Archive | April, 2007

Creative People’s Desks

Creative people looking at … what creative people have on their desks.

This site’s especially good to show to people who believe that artists are just messy slobs, disorganized, or worse. (OK, it’s possible they tidied up a bit before taking photos … but hey, isn’t that what you’d do if you had guests stopping by?)

[Reminds me of some of the artists I worked with at Disney Imagineering several years ago who were always so neat and clean … never dropping a bit of paint on their clothes. How’d they do that? And then there were others who … well, let’s just say they were ‘joyful’ in their process!]

On this site I like that the artists/writers/designers tell us about their workspace, showing us what’s outside their window (if they have one) and sharing with us the special doo-dads that keep their creative juices flowing.



World’s Oldest Blogger – Olive Riley

Can’t recall exactly how I found this site, but it’s a kick. Olive Riley is the world’s oldest blogger (or so it’s been publicized).

She’s 107 years young, lives in Australia, and only started her blog a few months ago.

If you have time, you’ll enjoy the many comments on her posts from around the world. We should all be this popular!

OLIVE’S FIRST POST – February 2007

“Good Morning everyone. My name is Olive Riley. I live in Australia near Sydney. I was born in Broken Hill on Oct. 20th 1899. Broken Hill is a mining town, far away in the centre of Australia. My Friend, Mike, has arranged this blog for me. He is doing the typing and I’m telling the stories…”



Walter Mosley – Stop Reading and Start Writing

Walter Mosley is one of my favorite authors … and when I saw this on the NPR site, about writing your novel, I just had to share it with you. You’ve heard other authors say similar things … and it must work, because they all have great books on the market.

From the article:

“My only ritual for writing is that I do it every morning. I wake up and get to work. If I’m in a motel in Mobile — so be it. If I am up all night, and morning is two o’clock in the afternoon, well, that’s okay too.

The only thing that matters is that you write, write, write. It doesn’t have to be good writing. As a matter of fact, almost all first drafts are pretty bad. What matters is that you get down the words on the page or the screen — or into the tape recorder, if you work like that.”

His new book, This Year You Write Your Novel:



For years, people have been asking … so here you are!

Books I recommend in my Goosing Your Muse creativity seminars:

Aha! Ten Ways to Free Your Creative Spirit & Find Great Ideas
Jordan Ayan, Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1997

Art & Fear Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Art Making
David Bayles & Ted Orland
1993 Capra Press, Santa Barbara CA

Art Can Heal Your Life
Sean McNiff , art therapist
(2 audio cassette set)

Art Is a Way of Knowing A Guide to Self Knowledge & Spiritual Fulfillment Through Creativity
Pat. B. Allen, Shambhala Books

The Artist’s Way (A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self)
Julia Cameron
1992, Tarcher/Perigee

Marlane Miller
Simon & Schuster, 1997

The Corporate Mystic A Guidebook for Visionaries with Their Feet on the Ground
Gay Hendricks, Ph.D., Kate Ludeman, Ph.D.
Bantam Books, 1996

The Courage to Be Brilliant
Marta Monahan
2002, Vittorio Press, LA

The Courage to Write How Writers Transcend Fear
Ralph Keyes, Henry Holt Books, 1995

The Craft and Business of Songwriting (3nd Edition)
(A Practical Guide to Creating and Marketing Artistically and Commercially Successful Songs)
John Braheny
2007 Writer’s Digest Books

The Craft of Lyric Writing
Sheila Davis, Writer’s Digest Books

Robert Fritz
1991, Fawcett Columbine Books

Creating a Life Worth Living
Carol Lloyd
A practical course in career design for artists, innovators, and others aspiring to a creative life.
Harper Collins Books – 1997

Creating from the Spirit Living Each Day As A Creative Act
Dan Wakefield, Ballantine Books

Creating Internet Entertainment
Jeannine Novak & Pete Markiewicz
Wiley Computer Publishing, 1997

Creating with the Angels
Terry Lynn Taylor
1993, H.J. Kramer Inc.

