New Blog Update

Creative Writing
Hello!
I am writing this post to the people who were so kind enough to hit that ‘Follow’ button on my blog: PlannerCreative. I’d like to now introduce to you a more well rounded representation of myself: The Urban Suburban Girl – which I hope you all can relate too as well.
Urban suburban (cul-de-sac-couture) is a term my fiancé and I dubbed certain moments or scenarios we saw on the streets of San Francisco that translated to our upbringing in the burbs. But quite simply, it means the way it sounds.
I am urban suburban because I like to knit doilies in hipster coffee shops.
 
I am urban suburban because I leave the city to go browse large department stores and strip malls that make me feel nostalgic.
Still now, it’s hard to explain. But if you stick around, you will start to get the gist of what it means.
I find it silly that I constantly come up with these aliases to represent myself on the internet, but I am quite comfortable in admitting the fact that I love the creativity in writing and making content- so why the hell not? I am continuously experimenting with ways to express myself, hope you enjoy my point of view in this redesigned blog.

New camera and things.

Creative Writing, Monthly Mood, Picture Diaries

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Hey all!

Jumping on here because 1) I’ve been pretty silent and 2) I’ve noticed that I have acquired some followers in the past couple of months!

If, you’re a new follower- Hello and welcome!

Lately, I have been brainstorming a bunch. I’m the type of person that likes to rearrange the furniture about every six months, and well, here I am – trying to figure out how to rearrange my space on the web.

I’ve been feeling quite restricted by this blog’s title and mission “plannercreative” and have been exploring the realms of illustration and photography. I am in the works of revamping my website, which will be under a completely different name. But don’t worry- planner obsessions will still be a part of it. I want to incorporate all my hobbies into a more cohesive site. So stay tuned!

For now, you can follow me on @plannercreative & @poserphotographer on Instagram.

I will be traveling to Paris soon! I’ll definitely be posting this experience on both my handles.

Hope to see you all there.

Cheers!

D.Marie

p.s. I’ve been practicing my film photography for my trip to France! Here’s a few shots from my first couple of rolls.

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The art of doing nothing.

Creative Writing

Since graduating college, I had this desire to do all the things – join a quartet, play recreational soccer, take private cello lessons, coach soccer, brunch all the brunches – all the things. But then I started to dread it all, I was totally stressed out and losing all creative inspiration. When you’re a student, you don’t have a life; especially if you are working full time on top of being a full time student, so after graduation I wanted to participate in all the things I never had time for.

Now three years later, I’ve finally told myself NO, you can’t.

It’s been three months after quitting all the above and the empty space has been very silent, and sometimes haunting. I’m the type of person who, even though it stresses me out, enjoys being busy. My mind needs the distraction because when I have nothing to do, I am prone to overthinking and minor anxiety attacks about life.

In these three months I’ve gone through a rollercoaster of emotions, throw in the fact that I’ve also been going through some major life changes, I couldn’t’ even begin to describe or articulate what these emotions were. Maybe I could say they were a hint of sadness, excitement, wonder, despair, feeling completely lost, loneliness, love, stress, hate, jealousy.. it was just all bundled into one big ball in my chest.

I’m almost certain, and I keep telling myself this, that everyone feels this way. The only reason I feel like I can’t handle it is because society won’t let us feel all these emotions out. We live such a fast paced life. There are so many expectations on ourselves. In our culture we need to aspire. For comfort, for the life we are conditioned to depend on, we must aspire.

And so I was sitting in this lukewarm bath of emotions wanting to get out and fill up my time again, and ignore all these real feelings by doing what I know how to do best. But I was also exhausted, I knew I had to sit there and do nothing, ride them out. It was as if all these emotions were finally having their moment of recognition, all these moments starting from way back when………. well I don’t even know how far back because I’ve been busy my whole life!

I started reading the Tao, one poem a day, and today it gave me an affirmation – to continue on my path of nothingness.

 

If you oversteem great men,

people become powerless,

If you overvalue possessions,

people begin to steal.

The master leads

by emtying people’s minds

and filling their cores,

by weakening their ambition

and toughening their resolve.

