Tag Archives: creativity

Do You Have The Creativity To Blog?

After 8 months of working out of town, my wife finally showed up Friday night, driving over 3 days from Arkansas back to New York. I helped her bring lots of stuff into the house, as she has no concept of light packing.

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One of the things she brought home from the road was a 32″ flat screen HD TV, which I convinced her to let me set up in the living room with the caveat that I’d donate the Sony blu-ray DVD player I bought while I was on the road. She’d agreed, so we set out to put it into our entertainment center, which was more of a project than you can imagine.
Continue reading Do You Have The Creativity To Blog?

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Blogging And Creativity

How neat; I did a Google Hangout on this very topic yesterday. Okay, I knew I was going to do that video, which is below, but I’m going to add something to the topic here that’s in the video, but the links aren’t on the video.

Mixed Media Painting by Dean Russo / Dumbo Arts Center: Art Under the Bridge Festival 2009 / 20090926.10D.54890.P1.L1.CC / SML
See-ming Lee via Compfight

This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about the subject of blogging and creativity. If you want to reach you can look at last week’s post talking about writing in general and think of it in the context of blogging. You can look at a kind of rant post I wrote titled When Blogging Advice Is A Waste Of Your Time or another post I wrote on the topic of getting backlinks, both of which lamented the same lame advice you get from a lot of other people who don’t take time to create anything new, or say something old in a new way. And there’s two much older articles I wrote on the topic, one titled No, Reading And Creativity Are Obsolete and Your Creativity Is Inside You.

You know what creativity does? It makes people want to revisit your blog or website to see what you have to say next. That’s why I like people like Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion and Holly Jahangiri of It’s All A Matter Of Perspective and Marie Forleo, someone I’ve just discovered along with Social Triggers by Derek Halpern. They’re all fascinating reads that get me to visit often.

Creativity allows you to talk about one subject, or multiple subjects, in lots of different ways. For instance, over the last two years I’ve talked about blogging with posts like 5 Ways Your Blog Might Be Irritating People, 5 Things Bloggers Can Learn From Poker, and 5 Blogging Lessons Learned From The Harry Potter Series, along with a long 2-part series on Better Blogging. I talked about writing with a post titled The Art Of Storytelling and gave quick tips with 10 Writing Tips In 2 Minutes. I talked about social media when I asked if You Are An Online Troll. And I’ve run two series here, one which was known as the Sunday Question, the other called Black Web Friday.

During the same two year period, I wrote what I consider as some interesting posts on my business blog, where I mainly talk about leadership and health care. Some of my more creative posts over there have included How Bad Of A Leader Was Charlie Brown, We Are Not The Borg, Are You As Good A Leader As Kermit The Frog, Would You Talk To A Mouse, and 10 Reasons Harry Potter Is A Great Leader. That last one, by the way, is about to be included in a magazine geared towards children in Malaysia; how’s that for publicity and creativity?

The point is that being just a little bit creative gives people a reason to want to read what you have to say. You don’t have to be overly prolific; just have a point of view, keep your eyes open and your mind clear so that you’ll see relationships in things that support your view, write about them and give people different perspectives on what they may encounter on a daily basis. As you’ll hear in the video, there’s agreement amongst my cohorts, as well as the voicing of a concern that doesn’t bother me, but might be something you think of from time to time. I hope the video gives a bit more perspective than I’ve given here. If nothing else, I’ve shared some posts with you that I hope you find intriguing.
 


 

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5 Ways Blogging Is Like A Toaster Oven

I know what you’re thinking: Mitch has gone nuts! lol Well, not quite. I’ve talked about the process of trying to come up with things to write about on one’s blog, no matter what the industry is. I hear from so many people who say they don’t know what to say, or can’t come up with something different to highlight their points, and thus they stop writing.

Farberware Special Select 4-Slice Toaster Oven with Baking Tray






I say that if you pay attention to your surroundings, or what’s going on in the news or life in general, that there’s always something to write about. Thus, as I was toasting a piece of bread in my toaster oven, it hit me that there really are 5 ways blogging and toaster ovens are related. Want to see? Here we go:

1. Each is multi-functional. Take a look at the item to the right. It toasts; it bakes; it warms things up, and it’s sizable enough where you can fit a lot of different things inside it.

Take a look at blogs. When you write, you educate, entertain or inform. You advertise yourself via an About page. You can have ads on it to help you make money. You can link it to other websites for whatever reason.

2. Each can be dangerous. One thing I’ve always worried about is getting burned on the metal thing that my toast or english muffin sits on, and it’s happened here and there. My wife worries about there being a short or it overheating because sometimes she forgets that using the oven portion, the sucker doesn’t shut itself off.

Sometimes what people write on their blog will set off the wrong person or convey the wrong message. Someone might read your post, go back to their blog and totally trash you (yeah, okay, I do that from time to time lol). You might have affiliate links on your site and have someone burn you by stealing them, changing them up, and taking your money from you.

3. Each looks nice and shiny at the beginning, but needs cleaning or changing up to stay fresh looking. If you haven’t cleaned your toaster oven in at least a year go take a look at what’s inside it. You’ll have all sorts of gunk sitting at the bottom of it, some of it a charred mess. The rack your toast and stuff sits on is probably caked with some black gunk as well. It just doesn’t look all that shiny and pretty anymore.

The same happens with some blogs. The writer stops trying as hard and the words are boring to read. The ads never change and you start to ignore what you’re seeing. The size and style of the posts never vary; there’s no variety. There’s too many spam comments and it seems like the owner just doesn’t care.

