Finding your Element

I was having trouble thinking the other day.  Worries were piling up and also things were just not connecting.  It seemed like I couldn’t do the simplest things the first time.  My dear spouse gave me a modern parable that I wanted to pass along because I found a lot of truth in it.

She said, “how well does a Corsair or a P-51 Mustang run on the ground?”

Thinking about it, I recalled when I used to live next to a flight museum.  Those particular airplanes coughed and sputtered on the ground, but once they were airborne and operating at full power, their engines smoothed to a powerful roar.  I said “They run like crap.”

She said, “exactly.”  The implication being that my brain was like that, and it ran best when operating closer to full capacity.

I think that’s true for many of us.  We might have trouble in an environment we aren’t suited to, or thinking at too low a level, we might have trouble.  But when we find what element we are best in, we might find that we are fare more intelligent and capable than we thought!  How many people do we know who are amazing with their hands but useless with words?  Or who couldn’t tell a nut from a bolt but can write words that make your soul sing?  Or clean a place till it sparkles, but can’t play chess?

Moreover, the speed at which you do a thing can have a huge impact.  Some people are best when they are working fast and yet lose momentum if they try to slow down.  Some people keep making mistakes if they don’t take their time.  Like the proper operation of a vehicle, finding your “best RPM range” can be critical to your success at what you do.

Don’t just take another person’s word for it, either.  Find your own best pace.

If we all find that thing we are best at, and the rate at which we work well, those are the keys to realizing our full value as human beings.

 

Sparking Your Creativity

When looking for ideas for drawing, painting, poetry or sculpture, it can be helpful to think outside the crate. Or think outside the corrugated cardboard container. Or the cube. Or the containment device. Or the little space bounded by roughly equal sides and describable by geometry.

It’s not too useful to just say “be creative,” without having some ways to encourage that in your head! Creativity is like a muscle. Once you get your mind warmed up, you will be more creative with your other projects, not just the little exercises listed here.

My mother, who is a writer as well, gave me a great idea so I’ll mention it here. She has been writing poetry and short works with five randomly selected words. That can be a great way to kickstart creativity! You can even close your eyes, open a dictionary, and point. Or find a random word generator and use that. The idea is to cause new, unexpected input to come into your mind and spark new ideas. Creativity often comes when you take two unrelated ideas and play around with how they could be connected. And it’s hard to get new ideas without new input.

Something I frequently like to do is take some object, natural or created, and examine it closely, perhaps even under a magnifying glass or microscope if you have one. Even a pinecone can be a fascinating thing to explore if you really get into examining all the shapes, shadows, ridges and texture of it. Maybe it could become part of a new creature, or an idea for a structural support on a building? This can work for artists, writers, sculptors, or anyone else who wants to rev up their creativity.

Macro photography on the internet can be a fascinating way to look at the world. So can Google’s “I’m feeling lucky” feature. Take a walk and examine something you’ve never looked at before. Read an article about a subject you known nothing about. Pick a word at random and look up websites about it. Read quotes from famous people you’ve never heard of. That can trigger new ideas too.

Creativity requires imagination. If you open your eyes, literally or figuratively, and get interested in the world, great ideas follow.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/create/

13 Ways to Recharge Your Writing Batteries

via Daily Prompt: Recharge

 

Sometimes, we all run out of ideas.  We feel like a battery run flat.  At that moment, we wish we were like a cell phone – just plug a USB into the side of our heads and let the ideas flow in.  This is particularly bad if we’re working up against a deadline, or only have a little time to write, so we want to make it count.  Here are some ways to recharge!  Please add your own in the comments if I’ve missed something.

1. Meditate.  Totally relax, just for two or three minutes, and let go.

2. Write down ten ideas about something – anything – totally unrelated to your project.

3. Take a walk.  Let your mind wander.

4. Have a cup of tea. L-Theanine is good for your brain.

5. Take a short (no more than twenty minute) nap.

6. Exercise.  It sounds strange, but often exercise brings energy, not the other way around.

7. Play.  Preferably not with anything electronic.

8. Write down a list of things regarding your subject.  Odd little details, the nuttier the better.

9. Get yourself laughing.  Do something really silly, like juggling pants.

10. Blow the screen a giant raspberry and start writing anyway – one word at a time, it doesn’t matter where.  After all, you can always delete later.  The important thing is to get going.

11. Read a lot.  All subjects.  You’ll have more output when you have more input.

12. Keep a small notebook, write all your ideas down.  Look over that when you’re stuck.

13. Stay positive!

 

 

(And don’t forget to look at my last post, I really need reader input!)

 

Inventing Worlds

When I was younger, I read a book that absolutely fascinated me. I checked it out from the library again and again. It was all about creating imaginary kingdoms and building them in miniature form with old cans, oatmeal containers, cardboard boxes, and such. I loved that book. I remember turning a big table into my “kingdom,” and all the people who lived there worshiped the Great God Tagamet. They were somewhat inspired by ancient Egypt, as I recall.

I still enjoy creating worlds, though usually I make maps of them or write stories, rather than creating miniatures. When I wrote my novel, “The Dice of Fate,” I had a lot of fun figuring out how things would be. What climate was I going to choose for the area my story was in? What type of plant life?  What type of animals? As it happened, I chose a mountainous area with a wide valley and a river running through it. The trees were mostly deciduous, though there were some conifers too, and there were ancient ruins and a mysterious Road that had been there for ten thousand years or more.

Once you know what kind of place you are imagining, you can have lots of fun deciding about civilizations, trade routes, where resources are, how people get from place to place, what kind of agriculture they have, what kind of technology, and on and on. The possibilities are literally endless!

What to do with this information? Write a story, draw a picture, create a roleplaying scenario, make a miniature, or just dream. Imagination keeps the mind young.