Posts Tagged ‘yourturnchallenge’

For the last day of #YourTurnChallenge the question was “What are you taking away from this challenge?” The truth is a lot. I’m already a daily blogger on, three days a week on and five days a week on so it wasn’t so much about blogging every day. I’m in a pretty good groove on posting daily.

What I gained was a couple of things. First of all I decided to take the common theme of creativity for each day’s post. Creativity is definitely an area of passion for me and I have a strong desire to create a series of creativity seminars/workshops for businesses, organizations and schools to present this year in addition to the creativity ministry things I already do (interested? contact me at Forcing myself to work in this one topic each day and build on it was pretty helpful. Looking back over this week’s posts, I am relatively sure that I have a decent outline for a pretty good creativity book, (look for it later this year on

But what I gained most from this challenge was the realization that I need to be more intentional about building my platform. I usually average around 30-40 hits a day on, on my best day this week, I had almost 400 I also gained quite a few followers on Twitter and a few more Facebook friends. It just goes to show that even among the hundreds of people that, because of the volume of people who follow Seth Godin and that amazing platform he has built, I got a lot more attention than I usually get. I’m faithful at creating. I’m faithful at shipping. What remains is helping people to find their way to what I am doing. After all, I want to help as many people as possible. The more people I reach, the more people I can help. I need to expand my reach

In this year, I’ve got to apply some of my creativity to creating a larger platform. How about you?

I was talking with a friend yesterday and I shared with her a great truth I learned a long time ago. There is a link between creativity and stupidity. I guess I better explain myself.

I told her one of the first steps to being a creative is being too stupid to realize you’re under qualified. 

It’s absolutely true. I mean if your desire is to be a brain surgeon, disregard this, or if you want to be bomb disposal technician or something where failure is not an option, yeah go and get as much training as you possibly can. Creativity is a life filled with experimentation, trial and error, struggle and success. It’s a world full of possible solutions where the people bold enough to move on their ideas win.

Am I saying you shouldn’t get an education? No. Am I saying you shouldn’t try to expand your skills and competencies? Again, no. Here’s what I am saying: You should never under any circumstances accept it when people tell you you’re under qualified, even if that person is you. Creatives create. Successful creatives create more. Don’t wait till you feel like you’re qualified to start and especially don’t wait until other people think you’re qualified.

You see you’re the only one who is qualified. The only one who can see what is inside your head is you. The only one who can convey what’s going on inside you is you. If you don’t do it, no one will because no can. This is why it is so important that you begin to create. You may have a solution no one thought of, a masterpiece no one has seen. It can only be made, or at least expressed by you. The creation is useless inside your head. It’s value is in being created and then shared with the world.

You’ve got to stop listening to the voices that tell you that you’re not good enough, qualified enough, or just not enough. Of course you should always be striving to be better, but waiting until you hit that mystical plane called good enough is a place you will never reach unless you start to create, and “ship” now. After all who is better, Pavarotti or Dylan? Yes. It’s all subjective. Pavarotti is a better technical singer, Dylan wrote songs that touched and moved a generation. What would have been lost if Dylan had decided to wait until he could sing like Pavarotti? Art is subjective, so are all forms of creativity. Some will love what you do. Some will hate it. Forget your haters and create for those who love what you do. Find them and bless them.

I’ve found myself in a lot of cool places doing a lot of cool things. Most of the time I was in way over my head but I found a way to thrive or at least keep up. In every one of these things, there was a time where I looked out at the people around me, profoundly humbled and wondering what I was doing there. The truth of the matter is every one of those opportunities came about because I failed to consider whether or not I was qualified and put myself out there.

I’ll say it again. One of the keys to success in being a creative is being too stupid to realize you’re under qualified.

by Dave Weiss

Yesterday I posted about building your creativity. A lot of what I posted then could really come into play here as well. It’s great for me to tell you how to get creative, but what do you do when you’re stuck? We creative call it creative block. You stare at the page or the screen and no words come. You stare at the canvas or the block of clay or marble and you can’t see the angel ready to be released. (if you don’t get that reference, it’s a Michelangelo thing. Watch The Agony and the Ecstacy and the whole thing will be really clear.) What do you do when you’re stuck?

