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VIDEO: John Cleese on Five Factors to Foster Creativity

Yup. It’s the guy from Monty Python!  Love this latest snippet from our friends at John Cleese on five factors for Creativity.

1. Space (“You can’t become playful, and therefore creative, if you’re under your usual pressures.”)

2. Time (“It’s not enough to create space; you have to create your space for a specific period of time.”)

3. Time (“Giving your mind as long as possible to come up with something original,” and learning to tolerate the discomfort of pondering time and indecision.)

4. Confidence (“Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.”)

5. Humor (“The main evolutionary significance of humor is that it gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else.”)

Head over to BrainPickings.Org, one of our favorite sources for inspiration to see the full post:

John Cleese on Creativity


Thoughts on The CreativeLife: “Who needs pants?…”

Here are some thoughts on living The CreativeLife…inspired by old childhood photos I’ve scanned.  Many people draw parallels between having a creative spirit and feeling “like a kid again.”  These are just some thoughts on recapturing the kid and the creative in all of us. [See all “Thoughts on the CreativeLife”]

What do you think? Have you seen any photos of yourself as a child and thought, “Wow! I wonder if I can recapture that spirit for my creativity now?”


Thoughts on The CreativeLife: “Sometimes I wish I could CREATE NOW like I used to…”

Here are some thoughts on living The CreativeLife…inspired by old childhood photos I’ve scanned.  Many people draw parallels between having a creative spirit and feeling “like a kid again.”  These are just some thoughts on recapturing the kid and the creative in all of us.

Thoughts on The CreativeLife: Making mud pies

The 12 Must-Read Blogs That Feed My Creative Life [Oh. That’s Good.]

We are constantly bombarded with information. Mobile info, social media stuff, TV/DVR/Netflix, books (there’s still books?), those magazines I’m too ashamed to subscribe to but that I still pick up in the checkout line….


Beat that information overload! I use my trusty RSS FEED/BLOG reader via There are others out there, but I love how it integrates with my Gmail account.

Here is a rundown of the ONLY blogs I read nearly every day to feed my CreativeLife podcast.  They are standouts in a crowded field of creativity, writing, and inspiration blogs.  They leave me feeling less overwhelmed and a little more enlightened.


1. Tiny Buddha @ – “Simple wisdom for complex lives”

Tiny Buddha is just that: bite-sized messages of peace. The design is simple and clear. They always deliver thought-provoking and concise blogs that remind me to take a breath and take it easy on myself. Blog post examples include, “How to Deal with Criticism Well: 25 Reasons to Embrace It” and “3 Things Tweens Teach Us About Living and Enjoying Life.”

2. White Hot Truth with Danielle LaPorte @ – “Because self-realization rocks”

Danielle LaPorte has an amazing way of putting things.  Her words snap, crackle and pop off the screen.  She uses fun and active language to cut to the heart of the matter.  The posts are often short, full of mental exclamations and always passionate.  Her fierce and sparkly personality comes through when she talks serious personal growth topics, for instance, “why self-improvement makes you neurotic.”

3. Brain Pickings @ – “A discovery engine for interestingness”

Brain Pickings is an extremely thoughtful and tightly-edited weekly newsletter that is consistently packed with compelling ideas and creativity resources. Their roundups on great street art books, must-see TED Talks, and the most current ideas in all things creative keep me coming back for more. It was through Brain Pickings that I discovered the “Holstee Manifesto” that hangs above my home office, spurring me to really “seize the day.” Check it out on the roundup of the best manifestos below.

4. Pick the Brain @ – ” website dedicated to self improvement with a focus on personal productivity, motivation, and self education”

I always find myself bookmarking the articles on Pick the Brain to keep me thinking clearly and motivated, even in the face of self-doubt and all that other stuff that happens when you figure out creative projects.

5. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think @

Laura consistently presents great tips on how we can make the most out of the 168 hours that we have in a week.  One standout post has been her list of 100 dreams.  That idea is definitely on my agenda.

6. The Artist’s Road @ – “Creativity, writing, and an art-committed life”

Patrick Ross provides comprehensivve weekly roundups of the best tweets and online posts on creativity. A really great service! There’s always something unexpected in his roundups.  He’s a Master’s of Fine Arts (MFA) writing student right now and it’s great to track his process on his blog. This example of his post is a roundup of the books every writer needs to read, which apparently, has garnered an avalanche of hits. Of course, he blogs about that process too!

7. Dose of Creativity @ – “Musings on all things creative sprinkled with inspired hints and tips.”

Love their 30-Day Creativity Challenge! Creativity can happen in big and small ways.  There’s always something new on this site about moving forward our creative process.

