anna brones

writer + artist

Posts Tagged ‘creativity

2022 Words for Creating and Being: March

leave a comment »

Untitled_Artwork 5

New month, new prompts in the 2022 Words for Creating and Being series.

Words for contemplation, words for action, words for creativity.

I know that things are heavy right now. Which is even more reason for us to take time to be present, to think, to connect, to create.

1. pause
2. feel
3. immerse
4. focus
5. grace
6. respond
7. decide
8. resistance
9. see
10. root
11. open
12. revive
13. forge
14. voice
15. support
16. plunge
17. contemplate
18. there
19. amend
20. emerge
21. choose
22. trim
23. expand
24. notice
25. connect
26. intertwine
27. invite
28. revitalize
29. transform
30. struggle
31. adapt

What happens when we sit with a word? When we unpack it? When we investigate every single letter? When we consider what’s behind the definition? That’s what these words are for. They are intended to create space for contemplation, they are an ask for you to invest time in the creative process in all of its forms.

You can find previous monthly lists of prompts here.

As always, these monthly prompts and a lot of my other work are made possible thanks to supporters on Patreon.

Written by Anna Brones

March 1, 2022 at 20:24

2022 Words for Creating and Being: February

leave a comment »

New month, new prompts. 

This is the second month of 2022 Words for Creating and Being (here are the ones from January). As opposed to last year when I made more specific prompts, a single word offers a little more room for interpretation. They can be for drawing, for writing, or simply for contemplating.

Let the word sit with you for the day. Say it out loud, feel it on your tongue, hold it in your head. Then see where it leads you. 

1. here
2. ground
3. answer
4. become
5. return
6. infinite
7. cloud
8. peel
9. uncover
10. approach 
11. ramble
12. grip
13. deviate
14. kind
15. rise
16. resolve
17. tend
18. glide
19. remove
20. stretch
21. abundance
22. align
23. begin
24. build
25. dedicate
26. shadow
27. complete
28. radiate

What happens when we sit with a word? When we unpack it? When we investigate every single letter? When we consider what’s behind the definition? That’s what these words are for. They are intended to create space for contemplation, they are an ask for you to invest time in the creative process in all of its forms.

You can find previous monthly lists of prompts here.

As always, these monthly prompts and a lot of my other work are made possible thanks to supporters on Patreon.

Written by Anna Brones

February 1, 2022 at 06:25

2022 Words for Creating and Being: January

leave a comment »

New year, new prompts!

Last year I put together monthly lists of creativity prompts. They were mostly intended as drawing prompts but they worked as writing prompts too.

I wanted to continue this year but felt that drawing prompts could often be a little prescriptive. Creative plays a role in my daily life, but I am personally not someone who does well with strict daily routines. I wanted some kind of prompt that felt a little more open to interpretation.

Enter the 2022 Words for Creating and Being.

Creativity isn’t passive—creativity requires action. Most of all, creativity requires curiosity and contemplation.

Modern society doesn’t always provide a lot of space for that, and if we are seeking to be more creative this is an excellent place to start. To kick off the year, I read Pico Iyer’s The Art of Stillness and this stood out:

“It’s easy to feel as if we’re standing two inches away from a huge canvas that’s noisy and crowded and changing with every microsecond. It’s only by stepping farther back and standing still that we begin to see what that canvas (which is our life) really means, and to take in the larger picture.”

So these monthly lists of words will be a space for doing that. Use them as a springboard for writing, for drawing, or just for thinking. Take the word to paper with a pencil. Take the word with you on a walk and ponder. Share the word and see what conversation it sparks. These words are intended to create space for contemplation, they are an ask for you to invest time in the creative process in all of its forms.

I didn’t launch this list on January 1st. There’s so much pressure on the first day of the year to start something new. I think we need a pause before we begin, a little extra breathing room. So that’s what … is for.

//

1. …

2. presence

3. exist

4. quiet

5. solitude

6. exchange

7. rejuvenate

8. dull

9. absorb

10. wind

11. howl

12. extend

13. breathe

14. befriend

15. capture

16. collaborate

17. dark

18. cultivate

19. hope

20. plan

21. consider

22. reflection

23. unearth

24. deepen

25. marinate

26. beam

27. ignite

28. expression

29. renew

30. arrive

31. create

We spend our lives surrounded (and sometimes inundated) by words. We read books, we have conversations, we write emails, we scan headlines. But how often do we really spend time contemplating them? Time holding a word, turning it on its head, considering it means and what we want it to mean? 

