Category Archives: Monthly Spark Newsletter

August 2012 Monthly Spark Newsletter! via www.IgniteYourCreativity.net

August 2012

Ignite your Creativity has a new look and format.  We will be continuing with an updated “Monthly Spark” which will contain interesting articles on  the creative process, book recommendations, monthly writing prompts, free wallpaper, and a healthy dose of inspiration designed  to ignite your creativity!  During each month also stay tuned for interesting interviews with “creatives” from different mediums who will share with us their creative process.  Exciting times lie ahead as we will be changing some of our coaching programs and adding new self-paced e~courses starting September 10th.

Creative Arts as Therapy

by Belinda Witzenhausen

In recent years, the importance and prevalence of using the creative arts as a form of therapy has been brought to the forefront as a successful treatment for many disorders effecting people of all ages. From seniors who are suffering with dementia, soldiers returning from war with PTSD and  children with autism (childhood autism rates over past decade have increased),creative art as therapy is offering those in need a way to communicate and heal.

Using the creative arts as a form of therapy is a way for those with communication difficulties to express themselves and relieve stress in a safe and therapeutic way.  In general, creative activities can be beneficial for anyone by enhancing their self-esteem, promoting / stimulating imagination and providing a feeling of connection to the world. For those dealing with trauma or illness, they can be a life changing way to express themselves.   People who express their creativity can also improve their divergent thinking abilities, which can improve their problem solving skills.  Creative Arts can include visual arts, dance, photography, drama, music, and writing.  Ultimately, anything which enables you to create can help, whether it is playing music, cooking, knitting, decorating or crafts.

Music therapy is also becoming a popular alternative.  It has been suggested that music and sounds have the ability to improve mood and alter physical functions such as heart rate, breathing, and the release of endorphins as well as change the patterns of brain waves.

For those suffering from illness or TBI, occupational therapists often encourage their patients to participate in arts and crafts as a form of therapy.  Crafts not only help to reduce stress but can also improve dexterity and stimulate different areas of the brain. Psychiatrists also recommend different forms of art therapy to help patients learn to express themselves and gain a sense of accomplishment and relaxation.  Journaling is also often recommended in order to help people to better articulate themselves, make sense of their problems, and to come to terms with them.

In general, several experts have suggested that when children participate in the arts, they can nurture the development of social, personal and cognitive skills. Programs based on the creative arts can also improve academic achievement and decrease certain behavioral issues. They help children develop positive attitudes about themselves, thus building self-esteem. Creative Arts programs often involve communication, expression, interpretation and understanding, all of which are valuable skills for children to develop. Many of the programs encourage the child to think creatively, providing them with the skills necessary for creative problem solving. Development of imagination, judgment and philosophy are also fringe benefits of a creative arts-based activity. As opposed to the shorter timed classes, afterschool programs often run for several hours, offering extra time to get more involved. This results in more of a balance, providing a child with more than reading, writing and arithmetic, and promotes opportunities for development of latent capabilities in the child. In turn, the child learns to set higher standards of achievement. They understand what sustained focus is and learn that regular practice is the way to success. In the withdrawn child, participating in theatre, speech or drama lessons may be an outlet for pent up emotions. It is a valuable form of therapy as drama entails getting into the ‘skin’ of another person, the child learns to verbalize emotions and express thoughts.

Everyone can benefit from the creative arts.  They are a wonderful way to keep stress at bay and to help promote relaxation.  By simply adding different creative pursuits into their lifestyle, any individual’s quality of life will definitely improve.

Inspire Others to Live a Creative Life

by Belinda Witzenhausen

Do you find happiness while involved in creative pursuits? Why not help friends and family find their creative selves.

In the time of video and computer games children have seemed to miss out on discovering and using their creativity. On any given holiday most children will be inundated with toys that they will only play with until the next new fad emerges. Why not give them a gift that will introduce them to a new creative pursuit? What does the child express an interest in? Are they budding artists, writers or musicians? Gather some items geared toward that activity. For artists a portable easel, paper, supplies and a great how-to book put together in a rubber storage container will get them off to a wonderful start. For a musical child, (why not) get a gift certificate to take a music classes as well as sheet music and exercise books.
Creativity is not limited to just children; adults can gain so much by exploring their creative potential. A friend who is an aspiring writer was forced to retire early and was devastated. As a gift she had received a hand-painted box filled with notebooks, pens, a dictionary and a great book on writing. This gift was all she needed to help her regain her sense of purpose and open her up to a new career as a professional writer. Really focus on what the recipient’s creative interests are. They will have to put in the creative energy but you can give them a running start.
Giving creative gifts need not be expensive but just by putting thought into creating a really personalized gift, you are putting your heart and soul into the gift and it is sure to be appreciated. It is also important to inspire them by living a creative life yourself. Want a way to share your creative energy? Try planning a get together for those who have the same creative interests. By enabling your friends to immerse themselves in creativity is an excellent way to spend time with them and allows a safe haven to explore their creativity in a supportive environment. Even a routine trip to a coffee house to write, an art gallery, class or workshop can also be great ways to help inspire you and your friends to actively pursue creative interests. By putting together an event where everyone is open to exploring their creativity not only reduces the loneliness of solitary creative pursuits but also helps to create a strong support network which will be invaluable to you on your creative journey.

“Helped are those who create anything at all, for they shall relive the thrill of their own conception.”~ Alice Walker

Affirmation For Creativity

This Month’s Affirmation:

“I live a rich and rewarding creative life!”

To use as wallpaper click on image to enlarge, for Windows right-click “Set as Desktop”


Coming Soon!

Writing Sparks

by Belinda Witzenhausen 

Do you love writing but have a bad case of writer’s block? 
For many, it often boils down to not knowing how to get started. “Writing Sparks: Inspiration to ignite your creativity!” by Belinda Witzenhausen offers valuable advice, prompts and tips to help you break through any creative block and start writing. These prompts offer a variety of fiction and nonfiction ideas designed to get you thinking and writing. Some prompts may ask you to reflect on personal opinions or memories , while others ask you to flex your creative muscles with fun and often, quirky suggestions. These “sparks” are designed to get you motivated and challenge you to grow as a writer.

Book of the Month

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience [Paperback]

by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Author)

A prominent researcher in the field of positive psychology, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi is probably best known for his book Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention.

So what exactly is ‘flow’? Well, the long and short of  it is how most people describe as being “in the zone”.  When you are mindful on what you are creating, it is similar to being in a meditative state.  It has often been described as a state in which people are so involved in the moment that they are oblivious to everything around them. Being in this kind of flow is naturally linked to happiness. Csíkszentmihályi believes that the path to happiness begins with taking control of the “contents of our consciousness”.

Csíkszentmihályi’s “Flow” makes it clear in the beginning that it is not a systematic  how-to book on how to enter into “flow”.  He summarizes his years of research by offering general principles of  “flow” along with stories of how people have used them to positively influence their lives. The book is meant to offer inspiration and motivation.

I enjoyed “Flow”, although repetitive at times, it drives home that to achieve happiness, overcome challenges and obtain your goals, the focus must be on the effort itself and not on the external failures or rewards.

List Price: CDN$ 16.99

An interesting TED Talks interview ~Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness

“You know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and sense of time disappears. You forget yourself. You feel part of something larger.” ~Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on experiencing ‘flow’

Ignite Your Creativity now offers E~Courses

Coming September 10th ~ Journaling to Add Spark to Your Life!~Course

Initially, journals were kept as a matter of record.  People would document events that happened to keep a historical account to pass down to future generations.  Now newspapers, blogs, videos and media are the mainstay.  Many do still use journaling as a tool for documentation but many more seem to use it as a form of expression.

The process of putting pen to paper is therapeutic as it allows one to get the mass of emotions, ideas and information that is often jumbled and bouncing around inside one’s head out and in some structured form.    All of the clutter that is in a person’s mind can cause turmoil, stress or distract one from the important things that need to be their focus.

