Category Archives: Self-Development

Unleash Your Creative Self

You’re more creative than you think.

 

I’ve been neglecting this blog since I started building the MultiTalented Writers site. With 3 young homeschooled kids at home, managing a household, building a new site, trying to maintain an exercise routine, maintaining some semblance of a social life, building a site from the ground up, and creating a new YouTube channel, there really isn’t that much time left to work on this blog. 

But since I love writing posts and I’d like to keep writing about my parenting, homeschooling, and general life experiences, I’ve returned for a few more posts 🙂 My hope is to post something at least weekly on this site, but we’ll see how it goes. I like to keep it real, and reality is, when you live the crazy life I live, not everything gets done. And I’ve learned to be OK with that.

 

Did you know? January is International Creativity Month!

I can’t believe we’re in the middle of January already, so I’m a bit late to the party, but I’d like to remind you all that the first month of each year is International Creativity Month. Take some time in January to feed your creative self—to unleash the power of creativity that you have inside you, just waiting to be nurtured. “But I’m not creative,” you say? That’s a big fat lie. A lie I bought into for far too long.

I am not a crafty person; I don’t particularly enjoy making things with my hands, and I’m surrounded by knitters, quilters, and bona fide artists who actually sell paintings. For years I bought into the lie that I’m just not a creative person. But I was wrong, and last year, I finally realized just how wrong.

Creativity comes in many forms, and you are far more creative than you think.

crafts Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Last year, I finally stopped to take stock of all the things I enjoy doing. I love acting. And although I’m acting someone else’s script, there is a form of creativity to bringing those characters to life. I enjoy singing, and I even make up some of my own lyrics to entertain my kids. I love to read stories to my kids, and I put on voices for each of the characters. I think up those voices all on my own, and my kids love my antics during story time. I’m a writer, for goodness sake, and although I don’t write fiction (yet!), there’s definitely creativity involved in taking fragments of interviews and turning them into an informative story worth reading.

I’m sure that even if you do none of the things mentioned above, you’re still a creative person. We all are; we just use our creativity in different ways. Even the most analytical of professions requires some creativity to get certain tasks completed, and creativity comes into play in so many areas of life.

This year, I’ve decided to nurture my creative self a little more. I enjoy several creative pursuits. Just because I don’t create things with my hands does not mean that I am not creative (and the same applies to you). I’m nurturing my creativity in several ways:

1. I’m continuing my Day Book journey.

I truly enjoyed journalling and doodling in my Day Book last year, so I’m continuing to do that in 2018. I went to Chapters and bought 3 of the journals I enjoy using, because I’ll go through at least that this year. Between journalling, planning, and doodling, those pages get filled pretty quick.

2. I’m allowing myself time to draw and colour with my kids

Sometimes the kids and I take a day to do artsy things. We forget about the books and just enjoy creating together. My daughter loves these days, and the memories we create along the way are far more valuable than a check mark on a curriculum list.

3. I’m using our love of board games to make lessons more interesting

This past year, I discovered the one activity that our entire family loves doing: playing board games. So I’m taking that love and turning it into a creaive pursuit: I’m gamifying as many lessons as I can for my second grader. For example, we’ll be playing Pizza! (a game I’m still developing) to learn and review fractions. More on this in another post; stay tuned!

4. I’m making birthday cards for my family and friends

greeting cards, Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Every year I promise myself, “this is the year I’ll send birthday cards to everyone.” And every year, I fail miserably at doing so. But this past December, this wonderfully giving lady freecycled a humongous set of beautiful stamps and card-making material. And I was in heaven. Now I have some beautiful things to use to make birthday cards, so I’m much more likely to actually send them (since I’ve done all the work of creating the cards in the first place).

5. I joined a supportive creative community on Facebook.

I can’t even remember how I found this group, but I found some lovely creative people on Facebook. The group is called “Creativity is Contagious: make and share something everyday challenge,” and joining it was probably the best thing I’ve done to keep my creative juices flowing this year.

The simple act of joining this challenge pushes me to at the very least do a quick little doodle and post it in the group every day. The neat thing is that everyone in there is so encouraging, “liking” your posts and making nice comments about your art and creativity, that it makes you want to create more.

And I love that the creator of the group is super open about her definition of creativity. I can share my blog posts, videos, or anything else I’ve created or made myself. 