The Creative Journal (The Art of Finding Yourself)
Lucia Capacchione
1979, Swallow Press Books, Athens, Ohio

Creative Process in Gestalt Therapy
Joseph Zinker
1978, Vintage Books

Creativity: How to Catch Lightning in a Bottle
George Gamez – 1996
Peak Publications, PO Box 451067
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery & Invention
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Harper Collins, 1996

Creativity in Business
Michael Ray & Rochelle Myers, 1996

Creators on Creating (several authors)
Awakening & Cultivating the Imaginative Mind, Tarcher Putnam Books

Do What You Are – Paul D. Tieger & Barbara Barron-Tieger
Discover the Perfect Career for You
Through the Secrets of Personality Type
Little, Brown & Co. – 1995

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
Betty Edwards – J.P. Tarcher Books

Drawing on the Artist Within
Betty Edwards – Simon & Schuster

Embracing Your Inner Critic
Embracing Our Selves (The Voice Dialogue Manual)
Hal Stone, Ph.D. &
Sidra Winkleman, Ph.D.
1989, New World Library

Emotional Intelligence
Daniel Goleman
Bantam Books, 1995

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.
1987, Fawcett Columbine / Ballantine

Finding What You Didn’t Lose: Expressing Your Truth and Creativity through Poem-Making
John Fox, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995

Five Star Mind – Tom Wujec
Games & Puzzles to Stimulate Your
Creativity & Imagination
1995, Doubleday Books

Flow – The Psychology of Optimal Experience – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
(pronounce: Mee-high Sent-mee-high)
Harper & Row

Frogs into Princes (Neuro-Linguistic Programming)
Bandler & Grider – Real People Press

Get Out of Your Own Way Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior
Mark Goulston, MD., Philip Goldberg, Perigree, 1996

The Grace of Great Things Creativity and Innovation
Robert Grudin
1990, Ticknor & Fields

Growing Up Creative
Teresa Amabile
Crown Publishing

The Heart Aroused Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America
David Whyte
Currency/Doubleday Books

Higher Creativity Liberating the Unconscious for Breakthrough Insights
Harman & Rheingold, Tarcher Books

How to Think Like Leonardo de Vinci Seven Steps to Genius Every Day
Michael J. Gelb
Delacorte Press – 1998

Idea Catcher – various authors
An Inspiring Journal for Writers
1995, Story Press, Cincinnati, Ohio

Idea Power Techniques & Resources to Unleash the Creativity in Your Organization
Arthur B. VanGundy
American Mgmt. Assn.

If You Want to Write – A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit
Brenda Ueland
1987, Graywolf Press

Joy’s Way
W. Brugh Joy, M.D.
Jeremy P. Tarcher Press

Jump Start Your Brain – Doug Hall
A Proven Method for Increasing Creativity up to 500%
Warner Books – 1995

Just Open A Vein (Writers on Writing)
Edited by William Brohaugh
Writer’s Digest Books

Keep Your Brain Alive 83 Neurobic Exercises
Lawrence C. Katz, Ph.D.
& Manning Rubin
Workman Pub. 1999

Networking in the Music Business
Dan Kimpel (He has newer books too)
1993, Writer’s Digest Books

No Contest: The Case Against Competition
Alfie Kohn, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1986, 1992

No More Secondhand Art:
Awakening the Artist Within
Peter London, Shambhala Books, 1989

Orbiting the Giant Hairball
Gordon MacKenzie
A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace (Worked at Hallmark Cards for 30 years, where he inspired his colleagues to slip the bonds of Corporate Normalcy … shares lessons on awakening and fostering creative genius.) Viking Books – 1998

The Path of Least Resistance (Principles for Creating What You Want to Create)
Robert Fritz. 1984
Stillpoint Publishing Co., Salem, MA

Please Understand Me – Character and Temperament Types
David Keirsey & Marilyn Bates
Prometheus Nemesis Book Company

The Power of Play
New Visions of Creativity
Carol Lawson, A Chrysalis Reader

The Possible Human (A course in Enhancing Your Physical, Mental and Creative Abilities)
Dr. Jean Houston
1982, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam Books

The Power of Myth
Joseph Campbell (with Bill Moyers)
1987, Doubleday

The Power of Your Other Hand
Lucia Capacchione
Simon & Schuster

Practical Intuition – Laura Day
How to Harness the Power of Your Instinct and Make It Work for You
Villard New York – 1996

The Psychic Pathway A Workbook for Reawakening the Voice of Your Soul
Sonia Choquette
1995, Crown Trade, Random House

