Monday, June 7, 2010

Mentor Monday--Be More Creative!

If you're a writer you probably think that butt-in-chair and putting down words on paper or screen is all the creativity you need--WRONG! Your brain and soul need more. Start thinking in terms of art, music, or dance. Think of flower arranging or planning a garden. Think of selecting color combinations for a scarf you'll knit. Think of designing a birdhouse. Think of attending a sing-along program. Think of do-si-doing, pirouetting, grape-vining, or chugging.

Give plot twists, word choices, revision techniques a rest and feed your soul.

In these difficult economic times, many school systems are considering the elimination of arts in the schools! This thought horrifies me, as it should you. A good education includes a big dose of soul food (I don't mean candied yams and ham hocks). [For a little information on education and the arts, click here.] I'm going to borrow from the educators who support the arts and show you what a creative activity can do for you:
1. strengthens problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
2. develops a sense of craftsmanship, quality task performance, and goal-setting.
3. provides an alternative to destructive behavior (okay, ladies, I'm talking to you--if you're busy with art, you won't be hitting the bag of chips).
4. develops more appreciation and understanding of the world.
5. develops a positive work ethic and pride in a job well done.
Many writers keep a journal. Some swear it gets their creative juices flowing. I'd like to offer additional way of journal-keeping--one which incorporates art. Add drawings and paintings (hey, there's nothing wrong with stick figures, but, you can always use museum postcards or pictures from magazines), paste on words torn from junk mailings, glue in a dried flower or leaf, etc. You could find a piece in your journal and then find a piece of music that provides a similar mood. Or, if you won't feel too dorky, try dancing an emotion from your journal (I know this won't work for you, Write Sister-who-shall-remain-nameless,--you wouldn't even pretend to be a winter sport participant in a workshop for preschool educators!)

Start simple. If craft-like additions to your journal activity provide you with creative satisfaction, then you might want to look into a book such as Journal Spilling: Mixed-Media Techniques for Free Expression by Diana Trout (North Light Books, 2009) or a book on collage or scrapbooking, to take you further.

I don't want you to be intimidated by what you see in the video below--it's waaaay beyond the capabilities of most of us, but listening to the journal-keeper will surely inspire.

In case you're thinking, I can't be creative, I want to leave you with this quote from Edward de Bono, "Creativity can be learned like basketball, which does not mean we will all be NBA stars." You may not be a Rembrandt, or a Norah Jones, either, but you will be a more complex human being, and, a better writer.



Mur said...

There's more than one way to use the ol' right brain! Thanks, Diane.

Andrea Murphy said...

Inspiring post and video, Diane! When you think about it, there are SO many ways to flip on the creativity switch. (Pantomiming ice skating is not one of those ways.)

Diane Mayr said...'ve given yourself away!