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This is the seventh in a series featuring worldwide creative-thinkers’ responses to questions about creativity posted previously on this site.
Please welcome Barbara Florio Graham, a writer, teacher and communications consultant. Her book “Musings” was a winner in the 2002 Cat Writers’ Association, Inc. communications contest. Visit Barbara’s website at www.SimonTeakettle.com
1. What is a creative environment?
Any environment can be enhanced to stimulate creativity. If you work all day in a small cubicle with neutral walls decorated only with calendars, charts, and the occasional family photo, it’s very difficult to think creatively.
How do you define it?
A creative environment is full of things that stimulate your right brain. The ideal surroundings include plants, running water (perhaps a table fountain), a view outside where you can see nature (my office overlooks a large pine tree and bird feeders), and lots of visual images: not just photos, but posters, drawings, abstract as well as conventional art.
What do you need to be at your creative best? How do you/can we develop a creative environment to promote day-to-day creative-thinking and solutions at home, school and in business? (You can refer to physical space, attitudes, systems, beliefs, etc.)
In addition to the surroundings I’ve described above, anyone can move into a space that’s more right-brain friendly, such as the courtyard or lobby of a building where there is art, plants, a fountain, and different kinds of seating from your office chair. Taking a walk outdoors is helpful, and those who work at home (or tend to brainstorm problems while they’re at home) will find that taking a shower or a bath can help. Water is a great stimulant for the right brain.
2. What are the common obstacles and fears people commonly face when called to use their creativity?
I mentor writers, and many complain about writer’s block. But that is almost always caused by fear. If you don’t attempt something, you can’t fail! Thinking you might not be able to do something is a sure way to shut down and become more frustrated.
What solutions do you have?
I teach an online course, called Tapping Your Innate Creativity, that has received rave evaluations from participants since I first began to offer it in hands-on workshops two decades ago. The lessons and exercises are original with me, and everyone who has taken the course tells me they really work.
3. What strategies are available for people to access their creativity?
I describe a great many in my course, and work individually with participants to help them along the way, because each person is different.
4. In what ways are you creative?
The best testament to my creativity is my famous cat, who owns the company, has been featured on radio and TV, wrote an award-winning book, and has a blog. I created the persona more than 30 years ago, and the third (real) cat to carry the name Simon Teakettle heads a MEWSical Society with 33 cats from six countries plus a parrot. He now has a Facebook Fan Club, and the fan page on his website includes several dogs, birds, a rabbit, an alpaca and a llama. How creative is that!
In what ways do you contribute to the creative process/outcomes for others?
By working with writers and entrepreneurs I mentor, and through my online course.
Your comments and feedback to this posting are more than welcome.
If you would like to send your own opinions, ideas and experiences, click here for the questions. When you’ve completed them, click here to send your responses and contact details.
You and your story may be mentioned in my book-in-progress about mining creativity, with acknowledgement and reference to you and your contact information.
Please forward the link to this site to anyone in your network who might be interested in reading them and/or participating.
All the best.
To listen to call-ins discussing “Creativity and Innovation in Our Homes, Schools and Workplaces” with co-host World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15-21 co-founder and Creativityland CEO Marci Segal, click here to tune in to Part One on Episode 29 and Part Two on Episode 30.
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