Archive for the ‘Creativity Tips’ Category

rejectionA little while back I watched a video (after the jump) that completely changed the way I think about rejection and failure. Marie Forleo was interviewing actress Bryce Howard and Howard told the story of her grandmother's advice to her when she started her acting career. Her grandmother said that most working actors will go on an average of 64 auditions before booking a job. 64! That number is even higher for people who are just starting out or are returning to the industry after a break.

When Howard started auditioning she said, "I started counting. And I promised myself I wouldn't get upset if I didn't book something before 64 because that would be deluded thinking."

Everyone always says that it's hard to make a living in the arts. And it's true. The odds are against actors and artists and musicians because there are so few jobs and so many of us who want to have a go at it. But this interview showed me that making it in the arts isn't necessarily about luck or being more special than everyone else who's trying: it's about sticking with it through the countless rejections until someone is willing to hire you or pay you. Most actors give up long before they hit that 64 audition mark so if you're willing to keep trying when everyone else has quit, your odds will improve. (more…)

good enough

"So we have to be patient with ourselves. Over and over again we think we need to be somewhere else, and we must find the truth right here, right now; we must find our joy here, now. How seductive it is, the thought of tomorrow. We must find our understanding here. We must find it here; it is always here; this is where the grass is green." - John Tarrant

My partner, Matt, ran a course over the winter to teach people basic mechanical skills by rebuilding a motorbike. They named the finished result "Good Enough," and it was recently featured in a local bike show, with all its quirks and flaws. I love this so much.

I had a rough day at work last week and wanted to treat myself to a night of enjoyment. After dinner, I had an hour before heading out to see a play and I decided to work on a drawing that's been taking weeks to finish. I enjoyed that hour tremendously, and was even happy with the results, but later that night I started to berate myself for only finding an hour to draw this whole week, and for only finishing a two-inch square in that time. I started to resent my job and my other responsibilities and wished that I could just spend the whole day making art.

But then I remembered that life doesn't work that way. That—having all the time and energy I want to make art—is a fantasy that even winning the lottery won't making come true. There will always be days when I have nothing to say, when drawing feels tortuous, or when mundane things like earning money, doing laundry and scrubbing floors will have to take precedence. There will be days when the only creative act I make all day is to snap a quick photo on my lunch break. (more…)

awakening the senses

When it comes to creativity, it's important to have a constant stream of inspiration to draw from. If we choose to pay attention to them, our senses can offer bucket loads of material as we move through each day hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Paying attention to our senses helps us live in the moment, excites our curiosity, and can make us more in tune with our natural impulses. However, so many of us—myself included—go through our days without really feeling much of anything. To deepen my own awareness, my plan is to write a post on each of our senses, explaining some ways that we can focus more intently on that sense and wake ourselves up to the variety of experiences around us. Hopefully they'll help you too.


What are some of your favourite tastes? When you eat them, do you power through like it's your first meal in months, or do you sit and quietly savour the flavours and textures? Do you chew carefully or do you swallow big bites nearly whole? Thich Nhat Hanh recommends chewing your food until it gently slides down your throat in an effort to be more mindful. It sounds gross to chew that much, but when I tried it even a simple hamburger became a thrill to eat. Tasting can be an art of its own and it's easy to lose yourself in all the amazing flavours of wine, cheese, coffee, or chocolate. Are you willing to let yourself get lost? (more…)

creativity and mindfulnessI used to hate doing the dishes. I saw it as an endlessly mind-numbing chore that I would never be able to escape. Surprisingly, it still bothered me even when I had a dishwasher. Dealing with those few pots and pans that wouldn't fit would just ruin my night.

Now, washing the dishes has become part of my bedtime routine and not only do I not hate it, I actually often enjoy it. Here are three ways washing the dishes has changed how I feel and helped me increase creativity on a daily basis:


A while back I read this thought from Thich Nhat Han in his book The Miracle of Mindfulness about doing the dishes:

“To my mind, the idea that doing dishes is unpleasant can occur only when you aren’t doing them. Once you are standing in front of the sink with your sleeves rolled up and your hands in the warm water, it is really quite pleasant. I enjoy taking my time with each dish, being fully aware of the dish, the water, and each movement of my hands. I know that if I hurry in order to eat dessert sooner, the time of washing dishes will be unpleasant and not worth living. That would be a pity, for each minute, each second of life is a miracle. The dishes themselves and that fact that I am here washing them are miracles!” 


spring flowers anxietyI set myself the goal of publishing a blog post every week, by Wednesday at the latest. At 2:00 last Wednesday what was I doing? Putting the finishing touches on a post? Nope. I was playing Candy Crush like my life depended on it and daydreaming about the weekend. What kept me clicking on candies instead of writing the post I had planned? Laziness? Procrastination? I think it was more likely something that I often struggle with, something that keeps me from producing my best work.

Anxiety, my old friend, was back to lend me a not-so-helping hand.