Creative Inspiration

A couple of posts ago, I talked about the Artist’s Date – the commitment to your Inner Artists for an outing, once a week, at least one hour long, to restock your well.  Sometimes, you need more than that. Sometimes you need fast help if you’ve got a looming deadline, or you’ve just been stuck for too long.  I’ve shared a few favorites of mine for getting unstuck below and then I asked some of my favorite creatives for their ideas for creative inspiration and they’re so good that I had to share them too!  (be sure to click their links and check out their wonderful offerings!!)

Here are my ‘go to’ creativity boosters, in no particular order:

  • ColourLovers – I love color. Absolutely love it. When I’m feeling stuck, there’s nothing like browsing beautiful palettes, creating my own, sharing with community and even pattern coloring.  It’s like a beautiful, digital coloring book and I just let my mind wander while I pick out and play with gorgeous hues.  There’s a community feeling to it as well so if you join, here’s my profile!
  • Pinterest –  I have boards for all kinds of things, from planner page ideas, inspiring recipes, beautiful clothing, furniture, jewelry and also more abstract ideas.  If you’re stuck writing an article, search “writing”, painting? Search “painting”, etc.  Just need a mini virtual vacation?  I love to search Ocean Views and then just browse the beautiful imagery.  If you’re anything like me, you might want to set a timer – I can spend all day with this!  There’s also the ability to create ‘secret’ boards and I have a few of them too!  Very helpful for your darker, deeper ideas.  Connect with me there, too!
  • Brainy Quote – This is my favorite quote collection.  You can browse by topic, author, graphic quotes – they make it super easy to share them on social media too!
  • Meditate – Yes, I say that a lot – but I do use it for everything. And it works.  Cue up a five minute meditation and clear your mind.  When you feel yourself becoming distracted (and you probably will), just focus back on your deep, yet comfortable, breathing.
  • Oracle or Tarot Decks – I have lots and lots of decks – I’ll decide which one to use depending on what I’m stuck on.  If you’re not a skilled tarot reader, the oracle decks might be a better idea.  If you don’t have a deck there are lots of available decks online for free readings: Earth Magic and AnimalFree Angel Readings, whatever your philosophy, belief system, etc;  you can simply view these as visual, creative inspiration.

More Creative Inspiration

 

Well, I like to do something risky and risque like opening up all the windows and blinds and walking around in the nude probably TMI but it works

  • A car ride with someone else driving. Preferably in a picturesque setting. Where I can just look out the window and day dream. Very helpful.
  • Music. Or change of music will sometimes push me in a new direction.
  • I also find sunbathing very good to clear my mind. 15 minutes of just sitting in the sun….no reading no other stimuli…..is a very good reboot.
  • When things get really bad and I feel “out of control” or totally frustrated with no direction to go in, I will clean the house…….thankfully I never get so bad the whole house gets cleaned. Hahahahaha!

Turn up the beats and play air guitar. Or hop in the car and go for a drive and belt out whatever is on the radio. Or watch something hilarious. Make a new crystal grid. Energy clearing. Reiki session…Just depends on what’s stuck haha.
sierra
Sierra Koch
Reiki Playground

I get in water. Preferably salt + moving. But a shower works too. And I visualize ideas washing over me in the drops at the same time I release and neutralize blocks.

I’m with Maria Schonder on this one Had an epic time in mother ocean today, playing in the waves. They were pretty big too. Saraphina got flipped for the first time. WAter up the nose. It was a shocker but she jumped back in!

Excuse me… pardon me… Beyonce fan coming through… Whenever I’m in that stuck place I get in front of the mirror, and I sing “Love On Top” BUT – instead of singing it as a woman to her lover, I sing it as a soul to God… so instead of “Baby, it’s YOU! You’re the one I love..” I say “Spirit, it’s YOU!…” I really like living in a world where every love song sounds like either I’m singing to God, or God is singing to me… I’ll be happy to post my “revised” lyrics – #NoOffenseBey

I get up and Get Moving! A quick 5-10 minute walk, or a few minutes of shaking my moneymaker to some upbeat music, does wonders!

I go for a walk and talk to the trees. I have a fav tree I sit under when I need guidance or just to be… she’s a great big Beech tree
Cynthia Cano

Awesome ideas!  Thank you to all of you for participating!  Make sure you visit them for even more inspiration.

 

And if you need a little bit more creative help…

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CoSchedule

This is such a great resource – I’ve been using it for about a week and I just love it. It really frees me up to create content and not spend all my time promoting it. There’s a free 14 day trial, so there’s absolutely no risk.  I thought I’d share with you, my CoSchedule review.

