Document Your Creative Journey

Document Your Creative Journey

As you intentionally make time and space for more creativity this year, be sure to document and record your adventures. We tend to view our endeavors through a lens of completion, or arriving at the destination, but creativity is a journey!  The journey is where the value lies. Not only will documenting your journey help you process what you are learning, but down the road you will be grateful you can look back and see how far you’ve come.

Journal

We can’t advocate this enough. Write down important creative breakthroughs, write down your challenges, write down your hopes. Writing as an exercise just opens things up for you mentally. When you’re inspired, write. Hit a wall? Write. You get the idea- we want you to journal about every step of the process. Sometimes, just the mere act of physically writing something out can get things flowing. Write because of the effect it can have on your creativity, and write for your future self to witness the progress. And be sure to doodle in the margins of your journal- it will look cool and you’ll feel more creative!

Take Photos and Videos

If you’re anything like me, you tend to want to only document the beautiful, the funny, or the noteworthy moments in life. Because of the nature of creating, your journey will be full of ups and downs, the inspired and the mundane. Not every step will be earth-shattering; sometimes it looks much like the step before. But document ANYWAY. Capture the in-between moments, the moments of progression and transition. The journey is the true masterpiece, not the final product. Be to your creativity as a doting parent with a cute kid- record as much as you reasonably can, whether you think anyone will care or not.

Developing a Creativity Culture

Speaking of cute kids, we have lots of ‘em. And we are so grateful to have started documenting each of their journeys from the beginning. I have a journal for each of them, countless photos (some children are better documented than others. Sorry, #3 and #4) and videos to record everyday moments. What we love about this is that we documented little details that we would never remember years later, but that we look back on now with delight. Little songs that my toddler made up in the bath have become inside jokes, and actually part of our family’s culture.

All that to say, you don’t know what will become important, poignant, or inspiring to you in the future. The more you document, the more opportunity you have to develop your own creativity culture.

Progress not Perfection.

This means that each moment invested in a creative journey has value because you are moving forward. Most of the time it’s not glamorous, but it is still worth recording. When we document, we can look back and see those little steps of progress that become our journey. Take photos and videos to remind yourself where you’ve been- the bumps and victories along the way. It’s amazing how quickly we can forget when we aren’t intentional about documenting. They may not mean much to anyone else, but you will look back with pride, chagrin, sentiment and countless other emotions.

A Digital Archive

We are living in an amazing point in history where digital cloud storage is cheap and plentiful. Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, Facebook, Instagram, Evernote- these are just a sampling of the fantastic web services that can be used to archive your work and your story. So jump in- be intentional about documenting and uploading your progress for posterity. You will never regret doing this- your content will be waiting for you whenever you need to reflect or be inspired.

The View From The Top

This reflection will inspire you to continue on your journey, and will also be a treasured legacy as you look back on it in years to come. As you climb the mountain of each creative project, discipline or initiative, take the time to turn around and see how far you’ve actually come. If you intentionally reflect, going back through your journals, photos and videos, you’ll see that you are no longer where you were. You’re in new, uncharted territory.

Because creativity is a path and not a destination, taking time to enjoy the sights along the way only enhances the experience. This documented record allows you the opportunity to not only reflect personally, but to share and inspire others with all that you have endured and accomplished.

Jessica Beresh is a blogger and co-founder of MossyBrain. Along with her husband Ben, their 4 kids and their sweet puppy Charlie she resides in Broken Arrow OK. She is a 9 on the Enneagram, loves Chai (hot or iced) and also enjoys rainy days.

Connect with her on Facebook or jess@mossybrain.com.

You might also like…

TMBS Episode 7 – Kindness is Magic

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What is a FlowJam??

Have you ever felt creatively empty- unable to generate fresh ideas and think outside the box? Have you ever had a hard time getting started on a creative endeavor? If so, join the club of those of us unable to find our creative Flow. Flow is when the creativity...

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Surround Yourself With Creative People

Surround Yourself With Creative People

Support and inspiration are key to having your most creative year yet. Who is someone in your life that encourages and inspires your creativity? Who is someone who lives and breathes creativity? Who is a total weirdo in your life? Who loves and accepts you no matter what? If you’re thinking of faces to match those descriptions, you need to be spending more time with those people this year.

