Creative Tip: Collaborate with Kids

Creative InspirationDon’t you adore the carefree nature and creativity of kids? It seems the younger the child, the fewer filters they have for things that are silly or absurd. They’re incredibly open-minded and able to rationalize things that are seemingly impossible.

I remember a conversation with my son, Evan, when he was a little guy. He said the sun warmed the earth by reaching down with its invisible arms and zapping everything with heated light sabers. His complete confidence in the idea was not only adorable, but also inspiring.

It’s good to forget logic every now and then and play the “what if” game. What if the sun did have invisible arms? You never know when this type of harmless exploration could lead to great inventions.

At the very least, it encourages us to see the world with fresh eyes and broaden our imagination.

There’s an illustrator named Mica Angela Hendricks who believes in collaborating with kids to enhance her creative ideas. She pulled out a sketchbook one day and allowed her five-year-old daughter to add finishing touches to her drawings. The result was astounding. She began to work closely with her little girl to create beautiful and wildly imaginative pieces of art together.

A selection of Mica's work is available for purchase at Society6.

A selection of Mica’s work is available for purchase at Society6.

Give it a try for yourself!

I’m not an illustrator, so I might adapt this idea with cutting pictures from magazines and then working with my kids to build out the story. I saw something like this on Artmommie’s blog.ArtmommieAnother fun idea would be to create a book together. Start with a writing prompt, then take turns writing lines of a story from there. Here are Ten Terrific Writing Prompts I developed to help you get started. You can go back and add pictures once the story is written, and then have it published through a site like blurb.

blurb

Blurb is a great site for printing your own books.

I’m sure there are hundreds of ways to collaborate with your kids and ignite more creativity in your life. So be sure to share your awesome ideas in the comments or tag me on Twitter or Instagram with a picture you’ve created and use #CreativeTipTues.

As always, have a creative day!

-Kate

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Creative Tip: Take a Walk

Blessed are the Curious

“Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures.” This darling print is available on Etsy.

The weather outside might be frightfully cold, but bundling up and taking a walk is a wonderful way to ignite your creativity and fresh thinking.

According to a research study at Stanford (I feel so smart just saying that), a person’s creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when walking versus sitting down. No wonder Beethoven was said to have taken long, solitary walks through the valleys of Vienna, and Henry Thoreau claimed that his thoughts began to flow ‘the moment my legs began to move.’

Taking things a step further (sorry for the pun), business innovator Nilofer Merchant delivered a TED talk where she suggests something called “walking meetings” to help ideas flow better.

Why walking works

There are several theories about how and why walking works so well for expanding creativity. Among them include the fact that exercising elevates your mood, which in turn helps open your mind to creative ideas.

Another thought is that walking requires you to take a break from the task at hand. Letting go of the need to produce something allows you to absorb information and ideas around you. This incubation period is easily activated by walking.

Although the exact reason still remains a mystery, research shows that you can boost your creative skills in as little as 10 minutes of walking each day. So why not lace up those tennies, grab your sketchbook and take a spin around the block? You never know where the path will lead you.

Step it UpWhat’s your favorite creative tip? Let me know and I might feature it in an upcoming post! Remember to use #CreativeTipTues on Instagram or Twitter, or tag me @Katejandersen.

Have a creative day!

-Kate

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Creative Tip: Embrace the “Yes, And…”

Improv Tips

More great thoughts on this topic at 99U.

Most improv classes teach the importance of “yes, and…” It means when something is given to you (a line, a prop, a gesture), you accept it and add something new. So if someone hands you a bike helmet and says, “Let’s fly to the moon,” you don’t look at them with crazy eyes and reply, “Um, nooo.” You might say, “Yes, and let me grab my elbow pads and oxygen tank.” You keep the momentum going and see where it takes you.

Embracing “yes, and…” is perhaps one of the best lessons in creativity – and life for that matter.

When it comes to creativity

Always be accepting of ideas that are shared by others or come to your own mind. Your instinct might be to shoot down ideas that defy logic, but some of the best and most creative books, photographs, paintings, movies, recipes, or gadgets didn’t always seem reasonable or even plausible at their inception.

Think about how services like Skype would have sounded in a brainstorm: “What if people could login to their computer and be able to see and talk to their friends who live out of state – without any phones?” Someone was willing to say, “Yes, and what if it worked internationally?”

When given the chance, always be willing and courageous to add your “and.”

Wedding PictureThis translates to relationships, too.

Today is my 14th wedding anniversary, and I think about how much improv happens in this life that Brandon and I are building together. From the moment I said “yes” to his proposal, we’ve been adding “ands” ever since. Before we knew it, “Kate and Brandon” turned into, “…and babies, and a house, and a rabbit, and a new job, and a move…” It hasn’t always been easy, but our willingness and courage to accept each other – while being willing to add new experiences – has certainly made the journey more exciting. A little humor never hurts, either.

Here’s to more “yes, ands…” in your life!

Reflection questions:

  • When was the last time you said “no” or shot down an idea?
  • What would have happened if you said “yes?” List all of the possibilities, even the crazy ones.
  • What’s an idea you’ve been afraid to share? Write it down and add a “yes, and…”

Feel free to share your thoughts and use #CreativeTipTues or tag me. I’m on Twittter and Instagram as @Katejandersen.

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A Thankful Thursday

Hello, friends. I think I’m going to start writing about the things I’m thankful for each week. What better time to start something like this than the month of Thanksgiving, right? I appreciate all of the blessings in my life, and I know you do, too. So I hope you’ll join me by either adding comments on the blog or sharing on your social channels. Use #ThankfulThursday or tag me so I can see your posts!

