Get Cozy with Your Creative Chaos

Creativity is easy when you’re a preschool-aged child. Slowly but surely, the need for the “right” answers and approval grows and creativity shrinks. We become afraid of the chaos that is creativity. Stop being afraid. Get cozy with your creative chaos.

Count to Five and Start

Starting is the hardest part, facing a blank page you balk. Your brain wants to find order. There’s safety and security in order. But creativity is not a straight line from concept to the idea to execution to product. 

What Creative Chaos Looks Like

Image shows graphic representation of creativity with a squiggly, chaotic line morphing into a disjointed line and then a line with ups and downs
Image adapted from an image on  

Allow Failure

Part of creativity is failure. And often, failure sets off alarms in our brain. It triggers the fight-or-flight response. There are no right or wrong answers. Does that make you uncomfortable? Good. You can’t create without a little discomfort and a lot of chaos. Plan for failure. For writers, that means write a crappy first draft. Plan for it to be crappy. Editing it will turn it into the polished piece.


Feed your creativity the images, words, sounds, rhythms it needs to replenish. Gathering lots of ideas is critical to creativity. Use all the arts, all the media you can get your hands on. The things you feed your creativity mix and meld and mash together into something new and different.

Processing Time

You sit down at your creative station, your desk, and…nothing happens. Your mind is a blank. Most likely you’ve not given your brain the processing time it needs. Do something else. Unleash your creative chaos. Your ideas need time in the primordial ooze to reshape them into something creative. 

Be Open

The first idea you come up with is usually predictable, trite, or blah. Be open to lots of ideas, even the ones that seem crazy. Play with each of them a little. Have fun with it!

Be Ready

Creativity often comes in the middle of something else. Be prepared. Keep a notebook and pen or electronic device by your bed, in your pocket or purse, everywhere. Prepare your family/friends. That blank stare in the middle of a conversation isn’t about them; it’s your brain finally pulling something out of your creative chaos.

You don’t have to be an artist. Everyone is creative. But many adults have stifled that creativity for so long they believe they have no creativity. Undo the brainwashing. Build up your creativity muscles with ways you can be more creative and what you should know about creativity. Creativity isn’t a straight line. It isn’t neat. But it is mighty rewarding. Get cozy with your creative chaos and go be a maker.

3 Ways You Can Be More Creative

You still think you aren’t creative or you aren’t creative enough? Even after you read “You Don’t Have to be an Artist?” Hint: everyone is creative. But, you may be out of practice. Creativity needs to be practiced, repeated, made a habit. Here are 3 ways you can be more creative.

Image of a row of lightbulbs with one lit...Creativity needs to practiced. Here are 3 ways you can be more creative.

Change Your Approach

You feel stymied. Blunted. Perhaps you feel you’ve used up all your creativity. If your creative self has spent time in a deep, dark hole you need to change your approach. Don’t expect it to spring out of the hole and work on demand. Think about it. Would you expect a mistreated dog or cat to let you waltz up to it and pet it without getting scratched or bit? Of course, you wouldn’t. You’d try coaxing the animal out. You’d re-establish trust and show it that you would be gentle.

Treat your creative self gently. Don’t allow negative self-talk. At least recognize and stop the negative self-talk. Creativity seems to make us all nervous. Watch this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert about the fear we have around creativity.

Look for the ways you are creative and give yourself a pep talk. You fixed that thing-a-bob with a hairpin? Way to be creative! You whipped up dinner by combining two different leftovers? Look at your creative self!

Make Room for Creativity

Make a date with your creativity. Let’s say you want to be more creative with your mealtimes. A set time and place where you’ll allow for more creative thoughts.

You can’t just give someone a creativity injection. You have to create an environment for curiosity and a way to encourage people and get the best out of them.

Ken Robinson

Give yourself permission to say yes to every idea that comes into your head. Pickled steak? Yes, I could make that a meal or…I could make pickle steaks…or….you get the idea. Crazy ideas you won’t use—of course, but I’ll bet a good one will pop up when you least expect it. (By the way, I’m a terrible cook so my creativity has to really stretch there. Lol)

Feed your Creativity

To be more creative, feed your creativity a varied diet. Go to museums, concerts, nature centers, arts & crafts fairs, aquariums, or zoos. Take a class. Go window shopping for a fantasy gift. Read—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, song lyrics, plays traditional, avant-garde.

Try something new—horseback riding, skiing, fishing, something you’ve never done before. Notice how you feel when you try it and how you feel afterward.

Creativity requires input, and that’s what research is. You’re gathering material with which to build.

Gene Luen Yang

Make yourself a vessel for creativity. Read about or watch folks who inspire you with new and different ideas. James Clear is one person on line who blogs about creativity. See what he has to say about How to Unlock Your Hidden Creative Genuis.

By the way, I’m celebrating a little of my creativity. My new novel, Fellowship, is available on Amazon and most online bookstores starting today. Buy your copy today.

So, those are 3 ways you can be more creative. Have you tried any of the things listed here? Did you find one thing that worked best for you? Please share your discoveries in the comments. Next week we’ll discuss more things you can do to properly feed and care for your creativity. Until then, practice.

In a World of Peril, Create

I had intended to blog about Halloween quotes and traditions this week, but the recent tragedies in the U.S. changed my mind. People are hurting and grieving and scared. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate Halloween. It means that many people are overwhelmed at this horrid turn of events. I’m overwhelmed. But there’s a way to beat back the overwhelming emotions. In a world of peril, create. Create love, create art, create a pie (pumpkin anyone?), create hope.


Love is evident everywhere in this time of grief and fear. It was in the police officers who got shot trying to stop the violence. It’s in the grieving loved ones feel. Shared sorrow is borne out of love of your fellow man. Vowing to support those who are being persecuted, hunted, and harmed—is a form of love.

This doesn’t mean don’t be angry. Hate what happened. Hate the fear and abuse and hatred. But if you choose to hate a single person or group of persons you are no different than the people who killed or tried to kill people they hate. Hate begets hate.

Take comfort in the outpouring of love. Give love. Love the helpers, the grieving, the victims. Support and comfort them. Giving love will give you a measure of comfort, too.


Despite the horrific actions of a few, I believe Anne Frank was right. The majority of people are really good at heart. Believe in the goodness of others. Don’t put yourself into harm’s way, but don’t “shelter in place” forever. Don’t give up! Let the good people in. Notice and nurture the good people around you. Believe in hope.


Why? Destruction and creation are yin and yang. Creating something will swing the balance away from destruction. Sometimes destruction can be a good thing such as destroying an unsafe bridge. Destruction often is a bad thing, but good things come out of it. People helping other people. Rebuilding a better, stronger place. In a world of peril, create.

I am a writer, so I create stories out of words. I have friends who create art. Other friends knit, sew clothing and costumes, make music, turn iron into beautiful signs and wall hangings, create heavenly food, or make jewelry. Some people create a healthy body. There are people who create a happy family, build buildings, put a jigsaw puzzle together, and so many more creative activities. Your creation doesn’t need to be large or extravagant or perfect. Whatever your special creative talent is, use it now. Balance your world. For when you balance your part of the world you restore a little hope. And hope becomes a beacon for others.

Out of Love

So when the destructive forces of the world overwhelm you, when in a world of peril, create. Be a beacon of hope, create something out of love. Out of love, be the change you want to see happen. Create it. Make your world, and mine, a better place.