People Who Create Themselves

This may sound obvious but find people who make creating a priority. ‚ Half the battle is where the rubber meets the road. In other words, we can dream and think and plan all day, but until we actually take the steps to make, to create, our journey is abstract. Look for people who are hitting the pavement, and actively investing in a creative life. You’ll know them when you talk to them; they don’t keep this part of themselves a secret. Talent is secondary to a creative mindset and expressions.

People Who Inspire You

Being around these types of people will energize you. Their creativity will spark a surge in your own. You don’t have to have the same aesthetic or interests to bask in their creative vibes. Creativity is not one size fits all; it’s personal. Surrounding yourself with people comfortable with their own uniqueness and creativity will rub off on you, if only to demystify the weirdness. We’re all weirdos; most of us have just gotten very good at hiding it. Let’s embrace the weird!

People Who Uplift You

In order to benefit from surrounding yourself with fellow creatives, find people who are secure in themselves and their own creative journey. Those are the ones who believe that a rising tide lifts all boats. They encourage people around them and want to see others thrive. They won’t be stingy with their talents and wisdom. Proximity to them benefits like-minded individuals pursuing a creative path, because they are happy to share their gifts and input. They will foster and nurture your creativity without any judgement.

Consider Current Relationships

Conversely, if there are those in your life who consistently discourage you, are threatened by your growth or progress, or tear you down- consider the effect the relationship is having on you and make a choice.  Can you restrict their influence over your life? Can you find space from them and grow in health? Imagine this same relationship was impacting a friend’s life the way it is affecting yours. How would you advise him or her to proceed? Often, we are more encouraging and concise with others than we are with ourselves.

It can be difficult for loved ones to keep up when you are growing or changing. Even though it’s hard, sometimes, you have to reflect on how relationships are affecting you and then take appropriate action. Perhaps all it will take is a conversation to enlighten them about your feelings, or maybe a bigger decision needs to be made. Be honest with them, and then be honest with yourself. Move toward those who believe in you 100%, who will not limit your potential, and who want the best for you.

Drawing a Blank?

If you can’t think of people in your life to fit these positive descriptions, it may be time to get outside your comfort zone and meet some new friends. How might you best do that? Go to places where free-thinking creatives might be- local music shows, craft or maker fairs, creative Facebook groups, festivals, poetry slams, etc. Finding places where creatives might congregate is an exercise in creativity in its own right! So… you should show up at these places or events and start talking to people.

Again- this is about getting out of your comfort zone. Put yourself out there- you probably have some new best friends waiting to meet you. Just remember as you start these new relationships- Kindness is Magic. Be authentic and kind. You’ll be amazed how well a relationship blooms when a little kindness is sprinkled onto it!

Finally, look at the above characteristics, and inhabit those in your friends’ lives. Let’s jump into a revolving door of giving and receiving support and inspiration so that we can all live our most creative lives. As always, leave us a comment and let us know- what characteristics do you value in creative friends, and where did you find your support system?

Jessica Beresh is a blogger and co-founder of MossyBrain. Along with her husband Ben, their 4 kids and their sweet puppy Charlie she resides in Broken Arrow OK. She is a 9 on the Enneagram, loves sipping Chai (hot or iced) and rainy days.

Connect with her on Facebook or jess@mossybrain.com.

You might also like…

TMBS Episode 7 – Kindness is Magic

Jess & Ben express a desire to take the podcast to an inter-species audience, and imagine some mythical creatures both wonderful and horrific. They also discuss the magic and importance of kindness in relation to all our creative pursuits and relationships....

read more

What is a FlowJam??

