What is a “Highly Creative” Person, Anyway?

"Crayons Colliding" by Yours Truly

“Crayons Colliding” by Yours Truly

This morning, as I was forcing myself out of sleep fog, I read a great article from Huffington Post titled “18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently.” Click HERE to read it for yourself. I found myself relating to just about every “habit” or behavior as described in the article. What stuck out to me the most, however, is that scientists have been straying away from the left brain/right brain descriptor, and have, instead, begun to point us towards the creative part of the brain. This makes so much sense to me, particularly because I would argue that I am a creative who uses both sides of her brain.

Lately, I’ve been doing impromptu research on the creative person in general, in hopes of finding some answers for myself. I’ve found myself unleashing my curiosity more and more. Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older and really want to ground myself in my self-awareness. Or perhaps it’s because I’m practicing my creative freedom so often these days, that I want to make sure what I create has meaning. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because I’ve become apathetic with so many things and wonder why the hell I just don’t care about said things I used to have anxiety over. Yeah, it’s definitely the latter.

Part of unleashing creativity also means letting go of a lot of other things. The past year has been an incredible journey for me as an artist, a writer, and a business owner. I see how so many pieces of that journey connected in order to lead me to the here and now…to this very blog post, even.

As I’ve opened up my mind to this path and to self-discovery, I’ve, at times, felt like a child again: finding things I like and things I don’t. And even being honest about it all. If I don’t like something, I admit it AND I stop doing it. (Within reason, of course. I don’t like paying bills, but ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, huh?) And if I like something, I am making more room for it in my life.

When I think of change, evolution, and style, I’m constantly reminded of Madonna. What has made her such a huge success has been her willingness to reinvent herself–her style, her sound, her very persona. And yet, she has remained an artist throughout; the term “artist” being the most important label for her career. She’s brilliant, she’s genius, she’s creative.

And that’s what I strive to be. Creative. Or, rather, Highly Creative.

Though I readily label myself as creative, I have come to understand that in order to keep such a title, one must constantly re-evaluate, reinvent, and question–ALWAYS, always question. And when you ask so many damn questions, it can very well drive you mad. However, if you keep asking those questions, you eventually learn how to ask the right questions. Not the right questions for your parents, or your partner, or your teacher, but for YOU. It’s a very relative, organic process, I believe. If we stop asking questions, if we stop being curious about life, then we start to stifle our creative brain and resort to right brain/left brain–feeling that there is some piece missing.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” -Albert Einstein

If you are truly a “highly creative” person, then I would bet all money that you can resonate with this. But don’t be too impressed, I don’t have that much money. 😉

Ernest Hemingway once said, “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” Perhaps that holds some truth to it; even Wisdom Literature says that the more knowledge a person gains, the more she or he will feel burdened. But I do not think this has to be an absolute–especially for the intelligent creative person. Sure, there is the feeling of torment when us creatives cannot be devoted to the activities we prefer (writing, painting, reading, playing an instrument, building, etc.).

However, there is something to be said of the creative person who actively pursues their passions and talents. I am finding that the more time I devote to what I love to do–to write and to create in a variety of ways–the better I feel. The nicer I am to those around me. The quicker my mind is to grasp difficult concepts. I’m expanding the creative part of my brain, finding harmony between the right and left brains.

When I spent the past several years shying away from my true passions, perhaps under the influence of lies such as: “There is no money in being an artist unless one is really amazing,” or “One cannot make a career out of writing if she or he isn’t first properly trained,” I found myself becoming increasingly unhappy. And finally, when I couldn’t take it anymore, I abandoned everything that had to do with my routined and overly-busy life. At first, I was somewhat lost. But then, when I found my own rhythm and gave myself space and time to go through self-discovery, I was happier. Even when the balance of my bank account was something I should have been stressing about.

So now, how does this all connect? Well, I think it’s important to remember that not all us creatives are created equally. There are people like me who have both a penchant for organization and routine, as well as sometimes having a messy workspace and a horrible short-term memory. And there are people like my youngest sister who are amazingly talented in artistry and have no room in their minds for things unrelated to their craft. Creatives must be nurtured, but no one will nurture them until they nurture themselves–and demonstrate just how devoted to their passions they are.

As the Huffington Post article explains, “highly creative” people are those who daydream often, observe just about everything, look for new challenges and experiences, are deep thinkers, and strategize. Without such habits, a highly creative person will begin to deteriorate. I know I did. I decayed for eight years until I couldn’t take it anymore. Either I had to make a choice to accept my lot in life and find some kind of contentment elsewhere, OR make a choice to start from scratch and follow my heart.

