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Your Creative Intentions: The Monday Post ~ December 15, 2014

Melissa Jean quote

There are just over 2 weeks left in 2014. How will you spend them?

A regular creative practice — a daily practice, if possible — is key to staying in touch with how you make meaning. Key to living, not postponing. (Let’s all agree to give up on “someday.”) And don’t forget that maintaining your creative practice can be the path to sanity during the holidays.

What are your plans for creative practice this week? Given the specifics of your schedule, decide on a realistic intention or practice plan — and ink that time in your calendar. The scheduling part is important, because as you know, if you try to “fit it in” around the edges, it generally won’t happen. An intention as simple as “I will write for 20 minutes every morning after breakfast” or “I will sketch a new still life on Wednesday evening” is what it’s all about. If appropriate, use time estimates to containerize your task, which can make a daunting project feel more accessible.

Share your intentions or goals as a comment to this post, and let us know how things went with your creative plans for last week, if you posted to last week’s Monday Post. We use a broad brush in defining creativity, so don’t be shy. We also often include well-being practices that support creativity, such as exercise and journaling.

Putting your intentions on “paper” helps you get clear on what you want to do — and sharing those intentions with this community leverages the motivation of an accountability group. Join us!

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If you’re an artist or writer with little ones, The Creative Mother’s Guide: Six Creative Practices for the Early Years is the essential survival guide written just for you. Concrete strategies for becoming more creative without adding stress and guilt. Filled with the wisdom of 13 insightful creative mothers; written by a certified creativity coach and mother of five. “Highly recommended.” ~Eric Maisel. 35 pages/$11.98. Available for download here.

Your Creative Intentions: The Monday Post ~ December 8, 2014

Brenda Ueland quote

There are just over 3 weeks left in 2014. How will you spend yours?

A regular creative practice — a daily practice, if possible — is key to staying in touch with how you make meaning. Key to living, not postponing. (Let’s all agree to give up on “someday.”)

What are your plans for creative practice this week? Given the specifics of your schedule, decide on a realistic intention or practice plan — and ink that time in your calendar. The scheduling part is important, because as you know, if you try to “fit it in” around the edges, it generally won’t happen. An intention as simple as “I will write for 20 minutes every morning after breakfast” or “I will sketch a new still life on Wednesday evening” is what it’s all about. If appropriate, use time estimates to containerize your task, which can make a daunting project feel more accessible.

Share your intentions or goals as a comment to this post, and let us know how things went with your creative plans for last week, if you posted to last week’s Monday Post. We use a broad brush in defining creativity, so don’t be shy. We also often include well-being practices that support creativity, such as exercise and journaling.

Putting your intentions on “paper” helps you get clear on what you want to do — and sharing those intentions with this community leverages the motivation of an accountability group. Join us!

:::::::

If you’re an artist or writer with little ones, The Creative Mother’s Guide: Six Creative Practices for the Early Years is the essential survival guide written just for you. Concrete strategies for becoming more creative without adding stress and guilt. Filled with the wisdom of 13 insightful creative mothers; written by a certified creativity coach and mother of five. “Highly recommended.” ~Eric Maisel. 35 pages/$11.98. Available for download here.

Your Creative Intentions: The Monday Post ~ December 1, 2014

Paulo Coelho quote

There are just over 4 weeks left in 2014. How will you spend yours?

A regular creative practice — a daily practice, if possible — is key to staying in touch with how you make meaning. Key to living, not postponing. (Let’s all agree to give up on “someday.”)

What are your plans for creative practice this week? Given the specifics of your schedule, decide on a realistic intention or practice plan — and ink that time in your calendar. The scheduling part is important, because as you know, if you try to “fit it in” around the edges, it generally won’t happen. An intention as simple as “I will write for 20 minutes every morning after breakfast” or “I will sketch a new still life on Wednesday evening” is what it’s all about. If appropriate, use time estimates to containerize your task, which can make a daunting project feel more accessible.

