Keeping on the theme of it being a new year, I’ve decided to join hundreds of other writers in a 31 day writing challenge. This is my first entry, and as I think about what I hope to get out of this stretching exercise, I can’t help but think about my 2013 stretching exercise (now an ongoing habit).
But, before I tell you about last year’s stretching exercise, I’ll let Jeff Goins (the instigator) describe the 2014 “500 Words” 31 day challenge.
My 500 Words is a 31-day challenge designed to help you develop a daily writing habit and become a better writer.
For the next 31 days, we’ll be writing 500 words a day. These won’t be great words, but they will be written. We’re not trying to reach perfection; we’re just trying to get more ideas out of our heads and onto paper.
And if you want to be part of this, we can keep each other company.
I’ve been writing for over 10 years, but the one thing I’ve been lacking is consistency. So, my hope and desire is that this exercise will improve my writing muscles. I am also looking forward to seeing if there is a theme or topic that rises above the rest for me to further focus on.
Last year, I started a new habit to foster and improve my creativity and new concept development skills. My hope is that kicking of a new habit of writing on a daily basis will afford me some of the same benefits I have gotten from doing my “creativity journaling”.
Last Year’s Stretching Exercise
Many people mistakenly think of creativity as something that just happens to some, but not to others. While some seem to have creativity in more generous amounts, I have come to experience and I believe that creativity is like a muscle — it can be developed and strengthened by just about anyone.
Now, not everyone “creates” in the same medium, but that’s ok. Not all artists are meant to be the same. But, I digress.
In my case, I started carrying with me a small moleskin journal and a pencil. I make it a rule to always have it with me. I have also made it a rule that if an idea crosses my mind, I will take 1-2 minutes to at least jot down the idea and the basic concept. Here is the important part: all ideas must have originated in my mind.
So, when I think of an idea, I write down what I have. Then, and only then, do I go on Amazon or Google and do a quick search to see if my product concept, or app idea has been done already. Sometimes, someone has already beat me to the punch. So be it–that doesn’t take away that I saw an opportunity and had an idea to solve it.
The creativity exercise is having two effects on me:
Opening My Eyes to Opportunities
First, I am learning to keep my eye opens for user-experience problems or for product innovation opportunities. Good design and good innovation is really a new or better idea that solves for a problem.
Because I’m a digital marketer, I’ve been focusing my idea generation around mobile apps, but I have also documented new business concepts (products or services), some consumer products, and new article concepts.
Confidence and Leadership Skills
Second, having a regular habit of documenting ideas and striving to exercise my creative muscles has improved my confidence, which in turns is improving my leadership skills. When you develop a creativity habit, any problem you face turns into a creativity opportunity. Some will be vastly more challenging than others, of course. But, being able to shift your paradigm and look at business problems as inspirations for creative or innovative solutions is having a big impact on my stress levels at work, on my enjoyment of my day to day job, and on my relationships with co-workers.
In short, it is helping me become more solution-oriented overall. And, who knows what may happen in the future. If the right opportunity presents itself, or when the season is right, I just may go to my “Creativity Journal” and launch a new phase of my career with a jump into entrepreneurship.
31 day 500 Word Writing Challenge
This is going to be my first entry into the 31 day 500 word writing challenge. I look forward to the ideas, and more importantly, I look forward to impacting someone with the thoughts I share.
I consider myself a communicator first and foremost, and in today’s Internet driven world, the written work continues to have a growing importance in all aspects of life. And if a new eBook comes out of it, that would be just gravy. :-)
What about you? How do you express your creativity on a regular basis? What is your medium of preference? I’d love to hear what others do to foster and strengthen their creative juices.