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Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

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.

Visit a museum

This will likely involve a road trip, so call a friend for company. It’s great to share a new experience with someone else. The two of you can decide if it’s a day trip or an overnight. Pack the car with great snacks. I always say that calories don’t count in the car!

Take a class

You have lots of options here. You can find a local class or search the Internet for a longer retreat. Consider taking a class that stretches you. For example, if you are a quilter, take a photography class. If you are a photographer, take a drawing class. The idea is that you step out of your box and try something new. And, your class may or may not be in person. You may find an online class.  Two places to check out are Creative Live and Sketchbook Skool. If this idea resonates, again look for something out of your comfort zone or even a new teacher who could inspire you.

Take a technology break

Technology is wonderful, but it’s so easy to get wrapped up in sharing everything on social media. Consider some of your time technology free. When you are not always looking to capture the perfect Instagram moment, you can be more present to the experience.

Bring back your youth

Do you remember some of the fun you had as a kid just playing? You might have loved hopscotch or jacks or your hula hoop. Get them out and try again. And, while you are drawing the hopscotch board with sidewalk chalk, take some time to decorate the squares. I like the advances in the chalk we have today.

Two favorite quotes about summer

“Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” —Henry James

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Your turn!

I’ve taken a wonderful museum trip so far and am looking for a class. What are you doing on your summer vacation?

 

 

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?

Read more…

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?

Read more…

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?

Read more…

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.

Is It More Important That You Do It or That It Gets Done?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

chaos am arbeitsplatzI had a conversation with one of my clients last week about her massive to-do list. She was so busy doing things like shipping and answering emails that she could not work in her brilliance. For her this is designing. And, I can tell you she was frustrated, and her business was suffering from this.

Not delegating for some of us is really about giving up control. It is hard when we know how to do everything correctly. (Do we really?)

And, we think that by the time we show someone how to do it, we could have done it ourselves. Yes, it does take time initially. The end result is worth it.

For others it is not knowing where to start — what to delegate, who to delegate to, and where to find this person.

Here is a system that has worked for me and my clients.

  1. For the next couple of weeks, write down all the tasks you are doing. And, I mean all the tasks. Even personal tasks.
  2. Go back and identify the tasks as Entrepreneurial/Managerial (tasks you must do) or Administrative/Technical (tasks that could be done by someone else). You might even find tasks that are really unnecessary and should be deleted.
  3. Next to those that are Administrative/Technical and assign a dollar amount that you think you could pay someone for doing these tasks.
  4. Sort the tasks by category. You might find some related to your website, some to social media marketing, some to personal items, some to bookkeeping. This will help you identify the type of person — their qualifications — you need to hire.
  5. Identify potential resources where you might find help. Possibilities include assistu.com; ivva.org; odesk.com; elance.com; craigslist.com; your church; your neighborhood; the local shelter; arts groups or guilds you belong to. Once you start thinking in this direction, you will come up with other ideas.
  6. Start with the lowest cost items first or the ones that are most frustrating to you. For many people, bookkeeping is the first task they delegate. Set up expectations for the task, create trainings/procedures for the person you hire, and develop a system to be sure that things get done.

Yes, this takes time, and should be something to revisit on a periodic basis. It is easy to slip back into doing it yourself instead of teaching someone else to do it, especially if the hire does not work out as you expected.

So what should you be delegating that you are not? Who are you going to hire? And, when? Share what one item you are willing to let go of.

If you have taken steps to delegate, or have more questions regarding delegation, please feel free to leave a reply below or on the ICAP Fan Club Facebook page.

 

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.

 

 

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