He helps people lose everything

they know, everything they desire,

and creates confusion

in those who think that they know.

Practice not-doing, 

and everything will fall into place. 


 

The Secret to Making Vegan Sour Cream & Other life lessons

Creative Writing, Meal Prep

August. What a month! A lot has happened, and I’ve learned quite a bit about myself. I kept Lesson #1 practical… the rest is more food for thought. So feel free to take the kitchen tip and leave… otherwise read on…=) 

Lesson #1: I finally learned the trick to making Vegan Sour Cream.

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Photo from Original Blog Post @ Gluten Free Vegan Pantry

If your like me, when it comes to following instructions, I do a quick browse, look at the photos and then jump on the project, ESPECIALLY cooking and art projects. So for the first two times I attempted vegan sour cream made of cashews, I didn’t quite catch why mine wasn’t turning out like the photos.

Thanks to Pinterest, it’s easy to fall into that trap of going solely off the info-graphic. What I learned -and actually in reviewing the recipe for this post, turns out I didn’t overlook a step; it just wasn’t stated! – was that when using a food processor (especially a cheapo one like mine), it works best to grind the dry ingredients first, THEN add the liquid in. *slaps forehead* In the original instructions, blogger Savanna uses a Vitamix which is probably why adding all the ingredients at once didn’t cause a watery- nutritional- yeasty mess all over the counter, and therefore wasn’t added as a disclaimer in her post. The thing is, I’ve done so much baking in my life and this whole mixing dry ingredients first, then wet ingredients is something I already knew which is why this is so embarrassing.  Anyways, I only have myself to blame 😉 because this really is the best damn vegan sour cream when done right.

Hopefully this tip helps out some of you newbies in the kitchen.

Lesson #2: You’ll never be famous – And that’s O.K

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As I completed my 26th year around the sun, I was faced with a bit of Saturn’s Return.

Not to mention, the solar eclipse was three days before my birthday, bringing in the Virgo sun – uhhh dramatic way to end/ start the year right?…What does this mean?!? Who am I?!?! Who have I become?!? Where am I going?!?! How could I even be happy when there are so many people suffering in this world?!?! Complete. Existential. Crises. 

Needless to say, I definitely had a moment.

I live a blessed life – no doubt about that ! But as many millennials struggle with, whether we actively entertain the thought or not, is constant comparison to our peers and complete strangers- thanks social media! And as someone whose job title is Social Media Manager, in a city where twenty somethings are CEO’s of  leading tech companies, and tweens and teens are becoming insta-famous and blowing up all my screens whether I follow them or not, it’s hard to block out the noise!

Having idealistic aspirations is, of course, part of being young. But thanks to social media, purpose and meaning have become conflated with glamour

So I had a moment. I felt so mediocre… So basic. My many talents were suddenly not good enough.. oh and I definitely cried ( I mean, I even cry over commercials.. so you know I was balling).

My boyfriend, I mean fiance ;), completely concerned on his way out to work – because I of course had this moment at 6:45 am while he was rushing out to catch the train- texted me this article later that morning: You’ll Never Be Famous- But That’s O.K.  from the New York Times. At first glance of the title, it reopened the wound I had worked so hard to mend before putting my big girl pants on… but after reading it, it helped me snap my mind back to reality and what really matters.

You don’t have to change the world or find your one true purpose to lead a meaningful life. A good life is a life of goodness — and that’s something anyone can aspire to, no matter their dreams or circumstances.

It also reminded me that this uncertainty is all part of my own discovery. I need to embrace my darkness and insecurities so that I may see my own light. The reason I indulge in my talents is not because I aspire to be famous, it’s because I simply enjoy those activities – I had forgotten this.

Lesson #3: Bachelorette Parties are not the end, only the beginning.

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I come from the school of thought that all good things must come to an end. I’ve had my fair share of unhealthy, toxic relationships and I’ve always viewed moving in with a boyfriend as the end to freedom, as well as marriage and having kids…

I remember when I started dating my boyfriend I kept telling him he was a fucking unicorn. I was like – you want to talk about your emotions, communicate and resolve problems?! You buy me little gifts and cards just because!? You like to plan ahead and talk about the future?!?!? – mind blown. Love that guy.