Following one’s heart is a very, VERY scary decision sometimes, but not following one’s heart…well, I think that’s even more scary.

If you are a creative person, and you’re already following your dreams and passions, then bravo! That is awesome. But if you’re a creative person who feels stifled and unsure…maybe you know you want a change but feel scared, or don’t know where to start: do some soul-searching and ask yourself: “What do I REALLY want?” Be honest with yourself–it might be surprising. Don’t believe that happiness and creativity are destined for someone else. And stop trying to talk yourself out of taking a risk.

I wish there was a magic formula for risk-taking that always ended in success, but there’s not. However, if you’re doing something that makes you happy, then that’s success in its own right. Nurture yourself, nurture your craft, and reach out to those who support what you want to do. Beautiful and lasting creations take time to build, so build carefully and passionately.

Is it February Yet?

Hello, lovely readers!

I have missed you all SO much! It’s been an insane month and I am ready for February! I’ve been somewhat silent on this blog for a few weeks because my life has been crazy. What have I been up to? Well, give me a minute, and I’ll show you!

1. I entered a blogging contest.

Yep, I sure did. It’s for my new blog at my business website, helawrite.com. I am participating in HubSpot’s 30-Day Blog Challenge, and I REALLY hope I win because it would definitely give my business a little boost. You can visit my site and read my latest posts on business. There are some great tips (at least, I think so) that are relevant to anyone. Except babies and children, I guess.

My business website with the new blog front and center.

My business website with the new blog front and center.

2. I was a production assistant on a movie set!

Ah, four days of being a glorified coffee/errand girl. Actually, it was more than that and I did have fun. I got to meet some cool actors and the crew was really nice. I made dinner for everyone one night (aka put frozen lasagnas from Costco in the oven for 2 hours) and that was fun (except for the Costco part–most of you know how I feel about Costco). Everyone remembers you when you feed them, and you’re no longer: “Hey, you!”

photo 1

Day 1 on the set of Whipping Boy, in San Jose, CA.

As a writer, I gained some great perspective on the film industry, and was able to talk to some of the actors about screenwriting ideas I have. They were very encouraging and liked what I had to say. All in all, a wonderful experience. The movie is called “Whipping Boy” and it’s in the Sci-Fi genre. It was filmed in San Jose and San Francisco, and it’s a short film being entered into a contest. I will let you all know how it does when I receive an update from my producer friend. And I may be blogging about it, too.

To the left of me: Chris Ely, Co-producer for Whipping Boy. To my right: The famous Jon Talbert, founder of Beautiful Day, a compassion innovator, and well-known speaker. He played a cracked out hobo in the film!

To the left of me: Chris Ely, Co-producer for Whipping Boy. To my right: The famous Jon Talbert, founder of Beautiful Day, a compassion innovator, and well-known speaker. He played a cracked out hobo in the film! (Which is why his eyes are very red.)

(To find out more about Chris Ely, click HERE. To find out more about Jon Talbert, click HERE. Jon happens to be one of my clients through HelaWrite and he’s awesome!)

3. My little sis bought a house!

Okay, she’s not “little,” but she is my younger sister. My sister, Julia, bought her first house. I am so proud of her, especially because she’s a single mom and works her butt off to provide for her son. All her hard work is paying off and now she owns some real estate. Therefore, like any good sister, I’ve been at her place every few days for the past 3 weeks to help her with the move.

My nephew and I, a year ago, on his 6th birthday. He's grown since then, and my hair is all gone. :)

My nephew and I, a year ago, on his 6th birthday. He’s grown since then, and my hair is all gone. 🙂

As a special treat for my adorable nephew, I painted his room with a custom “Tron-themed” runner, and he loves it. My sister bought a Tron rug for his room, so I was inspired by that, but kind of made up the design as I went. At one point in my college career, I was an interior design major, so I had a lot of fun coming up with the design for his room. I also put chalkboard paint on one wall and am building a sort of art center for him. He is quite the artist and I wanted to give him a special space.

Blank canvas.

Blank canvas.

Chalkboard paint.

Chalkboard paint.

The layout.

The layout. (If you squint, you can see the pencil lines.)

Phase 1: Dark blue.

Phase 1: Dark blue.

Phase 2: Black glitter paint added.

Phase 2: Black glitter paint added.

Phase 3: Silver paint added.

Phase 3: Silver paint added.

Phases 4 & 5: Blue glitter and glow-in-the-dark paint added.

Phases 4 & 5: Blue glitter and glow-in-the-dark paint added.

Room complete!

Room complete!

And, of course, I put up his Tron decals from his old room.

