Thursday, December 8, 2011

Stay Creative Every Day, Tip #3

I've always loved that ancient joke about how to get to Carnegie Hall:  practice, practice, practice.  But sometimes practicing can be difficult or boring, especially when you're not feeling particularly motivated to just sit down and repeat the same old thing over and over.  Which is why I strongly believe that every time you read a how-to book, it's a good idea to:

Tip #3:  Do the exercises!  (Even the ones you don't like.)

Here's my top reasons why:
  • The exercises have been designed to help you step-by-step.  If you do them, you really will improve your skills.
  • They're much cheaper than the tuition and travel expenses of taking a workshop--and easier too.  You can wear your pajamas if you feel like it!
  • Exercises can help you to create--and stick with--a dedicated creativity schedule.  You choose the best time of day or night to take your private class.
  • You never have to worry about what to write or paint next.  Doing your exercises eliminates the blank page or empty canvas forever.
  • Doing an exercise you don't like, or at least some of it, helps you to understand what it's like working freelance or under editorial direction.
  • Exercises force you to explore and get out of your comfort zone.
  • And you might like them more than you thought you would once you're finished.
  • Which might also give you a whole new direction for your creative work, one you never considered before.
  • Often an exercise can expand into a published or salable piece of work.
  • Just like changing a recipe, it's fun to tweak an exercise, adding your own touches and giving it a unique, personal twist.
  • You can take exercises to your writing groups.  The exercises can be the foundation of "assignments" for your group to do in-between meetings, or they can be used for freewriting sessions together at the actual meetings.  They can even be the reason a group meets.
  • Completing a series of exercises is an excellent way to build your confidence and rack up your creative achievements.  You can say to the world:  "See?  I stuck with it and (wrote, painted, learned to play a musical instrument, made a new dinner set, opened an etsy jewelry store).  I did it--and I can do much more in the future too!"
Tip of the Day:  Once you've finished a series of how-to exercises, do them again.  Not only will you have an entirely new perspective the second time around, but you'll have a stronger set of skills to use as well.

For a free PDF on the full 12 Ways to Stay Creative Every Day and to hear my accompanying web radio interview with Dr. Doris Jeanette, just click here.  Thanks and happy creating!


Anonymous said...

great tip. you're motivated me to set aside creative time on a regular basis. and even, perhaps, to include family members and friends.

jazzyjinx said...

fantastic tips. gives me a new way of looking at those exercises in all the how-to books I have on my shelves. might stop doing it "my way" for a while.

LadyD said...

Great tips, thank you. Perfect for this time of year or anytime really.
Merry Christmas!

Chris said...

Excellent tips! So true about the clothing, too. Even when I'm home by myself, locked in my writing room, I feel more positive when I'm not wearing my gardening clothes.Excercise is probably the bane of numerous writers. We forget to get up, stretch, and move around. Then we grow stiff and tubby. Not good for the morale. Have a great, creative year in 2012 Valerie!