Content Marketing Editorial Calendar For WordPress Really simple to use, set up your account, install the plug in and get started. In your dashboard sidebar, you’ll see a link for “Calendar”. Hover over it and you have a few choices, Calendar, My Activity, My Team, Settings, Need Help and Open in Web App.

Getting Started with CoSchedule

Click on Calendar and start scheduling posts. This is a great area to brain storm post ideas, titles, series, etc., and to really commit to an editorial calendar. Drag and drop functionality makes it really easy to rearrange your scheduled posts and social media messages and have everything in such a visual format is a huge help to me! (Bonus: here’s what I’ll be writing about the next couple of weeks!)

CoSchedule with ChristineLeiser.com

I love that all your previous posts show up in the calendar when you look back.  Makes it really simple to promote your awesome content again to people who might not have been following you when you originally posted it!

Teams with CoSchedule

Have a team of writers for a blog?  You can add all the different authors and control what they each see, if you’re the account holder.  Very robust settings make CoSchedule highly configurable and therefore, super useful.

Social Media

My favorite part about CoSchedule, has to be the social media settings – this app differs in how customizable it is!  Set up Facebook profiles and pages, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked In, Tumblr, and Google+ (through Buffer).  The great part is that each message can be different on each network, really allowing you to speak in your own voice for each audience.  Timing also can be set individually.  Post your article on Monday, automatically set up to Tweet on Monday, Facebook on Tuesday, Linked In on Wednesday, etc.  No more going back each day to rebroadcast your content.  Set it once and you’re done. I find that to be such a help in promoting my content, leaving me free to create more wonderful content!

Awesome Integrations

If that weren’t enough to convince you – the integrations surely will.  CoSchedule integrates with Bit.ly, Google Analytics, custom analytics, and Google Calendar – making it super easy to track your links, your page views, and more to help you really understand what content is successful, what your audience responds to, and where you need to focus to reach and connect with your tribe, fully.

Integrating with Google Calendar makes things really clear for me.  I have quite a few different calendars, color coded, and I can see my posts, and social media strategy, right next to my appointments, work schedule, client meetings, coaching sessions, family time and more.  I was surprised that by laying it all out visually, I actually was inspired by different ideas for topics and blog posts which is something every writer struggles with and I’m always looking for new ways to inspire the creativity and find topics relevant to my clients and prospective clients, readers, and tribe.

I really appreciate a good WordPress tool and this one is only $10 a month – worth every penny as far as I can tell, so far.  No contracts, cancel at any time.  I just love it.

Check out the video and go set up an account.  Let me know what you think, or if you have even more inspiring ideas to share!

All opinions are my own.

20 Ways to Engage Your Inner Artist

We all know how busy we are; responsible for work, home, family – busy with friends, hobbies, interests.  It can sometimes get overwhelming. It’s so important that we remember to, and commit to, making time to engage our inner artists. I don’t care if you identify yourself as an artist, or a creative, or whatever it is that you call yourself, if you’re creating anything – You are an artist.  And as such, it’s your responsibility to nurture that.  Sometimes the world can get in the way and it seems we have so many other, “more important” things to take care of, but the truth is that if you don’t engage your artist, every part of your life will suffer.  Just as it’s important to take care of your health, before problems start, it’s important to take care of your creativity so that it continues to flow freely.

So how do you engage your inner artist?

As a long time advocate of Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” – I’m a huge fan of the “Artist’s Date”.  Basically, it’s a date with your artist (hint: You!) – just a commitment that you make to take yourself on a date – by yourself, to do something that will fill your well. Sometimes it can be a little hard to figure out what to do on these dates, so I thought I’d make a list for reference points.  For you to get the most out of this practice, you’re going to need to be a little selfish (gasp! I know!), but don’t let errands, busy work, or even other people get in the way of this.  It needs to be about you and your creativity!  I’ll from some obvious ideas to more obscure or unusual ones.  Take at least 60 minutes a week and do one of the suggestions below, or add your own suggestions in the comments.