As our relationship grew, I started to see a lot of the pessimistic views I held and bad habits I had formed while being in those previous toxic relationships. One turning point for me was this one day, we were joking around about something, teasing each other and making fun of one another… at some point I said “fuck you..” in a joking way.. although we were both laughing, he immediately got serious and in a firm voice said “Hey! we don’t say that! Even if your joking it’s not funny, it’s not something you say to someone you love”… and from that moment I realized I needed to step up my emotional maturity game. He was right.

I had a few close friends who had been in serious relationships ask me if my fiance and I had ever gotten into a full blown out fight and “if you haven’t done that yet, then you’re not ready..” type of view. So I always share this story because I learned that it should never get to a full blown out fight, and the cursing and name calling should never happen. Yes, we have problems and fights, but we solve it before it even gets there. This is something I finally learned – True respect.

Once that happened, freedom just opened up. No longer did I feel like relationships only hold you back, or that marriage is the end… Your partner should lift you up. They should be the pillow after a long day, and when there is respect, the space in your brain opens up for other things in life instead of manifesting on what “he said” that stung so hard in that fight, or what did he mean by that cryptic text.

And so, when my boyfriend proposed, I was so excited, contrary to what I always thought I would feel – this dread of a black hole sucking me into doom…ha ha.

Some of my friends started texting me “get ready for the strippers!!!” Which made me think back on all my pessimistic views on relationships. But now being in this position, I just don’t understand the culture around marriage- Why do we view it as the end? When I think about partying before one of the biggest celebrations of my life, I just feel like- yes, its gonna be SO FUN …. but to be honest, If I’m having a lot of fun, I’ll be wishing he was there…

Now of course, we are gonna have separate parties… I’m not TOTALLY dependent on my dude give me a break .. but I see a bachelorette party as an intimate celebration of stepping into freedom, not stepping into the end.

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Stay tuned for more kitchen & life lessons. 

Like I said, August has been the start to a whole new beginning and an endless list of life lessons. Part of my journaling and planning habit is that I am in constant reflection of myself and life, I hope what I’m going through and have learned can help someone along the way.

Thanks for reading ❤

 

 

 

 

An Ode the The Richmond District- San Francisco

Creative Writing
*feature photo by Andrew Nassih

I have been slowly packing up my room of six years in San Francisco. When I think back on the past two times I have moved in my adult life, it’s been an interesting experience to meet this unsettling, unsure, excited, anxious feeling that seems all so familiar but so foreign and complex at the same time. I’ve been here before, but my spectacles held a different shade.

These familiar, yet unfamiliar feelings- They’re like walking through the same dream, same scenario, same lines, but in different themed costumes… Being trapped in a sort of deja vu, that you just can’t get a grasp of. Life is funny in that way; I guess feelings, emotions- they orbit like the planets. Some pulled closer than others, occurring and reoccurring more frequently. Some having more obvious effects on how we live and dissect life.

Now at this stage in my life, I am face to face again with this feeling of uncertainty, and resurrecting insecurities covered with uncontrollable excitement as I try to see what it looks like on the other side of the tunnel.  Then there are the occasional waves of retrospective sadness as you realize your attachments to your nest, your nest that has nourished your soul for so long.


An Ode to the Richmond District, SF

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An Ode to the past six years of my life.

Although I am not moving far away from you, I’ll still feel like I’ll be worlds away.

I write to you now from the comfortable, creaky, IKEA framed bed, nestled in the quiet back corner of my Victorian flat.  I’ll be leaving my three lovely, quirky roommates, who have shared the ebb and flow of all the particles that have made me me.

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You have housed a great chunk of my life and provided a safe haven of park life, coffee shops, and Genki crepes.

You have opened my eyes to a hidden world of Burmese food and Szechuan cuisine; you’ve made this LA girl miss the fog when it’s gone – The fog, whose name is Karl by the way…

Gone will be the ocean breeze awaiting me after a long day across town. Gone will be the foggy haze, Muni delays, and the conditioned inconveniences of carting half my life downtown in my backpack.

