Category Archives: Get Creative!


Badge for Insecure Writer's Support Group

It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. Note: It’s NOT the 1st Wednesday, but due to technical difficulties, this post didn’t publish as scheduled. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Thank you to LAST month’s awesome co-hosts for the IWSG: Lee Lowery, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Jennifer Hawes, Cathrina Constantine, and Tyrean Martinson! THIS month’s amazing co-hosts are Jacqui Murray, Lisa Buie-Collard, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, and Shannon Lawrence! They will be answering the optional question for March: “Other than the obvious holiday traditions, have you ever included any personal or family traditions/customs in your stories?” This week I will be talking Read more…


Performance Art

Whether you want to be an actor, musician, dancer, or another type of performance artist, you probably already how challenging it is to break into this extremely competitive industry. Few can achieve a high-ranking status that equates to earning millions of dollars. In fact, according to some of the latest statistics available, the median hourly wage for an actor was just $22.15, in part because many of them only work part-time. Remember that talent can only take you so far if you hope to make a living in performance art. You’ll need a lot more than that – these attributes Read more…


Prioritize Your Passion

Do you prioritize your passion? Or do you let other things get in the way of the creative endeavor that fuels your excitement? Today we will be looking at how to prioritize your passion and make time for your dreams. I’ll be sharing the artist/curator who inspired this post with his timely advice as well as how to Recently, I took a class from the Emerging Curator’s Institute, with my daughter, Summer. The class was called “Curating as Artistic Practice.” This was an ideal experience for my daughter who is going to school to study Art History and Museum Studies. Read more…


Write it down

I had a story idea yesterday. I was particularly excited about it because it was the 2nd idea I had this week, and both were brilliant. I was a creative machine! But, I didn’t write it down, so I forgot it.  It got me wondering how often a brilliant idea is forgotten because we don’t write it down in time. It’s important to keep track of Zen-inspired ideas—those that hit you spontaneously when you aren’t even trying to come up with them. The A to Z Blogging Challenge I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Read more…


see beneath the surface

One of the few arguments my husband and I had was about something beneath the surface. At the time, we were dealing with some discipline issues with our kids. They were typical teenaged issues, but one of our daughters, who is autistic, was taking it personally. So, I felt he was being too hard on her. Normally, it would have been fine, but my concern was that she might question his love for her. Yet, I didn’t want to say this. I didn’t want to say, “What about when you die? What if she doesn’t feel loved by you, and Read more…


Pain Points

Mills & Boon have been publishing romance novels for over a hundred years, yet it was an unknown self-published author, E. L. James, who hit the best seller list with her “50 Shades of Grey.” For millions of people around the world, it had the “WOW” factor. Somehow it has hit an important known (or unknown) need or want, also known as “pain points.” That’s a little bit of wordplay for readers familiar with the book’s premise. Think a challenge your ideal user is facing. What are their biggest pain points? What would really “wow” them? The A to Z Read more…


Pancakes

Today we made pancakes from scratch. They were truly the very best pancakes we’ve ever had. I’d gotten some blueberries on sale and intended to make blueberry pancakes for the family, but within an hour of being home from arriving home from the store, the berries were discovered by one of my daughters, who quickly gobbled half of them up. I let a few days go by, considering the matter closed, but another of my daughters was persistent. She continued to ask for pancakes. She has a terrible cold right now, so I could hardly refuse. My oldest was at Read more…


Trust Your Intuition

About 12 years ago, I was in the market for a new vehicle. I was newly separated from my ex-husband and a little overwhelmed by the car-buying process. I had done my research, though, and found a few candidates online. One of them was advertised wrong. When I called the number in the ad, I got a New Hampshire car dealership rather than the dealership right down the road in our Twin Cities suburb. Hmmm. My intuition told me I could get  good deal on this van. I quickly went down to the local dealer who actually had the minivan.  Read more…


simple ideas

Thinking of A to Z posts for both of my blogs is always hard for me to do. This year, I really wanted to keep my posts somewhat shorter than usual and have them require less research to write. I did some brainstorming and came up with several simple ideas for each blog. Theme Ideas for Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker: Heroes and Zeros: Writing Great Characters Novel Ideas: How to Write a Great Novel No Nonsense Nonfiction: How to Write a Great Nonfiction Book Your Personal Narrative: Memoir in Motion Cool titles, huh? I saved them for next year. Instead, I Read more…


Question Everything

Many years ago I ended up being the president of the homeschool support group at our church. I say, “ended up,” because after attending only 1 meeting, I agreed to become the vice president and then the president resigned 2 weeks later. So my unexpected rise to power left me feeling pretty overwhelmed. I had to question everything in order to come up with a plan to improve the way we dd things. There were some problems As we began to question everything, we started with the attendance. It was really low. There were only about 5 of us. Yet, Read more…


