Simple Inspiration: Make It a Habit

by Lain Ehmann on January 26, 2011

This week, I’m sharing inspiration tips and tricks and behind-the-scenes info about February’s Layout a Day (LOAD) challenge. There’s still time to join in the fun if you’re ready for the challenge of a lifetime! Sign up for LOAD 211 here.

If you want to be more creative, one of the most critical steps you can take is to be more intentional about looking for inspiration and exercising your creativity.

One of the most popular books about enhancing your creativity is The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by renowned choreographer Twyla Tharp. It’s chock-full of ideas for honing your creativity.

One of the most useful elements I found in the book was her “exercises,” practical suggestions for incorporating the material into your life.

While her suggestions are pretty broad, I have taken some of them and interpreted some of them for scrapbookers. One suggestion that was particularly helpful was the idea of making a list of habits to support your creativity. One of my biggest creativity-supporting habit is:

Write it down!

I get “flashes of brilliance” that pop into my brain and just as quickly disappear. Even if I can’t use the idea immediately, I like to write them down (you can create a specific computer file or notebook for this purpose; I often just write it at the bottom of my to-do list or on my planner). The note might say something like, “Cut your mouth to fight your face,” (a statement Callie made, as she misinterpreted the old, “Cut off your nose to spite your face.”).

I have tons of other notes, including ideas for blog posts, (“Five Ways CSI Has Made Me a Better Scrapbooker“), videos to record, song titles or lyrics I want to use as titles or journaling, etc.

There are many ways I could document this information, including planners specifically for that purpose like the Log Your Memory planner, but I’ve found that for me, simple is best. I love my Log Your Memory planner, but being able to jot any idea into my daily to-do list doesn’t require any extra steps, and that means I’m more likely to do it. I can go through later and transfer those ideas to other journals or lists, but getting them down in the moment is the biggest hurdle.

Writing my ideas down helps me in a couple of ways:

-It cements the ideas in my memory (I am one of those people who has to write things down to remember them)

-It gives me a record to refer back to

-It serves as a scrapbook of sorts, in and of itself (can you imagine leafing through your great-grandmother’s To-Do list? How cool would THAT be?)

-It helps me realize how creative I actually am (I can fall into that trap of thinking “I never have any good ideas!” but then I flip through my notebook and see that I have PLENTY of ideas)

If you don’t already make it a habit to write down (or photograph or record) your ideas, I encourage you to do so. Try it for a week and see what kind of impact it has on your inspiration muscle. Then tell me how it goes. :)

P.S. For even more inspiration, join us for February’s Layout a Day challenge starting 2/1.

  • Lee

    Twyla Tharp’s Creative Habit was one of the best books I read last year. The exercises were wonderful and I managed to do them all – I like that the suggestions are broad, only because it made me less intimidated to put my own personal stamp on my thoughts and process. I’m using my LYM book as a scrapbook of sorts – it may be as far as some ideas go, but wouldn’t that be a find for someone :) Looking forward to LOAD :)

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t read the entire thing yet, but I am working through a bit at a time! :) Glad to know it’s worth the work.

  • Jennifer McIntyre

    When I was in high school, Ms. Tharp came to Boston and worked on a show. It was “The Catherine Wheel”. I nannied for a family – the parents had board positions on The Boston Ballet. Ms. Tharp was in and out of the family’s home all the time. And she often left her son, Jesse with me. I remember having lots of conversations with her. She was very accessible. It all seemed normal at the time, but now that I think about she must have left an impression on me. I remember her reminding me to practice all the time. I was very crafty then, as I am now, and she always told me to keep it up and just enjoy the process. I never went onto dance after college, but MY SONS take ballet. And that’s pretty creative.
    Thanks for the insight – - I love the part about “flashes of brilliance”, too. I write down everything. *sigh*.

  • Anonymous

    How incredible! I love that you knew her as a person rather than an icon. Very cool!

  • ErinK

    I do this too! I am a list girl too. I jot down all kinds of things in the margins and on the back. I have started including these in my Proof of life mini (Virginia Tillery). Fun to look back and see what I jotted down even a few weeks later!

  • Anonymous

    What is Proof of Life???

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