Share your intentions or goals as a comment to this post, and let us know how things went with your creative plans for last week, if you posted to last week’s Monday Post. We use a broad brush in defining creativity, so don’t be shy. We also often include well-being practices that support creativity, such as exercise and journaling.

Putting your intentions on “paper” helps you get clear on what you want to do — and sharing those intentions with this community leverages the motivation of an accountability group. Join us!

:::::::

If you’re an artist or writer with little ones, The Creative Mother’s Guide: Six Creative Practices for the Early Years is the essential survival guide written just for you. Concrete strategies for becoming more creative without adding stress and guilt. Filled with the wisdom of 13 insightful creative mothers; written by a certified creativity coach and mother of five. “Highly recommended.” ~Eric Maisel. 35 pages/$11.98. Available for download here.

Your Creative Intentions: The Monday Post ~ November 24, 2014

Rilke quote

There are only 5 weeks left in 2014. How will you spend yours?

A regular creative practice — a daily practice, if possible — is key to staying in touch with how you make meaning. Key to living, not postponing. (Let’s all agree to give up on “someday.”)

What are your plans for creative practice this week? Given the specifics of your schedule, decide on a realistic intention or practice plan — and ink that time in your calendar. The scheduling part is important, because as you know, if you try to “fit it in” around the edges, it generally won’t happen. An intention as simple as “I will write for 20 minutes every morning after breakfast” or “I will sketch a new still life on Wednesday evening” is what it’s all about. If appropriate, use time estimates to containerize your task, which can make a daunting project feel more accessible.

Share your intentions or goals as a comment to this post, and let us know how things went with your creative plans for last week, if you posted to last week’s Monday Post. We use a broad brush in defining creativity, so don’t be shy. We also often include well-being practices that support creativity, such as exercise and journaling.

Putting your intentions on “paper” helps you get clear on what you want to do — and sharing those intentions with this community leverages the motivation of an accountability group. Join us!

:::::::

If you’re an artist or writer with little ones, The Creative Mother’s Guide: Six Creative Practices for the Early Years is the essential survival guide written just for you. Concrete strategies for becoming more creative without adding stress and guilt. Filled with the wisdom of 13 insightful creative mothers; written by a certified creativity coach and mother of five. “Highly recommended.” ~Eric Maisel. 35 pages/$11.98. Available for download here.

Your Creative Intentions: The Monday Post ~ November 17, 2014

Neil Gaiman quote

There are only 6 weeks left in 2014. How will you spend yours?

A regular creative practice — a daily practice, if possible — is key to staying in touch with how you make meaning. Key to living, not postponing. (Let’s all agree to give up on “someday.”)

What are your plans for creative practice this week? Given the specifics of your schedule, decide on a realistic intention or practice plan — and ink that time in your calendar. The scheduling part is important, because as you know, if you try to “fit it in” around the edges, it generally won’t happen. An intention as simple as “I will write for 20 minutes every morning after breakfast” or “I will sketch a new still life on Wednesday evening” is what it’s all about. If appropriate, use time estimates to containerize your task, which can make a daunting project feel more accessible.

Share your intentions or goals as a comment to this post, and let us know how things went with your creative plans for last week, if you posted to last week’s Monday Post. We use a broad brush in defining creativity, so don’t be shy. We also often include well-being practices that support creativity, such as exercise and journaling.

Putting your intentions on “paper” helps you get clear on what you want to do — and sharing those intentions with this community leverages the motivation of an accountability group. Join us!

:::::::

If you’re an artist or writer with little ones, The Creative Mother’s Guide: Six Creative Practices for the Early Years is the essential survival guide written just for you. Concrete strategies for becoming more creative without adding stress and guilt. Filled with the wisdom of 13 insightful creative mothers; written by a certified creativity coach and mother of five. “Highly recommended.” ~Eric Maisel. 35 pages/$11.98. Available for download here.