Journals contain private thoughts committed to paper and need not to be shared with others, which allow you to get your emotions down without censoring or fear of condemnation.  Creating a dedicated time throughout the day to journal is also therapeutic in itself; by giving yourself permission to spend time on yourself is a healthy indulgence.  Journaling also helps with planning and transformation.  Recording dreams, goals and wishes can help you keep your focus on your desired outcome, plan how to get there and keep you honest with yourself about your limitations and progress.

The written word is a powerful thing. Words provoke thought, act as a release, ignite creativity, and hold within them the power to heal.  Journaling can be an incredible life-changing process and the purpose of this self-paced e-course is to introduce you to the benefits of journaling and help you along the way with what is hoped will be a life-long journey!

Stay tuned for more details!

For more information please check out: E-Courses at Ignite Your Creativity


August’s Writing Prompts

We all have goals we want to accomplish however, often we let our own thoughts and fears of failure stop us from even making an attempt. What is something you have always wanted to accomplish but have been too fearful?  What would be the worst that could happen? How will you feel if you don’t even try? What steps can you take today to be one step closer to your goal?

A picture is worth a thousand words… Write about a favourite summer weekend ritual…

 


Creativity Coaching at Ignite Your Creativity

Google “Creativity Coaching” and you will discover thousands of links to people who dedicate their lives to help everyday people reach their creative potential. Ignite Your Creativity is pleased to announce that we are now offering creativity coaching as one of our services. What are Creativity Coaches? Creativity Coaches are life coaches who focus on one’s creative evolution. Our mission is to help you focus on improving and redefining your future by encouraging you to focus on creative pursuits. Many artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people live with anxieties, doubts, fears, and worries that often hinder their creative minds. A Creativity Coach’s main goal is to assist and guide you to reach your dreams and to help you live the creative life you desire. Ultimately, we endeavor to help our client write, paint, compose, find meaning and happiness where the main goal is to create. We will encourage you to set attainable goals and offer a level of accountability through assignments geared to your specific goal. We will inspire you to think bigger and to work on developing your ideas and energies into meaningful creative projects. Together we will help you identify, understand and work through any creative blocks that stand in the way of your goals. Working with us will enable you to become the creative person, you have always wanted to be. The “Ignite Your Creativity” program consists of:

      • 4 weeks of creativity coaching via email (consecutive weeks)
      • 1 initial assessment email to get started
      • 4 emails with tips, inspiration and activities geared towards your particular goals
For more information please check out: Creativity Coaching at Ignite Your Creativity

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

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Ignite Your Creativity’s July 2012 Monthly Spark Newsletter!

Welcome to Ignite Your Creativity’s July 2012 Monthly Spark Newsletter! This month we have some journaling ideas as well as having our usual book recommendations, monthly writing prompts, free wallpapers, tips, tricks and a healthy dose of inspiration.

Journaling for Self-Discovery

Initially, journals were kept as a matter of record.  People would document events that happened to keep a historical account to pass down to future generations.  Now newspapers, blogs, videos and media are the mainstay.  Many do still use journaling as a tool for documentation but many more seem to use it as a form of expression.

The process of putting pen to paper is therapeutic as it allows one to get the mass of emotions, ideas and information that is often jumbled and bouncing around inside one’s head out and in some structured form.    All of the clutter that is in a person’s mind can cause turmoil, stress or just distract one from the important things that need to be their focus.

Journals contain private thoughts committed to paper and need not to be shared with others, which allow you to get your emotions down without censoring or fear of condemnation.  Creating a dedicated time throughout the day to journal is also therapeutic in itself; by giving yourself permission to spend time on yourself is a healthy indulgence.  Journaling also helps with planning and transformation.  Recording dreams, goals and wishes helps you keep your focus on your desired outcome, plan how to get there and keeps you honest with yourself about your limitations and progress.

When it comes to healing, many people keep one or more journals.  General journals record hopes, fears, anxieties and are a great tool for self discovery.  Dream journals are great for tracking what recurring themes are presenting themselves in your dreams, thus helping you identify and address things that could be causing stress.  Gratitude journals are daily listings of things one is thankful for. Keeping a gratitude journal helps you focus on the positive things that are going on in your life and helps improve both your mood and attitude.  Idea journals are helpful for sparking creativity or problem solving.

The written word is a powerful thing. Words provoke thought, act as a release, ignite creativity, and hold within them the power to heal.  Journaling can be an incredible life-changing process.

Writing has always been a huge part of my life. When I was a child, I kept a journal. I would write about what bothered me,  what I feared, and what I dreamed for my future.  I would doodle, write down things of interest and solve my problems.  As an only child, it became a way for me to work things out for myself; I could think, rant or dream on the page.  Journaling became a habit for a long time until I thought I was too old for keeping a “diary” and gave it up.  In my late twenties after a life-changing event, I decided to go back to what had been a great tool of self-discovery for me. I found the more I wrote, the better I felt. I have never looked back, my journal is never far from me and it now holds more than ever.  Recently, a friend asked me about what I write and how they could start journaling for themselves. Here are some basic topics:

1) Write down your strengths and how you can use them to improve the world for yourself and for others.

 2) Write down things you are grateful for.

3) Write down what inspires you.

4) Write down what you dream about.

5) Write down ideas for projects.



“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you’ve got something to say.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald


Creativity Coaching at Ignite Your Creativity

Google “Creativity Coaching” and you will discover thousands of links to people who dedicate their lives to help everyday people reach their creative potential. Ignite Your Creativity is pleased to announce that we are now offering creativity coaching as one of our services. What are Creativity Coaches? Creativity Coaches are life coaches who focus on one’s creative evolution. Our mission is to help you focus on improving and redefining your future by encouraging you to focus on creative pursuits. Many artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people live with anxieties, doubts, fears, and worries that often hinder their creative minds. A Creativity Coach’s main goal is to assist and guide you to reach your dreams and to help you live the creative life you desire. Ultimately, we endeavor to help our client write, paint, compose, find meaning and happiness where the main goal is to create. We will encourage you to set attainable goals and offer a level of accountability through assignments geared to your specific goal. We will inspire you to think bigger and to work on developing your ideas and energies into meaningful creative projects. Together we will help you identify, understand and work through any creative blocks that stand in the way of your goals. Working with us will enable you to become the creative person, you have always wanted to be. The “Ignite Your Creativity” program consists of:

      • 4 weeks of creativity coaching via email (consecutive weeks)
      • 1 initial assessment email to get started
      • 4 emails with tips, inspiration and activities geared towards your particular goals
For more information please check out: Creativity Coaching on Ignite Your Creativity

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

Coming Soon!

Writing Sparks

by Belinda Witzenhausen 

Do you love writing but have a bad case of writer’s block? 
For many, it often boils down to not knowing how to get started. “Writing Sparks: Inspiration to ignite your creativity!” by Belinda Witzenhausen offers valuable advice, prompts and tips to help you break through any creative block and start writing. These prompts offer a variety of fiction and nonfiction ideas designed to get you thinking and writing. Some prompts may ask you to reflect on personal opinions or memories , while others ask you to flex your creative muscles with fun and often, quirky suggestions. These “sparks” are designed to get you motivated and challenge you to grow as a writer.

Affirmation For Creativity

This Month’s Affirmation:

“I don’t let  other people’s negativity interfere with my creativity.”

To use as wallpaper click on image to enlarge, for Windows right-click “Set as Desktop”


Book of the Month

Write From the Heart: Unleashing the Power Of Your Creativity [Paperback]

by Hal Zina Bennett (Author)

Publisher: NEW WORLD LIBRARY; 2nd Revised edition edition (Jan 17 2001)
ISBN-13: 978-1577311775
This is one of those books that helps us to realize that creating can be a spiritual experience. Write from The Heart is a mix of personal memoirs drawn from Hal Zina Bennett’s prolific writing career with over 30 published books to his credit. This is a wonderful and practical guide with thought provoking writing exercises designed to get us to see things from a different viewpoint. The author shares his personal experience guiding us on how we can remove creative blocks and learn to speak from our heart to the heart of our reader. This is a book that holds a special space on my bookshelf and is ideal for a beginning writer as well as for a seasoned writing veteran.

