My friend Dawn and I had both been working very hard. We needed to push the reset button. What better way to push the reset button than through play?
We live many miles apart, so we scheduled a virtual play date. We met via phone and brainstormed about something playful we’d each like to do. We agreed our play date would last 23 minutes. Why 23? No reason, other than it’s a random number, not commonly used as a time increment, a number borne of adventure rather than thought.
I decided to color a page from my Spongebob coloring book. Dawn had a household task she wanted to infuse with a little fun to make it more bearable. Next, we sprinkled our play with a little magic, in the form of a small question.
A small question is a powerful tool. A small question can be brought into a play (or work) session by writing it down, then letting it simmer and bubble while we engage with the activity at hand. Simmering and bubbling occurs in the non-thinking, creative part of our brain, allowing the answers to arise in surprising ways.
Small questions don't have immediate answers. They can start with phrases like:
How can I…
Taking a cue from the playful mood, my small question was a fill-in-the-blank style:
“Feeling carefree, I get to _________ more often.”
As I colored Spongebob, words began bubbling up. I wrote them in the blank spaces on the page.
hang with friends
Glow. That final word had a ring to it.
It spoke to me as something I wanted more of. To spread light from within: a soft, gentle light.
“Feeling carefree, I get to GLOW more often.”
GLOW doesn't apologize.
GLOW doesn't need permission.
GLOW is a natural state of being alive.
I realized I may have stumbled across a theme to carry into the New Year, all summed up in a single word.
As our 23 minutes came to an end, Dawn and I brought our play date to a close by sharing what we discovered. That was 23 minutes very well spent, all in the name of PLAY.
Thank you Dawnbob and Spongebob. I enjoyed riding the Play Train with you. Having a buddy to play with makes all the difference.
I invite you to book a virtual play date with someone. Think of a small question to bring into your playtime (or feel free to borrow mine). I’d love to hear what bubbles up for you. Please share about your experience in the comments below.
Let's talk about CRAP. It's an unlikely word to associate with creativity, right?
One of my teachers in design school introduced me to this acronym, which has stuck with me over time. It's an easy guide to improving a visual design, which I think can be applied to any creative project, or even life in general. CRAP stands for:
CONTRAST adds interest to a composition. Some examples are: light and dark, curvy and straight, rough and smooth. Darkness makes the light stand out brighter. Straight lines bring stability to the motion of curves. Smooth textures gives our eye a place to rest from the bumpy rough patches. This is definitely an example of art imitating life. Contrast often teaches us what we really want, through experiencing the opposite.
REPETITION provides a sense of rhythm. Whenan element is repeated, it unifies a composition. For example, take a look at the leaves in my logo. These repeated shapes unify the design. In life, think about the tasks we repeat each day and how they form the rhythm of our life. Practicing, repeating something helps us improve until the task is as natural as a heartbeat.
ALIGNMENT is an easy way to improve a design. Placing scattered elements along an invisible spine pulls the composition in to focus. The next time you take a photograph, look for ways to align the elements in the frame. Rather than cropping the tree out of the image, notice how it aligns with the edge of the house, for example. In life, aligning our actions with our intentions can be a potent practice.
PROXIMITY is the final word. Bringing elements closer together unifies the composition. For example, in the clay pot exercise, a palpable synergy occurred when we placed our pots in proximity to each other; a community formed. Think for a moment about your creative life. Whom do you like to have in close proximity to support you? Do you have the support you need? Give yourself permission to ask for more if you need to.
So, the next time you're feeling stuck, remember CRAP!
For more creativity tips, get my nifty NEW e-book, "Progress Without Pressure: 5 easy ways to get on track with your creative project" This FREE, downloadable guide contains 5 simple activities to help you break out of your daily rut and spark fun, imagination, and a fresh perspective.
Kim Flowers Evans is a visual identity specialist and creativity coach who is passionate about helping individuals and business owners find expression, enjoyment, and flow in life, art, and enterprise. Learn more at Kim Evans Studio.
Kim's memoir, What I Gave to the Fire, is available in both print and Kindle formats on Amazon.com.
Author and Copywriter
I am passionate about helping women write their truth and share their message. I offer
personalized coaching programs designed to help soulful entrepreneurs tap their inner wisdom, write the stories they need to tell, and build a business they love.
My memoir, What I Gave to the Fire, is available in both print and Kindle formats on Amazon.com.