The Ericksons

Category Archives: A to Z Challenge 2018


Read Books

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is R is for, Read Books, Be More Creative.You gain knowledge when you read booksPeople seem to be moving from reading books to reading short pieces on the internet such as this blog. I am by no means advocating unfollowing this blog (heaven forbid that!) but it’s important that you don’t replace reading books with reading blogs. They each serve a different function. Books are built to last. They will give you knowledge on a deeper level. As you will read in this post, when you read a book, you change your mind—really.Reading increases your vocabulary.This is particularly true for fiction readers, likely because fiction tends to use a larger variety of words than non-fiction. In fact, in people who already read somewhat, and then increase their level of reading, their vocabulary by 2,000 words. However, Read more…


Quiet Your Mind

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is Q is for Quiet Your Mind.Recently a friend came to drop off a meal after my husband had a round of chemo. As soon as she entered our home, she lowered her voice to just above a whisper. She probably figured Dan was resting (which he was). Just before leaving she remarked, “Your house is so quiet.” I got a bit of a chuckle out of that and chalked it up to the fact that our daughter, Summer, wasn’t there. Summer is a force of life that you can’t ignore. She enters our house each night after college and work, like a parade. The truth is, that over the years, many people have remarked at the quiet atmosphere in our home.There are a few things that add to that:1. The TV isn’t running. We Read more…


change your perspective

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is P for Change Your Perspective..When you change your perspective you can be more creative, whether you are writing, doing visual art or any of the other artistic endeavor. Even outside of the arts, it’s helpful to change your perspective. In your daily life, you need to change your perspective not only to empathize with family, friends, and coworkers but also to problem solve.Saving the WorldOne example of this is frequently seen on the CBS drama (also seen on Netflix), “Madam Secretary.”  As the Secretary of State, Elizabeth McCord encounters a new crisis every day. Despite the fact that these situations seem to leave her with no good solution, she needs to come up with a plan. Often, in the company of her family, she sees things through fresh eyes and devises a plan that Read more…


Ode to a Nightingale

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is O for Write an Ode.What exactly is an ode?It’s a tribute—an emotionally over-the-top tribute to something or someone (or even an abstract concept).  It can be free-form, but more often is set to a pattern of the writer’s choosing.How does writing an ode—or any poetry make you more creative?Poetry strengthens your language skills and pushes you to dig deep within yourself to help you best express your emotions. Often, in poetry, you will use symbolism, imagery and metaphors. It can also be very therapeutic, releasing blocks to your creativity. Doing this activity will challenge you. I recommend that you come up with short stanzas for different people and things throughout your day.When is the last time you wrote an ode?It’s not as hard as it John Keats makes it sound.Decide what or who you want Read more…


Nap for Creativity

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is N is for Nap Like Salvador Dali.Take a Nap to Wake Up your CreativityIf you think that Dali’s famous melting clocks look like something out of a strange dream, you might be right. Dali had a unique method of inspiring his creative endeavors. In his book, 50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship , Dali assures his readers who are working on a project that a good heavy sleep is when “you will secretly, in the very depths of your spirit, solve most of its subtle and complicated, technical problems, which in your state of waking consciousness you would never be humanly capable of solving.” Dali recommends waking very early, in order to take advantage of maximum daylight. He then goes on to describe an afternoon nap of less than a minute long—“less than a quarter of Read more…


Morning Pages

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is M is for Morning Pages.Julia Cameron introduced Morning pages to the world in her book, The Artist’s Way. At the time The Artist’s Way was published, the ideas in it were revolutionary. The purpose of the book was to “unblock” artists and writers and foster their self-confidence.Julia Cameron first published The Artist’s Way in 1992. Julia originally compiled tips and hints from artists, for artists, into a book and tried to get it published. It was turned down! Julia ended up self-publishing the book and the sales went wild. It’s sold millions of copies and is on the list of top 100 self-help books of all time. This is quite an encouraging story for self-published authors.What are Morning Pages?Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing done every morning, first thing in the morning. Read more…


Learn Something New

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is L is for Learn Something New.The one thing that frustrates me in life (okay…one of the many things that frustrate me) is how many awesome things there are to learn, and how little time there is to soak up all of that knowledge. The great thing is that there are so many ways to learn something new. And when you do, you can learn to think more creatively.Learn Something New OnlineOnline classes are a great way to learn something new. They can usually be completed at a pace that works with your schedule. Sometimes there’s a charge for the classes but often they are free (unless you want to pay for a certificate). I love Open 2 Study courses and Udemy. You can take classes to enhance your career or just to expand your Read more…


Kids' perspectives

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is K is for Kids’ Creative Perspectives.Single, Double, or King?Our daughter, Emily, was a quiet, highly intelligent child. When she played, it was very grounded in reality. However, it was imaginative. For example, one day when she was about 4 years old, I saw her seated in the doorway which led to her room. She had a large box in front of her and a pad of Post-It notes. She sat patiently in silence. I asked her what she was doing. She told me that she owned this hotel and would I like to check in.Curious, I said, “sure.”She scrawled a number on a post-it and handed it to me. “Here you go. Room number three.”It was the cutest thing. Other kids played fireman and movie star and she played hotel. She played hotel a Read more…


Jar of Ideas

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is J is for Jar of Ideas.As a teenager, I attended The Perpich Center for Art Education as a Literary Art student. Nearly every day in our Literary Arts classes, the teacher would pull a slip of paper from a jar of ideas. It might be a question or a quote. It could even be a single word.Then, she would start a timer.The timer might go for as little as a minute, but that was rare. More often it would be set for 5, 10, or 15 minutes. Once in a great while, we could write for 20 minutes. Using a timer as we write from the jar of ideas forced us to shape what we wrote to the confines of the timer. We had to begin, build, and wrap up our piece within the Read more…


Investigate

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is I is for Investigate your CharacterMy 16-year-old daughter, Samantha Erickson, wrote a list of questions that she asks about the characters she creates. I was impressed when I read it and I’m grateful that she has allowed me to share the list here.(1) I think this is a great method for getting to know your character intimately. When you investigate your character, you see not only what they do but why they do it.Private InvestigatorImagine you are a private investigator and your latest assignment is to investigate your character. You’ve been asked to find out everything about him. If he sneezes, your client wants you to collect the Kleenex. You don’t just start asking him questions. Instead, you hang back, casual-like. Watch your character in his natural environment. The phone rings and he jumps Read more…

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