List Price:CDN$ 20.95

July’s Book Recommendations

Magic Hours: Essays on Creators and Creation [Paperback] by Tom Bissell (Author)
List Price:CDN$ 16.50


Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence [Paperback] by Lisa Cron (Author) 

List Price:CDN$ 17.99

The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present [Deckle Edge] [Hardcover] by Eric Kandel (Author) 

List Price:CDN$ 46.00



July’s Writing Prompts

A Day in the Life of…

You get to trade places with your favourite person/character for just one day.

Who do you choose? Why?

Describe how the day plays out for you!


A picture is worth a thousand words… Write about what brightens your day…

To use as wallpaper click on image to enlarge, for Windows right-click “Set as Desktop”

Inspirational Spark~Ignite Your Creativity

http://www.IgniteYourCreativity.net

Photography & Graphics by Belinda Witzenhausen ©2012

Music by Mike Witzenhausen ©2012

July 2012 Calendar via www.IgniteYourCreativity.net

For a high quality pdf version please click here:July Calendar

Ignite Your Creativity’s June 2012 Monthly Spark Newsletter!

Welcome to Ignite Your Creativity’s June 2012 Monthly Spark Newsletter! This month we have some tips for spicing up your summer as well as having our usual book recommendations, monthly writing prompts, free wallpapers, tips, tricks and plenty of inspiration.

Change it Up!

As we enter summer, I am infused with a joyous freeing feeling.  Summer is a time to explore, to relax and to enjoy life.  Honestly, we should be enjoying life all year round but summer has an essence around it, our schedules change, our clothes become lighter, we enjoy getting “out and about.” This summer I am looking forward to exploring other creative avenues, breaking free from my normal routine and exploring unchartered areas.

Routines are necessary to some degree but I think in order to truly live, we often have to step out of our comfort zone and explore other avenues.  By instigating simple changes to our routine we can provide opportunities and insights for creative growth.

Shake up your usual routine…

  • Do you always use recipes when you cook?  Try using your creativity and create your own recipes. You can always use recipes for inspiration but try to make a dish your own.
  • Do you have the same social routine?  Do you go to the same restaurants, movies or stores? Why not change things up? Instead of going to the movies, try going to one of the many local festivals the summer has to offer.
  • Do you usually take a particular route to work?  Try a new way. Often changing scenery will help spark your creativity.
  • Do you always stick to one creative outlet?  Writers try a different genre.  Artists experiment with a new medium.
  • Love learning?  Try taking a free online course in something different that you have always had an interest in.
  • Only wear certain colours?  Try investing in some inexpensive pieces or accessories that will add a jolt of colour to your wardrobe.

Change is inevitable, that is the one constant in life.  Stress is often caused when we resist change or refuse to step out of our comfort zone.  By embracing change, we purposely cause our brains to work in different ways often sparking and enhancing our creativity. Start out by making small changes, the more you make the more confident you are in making bigger changes. Taking risks and stepping out of our comfort zone is an invaluable tool, which can bring about life long harmony.  Start this summer and be sure to incorporate changes year round in order to add spark to your life!



“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” ~ John Lennon


Creativity Coaching at Ignite Your Creativity

Google “Creativity Coaching” and you will discover thousands of links to people who dedicate their lives to help everyday people reach their creative potential. Ignite Your Creativity is pleased to announce that we are now offering creativity coaching as one of our services. What are Creativity Coaches? Creativity Coaches are life coaches who focus on one’s creative evolution. Our mission is to help you focus on improving and redefining your future by encouraging you to focus on creative pursuits. Many artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people live with anxieties, doubts, fears, and worries that often hinder their creative minds. A Creativity Coach’s main goal is to assist and guide you to reach your dreams and to help you live the creative life you desire. Ultimately, we endeavor to help our client write, paint, compose, find meaning and happiness where the main goal is to create. We will encourage you to set attainable goals and offer a level of accountability through assignments geared to your specific goal. We will inspire you to think bigger and to work on developing your ideas and energies into meaningful creative projects. Together we will help you identify, understand and work through any creative blocks that stand in the way of your goals. Working with us will enable you to become the creative person, you have always wanted to be. The “Ignite Your Creativity” program consists of:

      • 4 weeks of creativity coaching via email (consecutive weeks)
      • 1 initial assessment email to get started
      • 4 emails with tips, inspiration and activities geared towards your particular goals
For more information please check out: Creativity Coaching on Ignite Your Creativity

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

Coming Soon!

Writing Sparks

by Belinda Witzenhausen 


Do you love writing but have a bad case of writer’s block? 
For many, it often boils down to not knowing how to get started. “Writing Sparks: Inspiration to ignite your creativity!” by Belinda Witzenhausen offers valuable advice, prompts and tips to help you break through any creative block and start writing. These prompts offer a variety of fiction and nonfiction ideas designed to get you thinking and writing. Some prompts may ask you to reflect on personal opinions or memories , while others ask you to flex your creative muscles with fun and often, quirky suggestions. These “sparks” are designed to get you motivated and challenge you to grow as a writer.

Affirmation For Creativity

This Month’s Affirmation: “I live a creative life.”

To use as wallpaper click on image to enlarge, for Windows right-click “Set as Desktop”


Book of the Month

The Elements of Style – 4th Edition (New Edition)

William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

Publisher: Longman

Copyright: 2000

ISBN-13: 9780205309023

I had mentioned this in an earlier post and was surprised that I had received several emails asking about it.  In my opinion, this is a must-have on every writer’s bookshelf. The Elements of Style is a classic that was first published in 1959 and is still widely used today. This book leads you through rules of grammar, principles of composition and includes a section outlining the words most commonly misspelled. This is a book that you will use as a regular resource for years to come and is ideal for a beginning writer to a seasoned writing veteran.

List Price:CDN$ 10.40

June’s Book Recommendations

The Complete Handbook Of Novel Writing: Everything You Need to Know About Creating & Selling Your Work by Editors of Writer's Digest Books

The Complete Handbook Of Novel Writing: Everything You Need to Know About Creating & Selling Your Work by Editors of Writer’s Digest Books

List Price: CDN$ 20.99


Fondling Your Muse by John Warner

Fondling Your Muse by John Warner

List Price:CDN$ 21.99

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles [Paperback] by Steven Pressfield

List Price: CDN$ 27.95



June’s Writing Prompts

An archaeologist from the future unearths a large structure from 2012, which appears to be a galleria of sorts.  What do they conclude about our culture by the artifacts they find?


A picture is worth a thousand words… Write about a bird’s-eye view

To use as wallpaper click on image to enlarge, for Windows right-click “Set as Desktop”

Inspirational Spark~Ignite Your Creativity

http://www.IgniteYourCreativity.net

Photography & Graphics by Belinda Witzenhausen ©2012

Music by Mike Witzenhausen ©2012

Ignite Your Creativity’s May 2012 Monthly Spark Newsletter!

Welcome to Ignite Your Creativity’s May 2012 Monthly Spark Newsletter! This month we have some tips for banishing your inner critic as well as having our usual book recommendations, monthly writing prompts, free wallpapers, tips, tricks and plenty of inspiration.

Silencing Your Inner Critic

No matter how long we have been working at our creative genre, we are all prone to bouts of insecurity or questioning. We all have that voice that constantly puts us down, tells us we are worthless or wasting our time, and left unchecked it can sabotage our creative happiness.

Our “Inner Critic” can be harder on our psyche than any outside critique we can receive.  Some may develop “Imposter Syndrome” where regardless of  our accomplishments or prolificity, we somehow feel as if we are frauds or that any success we have seen has been  a stroke of luck. Our inner critic at its worse can be destructive.  We often blame our lack of success on the fact we are perfectionists.  We get bored, procrastinate, become negative or, develop a fear of failure and often set ourselves unrealistic goals that ultimately set us up for failure.

Often, our critic is awakened by outside sources. Our friends, family members or those who are either threatened by, or jealous of our success, will often subconsciously (or not) play on those fears. The voices are usually flashbacks from authority figures: parents, teachers, peers, or coaches.  The voices will often pretend they are protecting you by stopping you from doing anything that might possibly invite criticism.