I will miss your peaceful laundromats and friendly neighbors who leave great pieces of furniture out on the street.

And to my room, I leave you now like a shell to a cocoon. Your walls may be thin, so thin that at night I can here my neighbor snoring; and the paint on your walls may be a little chipped- but to me there couldn’t have been a more perfect place to grow in San Francisco, than in this back room with the bay window overlooking the smashed gardens.

In this new moon, this resurrected orbit of emotions, confidence shines through in knowing that the time spent here has been tried, TOUGH, and true. I’ve cried, cursed, laughed, and strummed the guitar super loud while singing at the top of my lungs when no one was home. I’ve re-arranged you about a million times, each time bringing me new inspiration. I miss you everyday when I go to work. I’ll miss you even more when I’m gone.

Now take me to the sunny side- The Tenderloin, where the walls will be even thinner, the air less ocean breezy, and the Indian food a-plenty; the views a bit more gritty and the commute (time) a bit less shitty.

Cheers to you Richmond District and to this place I’ve called my home. I’m really, really gonna miss you.

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* The 5 Fulton bus connecting you from Ocean Beach to Downtown, Howard and Main Street.

The Journal

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The Trip

I’ve driven through Albuquerque a few times when I was a freshman in college, I always wanted to go back to New Mexico, the skyline was always so mesmerizing…

… Luckily, my boyfriend’s brother recently moved out to Santa Fe, so it served as the perfect opportunity to take a trip to the Land of Enchantment.

Lesson Number 1: Always ask for Christmas and always get that traveler’s insurance!

We woke up late, missed our flight, didn’t have the traveler’s insurance, so the most realistic option was to rent a car and drive! Yikes! I still can’t believe we did that! We lost the first day, but I got to spend that extra EXTRA quality time with my boyfriend…needless to say, he survived. 😉

There is so much to do in New Mexico, we barely scratched the surface. Unfortunately the Taos Pueblo was closed, I couldn’t snap a photo =( #sad. But that’s OK, I think there is a longer road trip across America in my future.

Now let’s talk about Christmas.

The first thing I learned in Santa Fe was how to order my food Christmas! The chili is a staple in New Mexican cuisine. When you order a burrito (for instance) they ask if you want it smothered in green chili sauce, red chili sauce, or Christmas- a combination of both. ALWAYS get Christmas, it’s like getting slapped in the face from both sides, so you feel a sense of balance. Factoid: After the chilies have been transferred into the sun to harden, the hotter the sun the spicier the chili

The food was so good, that once it was put in front of me, I didn’t even think about social media, I just shoved it all in my face! Ain’t nobody got time for photos when your eating Christmas chili rellenos! Here is a list of all the places I highly recommend:

My New Mexico Foodie List:

The ShedTHE place for brunch right in the middle of the historic plaza. This place is tucked away in little courtyard with just the right amount of sunlight and greenery. I had the blue corn burrito with “Christmas” sauce.

Tesque Village Market – Direct from their website they describe themselves as “a chic general store with a hipster aesthetic” It resembles an old world trading post and is located in a part of Santa Fe county that looks like a little swamp bayou town. *Disclaimer: the closest I’ve ever been to the bayou is at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion ride* They open really early, and have the BEST baked goods. If you’re like Oprah, and you LOVE bread, then you’ll have to check this place out.

Padillas New Mexican Kitchen – This one is located in Albuquerque. After hiking Tent Rock, we were on the hunt to find true New Mexican food, and we found the jackpot here. It is located near Midtown/University area and looks like a whole lotta nothing from the front. Once you walk in, you will notice you have walked into something special, the scene will surprise you in that classic-Albuquerque-senior citizen-mafia-type of hang out. Here they have the classic sopaipillas, a fried doughy bread that you top with honey.

Taos Brewing Co. – There are two locations: El Prado and Taos. We went to both! Both were beautiful with a great atmosphere. Perfect for hanging outside on a beautiful day.

