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Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

Are you a bit distracted?

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Last week when I was clearing my studio space for my niece to work on her quilt to take to college, I seemed to get so distracted. I saw fabrics I thought would work nicely in a future project. I realized I needed to find a place for the notions that had already found a not-so-good spot. And, I found some book reviews I had clipped that seemed to be perfect for selections for our ICAP Book Club.

I had the same problem as many of my clients: the inability to stay focused and get done what needs to be done. It can be because you are distracted by other options, whether that’s the other stuff in the room or another great idea that is beckoning.

Yes, you, too, are infected with Bright Shiny Object Syndrome. As you can see, I have been there. Sometimes in my office I get totally distracted by the projects I want to make or the books/tools that just arrived or the idea I have for a new product or all the blogs that call me to tour them. How do you get past this? Here are a few ideas:

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Escape to creativity!

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

What are you doing on your summer vacation? Yes, I know that as creative entrepreneurs you don’t really take a summer vacation. You are probably working in/on your business 24/7/365 and can’t possibly take time off.

Or maybe you do fit in some time because your spouse has a two-week vacation. Or maybe you still have a day job with vacation time and you don’t want to lose it all. According to Market Watch, the average American worker takes just over half his/her vacation time.

This summer try something different. Take time off and use it as an opportunity to open your mind, spice up your creativity, and see the world in a new way. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Get out your coloring books

We all know that coloring is still on trend, so grab your crayons or colored markers and get to work. You can find coloring books anywhere today. Or you can draw your own design — something easy for quilters — and start there. Studies show that coloring has therapeutic results.

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Selling: It’s About Service

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

selling-is-service

During our recent Facebook “Get Your Art Out There” Challenge in our Creative Passion to Profit Group, the topic of sales came up. Really it was the topic of not feeling comfortable selling. So I ask you, does selling feel uncomfortable or even scary to you?

No one likes to be sold to, and we all have opinions about people who sell. Do you know that Gallup® does an annual survey on honesty and ethical standards of people in a variety of fields?  Car salespeople come in close to the bottom of the list, as do telemarketers. (Being from the DC area, I found it interesting that members of Congress and lobbyists fill two of the bottom three slots.)

If you go to that same list, what profession do you think occupies the top position? For the last 14 years, it has been nurses. Why do you think that is?

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Moving Past Stuckedness

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

stuckedness

Have you ever had so much on your plate that you’re stuck with where to start? I know I have. Last week I started thinking about all the ideas I have to grow ICAP. There is the weekly blog/ezine, the monthly coaching and interview calls, and some content that is already planned to write. Then there is book in progress, the podcast in the works, and the work I want to have happen in our Facebook groups. Wait, I forgot about the webinar I am creating. I know I can look at the my projects and figure out which to pick first, so overwhelm is not the problem.

It really is about uncertainty and where to start or how to move forward on the one project. And, if you are like me, having so much to sort through can keep you stuck. You end up studying the issue to death, over-thinking it, over-revising it, and, yes, staying stuck. I think a good term for this in my case might be analysis-paralysis.

Does this sound familiar? What is the solution?

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Reclaim Your Creative Energy

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

reclaim-creative-energy

I am really a very organized person. I know where to find what I need. I could say, “A place for everything, and everything in its place,” only that is not quite exactly true.

While I am organized and I know where everything is, I can become someone who is consumed by stacks of this and that. Yes, I know what is in the stacks, but all those stacks are robbing energy from me.

When the space is clearer, so is my mind. When my mind is clear, I will work better. I know this to be true. I also know that once I start working in a clear, clean, clutter-free environment, new opportunities show up for creativity and for business. Why would I — or you — not want this to happen?

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10 Minutes To More Creativity

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

ICAP creativity + meditation

Only 10 minutes to more creativity? That sounds doable, right? It is, and it’s as simple as sitting quietly and focusing on your breath.

For the past few years I have been recommending meditation to my private clients. At our Creative Arts Business Academy meeting last year, I led a guided meditation for the women who joined me. And, I have my own meditation practice that is part of my morning ritual. I was around meditation for a long time before I started to practice. My sister has taught mindfulness meditation for more than 10 years after many more years of a personal practice, and my husband has also had a long-time practice. Despite their encouragement, I could not think of myself as someone who meditated. After all, I couldn’t possibly sit still that long. The first time I tried, I stopped and looked at the clock and barely two minutes had passed. And, I could not shake the long-held idea that meditation somehow was for hippies or new-age types.

I somehow got over that (ie, stopped the self-sabotage) and began a meditation practice. I have found that it has a positive impact on my life, and I can see this in my everyday activities and in my own creativity. Mindfulness meditation has really become popular with many people — creatives and entrepreneurs among them. I think it is because study after study shows the benefits of meditation, including

• increased focus
• more patience
• a feeling of calm that just increases with more practice
• less anxiety
• more insight
• more clarity
• the ability to let the small stuff go
• less stress
• more compassion for yourself and others

What studies have found is that you actually have changes in your brain as a result of meditating. Your brain stops processing information at the same rate as it would normally. This registers as a decrease in beta waves, and this can happen after your first session meditating. Studies also show the link between meditation and creativity.

