Lessons from a baby

I’ve always been a person who tries to learn lessons from life around me. It’s probably years of Sunday school classes and trying to find the lesson in the Bible stories.

I just started feeding my daughter, Portland solid foods. It’s been fun seeing her facial reactions to different vegetables and fruit. Her first reaction is usually unsure if she likes the new taste, by the second bite she is smiling big and wants more fast. She often tries to grab the spoon and put more in her mouth by herself. She once was so excited, she grabbed the small cup I was feeding her from and tried to eat it. I laughed and said, “You can’t eat the whole thing at once!” When I said it, I stopped and laughed to myself, so that’s what I’m trying to do! When it comes to all the new dreams and ideas I’m having, I’m trying to do everything at once. For the past month, I’ve been enjoying being a mom full time and being creative on the side whenever I get the chance. I started writing more here and making YouTube videos weekly. As I’m pouring my extra time into these areas I’m waiting like… ok when is this going to pay off? In other words, I’m trying to eat the cup just like my little girl. It doesn’t work that way, it’s one small bite at a time.

From the moment I learned how to do graphic design all the way to graduating as an editor, I’ve intern and got hired to help other people build their vision. I didn’t mind, since at 22 I didn’t really have one myself. It’s easier to help others build theirs. When it comes to my dreams, I’m often changing my mind on how to go about it, or ask the question; is it worth the risk? Rediscovering my creativity and refining new dreams has become a process in which I am learning new things about myself.

I guess if anything, my daughter is teaching me to enjoy the experience of life.

Thank you to those who enjoy my post and liking them, I hope you are also learning with me new things about life and are encouraged.

My Top favorite books on Creativity

I want to introduce to you my top 3 books on creativity.  Reading about creativity will inspire you to use your talent on a daily basis, and teach you how to develop original ideas.  Here are my top 3 favorite books.
blog_imagine.jpgImagine by Jonah Lehrer talks about how creativity works. Every creative, even the creative geniuses, admit there is a process they go through to bringing their idea to life. “Once we learn how to creativity works we can make it work for us.”
He also has a chapter where he talks about outsider thinking. Sometimes when you’re younger, it’s easier to create because you don’t know enough to be an insider or an expert, due to ignorance there is a creative advantage. As we get more experience, we start to repeat ourself over and over again, “You must constantly try to forget what you already know.” Finding new challenges can help you approach things in a new way. This book was pulled from the shelves when parts of it were found to be fabricated, wish I knew what parts! 
blog_creativemark.jpgMaking your Creative Mark by Eric Maisel is second on the list. I found this book in San Francisco and read it throughout the trip . One thing I was struggling with at the time was how to be creative for myself and not just for someone who pays me.  After reading this book I was inspired to finally do YouTube, and leave a creative mark on the world.
This book acts like a manual for the creative journey, asking questions and giving practical steps. It was also comforting to hear stories from clients the author helped build their confidence when entering the market place. “You want to step out of the shadows and standing up for your work and your future”, “ your best life in the arts is dependent on your confidence level.”
blog_creativeincNext on the list is a book written by Pixar and Disney animation President Ed Catmull Creative inc. It was fun reading about how one of the most creative company’s function in creating animation films. He shares the genius of the company, the struggles of solving story problems and the hard process of making successful films. He gives you an inside look on what it’s like to work for a creative company, how they work hard to make life enjoyable for its employees. Steve Jobs was part of creating their office building, “everything about the place was assigned to encourage people to mingle and communicate to support our filmmaking..” One thing that stood out, Pixar was never afraid to admit what wasn’t working in their films and even in the office, they had open communication to call things out and to talk about it. We are invited to see how Pixar‘s creative culture with Pixar‘s braintrust- it’s a system for straight talk. They gather in a room and have them identify problems and encouraging them to be candid with one another. “As a creative we thrive when we work alone but an important skill to learn is how to work with other creative’s and other people in general how to make your idea come to life.” I read this at a time when I became leader of a department and it really help me create an environment for the team to create.

Preparation is Part of the Process

Sometimes it feels like the efforts we put into our personal work is useless and isn’t worth the time. If we were to calculate the hours we put into each project and see how much it’s costing us, it might cause us to give up. The only thing we know is that we love it and no one has to pay us to do it.