I can’t wait to see what spending stillness with some words will lead to. 

You can find previous monthly lists of prompts here.

As always, these monthly prompts and a lot of my other work are made possible thanks to supporters on Patreon.

Written by Anna Brones

January 2, 2022 at 11:59

Daily Creativity Prompts: December 2021

leave a comment »

New month, new prompts!

The last month of the year, the entry point to the darker season. The welcome of solstice, the celebration of festivities. It’s can also be a bit of a hectic/frantic season if you do any kind of elf business, so I am taking some time every morning like I did last year to look at my Advent calendar, drink a cup of coffee, and do a drawing.

This also marks an entire year of me making monthly lists of daily #creativefuelprompts. I haven’t done them all (except for the monthly mugs!), but making them has been a reminder to constantly invest in creativity, no matter what the investment is. Thank you to all of you who have done some of them, many of them, or all of them if you’re my friend Margret (seriously she did an entire year’s worth).

You can find previous monthly lists of prompts here.

Want some more ways to slow down and enjoy this season? I’ve got my annual digital Advent calendar running this month as well which you can still sign up for. As always, these monthly prompts and a lot of my other work are made possible thanks to supporters on Patreon.

Daily Creativity Prompts: November 2021

leave a comment »

New month, new prompts!

The first time I made a list of monthly prompts was last November. So this marks a year of making them. Not necessarily a year of doing them every day, but I definitely have a lovely collection of all the monthly mugs in my sketchbook.

You can find previous monthly lists of prompts here.

These monthly prompts and a lot of my other work are made possible thanks to supporters on Patreon. Maybe you want to consider joining?

Written by Anna Brones

November 1, 2021 at 13:48

Daily Creativity Prompts: October 2021

leave a comment »

New month, new prompts!

October is Inktober, so there are a lot of people doing daily drawings this month. Maybe it’s time for you to join in too?

And yes, #2 is definitely a McSweeney’s reference.

You can find previous monthly lists of prompts here.

These monthly prompts and a lot of my other work are made possible thanks to supporters on Patreon. Maybe you want to consider joining?

Written by Anna Brones

October 1, 2021 at 09:07

Daily Creativity Prompts: September 2021

leave a comment »

While I am not quite ready for fall yet, I made September prompts that will hopefully gently ease us into the season.

Drawing, writing, daily, daily-ish… whatever works for you on these.

Take some time every day to sit down and draw the prompt. Don’t love drawing? Use them as writing prompts instead. Or do something entirely different: blind contour drawings perhaps?

You can find previous monthly lists of prompts here.

These monthly prompts and a lot of my other work are made possible thanks to supporters on Patreon. Maybe you want to consider joining?

Written by Anna Brones

September 1, 2021 at 10:52

Daily Creativity Prompts: August 2021

leave a comment »

You know the drill: draw, write, scribble, etc. Do them daily or just drop in here and there.

You can find previous monthly lists of prompts here.

These monthly prompts and a lot of my other work are made possible thanks to supporters on Patreon. Maybe you want to consider joining?

Written by Anna Brones

August 1, 2021 at 13:21

Daily Creativity Prompts: June 2021

leave a comment »

You know the drill: draw, write, scribble, etc. Do them daily or just drop in here and there.

You can find previous monthly lists of prompts here.

These monthly prompts and a lot of my other work are made possible thanks to supporters on Patreon. Maybe you want to consider joining?

Written by Anna Brones

June 1, 2021 at 08:30

Coffee Outside, With a Dose of Creativity

with one comment

Coffee Adventures Outside is a collaboration between myself and Alastair Humphreys, released each month on the new moon. We hope you’ll join us in our coffee adventures, wherever you are. 

What makes you feel creative?

Every month we have been exploring ways that coffee can offer the opportunity for interesting microadventures, a vehicle into exploration of the world around us or our inner selves. What is otherwise a very regular routine can lead to  something new when simply done in an alternative setting. We started things with a simple coffee outside, then took a challenge to explore someplace new, and then took time and space for solitude in the forest. This time around we’re aiming for creativity.

We tend to equate creativity with things like drawing, painting or singing. But no matter what profession we are in—teacher, rocket scientist, accountant, adventurer—we all require creative thinking. Creative thinking is about seeing what’s around us, using the knowledge that we have, and being able to link things together in new ways. Creativity is about problem solving, having new ideas, changing perspective and carving a new path forward. 

