Monday, June 15, 2009

Creativity Boot Camp Week 1

My creativity boot camp got a late start, so I’m just now finishing my 1st week of “training.” I had an artist’s date with myself last Thursday at a “paint your own pottery” studio and had a great time! My plate that I painted looked much like what a third grader’s, but since my creativity level is that of a third grader, I’m stoked about it. I pick up my fired plate on Friday and will post pictures of my creation. It’s a gerbera daisy – my talisman – I thought it would be appropriate for my first project. I start my knitting class tonight. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve never been crafty, but knitting is something I did in a previous life. My mother taught me how to cast on and off when I was but a wee thing. I just haven’t done it since then. I also crocheted at one point too. I made a beautiful afghan for my grandmother one year when I was in High School. When she died, and they were auctioning the items out of her home, I found the afghan stacked in a pile of blankets and linens to be sold. I nearly died! My one creation sold to the highest bidder! I rescued it and it now resides in my cedar chest.

My thoughts on my daily tasks and exercises after week 1:

1. I love writing my morning pages. At first it was painful – literally, painful. I haven’t written anything long hand since college (I’m not a regular journal keeper). My hand was cramping after the 1st paragraph. But there is something magical about seeing one’s handwriting at length on a page. My handwriting is almost creative itself, if I could read it! I also like the format – it’s completely stream of consciousness. I don’t have to have any agenda when writing in the morning. I could write, “I have nothing to write about” for three pages, if that’s all I had to say. But I’m surprised at how easily ideas come. And how random they are. Anything from “I love watching the bees in my lavender bushes” too “I can’t forget to get milk at the grocery store.”

2. I’m surprised that I like getting up at 6am to get my writing tasks done. It’s not easy – the snooze button gets hit several times before I am out of bed -- but once I’m up, I’m glad I have time to myself. It’s oxymoronic to think I’m getting up in the SUMMER at 6am. Normally, my alarm goes off at 7am – and during the summer – it’s a crap shoot. The house is so peaceful before my crew awakens. I have a special bag where I keep my writing notebooks, my pens and workbook in the kitchen. I grab it, fix my lemon water tonic, and spread out on the kitchen table. This morning I had a tougher time, but there is something to be said for D&C 88:124 (I went to bed WAY TOO late last night).

3. My writing has made me very conscious of all the negative things I have to say about myself during the course of a day. Part of the routine of morning pages is turning those negative “blurts” into positive affirmations. Trust me, it’s so much easier to say, “you stink at _____” than it is to say, “you are really AWESOME at ________.” But I’ve made a concerted effort to stop the negative talk. I’m not always successful, but I’m trying.

4. After I finish my writing exercises, I put on my walking shoes and head out the door for a long walk. I try to go 3.5 miles, but this morning, because I took longer to write, I only did 30 minutes. My mental writing exercises have had a profound effect on my physical exercise – I now walk with much more energy and authority than before. And my mind is significantly more lucid. They truly have been “power walks.”

It’s been a great week. I’m looking forward to the rest of my week – I have Enrichment tomorrow night, where I might actually dress up (we are supposed to come in costume as if we were attending an awards show). Normally, I would reject the idea as childish -- but I’m feeding my inner creative child, so what the heck. I also have book group, which is the beacon of not only my week, but my month.

Week 1 down, 11 more to go. I’m not Van Gogh – but I’m getting closer to being Van G-ette!