A few tips to send that “Inner Critic” packing:

Believe in yourself

Access and acknowledge your strengths. Think about work that you have done that you are the proud of.  Review your accomplishments. Dig out those favourite pieces and remember the thrill you had creating them.  Talk to your biggest supporters and ask them for their opinions.  Acknowledge criticism if it is valid and productive.

Think positive

Every time your inner critic rears its ugly head, think positive.  Post motivational quotes, practice affirmations, read books by your favourite authors and hone your skills to gain confidence and help see your value.

Name your inner critic

Give your inner critic a face. Draw a picture of your nasty critic, give it a name, make it hideous. Remember you brought them into this world, you can banish them.  That nasty voice that tells you to give up, that you can’t create and not to waste your time, look them in the eyes and tell them to hit the road.  What better way to say good-bye to that critic than by writing it a “Dear John” letter.  For those of you who have been lucky enough to not be the giver or receiver of such a letter~ it’s basically a letter you send to end a relationship and bid adieu. If you can learn to laugh at them, perhaps you won’t see that voice as being too serious.

Find Support

Take a moment to think the company you keep.  Are you surrounding yourself with people who encourage you or bring you down?  You aren’t  going to banish friends and family but perhaps you can expand your social circle to include positive, creative friends who will build you up and support you.  You share your creative dreams with these friends and perhaps stay away from those who belittle your ambitions.



“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, the just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while” ~Steve Jobs

Creativity Coaching at Ignite Your Creativity

Google “Creativity Coaching” and you will discover thousands of links to people who dedicate their lives to help everyday people reach their creative potential. Ignite Your Creativity is pleased to announce that we are now offering creativity coaching as one of our services. What are Creativity Coaches? Creativity Coaches are life coaches who focus on one’s creative evolution. Our mission is to help you focus on improving and redefining your future by encouraging you to focus on creative pursuits. Many artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people live with anxieties, doubts, fears, and worries that often hinder their creative minds. A Creativity Coach’s main goal is to assist and guide you to reach your dreams and to help you live the creative life you desire. Ultimately, we endeavor to help our client write, paint, compose, find meaning and happiness where the main goal is to create. We will encourage you to set attainable goals and offer a level of accountability through assignments geared to your specific goal. We will inspire you to think bigger and to work on developing your ideas and energies into meaningful creative projects. Together we will help you identify, understand and work through any creative blocks that stand in the way of your goals. Working with us will enable you to become the creative person, you have always wanted to be. The “Ignite Your Creativity” program consists of:

      • 4 weeks of creativity coaching via email (consecutive weeks)
      • 1 initial assessment email to get started
      • 4 emails with tips, inspiration and activities geared towards your particular goals
For more information please check out: Creativity Coaching on Ignite Your Creativity

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

Affirmation For Creativity

This Month’s Affirmation: “I follow my own unique creative path.

To use as wallpaper click on image to enlarge, for Windows right-click “Set as Desktop”


Book of the Month

Writing Tools – 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer

By  Roy Peter Clark

List Price: CDN$ 22.99

This book is definitely a book every writer should have on their bookshelf. Author, Roy Peter Clark, Vice President of the Poynter Institute offers advice to both beginners and established writers. This book covers 50 lessons or “tools” which every writer should utilize. Each section lists strategies for incorporating the material covered into your daily writing. This book covers everything from useful habits such as drafting a mission statement for your work to the basics such as grammar and structure.

Although this book covers some of the information that is available in Strunk & White’s classic The Elements of Style, it goes further by offering advice on character development, plotting, and the importance of creating a support group. This is a book you will refer to time and time again to help you write professional and polished prose.


May’s Book Recommendations

Becoming a Writer [Paperback] by Dorothea Brande (Author)

List Price: CDN$ 16.50

How to Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play [Paperback] by Barbara Baig (Author)

List Price: CDN$ 18.99

Everyday You: Create Your Day with Joy and Mindfulness[Hardcover] by Eric Maisel

List Price:CDN$ 21.50



May’s Writing Prompts

History repeats itself…

What was one thing that you had always dreamed of, worked hard for, sacrificed and eventually obtained?  Was it a certain job? A degree? A soulmate?  Now, take something that you want right now?  Are you willing to be as determined and focused as you were in the past to repeat history?  What is different now?  What stops you?  Now that you have some wisdom behind you, what can you do differently? Reflect and write.


A picture is worth a thousand words… Write about a magical place

To use as wallpaper click on image to enlarge, for Windows right-click “Set as Desktop”

Inspirational Spark~Ignite Your Creativity

http://www.igniteyourcreativity.net

Photography & Graphics by Belinda Witzenhausen ©2012

Music by Mike Witzenhausen ©2012

Ignite Your Creativity Monthly Spark Newsletter ~ December 2011

Welcome Ignite Your Creativity’s Monthly Spark Newsletter!

This month we will feature articles, book recommendations, monthly writing prompts, free wallpapers, as well as tips, tricks and plenty of inspiration.

Keep the Creative Fires Burning During the Holidays!

During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season finding time to dedicate to your creative pursuits can be a challenge.  How can you get everything done and still honour yourself?

Let’s face it, there will always be other, more important things to do, especially now. The holiday season is about friends, family and giving so often one will feel guilty or selfish about taking time for themselves. The holidays can be stressful and overwhelming, but it is also important to nurture yourself to maintain balance.  If your creative needs aren’t met or you are feeling deprived, your need for creative expression can be intense and in response, you become frustrated, depressed, overwhelmed, resentful and angry. That’s why it is so important to figure out how to integrate your creativity into your life even though you are very busy.  If you are stressed out or upset, you aren’t at your best for your friends or family. You may not have time for an hour-long painting session or a whole day of writing but by breaking your creative time into little chunks it can be something that will nourish your spirit and sustain your creative soul.

 Break it down!

During busy times finding 10 minutes here or there is easier than finding hours.  Write out your daily schedule and be realistic. How much time do you have waiting while picking up a child from hockey practice or piano lessons? How much time do you spend watching television per week? How long is your train ride to work? When done, look at your timetable where can you fit in fifteen minutes? Try to pencil in three fifteen minute creativity sessions.

Be Prepared!

Are you a photographer? Carry your camera with you at all times or use your cell phone.  You know that park you pass every day, why not stop and take some interesting shots.  Are you an artist or writer? Carry a small sketch/note-book to capture ideas or images while waiting in doctors’ offices or in line.  Whatever you capture, you might be able to use to develop new pieces.

Think Outside Your Creative Box!

Often we engage in creative activities without realizing it because it’s often not our creative outlet.   Want to spend time with your children and have holiday baking to do? Why not create a gingerbread house or cookies with them. Treat your baking as a creative outlet rather than a chore. Need to wrap presents? Why not get creative and find new innovative ways to dress them up.  Whatever you do often, your creative needs can be met by doing things in a slightly different way.

You don’t need to dedicate your whole life to your outlet, or need to be painting/writing/photographing/decorating/designing all day, every day to feel fulfilled. Like hunger often a “snack” will hold you until you can get to the main meal!


“This time, like all times is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Creativity Coaching at Ignite Your Creativity

Google “Creativity Coaching” and you will discover thousands of links to people who dedicate their lives to help everyday people reach their creative potential. Ignite Your Creativity is pleased to announce that we are now offering creativity coaching as one of our services. What are Creativity Coaches? Creativity Coaches are life coaches who focus on one’s creative evolution. Our mission is to help you focus on improving and redefining your future by encouraging you to focus on creative pursuits. Many artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people live with anxieties, doubts, fears, and worries that often hinder their creative minds. A Creativity Coach’s main goal is to assist and guide you to reach your dreams and to help you live the creative life you desire. Ultimately, we endeavor to help our client write, paint, compose, find meaning and happiness where the main goal is to create. We will encourage you to set attainable goals and offer a level of accountability through assignments geared to your specific goal. We will inspire you to think bigger and to work on developing your ideas and energies into meaningful creative projects. Together we will help you identify, understand and work through any creative blocks that stand in the way of your goals. Working with us will enable you to become the creative person, you have always wanted to be. The “Ignite Your Creativity” program consists of:

      • 4 weeks of creativity coaching via email (consecutive weeks)
      • 1 initial assessment email to get started
      • 4 emails with tips, inspiration and activities geared towards your particular goals
 PRICE $75 CDN

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

Affirmation For Creativity

This Month’s Affirmation: “I move past my fear and immerse myself in my creative pursuits.”

