Welcome to my creativity blog. Time to get out your crayons and your pencils.

The Gap Between Ideas and Execution

My perpetual creativity and brainstorming abilities are two of my greatest gifts—and banes.

It’s as if the continual ideas in my neural net branch out into a million snowflakes, each glistening with exhilarating potentials.

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Photo by Kacper Szczechla on Unsplash

When I’ve had a cup of coffee (or more), those snowflakes turn into quite the brain blizzard.

And so the snow came again today.

I pulled out a half-empty notebook, one of dozens tucked around the house. I couldn’t help but smirk when I turned to a page where only one line was written (one of my “wise notes to self” that I tend to ignore):

There is a gap between idea and execution,
and it’s filled with work and discipline.

Sigh.

I have several written books under my belt (the last, over 106K words), not to mention deck projects and other creative triumphs.

And yet, somehow, I seem to “forget” the oft excruciating butt-in-chair grind of putting words on paper, sacrificing time, marshalling resources and organizing details.

There’s an old aphorism that women keep having babies because they “forget” the pain of childbirth—the joy of delivering, meeting and nurturing a new life magically erasing the agony and distress of the birthing process.

I guess that’s what we creators experience, too: high on the excitement of crystallizing ideas and the anticipation of massive snow forts, ice castles and breathtaking ski jumps, we choose to ignore—if only for a moment—what happens in the gap that makes it all possible.

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Photo by Kalle K on Unsplash

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Self-Care for Writers (and Other Obsessive Creatives)

Pencils Hard to believe, but not all writers love to write.

Me? I usually have a notebook (er, many notebooks) on hand to jot down ideas. I’m not picky: I’ve been known to write down ideas on book jacket covers, bookmarks, grocery lists, receipts, Kleenex…

Some of these ideas turn into full-blown blog posts, reviews, social media postings, portions of eBooks, parts of a book proposal or even a book proper.

But what if you write (and read and think) so much, you neglect your well-being?

If you love brainstorming and writing and much as I do, you may be swept along in “creator’s high”—a place of exhilarating, tantalizing “what ifs” and the magical birthplace of readable, usable, helpful content.

As I sometimes joke to my husband, “I’m only alive from the neck up”.

And that can present a problem. Or two.

Here’s a recent example: I was experiencing unusual fatigue and sleepiness over the weekend. This lasted two, three days.

My husband said, “You’re dehydrated.”

Glass waterWhaaa? Me? But, but…I drink three cups of coffee a day! And ginger ale! And sweet tea (decaffeinated!), brewed with loving hands with fresh mint from the garden!

“How much water do you drink?”, he asks solemnly.

No sooner than he asks me this, the other half of the Boyer health police comes barreling in from the other room: “She never drinks water! I even filled up a bottle for her!”

Sigh. Just write me a citation and leave me the hell alone.

Then, Ron mentions a health article he had just read on the symptoms of dehydration.

Lethargy? Check.

Fuzzy thinking? Check.

Yikes.

Isn’t it funny how we tend to ignore our loved ones, even with they are the (divine?) messengers of health and well-being?

What’s up with that? Do we not trust their observations and wisdom? After all, they know us better than anyone!

So today, I’m contemplating how I, as a writing-loving writer, can take better care of myself. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:


Physical:

• Drink more water Tree Sky 2
• Sit outside, on the grass
• Take deeper, longer breaths
• Cut back on coffee
• Get moving or walking
• Don’t “push through” aches or pains
• Indulge in my love for cooking and good food

Mental:

• Take time to just “space out” and daydream
• Read just for fun (no reviewing in mind)
• Allow thoughts to attach to clouds, then drift by
• Watch old black-and-white movies or cozy mysteries with Noah
• Any ideas that arise, write them on note cards for later consideration

Emotional:

• Cuddle more with the kitties
• Pursue peace and joy in the moment
• Put on feel-good music of choice
• Take time to “feel” feelings (Aquarius Moon here!)

Spiritual:

• Check in with my values. Am in living in alignment with them?
• Practice loving-kindness meditation
• Talk with The Helpers
• Actively contemplate a Tarot card or sacred object
• Bless others who are brought to mind


In just 24-hours after writing this list, I’ve already referred to it—and used it—twice. It may not stop me from drinking Rainbow waterStarbucks (I’m on my second cup of Colombia at this typing) or working marathon hours every time, but at least by mindfully considering this self-care for writers prescription, I can ameliorate some of the drawbacks of being a writing-loving writer and obsessive creative.

What about you, dear reader? What areas of life might you be neglecting? What steps can you take to increase your own well-being? What self-care tips and tricks can you offer to your fellow writers and obsessive creatives? I'd love to hear your insights in the comments section below!

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Creative Leadership - Tough Calls Must Be Made

Crayons

When you're a Creative Director--or any type of leader--you sometimes have to make difficult decisions.

It's not easy.

You have to be like this version of the Tarot Justice card, deciding from both the heart AND the head. When someone's disposition is heavily favored to one side over another, decisions can seem unfair. That's why leaders are leaders: they make the tough calls...and weather the fall out.

But when you're leading a group of amazing, creative, well-rounded individuals who produce great art? Well, it's magic.

