anna brones

writer + artist + activist

Posts Tagged ‘creative inspiration

The Winding Path of a Creative Life

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In February, I worked on a project with Subaru and She Explores. This post is brought to you in partnership with Subaru, all opinions are my own.

“I don’t really think that I’m creative.”

I was road tripping from Taos, New Mexico to Marfa, Texas in a 2018 Crosstrek with my good friend and filmmaker Sarah Menzies. We were headed to a storytelling experience hosted by She Explores and sponsored by Subaru. I was driving and she was sitting next to me, and I had just asked her if she had some kind of a daily creative practice.

Sarah makes a variety of films, all focused on interesting characters and important issues, like my recent favorite, “The Mirnavator.” For the last couple of years, I have been working with her on “Afghan Cycles,” a film about women cyclists in Afghanistan and challenging gender stereotypes from the seat of a bicycle. I would certainly consider her a creative and passionate individual, and she’s one of my friends that continually keeps me creatively inspired.

“You don’t think you’re creative?” I responded back to her, not hiding my shock at her statement. This is a woman who always has interesting ideas for how to tell a story, is always drumming up new ideas.

This launched us into a conversation about creativity, what it is and whether or not we “have it” or not. The idea that some of us are creative and that some us aren’t, based on the idea that creativity is some kind of talent, simply isn’t true. Creative thinking is a skill, one that takes work and practice. You don’t get off the couch and run a marathon in record time, and you don’t go from zero creative practice to coming up with a masterpiece. We have to work at creativity, work at doing the things that make our brains better able to think creatively, better able to make connections between ideas, and come up with new ones.

Our conversation about creativity continued, and we began talking about some of the difficulties that come with working in a creative profession. Creative work can be exhausting. There’s a privilege to being able to say that. I am well aware that I don’t have to go work in a mine every day, and I am thankful that I have a profession where I get to do things that I love. But one of the big fears that I often have is that eventually, the creative ideas will cease to come. When your income is tied to your creativity, there is a real fear in wondering whether or not one day you’ll run out of ideas. What happens if you don’t have another idea for a new project? Then what?

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Written by Anna Brones

March 1, 2018 at 10:47

The Journey is as Important as the Destination

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Yogyakarta by Anna Brones

“The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for.” -Louis L’Amour

I love this quote that my friend Dan sent to me this week.

We are so often focused on the end goal – be it a destination, a deadline – that we forget to enjoy the process in between.

That is of course very true when we travel; we forget to slow down. But I also I think about this a lot in terms of doing creative work. You are always hustling to get something finished, it can be hard to focus on anything besides that list of things that you need to have accomplished by a certain time.

I have to force myself to stop and ask yourself, “why do I write?”

When I step back and think about my work, I remind myself that I do in fact love to write. If I let my mind wander, it immediately goes to envisioning a day when I can just sit in a quiet space with a cup of coffee and just write whatever I feel like writing.

But that’s the romantic version of writing. Instead, when I dive into my work, I am mostly stressed about getting an interview, getting to a certain word limit, or cutting something down. In the midst of the madness of the freelance hustle, I completely forget to appreciate that I am in the middle of actually doing the thing that I like to do.

The process isn’t always enjoyable. It can be downright frustrating and hard. But it can also be fun. That moment when you get into a certain flow and you feel like you could just keep going forever. It is those constant ups and downs – the seemingly never-ending roller coaster – that make the entire process so gratifying.

Overall, do you enjoy the journey? If not, it’s time to change paths. What can you do to slow down and appreciate the process?

If we don’t slow down, we forget what pushed us on our various life paths to begin with. There’s a routine to the everyday, but you can’t led it become a rut that silences your passion.

We are all on a journey somewhere, and it’s not just the destination that counts, so let’s all take a little time to slow down.

Written by Anna Brones

April 16, 2015 at 14:06

The Ten Commandments That Block Creativity

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Path in Brittany by Anna Brones

My mother sent me a photo of a typewritten piece of paper this week. It’s a list, titled The Ten Commandments That Block Creativity. Actually it’s written in all caps, since whoever wrote it down thought it was very important.

I assumed she sent it as a push towards creative inspiration as I plugged through deadlines. Deadlines which I am procrastinating on right now by writing this. Mothers are good like that.

The list is credited to Stanley Krippner, and I don’t know where he published the original, but I did see it made an appearance in the 1973 book Child Development and Learning.

In his commandments, Krippner was writing specifically on children, and the cultural norms at play that hamper their creativity from an early age. But I think that as adults, particularly in a creative field, we can find truth in these.

The full list of the commandments goes into detail on each one of them, but I think that they stand for themselves.

The Ten Commandments That Block Creativity

by Stanley Krippner, PhD

1. Everything Thou Doest Must Be Useful

2. Everything that Thou Doest Must Be Successful.

3. Everything Thou Doest Must Be Perfect.

4. Everyone Thou Knowest Must Like Thee.

5. Thou Shalt Not Prefer Solitude to Togetherness

6. Remember Concentrated Attention and Keep it Holy.

7. Thou Shalt Not Diverge From Culturally-Imposed Sex Norms.

8. Thou Shalt Not Express Excessive Emotional Feeling.

9. Thou Shalt Not Be Ambiguous.

10. Thou Shalt Not Rock The Cultural Boat.

So here’s to rocking cultural boats, learning to not be perfect and reminding ourselves that not all we do has to be a success.

Written by Anna Brones

April 14, 2015 at 16:32

Life is Too Short

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Good words from director and  author of Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi:

Life is too short and we cannot spoil it. I don’t have 300 years in front of me. So I just do the things that I really want to do at the moment because that’s the only way you will do them well. If you don’t believe in yourself, it won’t work.

Via.

Written by Anna Brones

February 13, 2012 at 09:46

Ideas Come When…

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My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living. -Anais Nin

Ideas come when you:

say yes more often.
get outside.
drink coffee.
are open to inspiration.
dream.
celebrate the ordinary.
love.
surround yourself with creatives.
are intentional.
live passionately.

[File under: life reminders.]

Written by Anna Brones

January 14, 2012 at 11:25

Unplug?

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Yes.

We are depriving ourselves of every opportunity for disconnection. And our imaginations suffer the consequences.

Via.

Written by Anna Brones

December 9, 2011 at 15:29

Creativity Takes Time

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Written by Anna Brones

November 21, 2011 at 09:08