Creativity, blocks and workflow. How do you Stay creative?

Today I submitted a short essay on creativity for a book designed to help people get out of a creative rut, by artist writer Noah Scalin for a  follow-up to his recent book 365: A Daily Creativity Journal.  I also found through Noah Five Tips for Endless Artistic Inspiration by Beth Brown

I'd love to hear what keeps you creative?

Creativity, blocks and workflow. Tough Love of a full time artist. By NYCSubwayGirl Cathy Grier

Keep a journal of ideas and inspirations.  It provides great resource material when you are blocked. I find journaling in the morning is a great way to awaken my creativity. I sometimes journal while listening to Pubic Radio. I often hear interesting stories that inspire creativity to riff on. In addition to being a great writing exercise, journaling provides an endless source of material to draw from when I’m creatively blocked.

Bookmark sites and stories that can inspire material. On my computer I keep a bookmark folder in my browser of interesting people, stories or places I have discovered. When I need a creative nudge, I frequently go to that list. However, it’s important to be mindful of internet distractions and the temptation to click off topic. 

Schedule creative time. Daily!  It’s easier to stay focused on my writing when I establish a routine, especially when I don’t have a particular project I’m working on. With tough love I schedule my creative time or I can get lost in the art of multi-tasking self-promotion. To ensure I get the best results, I experimented to find the time of day when I am most productive and stick with that time.

Use performing as a means to stimulate creativity. When I have an idea for a song or need a new arrangement, I work it out during a subway gig. The chaotic environment of commuters provides a rhythmic texture that’s inspirational. It’s a collaboration of creativity in movement. I love learning through this process what songs suddenly stand out and get attention.

Nothing is gained by stressing. Believing in yourself doesn’t save you from ever being creatively stuck. But it should help you get through those moments when they do come. I believe my life’s work is wholly designed for creativity, so when I’m blocked I have learned not to stress about it. I quickly try to do some mundane task until I feel I’ve distracted myself away from any potential negative or unproductive thoughts. Then I go back to my creativity. If that doesn’t work, I take a walk, have a tea break, or listen to the radio with my journal in hand.

Creativity like a good friend needs to be nurtured and supported with consistent authenticity.

NYC Subway Girl's tips for a cooler summer

This summer if you're serious about doing your part to reduce energy consumption due to the horrific oil spew in the Gulf, consider how much our energy use produces heat.  We heat things up artificially and then we need to cool them down artificially.  Sounds crazy but true. A life lived with concern for sustainability starts with reason. Reducing waste and energy is a reasonable place to start.

Here are NYC Subway Girl's top ten things you can do to keep things cooler AND reduce energy consumption this summer:

1) Turn off lights when not in use.  

2) Do you know how much heat comes off incandescent lighting? One solution is to switch to LED or CFC compact fluorescent bulbs (Kudos if you've already switched).  A quick solution is to pay closer attention to #1 above.

3) Turn cooling units to realistic temperatures. Just because you can, don't cool to need to wear a parka. 

4) Install programmable thermostats.  They come cheap and easy to program, set for moderate temperatures when away or asleep.  Portable A/C units come with programmable features too-upgrade it's worth it which leads me to #5.

5)  replace older model refrigerators, A/C units and other small appliances.    If you're reading this you're on a computer.  Imagine if you were still using a computer from 2000?!  Why hold onto your antiquated energy eating monsters just because "they're still humming"  That hum is the sound of heating up your room, a huge energy and money waste.  Remember anything that has to cool puts out heat. (ever stand near any one of these units you'll know what I mean).  Energy Star is a must, for A/C units look for ratings above a #9, #10+ is best. Refrigerators look at the listed annual cost of electricity posted inside the unit.

6) Close refrigerator door.  Don't poke around with the door wide open for longer than it takes to remove something. The unit will have to re-cool everything and the motors will heat up.  And keep the temperature reasonable, it's fun I guess, but ice-cream isn't supposed to be put in a microwave (wasting more energy in the process). 

7) Do not idle car while sitting in it, unless it's 105 degrees outside and your grandmother or elderly pet is with you forget about it.  The heat that is produced is excessive and the harmful emissions are not worth it. 

8) Unplug chargers and computers when not in use, they really heat up a lot and waste energy.

9) Do not use a dryer for your clothes. Hot, hot, and hotter.  Especially in summer, clothes dry quickly on a line, hanging over a shower curtain rod, or be cool and purchase a drying rack.

10) Turn off water when brushing teeth, soaping dishes, even washing your body in the shower. Water needs pumps, pumps use energy.  Hot water needs to be heated.  So, be mindful of excess water use. Replacing older model dishwashers and washing machines reduce water use by as much as 50%.


on 2010-07-15 20:29 by NYC Subway Girl

How to dispose of all those old electronics you've collected known as e-waste

It's important to recycle all appliances.  Most states and local communities have designated e-waste drop off days easily searchable online. Here's some info for New York  Before discarding appliances containing CFC gas or freon (such as refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, or dehumidifiers), you must schedule an appointment to place the item at the curb for CFC recovery. You can make an appointment on the Sanitation website or call 311. For safety reasons, the law requires doors to be removed from refrigerators and freezers before placing at the curb.

I found Green Up USA while trying to learn more about e-waste. Green Up USA Inc. is a non-profit, electronics recycling organization reaching out to organizations and communities to heighten environmental awareness through recycling and disposal fundraising events to support charities.  

Tips, come what may

I love performing in the subway, if I didn't put a bag down, people invariably try and give me money while I'm still playing, my hands, my mouth too busy. And it feels strange to stop in the middle of a song just to take money from someone. So I put a bag down. Some tips have prompted me to take a picture. Today I

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LIRR a spot for chaos or calm

LIRR a spot for chaos or calm November 5, 2009 LIRR Arrived ready to set up and Ricardo steel drummer was playing he was a joyful fellow from Trinidad and we laughed about our fun life… The performance location is between the flower stand and McDonalds, so I get this amazing color from the flowers and the close proximity of the people stopping by to buy bouquets, a lovely energy. The people coming in and out of McDo’s couldn’t be more diverse. I don’t really like the smell, but tolerate it better than the constant hum=roar of a large machine? Fan? Don’t know what it is, but it’s somewhere behind me. People linger, lean on columns, listen. I started
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