Have you ever felt creatively empty- unable to generate fresh ideas and think outside the box? Have you ever had a hard time getting started on a creative endeavor? If so, join the club of those of us unable to find our creative Flow. Flow is when the creativity...

read more

The Importance of Flow

If you’ve ever engaged in creative pursuits, you understand that sometimes you’re on, sometimes you’re off. For whatever reason, the Muse may grant favor one day and creativity feels effortless. The next day, she may give you the cold shoulder, and you’re just -...

read more
Limit the Barriers to Your Creativity

Limit the Barriers to Your Creativity

Think of all the things in your life that keep you from being your most creative. Netflix. Twitter. The kids. Email. Chores. Stress. Many barriers are persistent, looming on the periphery, while others seem to appear out of nowhere when we plan to create. We need to call out and identify these barriers in order to successfully overcome them.

In his amazing book The War of Art, author Steven Pressfield calls these barriers “The Resistance.” This is not limited to creativity; it could be anything that keeps you from moving upward in your life. Identify and address whatever prohibits your creative flow so that you can be free to create. The War of Art refers to dozens of examples of Resistance we encounter in our creative pursuits.  Some of these barriers are physical and some are psychological. Definitely worth a read for all creative thinkers and doers.

Additionally, in his paper called, “Barriers to Creativity and Creative Attitudes,” published in the Encyclopedia of Creativity, Gary A. Davis contends that “The contrast between creative and uncreative people lies more in barriers and uncreative attitudes than in differences in intelligence or thinking styles.” That is to say, when we adjust unhelpful attitudes and combat the barriers in our lives, we are free to become more creative.

Old Habits Die Hard

Davis identifies five categories of creative barriers; firstly is Learning and Habit. Because we learn early the way things have always been done, it becomes difficult to see new possibilities. We all know how tricky habits can be to break. The status quo is hard to see beyond, and knowing what to expect is comforting. Conversely, the unknown is well, scary. Identify and address habits and beliefs that are preventing your growth. Then, one at a time, replace the unhealthy with more intentional choices. For instance, if your habit is to pick up your phone when you are in social settings, give yourself some practical ways to engage with others around you instead.

Tradition!

The second barrier category is Rules and Traditions. The social group you’re in (academic, spiritual, familial, corporate, etc.) will guide your rules and conduct. He writes, “A person can be inflexibly tied to rules, or can be creativity-conscious – open, receptive, and encouraging of new ideas.” Not all rules and traditions are bad, but rigidity and close-mindedness limit our creative ability.

Moreover, we may be unaware of just how tethered to our rules and traditions we’ve become. If we stop and analyze, we may realize that we don’t agree with many of them. For instance, one organizational barrier is status hierarchy. This means someone of a lower status may be reluctant to suggest ideas to a person of higher status for fear of evaluation or criticism.  We’re led to believe that the higher-ups are the visionaries because of their titles, so why try? Creative thinking is extremely limited by these rules. As a result, everybody loses when we buy into them. Write down and confront those unspoken beliefs and rules, and figure out if you want to adhere to them. If you don’t, make a change to live what you believe.

It’s All In Your Head

The third barrier category is Perceptual Barriers. Perceptual set, or functional fixedness, means when we are used to seeing things a certain way, it becomes hard to see new meanings or ideas. This bias limits our thinking to only seeing the original intended uses. This is in contrast to flexible, innovative thinking.

Davis’ creative recommendation for this is called “Make the Familiar Strange.” It means to see the common in new ways, looking for new ideas, meanings, and connections. For instance, say we’re trying to find a solution to a problem that will involve string. If there is a sign hanging from a string on the wall, we will make the connection and remove it from the sign. Perceptual set means being fixed on the existing function of the string, and overlooking its potential to be anything else. Above all, creative thinking allows us to see the possibilities of what could be, not just what is. Look for the strings around you, and utilize them to creatively solve whatever problem you encounter.

You May Get Some Weird Looks…

Next are Cultural Barriers which include social influence, expectations, conformity, and fear of being different. One example lies in our public school system. Children learn that it is good to be correct and bad to make mistakes. Mistakes and failure are actually a vital part of the creative process, and should be viewed as an important part of learning and growing. In the same vein, conformity, which protects the status quo, is highly valued in classrooms.  Studies show developmental drops in creativity scores as children grow.

Likewise, this trend unfortunately continues into most workplaces. If you are able to get past the fear of scrutiny from your peers and supervisors or the pull of conformity, find ways to experiment and find creative solutions. This intentional creativity will lead to creative breakthroughs that would otherwise be undiscovered.