4. They’re both easy to change in some fashion. The best thing about toaster ovens is that you can put them anywhere in the kitchen; heck, you don’t even have to put them in the kitchen. I remember some folks having one of these in their college dorm room; that goes way back. Also, they come in multiple colors and styles; never boring at all.

Blogs are the same way. If you don’t like the theme, you can change it. If what you’re writing about is starting to feel like a grind, change it. If you want to write in a different style, you can. If you want to add something new, do it; no rules.

5. Both can bring great joy over and over again. Look at that toaster oven again. That bad boy can toast bread or an english muffin multiple times, multiple days, possibly over multiple years. You can always throw something in there to heat up or cook, and you’ll eat that, love that, and come back for more.

The same with blogging, whether you’re the writer or the reader. This will be my 305th post on the topic of blogging, and I hope that each post can stand on its own and not be a duplicate of another post. Yet every time I write about blogging or any of the other items I feel a great joy, like I’m eating a great piece of chocolate cake (love good chocolate cake), and when that’s done, I know that I can come back and write another one tomorrow, or the next day, or whenever. And it may not be on blogging but on something else; how wonderful is that for me, and hopefully for the readers, who know that they’re not going to get the same exact thing from me here on this blog, or see something that someone else has written elsewhere. At least I hope not; people do steal sometimes. 🙂

There; I bet you thought I couldn’t do it. Agree, disagree, mouth agape because I pulled it off? Let me know. 😉
 

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Where Do You Come Up With This Stuff? – Guest Post

Most of you know that Mitchell Allen of Morpho Designs and I are pretty good friends. We play email chess together and work on encouraging each other to do great things. He’s also one of the most creative writers I know. I’ll admit that I may not always understand it, but it challenges me, which doesn’t happen all that often. I asked him to write this guest post on his thinking process and, well, how he comes up with his stuff; this is his response.

Mitchell Allen

I often get asked this question when I post a piece of fiction. I love answering the question because, over the years, I can see how my answers evolve. I take more credit for the process than I used to. Yet, I’m quick to acknowledge that elusive spark when I’m at a loss to explain where that stuff came from.
Continue reading Where Do You Come Up With This Stuff? – Guest Post

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ARRHH! How Can I Work With These Creative Graphic Designers? – Guest Post

Some of you might recognize Wes’ name. He’s a regular commenter on this blog, and some of his articles are on topics that are pretty cool to comment on as well. I don’t take a lot of guest articles on this blog, but he’s earned his way here and thus I’m pleased to offer him some time here. I’m even allowing the Australian spelling of words instead of changing them to the American version. 🙂 Please check out his blog as well.

It is not easy to start or run a business. You may have a long list of suppliers and customers you need to build relationships with. Among the people you will inevitably need to work with when starting a business is graphic designers. How on earth can you work with these creative, arty-farty types.

Your experience with graphic designers does not need to be as harrowing as you may think. In fact, not all graphic designers are ‘arty-farty’. However, I do understand the perception out there and have a few suggestions to make it easier and more enjoyable to deal with graphic designers. These include:

Create a rock-solid vision

Before approaching or hiring a graphic designer, it is best if you are clear in your own mind what your intended outcome is for any given project. It is a colossal waste of time to kick-off a graphic design project then change your mind when it’s almost complete. This can be quite costly as graphic designers will charge for modifications and authors corrections. I’m not suggesting you need to have a clear vision for the actual design or the look and feel but you need to be rock-solid in what your intended result is.

Communicate your vision clearly

Knowing exactly what you want and being able to convey this to your graphic designer can be difficult. It will help to write the vision down so you can communicate the brief clearly. It’s great to talk through the brief so it can be discussed however this can cause problems for graphic designers if that’s all you give them. It can be difficult determining what is clear direction and what is a passing thought or idea if you don’t write it down.
To make sure there is no communication gap, give your graphic designer samples of designs you like and dislike. This is a sure-fire way of speeding up the design process and being clear about what you are wanting. It can be difficult to describe in words what you are looking for visually. For example, if a colour was important to you, provide colour swatches or samples so you can communicate precisely what you are looking for.
If there are certain logos, graphics or images you want to be included in your project, prepare them before meeting with your graphic designer. This will save you both time and make the briefing easier.

Knowing your budget

You should know your budget limitations before starting a graphic design project. You may need to have an initial discussion with your graphic designer to get an idea of costings before you define your budget. If your graphic designers understand your budget restraints, they may be able to make recommendations so you get the best bang for your buck. For example if you wanted to produce a flyer that included photography, your graphic designer could suggest stock photography. Stock photography could save you quite a bit of money so you could then afford to print more flyers with the same budget. If you are not transparent and upfront with your graphic designer, you may miss these kind of opportunities.

Knowing your time-frame

This boils down to being clear in the communication process even during the primary stages of your project. Be honest, if it’s needed in a weeks time, don’t say you only have three days to give yourself ‘breathing room’. Your graphic designer may not be able to invest the time and energy into your short time frame that he/she would have with a little more time. If the deadline is critical, be really clear about that and trust your graphic designer to meet the deadline.

With the pace of business these days, we always tend to want things yesterday. For this reason we want our projects to be worked on immediately however, if this is going to impact on the quality of work being produced maybe you should reconsider your time-frame.


Wes Towers invites you to learn more about marketing, branding, graphic design and web design and how they can help in your business. Check out www.omnificdesign.com.au for more resources and free ebooks.

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