Interested in starting — or trying — a meditation practice? It is a PRACTICE, so don’t worry about being perfect (none of us are at this) or doing it wrong (there is no wrong if you practice). Here are some guidelines to get started:

1. Pick an amount of time to meditate that is doable. If you do not have a practice, don’t start with 30 minutes; start with 5-10.
2. Set a timer. I use the timer on my iphone and the chime sound. You can try the Insight Meditation app.
3. Sit in a chair, feet on the ground in front of you, hands resting in your lap or on your thighs. The idea is to be comfortable yet controlled in your posture. You could also try cross-legged on the floor. Close your eyes or just barely open them.
4. Just focus on your breath. You might silently say the words “in” and “out” as you breath. That is what I did in the beginning because it helped me focus.
5. Don’t worry if you start thinking about other things — you will; just come back to focus on your breath. Don’t label the other thoughts.

Before you know it, the chime will sound. Try doing this every day at the same time of day so it becomes a habit. Promise yourself to stick with it for a set period of time, say a month. Then when the month is over congratulate yourself and start another month. You can gradually increase the time that you meditate.

You will start to see the benefits I have noted above, and maybe others. And, that will keep you meditating.

What is your experience meditating? Have you found it affected your creativity? What is stopping you from trying? Would you share it below or on our ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages?

 

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WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?

Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com.

 

WANT TO SEE MORE ARTICLE LIKE THIS?

See the ICAP blog at http://www.creativeartsprofessionals.com/weblog/

 

 

Are You Taking Inspired Action?

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

 

Colourful Light

 

You know that idea that comes to you from who knows where? What are you doing with it? Do you cast it aside? Do you mull it over? Do you write it down so you don’t lose it? Do you take action because of it?

 

Some years back I read The Attractor Factor by Joe Vitale, and he wrote about inspired action. He said it was “any action that you take based on an inside nudge.” In a sense, it is acting on your intuition or that little voice inside that is talking to you. We all have those experiences.

 

So where do you find these inspired ideas? One of my sisters says she gets hers on her daily run. Another finds her ideas when she is wandering around a museum. I often come up with ideas – great and not so great – during my morning walk or when I am sitting on the deck at our home on the Chesapeake Bay or when I walk to the mailbox and back. (It is a very long driveway!) You might find yours soaking in the tub after a long day or hiking in the woods or gardening, in other words, someplace that is not your office or studio. I think Julia Cameron’s artist date can do this for you, too. It takes you outside your normal surroundings.

 

That is one key, getting away from your normal, i.e., comfortable surroundings.

 

Another idea is to try some of the same, but from a different perspective. For example, if your ideas often come on a walk in the woods, try a different route. Or change up the time so you walk in the morning when you usually walk in the afternoon. You will open yourself up to looking at things differently, and new ideas will come.

 

A third tip to encourage inspired ideas is to be more mindful. Take time to notice and appreciate what is right in front of you. For me, a short meditation practice opens me up to being more present and that lets me see more ideas. It’s not surprising that if we pay more attention, we are open to more ideas. You never know, the inspired idea might just comes from a sign on a highway.

 

No matter where the inspiration comes from, if you are not in the position to take immediate action, you will need to keep a pad or a digital recorder handy. You might also use a notes app on your phone. I find I often need to make a quick note of the idea, in case I am distracted. I can’t count the numbers of great ideas that disappeared.

 

When I explained this idea to one of my clients, she asked how she could be more open to receiving opportunities for inspired action beyond the three tips? I said that you have to be clear on what your intentions are first, the clearer the better. Then when you get those nudges, pay attention, and look for coincidences.

 

When the idea comes to you, what do you do with it? Sometimes you just move forward, trusting it is the right the thing to do. Other times it is important to ask if the idea will move your toward your goal or vision or intention. If the answer is yes, then get to work – take inspired action.

 

As I said, we all have those “inside nudges” prompting us to take action. The problem is we can talk ourselves out of them – too little time, too little money, too little whatever. I call it self-sabotage. I think we need to learn to trust that inner voice a bit more.

 

When was the last time you took inspired action? Where did it come from? I would love to hear about your thoughts below or on the ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages.

 

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WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?
Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at http://www.creativeartsprofessional.com.

 

WANT TO SEE MORE ARTICLE LIKE THIS?

See the ICAP blog at http://www.creativeartsprofessionals.com/weblog/

 

Creative Arts Inspiration: Make Art Inevitable

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

“The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.” ~Robert Henri

Henri, inevitable art

Creative Arts Inspiration

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

ruskin quote

Book Review: Sweet and Simple Sewing

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Sweet and Simple Sewing

Sweet and SimpleSewing
Jessi Jung, Carrie Jung and Lauren Jung
Martingale; $24.99

Do you have spring fever? I certainly do and a look at this book by a mother-and-two- daughters team certainly has lots of inspiration to get thinking spring. The book includes 13 simple and cheery projects. I thought the luggage tag was charming, and the “Celebrations Quilt,” with its ice cream cones, balloons, candy apples and pinwheels is perfect for a child’s birthday party. You’ll find some unexpected projects, including the appliqué dragonfly mounted on canvas and the hand-bound journal.

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