Silencing Your Inner Critic

The fifth barrier category blocking your creativity is Emotional Barriers, which make us “freeze.” These emotional blocks include anger, fear, and anxiety. More specifically- fear of failure, fear of being different, fear of criticism or ridicule, fear of rejection, fear of supervisors, timidity, and shaky self-esteem. We all relate to feeling some of these at one time or another. If left unchecked, they will certainly hinder our creative potential. Creativity takes courage, which does not mean we are never afraid. It simply means doing things scared. We will all feel fear at one time or another, but we cannot let that impede our goals for living out-of-the-box.

In short, awareness of your personal barriers is half the battle. Come to your creative activities with an open mind and an open heart. There are no wrong answers. When you create, follow your impulses, your curiosities and your inspirations. Don’t allow comfort, safety, convention, or practicality to interrupt your flow. When you are able to turn off the critical voices in your head and your heart, your creativity will witness a renaissance.

Jessica Beresh is a blogger and co-founder of MossyBrain. Along with her husband Ben, their 4 kids and their sweet puppy Charlie she resides in Broken Arrow OK. She is a 9 on the Enneagram, loves Chai (hot or iced) and rainy days.

Connect with her on Facebook or jess@mossybrain.com.

You might also like…

TMBS Episode 7 – Kindness is Magic

Jess & Ben express a desire to take the podcast to an inter-species audience, and imagine some mythical creatures both wonderful and horrific. They also discuss the magic and importance of kindness in relation to all our creative pursuits and relationships....

read more

What is a FlowJam??

Have you ever felt creatively empty- unable to generate fresh ideas and think outside the box? Have you ever had a hard time getting started on a creative endeavor? If so, join the club of those of us unable to find our creative Flow. Flow is when the creativity...

read more

The Importance of Flow

If you’ve ever engaged in creative pursuits, you understand that sometimes you’re on, sometimes you’re off. For whatever reason, the Muse may grant favor one day and creativity feels effortless. The next day, she may give you the cold shoulder, and you’re just -...

read more

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Make Your Creative Time a Priority

Make Your Creative Time a Priority

You’ve decided- this will be your most creative year yet! Awesome- get ready for the ride of your life!

So where to begin? Let’s start with something extremely basic and fundamental. Each day, at a regular time that works with your schedule, you will have Creative Time.

What is Creative Time?

Creative time is a dedicated time and space for you to engage in some kind of creative activity. This really can be anything you want it to be. You could write, sketch, dance, sing, read, paint, play an instrument, build something, craft, code, design, take some photos, nature walk, dream, plan, brainstorm- anything that gets your creative neurons firing and energized. The activity itself does not need to be strategic or cohesive from day to day; the important thing is that you participate in creative activities each day.

When is the Best Time for Creativity?

Ask yourself- what time during the day am I at my best? If you want to make the most of your Creative Time, you will create a hole in your schedule when you can be your most aware and energetic. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Your creative activities will be more productive and more fun if you schedule them when you can bring your A-game. If you are not a morning person, do not schedule creative time early in the morning. If you are totally spent come 9pm, late evening may be a poor choice. Are your eyes drooping and your head nodding around 2pm? Probably not the time for productive creativity.

By scheduling the creative time when you feel good and can function best, you’re giving yourself a huge advantage. Chances are, this creative time will become something you’re eagerly looking forward to each day. Block this time out on your calendar or planner and protect it fiercely. If possible, find a time that you will be uninterrupted and unhindered by other responsibilities. Don’t allow work, kids, chores, friends or any other distractions to intrude on this sacred time. It belongs to you and your creativity.

When You Don’t Feel Creative

The reality is that you will not consistently feel creative when Creative Time starts each day. Any number of things can demotivate you from being creative. But none of these things are excuses to skip your Creative Time. Here at MossyBrain, we espouse an exercise called a FlowJam. Flow is a state of creative being where fresh ideas are percolating and new neural connections are being formed. A FlowJam is an exercise to jumpstart your flow, giving all subsequent creativity a boost.

