Happy New Year -2011 – Thank You

(Jan. 1, 2011) Happy New Year greetings!

John Braheny and I have had such a magical year (2010), traveling around the United States, meeting and talking with songwriters and musicians and singers, all across the country, at schools, colleges, and in songwriters organizations … we consider ourselves very fortunate, and grateful to you all.

So, when I saw this on one of my new favorite blogs … BeMoreWithLess.com, I just had to share it with you, because it reflects the way we both feel… and couldn’t have said it much better than this:

  • Thank you for reading this.
  • Thank you for being a friend, even though we might not have met yet.
  • Thank you for telling me how I can do better.
  • Thank you for connecting with me.
  • Thank you for connecting with each other.
  • Thank you for taking some of my advice.
  • Thank you for giving me advice.
  • Thank you for making this such a blast.
  • Thank you for taking care.
  • Thank you for telling a friend about this blog.
  • Thank you for being so loving.
  • Thank you for taking the time to uncover what is important to you.
  • Thank you for trying to make the world a better place.
  • And I’m adding this one: Thank you for being part of our adventure.

    [Photo by me:  Gift shop on Abbot Kinney Drive, Venice, CA, Dec. 2010]

Identify Your Clutter (Zen Habits)

I’ve been catching up on some reading, including a favorite blog: Zen Habits by Leo Babauta.

One of his recent articles is NINE QUICK TIPS to IDENTIFY CLUTTER.

We de-cluttered our garage a year ago, from obvious things like our college textbooks, photos (mostly duplicates from family), VHS tapes, ancient checkstubs, holiday cards we’d kept for years, cassettes, CDs, books, clothes, way too many old LPs, too many kitchen towels, way too much Tupperware, etc., etc.

Initially, we made 4 piles:  Keep, Donate, Sell, Toss.  Yes, we did have a “Not Sure” category … which is still with us. We took several loads to the thrift store, and gave semi-valuables to family, friends, neighbors. I can not tell you enough how freeing this was … especially once we got past the initial grieving & mourning … you know, finally throwing out that clay green ‘art piece’ I made in summer camp. [Take a photo of things like that… much easier to keep!]

Think: a New Year is coming. It’s perfect timing for a good purge!

[Photo taken of downtown window, by me, in Denver, Colorado, Oct. 2010]


Traveling in the South

We traveled in the South a lot this year, doing songwriting & creativity workshops in Austin, Dallas & Houston, Texas … as well as traveling through Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Ark, Nashville, Tennessee… and beyond.

One thing I love is taking photos of signs… and this one (I believe in/near Memphis, Tenn.) just made me smile.

You know for sure this isn’t a “menu du jour” you’d ever find in California (where we live). Not one vegetable or fruit listed anywhere! But still yummy! And don’t forget the ‘sweet tea!’

[Photo:  Memphis Menu – September 2010 – taken by me.]


Oklahoma City – OK!

Some of you know, John Braheny and I have been traveling (most of 2010), presenting songwriting & creativity workshops.

Just recently, we stopped to see our good friend, Craig White, songwriter/studio maven, teacher, who’s teaching recording production at the new Academy of Contemporary Music, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Craig mentioned the school to John (and John to them) and, voila, John did some guest-teaching while we were there in September. John was very impressed with the school, the teachers, students & classes … By the way, the school is currently sold out.

Yep, I know, we were thinking the same thing:  in Oklahoma City? But, it IS centrally located, ya know.

Then, today, I see this article… about a convention coming to Oklahoma City (not connected to the Academy of Contemporary Music), called:  “World Creativity Forum Set for Oklahoma City.” And I just had to include the link for it here.

This event looks really juicy… and I would definitely attend, if I could. The list of guest speakers is amazing. And yes, it will be in Oklahoma City, Nov. 15-17, 2010.

One of the biggest lessons I’m learning in doing our current tour, is that fabulous stuff is happening in lots of places around us, not just in LA or New York or Chicago or Miami. There are some hot pockets of creative talent, Oklahoma City!

And YOU might be able to attend… give it a thought! (Also, check it out that Hanson, from Tulsa, is playing for the convention… coool.)

More to come! (And thanks to those of you who are egging me on to continue this blog! I do appreciate it!)


[Photo by waiter at Lottinvilles Wood Grille in Edmond, OK!]

(left to right) Craig C. White, of White Rose Recording Studio, with voice/music teacher, sweet Marla Haycox, and JoAnn & John Braheny. Oklahoma City, September 2010.


Need More Time to be Creative?

People tell me all the time (and they tell YOU too) how hard it is to carve out time to do your create projects.

Each of us has a different approach… and when I saw this by Seth Godin, I just had to pass it along.

I don’t know if I would say you’d have a different approach to competing… but I do like the idea of changing and reframing our view of Time.

[I once had a supervisor who, when I complained of not having enough time, asked me to start saying, “I have time.” It really didn’t change how much time I had (have), but it really helped my perception. And it relieved some stress too. I still use that trick on occasion, when I feel pressured.]

Here’s Seth Godin:

One way to do indispensable work is to show up more hours than everyone else. Excessive face time and candle-burning effort is sort of rare, and it’s possible to leverage it into a kind of success.

But if you’re winning by cheating the clock, you’re still cheating.

The problem with using time as your lever for success is that it doesn’t scale very well. 20 hours a day at work is not twice as good as 18, and you certainly can’t go much beyond 24…

What would happen if you were prohibited from working more than five hours a day. What would you do? How would you use those five hours to become indispensable in a different way?

Go ahead, try it. Just for a week. See what happens. Even if you go back to ten, you’ll discover you’ve changed the way you compete.


Why Creative Folks Blink a Lot – Scott Barry Kaufman

Haven’t you noticed this before? I have … but never would have guessed…

Read: … Why Creative Folks Blink a Lot (article from Psychology Today) by Scott Barry Kaufman…

Concluding lines:

“… At any rate, this study is important. Next time you’re chatting with someone and they seem to be blinking an awful lot, instead of looking at them like they are crazy, hire them. Chances are, they’ll be flexible thinkers.”

I just thought it was something I got in my eye … ha ha … go figure!


Brainstorming and Creativity

For some reason, I’m finding a ‘rash’ of current articles about something you may have experienced…

As you know, brainstorming sessions are when/where people get together to focus on a specific topic, and are asked to volunteer their thoughts, feelings, ideas, reactions, etc.  Studies are showing that they may not be as productive (creatively speaking) as we once thought. So goes the current assumption…

In my opinion, the “success” of the sessions depends greatly on a myriad of factors including physical location, amount of time provided, the leader (who is aware — or not — of all these factors), the participants, and most of all, the pressure or stress of any expectations anyone has! (Whew!)

The articles I’m finding, basically tell us that we are each so busy wanting to be in agreement, maybe with a leader, or a stronger personality in the group, that the so-called creativity is diminished.

I can’t help but wonder what kinds of groups are being assembled… and what the directives are, once they’re gathered together.

Someone needs to say, somewhere in these articles, that there is a vast difference in how brainstorming sessions are run (or not run).

In the meanwhile, here are links to two articles about why ‘traditional brainstorming’ (what is that?) might not be providing the creativity one had hoped… I am so not surprised!



More to come… including stories of successful brainstorming sessions!  Yes! They CAN happen!


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