Your Creative Intentions: The Monday Post ~ November 10, 2014

Santayana quote

There are only 7 weeks left in 2014. How will you spend yours?

A regular creative practice — a daily practice, if possible — is key to staying in touch with how you make meaning. Key to living, not postponing. (Let’s all agree to give up on “someday.”)

What are your plans for creative practice this week? Given the specifics of your schedule, decide on a realistic intention or practice plan — and ink that time in your calendar. The scheduling part is important, because as you know, if you try to “fit it in” around the edges, it generally won’t happen. An intention as simple as “I will write for 20 minutes every morning after breakfast” or “I will sketch a new still life on Wednesday evening” is what it’s all about. If appropriate, use time estimates to containerize your task, which can make a daunting project feel more accessible.

Share your intentions or goals as a comment to this post, and let us know how things went with your creative plans for last week, if you posted to last week’s Monday Post. We use a broad brush in defining creativity, so don’t be shy. We also often include well-being practices that support creativity, such as exercise and journaling.

Putting your intentions on “paper” helps you get clear on what you want to do — and sharing those intentions with this community leverages the motivation of an accountability group. Join us!

:::::::

If you’re an artist or writer with little ones, The Creative Mother’s Guide: Six Creative Practices for the Early Years is the essential survival guide written just for you. Concrete strategies for becoming more creative without adding stress and guilt. Filled with the wisdom of 13 insightful creative mothers; written by a certified creativity coach and mother of five. “Highly recommended.” ~Eric Maisel. 35 pages/$11.98. Available for download here.

Meme of the Week

Osho_quote_meme

Happy Friday.

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Your Creative Intentions: The Monday Post ~ February 25, 2013

Maya Angelou quote

If you aren’t doing your creative work as often as you’d like, recommit to a regular creativity practice. Regularity — a daily practice, if possible — is one of the best ways to stay in touch with how you make meaning. Can a regular creative practice be part of your intentions for 2013?

What are your plans for creative practice this week? Given the specifics of your schedule, decide on a realistic intention or practice plan — and ink that time in your calendar. The scheduling part is important, because as you know, if you try to “fit it in” around the edges, it generally won’t happen. An intention as simple as “I will write for 20 minutes every morning after breakfast” or “I will sketch a new still life on Wednesday evening” is what it’s all about.

Share your intentions or goals as a comment to this post, and let us know how things went with your creative plans for last week, if you posted to last week’s Monday Post. We use a broad brush in defining creativity, so don’t be shy. We also often include well-being practices that support creativity, such as exercise and journaling.

Putting your intentions on “paper” helps you get clear on what you want to do — and sharing those intentions with this community leverages the motivation of an accountability group. Join us!

:::::::

If you’re an artist or writer with little ones, The Creative Mother’s Guide: Six Creative Practices for the Early Years is the essential survival guide written just for you. Concrete strategies for becoming more creative without adding stress and guilt. Filled with the wisdom of 13 insightful creative mothers; written by a certified creativity coach and mother of five. “Highly recommended.” ~Eric Maisel. 35 pages/$11.98. Available for download here.

Ellen: Play

The piece below, which originally appeared at the Open Studio Groton blog, was written by my brilliantly creative business partner, Ellen Olson-Brown. Enjoy!

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music noteIt’s Monday evening, and I’m writing this post from Indian Hill Music in Littleton, Mass., where my sons take music lessons. I love it here.

I’ve settled into a deep leather couch in the lobby, a bright, wood-beamed room ringed by practice rooms. From one room on my right, I can faintly hear the piano pieces my son has been working on all week. On my left, someone plucks the low strings of a standing bass, and from other rooms piano scales and the reedy hum of a saxophone stream out, slightly muffled. I’m so happy in this space, soaking in a sound soup that’s a lot like the pleasant cacophony of an orchestra tuning up.

The woman in the voice lesson directly behind me is working on a short passage, and after 12, 13, 14 tries, she hits the high note. It’s no longer a strained squeak, but a warm brilliant color arcing through the air and into my heart. I want to applaud. Or cry. Or something.