Sugars – This was another local tip, we would have driven right past it on our way to Taos! Sugars is named after the family dog, and is located in the middle of nowhere. Good news, they serve veggie burgers 😉

Cowgirl BBQ – One of the few spots open late, with live music and family friendly atmosphere. Here I stuffed my face with the Chile Relleno, which is a local favorite. Again, Christmas.

Lesson #2: Magical washer machines and screen savers really do exist. 

Don’t believe me? Check out Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, an immersive art installation that will take you back to the wild imagination you had as a kid. If you followed my story on Instagram (@plannercreative), then you definitely saw the magic!

*See washer machine portal below*

My New Mexico Itinerary:

Day One

Hauled a$$ from San Francisco. We had dinner in Williams, AZ where they have a nice main street reminiscent of the ol’ Route 66. There were beautiful cars lined up for the perfect vintage selfie and all the old signs lit up with neon lights. Definitely somewhere I would stay if I wasn’t in a rush to get to my destination.

Day Two

Santa Fe Plaza & Meow Wolf  – The House of Eternal Return aka magic washer machine portal.

Day Three

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, Taos & Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs – Perhaps my one of my favorites. We went to the hot springs after 6pm where they offer a discounted price. Each mineral bath has different healing powers and each one looks unique pushed up against the desert mountains. I was in so much awe, I didn’t want to ruin the moment by taking pictures, I just wanted to take it all in.

Day Four

Tesque Village Market & Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument – Walking through Tent Rock was unreal. I felt like I was walking through my screen saver! Absolutely breathtaking.

Day five

Travel day. But don’t worry, we took a plane this time.

It was a short but relaxing trip and such a nice contrast to my life in San Francisco. Even though we only had three full days, the pace of life made them feel long; not to mention the expansiveness of the blue sky adding to the illusion of open space and open mind. I look forward to my next visit, and I think I will actually plan to drive.


Photos Taken with the Cybershot Sony Hx80 – No Filters.

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Fin.

 

 

Creative Writing, Picture Diaries

On Burnouts & Inspiration

Creative Writing, Illusions of Productivity

Feature Photo Cred @fitnessxart

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It’s a fact – I have too much on my plate. I have FOMO (fear of missing out) and a desire to learn everything and do everything. I work a full time job at a non-profit and do social media consulting on the side; I’m in two music ensembles; I have a personal blog (hello thanks for stopping by); I workout 4 times a week; I’m in a relationship (shout out to my awesome boyfriend <3); and I try to keep up my professional network and friendships. It’s CRAZY. I know. But I’ve always operated this way, packing my schedule to the brim. I am often finding myself in a position where I feel burned out. Here are some quick fixes to recharge my inspiration when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

First things first – routine is everything & a little inspiration along the way can help.

First of all, routine is the key. In case you couldn’t tell from the theme of my blog, I’m all about planning, down to the last second. I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t stick to my weekday goals and schedule, then I get overwhelmed and frustrated when it comes time to have professional meetings, rehearsals, or even dates! I feel unprepared, stressed out that I have to catch up (which I ain’t got time for!)

I’ve joined a couple entrepreneur and solopreneur group chats on Facebook that have been really inspiring and has helped me realize that I’m not alone in my insanity. One thing my favorite girlboss duo Sarah Elder and Andrea Holland of PRtraction said was that being an entrepreneur means you’re working ALL the hours, contrary to what people assume (you know, that you get to choose your hours).

My other favorite duo are bloggers Linda and David of Kinlake, they travel the world and work remotely as digital nomads. I love their segment ‘Gone Nomadic’ explaining their journey. It’s encouraging to hear how they debunk the myth of the freelance traveler; it’s more than just wandering around aimlessly – it takes a lot of planning, preparation, structure, and discipline in order to have that freedom.

When I start to get lazy, I change it up.

More facts – I change my bedroom layout quarterly (maybe even more), sometimes all I need is a fresh start. When all my clothes have been piled and scrunched at the foot of my bed for days, maybe a week, with shoes and purses and unopened mail dispersed all over my room in disarray – I know it’s time to move my furniture around.  To me, there is nothing more inspiring than a fresh new layout, a fresh new look, and a fresh new environment.