And, of course, I put up his Tron decals from his old room.

4. And speaking of art…

I DID take some time for myself during the chaos. I found these awesome ideas for a calendar journal and made one for myself. I recycled old maps I had from traveling in Spain 6 years ago, and used them as part of the calendar decor. I have finally admitted to myself that I am never going to scrapbook and decided to put those papers and stickers to good use. I’m pretty pleased with the results!

Gluing on pieces of the map to make squares for each day.

Gluing on pieces of the map to make squares for each day.

A blank canvas, ready to be filled with thoughts and events.

A blank canvas, ready to be filled with thoughts and events.

Really liking February. :)

Really liking February. 🙂

I will be blogging more regularly in the weeks to come, so thanks for bearing with me. And next month, I plan on revealing the cover for my 2nd book, The Wrong Fairy Tale! I can’t wait to share it with you all. It is awesome!

Oh yeah, I did read Beautiful Creatures and Warm Bodies and will be doing a movie/book comparison in the weeks to come. And I took some time to enjoy good wine, too. 😉

Enjoyed this red while I was painting into the night.

Enjoyed this red while I was painting into the night.

Until next time,

Tamar xoxo

A Spirit Lake Series Extra: Cantelian Map!

Hey everyone,

I am so excited to share a new extra with you, from my Spirit Lake Series: a map of the alien planet Cantelia! My cover artist, who just happens to be my youngest sister, is a very talented young lady. She is working on some character sketches and book scenes as well. The map is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined, and I hope you think so, too. Check it out:

map jpeg 3

I also have some great news about the first book in my series, Feast Island. May 14th is the one-year anniversary of the publication of Feast Island–hooray! How time has flown by so quickly! In order to celebrate, I will have my eBook available for FREE on Kindle, beginning May 14th. But it won’t be free forever; make sure you check Amazon for “Feast Island” on May 14th!

Another grand piece of news is that I have decided to release a second edition of Feast Island, brand new cover and all. I am nearly done with technical edits and will be moving on to content edits this week. I cannot wait to re-release my first “baby” while readers wait for book two: The Wrong Fairytale. No official release date for said second book, but Feast Island, 2nd Edition should be out before summer. Stay tuned. 🙂

That is all the excitement I have to share for now. Thanks for reading and showing interest in my writing adventures. I am so grateful to have amazing followers and fans–I’d otherwise be talking to myself without you!

Cheers,

Tamar

Prossia Blog Tour

Hello, readers!

Welcome to another day and another blog 🙂 Today, I have the pleasure of being the first to host Raphyel M. Jordan, author of Prossia. This novel has just begun a blog tour, and I am so thrilled to be part of the tour. There is lots of interesting information and some goodies–like a GIVEAWAY!!!–as you read through. Hope you enjoy and will be apt to check out Prossia after reading.

prossia

Interview with Raphyel

1. Tell us a bit about yourself—what’s your background and how did you become a writer?
I used to write little graphic novels when I was a kid. Drawing’s always been my true love, but I wanted to give the characters I drew a story. So, I’ve been drawing ever since could pick up a crayon, and I’ve been writing stories ever since I knew how to make complete sentences.

2. What is the genre in which you write?
I mainly focus on YA science fiction.

3. What is the book you recently published?
Prossia is a sci-fi coming of age series that shows the potential and responsibility that youth have due to their strengths while learning to overcome their weaknesses. That lesson is learned as we follow a teenage Goolian who unravels secrets about her galaxy while defending it against a renegade alien race.

4. Have you published or written any other works?
Prossia is currently the only title I have out so far, but that will change by the end of the year.

5. Name your top three favorite characters you’ve made up and explain why they’re your favorites.
“I love all of my characters.” LOL. Nah, I won’t give the generic answer.
1. Aly- She’s such a complex individual, like all human beings. Other people can only see the basics of a person, that being what they do and what they say. Still, we can never truly understand all the information and thoughts running all over the place in a person’s head. Like many people, Aly has a personal set of morals that sound good and logical, but she finds it hard to practice them when they’re challenged because she’s facing a personal struggle of the mind.
2. Cy- His mystery alone makes him so interesting. People just don’t know if they’re supposed to root for him or yell at him. At one moment, you’ll sympathize with Cy, and then he does something so unexpectedly horrible, you might wonder why you were ever thinking that people should just leave him alone.
3. Catty- She’s just too fun for me to dislike. Many people think they know just what type of girl she is; the spoiled stuck up kid that always got her way and all the attention. Then it turns out Catty is actually a caring person who will insist to pull her weight along with the person beside her. She’s a tough little cookie with spitfire.

6. Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Meh. If I get “writer’s block,” I just write it out of my system, much the same way if I get “artist’s block.”

7. How long did it take to finish your first novel?  
LOL! Tough question, actually. The first draft took about a year and a half. (I took a lonnnng break in not working on it.) Then I started implementing items I was learning from college to strengthen the story. Also, I didn’t want to publish Prossia while I was in school, since graduating was my top priority. So, the book had actually been done for a couple of years in spite of the 2010 release.

8. What were the challenges you faced when getting your first book published?
Challenges brought by my own ignorance of the writing business. Even though the book’s been published for two years, last year felt like the first year Prossia started showing its true potential since I went about marketing it horribly initially.

9. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found that work best for your genre?
I used to just use Facebook and Deviantart. I just knew my illustrations would intrigue enough people. Guh, what an idiot. Now I’m trying to use the tools of the web as much as possible. Twitter, Facebook, blogging. I even make web ads since I’m a graphic designer and illustrator. From what it seems, finding bloggers that have a sci-fi niche seems to be showing the best direction to building interest for the book.

10. What does your writing process “look” like?
It’s a lot different from what it used to “look” like, thank God. When I first wrote Prossia, I just wrote away, knowing I needed a means to transition from the intro, the climax, and the ending. I actually know a couple of authors that can do that method, but they’re, well, more established.
My writing process is now very complex, and much more organized, now that I’ve written more stories (I think I have three solid ones that are just waiting for their time to shine, and numerous others that I’ve messed around with just for the heck of it). Now, I prep the story up with a single sentence that summarizes the story. I find that useful since a lot of agencies ask for a sentence about your story. Then I point out the objective of the story since I tend to have some underlying motif.

After that, I write a paragraph for each the intro, climax, and ending. Then I write out summaries of key characters. What they like, what they don’t like, what their relationships are with other characters, and how their persona will progress from the start of the story to the ending. Then we can finally get to the outline, where I summarize every single scene. After the outline is done, I’ll write the actual story, split-screened with the outline so I don’t go off track.

11. What projects are you currently working on?
I’m working on two projects, Operation: Sand Gnat, and Operation: Pirate Bee. These are simply code names for the actual books until I get comfortable with revealing an actual title. Since Pirate Bee is still a ways away, I don’t talk about it that much, but I do already have monthly ads going on around the web for it.

Sand Gnat is what I’m really focusing on right now since it’ll be out this year. It’s the prequel to “Prossia,” showing Aly and Catty growing up on Planet Gooliun, and how their upbringing led them to the events that take place in “Prossia.” I’m shooting for a November release, so Sand Gnat can coincide with Anti-bullying month, since that will be the social motif for it.

12.  What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Someone felt Aly had too much teenage melodrama since she had instances of insecurity. I found that a little hard because I felt a seventeen-year old who was trying to finish homework one evening, and suddenly gets drafted into a galactic war where she has to kill or be killed, has earned every right to be a little ticked at how her life is as long as she’s willing to fight it out.

On the other hand, my best compliment came from someone who said Aly was very relatable, noting that even though she’s not sure of how to confront some situations, she won’t back down. On top of that, the person was surprised that they could relate to this character that isn’t even a human being! Like most authors, I spent a lot of effort, even putting a bit of myself into my protagonist, to make my characters empathetic. And maybe that was why I took a person’s dislike of Aly a bit hard, because when I look at Aly’s thought transition, I see the mirror of me, the 19-year-old kid who was trying to figure out this whole growing up thing by writing some crazy sci-fi adventure.

Still, that was my first bad review, and I think that first bad one is always going to “hurt an author’s feelings.” Nowadays, I realize my goal isn’t for everyone to like my characters. That’s impossible. However, I do feel that there might be a small window in which everyone can, at the very least, understand a part of them. It’s my responsibility to make sure the characters are understandable. So, when I hear that someone doesn’t “get” the point I’m making with an individual, I feel I didn’t drive the character’s motivation out enough. In case you couldn’t tell, I’m about character-driven stories.

13. What advice can you give to aspiring authors?
Easy. Stop being an aspiring author, and be an author. Write write write write write, and get that book published! I know the latter part is the more dreadful process, but it’s possible. And if you think age is an issue, it isn’t. People don’t care how old you are. They just want to read a good book.

14. Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans and readers?
Sorry for the delay. 2012 was a wake up call, so I’ll make sure you won’t have to wait as long from now on. That’s a promise, and I’m a man of my word. Come November, you’ll have a free book, on me.

