Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Creativity Tips: Blankety Blank!

Good lord, I love the Internet. I write a headline: Blankety Blank! And then I think, "I wonder if everyone knows what that means." So I Google the term, and Merriam-freakin'-Webster pops right up. Blankety blank: damned.

Damned. That's exactly how I feel when someone gives me a new journal and I look at that first, blank page. What am I supposed to do with that sparkling clean page? What do I have to say that's worthy of an unspoiled journal?

This, of course, is not the reaction gift-givers want me to have.

Case in point: Mary recently visited The Pioneer Woman Mercantile and bought me this amazing gift -- a cookbook repurposed into a journal. Two of my favorite hobbies all rolled up into one -- cooking and writing. I loved the journal and the thought behind it.

And yet ... aieeeeeeee! Blank pages.

Well, new-journal nerves be damned. This is now my visual journal. I'm going to doodle, do quick collages and maybe create To Do lists with stickers. (Yes. My children are 26 and 23. Yes. I still have a drawer full of stickers.) I'm going to play with the blankety-blank thing.

There are all kinds of blank pages in life -- and they can be intimidating. But fresh starts are filled with possibilities. And possibilities are filled with hope. It's your day. Fill in the blanks.

Monday, January 30, 2017

#MondayMotivation -- Back to (Monkey) Business

Do you work better when you feel encouraged or when you're frightened? Are you more creative when you're happy or when you despair? Do you feel healthier when you're relaxed and focused -- or stressed and stretched?

I'm a writer. I can't function, I can't be my most creative, when I am 24/7 angry/terrified/horrified/etc. So, this week, I am officially getting back to monkey business.

Now, let's make one thing perfectly clear: Being a writer doesn't negate the fact that I am also a liberal Jewish momma. I will continue to call, write and visit my legislators; donate to good causes; and attend protests and rallies.

But I will also take to heart a wise remark from my friend Hedy: "It's important to show up for rallies! And it's important to show up for each other, too."

She's right. And the way I show up for you -- and for my clients and for myself -- is by being a happy voice and a positive creative instigator.

With that in mind, I'm going to focus most of my political commentary on Twitter (you'll find me @sokoloffharness), but I'm getting back to creativity tips on the blog and more goofy posts about Mom and the girls on Facebook. Will political posts pop up? Undoubtedly. The problems aren't going away and neither am I.

But people depend on me to be creative. And that means I need sock monkeys and crayons and silliness in my life on a daily basis -- along with my daily protests.

Let's start now! No, you don't have to make a sock monkey. You could pick up a crayon and doodle. And if you don't have a crayon handy, just do this: Close your eyes, take a deep breath and think about what you need to stay energized this week. What do you need to stay energized for the long haul? Take care of yourself. And we'll all take care of each other.
Leslie Adams took this photo years ago. Still one of my favs.
(Is Leslie still one of my favs? Or the photo
Incomplete sentences only work if they're clear.)

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Fun: Color Inside the Lines

Happy Friday! If you're a long-time CI team member, you know how I feel about coloring inside the lines. It's fine -- if it's your choice.

These days, it's my choice.

In December, I was in a creative slump. Then, Kate and I went to a holiday mart and saw an artist drawing on an iPad Pro with an Apple Pen.

"Hmmmmm," I said, drawing on my own brilliant way with words. "I could do that."

I can -- and I do! After a long day of writing, I now pull out my new iPad Pro and color. Typically, within the lines*. It's one step up from mindless, and it's fun. It's also useful. Exploring new media and methods recharges creative batteries.

Here's to a happy weekend -- go color!

*When I use an incomplete sentence, I'm writing outside the lines. By choice. Party on.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The World Doesn't End Today

I know, I know, I know. Many of us are bereft to see these eight years end -- not because a Republican is taking office; there are many wonderful Republicans. But, as the majority of Americans agree, the man who's taking office isn't on that list.

(Fascinating how I hate to mention his name. Words have power and his name alone makes me cringe.)

Since he-who-must-not-be-named has said he doesn't really start work until Monday, I'm going to take a leap of faith and say the world won't end today. I'm praying it won't end during the next four years. And, with that in mind, here are three ways to help us move forward:

Keep the hope alive. The Obamas are leaving the White House, not leaving America. Sign up here for updates on post-presidential activities and the Obama Foundation.

Speak up. Show up. Call your senators and representatives. Attend protests and rallies. Now is the time to speak up. My mom says everything happens for the best, and I truly believe the best thing about this administration will be the unstoppable force of positive power we unleash together.

Take care of you. I've experienced this, and I know others have too: The combination of personal stress and political insanity becomes overwhelming. There are times when you need to turn off the tweets and step away from the news. You can't run on political anger non-stop for the next four years. You'll run out of steam. Breathe in, breathe out. Enjoy the goodness all around us -- it's still there, my friends. Then, come back refreshed, and ready to continue the battle.

We the People are here.