In a study done at the Princeton Neuroscience institute, they found that physical clutter negatively affects your ability to focus and process information. The clutter competes for your attention, wearing you down and resulting in frustration. Scientific proof or not, I’m sure many of you can relate and agree with this point that in order to get things done, you need a clean desk, countertop, canvas, etc. I know decluttering is key, but sometimes I can lose the inspiration, and that’s why rearranging my room resurges my excitement to have an organized clean space. It’s like buying a fresh pair of white sneakers: for the first couple of days, maybe even weeks, you try your best to keep them clean, paying attention to all the scratches and marks, brushing them off at the end of the day. But after a while, you start to let it go, and eventually they become a bit battered and grey and become your go-to pair for a pickup game of soccer in the park. Then it’s back to the shoe store for a fresh pair.

Dressing for success really is a thing.

On a more extreme level – I like to change my look (obvi); my hair has been blonde, pink, blue and now I just chopped it all off. But I realize this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (or bottle of dye). But, in this same vein, a less extreme way would be to clean out your closet, sell your clothes and refresh your wardrobe. It doesn’t have to be a huge money venture, one-thing-in-and-one-thing-out is what I (try) to say. You can sell your clothes and buy some pretty awesome gems secondhand.

Insert: My most recent find at the Goodwill 😉 $6 never looked or felt so good…img_3350


In an interesting article by the Wall Street Journal,  Why Dressing for Success Leads to Success, Ray A. Smith states that in dressing up and dressing the part, people were more productive in a work setting. Outward confidence begat intrinsic confidence. Better dressers even tend to think more abstractly – which is the style of thinking seen in senior executives and other people in power.

I like to think about being a little girl and playing around with my mom’s lipstick and high heels. My mom, as a businesswoman, was always wearing the classic 90s pencil skirt with tights and high heels. To me, this carved out my perception of what being a woman was. My sister and I would play dress up and play out these scenarios of working in an office and such. Likewise, as I got older and I started interviewing for jobs, there was and still is a sense of excitement when I get to put on a pair of pumps and walk the walk. All of a sudden, with every high heel click-clack, I felt a bit more feminine (read: powerful).

So when I start feeling a bit drab or like I’m half-assing my life, I change up my look, buy a new lipstick shade, chop off my hair, and I feel like I’m ready to conquer the world again.

Step outside of yourself. Meet new people. See new things.

I mean really.. duh.. this is a given. Like you didn’t already know this. But sometimes it’s easy to forget to just be still and observe. Sometimes when I forget to bring my laptop home from work to work on my other work or if I left my cello at my boyfriends house, I’m forced to think outside of my list of to-do’s.  At those times, (with my Type A personality let’s be real, god forbid I spend this accidental down time sitting on the couch) I get outside and start walking.

I’m fortunate to live in a city where there’s always something creative going on, always an open mic or poetry slam at a nearby cafe. When I get to be an observer of someone else’s creativity, I feel a sense of reassurance and empowerment. I’m not talking about watching an A-list top 40 musician in concert (of course there’s loads of inspiration and empowerment there) but I’m talking about seeing other hustlers who work day jobs who make it a point to pursue their creativity and share it. I always write my best poetry or have the best rehearsal after I’ve stepped outside myself and watched someone else perform their art.

Everyone is different.

What inspires you? I’d be interested to hear about what you do to recharge. So please share!

Thanks for reading and keep on hustling.

On Creativity

Creative Writing, Illusions of Productivity

“Creativity is intelligence having fun” – Albert Einstein


Working in front of a screen inputting and analyzing numbers all day takes a toll on me mentally and emotionally. I work full time and consult on the side, sometimes it’s overwhelming to think about all the things I want to do and have to do once I get home. It’s also hard to find personal time, I really need to carve it in anywhere I can. Having a Type A personality , I find it hard to sit still, there’s always something I should be doing.

