How to harm your creativity

how to harm your creativity

Do you sometime feel a struggle inside when you’re working, not being able to bust free? Where, even though you have good intentions, you are not able to create? You feel like your creativity is harmed, and procrastination is something that you can’t avoid – ending up checking your Facebook feed and your Twitter stream impulsively all the time. Yesterday I met with an internet friend and she said something that made so much sense to me she said that sometimes she felt like she was just too spoiled. Too cozy. Things were too good to change them.

Sometimes it seems like we are harming our creativity more than we support it. There’re so many distractions out there, so it’s natural that it’s hard to create both for our hobbies but also in business.

Creativity comes from chaos

For me, my creativity comes from chaos. Even though I thrive in chaos – I need it so, because with chaos that I get inspired to fix things up and explain my approaches to business. I think it’s, in particular, wise for people and businesses alike to enjoy the chaos. Maybe even ask us how much we would be able to change the world if everything were perfect and in order? So if you want to harm your creativity make everything nice. Nothing to riot against

Comparing yourself to others

I am personally really great at comparing myself to others. It’s hard for me not doing it. Maybe all of the world feel the same way. Social media hasn’t helped this at all for me because there nothing seems normal. Most of it seems like we need to see on the dark side of the ‘moon’ and remember that things are not at all what they look like there.

Belittling yourself

It goes hand in hand with ‘comparing yourself to others’. Belittling is easy, and it’s an absolute creativity killer to the point of not being able to think curly. Love yourself! You’re powerful. And if you don’t think so, it makes it so much harder to get shit done.

rock on

What do you do when people want your intellectual property for free?

no intellectual property for free

A couple of weeks back I had a meeting with a potential client on Skype. Well, it wasn’t just a meeting, it was a Nordic PR proposal that we’ve used a lot of time to put together, me and a Swedish + a Norwegian agency. Henriette Weber Inc. was leading agency, and I and the awesome  Elizabeth Rankich had used around 20 hours crafting this and we were totally ready to land this project. However, halfway through the meeting they started questioning our credentials and our media relationships in Scandinavia. They wanted us to come up with some “examples” of people we knew and who they could contact.

Instantly all the agency side participants felt like they were asked to give away their gold for free. And none of us agency side participants would. The conversation turned awkward, especially since this was a  big project. Afterwards, we haven’t heard from them. So what are we going to do next time?

We’re probably going to have the same approach as always, refusing to give away our intellectual property for free. It’s hard though and it’s a fine line between helping people out a bit for nothing and having them leeching on our network. It’s a hard knock life out there, especially in the business world and you could end up working for free for weeks every month. Remember, your intellectual property is your intellectual property, and if you have a notion going on inside your head that what people want from you for free, isn’t cool, then it probably isn’t.

 

rock on

Do you know your creative triggers?

creative triggers panda

What do you do to get your creative juices going?

I became aware of my creative triggers when I was a teenager – starting with cruising around my hometown on my bike and dreaming up great ideas and master plans for the future. But the bike was just the beginning of it. I later set out to find out what my creative triggers where, both when it came to my writing, but also when it came to drawing.

Creative trigger for writing: trains.

When I am doing keynote speaking gigs in Scandinavia or Germany, I prefer to get on a train and write for hours on end. I don’t know why I get so focused on trains, but it works every time. I get sucked into this train writing vacuum each time I get on a train, and I loose track of time.

Creative trigger for drawing: Rebellion

When I am going to draw something, I find inspiration in music and rebellic pictures. Street art. Words written to inspire. The image in this post is a quick sketch of a smoking panda.

Why do we have creative triggers?

I think it’s our brain’s way of saying “you’re inspired now – get to work”. Sometimes being in a room with no WiFi can be a creative trigger – simply because I get the feeling of not being on the internet, so I might as well write. That feeling of inspiration is one of my favorite feelings in the world. So, when I can’t get on a train to get big chunks of words down on paper,  I go for a brisk walk of around 40 mins. Another thing I often do is to go across the sea from here, to Helsingborg to sit at a café and write. I think the travelling aspect helps with inspiration as well. Or maybe, that things are just different if you go to another country.

Last week I wrote about being on a writing retreat in the middle of nowhere. I was so productive. If I am in a big city (Berlin is one of my favorites) I have a need to explore and not to sit down and write all the time. Mind you, when I am exploring, my favorite thing is to bring my small Ipad to a coffee shop and sit there and write. Normally it’s good words and work that comes out of it.

