Category Archives: Real World

Knocking Out the Block

Standard

I’ll admit it. Some days, I just don’t know what to write. Despite receiving briefs and direction at the office, I still just stare at that blank page completely unaware of what I should do. It’s an extremely unnerving feeling, though one I’ve learned to just accept and run towards, not away.

While in New York at the Creativity Workshop back in June, we filled out postcards to write promises/advice to ourselves to remember what we learned. I received that postcard last month, and didn’t really think much of it. Just tacked it to the wall, occasionally catching a glimpse when my wandering eyes at my desk needed to refocus. I also made a commitment to practice automatic writing every day. Needless to say, that too has proved much more difficult to keep up as well.

But that all ends today.

I recently learned of this organization out of South Africa called Writers Write. They offer classes and tips and tricks to strengthen and build a Writer’s skills. Seeing as I won’t be heading to South Africa anytime soon, I can still gain some inspiration from the group with their tweets for “Daily Writing Prompt.” I feel these are going to help me keep my Creativity Workshop promises and get me out of the blocks.

medium_Writing_Prompt_238

 

A Sitting Duck No More

Standard

I’ll admit, I was one of those who never really used LinkedIn. Or looked at it. But then I started getting hooked to “Influencer Posts” that cover a variety of topics from various levels in the professional world. Last week, Arianna Huffington posted Hemingway, Thoreau, Jefferson and the Virtues of a Good Long Walk  and it really got me thinking.

Maybe those guys (being Hemingway, Thoreau, Jefferson and the slew of others mentioned) were seriously on to something. I’ve often turned to walks during stressful times. Times to catch up with friends. Or just times to escape it all. And often, these happen along the lakefront. Though for some reason, it’s only during the fall and spring (maybe that chill in the air slapping you in the face has something to do with it). But it’s my first defense when things get rough.

Take for instance this past week at the office. A colleague was seriously overwhelmed and after seeing her walk by my desk, I followed up with a Gchat message saying: “Want to take a walk?” Even though we never went  outside, it still helped. To get up and just walk away for a bit to gain a little perspective, but more importantly, a little distance. I’ve made a point to just pop into offices instead of calling people, just for the chance to get some mobility into my day.

I particularly enjoyed the quote from Gregory Berns in Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently when he writes, “new insights come from people and new environments — any circumstance in which the brain has a hard time predicting what will come next.” That to me sums up why around that 2:30 hour at the office, I’m craving somewhere for my legs to carry me. Sitting makes me feel stuck. Sitting makes me feel like a lump. And how is one supposed to be creative in that kinda of setting?

Below is an infographic from Mind Yourself Chicago on the importance of getting out there, for less than an hour. So feet, sandals, flip flops and boots, start walkin’.

Fill the Silence

Standard

I’ve noticed dinner parties/rooftop gatherings/patio meet-ups are quickly becoming more favorable than heading to nights out at bars for drinks and cocktails among friends. So naturally, we have to be nearing adulthood right?? Adulthood or not, I will say the conversation topics have shifted. Talk that surrounding pop culture and trips of nostalgia, has now become “Guess what I learned this week?” and “You’ll never believe this, but …” Maybe chalk it up to Buzzfeed with the endless lists of things you never knew about your favorite films, bands, TV shows, etc. Whatever it is, I walk away from these nights with new facts for trivia nights, perfect since that season is right around the corner.

During my daily blog run down, I came across Fill the Silence. It’s a fun Tumblr with random facts sure to spice up conversation at the next dinner table. There are only a few pages, so feel free to go back through the archives, you won’t get lost in a never-ending hole for the next 2 hours (like most Tumblrs). Two of my favorite findings below from the site.

tumblr_mr62xsBDEv1sdx6vco1_1280

tumblr_mqt4ldXjJz1sdx6vco1_1280

Via A Cup of Jo

Write On

Standard

So becoming a copywriter that reads on the bus commutes was a smart idea.

Via Mental_Floss

“Our study suggests that exercising your brain by taking part in activities such as [reading, writing, and playing with puzzles] across a person’s lifetime, from childhood through old age, is important for brain health in old age,” says study co-author Robert S. Wilson, PhD, senior neuropsychologist at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center.”

Discovering the Creative

Standard

This past week, I spent time in New York City attending The Creativity Workshop. After getting the supplies list that included sketchbooks, I was a little nervous. Writing and cutting and pasting? I can handle that. But physically drawing objects, people, places?! I was insanely intimidated.

These drawing assignments challenged us to go out into the world, find someone and draw. Then after you were done drawing, you had to write a story. Either what they were going through at that specific moment in time, or their inner life. I found the writing part helped me shape my drawings. As I sat there thinking I had completed the drawing, all of a sudden I’d see something new from my story and need to add to the sketch.

That’s the number one lesson I’m taking from this course, that creativity is never finished. Even as the deadline hits and the pitch/concept goes out the door. Everything’s still a work in progress. Too often I think I look at that looming deadline as the be-all-end-all. And that the project, along with the ideas, just stop.

I’ve also learned to silence that inner critic of mine. That voice telling me as I’m typing, writing, creating to self-edit. It was hard at first to ignore it, but through loads of automatic writing, I’ve managed to quiet it down. After all, that’s what the editing’s process is for; why do double the work?

One of my favorite exercises was taking a blank piece of paper and just drawing lines and squiggles for about 10 minutes. All while you closed your eyes and held your pencil in a new way. It was extremely freeing and really challenged your imagination as you “remembered” where you’d already made lines. Then you opened your eyes and started to make sense of the squiggles by finding objects/shapes in the chaos. It was challenging at first as you forced yourself to make sense of it all, and then I found the more you just glance and scan, the easier it was to “see” something.

Our class was about 25 students from 12 different countries. It was insanely inspiring to hear the stories, the drawings and the thoughts of people I never would have had the opportunity to meet and collaborate alongside. And there was even another Hannah in the mix (from Saudi Arabia).

While I’m never really one for negative-based language, this was our mantra (from Samuel Beckett) throughout the class and it really did help me move past that inner critic that’s so used to being heard.

9a5ac8e590a19073aabd2b031500eb61_view

Nights of Glee

Standard

A trip. A movie premiere. Finishing a great book. A date. Seeing family and friends. A concert. Whatever it is, I find myself in a complete state of glee the eve of a day when something fun, stellar or amazing is about to go down. I lay in bed like it’s First Day of School Eve. Tossing and turning and smiling and unable to think about anything than that specific greatness awaiting.

Hell, even the promise of a sunny day from the Weather Channel gets me amped. Just the mere idea of what tomorrow holds doesn’t give me anxiety, it gives me excitedness and eagerness. And I find it hard to harness.

Needless to say, this is pretty much me all day, every day:

Andy-Dwyer

*Last night’s glee totally tied to the KC trip to see the Kansas family*

 

 

Bringing the Fun to the Raiser

Standard

Last year, a few friends decided to create Team FUN–a group dedicated to raising funds for non-profits while having well, some serious fun in the process. Naturally, I had to join. This past Sunday, we held our first Benefit, raising money for Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA). With ticket sales, t-shirt sales, silent auction and raffles, we raised a significant amount to help ease the cost of transplant operations.

With our first Benefit night complete, we’re excited for the next one on the horizon.

“You must promise to always smile through the bad times, laugh through the good times, and always cherish the amazing things in life.” — Team FUN anthem