Friday, June 22, 2012

What if #1

What if you smiled all day long?
Well, first off, your face would hurt. The all-day smile is something you have to work up to. But trust me, you will want to give it a try.
Most folks think that we smile when we are feeling happy…
Well, duh, of course we do.
However, psychologists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have been studying smiles for quite some time, and they find that the opposite holds true, too! That is – even if you force a fake smile, your brain starts kicking out a bit of joy.
And doesn’t just knowing that give you a giggly grin?

PROMPT: Get a lot of good stuff going on – just say cheese!
And remember that happiness / success link? Double BONUS!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Filling the Well

Sometimes you have to step away from the keyboard.
Sometimes you have to create some space in your life for NOT writing.
Space is a very good thing.
After all, it’s the spaces between the notes that transform noise into music, and the spaces between the words thatkeepthemfrombecomingsenselessgobblygook.
What’s more, by building in some time for NOT writing, you have time for EXPERIENCES.
And experiences give you things to write about when that keyboard comes calling once again.
Today I will head off on a two-week adventure that has been two years in the planning.
But fear not, loyal followers – if the magic of technology serves us well, there will be 10 posts to help fill your creative well while I fill mine. I call them (cue dramatic music) The 10 Greatest What ifs. Actually, I don’t call them anything – that just sounded cool. At any rate, there will be 10 “What ifs” for you to chew on until I return.
And because it is just so perfect for today, I’m heading out to the tune of Good Life by OneRepublic. Feel free to enjoy it with me here.
Pip pip and cheerio!

PROMPT: Start planning YOUR adventure now. What will you do this year to fill that creative well of yours?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Yabba Dabba Doo!

I read a notable news story yesterday. Apparently, some old rock art was recently discovered in Australia.
No, no, I am not referring to a mint condition KISS album cover from the 70’s.
I’m talking about a fragment of cave wall displaying a charcoal sketch –
that is 28,000 years old!
Well, you know what this means, don’t you?
Kids have been driving parents up the wall with their wall art, like, FOREVER!
No, actually it means that the desire to create art has been around forever. As in, it is hardwired into our DNA.
And that is why my head nearly pops off whenever I hear adults claim that they are not creative.
Not possible.
As Lady Gaga would say –
“Baby, you were born this way.”

PROMPT: Get in touch with your inner cave child – they are YOUR walls, after all! Visual artists – practice some primitive art. Writers – a cave kid protagonist would be Flintstone fantastic!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Puppy Power!

Are you collaborating with someone on a creative project? Then consider a canine!
Recent research from Central Michigan University found that the presence of dogs increases teamwork.
In the study, they asked 12 groups of 4 people to create ads for imaginary products. Some teams had dogs. Some did not. Afterward, the subjects were asked to rate how they felt about their teammates, and the groups were compared. It turns out that the teams with dogs reported many more positive feelings about their coworkers.
The researchers did not give details, but it’s a good bet that the dog team members said things like –
“John was so AWESOME to work with – I just wanted to lick his whole face!”
“Tina was a SUPER AWESOME teammate! I’d fetch her newspaper, coffee, and slippers everyday for five years just to work with her again!”
“Working with Tim was better than rolling in stinky dead stuff! Man, it does NOT get any better than that!"

Note that the study did not employ cats. This was probably a wise decision.
I mean really –
naps, couch shredding, mouse decapitation, and team love?

Clearly, some dots do not connect.

Ha.    Ha.   Ha.

PROMPT: Do you have a BIG creative idea? Consider collaborating! Just add puppies for instant success!
In the children's book world, Judith Ross Enderle and Stephanie Jacob Gordon have collaborated successfully for years. And yes, they have office dogs! You can check out their website here.
By the way, the Central Michigan University study did not assess whether the dog teams ads were more creative. That sounds like a great project for my super sciency friends (you know who you are)! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday is a Great Day to…

“You can do anything you set your mind to.”
~ Benjamin Franklin

Good old Ben “Jammin” Franklin.
Hmmm… What did he know?
Well, he knew how to read French, Spanish, Latin, and Italian – all self-taught, by the way. He invented a bunch of stuff like bifocals, a stove, and the first flexible urinary catheter. Then there was that whole electricity thing. He even had to invent a bunch of words like battery and conductor to describe what he was doing with that. Heck, I’m thinking that if he had lived just a few more years and set his mind to it, the man would have come up with Twitter, as well.
But setting your mind to something isn’t just for old dead guys who lived back in the dinosaur days. Plenty of people today set their minds to things and find a way to do them.
In the children’s writing world, R.L. Stine, the author of the Goosebumps series is one of those mind-setting dudes. He started writing stories and jokes when he was only 9 years old. And being a typical 9-year-old of his day, he could not type for beans! Did that stop him? NO!
Why? Because R.L. had set his mind to becoming a published author.
However, he never really set his mind to that typing bit.
And that is why R.L. Stine has the gnarliest, BAD-A index finger on the planet.

Yes, the man has written 300 books…


PROMPT: You only need one mind – set it! And one finger – use it!
Look out stars, here we come!

By the way, if you wish to see the famous finger (it is worth it, trust me), check out Library of the Early Mind – a fantastic documentary about children’s literature that’s chock-full of interviews with many famous children’s authors.