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Book Review

Creative Thinkering: Putting Your Imagination to Work [Paperback]

Michael Michalko (Author)


ISBN-13:978-1608680245

Review via Amazon.ca

List Price: CDN$ 17.50

The question isn’t “Why are some people creative and others not?” But why isn’t everyone creative? Where and how was this human talent lost? Why doesn’t education foster more creativity instead of less? Why is it that the more expert we become in our fields the less creative and innovative we become? Why are so many so amazed when someone creates anything, as if it were a miracle? Creative Thinkering will answer these questions and show readers how to awaken this lost talent and resurrect their natural creativity. It will explain how the prejudices of logic have heavily limited and structured our imagination in terms of existing categories and concepts. It will give readers the tools and strategies they need to recapture freedom to thought and to unstructured and expand their imaginations. Creativity in all domains including science, technology, medicine, the arts, and day-to-day living, emerges from the basic mental operation of conceptual blending (combining) of dissimilar subjects. An analogy that captures this concept of blending is when hydrogen and oxygen merge to form water, which is a property quite different from either of the component gases that make it up. This book demonstrates natural creativity which is the ability to synthesize dissimilar subjects.

December’s Book Recommendations

  Kick-Ass Creativity: An Energy Makeover for Artists, Explorers, and Creative ProfessionalsMary Beth Maziarz (Paperback – Apr 12 2010)List Price: CDN$ 19.95
  Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go [Paperback]Les Edgerton (Author)

List Price: CDN$ 16.99

 

  Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative [Hardcover]Ken Robinson (Author)

List Price: CDN$ 33.95

 



December’s Writing Prompts

Starting December 12th

Keep your creative fires stoked by following our “12 Days of Writing“.  Check in daily to get our daily writing prompts designed to keep you motivated during the busy holiday season.

Thank You…

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”~William Arthur Ward

The holiday season is about giving and receiving but material gifts aren’t everything. What is the greatest gift anyone has ever given you that wasn’t material.  Write them a Thank You letter, thanking them for their gift. Reflect and write about what their gift meant to you in your life.

A picture is worth a thousand words…

Write about your perfect gift! Is it an object, an experience or something for someone else?

“The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.”

~Brian Tracy


To use as wallpaper click on image to enlarge, for Windows right-click “Set as Desktop”

 Inspirational Spark~Ignite Your Creativity

http://www.igniteyourcreativity.net

Photographs & Graphics by Belinda Witzenhausen ©2011

Music by Mike Witzenhausen ©2011

Ignite Your Creativity Monthly Spark Newsletter ~ November 2011

Welcome Ignite Your Creativity’s Monthly Spark Newsletter!

This month we will feature articles, book recommendations, monthly writing prompts, free wallpapers, as well as tips, tricks and plenty of inspiration.

Get Creative!

Unfortunately, many believe that only a few are capable of being creative, that it is some sort of exclusive club that they don’t think they can be a member of. This is one of life’s biggest myths and the truth is, creativity is a lot like your muscles; everyone has them but they need to use them regularly in order for them to work properly and not atrophy. You don’t need to be a Picasso, Ansel Adams or Hendricks to be creative, you just have to dedicate yourself to uncovering your creative potential.

How does one begin to develop one’s creative muscle?

Focus on a creative activity every day!

Whether its journaling, doodling, painting, redecorating, crafts, do anything that inspires you and makes you come alive. By performing small creative tasks, you are exercising your creative “muscle” helping it to grow strong.

Think outside the box!

Sometimes, challenges and limitations can be a good thing especially when they force you to work within your means and find different approaches. Challenges often motivate you to be more imaginative in solving a problem or creating an item. Creativity is essentially breaking through barriers and doing something different. Some of the most creative people in the world have used challenges to motivate them, they have had no choice but to work around constraints and find solutions. Learning to think outside the box in your creative life can also give you the tools to assist you in your day-to-day endeavors.

Immerse yourself in creative culture and learn all you can!

Want to write? Write everyday and read everything you can, both the good and bad. Want to be musician? Listen to all types of music, practice daily and take in local music jams to learn from others. Never get discouraged if you think someone is more gifted than you…remember, they once started where you are now.

Keep an open mind!

By training yourself to look at life with a creative eye, you open yourself to the never-ending potential of what you encounter every day. Once you have opened your creative eyes you will find that you’ll notice more and more things which will enrich your life and inspire you. The more you know, the more you will desire to know, and the more active your sense of wonder will become.

Try something new on a daily basis!

By learning a new skill and doing something in a slightly different way you can produce different results. By taking a different route on your daily walk, you can change what you see, changing your experiences thus expanding your point of view. Try to interact with new people, visit new places that attract people interested in the same things i.e. if you are interested in art, art classes or galleries will help you to expand and enrich your social circle. The more you push yourself out of your comfort zone every day, your sense of adventure grows and so does your passion for creating.

By unleashing your creativity, you will bring about a new passion for life. The more you develop those creative muscles, the stronger they grow, the more able they are to produce, thus, inspiring you to take yourself to the next level.


“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
~ Maya Angelou

Creativity Coaching at Ignite Your Creativity

Google “Creativity Coaching” and you will discover thousands of links to people who dedicate their lives to help everyday people reach their creative potential. Ignite Your Creativity is pleased to announce that we are now offering creativity coaching as one of our services. What are Creativity Coaches? Creativity Coaches are life coaches who focus on one’s creative evolution. Our mission is to help you focus on improving and redefining your future by encouraging you to focus on creative pursuits. Many artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people live with anxieties, doubts, fears, and worries that often hinder their creative minds. A Creativity Coach’s main goal is to assist and guide you to reach your dreams and to help you live the creative life you desire. Ultimately, we endeavor to help our client write, paint, compose, find meaning and happiness where the main goal is to create. We will encourage you to set attainable goals and offer a level of accountability through assignments geared to your specific goal. We will inspire you to think bigger and to work on developing your ideas and energies into meaningful creative projects. Together we will help you identify, understand and work through any creative blocks that stand in the way of your goals. Working with us will enable you to become the creative person, you have always wanted to be. The “Ignite Your Creativity” program consists of:

      • 4 weeks of creativity coaching via email (consecutive weeks)
      • 1 initial assessment email to get started
      • 4 emails with tips, inspiration and activities geared towards your particular goals
INTRODUCTORY PRICE $75 CDN

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

J.K. Rowling: The fringe benefits of failure

Affirmation For Creativity

This Month’s Affirmation: “I immerse myself in creative pursuits!”

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Book Review

Think!: Before It’s Too Late [Paperback]

Edward de Bono (Author)

Publisher: Vermilion

Copyright: April 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0091924096

Review via Amazon.ca

The world is full of problems and conflicts. So why can we not solve them? According to Edward de Bono, current thinking cannot solve world problems because current thinking is itself the problem. And this is getting worse: we are so accustomed to readily available information online that we search immediately for the answers rather than thinking about them. Our minds function like trying to drive a car using only one wheel. There’s nothing wrong with that one wheel—conventional thinking—but we could all get a lot further if we used all four. De Bono examines why we think the way we do from a historical perspective and uses some of his famous thinking techniques combined with new ideas to show us how to change the way we think. If we strengthen our ability and raise our thinking level, other areas of our life—both personal and business success—will improve. De Bono is the master of the original big “concept” book and his enticement to us to use our minds as constructively as possible should appeal to a whole new generation of fans.