Examples of FlowJam exercises are writing a haiku, coloring, freestyle rapping, making up your own lyrics to popular songs and recasting your favorite movies with different actors. Any low-stakes spontaneously creative activity will do the trick. We recommend you begin your Creative Time with a FlowJam session to clear out the mental doldrums and to set yourself up for creative success. We have found that a FlowJam session dramatically improves the quality of your creative times and activities. So jam it up.

Value and Protect Your Creative Time

Think of your Creative Time as a precious and priceless gift. This is a personal ritual to develop your creative genius. Without this time, you risk experiencing an un-creative, normal, boring existence.

Schedule this time in your calendar first and plan all other activities around it. Recognize and solidify the importance of Creative Time- don’t allow time-suck activities to rob you of it. The status quo mentality will tell you to do what is easy and comfortable. Turn on Netflix, sleep in, play video games, dive into social media. But resist the temptation to stay comfortable! Just like eating right or exercising, committing to have regular creative time can be painful at the beginning, but hugely rewarding once the habit is in place.

Building Up Your Creativity Muscles

This regularly scheduled Creative Time will deliver major benefits once it is established into your daily routine. Just like a new exercise regimen, you may not see the results immediately. But over time, this habit of intentional creativity will begin to change the way you think and also how you view the world. As this change begins to happen, be sure to take on new creative challenges and experiences as a way to “flex” your developing creativity muscles. You will be amazed at your growth.

This year, decide to give creativity a fighting chance to change your life. Check back with MossyBrain regularly for tips, inspiration and motivation as you progress on your creative journey this year. And remember that you’re not alone- be sure to let us know how you’re doing. Happy creating!

Jessica Beresh is a blogger and co-founder of MossyBrain. Along with her husband Ben, their 4 kids and their sweet puppy Charlie she resides in Broken Arrow OK. She is a 9 on the Enneagram, bringing peace and kindness with her everywhere she goes. She loves Chai (hot or iced) and also rainy days

Connect with her on Facebook or jess@mossybrain.com.

You might also like…

TMBS Episode 7 – Kindness is Magic

Jess & Ben express a desire to take the podcast to an inter-species audience, and imagine some mythical creatures both wonderful and horrific. They also discuss the magic and importance of kindness in relation to all our creative pursuits and relationships....

read more

What is a FlowJam??

Have you ever felt creatively empty- unable to generate fresh ideas and think outside the box? Have you ever had a hard time getting started on a creative endeavor? If so, join the club of those of us unable to find our creative Flow. Flow is when the creativity...

read more

The Importance of Flow

If you’ve ever engaged in creative pursuits, you understand that sometimes you’re on, sometimes you’re off. For whatever reason, the Muse may grant favor one day and creativity feels effortless. The next day, she may give you the cold shoulder, and you’re just -...

read more
Your Most Creative Year Yet

Your Most Creative Year Yet

This is the time of year when many people express their goals and desires for the year.  Some want to lose weight, some want a new relationship, some want more money and some want to travel more. Whatever your goals for this new year are, consider adding one more. Commit to making this your most creative year yet.

We are all creatures of comfort and creatures of habit. Most New Year’s resolutions fail because change is hard and we quickly and predictably revert to what is safe and comfortable. Because creativity is like a muscle that needs to be worked, you simply need to begin choosing to be creative on a regular basis to make this goal a reality.

But what is the best way to accomplish this? You will certainly find your own path to creativity this year, but here are some concrete suggestions to embrace and incorporate a creative lifestyle:

Make Time For Creativity

Any goal requires some discipline to attain. We need to be intentional if we want creativity to power us this year. A creativity schedule can be a useful tool. In other words, set aside dedicated time (each day if you can) to allow creativity to grow and blossom in your life. Read something inspiring. Go for a hike. Cook a new dish. Listen to interesting music. Write something. Sketch something. Shoot some interesting photos or videos. Make something. The possibilities of what you could do are endless, and as you make this a habit, your actual activities will become secondary to the intentionality of participating in these activities. When you make this creative time for yourself regularly, you will enter into your creative flow faster and more easily.