The Right-Brain Experience An Intimate Program to Free the Powers of Your Imagination
Marilee Zdenek, Two Roads Publishing, 1983, 1996

The Self-Esteem Companion
Simple exercises to help you challenge your inner critic and celebrate your personal strengths
Matthew McKay, PhD, Patrick Fanning, Carole Honeychurch & Catharine Sutker
New Harbinger Publications – 1999

Serious Creativity
Edward DeBono
Using the Power of Lateral Thinking to Create New Ideas
Harper Business Books

Singing at the Top of Our Lungs Women, Love and Creativity
Claudia Bepko & Jo-Ann Krestan
Harper Perennial Books

Solved By Sunset: The Right Brain Way to Resolve Whatever’s Bothering You in One Day or Less
Carol Orsborn, Harmony Books, 1995

Songwriters Playground (Innovative Exercises in Creative Songwriting)
Barbara L. Jordan
(call 1-800 CMM SONG) to order

Source Imagery
(Releasing the Power of Your Creativity)
Sandra G. Shuman, Ph.D.
1989, Doubleday

Spinning Inward – Maureen Murdock
Using Guided Imagery with Children for Learning, Creativity & Relaxation
Shambhala Publications – 1987

The Thinker’s Way 8 Steps to a Richer Life, Think Critically, Live Creatively, Choose Freely
John Chaffee, PhD
Little, Brown & Co. – 1998

Tune Your Brain – Elizabeth Miles
Using Music to Manage Your Mind, Body and Mood
Berkley Books – 1987

Type Talk at Work Understanding the Workplace and Thriving in It
Otto Kroeger with Janet M. Thuesen
1992, Delacorte Press

A Walk Between Heaven & Earth A Personal Journal on Writing & The Creative Process – Burghild Nina Holzer, Bell Tower Books, 1994

A Whack on the Side of the Head
Roger Von Oech
Published by Creative Think

When You Can You Will
Lynne Bernfield
1993, Lowell House

Who Are You? 101 Ways of Seeing Yourself
Malcolm Godwin
2000, Penguin Books

Who Do You Think You Are? Explore Your Many-Sided Self with The Berkeley Personality Profile
Keith Harary, Ph.D. &
Eileen Donahue, Ph.D.
Harper/San Francisco

Wild Mind (Living the Writer’s Life)
Natalie Goldberg
Bantam New Age Books

The Woman’s Book of Creativity
C. Diane Ealy, Ph.D.
1995, Beyond Words Publishing Inc.

Write From The Heart Unleashing the Power of Your Creativity, Hal Zina Bennett, 1995,
Nataraj Publishing, PO Box 2430,
Mill Valley, CA 94942

Writing Down the Bones
Natalie Goldberg
1986, Shambhala Publications

The Writing Life
Anne Dillard
1999 Harper & Row

Writing from the Heart Inspiration & Exercises for Women Who Want to Write
Lesl©a Newman, The Crossing Press, 1993

Writing from Within
Bernard Selling
1990, Hunter House Books

Zen in the Art of Writing
Ray Bradbury – 1994
Joshua Odell Editions, PO Box 2158,
Santa Barbara, CA 93120


To Be More Creative – Give Yourself More Time

[Seems every where I go, there’s pressure to hurry up and do more … photo I took at the Loveless Caf© outside of Nashville, Tennessee, 2006 — JoAnn Braheny]

Here’s a big thank you to Douglas E. Welch, who forwarded the below post to me via Feedburner — an excellent article written by Carmine Coyote.

It’s a great reminder, especially in today’s world … for when ideas just won’t flow smoothly. I especially love what she says about reading and daydreaming.

Here’s Carmine’s article:

If You Want to be More Creative, Give Yourself More Time

In all the discussion about creativity, one subject that rarely occurs is time: the necessity of giving yourself enough time to allow the creative process to happen. Maybe we’re too influenced by the Hollywood idea of the sudden flash of brilliant insight, so we ignore the patient period of thinking and ruminating essential for any flash of inspiration to happen. Given the rush in today’s world, and the constant demands for instant gratification, we’re in danger of becoming steadily less creative–right when we need it most.