I think it’s important to know how you can trigger your creativity. It’s also important not to leave everything up to “feeling inspired”, but getting to work even though you’re not inspired and then appreciate when inspiration comes to you. Writing for me, is a job. It’s just what I do. If I left it up to “chance” or “inspiration” to get going each morning, I wouldn’t get much done.

rock on

 

 

 

How to market your creativity

how to market your creativityThere is one aspect to creativity that’s an, in particular; hard nut to crack.

It’s when it’s supposed to meet the world.

When it’s supposed to stand on its own, tall and beacon-like.

When we take it to market.

Like a stamp to your brand.
Like a developed sellable concept.
Like a painting ready to be sold.

It is at that moment that we as artists, writers and entrepreneurs are most vulnerable. It’s when we show our work to the public. With a blog like this, we do this bit by bit every day. But sometimes we develop something larger. Something to make us thrive even more in this beautiful world in which we exist.

You make your creativity consumable by labelling it.

By calling it names.

By adding “buy now” buttons all over it.

By making it bigger and more product-like.

And this is where the real challenge lies for creatives. Because we have, add an aspect to our creativity that some of us don’t have. That we have to develop and teach ourselves.

It can be a huge frustration, but it can also feel like the ultimate success if we crack this hard nut and make it consumable. Purchasable.

One of my absolute biggest takeaways from running a company for ten years is that labelling and packaging are, if not everything, then 80 % of creativity. It’s how we make our creativity ready for consumption that defines how well we’re going to sell our ideas and our creativity.

The worst thing for creativity

The worst thing for creativity is not silence.

Is not standing still.

Is not non-movement in thought or body.

Is not procrastination.

The worst thing for creativity is comparing you to other people and feeling they have it all and you have not-as-much.

The worst thing for creativity is complaining and whining and coming from a place of lack of ideas.

The worst thing for creativity is to not think you’re good enough and your art aren’t worthy of showing to other people.

Just the thought of these things takes my creative energy away.

I have often thought about the quote from Jean-Paul Sartre stating:”l’enfer – c’est les autres” or “hell is other people.” it’s not only inside ourselves that our creativity lies – it in particularly lies outside of us as well. If you’ve studied Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book “creativity” you’ll find out that our surroundings and our society has a huge effect on our creativity, and whether or not something is deemed creative at all.

I can in particular recomment the Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi book on creativity, it shows that there are two sides to creativity: creating and perception of the created.

 

Is creativity changing because we are more connected?

I believe that the perception of creativity is changing all of the time. With the internet our art is becoming visible to a lot of people who wouldn’t see it otherwise. Simply because it’s searchable and findable for eternity. So there are more possibilities to find a niche. There are more possibilities to connect with people who would love your art.

 

rock on

 

3 workbooks / planners for deep planning

Some people don’t get enough ideas. Or can’t get the right ones.

I, au contraire, am different. As I touched on the other day,  I have started to do some idea mapping around my gazillion ideas and jot them down and let them expand through notebooks and files.

But I have gotten some fantastic planners this year as well, Some people say planning is needed to keep my curls in order. I believe I need planning to let my freak flag fly higher. I have three that I think you rockers would love!

One is my desire map day planner by Danielle LaPorte. The other is a christmas gift from a dear friend – a passion planner  – for all my thoughts.

The third one – is the crowdfunding notebook  that I got in the mail last week from Mr. Danish crowdfunding himself Michael Eis. Michael and his crowdfunding platform Booomerang.dk has been a con amore project for me for a couple of years. So I was so psyched when I saw this in the mail:

crowdfunding notebook crowdfundingnotebook2 crowdfundingnotebook3 crowdfundingnotebook4
The design of the notebook has a Marilyn Manson/braille feel toward it.  But when you open it up, there’s nothing braille about it (the Marilyn Manson-esqueness is a matter of preference I guess). When I am launching my next crowdfunding project, this is going to be our main source of collaboration.

It’s an interesting tendency; you can get deep planners for all creative things these days – such as a crowdfunding project, or get a bit more perspective  to your desire and passion.

Write It all out I say.

 

 

Write to maintain the frequency of your writing

frequency fosters creativity and productivity

One of the coolest things, I have done over the past couple of months is to take my writing and my art much more seriously and look at my frequency of putting pen to paper.  It was much needed.