The pace of life can move so fast that we don’t have the time to prepare ourself. We hit record, or show up and rely on our past experience that we will know what to do next. But when is there time to study, read, and build? Be prepared for the opportunity to come is advice I’ve always taken to heart, but never really put it to action because I just didn’t have the time to. When do we have time to ask questions like, “What do you really want to do?” “What do you really want to make?””What impact on others do you want to have?”- let alone get them answered.

Now that I am at home with my daughter I am gifted with these open hours to do whatever I wish with my time while she sleeps. Because these moments can be 30 minutes to an hour, I have to use it wisely. For the first time in my creative life, I am able to work on work for myself. As I am taking the time to relearn a few things, research, read books that interest me, I am discovering new ideas and desires I never knew I had. When my daughter and I hang out at my local book store, I am noticing a pattern of what type of books I am picking up. Or when I work on youtube videos its allowing me for the first time to create for me. When I step back and see what all these things have in common. I can see clearly what it is I am passionate about. There is no job description for what it is I want to do, because it doesn’t exist.

I want to shout to the world all the things I am dreaming, but I know I have to invest time into my work before I can share anything. Every week I am showing up, putting in whatever hours I am able to. We hear these stories of how others are being successful, and I can’t help but wonder what the secret is. As I am pouring hours into my work, I am realizing it’s work. Preparing is part of the process, its what will make the difference between failure and success.

Yes I haven’t made any deposit into my back account, but I am pouring into my daughter, raising her, and when I get the chance pouring my creativity into myself. Building my dreams, hour by hour.

So I encourage you, whatever phase you are in, take sometime to prepare for what it is you really want to do. I’ve learned it doesn’t take hours like we use to do in school, but small breaks. Take the time to build something for yourself, your future self will thank you, and might even pay you.

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Why I created a Youtube Channel

When I decided to stop daydreaming about what I would do if I had a youtube channel, it was hard to bring clarity on the reason why. We hear of the possibility of money and fame, but that can’t be my motivation, just thinking of that sucks my creativity.  I needed a deeper reason…

Book: Every Idea is a Good Idea

I look at books as mentors. Its my way of having a cup of coffee with an expert on any given subject I’d like to learn more about. Seems like there is a new wave of books are being written – sharing information.

I discovered, Every Idea is a Good Idea by Tom Sturges while at the book store with my nephews. As they were checking out the toys, I was drawn to this book because of the cover. I loved the simple design idea. It had a retro look to it. When I opened it, I read a small part about how to create new ideas. Since I am collector of ideas, and depend on my found research to create new work, I got the book.

The first few chapters is more about how successful song writers found their ideas. Though, I’ve only day dreamt of writing a song, it was interesting to hear how iconic songs were written or tv sitcoms came together by discovering and collaborating ideas. How one find’s an idea and makes it into something

Here are some take aways that will encourage you to be prepared to do something with your ideas.

–  You sit and focus completely on your creative goal, almost meditating on it and then with a burst of energy give into the entire first draft of your idea, letting it explode out of your intellect.

– Look for a chance to change what you do and how you do it. Think reinvention, not only of yourself and your creativity but of your process, too.

– Show up every day… sooner or later your talent will emerge.

– See what you are not great at and find someone who is as great as your weak links as you are at your strongest.

– Only you can complete your thoughts. What ever it is before you get up and walk away make sure it has a beginning and an ending. Do not let your idea just sit there unfinished.

– Mark that spot with the big X and move on; just keep creating. Do not interrupt the flow of your ideas, the pace of you’re thinking, the tempo of your thoughts…Trust your mind to find the right word or phrase later when you’re not under pressure and in the middle of transcribing a new idea from your mind to paper or computer.

– …if it is something big and long and complicated, a table of contents will be a blueprint from which you can more easily and readily access and evaluate the quality of your efforts… keeps the focus of the peace in view.

– “Even half a good idea could inspire someone else’s even better idea.” Ken Levine, television writer

This paragraph describes creativity beautifully.

 – Creativity is the freedom that comes with believing that there is no perimeter, that there is no stopping, that the possibilities of thought are endless. It is the power to believe that there is no shoreline. Creativity is having faith in the sanctity and perfection of the unlimited imagination and the joy of the knowing that ideas are infinitely available, always being refreshed by some deep underground stream feeding into the pristine lake.

Don’t underestimate your ideas. Be ready to do something with them.