List Price: CDN$ 16.50


November’s Book Recommendations

Writing ~ Inspiration Write That Book Already!: The Tough Love You Need To Get Published Now [Paperback]Sam Barry (Author),

Kathi Kamen Goldmark (Author),

Maya Angelou (Foreword)

List Price:CDN$ 17.99

Writing ~ Instructional Getting the Words Right [Paperback]Theodore A. Rees Cheney(Author)

List Price:CDN$ 20.99

Creativity The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections[Paperback]

Amanda Blake Soule (Author)

List Price:CDN$ 23.00


November’s Writing Prompts

Passion…

“Color is my daylong obsession, joy, and torment.” ~ Claude Monet

Nothing is perfect, there is a light side and a dark side to everything, even something we love. Write about your passion: what inspires you, infuriates you, could you live happily without it? Reflect and write about your passion and what it means in your life.

A picture is worth a thousand words…

Finding Beauty: Many times we find incredible beauty in unlikely places, from a dying flower to a snake’s colouring. Where and when was the last time you found beauty in something surprising?


“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”
~ Confucius

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November’s Inspirational Spark~Ignite Your Creativity

http://www.igniteyourcreativity.net

Photographs & Graphics by Belinda Witzenhausen ©2011

Music by Mike Witzenhausen ©2011

Ignite Your Creativity Monthly Spark Newsletter ~ October 2011

Welcome Ignite Your Creativity’s Monthly Spark Newsletter!

This month we will feature articles, book recommendations, monthly writing prompts, free wallpapers, as well as tips, tricks and plenty of inspiration.

Strategic Planning For Your Dreams

by Belinda Witzenhausen

Have you ever had a dream that you believe is out of reach?

 Strategic planning requires not only taking the steps to accomplish your goals, but also realizing that things don’t happen overnight just because you will them to. Affirmations and positive thinking are great as long as you take the action that is required to reach your dream. You can start anytime. It is never too late or too soon to start but by not doing anything, your dreams will not come to fruition and they will always be unattainable.

What if you want to become a professional writer, photographer or artist? Could you quit your job tomorrow and jump right in? If you are fortunate enough to do that, wonderful but for many of us though this concept is just not a reality.

Many of us have responsibilities such as a job, taking care of a family or, we are not confident enough in our skill level to take off running. Start by writing down what it is you wish to accomplish. Writing these goals down is an important step, it helps keep you on track and cements them in your mind. Start with a six month, one year and three year plan. For each time frame, set reasonable goals but realize that things do come up and if you don’t reach every goal that it is okay, it is just a guideline to get you on your way. Here is an example to get you started.

You dream of being a photographer, here is a possible goal-setting scenario:

Six – Month Goals

  • Research photography or if finances allow, take a course.
  • Start by setting up a savings account to save for a new camera or equipment. You can set it up so that from every pay cheque, a certain amount goes in a savings only account. You might have to make sacrifices, for example, do you really need to eat out as often or go out to movies once a week? By not going out as often, you could save a large amount of money to help finance your goal.
  • Start taking pictures with a regular disposable or digital camera for now.
  • Download a free image editor such as Gimp, which has most of the features the more expensive ones do and begin setting up a portfolio.

One – Year Goals

  • Continue to build a portfolio. Aim to have at least 10 great pieces by this time.
  • Post some of your photos online.
  • Enter photography contests.
  • Volunteer to take pictures of your friends’ birthday party, engagement photo or, if you feel confident enough, even some of their wedding photos.
  • Start shopping for new camera equipment, it need not be expensive, but get something that is upgradeable or that you can build on.

Three – Year Goals

  • At this point, aim to have at least twenty-five pictures for your portfolio.
  • Start researching markets.
  • Start trying to pick up some freelance jobs to get your feet wet.
  • Create business cards and flyers. Place ads in your local newspapers or online.

These are just some of the goals, which you might do to become a photographer, but you can apply some of these principles to any goal you may have. You might need to set one, three and five, year goals instead, but make them realistic for you.

It is important to remember that by setting and following your goals you are taking action towards making your dreams come true. In three-years time isn’t it better to accomplish something rather than just saying “maybe one day”?


“When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.”

~ George Washington Carver

Creativity Coaching at Ignite Your Creativity

Google “Creativity Coaching” and you will discover thousands of links to people who dedicate their lives to help everyday people reach their creative potential. Ignite Your Creativity is pleased to announce that we are now offering creativity coaching as one of our services. What are Creativity Coaches? Creativity Coaches are life coaches who focus on one’s creative evolution. Our mission is to help you focus on improving and redefining your future by encouraging you to focus on creative pursuits. Many artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people live with anxieties, doubts, fears, and worries that often hinder their creative minds. A Creativity Coach’s main goal is to assist and guide you to reach your dreams and to help you live the creative life you desire. Ultimately, we endeavor to help our client write, paint, compose, find meaning and happiness where the main goal is to create. We will encourage you to set attainable goals and offer a level of accountability through assignments geared to your specific goal. We will inspire you to think bigger and to work on developing your ideas and energies into meaningful creative projects. Together we will help you identify, understand and work through any creative blocks that stand in the way of your goals. Working with us will enable you to become the creative person, you have always wanted to be. The “Ignite Your Creativity” program consists of:

      • 4 weeks of creativity coaching via email (consecutive weeks)
      • 1 initial assessment email to get started
      • 4 emails with tips, inspiration and activities geared towards your particular goals
INTRODUCTORY PRICE $75 CDN

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

NaNoWriMo ~ Getting Ready

by Belinda Witzenhausen

(NaNoWriMo) National Novel Writing Month is a writing contest, which was started in 1999 by author of No Plot, No Problem, Chris Baty. The goal of the NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000-word novel between November 1st, and midnight of November 30. The contest is open to anyone, whoever reaches their writing goal of 50,000 words wins. There are no real prizes per se but winners of NaNoWriMo have the satisfaction of completing a novel.

NaNoWriMo initially began to instigate and inspire writers to create impromptu novels, and it has become an exceptionally successful contest. In fact, many of those NaNoWriMo novels became rough drafts for an eventually published novels.  Books such as Sarah Gruen’s Flying Changes, Rebecca Agiewich’s Breakup Babe, Dave Wilson’s The Mote in Andrea’s Eye, Sarah Dooley’s Livvie Owen Lived Here  and Gayle Brandeis’s Self Storage were all born out of NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo allows an individual to silence their inner critic, as it does tend to emphasize quantity over quality.  For those writers who are often intimidated by their inner critic the urgency of the contest motivates them to push through fears, the need for perfection and keep writing.  With the fast pace of NaNoWriMo, writers need to produce approximately 1667 words per day so there is not a lot of time left for editing, although writers who are quick typists could produce a fairly well edited work in that period. Writers are not limited as to subject matter and any fiction genre is allowed.

NaNoWriMo hosts writing events to provide participants with an active supportive community and raises money via donations as well as sales of promotional items, which it donates approximately 50% of its net intake to reading charities.

NaNoWriMo has proven to be a popular contest and does not appear to be slowing down. The first year only 21 people participated in 2010 the number reached 200,500 participants.

For more information or to sign up click here: http://www.nanowrimo.org/ and check out No Plot, No Problem by Chris Baty.

This Month’s Affirmation: “I possess an abundance of creative energy!”

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Book Review

The Writer’s Idea Book

Author Jack Heffron

Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books

Copyright: May 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0898798739

Reviewer: Belinda Witzenhausen

Every writer encounters some form of writer’s block that may impair his or her writing projects. The Writer’s Idea Book is designed to get you past those blocks and enable the creative process to become a little easier.

In this book, Jack Heffron offers over 400 prompts to enhance your writing. Each section also offers sage advice on the creative process itself with chapters devoted to everything from “Enemies to Creativity” to “Leading a Creative Life”. This book will definitely teach you how to generate usable ideas for your projects and advise you on what you need to do to utilize them while writing.