I could find myself sitting around and waiting for the writing motivation to come to me. Just becoming inspired and start writing. It just didn’t happen that much. So I decided to change a part of the game and leave motivation out and simply write for the sake of writing. Giving myself permission to write for the sake of writing and not because it would turn into a book someday, which the goal of my writing has been before.
In that process, I stumbled across the 99u book “manage your day to day” and in there, there was a short article by Gretchen Rubin about how frequency fosters creativity and productivity.

It just makes so much sense to me that instead of focusing on writing because you’re motivated, then you write to maintain the frequency of your writing. Which need to be as high as possible.

Same same but different right? Made a world of difference to me. Hope it makes a world of difference for you too.

 

Using a notebook as first step in idea mapping

notebook-for-idea-mapping

The inspiration for this blog post came last night where I was attending a short seminar on kickstarting 2015 with Mark Anthony. It was a great night (Mark is one of the finest motivational speakers in Denmark).  Kickstarting 2015 is one of the first things I am doing to put myself first. However – as I suspected I left with more questions than I came with.

Luckily I always carry a notebook around with me.  It has always been one of my favorite things to find (and maybe even purchase?) everywhere I went. My attraction to notebooks comes from the same place as attraction to blogs: creative potential to do anything really.  Lately, my notebooks have transformed from having doodles inside of them that I never look at, to being first step in my idea mapping process.

When I get home from an event like yesterday – the first thing is to file things from my notebooks in my filing system. I use Evernote for all my digital scribbling. But there are in particular three files in Evernote I use these days. They are all spark files – idea mapping tools that I use to make ideas bigger.

One is my business spark file for my work where all my inspiration and what becomes to-do’s end up (you can read more about have a spark file here)

I have my big writing spark file – where every big question that needs answers reigns. Also, this is where all my stuff from yesterday’s workshop is going to end up, and written about in the next week.

The third file is my woo-woo spark file – where I stock things on my health, spirituality and self-development.

And in those files I write about the ideas I get and let them linger and put them somewhere where I can take action on them – when time is due.

By the way, if you want to read more about the spark file – a “system” developed by Stephen Johnson you should go here.

And there’s even a video shot of “where good ideas come from” that’s also worth a view or ten:

Make space for serendipity

serendipity

Serendipity is when you find something you didn’t know you where looking for. In my previous life as a digital guru, I always told my clients that the most powerful viral effects came from showing/telling/inform people about things they didn’t know they wanted to know.  The “telling people about things they didn’t know they wanted to know” has surprise elements in it that I adore and that makes the concept so much more creative.

I only recently found out that the word “serendipity” was somewhat like it. And yesterday, by chance, I got to explore serendipity a bit more.  I rocked out with my awesome family at my grandmothers birthday party and I saw how  my daughter at one point closed down all her opportunities for “in real life serendipity” because she was playing around with an iPad. When we got home we talked about a story my uncle had told at the party that she couldn’t remember, because she hadn’t been mentally present when he told it.

My mother had found an old article in an old newspaper (from 1985) when my uncle played handball and became “dansk mester” together with the rest of the Helsingør team. There was a picture attached to the article where my uncle looked completely 80s stunning (too small shorts and all). She also missed the awesome story about how my grandmother had met the whole team when they where going home from partying in the city early in the morning – or that some of the fathers of some of her favorite handball players today was in that picture.

Sometimes we miss out on things because we aren’t alert or present. Sometimes we see new things in old patterns. Sometimes we are not world explorers enough or allow enough room for serendipity, online or offline. Sometimes we read the same blogs or newspapers or follow the same people on social media,  not exploring enough. For serendipity to grow we have to make room for it, so we can become inspired from unknown sources that could become real treasures and even sometimes change our entire world perspective!

 

 

 

 

 

Speak geek and enter!

Speak Geek and Enter

Something happened last week. I was nominated for the danish award “Ivækstprisen” together with editor-in-chief, Maria Fynsk Norup because of my work with  Geek Girl Danmark  and our startup Geek Girl Magazine. It was an extreme honour to be nominated – but what was even more extreme, was the response from the network – something I have been living high on ever since. It seems like I’ve struck a chord and it keeps humming.

Just wanted to thank you all and remind you that you can cast your vote for us here (even if you don’t speak danish – you just have to find my name and press “stem” =)

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