Prototypes

For this post about making prototypes, I decided to interview my 16-year-old daughter, Samantha. Whenever anything breaks or needs assembly, I call on her. She thinks like an engineer, which is good because she is going to school to become a biomedical engineer. Last year she made a lightsaber like they use in the Star Wars films. How prototypes can benefit any project Me: You made a lot of drawings and prototypes prior to actually assembling your lightsaber. In what ways did that help you? Samantha: There is a reason that engineers and researchers make blueprints and prototypes before building Read more…


Making a Mistake

Throughout my childhood, and even in my teenage years, I was brave. I lettered in drama by the end of my sophomore year in high school. I was in every play, on the speech team, the debate team, and even the captain of our mock trial team. Then, I went on to art school where I focused on literary art. I was never afraid of failure or making a mistake. Now, I often play it safe, because I’m afraid of making a mistake. I’m not sure why I get so hung up on it, because I’m not the kind of Read more…


Feedback

I love getting feedback on my projects, whether they are blog posts or books I’m writing. The first people I turn to are my family members. Countless times, their feedback has saved me public embarrassment and ridicule (primarily from them). Another valuable source of feedback is my group of beta readers. As I was writing Facing Cancer as a Parent: How to Help Your Children Cope with Your Cancer, my beta readers gave me feedback that made a big difference in the quality of the book. Trends in Feedback The benefit of getting feedback from several people is that you Read more…


3D Printing

I love to learn. I think that’s an inherent trait in writers. We learn and then we write to sort through that knowledge. So this was a fun exercise for me. I decided to learn a bit more about something that has always intrigued and perplexed me: 3D printing. To learn about what 3D printing is, and how it works, check out this video by Mashable Explains. 3D Printing and Guns The first time I heard about 3D printing, it was in a news report about the potential for 3D printing to be used to make parts of a gun, Read more…


Problem-Solving

History is full of innovative concepts that were the result of combining existing ideas in new and novel ways. James Dyson did exactly this when he combined a vacuum cleaner with a sawdust cyclone to invent the first bagless vacuum cleaner. You could say he cleaned up at problem-solving. Think about a problem you’re trying to solve. Grab some Post-it notes and write down one problem-solving idea on each one. Mix and match the Post-it notes together. How many new and interesting problem-solving combinations can you discover? The image of James Dyson combining a vacuum cleaner to a sawdust cyclone Read more…


Imagine the ideal scenario

Today’s prompt asks, “What’s your ideal scenario? Bring your vision to life by creating a drawing or collage of pictures.” I’m a little bit uncomfortable with things that don’t line up neatly, and a collage definitely falls into that category, so I’ve made it a practice to never put together a collage…ever. But, I can definitely get into visualization as I imagine the ideal scenario for my future. What I see and feel in my ideal scenario It’s 5 years from now. A treatment has been formulated to cure lung cancer and reverse the negative effects that living with and Read more…


the future

Looking into the future is extremely difficult for me—almost impossible, in fact. How do I do that when my husband has a terminal illness? Do I imagine a life without him and plan accordingly? Do I dream the dreams we’ve had for our lives, the ones that cancer threatens to steal? Although they are unlikely, they are preferable. It might seem obvious that someone whose spouse has cancer, would have trouble looking into the future. But it can be hard to imagine for people who haven’t experienced it firsthand. To have and to hold… Our lives are so intricately connected. Read more…


The joy of Knitting

I’m still stuck on the last post about disrupting the rules. These prompts are really hard for someone who doesn’t like to rock the boat and has no desire to invent anything. But, I recently was able to witness something awesome: 2 young people learning the joy of knitting.00 This past December My daughter’s boyfriend, Ray came to visit for a couple of weeks. After seeing some YouTubers learn how to knit over a weekend, they decided that they would take up knitting. Ray used chopsticks and Summer used bamboo skewers. Summer warns that this is a bad way to Read more…


Jack's Caregiver Klatch

This is definitely the toughest A to Z post I’ve written this year. I’ve written several different drafts, only to have my kids scoff at me because they didn’t disrupt the rules enough. I guess I haven’t hit my rebellious stage yet. But, I think I finally landed on an idea that works. It has to do with a group that I facilitate called the “Caregiver Klatch.” Men are Caregivers, Too. In the past 15 years, nearly twice as many men are assuming a caregiver role. While they face the same emotional and physical challenges as women caregivers, they are Read more…


discover new connections

Today’s prompt encourages us to discover new connections in order to increase creativity. By looking at things outside of your field, you can be inspired to think in a new way. This is why TED Talks are so inspiring to so many people. In fact, if you go to the TED Talks website, you will see the slogan, “2900+ talks to stir your curiosity.” Cloudy with a Chance of Bias Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd is a meteorologist. His field is the science of weather. His TED talk was born out of the question, “Dr. Shepherd, do you believe in climate Read more…

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Heather Erickson

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