Category Archives: Get Creative!


A to Z Retrospective

This year, for the A to Z Blogging Challenge, participated with both of my blogs, Facing Cancer with Grace and Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker. That meant doing the A to Z posts for 2 blogs (26×2) plus the Theme Reveal for each blog (+2 more) and the retrospective (I’m only doing this one and linking to it from Facing Cancer with Grace). That’s a total of 55 posts in one month!For the Facing Cancer with Grace site…I chose to write with caregivers in mind. At this time, I have been deep in the mire of caregiving, so this would be something that would come from the heart. Also, everyone will either be a caregiver or depend on one at some point in their life. Even though I write from the perspective of a cancer caregiver, the principles I would cover would apply to other caregiving situations.At Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker…I decided to consider my audience. Who would be participating in the A to Z Challenge? Creative people! And if these people were anything like me, they probably needed a little creative boost. It’s tough coming up with 26 different posts revolving around the same topic. So, I decided to tackle creativity-specifically, how Read more…


How the spring season inspires me to write

It’s spring! It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I encourage you to check out their website and even sign up for the IWSG Newsletter. Even though it seemed like it would never arrive, spring is here! Today I will explore whether the season inspires me to write, or not, as I answer this month’s IWSG Day question:It’s spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than other seasons, or not?The Short AnswerNo.  I always want to write.But…But each season inspires me to write in a different way.I believe strongly that there is a natural rhythm throughout the calendar year, which can help us in everything we do, whether it’s celebrating seasons and holidays with family and friends, worshiping God, learning or working. Marketing gurus figured this out, long ago. Why not allow our creative endeavors to be assisted by the calendar?How each season inspires me to writeLet’s start with how the spring season inspires me to writeBeginning in 2017, I started participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. It’s a wonderful way to start out the year because if for some reason, I don’t get Read more…


Black and White Zebras

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 Z Black and White: Approach Zebras with Caution.What do zebras have to do with creativity?Not much, but avoiding them has a lot to do with being more creative, more responsibly. To introduce this topic, I am going to give you a very brief overview of basic theories of color psychology.In color psychology, each color is thought to have a certain effect on people. This is often taken into consideration when walls are painted and decorating is done, especially in institutional settings, such as schools, businesses, and hospitals. It is even more meaningful when branding a business and coming up with a marketing campaign. We won’t be talking about that specifically, but I mention it because if advertising takes color psychology seriously, then there is something to it. That’s why they paid the big bucks Read more…


Addictions

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 Y for Your Addictions Have to Go.Many people think of novelists (of all writers, really) as deep thinking older men who find their muse in the bottom of a bottle of bourbon. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Any addiction, whether alcohol, drugs, gambling, or pornography, will hamper your creativity. It doesn’t mean you can’t write great stuff while living with an addiction, but it will make the process a lot harder—not to mention the other problems addictions will bring into your life. To be the best writer you can be, your addictions have to go.But what about those famous writers who’ve had addictions?In his book entitled, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King, a recovering addict himself, has a lot to say about this1. He lays responsibility for the myth Read more…


eliminate expections

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 X for Eliminate eXpectations.Expectations are a good thing, though…right? Well, sometimes. But usually, when you eliminate expectations you are also removing psychological roadblocks in the way of your creativity. What do I mean by that? Here’s an example.Would you believe square A is the exact same shade of gray as square B? Copyrighted free use, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59829But what does an optical illusion have to do with creative expectations?When we compare our work to the work of others, it changes how we see it.When I was in the 8th grade, we had a teacher who liked to tell us, “Blowing out someone else’s candle won’t make yours burn brighter.”  It wasn’t original to him but it stayed with me all of these years. We aren’t in a competition. Yet we often end up blowing out our own Read more…


Happy music

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 X is for Xylophone- Happy Music and Creativity.Recently a study was done which shows a correlation between listening to happy music and creativity.Happy MusicBy listening to happy music, study participants were able to think more creatively. To be more specific, they were able to perform divergent thinking. This got me thinking about what makes happy music, “happy?” After reading many articles ranging in perspectives from psychologists to musicians, I’ve decided that you know it when you hear it. There is a little more to it than that, though.What makes happy music, happy, and sad music, sad?Modes or tonality, for one thing, We had the opportunity to hear Franz Joseph Haydn’s The Seven Last Words of Christ, arranged for a string quartet at the Ordway Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota on Good Friday. It was Read more…


World Building

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 W is for World Building.One sure way to get your creative juices flowing is to create an imaginary universe (and everything in it). This is known as world building. World building is something you do as a game creator and as a writer of fiction. Anytime you write fiction, you should be creating a world that your reader can walk around in. This is true, even if that world is Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2016. A reader from Albany, New York may never have been there, so you need to be just as diligent in laying everything out as you would be writing a fantasy novel.Other World BuildingThere are some things that make world building in another time or in a completely made up place more time intensive.Your reader will be coming to it Read more…


Experiment with variety

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 V is for Experiment with Variety.Once in a while as a creative, you might find yourself getting into a rut. You can’t bring yourself to write one more page or draw one more portrait. Every song you compose comes out sounding the same.  This is when it’s time to experiment with variety. Variety is the spice of creativity.Visual Artist who experiment with varietyVisual art offers unlimited opportunities for exploration. John  P Weiss Artist and writer (www.johnpweiss.com) Shares his thoughts on this in his Medium article called, This is the Secret to Your Creative Success.The flamboyant, Salvador Dali was a skilled painter, sculptor, and draftsman.  He remains the superstar of the Surrealist Movement, even after his death, in 1989. He was always pushing the envelope in all that he set his hands to—and the public Read more…


Up The Stakes

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 U is for Up the Stakes.What makes a reader keep reading a story, or a viewer binge-watch their favorite series on Netflix? It’s the amazing art of upping the stakes. When you up the stakes, a reader can’t help but turn the page. What does it mean to up the stakes? Simply, you make something mean more for your character.When You Up the Stakes They are more invested.A writer might up the stakes in a thriller by revealing that the main character, a female army general, has just found out the man she married two years earlier is an Al Qaeda operative.A romance author might up the stakes by having the heroine find out that the man she just had a fender bender with is her new boss. And she hadn’t noticed when she Read more…


Travel

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 T is for Travel & Creativity.One of the coolest ways to increase your creative thinking abilities is to travel. The distance on the map isn’t nearly as important as crossing the cultural divide.Creativity is Connection“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”     —Steve JobsBy taking the time to experience a new culture, intimately, the things you think of as normal are suddenly just one way of doing things. I’ve experienced this firsthand many times. The first was when I was 16 and traveled to Spain for a summer. It was Read more…

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