Creative practice

A technique to help maintain focus while listening

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Do you have trouble staying focused while passively listening in class, a meeting, or a presentation? Most people find it hard to focus for more than a few minutes at a time before their mind begins to wander to other things. This is especially true if you’re not particularly interested in the topic, or the presenter isn’t lighting up your mind with inspiration.

Even if the presentation is riveting, when we sit down our brain recognizes that we’re not in any danger and “turns off” by relaxing the brain and body. The mind then prefers to wander off to unrelated…


Or, how to de-sanitize your writing and give meaning to life’s garbage!

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Publishing a personal story on a blog, or perhaps in a memoir, can feel like running naked through a crowded street. It takes courage and a willingness to expose the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you want your audience to clap your daring and effort, rather than run away, then it pays to master a few techniques to bring your stories to life.

In this article, you will learn:

  1. Three simple steps to outline a powerful story.
  2. How to create an original metaphor.
  3. How to confidently include emotions and vulnerability.
  4. The necessity of including strong verbs.
  5. Three more…


Overcome the fear of personal storytelling and increase the care factor

In a crowded world where it’s hard to get noticed, it’s easy to fear our insignificance, our lack of impact, and the dread of social censure in all its forms. These fears hold back many would-be writers from putting forth their ideas and personal experiences in social spaces like this one.

My career was built on scientific research, where the writing is intentionally sanitized of all the author’s personality and opinions in an effort to convey objectivity. In this sense, research reports are safe from attacks on personal choices and lifestyle. Now with my adventures into personal story writing, I…


Field of lifeless ideas
Field of lifeless ideas

Clichéd! It’s the word no creative ever wants to hear. Cliché instills anxiety, even foreboding. It’s like climbing to the top of a lush green hill only to look out at the valley below to a field of dead trees in a barren landscape. It’s confronting, yet at some point, every creative faces the taunt of “cliché”! Surprisingly, this mocking of our ideas often comes from within, and often when we don’t expect it.

In my world, today is a beautiful autumn day. The sun shines from a cloudless sky. A friend paid a quick visit. I’ve been for a…


What gives them the survivor’s edge?

Photo by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash

When Kitty turned 100 her family gathered around celebrating this milestone, which few from her generation reached, given that life expectancy for those born in the early 20th century was a paltry 55 years for women and even less for men. I was standing by Kitty’s side; we had already read her congratulatory letters from Queen Elizabeth, the Prime Minister, and the Governor-General, and we were ready to light the candles and sing happy birthday when a young journalist asked Kitty the predictable question. “Mrs. G, what’s the secret to a long life?” Immediately, a hush fell over the crowded…


Self-awareness

Motion and rest, voyage and retreat

Photo by Jad Limcaco on Unsplash

To the uninitiated or less passionate, walking is just putting one foot in front of the other. When the destination is the goal, walking is indeed a slow approach and sometimes considered a waste of time. Walking can also be interpreted purely as a form of exercise without the walker having any other expectation.

However, ‘going for a walk’ invokes something quite different from walking. In ‘going for a walk’ neither destination nor effort need be the prime motivators. Instead, when ‘going for a walk’, whether it be in the city or country, one takes a voyage into the self…


In praise of a little dependence

Who doesn’t think of “dependence” with a surge of anxiety, when they think of getting old? Of course, we all want to live completely independent lives and then drop dead of ‘natural causes’ at a good ol’ age! Many consider this the benchmark for successful aging.

Not so long-ago gerontologists confirmed the goal of independence as we age, by defining “successful aging” along three dimensions, which all celebrate independence (the reference is at the end of the article):

  1. Low risk of disease and disease-related disability.
  2. Maintenance of high mental and physical function.
  3. Continued engagement with life, which includes relations with…


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Let’s collaborate, reach more people, and make the world a better place!

We seek writers passionate about creativity. We are open to authors from diverse groups and diverse occupations. What we ask is that articles, at their core, relate to some aspect of creativity. That’s just about anything you can think of!

At the heart of our publication is personal stories featuring writer insights about the meaning of creativity to them, how creativity inspires change, enables problem-solving, and ways creativity is an important part of their life.

Reasons to write for us

  • Our community is passionate about creativity. …


Aging and creativity

The Role of Creativity and Life-Long Learning

Image by nicolettewever.com

Today the New York Times retired the assignation of Op-Ed and created a new label for this segment called “Guest Essays.” Aged 50, the op-ed is enormously popular; however, the NYT rightly sees the tag as a relic of a pre-digital age. While the NYT says the underlying mission remains the same, I’m sure you’ll agree that “op-ed” and “guest essay” convey different identities!

We too are creating and recreating our identity over our entire life. Often our core identity is labeled according to our main occupation: writer, artist, teacher, parent, etc. We will recognize sub-identities within that occupation: creative…


Improve mood and bring out your inner artist

Feeling overwhelmed? Need creative inspiration or some time out?

There is much scientific evidence that doing something “artistic”, such as drawing, coloring, even doodling, is a powerful self-help means to improve mental health. Apart from the obvious as a means of creative expression, many people create some form of art, professional or otherwise, to help them disconnect from stress, improve mood, and promote catharsis.

Even simple unstructured drawings such as doodles are a positive creative leisure practice that is beneficial for relaxation.

Jen Gippel PhD

Ph.D. Finance, MSc Creativity Studies. I research and write about Creativity, Writing, Finance, and Life.

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