We don’t always allow ourselves to be creative, or even worse, we consider creativity an inherent personality trait, something only attainable to an elite, talented few. But we all have the capacity for creativity. Think of creativity like a muscle. We can work at it and we can train our creative selves. If we haven’t worked at it in a little while, we might feel rusty, a little weaker than usual.

The capacity for creativity lies in all of us. Creativity is elemental and part of what makes us human. As acclaimed biologist and thinker E.O. Wilson puts it in his book, The Origins of Creativity, “creativity is the unique and defining trait of our species; and its ultimate goal, self-understanding… This infinite reach of imagination, put quite simply, is what made us great.”

While we’re culturally enamored with the idea of a “lightning bolt of inspiration,” the reality is that the creative process is much more complex: a combination of seeing, learning, and thinking. We have to be doing all of those things, and doing them regularly, before we get to the exciting inspiration bit. 

Perhaps it’s no surprise that we love the idea of a lightning bolt of inspiration. As a society we love quick fixes. Like a magic pill to keep us healthy, we enjoy the illusion that we can just go about life as normal and wait to be hit with bouts of inspiration. This does us two injustices: 

  1. It allows us to believe the myth that creativity is an inherent personality trait that some people have and others don’t. 
  2. If we identify ourselves as not having this elusive creative trait, then we don’t have to worry about it, we don’t have to do any work.

It gives us a cop out. 

But here’s the thing about creativity: creativity lies in the work, in the doing. If we want to be more creative, we have to invest in our creative selves.That investment comes in two forms: investing in our creative wellbeing and investing in the skill of our creative medium. In other words, we have to work at our creative crafts. 

That’s what this month’s challenge is for. We want your coffee outside to be paired with a creative act.

A few of you might already be well-versed in your own creative practice and know exactly what you want to do. Some of you might appreciate that you don’t always give the time your creative practice deserves. But many of you may also feel that you have no idea what your creative practice is, and just be curious to try something new. 

Wherever you’re at, start with this question: what makes you feel creative? 

Think about the moments that you feel creative, or when you feel inspired. Certainly you might feel creative when you are in the act of making something, but most likely there are other factors too. You feel more creative when you have fewer distractions, or when you have time for yourself, or when you are learning something new. These are the things to pay attention to because they are the things that require your regular investment. A creative process is as much about creating things as it is about taking the time to invest in the moments that keep our creative brains active.

As coffee can be an entry point to adventures big and small, so can creativity, and there is power in creative microadventures. Just like regular microadventures are a way to bring adventure into your everyday life, creative microadventures offer the opportunity to infuse creativity into your everyday as well.

Most of us have a big project we want to get to and complete at some point in our lives. To write a book or a screenplay, paint a masterpiece, design and build a treehouse. However it is so easy for us to get hung up on the big projects—the ones with an endpoint  that can be checked off with a sense of accomplishment—that we neglect all the stuff in between. We forget that the small investments are what carve the path for the bigger projects, they’re what keep us creatively active and nimble. A creative path requires constant movement, experimentation and play. It is more robust when we find ways to bring small acts of creativity, and small investments in creativity, into our everyday.

As this new moon transitions from late spring towards summer, it’s important to spend some time thinking about these small investments in creativity. Unlike winter and its call for hibernation, we are working our way into a season that is traditionally a time of “doing”.

You might feel like you’re warming up, opening back up to the opportunities around you, fueled by a new sense of energy. You may have identified some big projects you want to work on. No matter how much energy and inspiration you have, those larger creative investments inevitably require a scaffolding, something to support you and carry you through. 

Today we want you to identify your own creative microadventure, take your supplies and coffee kit and head outside. Consider this creative microadventure a combination of a creative act (ie making art, writing a poem) and a creative investment (ie going on a walk, turning off your phone). For example, drink your coffee outside and spend ten minutes writing about the experience. Or take your sketchbook and create a drawing of your coffee outside setting. Or drink your coffee and dance like nobody’s watching. Remember that this creative microadventure is about process, not product. Draw something that you don’t love? That’s fine! Write something you want to toss in the bin? Again, that’s fine! There is no right or wrong way to do a creative microadventure, the only important thing is that you take the time to do it. 

See where this creative microadventure takes you. Hopefully you want to do it again. For if we are conscious about building creativity into our regular routines, we ensure that creativity itself becomes part of all our days. 

Think about your cherished morning cup of coffee: if we can commit to drinking a cup of coffee every day, we can certainly commit to an everyday investment in our creativity as well. 

Share photos of your adventures with us: #coffeeadventuresoutside

Written by Anna Brones

May 12, 2021 at 09:00