Here we go…

Love Notes

I spread out a few of my faves for you to see.

Today I’m feeling thankful for all of the treasures my kids give me. I recently opened the drawer to my nightstand, which is where I keep my kids’ love notes and trinkets. I decided to read through all of their handwritten messages and sort through the beaded bracelets, knitted pouches and tissue-paper flowers. One of my favorites is a mason jar filled with “hugs.” My daughter Avery made this and told me she poked holes in the top like a saltshaker so I could sprinkle out a hug when I needed one (which is every day from that sweet thing).

I still have notes that date back to my son Evan’s first words. I love how sometimes I’m taller than a house and have flowers growing in my hair, and other times I’m bald wearing a triangle dress and square shoes. As I sort through all of these notes, one thing is clear. No matter how I look or change on each paper, I’m loved equally the same. It’s amazing how you can literally feel someone’s love jump off a page.

I wish I could keep every single drawing, but if you’re a parent you get it. The volumes of notes can get a bit out hand. You have to pick and choose the keepers and pray your kid doesn’t see the leftovers in the trash.

I’ll never forget when Avery found one of her drawings in the kitchen trash. When I saw the look on her face, I felt like crawling into the can right next to that crumpled up piece of paper. Needless to say, I learned to dispose of any “leftovers” discreetly and directly into the trashcan on the side of the house where no one ever goes (other than my husband Brandon, and he’s in this thing with me). I also learned not to feel too guilty about tossing things. I found a great quote that helped put things in perspective…Gratitude Quote

While I don’t have to keep everything my kids give me, I do need to take time to appreciate each and every item.

It’s important – and enough – to be grateful.

I’m thankful for that lesson, and it certainly helps when it comes time to weed through papers and make a quiet trip to the side of the house. At the end of the day I know I’ve given proper hugs and shared my deep appreciation of their love – which lives far beyond my nightstand drawer.

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Creative Tip Tuesday: Pause to Play!

Play MemeHello, my sweet creative friends. I have a fun tip for this Tuesday. It’s all about play!

It’s easy to get so caught up in the daily hustle of our adult responsibilities that we don’t think about stopping to have fun. I’m totally guilty of this. Sometimes the thought of watching a funny video, learning a joke, or taking a trip to the park seems as indulgent as a bubble bath in the middle of the day – especially with so many tasks on the “to-do”.

But being playful is incredibly important. Even if it’s just a few minutes jamming to your favorite song in the car, feeling this kind of joy can do wonders for your spirit. I absolutely love this quote from author Dr. Stewart Brown,

“The opposite of play is not work. The opposite of play is depression.”

It’s essential to our well being to take a few minutes each day to laugh and play like the child we once were. Brown also says, “Play shapes our brain, helps us foster empathy…and is at the core of creativity and innovation.”

There’s no better time than right now to embrace your inner child and do something fun. You’ll be amazed at the way your mind starts opening and your heart starts feeling.

Here’s an exercise to try.

Grab your journal and make a list of five things that makes you feel playful. If that feels hard, think back to the last time you laughed. And I mean snort-laughed in the air like you just don’t care. Where were you, who were you with, or what were you doing that made you have such a great reaction? That might give you some ideas.

Pick one of your five activities, schedule 15 joyful minutes, and go do it! Then write in your journal about your experience.

  • What did you choose to do?
  • How did it make you feel?
  • When was the last time you did this activity? If it’s been awhile, why haven’t you done it sooner?
  • What can you change in your current schedule to make room for more play?

I hope you’ll give yourself permission to have recess today. Have fun and let me know how it goes. I love hearing from you!

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Creative Tip Tuesday: Try Something New. Anything.

It’s Tuesday! That means I’ll be sharing a creative tip today. This post was inspired by my sweet and amazingly talented friend, Leslie Sisti. We work together at a PR firm where we both get to share our love of creativity and writing. Leslie has been a fashion blogger of A Blonde Ambition for several years now and has become wildly successful. She’s the real deal, friends. When I told her I wanted to start a blog, she kindly offered tips, encouragement and even a chance to guest blog to help get things going. There aren’t enough flowers in the world that could properly thank her!HeaderTrans_zpscb139c50Here’s where I tried something new.

As nervous as I was, I took up Leslie on the offer to guest blog. (It’s posted today, so be sure to check it out.) While I’ve been a copywriter for decades and even led teams as a creative director, you’d think writing a blog would be as easy as breathing. Somehow, trying my hand at this feels entirely different. I’m usually writing on behalf of clients. So while the words are mine, the message always belongs to someone else. There’s a veil of protection in case someone doesn’t like the work. Or strangely enough, if someone loves what I’ve done, I can smile in the background and not have to take center stage. So, blogging. It’s personal. It’s honest. It’s imperfect. And most importantly, it’s something new for me.

I’m excited for the journey. My hope is you’ll join in my adventure and be inspired to try new things, too. It doesn’t have to mean quitting your job or planning a trip to France (although I’d LOVE to visit my dear friend Kristina!) Enough small adventures will lead to big discoveries. Here’s an inspiring TED Talk by Matt Cutts that shares his adventure of trying something new for 30 days.

New things can include writing with your other hand, taking a different route to work or buying plantains instead of bananas. What will happen is you’ll start to notice patterns about the things you choose – and the things you love. You’ll hear your inner voice. You’ll see your confidence grow. Perhaps most importantly, your true self will emerge. And that’s good for everyone.

What the world needs...

Graphic designed by The Neat Nook.

Go try something new today and tell me about it. Comment, email or post it on Twitter, Insty or Facebook using #CreativeTipTues.

My love and cheers to you all! – Kate

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