how to hear yourself think

January 22nd, 2015

how to hear yourself think

A few people wrote to me saying that the first creative challenge this year was too difficult. I didn’t mean it to be hard, but I did want it to be a bit of a stretch. The challenge is:

…quote yourself and illustrate that quote. Pick something you thought or said and write it beautifully.

The title of this challenge is “inspire yourself” and maybe that’s where the problem lies. When we think of being inspired we think of lofty, erudite, carefully crafted, words of wisdom that are supposed to move us. Don’t do that. Not because you won’t succeed (you might) but because it probably won’t be true–true to who you are. That is what this challenge is about, listening to yourself and writing down what you hear.

Hearing yourself think is harder than it seems. It’s not just because of children and beeping toys and beeping phones and the to do list that runs on repeat in your head. It is hard because even when we can hear ourself, we actively try not to listen. I’ve come up with three ways that will help you hear what you are thinking:

1. write it down

Many authors have said that they don’t know what they are thinking until they write it down. E. M. Forester said, “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” John Updike said, “Writing and rewriting are a constant search for what one is saying.” Joan Dideon said,”I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.”

These people know what they are talking about. Sit down and write for 10 minutes, maybe more. See where it takes you.

2. pay attention

I was going to title this meditate, but then realized that sounds too difficult. Paying attention is not that hard. You can do it while you are cleaning the kitchen, or changing a diaper, or driving. Try to tune into the quiet voice that is constantly murmuring in the back of your head.

p.s. this is actually all mediation is.

3. listen to yourself

When you have kids you have to talk a lot about everything. There are days when I explain how peanut butter is made, what protesting it, why our cats eyes glow, what is a website, why hitting people is wrong, why baths are important, how water gets into the pipes in our house. Why not listen to some of your answers?

I hope this is helpful. The challenge is due on Monday. So write your quote and tag it #thecreativitiyclub. There are a few already up on instagram! Check it out.

inspire yourself

January 19th, 2015

In interviews with artists, actors, and makers, the question that bothers me most is, “What inspires you?” For one thing, the question is a lazy question. It doesn’t involve any thought or research or insight. And even worse, the answers are always bullshit. They might not try to be bullshit, but they usually are. It’s like asking someone, “How do you love someone?” or “Why are you happy?” There might be answers to these questions, but they are never satisfying.

For the inaugural challenge of The Creativity Club we are not going to be inspired by long walks, or art exhibits, or perfectly staged pictures on pinterest. We’re going to be inspired by our own damn selves.

inspire-damn-self

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the creativity club

January 15th, 2015

the creativity club on elsie marley

I started the creative assignments last year to push myself creatively, just a little bit. Many of you joined in, sewing eggs, snapping pictures, drawing patterns, and making other random & awesome things. More of you have been watching from the sidelines–which is totally fine!–but I want you to jump in too. I thought if I updated the assignments a bit: a new name, a proper schedule, pretty buttons to put on your blog. Then maybe I could get you to push yourself creatively too (just a bit).

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radiator

The creative assignment: within arm’s reach is due today. Most people–including me!–completely forgot, because Thanksgiving. But I do better with time constraints, so having absolutely no time left to dream about “maybe I’ll do this, or maybe I’ll do that,” I whipped up this little pattern. 

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It’s time for another creative assignment! Are you ready? No? That’s okay neither am I, but that is the point of these creative assignments.

creative assignment on elsie marley

It might seem counterintuitive, but the easiest way access your boundless creativity is to limit yourself. When I was in middle school, I was part of the academic triathlon team (nerd alert!). My favorite event was called Party in a Box (this is a sample and wow! it’s kind of amazing) . We were given a problem to solve and a box of random prop/craft things.  We had to write and star in a play that solved the problem–and do it all in 30 minutes. We had a time limit, a limited theme, and a limited amount of supplies. The creative rush was absolutely exhilarating! and the plays were not half bad either.

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