Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Fun: ObamiconMe!

President Obama is the inspiration for the original Shepard Fairey poster, but it's only right that a street artist's work should be accessible to everyone.

Choose your photo. Choose your word. And make yourself historic!

P.S. Thanks to Angela for the idea!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Creative Inspiration: Rabbit Fumes

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Creative Query: You Ask Me

Can you believe it's almost the end of January all ready?

But, I digress.

For today's creative query, I'm opening the door to your questions. Anything you'd like to ask me?

P.S. Ask questions. All the time. And listen to the answers. It's the fastest way to learn.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Creativity Exercise: Define "Treasure"

One of my brilliant friends, Linden, recently led his daddy on a treasure hunt through their house and, when asked, defined treasure as: gold, toys, necklaces and cupcakes.

I think he's right. Of course, your definition is right too -- and it's undoubtedly different.

For today's two-minute exercise, get out a clean sheet of paper. Write your definition of treasure at the top. Then, draw a treasure box.

Final step? Give yourself a smiley face!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Creativity Tips: Be Brave

Happy Monday! As I thought about what to write for this week's posts, I realized I've never shared the question that lit a creative fire under me years ago:

What would you do today if you were brave?

I heard that question at a Speaking of Women's Health conference that my sister Eva took me to -- and I answered it. With a lot of support from the best creative team in the universe, I quit my agency job and started my own business.

What would you do?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Fun: Young at Heart

Wrap up your work week with a return to a favorite childhood game: Etch-A-Sketch. The arrow keys work as the knobs.

Want to shake the computer to clear the screen? No worries! The "Clear Screen" feature will do that for you.

Here's to a great weekend!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Creativity Exercise: Do Something Temporary

When I want to go to my "happy place," I go to the beach. I could walk on a beach for hours, forever.

Part of the appeal is the sound of the ocean. And there are the sea shells ... the never-ending possibility of finding something amazing, right at my feet.

There's also the wonderful opportunity to create temporary art, footprints, doodles, sandcastles.

If you're at a beach, you're ahead of the game for today's exercise -- but this is something we all can do: Create something intentionally temporary.* Then, let us know what you did!

*Why? Because there's a heckuva lot less pressure on creativity if you know it's just for fun and just for now.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Creativity Tips: Take the Camera

I just got back from a trip to Florida. When I was packing to go, my husband asked if I was taking the Nikon and new lens.

"No," I said. "I don't want to bother."

AIEEEEEEEEEE. I can't tell you how many good pictures I missed, because the cell phone is not the Nikon.* Take a lesson from me. Don't be a lazy slug. Take the camera.

*However, I can subject you to a couple of the phone photos ... one today, and one tomorrow. This is a shot of a royal palm, on the only state historical site I've ever visited dedicated to an obscure religious cult. Celibacy was part of the religious doctrine. The group is now extinct. I can't make this stuff up.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Creative Inspiration: Langston Hughes

It seems an appropriate day ...

I, Too
by Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Creative Inspiration: Sew Inspired

Take a look at this fun idea from Vicki at Sew Inspired. Look and learn. No matter what your creative endeavors involve, keep track as the year goes by. Then, celebrate the results of your amazing talents at year's end.

Now's the time to start!

P.S. Thanks for the inspiration, Vicki!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Fun: Get Fuzzy

I love this comic strip all the time -- and given my recent attempts at poetry, this one really hit home! Here's to a great weekend!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Trust, but Verify

One of the CEOs I've worked with frequently uses the phrase, Trust, but verify.

It's not exactly a warm fuzzy, but it makes sense. For example, this past weekend I went out to eat with friends. Janey ordered chicken parmesan; I had the Asian noodle bowl. Given the American restaurant obsession with huge portions, neither Janey nor I could finish our meal.

The waiter took our dishes, and returned, presenting our boxed food with a flourish -- making a point of giving us each a specific box.

The flourish was lovely, but the boxes were wrong. Janey went home with Asian noodles; I got the chicken parmesan.

Trust, but verify.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Creativity Tips: Read 'Em if You've Got 'Em

When was the last time you shared a good book with a friend? My buddy Jenn loaned me this one, and I'm really enjoying it. And I've discovered a new place to relish a good read -- in the car.

My life includes driving duties for the family. This means I often end up sitting, for long stretches of time, waiting for Mary to get out of school, waiting for Mom at a doctor's appointment, etc.

I always have a notebook with me for writing poetry, or grocery lists, but there are times I'm just not in the mood to write.

So, I read. And books like this -- a collection of essays -- are perfect for random reading.

Keep a book at hand, and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Creative Query: Print is Not Dead

Here's a query I ask now and then -- and I'm always interested in the answers. What are you reading? My husband gave me a poetry collection for the holidays -- the best of American poetry, complete with a CD of the poets reading their works. I generally don't like to be read to, but poetry is an exception.

Hmmm. We'll make it a three-part query.
  1. What are you reading?
  2. Did you get any new books for the holidays?
  3. Do you like to be read to?

(Yes, I know. Question 3 is badly worded. Life is short and so is the question, so it's OK.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Creativity Tips: Seize the Password

Here's a quick way to boost your creative energy. The next time you have to change a computer password, use a positive word or phrase, something that makes you smile. For example:

(The last is my subtle nod to the Young Frankenstein line: "Could be worse. Could be raining." It begins raining right after Igor says this. Always makes me laugh.)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Creativity Tips: Don't Weight.

Before we get to the creativity tip, does it seem extremely freaky to you that when I searched the Web for images to illustrate this, most of the scales had my exact weight?

But I digress.

If you've set creative or personal resolutions for the year, remember this critical success factor: Have measurable goals along the way, and track your progress. Don't wait. Start now.

For example, I put on three pounds over the holidays -- as every scale in the universe apparently knows. This is unacceptable, and I will be losing those three pounds pronto. Weighing in daily keeps me on track.

Find the tracking method that works for you, and use it!

Bonus creativity tip: If you were tempted to say, "Three pounds? Big deal. And you only weigh 128 pounds?" then:
A. You are not a chick.
B. You are not a five-foot-"tall" chick.

It's all a matter of perspective, my friends.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Creative Query: How Unfair Are You?

Dear Reader,

Right after the November election, I went online and sent my daughter an email from the Obama transition site. I had to provide a name to go with the forwarded letter. Naturally, since the letter was going to Kate, I used "Mom."

Now, I receive regular updates from the transition team, and every email has "Dear Mom," as the salutation.

I like Obama, so I think this is cute. If it were coming from a Sarah Palin site, I'd consider the greeting another joke. And not in a nice way.

How unfair is that? And how unfair are you? When something goes wrong, does your reaction vary based on who made the mistake? Is it a stupid creative blunder? Or an endearing twist? Consider your response, and be a dear. Play fair.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Creativity Tips: Dirty Hands are Happy Hands

When was the last time you did something creative that involved real "hands-on" work? This week, get your hands dirty. Fingerpaint. Play with clay. Knead the dough.

Why? Because it's fun. Did you need another reason?*

*Fine. Tactile inputs light up different areas in your brain, if I remember the research correctly. I could be wrong on this. I'm not wrong on the fun part, though.