Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Creative Shout Out: Leslie!

Take a look at this! Shutter Sisters -- a really cool site that deserves its fame -- features a photo taken by Leslie, one of the original members of the Creative Instigation team. Yay for Leslie!

There's some Woody Allen movie where he says he lerves something, because love isn't a strong enough word. I lerve Leslie's photo and I'm so proud of her for submitting it. That's one of the biggest steps of all, people. It's one thing to do amazing work. It's something else to have enough faith in yourself to send it out into the world.

The photo is also part of this great video. Enjoy! And please join me in congratulating Leslie!

(I'm including a photo of the amazing Leslie here. To see her featured photo on Shutter Sisters, click on the link.)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

5 Creativity Tips from Betty White

If you saw even a bit of the 90th birthday celebration for Betty White, you undoubtedly enjoyed the outpouring of affection for this entertainment icon. I came away from the show amazed at the lessons to be learned just by watching this woman in action. Here are my top 5:
  1. Be grateful. Attitude impacts everything, from creativity to health. We all go through different ages and stages of life. Find the joy where you are.
  2. Don't take yourself too seriously. It's not brain surgery. I've said it before. I'll say it again.
  3. Find work you love. Take it seriously. Do your best.  
  4. Give back. Betty White and I share a love for animals. Whatever you love, choose a cause and speak out with words or actions. You'll gain as much as the people, pets, whatever you are helping. I always come back from a volunteer stint at the animal shelter energized and ready to go.
  5. Surround yourself with friends.Whether we're in a creative slump or looking to celebrate a wonderful accomplishment, everything is better when we have friends who support us, encourage us, and applaud us.
Thank you for being a friend!

P.S. If you missed the show, go to YouTube and look it up. I especially like the clip with the President.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Creativity Tips: One Little Word

It's a new week! And I have something fun to share -- a post I found via Twitter, which remains my least favorite and most useful social media outlet.

Katherine Sokolowski posts on Read, Write, Reflect and I think you'll enjoy her blog -- it's geared toward teaching, but there's plenty to interest those of us who don't have the courage or smarts to face a classroom of fifth-graders every day. Katherine started the year with a post about choosing One Little Word. While the initial idea focused on New Year's Resolutions, we can adapt it for One Little Week. This week.

My word for this week is ORDER. Now, that could mean I'm going to order people around. Or, it could mean I'm going to bring order to my office and house. OR, it could mean I'm going to order Chinese take-out tonight. I'm not telling. But I am liking the word.

And, yes, Katherine Sokolowski and Jan Sokoloff have to be long-lost cousins. (Who would know? When my grandfather got off the boat, immigration officials asked him if he wanted to spell his name the old, Russian way -- Sokolov -- or the new, American way. He chose American. And that's your spelling story for the day ... )

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Show and Kvell: Bud Simpson

New year, new look to Bud Simpson's Journal of Image Engineering. The photographs are amazing, of course. But don't just look. Read. His writing makes me jealous. I love writing that makes me jealous -- it inspires me to write better.*

If you haven't clicked on the link yet, let me give you all the encouragement you need -- the start of Bud's bio:

My name is Bud Simpson. No one is actually named Bud, but my parents were a bit guilty about naming me Orville, and began calling me Bud from my very first day on the planet.

If we had been able to tap into the kind of computing power we have today back when I was sixteen, my old friend Steve and I would just now be getting out of prison. I am not an expert on most things technological, but rather a high-functioning user. How it works is way less important than how I can use it to my advantage. Everything is a tool.

Sigh. Such talent. What else could I do? I had to Show and Kvell!

*Yes. This is a competitive response. I can turn anything into a competition. It's an issue. Thank you for noticing.

Words Matter: Broken Home

You may not know this, but I come from a broken home. That's right. My folks were divorced. They had a troubled marriage.

Given that, this brief essay by my buddy Lucinda Ellison Lu hit home. As you read it, remember: Words hurt, words heal, words matter.

Here's Lucinda's take:

As a divorced woman, I have often come across phrases that really bug me. There are all kinds of ways to describe a divorce, or divorced people, or children whose parents are divorced. My least favorite phrase is: broken home. As in, “He comes from a broken home.”

So if the home is broken, that would imply that somehow it can be fixed. Can’t you just find a handyman in the yellow pages who specializes in fixing broken homes? And if that’s true, I am definitely in the wrong business. With what appears to be a recent spike in the number of divorces in my community, those guys should be doing a lot of business. My home’s not the only that’s “broken.”

If I go a step further, what about those homes where the marriage isn’t happy? What about those couples who choose to stay together and limp along with a troubled marriage? Would you call their homes “repair challenged?”

Troubled marriage – now there’s another one. Just what did the marriage do to get into trouble anyway?

Just sayin’ …
Thanks to Lucinda for today's guest essay!

Is there a word or phrase that particularly bothers you? Let me know. Maybe we'll rant about it. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Best Line of the Week

On Saturday, Mary and I enjoyed a dress rehearsal/performance by the Olathe South Golden Girls. Right before one dance, the coach stopped the team, talked to the girls quietly and sent them back to the dressing room.

She then turned to those of us gathered and said, "I apologize for the delay, but this was a teachable moment. Mistakes are easy to fix. Habits are hard to break."

I don't know what the mistake was -- I think it had something to do with their hair/makeup. But I do know that's a perfect line, totally related to creativity and so many other aspects of our lives.

Mistakes are easy to fix.
Habits are hard to break.

Hey, graphic wonders! Make that into a poster and send it to me. I'll share it with the team.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Creativity Tips: Get Excited

There are two ways to approach 2012:

It's a NEW YEAR!
Whoa. Time flies. Another year gone ...

As you know, when given a choice, I choose the exclamation mark. This year, I'm exclaiming about a new website/blog/dealie-bob I'm working on. It may replace the CI blog, or may just be another venue for expressing my view of the world. Or changing the world. I can't reveal any details yet and it may not be ready for a long time. But just working on it makes my brain happy. I can noodle on ideas while I drive. My creative synapses are smiling.

In turn, everything I touch is better, from the new site, to client projects, to family dinners. Heck, I even redid the look of the CI blog. (Let me know what you think. I wanted something different, and wanted to use Leslie's great photos in the masthead.)

What about you?
What are you excited about this year? If you're not exclaiming about something, there's no better time than today. Not sure how to start? Let me tell you how I got my mojo back: I spent time with Bud and Kathi. That's right. I went for the fabulous friend fix.

You may not have Bud and Kathi in your back pocket, but I'm guessing you have someone. Talk to your friends, your family. Scope out old posts on the CI blog. Ask yourself what really, really makes you happy -- what makes you hop out of bed in the morning eager to get going. Then, begin.

It really is as simple as that.

P.S. I was just following my own advice and looking through some old posts. Found this, from the same time last year. I am happy to report that the Energizer Bunny now exercises regularly, takes her vitamins daily, and just finished a great book and is ready to pick up another. There's hope.