8. Presentation Zen @ – “blog on issues related to professional presentation design”

I love the level of expertise this blog dives into. They hit all angles of what it takes to present information in a compelling way. This applies to graphic presentations and storytelling. I particularly liked this post on “Storytelling Lessons from Bill Cosby.” A nice breakdown of Cosby’s communication wisdom.

9. Copyblogger @ – “Online marketing that works.”

Copyblogger is the ultimate in quick tips on writing for the web.  There’s a strong marketing bent, as you’d expect from a site title that’s a play on the word “copywriter.”  But this site is unparalleled in squeezing quick and concise tips on the best ways to create online content.  A popular post, for instance, is “7 Ways to Improve Your Writing…Right Now.”  They also have a great series of posts JUST on writing headlines. Very high-quality site.

10 . Pintame El Dia @ – an artist’s life

This Spanish artist’s blog about her artistic life is bilingual and a breath of fresh air. Esti lives in Bilbao and exercises enormous restraint in her poetic summaries that accompany beautifully taken photographic slices of her life. I also have a crush on her art – full of simple lines and contemplative mostly female characters. Take a step into her world.

11. Design for Mankind @ – “corner of the Internet where Awesome hangs out”

Artwork, design, photography and Erin’s fashion. Visual eye candy. Always colorful and stimulating. Though I’m not a visual artist, Erin’s presentations give me a nice ocular jolt every time I scroll through.

12. Good Magazine @ – “the integrated media platform for people who want to live well and do good”

What started out as simply a magazine has evolved to be a movement for bright ideas that help make good things happen in the world. Culture, art, politics, and activism come together in a tightly designed presentation of the latest innovations that are making our lives better. I especially appreciate their graphic representations of complex policy and social issues via their “infographics.”

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10 Online Resources to Break Your Writer’s Block: Random Writing Prompt Generators [Oh. That’s Good.]

There ain't no party like a Writer's Block party cuz the Writer's Block party don't stop!!

There ain't no party like a Writer's Block party cuz the Writer's Block party don't stop!!

I’ve been staring at the unbearable whiteness of my empty page for the last five minutes.  The death march starts drumming in my head. My involuntary twitch to grab my remote control starts activating.  I MUST…DO…SOMETHING.

To the GOOGLE!

I literally typed the words, “random writing prompt generator” JUST to see if they exist. And they do!  Great minds think alike, they say. Mm. Hmm.

I picked out the best 10 free online resources to get your imagination percolating. If I were you I’d bookmark this for future consumption.

You’re welcome.  I take my appreciation in free food, comments and cash. nomnomnom.

1. Plinky

Plinky is owned by and is much more attractive than most of the others on this list.  I like the simplicity and feel of it.

What’s the most impulsive thing you’ve ever done?

2. Creative Writing Prompts

Little boxes appear when you float your mouse cursor on one of the numbers.  The format of the prompts vary.  Some are phrases.  Some are story starters, like this one.

Begin a story with, “The hallway was silent…”

3. The Writing For Children Resource Site

It’s actually a writing prompt generator for writers of children’s books. But who cares?! Many different generators on this page.  Why not write a spoken word piece about (frantically clicks the generator)…

the [quiet] [guinea pig] that went [crazy].

4. Writing Fix: Home of Interactive Writing Prompts

Just one little window.  And here’s what I got:

“What makes you special?  Write a piece that explains three things about you that make you a VERY unique person.”

5. The Almost Totally Random Writing Exercise Generator

This one gives you a more direct “assignment” beyond just content ideas:

(write for) 10 minutes * A character you’ve never written before * vengence

6. Adam Maxwell’s Fiction Lounge

So what if the prompt I got was more about fiction with a grammatically incorrect sentence…but it DOES look intriguing and this site is much prettier than the others:

Blame was the key. I needed unlock the door and place it with someone.

7. Creativity Portal: The Imagination Prompt Generator

This simple generator gives you one prompt at a time in the form of a question.  Here’s my result:

If you could have three wishes, what would they be?

8. Prompt Generator

This one is super simple.  Looks like it can be used for school teachers.

Think about an event in your life that you will always remember. Write a story about what happened.

9. Seventh Sanctum

This has a great variety of prompts for different types of creative writing. I tried out the “Writing Challenge” one.

The story must have a bandit in it. The story must involve some rope at the end. A character buys a house. A character becomes wiser during the story. During the story, a character has an accient while traveling.

10. A Little Left of Logical

You get a word or phrase. Simple.

Illuminated darkness

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