I create new ideas from asking questions, being inspired by a phrase I think of. Usually its my opening sentence. An element that attracts me from another’s design, art work or music. Something insightful said by my pastors, boyfriend, or family member. Books, books and books. Podcast, tweets, and past memories. Movies, commercials, and a comment someone says. Anything that makes me say, “Huh.”

Thanks Tom Sturges, I enjoyed the cup of coffee with you exchanging ideas and talking about creativity.

Creativity is easy.. Or is it?

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I’ve been making a living from my creativity for twelve years, I passed most of my classes in high school because of it. I owe most of personality to my creativity.
But when it comes to my work ethic, I owe it to my desire to do the will of God. I owe it my parents examples who still come home tired and worn out. Hard work is apart of my faith and life. So what to do when my gift becomes work? Should I say I’m not creative because it’s requiring more than I’m use to? Maybe the gift has left?
Fear not, I’ve learned creativity is asking you to dig deeper and to try something new. One of the biggest contribution to having a healthy flow is the right amount of rest. Too much rest can make you lazy not enough rest can make you anxious.
My brain works better when I’m using it. (Duh). Reading books and reading articles ask my brain to work and exercise. When I’m spending too much time watching TV or on entertainment I notice it hinders my creative flow. When you do something that doesn’t require your imagination your imagination isn’t being challenged.
Creativity can be hard work. It requires you to sacrifice your time, attention and focus. It requires you to go read a book and to complete it. It requires you to think. We live in a time when we can download an app to think for us. I may not come home physically tired like my parents but I come home mentally tired. The new generation of hard work is using your mind. You can’t afford to waste it on things that don’t matter anymore.
If you’re planning on making a dollar off your creativity, you’re going to have to learn how to think….and people, employees or customers will pay for that.
If I wrote a self help book it would be called, “My zombie days are over!” 🙂

The Year to Overcome

I recently read another’s blog post about how successful their 2012 was and their new goals. As I was reading it, it made me feel bad about myself because my 2012 achievements weren’t as large. It made me wondered if my posts ever made anyone feel bad about themselves. I don’t want to come across as if I have it all together. To tell you the truth, I don’t know what I’m doing, I just know I have to do something and keep on doing it.

This year, I want to be transparent in my journey with you.

This post was going to be about my goal’s for this year but as I typed them, I didn’t like how it was sounding. Maybe because my 2013 goals seem as big as giants. But what I do know, is if I work towards them, they will one day become a reality.

My challenge for you this year is to set goals for yourself, store them in your heart and pursue them.

This year I want to challenging myself more. I want to listen closely to the generations before me. I want to notice the beauty of life in the mist of a busy life. I want to grow. I want to grow so much that the world in which I live can’t help but be effected.

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May we all overcome our giants this year.

Blog: Inspiration Killers

As someone who gets paid to be creative, I take inspiration seriously. If I am not inspired, it will show in my work.

To me inspiration isn’t a moment but its a mood. I have to be in the inspiration mood in order to keep on creating.

Here is a list of inspiration killers; things to stay away from if working on a project. Though some of these items can sometimes inspire, most of the time it affects the creative groove.

-Social Media- There are time when I feel that burst of inspiration and get on my computer, ready to write a blog or do some editing but first, I decide to check my Facebook. I suddenly start thinking about what my friend in third grade did that weekend, or what my aunt up north is thinking. Reading everyone’s thoughts causes me to lose my own. I then sit at my blank canvas and realize.. my inspiration has been lost.

-Stress- Maybe this is a given, but having a peaceful mind keeps the inspiration flowing. I can’t think about bills, things on my to-do-list, politics, and especially personal life drama. I use to think that heart break was the queen of inspiration but all it does is cause depressing work… I have to be at peace with the world to focus on creativity. What is in the heart will show up in your work.

-Empathetic- You gotta care what you are working on. If you don’t neither will anyone elses.

-Procrastination-  When I have a project that is due in two hours, I’m not feeling inspiration I’m feeling the deadline. My desire to make the best video ever has now just turned in to getting it down NOW. When I wait for the last minute to work on a project, the project starts to feel like a huge weight on my shoulders- killing inspiration. I no longer have time to try new ideas or fine tune my writing. I wasted that time procrastinating. Don’t wait for last-minute, give your self time to be creative.

-Messy Space- Those who works with me know that I am all about having the office clean. If I am looking at a blank time line and a dirty office, I will most likely clean before I start editing. A clean space allows you to focus on your work and not the mess on the floor.

