Friday, May 18, 2012

Don’t Fear the “R” Word

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career.
I’ve lost 300 games.
Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot…
and missed.
I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.
That is why I succeed.

~ Michael Jordan, Professional Basketball player

It is a good thing.
No, scratch that.
It’s a GREAT thing.
Because if you’re failing, it means you’re trying. You are out there! You are making things happen!
For writers and artists, the “failures” are rejection letters – those little “noes” we all “knows” so well.

Or we should.

Because if you don’t have a rejection collection, you must not want to succeed.

Rejection, after all, is one of the necessary steps on the path to success.

Don’t fear it.

Say it with me…

Don’t fear rejection.

Yeah, your new mantra.

And just so you never, ever, EVER forget it, there are three more words you need to know…


The music is here.

But, my friends, the lyrics have been mindfully bent.

Crank it up, then read and rock on…

All the work is done
This could be the one
Seasons don't fear rejection
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain…we can be like they are
Come on writers...don't fear rejection
Artists, take my hand...don't fear rejection
You'll be able to fly...don't fear rejection
Baby, it will be grand...

(you already know this part by heart)
La La La La La
La La La La La

All the work is done
This could be the one
Romeo and Juliet
Will be printed for eternity...Romeo and Juliet
80,000 books are published every month… Like Romeo and Juliet
80,000 books are published every month… Redefine happiness
Another 80,000 coming every month… we can be like they are
Come on writers… don’t fear rejection
Artists, take my hand… don’t fear rejection.
You’ll be able to fly… don’t fear rejection.
Baby, it will be grand…

(Oh yeah, sing it out)
La La La La La
La La La La La

Love of art is fun
Here but now it’s gone
Came the last NO of sadness
And it was clear she couldn't go on
Then the mail was opened and the YES appeared
Her doubts all flew and then disappeared
Her dreams all grew and then reappeared...saying don't be afraid
Come on writer...and she had no fear
She believed again...then she started to fly
don’t look backward or say goodbye...she had become like they are
She had taken a chance...she had become like they are
Come on writer... don’t fear rejection

PROMPT: Sing it loud and proud! Just add cowbell for instant success. NOW is the time to get that manuscript, portfolio, or query letter on its way to YES!
(Special thanks to Grace, AKA Rock Star in Residence, for verse 3 assistance. That girl can JAM!)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Now THAT’S Creative!

Yesterday I received a catalog from a major clothing retailer. Well, the cover featured a new product that had me at hello
Scratch & Sniff T-shirts.
Yes, I know. I had the same burning question –
Do they come in BACON?
Sadly, no.
Only orange, strawberry, and grape are available for now.
But we can dream.

Then I was struck by a few more questions, as well.
Like, will there be a line of Scratch & Sniff pants?
And if so, will my bacon T-shirt clash with minty capris?
Also, do they come with warning labels?
As in…

And what do teachers have to say about all of this?
It doesn’t take a deep thinker to imagine that this wearable would be a teacher’s worst nightmare…
“Suzy, stop flashing Timmy this instant!”
“I’m not flashing Timmy, Miss Harbuckle – I’m smellin’ my shirt!”
 And if a 6-year-old in Colorado can get expelled for singing “I’m sexy and I know it” (Yep, it really happened on May 4th) – then how is “Honestly, Mr. Hornblatt, I was just sniffing her shirt” going to go down?

But the most important question of all (besides that bacon inquiry, of course) is…
Can creativity go too far?
Take heart, Elbow Benders – if there is a market for Scratch & Sniff T-shirts, there’s a market for ANYTHING!

PROMPT: Go on a marketing mania brainstorming binge. Take a 10-minute timeout and list as many WILD and CRAZY products as you can. From platform heels for the petite Pekinese to alpaca scarves for the Alaskan anaconda – you never know when you’ll come up with THE BIG ONE…
Sara Blakely, the creator of Spanx, is a billionaire, after all.
Bacon stationary, anyone?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Treasure Map

Want a fun way to bend your mind’s elbow?
Treasure map your childhood!
Start with a large sheet of paper and plot out your old stompin’ grounds. Visual artists may have an easier time with this part, but nobody should sweat it. We’re not going for accuracy – we’re after STORY. Aye, for there be the treasure, Mateys!
Be sure to draw the home place the way you saw it back when you were about four feet tall. And remember, when you were that small, lots of things were probably BIG and SCARY. Add labels that bring to mind specific childhood memories – those places and events that tell the tales of your adventure in the Land of Little.
Here are some of the map markers on mine:
Frog Catcher’s “Crick”
The Attic Bats
What is THAT?
Fossil Ridge
The EVIL limping Rooster!
Crawdaddy Falls
The CREEPY Basement (Why was that lonely light bulb always swinging?)
Roly Poly Hill
The Kite-flying Field
The Kite-eating Tree
The Little Room (Haunted for sure)
And of course, the spot where I found the neighbor’s marijuana grow operation… When you’re 7 years old, NOTHING starts a conversation faster than bringing home one of those leaves!

PROMPT: Have fun making maps today! It’s surprising how the dual process of drawing and writing unleashes those tales that live within your skin. Begad! YOU’RE chock-full of treasure!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bust a Move

Are you ready to ROCK this week?
I am.
I’ve got my goals.
I’ve got my to-do list.
And I’ve got my 5-minute happy music dance break.
Say what?
Remember that post about happiness? Well, here’s one quick way to get some.
First off, research shows that happy music creates positive perceptions even when there’s nothing “positive” to see (Jolij & Meurs, 2011). Another study (Salimpoor, Benovoy, Larcher, Dagher, & Zatorre, 2011) noted that brains release extra dopamine when people listen to music that they enjoy. And even if you don’t understand dopamine, trust me, right now your brain is saying, “BRING IT ON!”
Can you imagine what would happen if we added a little wiggle? Sure enough – current research from the University of London is demonstrating that dancing boosts mood beyond the effects of exercise alone.
Well, this is certainly news we can all use! So, get out your playlist of happy songs and crank ‘em up for just 5 minutes every day. Then prepare to be amazed. I can only imagine how many Prozac prescriptions could be eliminated if everyone just spent a little time shakin’ their groove things!
Try it this week – just for some creative fun. And you are here to have creative fun, aren’t you?
Note: Be sure to choose music that’s up-beat and positive. If you think that a 5-minute dance break playlist includes Beck’s Loser – WE NEED TO TALK.
Here’s a few that will get the job done. I’ve added links – you have NO EXCUSE.
Into Country? George Canyon’s Sunshine always makes me smile. (Probably because I am a big-yellow-sun-ball-addicted Northwester)
Funky Hip Hop?  Say Hey (I Love You) by Michael Franti and Spearhead is wonderful.
Rock? Bon Jovi’s We Weren’t Born to Follow. Yeah, those Jersey boys can still rock the HOUSE.
And for those going through a rough patch – Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger is awesome.
Maybe you have a few happy tunes of your own.
Try it.
It's free.
It takes just 5 minutes.
What have you got to lose…
But the blues?
Even if you don’t feel like dancing,
Here’s a tip – Whenever I don’t feel like dancing, I take a moment to remember two very important facts:
This great big beautiful world comes complete with
What more does a body need?

Well, a 5-minute dance break.

PROMPT: Energize that creative mind of yours with a dose of dopamine! Get down, shimmy, boogie, bust a move, and trip the light fantastic for a fantastic week -- guaranteed!