Actually, I know exactly what that something is. I want to go home and play the piano.

Every time I go to Indian Hill, I feel the itch to make music. I want to take cello lessons and bang on a drumset and sing really loud.

I was a band dork as an adolescent. I played in the concert band, the stage band, the pit orchestra, and, yes, the marching band. I had neither the natural talent nor the discipline for excellence, but I loved making music, on my own in a tiny little practice room or within a wall of sound high-stepping across a football field. Music was a joyful part of my daily life.

And then it wasn’t. Grad school and work and raising a family and adult responsibilities took up time and space. The love of making music never went away. Just the making part.

There’s a piano at home, a piano I walk by many times each day, a piano I sit at 5 days a week with my son while he practices.

A piano I dust more often than play.

But when I go home tonight, before I fire up the grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner, before I open my laptop, maybe even before I take off my coat, I’m making a beeline for that piano. I’ve been chiseling away at Mozart’s Sonata in C major for 3 years now, and while I’m not quite at the point that Benjamin Zander of the Boston Philarmonic calls “one buttock playing” (oh, that video is a goody, embedded below, I think you should watch it!), playing the first, nearly mastered page of that piece gives me such joy.

Whenever I play, I walk away from the piano calmer, happier, more energized, thinking, “Why don’t I do that every single day?”

Is there a source of potential joy that you’re walking by every day? A set of paints? A box of yarn? Woodworking tools? Notebooks and pens? Clay? A cookbook and exotic spices? That guitar you haven’t touched in years? Your sewing machine? The Garage Band app on your new iPad?

Maybe tonight, before you start chopping onions, before you open the mail, you could play a little. Or play a lot.

But don’t forget to play.

Christine: The Power of Music

Many years ago, I was a dancer. I trained long and hard for the art; I adored it, lived it, ate, slept, breathed, and was consumed by it. I never realized until I was much older and had left that life behind just how much it mattered on an almost biological level. While I have always been (and continue to be) an emotional person, it was in the power of music and in movement that I could center myself. I could find equilibrium and strength.

Science tells us that we are neurologically affected by external stimuli. Music, in particular, can influence our state of being in such a way as to alter mood and affect. Anyone who loves music certainly knows this; anyone who listens to any music is generally aware of how they feel listening to music they hate, versus music they love. Keen music-lovers can even do what some therapists have been doing and knowing for some time — that you can strongly influence a particular state of being using music — make yourself happier or more upbeat-feeling with music you love that has a good rhythm, or put yourself in an active alert state ( to get ready for a competition, or particular task that requires a high level of focus) using certain types of sound.

I love to listen to music when I am doing something meditative or particularly active. Of course, when I work out (ha! rarely!), music makes it go much better, pushes me harder, makes me really reach for my objective in a way I’m not able to without it. I love that place; it’s almost like a high. When I am doing something like working over the glass torch — which can require intense focus — the mood I am in prior to sitting down determines what kind of music I listen to.

To concentrate, to really focus, Read more

Joyelle: Why I Make Art

My name is Joyelle Brandt, and I am an artist/blogger/songwriter/mommy. Kind of feels like an AA introduction doesn’t it? But I guess that is appropriate, because creating is kind of an addiction for me. I do photography and mixed media art, and I write and record songs. Creativity is my sanity-keeper, through the sometimes long days at home with my 3-year-old son. I love being a mom, it sure beats all the day jobs I had before, but it is also the hardest thing I have ever done. I turn to my art to express myself, to relieve stress, and to remember the person I was before having a child.

I had an opportunity to clarify this for myself last August, when one of the neighbourhood kids was over for a playdate with my son. She’s 8 years old, and seemed fascinated with exploring our house. In particular, my microphone and Digi 003 were quite interesting to her.

“What is this?” she asked.

“My recording equipment.” I responded.

“Why do you have it? What’s your job?”