-Lack of Sleep- You don’t want to create you want to sleep! Your brain needs time to recharge.

-Interruptions- Random interruptions are like stop lights. Get in a place where people won’t bother you. I don’t know how people go to coffee shops to work, I get distracted by the blender, the woman on the phone, the couple in the corner giggling or the door opening and closing. When its time to work, I gotta get in a quiet place. Closing the door can be the best thing for you.

-Lighting- Restaurants have figured this out, lighting sets the mood. For years my office use to have those ugly fluorescent lights. It use to make me feel like a work rat. I brought a desk lamp, turned off my office lights and set the mood. When the creative office was remodeled our boss put in track lighting for us.

-Looking too much at others work- Growing up a great piece of advice I learned as a girl was, “don’t look at beauty magazine, they will only make you feel ugly.”  Looking too much at others work may cause you to lose your own ideas or worse, you may start to feel inadequate to create. Your greatest ideas will come from within.

-The burn out- If you are doing too much, then your cup will run dry. As someone who freelance, sometimes saying no can be the best thing for me. Be a good steward of your creativity.

-Junk Food- The days where I eat healthy I am attentive to my work. Because I feel good, I want to create something that will “change the world.” But when I eat junk food, I return to work wanting to sleep. I also feel guilty for eating bad which makes me feel fat and ugly. I once interviewed an 80-year-old woman and asked her to give some advice, she told me the brain stays sharp when you eat right.

Working for Free- This one is the monster of inspiration killer. In the beginning days, expect to do work for free, you are getting paid in experience but there comes a point when your creativity/work becomes valuable.

When its for your growth, its call investing in your creativity but when someone ask you to do something they know you can do and expect it for free – its called being used. When you agree to do work for no pay and you know you aren’t getting a dime for it – not even 20 bucks- the job becomes a burden. Suddenly you don’t feel like going the extra mile to make the project great and rightly so, you aren’t getting paid, why should you?

When I know I am getting paid WELL for work, I feel valued and my work reflects that.

We’ve all been in that place where it seems like we are all out of ideas. Look at the elements of your life and see if there is anything currently killing your inspiration. Maybe its as simple as your lighting.

Book: Imagine How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

I think I underlined the whole book, Imagine How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. It challenged my outlook on a subject I thought I knew all about.

Carrying this book around, I had lots of people asked me what I was reading.  The woman on the plane, one of my best friends while on holiday, on a coffee date, it seemed as though this book was sparking lots of great conversations. Its full of great insight and stories of other creatives like Bob Dylan or the team at Pixar. It was causing me to pay more attention to my daydreams and thoughts. It taught me the value of my ideas.

Before reading this book I thought I understood creativity, I assumed my best ideas came from somewhere else. The imagination was somehow outsourced. I’ve recognized it is God that designed the brain and now its up to me to learn how to use it.

Some quotes:

“The concept is only the start of the process. The hardest work always comes after, when you’re trying to make the idea real.” – Harry West, Inventor

“Once we know how creativity works, we can make it work for us.”

“There’s no such thing as a creative type. As if creative people can just show up and make stuff up. As if it were that easy. I think people need to be reminded that creativity is a verb, a very time-consuming verb. It’s about taking an idea in your head, and transforming that idea into something real. And that’s always going to be a long and difficult process. If you’re doing it right, it’s going to feel like work.” – Milton Glaser, graphic designer, creator of “I (heart) NY”

“The lesson of letting go is that we constrain our own creativity. We are so worried about playing the wrong note or saying the wrong thing that we end up with nothing at all, the silence of the scared imagination.”

“The young know less, which is why they often invent more.”

“If you can keep finding new challenges, then you can think like a young person even when you’re old and gray, that idea gives us hope.” Dean Simonton, psychologist studying the Quetelet’s approach

“You must constantly try to forget what you already know.”

“Unless we learn to share our ideas with others, we will be stuck with a world of seemingly impossible problems. We can either all work together or fail alone.”

“Technology inspires art, and art challenges the technology.”

“..the best meetings happen by accident.” Darla Anderson, an executive producer at Pixar

“What I’ve learned to look for is the individual voice. It might be an aesthetic, or a sentence style, or the way of holding the camera. But having that unique voice is the only thing I can’t teach…You either have something to say or you don’t.” Dan Wieden, co founder of one of the most innovative ad agencies.

