Remove it, change it.
  6. Figure that out later.
  7. Give me an hour. I will have one.

How do you say no to yourself, before you even begin your journey? Why? Fear, I think. Or we start comparing ourselves to others when no one else is.

Just leap in. Start now.


Who do you write for?

Who do you write your blog for? Your poems? Your stories? You or your potential readers? I sometimes toss this thought around if I am struggling to find a subject to write about, when writing for myself.  When working on a business assignment, the thought process is completely different for me.

When I share my personal blog posts on social media, I am often surprised at which ones generate the most shares, reads, or feedback. Yet others I think are passionate pass by with nary a discussion. Interesting to note what hits people’s emotions.

My business blog subject matter is easier to identify. I write about issues impacting marketing, emedia, publishing, audience development, database management—areas I work in every day. The blog is a great tool to share ideas and opinions with customers. It also shows perspective clients my areas of expertise and some of my thought process. Other marketers can also learn, explore, express, provoke.

I recently read The M Train by Patti Smith and Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker. Both books were autobiographical–short vignettes in each chapter with connections throughout. Completely different in tone, I really enjoyed both, but I felt a bit more allowed into Patti Smith’s life.

Both of these books had very authentic voices. Maybe because the authors wrote about what they really felt and believed, rather than focusing on their audience during their writing process? Their stories were filled with sentiments from the heart. Thinking about these books now inspires me to continue to write in my personal blog what interests me today. Next week. Next month. And I hope you will continue to join me on my journey.

Keep it real with words and pictures.