  1. Hit the local museum – Obvious, but when was the last time you went?  Really look at the pieces, spend time with them.  Notice the way the artist used color to express the sunlight coming through the trees, the shape of sculpture, the texture of the materials used. Bring a sketch pad – even if you don’t draw and just take some time to express yourself on the page – either with words or images. Watch the people reacting to the different pieces of art.  Before you leave, take yourself over to the gift shop and buy a card, or a refrigerator magnet, an umbrella, something small and beautiful to remind you of your date.
  2. Book store, or the library – What’s your interest right now?  Photography?  Drumming? Belly Dancing? Indonesian Cuisine? Go through the section that is full of what you’re interested in right now.  Take a ton of books to a table and slowly savor them. If you’re in a book store, grab an iced coffee, or chai tea and really spread out at a table. Look through the gorgeous pictures, inhale the aroma of the books. Maybe check a few of the books out, or buy one.  Be aware of the establishments policy about you putting the books back.  B&N doesn’t enforce it, but they really appreciate when you put the books back where you got them.  Libraries, usually discourage people from putting them back.
  3. Art supply or craft store – Look through papers, fabrics, craft ideas, pens, crayons, inks, stamps, feather boas, glitter. There is so much imagery in a craft store, you could get lost!
  4. Metaphysical store – I love to play with the rocks. I usually can not deny myself a crystal or two while I’m there.  Bonus:  Get their calendar, there are always wonderful things going on at our local shop
  5. If it’s a blooming season, go to a botanical garden.  The variety of colors and shapes is quite remarkable when everything’s in bloom!
  6. The beach – One of my absolute favorite artists date.  Sit in the surf.  Watch the beautiful waves, roll in – pick up seashells, play with the birds. (Don’t forget the sunscreen!)
  7. Go to a train or bus station and people watch.  Make up stories about the people… where they’re going, where they’re coming from, their triumphs, love stories, tragedies. Bring a notebook!
  8. These are getting harder to find, but really nice stationary stores. I love beautiful papers, inks and fonts, and I can get great design ideas from the combinations and the graphics.
  9. A cathedral – no matter your religion or lack thereof, cathedrals, stained glass, gleaming wood, the quiet reverence, I love them and they totally inspire me.
  10. Take your camera and go on a walk.  Notice interesting shapes, textures, materials.  Photograph them.  Maybe start a photo library of just interesting shots.
  11. Go to a local music, art, theater performance – support other local artists.  Be open to meeting new people
  12. Open mic – you don’t have to get up and perform, but you could think about it.
  13. Go see a movie that no one you know wants to see – something dark, with subtitles, or the latest animated feature. Splurge on popcorn with extra butter.
  14. Pop some tags! Local thrift shops are full of weird and sometimes wonderful things.
  15. Draw and color a mandala – It’s not hard – here’s a great tutorial!
  16. Create a board on Pinterest for things that inspire you to create
  17. Create a lookbook on Houzz
  18. Go to the hardware store, buy metal washers, using a hammer, (careful!) bang them up a bit, use them as keyring fobs or string them on a chain and wear it around your neck.
  19. Get sidewalk chalk and use it – draw huge flowers in your driveway along with peace signs, hearts, and stars.
  20. Take the whole day, get in your car and drive someplace that you’ve never been before. Have lunch there, and come back home.

Did I miss anything?  What are some of your favorites?

 

Want to discuss working with me?

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Lavender Linen Spray

Home should be a safe haven – your sleeping area, especially.  My office is in my bedroom as well as my alter, my piano, tons of books and, of course, the bed.  I spend a lot of time in this room and I really like to keep it comfortable and inviting. If I’m going to spend so much time in a place, I want to enjoy it. One of the things I enjoy most is a bed dressed with clean, warm sheets, just out of the dryer.  I have a bit of a ritual (I like rituals) for sheet day and I thought I’d share it with you.

I strip the sheets and pillow cases off the bed and start them in the wash.  I then throw all the pillows in the dryer – since they can’t be washed, but still get dust and animal hair and human stuffs on them – I put them in a hot dryer for 20 minutes. When I pull them out, I spray lavender linen spray on them, as well as the mattress and mattress pad. When the sheets come out of the dryer, I do the same with them after putting them on the bed.  Usually, I then slide into bed, even if it’s not bedtime for a few minutes just to enjoy the warm sheets and smell of lavender.  It’s a very comforting, self nurturing thing to do and I recommend it, highly!

Linen sprays can be quite expensive, but not if you make them yourself!  Here’s my recipe –

  • 8-10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 tsp. witch hazel
  • 1 cup distilled water

Mix the ingredients together and pour into a spray bottle (available at craft stores, even some markets)

You could do this with any essential oil that you enjoy the scent of. Makes a great gift, too!

