Whenever I encounter problems or challenges while working on a client project or writing or doing anything really. . .I always have a process I follow. First, I scream out a few expletives then after I realize it was totally useless (felt good but didn't help) I walk away from the problem so that I can gain some clarity.
Too often we go into reactionary mode after something happens and we immediately try to fix it while being in distress about it at the same time. Usually this makes things worse or it closes off our brain from logical thinking.
I find that once I get up from the computer or close the laptop and take a few minutes to breathe, I can get my creative juices flowing much better. Yes, my creative juices. I think the only way to solve problems is to come up with creative solutions.
Here are some creative ways to solve problems:
1. Mind mapping- take out a sheet of paper and just start writing down ideas to overcome or fix the problem. This will allow you a visual to see a solution. It might be putting two of your ideas together or only completing one step of an idea that turns out to be the fix.
2. Work backwards- It might be as simple as undoing your last step that fixes the entire problem (I recommend saving whatever you're working on first in case that's not the answer).
3. Try changing the environment- If you're working from a laptop move to another room or go outside. If you're on a desktop then open the window or stand while working. Sometimes changing the environment can help open your mind.
And if all else fails, Google it! I've Googled problems and found forums where someone had the EXACT same issue and others offered ideas to help fix the problem and ultimately a solution was found.
I hosted a Vision Board Party on Saturday, November 21st. And by all accounts it was a success! In the event you've been living under a rock and aren't familiar with a vision board- it is basically a visual representation of your goals or aspirations. First, you start off with a blank poster board or sheet of paper (you can also create virtual vision boards) and then you look through magazines for words and images that best represent your goals.
For example, if you want to travel more in the upcoming year, then you would look for photo's of airplanes, or certain destinations like a beach, Las Vegas, London, Rome, etc. Or keywords like "adventure" or "journey". You cut out these images from the magazine and arrange them on your poster board in a way that is aesthetically pleasing to you and then glue them on to the board. Once you are done you hang it in your office, bedroom, closet, kitchen, etc. wherever you will be more inclined to see it and be reminded of your goals.
The owner of the venue where I had my event said something really profound in regards to vision boards: Visualization leads to manifestation! I think that pretty much sums it up!
Here are some tips for pulling off a successful vision board party:
1. Venue- You need to find a venue for your vision board party. Determine if you want to have it at your home, clubhouse, library or other location. TIP: Of course your home would be ideal depending on the number of people you're hosting but most public libraries will let you use their rooms for free. I hosted my event at The Woman's Earth, a wellness studio in my city where I am a member. You get discounted rates on space rental. Wherever you decide to have the event, make sure the space is open and can accommodate your guests and everyone has enough room to spread out and make their boards.
2. Guests- If you are doing a small group, I would suggest only inviting people who you know will be inspired or can serve as an inspiration. You can have as few as 3 to 5 people or upwards of 20. Just make sure all in attendance feel like they are getting something out of it and they have enough time to create! Be mindful: vision board parties are suppose to be positive and uplifting, make sure you invite the right energy into the space! Don't invite people who will bring in negative vibes.
3. Invitation- Once your guest list is written down, create a fun invite and send it to your guests. I actually did my entire guest list through Facebook after creating my invite. If you have enough time and plan the event far in advance you can also get cute invitations printed and mail them out to people who may not be on social media. Also, for me I chose to charge a small fee ($15) it helped cover supplies and refreshments but it was also to solidify a commitment from attendees. When you have a "free" event (unless it's all family) sometimes people will RSVP and not show up. But usually when people pay a fee, they are more committed to attending and participating.
4. Supplies- I subscribe to three magazines, so I usually have old magazines laying around. Most of the time I stack them up and take them to the recycling center but since I knew I was going to be having a vision board party I started saving the magazines. I also picked up free community magazines from the grocery store and got a few from the dentist office. You can also check the recycling centers or doctors offices, nail salons, beauty salons for extra magazines. And depending on how many people you're inviting-- if it's a really small group-- you might just pay for a handful of magazines or ask your guests to bring some if you aren't charging a fee. I also purchased little notebooks with inspirational covers and put them in a gift bag along with chocolates so that the ladies had a parting gift. AND I purchased a copy of Cheryl Strayed's Brave Enough along with The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes and did two giveaways at the party.
5. Agenda- Even though most of the time will be spent scouring through magazines, you don't want there to be a lull in activity. I opened the party with an ice breaker to introduce everyone and to get them thinking about their goals for 2016. I had soft music playing during the event, walked around encouraging everyone and gave everyone a sheet entitled "2016 Intentions" to further help them streamline their goals for the upcoming year.
One thing I didn't mention above was that I planned this event a month out. So, I sent the first save the date for the event around October 21st. You want to be sure you allow yourself enough time to get everything together. It will probably work even better if you enlist someone to co-host, pick someone who is going to take it seriously and hold up their end of the responsibilities.