1. Look for the resistance. Are you really stuck or do you have an idea and fear is holding you back. If this is the case, press in and do it.
2. Start: Just do something. Take the first flighty, weird thing that pops into your head and start. You can always abandon it when the better idea comes, but who knows maybe the flighty, weird thing isn’t so flighty and weird after all. I’ve heard more than one speaker say it’s easier to steer a moving car and that is absolutely true. I can vouch for the accuracy of this one, because to be honest when I read the question of the day, I had no idea what to write. I just started writing.
3. Give your inner critic the day off: The inner critic is just another name for the resistance. Ignore it and keep going. Keep an open mind. In the beginning of the process, there are no bad ideas. Once you start working you will be able to see what is working and what isn’t. Press on in the ones that are working and store the ones that aren’t (they might just be ahead of their time.
4. Change of venue: Sometimes your creativity is stifled by your environment. Pick up and go some place new. If you can’t do that, change something about the place where you are.
5. Seek inspiration before you need it: Figure out the things that inspire you and keep them on hand, Music, video, coffee, images, whatever it is. Look for it ahead of time and keep it on hand as a way to break your creative block. I’m creating a new creativity resource right now. I was stuck until my wife turned the TV on and different images I saw sparked a ton of ideas. A lot of times TV is a distraction for me, but in this case, it worked.
6. Find a way to store ideas: I try to never be more than 20 feet away from either my sketchbook or my laptop. When inspiration comes, I write it down or sketch it out. These are not necessarily completed pieces, but I record enough that I can go back to them in a “drought” and put them to work. I have shelves full of sketchbooks, and I fill about three every year.
7. Collaborate: Sometimes the best way to break the block is to work with another human being. You might be working on the same project or just working together on your own projects. The reason this works is simple. Sometimes you’ve just been looking at something for too long or too committed to your idea. A fresh set of eyes can help as can trading problems. It’s often easier to solve problems we’re not in the midst of.
8. Take a walk: Sometimes you just need to step away, clear your head, get away from the problem for a little while. A brisk walk really clears my cobwebs. Find what works for you and do it.
9. Work on something else: Yesterday I mentioned always having two projects going. I’ve often found that solving a different problem or working a different project will help me to refocus.
10. Clean: You can usually tell how prolific I am being by looking at the condition of my studio. The bigger the mess, the more I am doing. (Right now it looks like a bomb went off and I am happy.) After a while though, this can become a detriment. You can no longer find things you know you have and know you need or the disarray is effecting your relationships with people around you. You just have to take the bull by the horns and clean it up. (Caution: If you find yourself cleaning for too long, look for the resistance because this can be a major avoidance mechanism.)
11. Pray: I debated about putting this in here, but it’s one of the things I do and it works for me. Hopefully, for me, it’s my first choice.

The point is creative block is not an excuse and we can all get past it. These are some of the things that worked for me, Find what words for you and get unstuck!


Yesterday I wrote about the soul of creativity, which is seeking solutions to problems and/or seeking to make things better. I wrote about how creativity involves risk. Taking a chance at failing on your way to success. If this is the case (and it is), the first step to building creativity is to:

1. Fight the resistance: The resistance is that fearful little voice, that misused imagination that shows you a world of untrue worst case scenarios designed to take you off task. You need to fight this and create anyway. I know this is a common and repeated thought, but I share it again because this is what stops most creatives in their tracks. Okay we’re determined to defeat the resistance and forge ahead, but how do we actually build our creativity?

2. Acknowledge your creativity: I know this one seems pretty basic too, but you would be amazed at how many people feel they do not have the capacity to be creative. So let me just tell you, you are creative. You do creative things every day, just to stay alive. You need to acknowledge that you are creative or you will cave to the resistance and give in.

3. Create: Now we get to the best way to build your creativity. You need to create. I know, well duh. but it’s true. The best way to build your creativity is to start creating things. Anything, just start creating! Look for new ways to do things. Look for better ways to do things. Look for ways to express yourself, your feelings, your complex thoughts. Look for ways to be understood. Look for ways to make things better. But don’t just look, start creating.

4. Create first, edit later: Too many of us start to edit as soon as we start creating. There’s a reason for this, we want to make sure we don’t fail. Resistance to failure is the problem so resist it. You can edit later. You can make it work later. For now just create.

5. Do something new: I’m a big fan of working in your giftedness, but trying new things can really build your creativity. Putting yourself in a place where you don’t know what you’re doing forces you to get creative. I remember being in a blues club a long time ago. There was an old man on stage playing some of the most amazing blues licks I have ever heard. From far away you could see he was different. His guitar was facing in the opposite direction of everyone else… a lefty. No big deal until you looked closer. He was not playing a left-handed guitar. He was playing a right-handed guitar upside down. The strings in the opposite order of the way every other player plays. It was clear he wasn’t classically trained, it was also clear he was amazing. He found a way, created a way to play.

6. Waiting for you muse if for amateurs: I hear so many artists talk about waiting for inspiration. Don’t bother. Most of that is resistance. Creatives create. If you don’t have an idea make something up.

7. Do something weird: Sometimes the best way to jumpstart your creativity is to create something no one would create. Use different materials. Create something odd. Find a common object and do something extraordinary with it.

8. Don’t look at what you don’t have: So many people are limited by what they don’t have. Creative people look at what is before them and get to work with what they have, realizing that they can either come up with a creative way to get what they need, team up with someone else of create a way to work around their need.

9. Always have at least two projects going. There will come a time in the life of every creative where they hit a creative wall. They get to the place where they are stuck. At these times, it’s best to have a second project, to work on. Usually the change in project is enough to bust loose the creative block.

10. Finish what you start. Perfect (at least related to our projects) does not exist. You can’t tweak forever. Real artists (creatives) ship.