Limit Barriers to Your Creativity

Think of all the things in your life that keep you from being your most creative. Netflix. Twitter. The kids. Email. Chores. Stress. Many barriers seem to appear out of nowhere when we want to or are trying to be creative.  In his amazing book The War of Art, author Steven Pressfield calls these barriers “the Resistance.”  Anything that stops or interrupts your creative flow needs to be identified and dealt with so that you can be free to create. Making dedicated space for creativity can be an effective way to shut off regular distractions and allow you to focus. But always keep in mind that some barriers are mental.

You need to come to your creative activities with an open mind and an open heart. There are no wrong answers. When you create, follow your impulses, your curiosities and your inspirations. Don’t allow comfort, safety, convention or practicality to interrupt your flow. Turn off the critical voices in your head and your heart and, as a result, your creativity will witness a renaissance.

Embrace Change

If this year is to be a year of creative breakthroughs for you, you have got to be ready and open to experience and embrace change. This will be the year of new adventures. The creative mind sees the world not as it is, but as it could be. Often this means trying things that make you uncomfortable or even scare you. Get ready.

Your creative courage will be greatly rewarded as you try new things that you will come to love. New books, new places, new art, new voices, new relationships, new music, new experiences. As you try all these new things, you will find the status quo you’re leaving behind falls embarrassingly short. Comfort and safety are vastly overrated. If you’re not growing, you’re dying.

Surround Yourself with Fellow Creatives

Support and inspiration are key to having your most creative year yet. Who is someone in your life that encourages and inspires your creativity? Who is someone who lives and breathes creativity? Who is a total weirdo in your life? Who loves and accepts you no matter what? If you’re  thinking of faces to match those descriptions, you need to be spending more time with those people this year. They will foster and nurture your creativity without any judgement.

If you can’t think of people in your life to fit these descriptions, it may be time to get outside your comfort zone and meet some new friends. How might you best do that? Go to places where free-thinking creatives might be- local music shows, craft or maker fairs, creative Facebook groups, festivals, poetry slams, etc. Finding places where creatives might congregate is an exercise in creativity in its own right! So… you should show up at these places or events and start talking to people. Again- this is about getting out of your comfort zone. Put yourself out there- you probably have some new best friends waiting to meet you. Just remember as you start these new relationships- Kindness is Magic. Be authentic and kind. You’ll be amazed how well a relationship blooms when a little kindness is sprinkled onto it!

Document Your Creative Journey

As you intentionally make time and space for more creativity this year, be sure to document and record your adventures. Take photos, videos and write down important creative breakthroughs. This reflection will inspire you to continue on your journey, and will also be a treasured legacy as you look back on it in years to come. Because creativity is a process and not a destination, taking time to enjoy the sights along the way only enhances the experience.

So where will this creative year lead you? What will you discover about yourself this year? Please keep us posted on your progress and check back in with us in the comments or on social media throughout the year. Above all, know that we are your biggest cheerleaders- be as weird and unique as you can imagine. Remember- there is only one you!

Ben Beresh is a designer, filmmaker and co-founder of MossyBrain. Originally from Niagara Falls, ON, he now happily calls Broken Arrow OK home, along with his wife Jessica, four kids and dog Charlie. Ben likes to have a good time, all the time (Enneagram 7), as well as eating all types of sandwiches.

Connect with him on Facebook or ben@mossybrain.com.

You might also like…

TMBS Episode 7 – Kindness is Magic

Jess & Ben express a desire to take the podcast to an inter-species audience, and imagine some mythical creatures both wonderful and horrific. They also discuss the magic and importance of kindness in relation to all our creative pursuits and relationships....

read more

What is a FlowJam??

Have you ever felt creatively empty- unable to generate fresh ideas and think outside the box? Have you ever had a hard time getting started on a creative endeavor? If so, join the club of those of us unable to find our creative Flow. Flow is when the creativity...

read more

The Importance of Flow

If you’ve ever engaged in creative pursuits, you understand that sometimes you’re on, sometimes you’re off. For whatever reason, the Muse may grant favor one day and creativity feels effortless. The next day, she may give you the cold shoulder, and you’re just -...

read more

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