And that's all there is to it! Just be sure as the host/hostess you enjoy your self and make a vision board as well!
I used to be a "mommy blogger". My blog name was Phenomenal Mama. I blogged about my experiences as a mom and posted cute photo's of my kids and the places we traveled. Then one day my kids asked me to stop posting pictures of them.
It made me pause and think about what I was doing. I believe I fell into mommy blogging because well, I'm a mom and I had struggles with working outside the home and then challenges when I became a SAHM, so I felt I had stuff to share and needed an outlet. But soon it all started to feel a bit staged and contrived. Every time we did something or went somewhere I tried to see how I could turn it into a blog post. It was exhausting and started to infringe upon our quality time as a family.
Also, a scary thing happens when you share so much of your life: people become really invested and they think they know you- which is fine- but they also think they know your kids, most of it is totally harmless but given the world we live in, it can still be scary.
And I totally understand that if you plan on blogging and want to build a community, you risk losing that anonymity because people want transparency. But there is soooo much more to me than being a mom. I LOVE being a mom and it brings me joy but I'm also a writer, designer, reader, etc. I just felt I wanted to explore my creative side more, so I granted my children's wishes and stopped posting about them. I rarely even post about them on social media. I figure if they are so inclined, one day they can get their own blog and share their own stories.
I have to admit I really miss the community of mom bloggers- the support I received from those ladies was amazing! But life is all about new experiences and I'm enjoying my new journey!
TED Talks are everything. I am addicted to the inspirational and informative talks given by creatives and industry professionals. They are entertaining and I always learn something new!
This TED Talk by Chip Kidd on how he comes up with ideas for book cover designs is nothing short of brilliant.
This is a little free writing/brainstorming that I've been doing in between editing my next story. I start most of my stories like this. . .from a single incident or scene and then work backwards:
The next time I saw Damon, I was standing in line at the store buying tampons.
“You’re a hypocrite.” He whispered harshly in my ear. He had managed to approach me from behind without me seeing him.
I turned and pushed his shoulder. “Get away from me.”
“You walking around talking to me and being all friendly just because you knew about my parents? Then you come to the frat house again after saying you’d never come back and leave with some guy?” He spoke through clenched teeth with so much vitriol that I was shocked.
The people around us were staring but I didn't care. I'd had enough of his anti-social and unpredictable behavior.
“First of all, if you would’ve taken a chance and got to know me you’d know I don’t pretend with anyone. Me wanting to be your friend had absolutely nothing to do with your parents. And yes, I knew. Should I have disclosed that? Everyone on campus knows!”
“Who was that guy?” he asked disregarding my words.
I removed my Advil, tampons and cookies from the hand basket and put them on the counter.
“None of your business.”
“Since Patrick wasn’t there, you just left with a stranger?" he asked incredulously.
I closed my eyes and tried to keep my emotions and temper in check. I remained silent as the cashier scanned my items.
“$11.32” the cashier said. Just as my hand went to my pocket for my money, I remembered I had changed shorts.
“Shit.” I mumbled. “I’m sorry I- I left my money in my- I’ll have to come back.” I said to the cashier.
Suddenly a $20 bill appeared on the belt. She looked down at it and then at me. I turned to see Damon putting his wallet back in his pocket.
“Thank you but no thank you. You are an asshole and I don’t need you buying me tampons!” I yelled and ran out of the store. I managed to make it all the way to my apartment before I broke down and started crying. I knew my hormones were a little jacked up but I couldn’t explain why he had such an effect on me. I barely knew him.
I lay down on my bed for about thirty minutes before pulling myself together. When I got up, I took a ten and five from my purse and decided to head back to the store. After the scene earlier, I wished there was another store nearby but the campus was out in the middle of nowhere.
I opened the door and almost had a heart attack. Damon was sitting on the porch. He extended the bag containing the stuff from the store towards me in offering.
“How did you know where I live?” I placed a hand on my chest to help calm the pounding in my heart.
He shrugged. “Maybe I’m stalking you?” he said recalling my exact remark to him from a few weeks ago.
I hesitantly took the bag. Although I was mad at him, I really needed an Advil. I tried to give him the money in my hand him but he wouldn’t take it.
“Just so we’re clear, I’m mad at you.” I said folding my arms. The plastic bag dangled from my wrist.
“I know.” He said simply. He sighed and then stood. He looked out at the parking lot before turning towards me with an expression that broke my heart. Such sadness and confusion.
“I should go.” He said.
We continued to stare at each other for a few minutes before I went back inside my apartment and closed the door.
(This is NOT a part of my next story but this one has been keeping me up at night....STAY TUNED! In the meantime, you can purchase my lastest books HERE.)
Writer. Reader. Designer. Creative Spirit.
“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”