“The most creative ideas, it turns out, don’t occur when we’re alone. Rather, they emerge from our social circles, from collections of acquaintances who inspire novel thoughts. Sometimes the most important people in life are the people we barely know.”

“The thing about ideas is that they naturally inspire new ones. This is why places that facilitate idea sharing tend to become more productive and innovative than those that don’t Because when ideas are shared, the possibilities do not add up. They multiply.” Paul Romer invented a new theory of economic growth.

“creativity is a key skill for the twenty-first century.”

—- And so much more great insight. Read it. 🙂

Blog: Coffee and Great Company

One of my favorite things to do is drink coffee and have a great conversation. Sometimes I have one that is so inspiring I wish I would have recorded it for all to hear. We began to talk about the church and creativity. I shared that it was the Puritan church that shut down the theaters in London in the 16th century, stopping all future play writers and the possibility of more geniuses to develop. When I read this in the current book I am reading, I was disappointed, “It is the church that should be birthing the most creative art, music, movies and books.” I started to share how far along we have come.  Creativity has allowed people like me, who aren’t pastors to have a voice. How powerful that is and how much God wants to use that. As we got deeper in to the conversation I knew this is what Imagine, How Creativity Works was talking about. People meeting in coffee shops and talking about ideas, ideas that will lead to insight which can lead to solutions. Maybe it was the relaxing atmosphere or the great company that allowed this conversation to take place. Either way, it got me thinking about my place on the earth.

The Pain of the Answer

The answer is what we are looking for. We talk about the question for so long we feel like the answer will never arrive, we even begin to think, “Maybe there isn’t a solution.”

Its usually not what we are expecting. When the small voice finally responds, we even say, “Nah..couldn’t be, you are crazy!”

The key is discovering the right question. As my friend and I drove around town, I couldn’t help but wonder what I was doing with my golden opportunity. I was starting to feel uneasy about not knowing what to do next. I needed to think of the next step. “I know exactly what I want, its how to get there I’m not sure about. I’m on step B and need to get to step D, what is step C?” I stop talking as I just landed the question I’ve been searching for.

As I went home and continued to read my book, The Conversations by Walter Murch, something he said stood out to me, spoke to me specifically. Walter mentioned editing with Avid and how he enjoys new technology. I thought to myself, “I shouldn’t be so scared to learn Avid, change is okay, growing is good.” As I read Avid’s website, I saw students get a great deal on the software, and then it happened, step C appeared to me. Summer school!

Now is my chance to take those film classes I’ve always wanted to. I looked up information on my local community college and read through all the classes. The next morning I enrolled and did all the “web work” as there is no longer “paper work”.

When I step on campus, I felt humbled. It’s been 12 years since I last went to school. How amazing its going to be to learn the history of film, talk with other students, and learn Avid all at the same time. When I was working I always wish I could have time to go back to school to brush up on my skills, now years later I finally am.

I start school in May 🙂 then..step D.

Audio: Interview with Cameron

I love having inspiring conversations. Cameron is the lead guitarist at The Rock and a middle school teacher. I asked Cameron if I could interview him about his love for music and how he uses it to connect with his students who have behavior issues.  Here is our talk. Enjoy.

 

Quote: Sharing a Part of You

I recently asked a friend about writing short stories and publishing them publicity. He had a great responds:

“It feels really personal writing like that, when you express yourself creatively. It comes from a real place. You’re saying more about yourself than anything else..it feels like anyone reading it can read a part of me.”

Every artist feels this at a point; the fear of sharing their work. It’s powerful when we overcome that fear.
When we share our work with each other we then are able to share our feelings.

And talking about feelings can create an interesting dialogue.

Audio: Interview with Seanloui (A Busy Creative)

Seanloui is always up to something creative. He loves helping others and is full of ideas.

I recently went to Long Beach for a visit and had the opportunity to interview him. Here is our conversation. He had some great advice about dreaming and doing. Hope you enjoy our talk.

Audio:

THiNKmediaTV Interview

My own trailer!

Sean Cannell and Jeff Moors have put together thinkintl.tv/ . They gathers resources to bring hope, spark creativity, and empower ministries, churches, and organizations around the world. Sean found me on youtube and asked if I would like to be interviewed.

Visit thinkintl.tv/ to see the cool things they are doing.

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