Ideas to nurture your creative self: How an hour of your time can make a difference

The more you reinvent yourself, the more you become you. This is one of the ideas that resonated with me the most at the Adobe 99U Conference. For a few years now, I’ve been dying to attend this conference, which usually takes place every year in New York City. In 2020, though, organizers adapted all keynotes, master classes and workshops in a digital format.

We’re still getting through the pandemic, but it hasn’t extinguished our desire to lead a creative life. In uncertain times, redefining ourselves is the best way to find solutions to our challenges at personal and professional levels.

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The art of blogging is still alive

Some time ago, I read somewhere that blogs were dead. Online communication has mutated in such way that this kind of platform is no longer relevant. At least not as relevant as it “used to be.”

I disagree with that idea. Blogs are still very much alive. They’re the window to a person’s mind and creative crafts. It’s a platform where someone can introduce themselves to the online world without any editorial guidelines.

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Finding the light in times of darkness

The past few months have been really challenging for the world. At a personal level, the shock of living in times of a pandemic has impacted me in ways I never imagined.

As confinement began, it became clear to me that it’d be important to take breaks from information to protect my mental health. It was overwhelming to read so many articles related to economies collapsing, layoffs and increasing number of of COVID cases.

I remember reading a headline that suggested that the world would never be the same again. It was scary to think about that possibility. Nowadays, the term “new normal” starts to be more common. It’s difficult to imagine how the aftermath is going to look like for each one of us. Even when COVID goes away, the collateral damage will still be around in our personal lives.

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On Patience

I love the quotes that I find on Twitter. I’ve shared a few here before, and today, it’s not going to be the exception.

This is the first time that I think of patience as a form of action. To me, it has always meant sitting still while waiting for life to happen. When I read that quote, my perception suddenly changed. It didn’t take long to convince myself that patience is motion.

In my student years in journalism school, I remember interviewing a young lady about entrepreneurship and making a living out of art. One idea that stood out for me in that conversation was taking “baby steps” when working on any creative craft. Great accomplishments are the sum of all efforts made one day at a time. It’s the repetition of small actions on a daily basis.

I also thought of the time I took swimming lessons. The instructor quickly sensed how frustrated I got when I tried different strokes and my body didn’t respond the way I wanted it to. His words still resonate even today: “you have to be patient with yourself.” It’s a matter of changing a mindset or breaking a habit, and these actions need constant repetition; one day at a time.

So when someone says “be patient”, that actually means “work on something and go step by step. You’ll get there.”

How do you view patience?

Unlearn what you know

The other day I saw someone on Twitter asking about the rules to write poetry. While there must be great pointers to get started, I think it’s valid to go with your own instinct. Being unaware of any ‘rules’ allows you to figure out your own techniques.

If you did learn how to do something, unlearning is a good idea to fuel your creativity. I’m thinking of Austin Kleon and his blind contour drawings, where he’s drawing a self portrait without looking at the page. He’s drawn his own cartoons for years, but this time, he’s trying something completely different. To me, he’s unlearning to rediscover his craft.

I remember my days on the basketball team when I was in high school. Sometimes, our coach changed our routine to learn new moves. That’s when we played volleyball or soccer to gain other physical or mental abilities to apply on the basketball court. It was also refreshing to switch to a different sport from time to time.

Sometimes, it’s healthy to forget about ‘the way things should be’ to leave room for exploration and playfulness.

If you had to unlearn your craft again, how would you do it?

 

Journals for thoughts, journals for life

Sometimes, your thoughts can’t stay in your mind all the time.

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to talk to someone you trust. We all need to rant from time to time to get rid of all the things we’ve kept to ourselves.

Other times, thoughts are so private that it’s hard to share them with someone or in a blog. That’s when journals come to the rescue. I’ve been journaling for 23 years, and even when it seems that I’ve lost the habit of composing my private notes, I retake it, and my mind finds peace again.

There’s a place where the world can’t reach you and judge you: the pages of a journal. I find that introspection is therapy for the soul. When you write down your emotions and thoughts as you feel them or as you mean them, you create a new self. You get rid of all mental blocks and think clearly.

You’ll be surprised of all the answers you can find in your own words. You can be as bold as you like, and no one will be offended.

If you manage to maintain this habit for years, it’s useful to read past entries from time to time to remind yourself how you overcame tough situations. You can also remind yourself what things made you happy at a certain point and retake them.

What do you think?

 

The experience of writing my own book

I’ve been trying to write a book since 2016. I came up with different ideas for 30 stories and told myself that only 25 would make the cut. I wrote as much as I could, and as often as time allowed it. However, procrastination got on the way and didn’t advance much in 2017.

In 2018, I retook the project. Still, my commitment wasn’t as serious as you’d think it would be. Constant ups and downs slowed my process, but I didn’t kill my manuscript. I made time to continue.

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