“Well, mostly my job is being Gabe’s Mom, but I am also recording a CD.”

“So you’re famous?”

This one caught me off-guard. Unsure how to respond I stammered… “Well no, but I’d like to be… Um, I mean not really famous, like those people who are stalked by Papparazzi or anything, but…” How does one explain the concept of an independent musician who creates music for love, and has long since realized that she is not cut out for a touring musician’s lifestyle?

We moved upstairs, where she turned her attention to a multimedia art piece I was working on. Again, the questions: “Did you make this?”

“Yes.”

“So you’re a famous artist?”

Wow. The fame thing again. And I wondered, is this just a natural response for someone who has grown up in our fame-obsessed culture? Is it assumed by today’s youth that to pursue an artistic calling is really a pursuit of fame? Because I’m pretty sure that the majority of creative people have absolutely no interest in fame whatsoever, and in fact many creative people are quite introverted. Finally I found a response: “No, I’m just someone who likes to make things, it makes me happy.”

And that’s really what it’s all about for me. I still have dreams of achieving a level of success that would allow me to make a living through my creative pursuits, but when it comes down to it, I make things, whether they are recordings, art, or otherwise, because it is what I do, because it makes me feel truly alive. When I am creating I feel that flow, the hours slide by me unnoticed and the worries of the day disappear from my consciousness. And I want to have that feeling as much as I can, in every aspect of my life.

My goal is to live my life artfully. Charles De Lint summed it up best when he said “All endeavor is art when rendered with conviction.” Creativity is not limited to artistic expression, although it is often manifested that way. It is a way of thinking, a way of being in the world.

I want to make art out of everything I do, from the way I parent my son, to how I decorate my house, to how I throw a party, to how I paint a canvas. It’s all the same thing. Because at the end of my life, it is not the level of fame or not-fame that will define my life. It’s whether I lived true to myself, whether I made of my life a work of art. So here is to the artful endeavor, and to all the creative people out there. May you live your days beautifully, and find joy in every creation.

Joyelle can be found blogging through the days here. You can listen to her songs here. Some time this year, you can visit her brand-new Etsy shop. She hopes.

Aimee: My music lesson

usually i’m the one barking the orders in the house, but today i was the student. my artsygirl came home with a note from her music teacher offering all students the opportunity to be the music leader for a day if they practiced the lesson she sent home. my daughter took this task to heart. she set up her class in our living room which once again has dirty floors, recruited my younger daughter and me to be her students, and she directed us through school chants, songs, dances and scales. when we didn’t stay in our proper places, she ripped up a papertowel and marked our spots with a sharpie to keep her class in order. birdiegirl continued to be a troublesome pupil and was eventually sent to the principal’s office, and i was in danger of a timeout in the red chair when i took this photo. in the end i recovered my standing, learned the chants and songs and scales, and earned a prize.

it was a change to see her take on the role of a leader and enjoy it so much. usually she’s the dreamer — reading in the sink, writing stories, ringing the doorbell wearing speedo goggles and identifying herself as an orphan from minnesota in search of a new home — basically just lost in her imagination, which is her most endearing quality to me. but i think i often just see her through that lens, and it has shut my eyes to the fact that she can step away from the dreamer and do other things, too. it surprised me, in a very good way. it certainly made up for yesterday’s surprise, when birdiegirl piddled a river all over herself at 7th and kentucky and i didn’t have a shred of extra clothing with me. (another lesson, i guess.)

other lessons i’ve been digging this week: 1) cecilia’s tutorial on how to make patterns, 2) jen’s polaroid journal made from glassine envelopes, 3) jan’s painful reflection on hauling too much crap down the stairs, and 4) jennifer’s brilliant article on the struggle between art and ambition, the dilemma of putting your passions on the market, and that tiresome question of “what do you do.” and of course, please visit alexandra, who chose this weekword and always has wise (and funny) lessons of her own to share.

[Re-posted from Aimee’s blog by permission.]

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