Opus Domini Mobile Pro for iPad and iPhone

I have spent so much money and so much time downloading goal and time planning apps.  You don’t even want to know how much. So, the other day when I saw this article, by the lovely Britt, that mentioned Opus Domini Mobile Pro and how close it came to the Franklin Covey planning system, I knew I had to try it.  You see, I love Franklin Covey.  The system literally changed my life. I purchased my first FC yearly planner in, I think, 2000.  I worked through all the exercises and I completely fell in love with that way of planning.  It just made sense.  Something clicked and I was able to figure out how I was blocking myself from achieving the things I really wanted.  Heck, I was better able to figure out what it was I wanted in the first place. I became a huge Covey geek and religiously followed the planning methods, quadrant theories and read all the books. I even bought the software to design and print your own forms on their specialty papers with the rounded corners so that everything matched.  I had a raspberry colored binder and even an engraved plaque for the front in case someone couldn’t figure out that the pink, geeky, very thick binder belonged to me.

When I first started to go digital, my first smart phone was a Palm.  A Treo, I believe.  I bought the FC software for desktop and the Palm and I loved it.  The planning became so second nature that I didn’t even have to buy the kits anymore.  I tweaked and adjusted everything to really fit my needs and I even started to teach other people how to do it.  (There are pages of posts that mention Franklin Covey and goal planning on ColorMePink!).

When I started using iPhone, I started searching for Franklin Covey apps and I was really disappointed at how there really weren’t any.  Maybe the company is going more towards a corporate training business model, but I really think they dropped the ball on the iPhone planning market.  Reading reviews in the iTunes store, there seem to be many people who agree with me.

In giving you all this information, it’s my hope that you’ll see just how much time went into finding an app like this.

Without even thinking about it, I downloaded the Opus Domini app. For $5.99 it was a no-brainer. Opening it for the first time was a little like coming home, if you’ll indulge my drama for a bit.

The first screen is your daily page.  Whether they be scheduled appointments and tasks, or a general list of the things you’d like to accomplish for the day, you can structure them however you like. You can even rate them according to quadrant and importance (here’s a link with a quick explanation if you’re not familiar with that), the other side of the page is for note taking, etc – I use that space for not only notes, but to record my list of gratitude for the day (five things I’m grateful for each day). Above is a weather widget, which you can turn off if you don’t like it and an inspirational quote (I love quotes). The tasks have lots of options for recurring, priority, etc.

The next tab is for Master Tasks:  Things that I have on my plate right now that I need to make sure I work on.

Next tab is Compass:  I don’t have this filled out in this screen shot because I tend to get very personal and brutally honest with this and clearly, I already share too much.  In a nut shell, there are four areas of your life that you need to focus on to get into, or maintain balance.  They are: Physical, Social, Mental, and Spiritual.  It’s so easy to let one or more of these slip, but for me, when I am paying attention to all four, I’m much better balanced, happier, on track, etc.  Running a business, being a mom and wife, whole food advocacy, meal planning, blogging, homeschooling, friendships, creative pursuits – it’s hard to keep them all in balance.  I find that the compass idea helps me tremendously.

Goals: Tangible, real, goals. I love that I can list these and then use the slider to track the progress. Looking at this, I can see how far I’ve come and how close I am to releasing my book. I can keep track of where we are in the kitchen remodel and I can gently remind myself that I’m trying to get healthier.  I like to chunk the really tough goals into smaller pieces so that I’m not overwhelmed.

Mission, Vision and Values: To me, this is the core of the planning system. Again, I started to get really personal, so I’m just sharing a portion.  My mission statement (which needs updating) will go under “Mission”, my “Vision” are the things I have my sights set on. And my “Values” are the things that are important to me.  The most effective way I’ve found to do this is by writing a clarifying statement for each value (again FC’s idea, not mine).  For example:  “Honesty: I am impeccable with my word, honoring my commitments, yet telling the truth in a way that is never mean.”  Doing it that way really hones in on what the definition of each value really is to me. It helps me to get real with myself and sometimes things that were valuable to me in the past, are not valuable now.  Writing out that clarifying statement helps me to determine what it is that I want to be, not what I think others want me to be or what I’m supposed to be.  Make sense?

So, there it is.  I give this app 4.5 stars.  It’s not perfect, but it’s damn close. There are no syncing capabilities, I’m using this on my iPad and it would be lovely for it sync to the phone, but they promise them in the near future and the only other thing I would add is a “Have, Do, Be” checklist.  I find that to be so helpful and I have one in Evernote, but it would be nice to have it all within this app.

Great job Piso13!

Disclosure: I love the app.  No one gave me anything to say this.