List Price: CDN$ 16.50


October’s Book Recommendations

Writing ~ Inspiration

No Plot? No Problem!: A High-Velocity, Low-Stress Way to Write a Novel in 30 Days[Paperback]

Chris Baty (Author)
List Price: CDN$ 17.95
Writing ~ Instructional  

Elements Of Writing Fiction: Characters & Viewpoint

[Paperback]

Orson Scott Card(Author)
List Price: CDN$ 16.99
Creativity

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life [Paperback]

Twyla Tharp (Author)
List Price: CDN$ 17.50

October’s Writing Prompts

Halloween Memories…

Write about your most memorable Halloween.  Describe every little detail from the costume you wore, your adventures in Trick or Treating, to the parties you attended and why has this Halloween stood out for you!

A picture is worth a thousand words…

Oftentimes we become overwhelmed by the day-to-day events in life that we tend to overlook all the positives we experience.  Each of us has a lot to be thankful for.  Take some time to write and reflect about all the positive things you have in your life!


“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” – Brian Tracy

To use as wallpaper click on image to enlarge, for Windows right-click “Set as Desktop”

Visual Spark~Ignite Your Creativity

http://www.igniteyourcreativity.net

Photographs & Graphics by Belinda Witzenhausen ©2011

Music by Mike Witzenhausen ©2011

Ignite Your Creativity Monthly Spark Newsletter ~ September 2011

Welcome Ignite Your Creativity’s Monthly Spark Newsletter!

This month we will feature articles, book recommendations, monthly writing prompts, free wallpapers, as well as tips, tricks and plenty of inspiration. For a downloadable PDF version of the newsletter click here:Ignite Your Creativity Monthly Spark Newsletter ~ September 2011

Ignite your Creativity ~For Writers

by Belinda Witzenhausen

Writing a story doesn’t mean just putting down thoughts on paper. You have to capture the imagination and interest of your readers and get them to want to read on by piquing their curiosity. The main ingredient in creating a piece is a large dose of creativity. While creativity may come natural to many people, some have to push themselves a bit harder. Many writers have literally pulled their hair out when faced with a blank screen or page and can’t seem to get their creative juices flowing. Creativity is like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger and more available it is. Creating a story and putting words and images in the reader’s mind is an art. A clear and crisp depiction requires a certain flare that only creativity and inspiration can provide. Similes and metaphors help a lot, but the way a story is built word by word, sentence by sentence then paragraph by paragraph into a whole piece, is nothing but hard work, inspiration and dedication. So how do you find inspiration? There is no surefire ways to get perfect ideas but there are easy ways to get your creative juices flowing.

Keep an idea diary or a journal and carry it with you at all times. Ideas, snippets of dialogue and quirky stories can be triggered by anything you may hear, see, or smell. Use your senses as a guide. Write all of them into a journal and refer to it when you begin developing a story. Remember that ideas and creativity can come from anywhere; it is how you develop them that can make them unique and interesting to your reader.

Relax and take down time to flesh out ideas. A stressed out and taxed brain will often find it difficult to garner new and original ideas. Try to reduce all obstacles that can hinder your creativity. Brainstorm on some story idea and use writing prompts if necessary to get your creative juices flowing. Try to relax however, if something keeps popping up in your mind especially experiences and interactions with others that have been difficult, use them to inspire your writing. Not only is writing about problems cathartic, it can make for passionate writing. Your experiences are what shape your mindset and form your opinions all of which can be reflected in your writing. By expressing yourself and your ideas, you can grow creatively.

Create a workspace that can inspire the creative process. If your surroundings are overwhelming or distracting it can be quite a hindrance. If you are constantly worried about and seeing things that you “should be” doing instead of creating, odds are it won’t be conducive to igniting your creativity. Surround your workspace with objects that make you happy and relaxed. Make it your own, put up pictures, light candles, and surround yourself with objects or pieces that inspire you. If you can write with music on, create a playlist with music that inspires you. Set the pace and tempo for your mood and everything else will follow. Keep supplies and research materials close by and dive in!

Again, inspiration helps but it also requires sitting down and doing the work. Thomas Edison had it right when he said:

“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”.

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” ~ Scott Adams

Creativity Coaching at Ignite Your Creativity

Google “Creativity Coaching” and you will discover thousands of links to people who dedicate their lives to help everyday people reach their creative potential. Ignite Your Creativity is pleased to announce that we are now offering creativity coaching as one of our services. What are Creativity Coaches? Creativity Coaches are life coaches who focus on one’s creative evolution. Our mission is to help you focus on improving and redefining your future by encouraging you to focus on creative pursuits. Many artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people live with anxieties, doubts, fears, and worries that often hinder their creative minds. A Creativity Coach’s main goal is to assist and guide you to reach your dreams and to help you live the creative life you desire. Ultimately, we endeavor to help our client write, paint, compose, find meaning and happiness where the main goal is to create. We will encourage you to set attainable goals and offer a level of accountability through assignments geared to your specific goal. We will inspire you to think bigger and to work on developing your ideas and energies into meaningful creative projects. Together we will help you identify, understand and work through any creative blocks that stand in the way of your goals. Working with us will enable you to become the creative person, you have always wanted to be. The “Ignite Your Creativity” program consists of:

      • 4 weeks of creativity coaching via email (consecutive weeks)
      • 1 initial assessment email to get started
      • 4 emails with tips, inspiration and activities geared towards your particular goals
INTRODUCTORY PRICE $75 CDN

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

Benefits of Creative Arts Based Afterschool Activities

by Belinda Witzenhausen

Several experts have suggested that when children participate in the arts it can nurture the development of social, personal and cognitive skills. Programs based on the creative arts can improve academic achievement and decrease certain behavioral issues. It helps children develop positive attitudes about themselves, thus building self-esteem. Creative arts programs often involve communication, expression, interpretation and understanding all of which are valuable skills for children to develop. Many of the programs encourage the child to think creatively, providing them the skills necessary for creative problem solving. Development of imagination, judgment and philosophy are also fringe benefits of a creative arts-based activity. As opposed to the short timed classes, oftentimes afterschool programs run for several hours offering extra time to get more involved. This results in more balance, offering a child more than the reading, writing and arithmetic and promotes opportunities for development of latent capabilities in the child. In turn, the child learns to set high standards of achievement. He understands what sustained focus is and learns that regular practice is the way to success. In the withdrawn child, theatre, speech or drama lessons may be an outlet for pent up emotions. As drama entails getting into the ‘skin’ of another person, the child learns to verbalize emotions and express thoughts. Art therapy is also helpful in assisting with issues such as autism and trauma, allowing children a safe way to express themselves. Children now commencing school will be entering the workforce in approximately fifteen to twenty years and it has been suggested that a basic education will not be enough. Jobs in the future will probably require more creative and critical thinking skills as society and technology advances.

This Month’s Affirmation: “I am willing to learn to let myself create”

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Book Review

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

[Hardcover]

Ken Robinson (Author)

Reviewer: Belinda Witzenhausen

‘The Element’ is a book that discusses the importance of creativity in our lives. Not a self-help book per say, but a book that opens up the mind to different perspectives asking one to explore the necessity of creativity, diversity and imagination to enhance life. To quote Ken Robinson, “The Element is where a person’s natural talent meets their personal passion.” Robinson explores the conditions required for us to uncover the Element in ourselves and encourages us to invite others to partake as well. “The Element” discusses creative people such as Matt Groening, Mick Fleetwood, Bart Conner, Paul McCartney, Meg Ryan, and Debbie Allen just to name a few. “The Element” also goes a step further, discussing the impact of our current education system and the drawbacks that will be facing children in the future.

“The Element” is a book written to incite thought and open our eyes to the diversity of unique abilities that we all have. In my opinion this book is a wonderful, intelligent, often humorous read that will definitely help one gain a much broader perspective about ourselves, and society as a whole.

List Price: CDN$ 28.50

For an interesting video from TED Talks~ Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity


September’s Book Recommendations

Writing ~ Inspiration
On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft [Paperback]
Stephen King (Author)
List Price: CDN$ 19.99
Writing ~ Instructional
Nancy Kress(Author)
List Price: CDN$ 17.99
Creativity
How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day [Paperback]
Michael J. Gelb (Author)
List Price: CDN$ 21.00

September’s Writing Prompts

In the moment…

We all have, at one time or another become lost in a moment…Write about a time in your life when you forgot all your worries and surroundings. What were you doing? How did you feel? How can you regain that feeling? Contemplate on the page!