Getting creative ideas takes far longer than people usually allow. It’s not the idea itself–that may come in an instant–it’s the preparation, plus the time needed afterwards to check it out, explain it to others, and turn it into a practical plan of action. Creativity isn’t something that you can ignore for years, then expect to be able to switch on right away. It needs practice, nurturing, fuel, time to grow, time to allow the basic ingredients to swirl around inside your head in chaotic form, until one day something clicks and the idea is there.

The first requirement for creative thinking is fuel: knowledge, information, concepts, facts from many sources, different perspectives, shifting viewpoints. You need time to read–then read some more. Nothing gives better fuel for the “creative juices” than reading. Nothing is more effective in helping you to learn, to think, to reflect, and to internalize all the ingredients that will, one day, come together in some new and unexpected way. The general lessening of time spent reading is the direct cause of most of the obvious problems we have with limited thinking and stunted imaginations. The Internet is a great research tool. Lectures, talks, TV documentaries, and videos have their place. But nothing, nothing beats reading. If you want to be creative, read as much and as often as you can. There’s no better way to stimulate your mind. Show me a home free of books and I’ll show you people with little or no spark of creative thought in their heads.

Next, you need time to find those unexpected links between ideas, thought patterns, or areas of knowledge that are the bedrock of innovation. The brain finds it hard to hang on to disconnected pieces of information. Unlike a computer, it doesn’t cope well with large amounts of more or less random data. What it does best is to see connections, ways of linking information together into patterns in place of independent pieces of data. Remembering a principle and applying it is far easier to do that recalling a fact. This process is always slow. It’s still slower when we are searching for connections that are new or unexpected. Do we see innovative links instantly? Usually not. It takes time to find and register them fully, then understand them well enough to grasp their potential for changing the way we do things or see our world.

You will also need time to prioritize these budding ideas and choose which ones are worth more attention and energy. Doing this in a rush risks making mistakes, missing good ideas, and wasting effort on those that soon run into the sand. Creative thoughts don’t come in neat packages. They arrive mixed with other thoughts or notions that aren’t what you are looking for. You need time to sort them out.

Checking your growing ideas, researching, and creating sensible plans for implementation also take time. You aren’t going to be successful with every creative thought or idea every time. Many will fizzle out, or prove to be more difficult–and provide fewer benefits–than appeared at first. You need to “noodle” around, trying them out, adapting, extending, combining, and dropping poor ideas in favor of better ones. Until you start to explore how a creative thought might work in practice, you can’t see clearly which are going to be worth taking further.

Most of all, you need time to daydream. I’m not talking about sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike. That’s a romantic idea that bears no relation to what genuinely creative people do. In all those “gaps” where they appear to be doing nothing at all, the world’s outstanding creative minds are hard at work below the surface: reflecting, ruminating, “noodling” with odd ideas, daydreaming possibilities, and tinkering with patterns and unexpected connections. What you see is the tiniest tip of a mental iceberg: nearly all the activity that brought it about is hidden below the surface. Time spent day-dreaming, or running over intriguing ideas in your head, is the “soil” in which creative ideas grow.

How do you make this time? The simplest way is to arrange your day to stop wasting so much of the time you already have. To-do lists and similar organizational tools can help, but they mostly make it easier to recall objectives and track tasks, by putting them into some kind of order. Useful stuff, but not critical to creativity. Finding more time for creativity needs you to recognize how much garbage doesn’t need to be on your calendar or to-do list at all. Many items can simply be dumped: pointless meetings, reading and sending endless e-mails, wasting time on reports designed to cover someone’s backside, or team co-ordination meetings when there’s nothing to co-ordinate. Have nothing to do with Instant Messages. Stop people copying you on e-mails of no consequence. Don’t waste time gossiping or swapping e-mail jokes. Turn your cellphone off sometimes. Refuse to become a slave to a BlackBerry. There’s plenty of time really, so long as you stop allowing it to be frittered away on rubbish like this. Set aside time to think and defend it as ferociously as a lioness defends her cubs.

Most people don’t achieve anywhere near their full creative potential just because they never give themselves time to do so. They’re so conditioned to quick action that they give up on fresh thinking long before it has any chance to develop. Don’t make the same mistake.

One of the worst aspects of modern life is the constant hurry. Not only does it create stress and tension, it goes a long way to making us all seem dumber and less creative than we are. If you want to get your brain going, slow down . . . and give it some time and space to work.

(Now you’ll know why I don’t answer your email so quickly! – JoAnn Braheny)


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