15. What’s a cool (or nerdy) fact about you that you’ll share with us?
Are you insane?! I could write an essay on my dorkism! Okay, uhhhh. . . summing it up in words, now! Battlestar Galactica, Dr. Who, Mass Effect, anime, Sonic the Hedgehog, Lord of the Rings, Ender’s Game, Marvel, Astronomy, Star Wars. Need I say more?! Oh! How about a bizarre fun fact. My childhood dream was to become an animator.

ENTER RAPHYEL’S PROSSIA GIVEAWAY BY CLICKING THE LINK BELOW:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Epic-Prossial-Poster1-for-web-Excerpt from Prossia

A sound to Aly’s right made her ear twitch and she had her rifle in her hand before her mind even knew she had grabbed it. She saw some grass rustling in an opening where the sunlight was able to beam down through the trees. There were intense red flowers growing right in the sun’s rays, and a tiny reptile scattered away when it noticed someone was looking at it. Aly sighed and laughed at herself before she headed over to the opening so she could get a closer look at the flowers. She took one step out into the opening, and another creature did the same from the other side.

Aly gasped, the Cyogen that was drawn by the music and flowers gasped, and neither budged a muscle. Aly still had her weapon in hand, and the Cyogen only had to raise his gauntlet and fire. The Goolian tried to hide her fear, but to her surprise, the Cyogen looked even more terrified.

Waiting, waiting. What were they supposed to do? Aly felt a stream of sweat run down the side of her head. The Cyogen felt his hands shaking. Waiting, still waiting. Both were trapped and looking at death.

A flock of birds broke the silence, and Aly’s instincts took over.

“Wait!” she heard the Cyogen yelp.

Too late. One single shot in the nose, and the Cyogen’s face pulled away into molten flesh before he dropped to the ground. Aly staggered back into a tree and covered her mouth. She wiped the sweat from her head and switched the blaster into pistol mode and waited. She eventually heard rustling coming from behind and took cover. She counted four footsteps, all too light to be hostiles.

“Secured,” Aly said, still crouched down behind the tree.

A set of red eyes shot its head around the corner, and Aly couldn’t help but yelp as she stumbled back.

“It’s okay, Al,” Cy insisted as he gently pushed Aly’s pistol away from his chest. “Didn’t mean to scare ya.”

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” she kept saying between her pants. Cy rubbed the mastra’s shoulders, and she took deep breaths so she could calm down.

Gruago, Catty, and Juazi came into the clearing seconds later. Catty posted the left, Gruago, took the right, and Juazi checked the Cyogen body.

“Neutralized,” the Argutain confirmed. “You alright back there, Aly?”

“…I’m okay.”

“Is that the only one?” Cy asked Juazi from behind.

“Must be a scout,” the lead answered as she nodded.

Cy swore and molded on his face plate.

“We better take cover then, eh?” he said.

“Why’s that?” Gruago asked.

Aly and Catty both gasped as their spines sent alarms to their brains. Juazi caught the look in the two’s eyes and dove.

Aly-Portrait-or-312

Retail & Social Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Prossia-ebook/dp/B00403N7B2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1359412773&sr=8-2&keywords=prossia

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/prossia-raphyel-m-jordan/1100385862?ean=9781453508688

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8925131-prossia

Author website: http://www.raphyelmjordan.com/

Novel Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Prossial-Novel-Page/130106780371024?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RaphyelMJordan

RMJordan Photo

BIOGRAPHY
Raphyel Montez Jordan grew up in a household sensitive to the creative arts. As a child, his hobbies were drawing favorite cartoon and video game characters while making illustrated stories. This passion for art never left and followed him all the way up to his high school and college years.

It wasn’t until college when he underwent a personal “renaissance” of sorts that Jordan took his interest in writing to another level. When he was 19, he started writing a novel for fun, taking inspiration from the constant exposure of different ideas and cultures that college showed him while staying true to the values he grew up to embrace. However, when the “signs of the times” influenced the story and the characters to spawn into universes of their own, he figured he might possibly be on to something.

As he studied graphic design at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia, Jordan also used his  electives to study sciences like Astronomy, Psychology, and Biology in order enhance the reading experience in his story. He eventually made it a goal to have the story published after he graduated, and dubbed the goal “Operation Prosia,” the very same project that would develop into his first published book, Prossia.

Even though his novel is not necessarily a religious book, Jordan utilizes his Christian faith by urging people to encourage, not condemn, in his story. Best known for ending his PSFC newsletters with “Unity Within Diversity,” he hopes Prossia’s success will inspire people to consider and support the positive outlook in the difference human kind can share, whether it be race, religion, or any other cultural difference.