And makes the rough spots more than worth it.

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When You're "Too Much"

On Twitter, just spotted this quote from Wesley Snipes:

 Sometimes, our art is just "too much" for some people.

Too bold. Too brash. Too soft. Too sweet. Too biting. Too honest. Too diplomatic. Too colorful. Too monochromatic. Too complicated. Too cerebral. Too empathetic. Too simple. Too conventional. Too controversial.

Screw them. 

Each of us havs a set of archetypal "helpers", patterns that aid us in fulfilling our soul's primary goals. If we truly have at least twelve active archetypes in our psyche (per Caroline Myss), then, as Walt Whitman says, I am large, I contain multitudes.

And part of being "too much" is often connected to viewer/audience/reader/listener expectations. 

Sorry, but audience expectation isn't our problem (unless, say, we need to follow some story structure for fictional genre convention--or we're commissioned, specifically, to fill a client's wishes). 

The first part of that quote by Whitman says: Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself. 

Since most people don't like change, they get nervous when a favored artist switches up genres or appearances or mediums or attitudes. 

Hell, we often get nervous when switching creative gears (just look at all the pen-names that even famous authors use!)

Princess detective

So go on with your awesome selves. Be that Queen. Or Pioneer. Or Detective. Or Magical Child. 

And let your art reflect your "many-ness".

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Forcing Life to Mean

Vg bluesWhy another blog? Why this blog?.

Answer #1: Recently, I emerged from a severe and serious “meaning crisis” related to creating. The specific causes don’t matter, really, but the questions they provoke do:

Does my work matter?

Why bother?

Who really gives a shit (other than me)?

Is it worth it?

Am I just wasting my time?


Thanks to the love of my little family, friends and a book titled The Van Gogh Blues: The Creative Person’s Path Through Depression by Eric Maisel, Ph.D.—as well as my decision to “force life to mean” (to quote Maisel))—I’ve experienced an epiphany:

My creative choices must stem from a personal creed—my very own declaration of meaning and purpose.

Not from expectations.

Or supporters.

Or haters.

Or the marketplace.

Or fellow Creatives.

I must decide what life means. What my art means. What I mean.

And I did that by asking:

What is my truth?

What are my principles?

What are my desires?

From that, I created a personal creed, a sturdy rationale for living and creating.

So answer #1 is that I’ve birthed another blog because, as an extrovert, I often need to “see” my assumptions, explorations and conclusions to form a feedback loop. An online journal, if you will.

Answer 2: Why this blog? For a long time, I wanted to blog about creativity, but I couldn’t figure out a satisfying, encompassing, personal angle.

Until now.

Emerging from my meaning crisis, I’ve becoming acutely aware of other hurting Creatives.

We live in a mean, jaded, shallow world full of pessimists, haters and malcontents.

But we’re not them.

We are Creatives. Destined to light fires, change perspectives, inspire visions and hold up a mirror to society.

We matter.

We are the beauty in life.

Creo is a Latin verb whose older and original meaning is “to make grow”. Literally translated, Creo means:

  1. I create, make, produce
  2. I beget, give birth to
  3. I prepare, cause
  4. I choose

So I decided to call this blog CREO, and snagged the domain name Creo.Life.

Here, I will share how I prepare, create, choose and birth.

And I hope Creo.Life serves as a beacon (or warm blanket) to other Creatives on this Heroic Journey of making art and making meaning.

Rose Buds
Rosebuds © Janet Boyer

Do I Want To

You've had the feeling before: the crackle of potential, excited by Possibility, knowing you can create a dozen different things by week's end...if you wanted to.

Just a few minutes ago on Facebook, a fellow Tarot deck creator (artist Judith Mackay Stirt, Cook's Tarot) said to me:

Ars longa, vita brevis

This Hippocratic aphorism offers a lot to ponder.

Life is short, but art is forever.

There's not enough time to do all that we want to--or even all that we are able (pushing ourselves, ignoring our families and forgetting to eat, notwithstanding). 

And our art may (or may not) "live forever". But what of it? When we pass, we won't be here to enjoy the fruits of our labor--or any posthumous accolades.

Just because you can doesn't mean you have to. Even if you happen to be brilliant, talented--a genius.

Who said we have to live for others? Slave at our art for the masses or posterity?

It's one thing if you have the passion and stamina to do so.

It's another if--for whatever reason--you've lost your "want to".

Sometimes, living life artfully--infusing everyday acts with creative flair (or just writing poetry for your own edification)--is enough.

Maybe, more than enough.

Stuffing Mix


Filling the Cup

Some days, it's perfectly fine not to "make something".

We're humans, not artesian wells. 

First, there must be something "inside" that fuels our making--a core to shape our art around.

If we're empty, our art may be shallow. Or not ring true.

What, then, do we "fill up" with?

Nature. Beauty. Love. Art from other Heroic Journeyers (paintings, poems, novels, songs, sculptures, food). 

How do we "fill up"? Rest. Relax. Open. Receive. Partake. Absorb.

We must have life experience to inform our art.

Many of those come when we're still--when we allow our "soul cups" to be filled with the stuff of life. 

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Snow Cone © Janet Boyer