A picture is worth a thousand words…

Everyone has the ability to create their life! You are a brilliant artist working on the masterpiece of your life. What medium do you use? What colours will you choose? Will it be bright and cheery or intricate and delicate?

To use as wallpaper click on image to enlarge, for Windows right-click “Set as Desktop”

Visual Spark~Ignite Your Creativity

http://www.igniteyourcreativity.net

Photographs & Graphics by Belinda Witzenhausen ©2011

Music by Mike Witzenhausen ©2011

Ignite Your Creativity Monthly Spark Newsletter ~ August 2011

Welcome Ignite Your Creativity’s Monthly Spark Newsletter.

This month we will feature articles, book recommendations, monthly writing prompts, free wallpapers, as well as tips, tricks and plenty of inspiration. For a downloadable PDF version of the newsletter click here:Ignite Your Creativity Monthly Spark Newsletter ~ August 2011

Creativity on a Dime

by Belinda Witzenhausen

Pick up Craft Supplies, Instruments, or Materials on the Cheap

Do you feel that you would love to pursue a creative activity but aren’t in a position to invest a lot of money? There are affordable options!

Being creative need not be expensive. Thanks to the insurgence of dollar stores there are now more affordable options for those who want to pursue their creativity. Painters can purchase craft quality paint, brushes and mini-canvases. Writers can find many different journals, pens and loose-leaf paper.

For those who like arts and crafts there is everything from scrap booking supplies to beads to wooden forms and cooking utensils. Once you advance in your chosen activity, you can always make a bigger investment.

If you are interested in taking classes check out local community centre or specialized craft companies. For a cost of about $10 – $20 plus the cost of supplies, you can take a workshop and have access to equipment such as kilns etc.

Nature is always a great source of supplies, but remember not to cause damage in the process of collecting items. Leaves, polished stones, wildflowers, seashells and branches can all be used in your masterpiece.

You can also reinvent what you already own. That old chair or table which has been relegated to the basement can get a new lease on life. With a can of paint and a little creativity, you can make a fabulous new addition to your home.

Another great tool for creativity is your own computer. There are many freeware or shareware photo editing and graphic programs available online. These programs may not be as advanced as some of the more popular ones but are a great way to start.

If you create a piece you like you can print it out on fancy paper, iron-on transfers or photography paper, all of which work with an inkjet printer. Not sure how to use the software? Check out the author’s website to see if they offer free on-line tutorials.

If music is a passion but you are concerned about the noise and costs, there are options. Instead of purchasing an instrument, check out local music stores to see if rentals are available. If you wish to make a purchase check out yard sales, pawn and consignment shops for second hand instruments.

If noise is the major concern, (especially if you live in close quarters) also inquire about rehearsal studios or see if friends or relatives might have a suitable area. For those who play electrical instruments you are in luck as most amplifiers come equipped with headphone jacks which allow you to practice without interfering with other’s peace and quiet.

Musicians can also benefit by taking advantage of free concerts, which are a summer staple in many cities. Once you are ready to share your talent check out local “jams” this is where musicians from all skill levels and musical preferences get together to play. These jams are great places to learn as well as showcase your talents and put you in touch with other musicians.

Remember that you can always make an investment down the road but to get started you don’t need to spend a lot but just make sure you have fun with the process.

“Lack of money is no obstacle. Lack of an idea is an obstacle.”- Ken Hakuta

(Orignially published on Suite101.com)

“A truly creative person rids him or herself of all self-imposed limitations.”

~Gerald G. Jampolsky


Creativity Coaching at Ignite Your Creativity

Google “Creativity Coaching” and you will discover thousands of links to people who dedicate their lives to help everyday people reach their creative potential. Ignite Your Creativity is pleased to announce that we are now offering creativity coaching as one of our services.

What are Creativity Coaches? Creativity Coaches are life coaches who focus on one’s creative evolution. Our mission is to help you focus on improving and redefining your future by encouraging you to focus on creative pursuits. Many artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people live with anxieties, doubts, fears, and worries that often hinder their creative minds. A Creativity Coach’s main goal is to assist and guide you to reach your dreams and to help you live the creative life you desire. Ultimately, we endeavor to help our client write, paint, compose, find meaning and happiness where the main goal is to create. We will encourage you to set attainable goals and offer a level of accountability through assignments geared to your specific goal. We will inspire you to think bigger and to work on developing your ideas and energies into meaningful creative projects.

Together we will help you identify, understand and work through any creative blocks that stand in the way of your goals. Working with us will enable you to become the creative person, you have always wanted to be.

The “Ignite Your Creativity” program consists of:

      • 4 weeks of creativity coaching via email (consecutive weeks)
      • 1 initial assessment email to get started
      • 4 emails with tips, inspiration and activities geared towards your particular goals
INTRODUCTORY PRICE $75 CDN

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

Using Affirmations to Create the Life You Want!

Using affirmations to create one’s life has become more relevant to “everyday” people who are learning that by controlling their thoughts they can in fact determine their level of happiness and their  own personal meaning in life.  With the advent of such books as “The Secret” and “You Can Heal Your Life” more people are opening themselves to the possibility that they can control their view of the world.  One small caveat that needs to be pointed out is that saying affirmations alone, will not change your world…YOU must do the work to accomplish that!  What affirmations do is help you focus your intentions, help you create a mindset where you are not limiting yourself or delving in to the negativity that so often defeats a person.  Often with a positive mindset, you will see opportunities and take chances you might not do if thinking negatively.

Creating your own affirmations:

When creating affirmations you should try to:

  • form them in the present tense.
  • make sure they are always in the positive tense .
  • they ALWAYS hold meaning for you.
  • write down affirmations, often when we write down our intentions they hold more meaning for us. They are more “concrete”.
  • post your affirmations, dress them up if you like and place them where you can see them and read them everyday!
Example of an Affirmation:
“I will be a great artist”
should be
“I AM a great artist”
By writing “will be” it seems to be something in the future you “may” get around to. By saying you are NOW a great artist you are motivating yourself to DO IT NOW!


This Month’s Affirmation: “I have unlimited potential”


To use as wallpaper click on image to enlarge, for Windows right-click “Set as Desktop”

Book Review

Walking in this World [Paperback] by Julia Cameron (Author)

Reviewer: Belinda Witzenhausen

This is a wonderful book, which helps in what Julia Cameron calls our “creative recovery”.  “Walking in This World: The Practical Art of Creativity” (Penguin Group released 2002) is the intermediate version of The Artist’s Way which assists you in continuing your creative growth. The book is full of sage advice and offers brilliant strategies for overcoming most creative challenges creative people face. This is a wonderful book that helps the reader develop great tools to overcome creative blocks and get back to creating!

List Price: CDN$ 21.00

August’s Book Recommendations

Writing ~ Inspiration

Writing in Flow: Keys to Enhanced Creativity

Susan K. Perry (Author)
List Price: CDN$ 29.53
Writing ~ Instructional

Characters and Viewpoint (Elements of Fiction Writing)

Orson Scott Card(Author)
List Price: CDN$ 20.30
Creativity The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World [Paperback]
Lewis Hyde(Author)
List Price: CDN$ 18.00

August’s Writing Prompts

Write your ending…

We all have a book we loved, that captured our hearts, but we weren’t happy with the ending.  Take this book and re-write the ending you have always imagined. What would the characters do if you were the author?  Would the conclusion teach the same lesson? Leave the reader with the same feeling? Keep to the theme of the book? Contemplate on the page!

A picture is worth a thousand words…

We all, at one time or another have had a dream that has stuck with us. It can be beautiful, scary, meaningful, bizarre, but one way or another it has become unforgettable. Write about your most poignant dream. Describe it in detail. What meaning did it hold, if any?


To use as wallpaper click on image to enlarge, for Windows right-click “Set as Desktop”

Visual Spark~IgniteYourCreativity

http://www.igniteyourcreativity.net
Photographs by Belinda Witzenhausen ©2011
Music by Mike Witzenhausen ©2011

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