With the constant need to feel busy, I find that cultivating my creativity helps satiate the angst I feel in empty spaces. Not only does it help my mind step away from my lists and anxiety, it gives me a fresh look at how to execute all of my projects. Even if you don’t consider yourself an ‘artist’ here are some reasons why you should incorporate creativity in your weekly or daily habits.

Creativity is within all of us.

Contrary to belief that the creative process is a right brain activity, Social Psychologist Graham Wallas’ model of the creative process emphasizes that from Preparation to Verification, creativity is a whole brain activity. When you think about it, humans in nature are a creative species, our ability to manipulate our environment is what sets us apart from other animals; so to say that one is not creative is to deny your innate ability to solve problems, which is essentially a creative process.

One of my favorite modes of creativity is sketching. The act of taking in a scene and translating it onto paper is a remarkable skill. Now, I’m not the best at it, but I enjoy tapping into the basics of perception, shadows, and shapes. The senses used to solve the problem of translation from the intake of what you see, to manipulating your tools to draw it on paper, is something I feel helps reset my brain when I’m having a stressful week or am in need of inspiration for words, or other departments of creativity.

When you draw, you become more aware of details and awaken many suppressed senses. While starting out my sketch of the Golden Gate Bridge you see above, it took me awhile to get the correct proportion of the towers, which even still could use some improvement. This mental exercise in itself- spatial improvement and functional connectivity –  helps relieves stress, sharpens your brain agility, and improves emotional awareness (Bolwerk, 2014).

Awakening of the senses.

This awakening of the senses that study after study proclaims art and creativity does for the brain, is something that is so important especially now in the digital age. One thing I hate about social media is that you can easily find yourself stuck down a rabbit hole staring at your phone screen! I’m guilty of this, and when I finally snap out of it, I feel like my brain has been buffering, numb, or blurry – kind of like when you use the street view on Google Maps and the image is a blurred collage of earth toned, pixelated streaks… yea, that’s my brain after wasting an hour of my life scrolling through Instagram.

One of the reasons I’ve started blogging is to expand my creative practice. I was telling a friend the other day that I kinda (key word KINDA) miss writing essays! That was crazy to hear coming out of my mouth; but I felt like in this ‘like, share, comment, tweet in 140 characters’ age, my thought process was becoming too shallow. So for me, blogging is another creative process where I can practice formulating complex thoughts and expand one simple idea into a beginning, middle, and end (like this post ;)).

Simple modes of creativity.

Even if you can’t commit to a full blown essay or mural of the Golden Gate Bridge, there are little things you can do to squeeze in that little bit of creativity. One of my favorite tips I heard from a colleague is that she challenged herself to write haikus on the bus instead of looking at Instagram. I don’t find myself writing too many haikus, but one thing I do enjoy is experimenting with descriptive language – writing a small paragraph about the scene I find myself in. I use my phone to keep these notes, and sometimes these paragraphs turn into something more that I expand on later.

Force yourself to learn something new.

I’m a huge fan of formal instruction, I take cello and bass lessons at a community center. I’ve finally convinced some of my musically curious friends to sign up for a class! The point is not to chase some pipe dream of becoming a professional musician, but to force myself to step away from the screen, learn something new, and awaken my musical senses. If you find that adding that little bit of creativity on your own is something you can’t commit to, then sign up for that guitar or ceramics class you’ve always wanted to try! Find a community center, many of them have sliding scale prices; you’d be surprised what your public library offers- plus you get the benefit of building your creative community.

Creativity is our super human power!

We are a creative species, it is our super human power and you should find ways to inspire yourself to create every single day. When we create, we are changing the structure of our brains, creating new connections in our neural pathways, lighting up different parts of the brain (Scientific American, 2007). Think about it this way – your brain is a muscle and therefore, you should exercise it like one. Don’t let your brain become a couch potato.

Keeping Up with the Current – A poem.

Creative Writing

Lying here like a rock under current

Anxieties of today, tomorrow, and yesterday gently sweep over me

like a sparkling golden water blanket.

Always sliding forward. Moving fast and noisily into the deep silent blue beyond.

A rock lying on it’s back looking up into the sun rays.

As sea foam fizzles off the sand.

Rock belly bottom.