6. Stage, here I come (again)

theatre drama production photo

I’ll be in my third community theatre production this year. I’m so very excited to hit the stage again. Although I much prefer the screen, being on stage is great fun as well. One day I hope to pursue acting more seriously (and professionally), but for now, these community theatre plays give me both experience, as well as an outlet for my creativity (and some alone Mama time). My first play was an adaptation of The Princess Bride (one of my favourite novels of all time), my second play was an adaptation of Sleeping Beauty, and the next on will be an adaptation of The Little Mermaid. I can’t wait!

bullet journal Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

So there you have it; these are some ways that I’m keeping my life open to creative pursuits, not just during International Creativity Month, but throughout 2018.

How about you? How will you unleash your creative self this year? Let me know in the comments!

 

New Year’s Resolutions to Make the World a Better Place – Part 1

 

Did you make New Year’s Resolutions for 2017? How are they coming along?

If you’re like most people, even if you’re doing awesome with your New Year’s Resolutions, you’ll fall off the wagon as soon as March (if not sooner). And it’s not surprising, really.

If you follow the blog, you know it’s no secret that I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions. Not just because they’re the most ineffective way to reach a goal, but also because they tend to be too near-sighted and belly-button focused. The majority of people who make New Year’s Resolutions are thinking only of themselves when they make them. Case in point: the top New Year’s Resolutions are “losing weight” and working on self-improvement.

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Start 2017 on the right foot

I’m committed to having my most organized, healthiest, most awesome year ever in 2017. I’m committed to setting SMART goals and making them happen this year. I’ve decided to quit making excuses for why I can’t do things, and remember that if I try my hardest, I can accomplish anything. I need to remember to take my own advice more often. I have followed my dreams and taken leaps of faith in the past, and it always ends well. It’s when I don’t take action that I get into a spiral of feeling sorry for myself, and I start to believe the word “can’t.”

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How to stay motivated to exercise in 2017

Although I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions, there’s no denying that come the last week of December 2016, #resolutions will be everywhere on social media. “Losing weight” and “staying fit” top the charts for the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Yet, very few people who make resolutions of any kind actually see them through to the end of the year. If one of your resolutions is getting fit or exercising more, here are some ways to stay motivated to keep that goal going all year-round. Continue reading

Your New Year’s Resolutions? They’re just not gonna happen.

I’m not fond of New Year’s Resolutions. I never make them, and with good reason. Every year-end, about 50% of the US population makes New Year’s Resolutions, hoping to accomplish everything from weight loss to debt repayment. Yet, only about 8% of resolution-makers actually fulfill their New Year’s resolutions. The reasons for these failures are many, but one of the main problems with New Year’s Resolutions is the lack of planning involved in making them. When people do make a plan, it’s often not well designed. And when it is well-designed, there’s often a lack of commitment to making it happen.

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Dear Facebook, it’s not you; it’s me.

Dear Facebook

In my journey to achieve the best health of my life, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to stop caring so much about what other people think. If I’m serious about challenging the status quo and living life on my terms, it’s time to stop feeling the need to justify my actions. I’m doing what’s right for me and for my family, and their opinion is really the only opinion that matters. Certain social networks make it a little too easy to feel the need to justify everything.

I am a little obsessed with Facebook. It’s awesome to be able to keep in touch with all my friends and family who live halfway across the world. But a little while ago, I came to the realization that I was using Facebook to justify my actions and choices to the world. And that’s neither healthy  nor productive. So, I decided to break up with Facebook. But we can still be friends. Here’s what I had to say to Facebook about why I was ending our too-close-for-comfort relationship.

Dear Facebook,

I’m breaking up with you.  But we can still be friends.

It’s not you, it’s me.

See, you’r e really wonderful.  You hear me out anytime I want to complain.  You make my “friends” “like” me.  And you make me look good, both inside and out, most of the time.

But here’s the thing.  I don’t want to spend my life being dependent on an outside (human? Robotic?) source to feel good about myself.

Facebook, you have been good to me in many ways.  You have helped me find long lost friends who I thought I’d never “see” again.  You’ve helped me connect with my extended family, who, I’m afraid to say, I don’t know if/when I’ll get to see again.  And sometimes, you’ve helped me not feel so lonely.

But… these long lost friends that I’d never see again… well… I still haven’t really “seen” most of them.  The way you’ve helped me not feel so lonely…  it’s completely artificial.  I’m still lonely as hell.  ‘Cause you know what,  having 300+ friends on Facebook means that I simply have come into contact with 300+ people.  But really, who among these 300+ friends is really what I would call a FRIEND rather than an acquaintance?  I can count my true, close friends – the ones who I’ll share everything with, the ones who really know me and who I am, what I believe – in less than the fingers of one hand.

See, you’ve created this artificial world that I have been using as a crutch for way too long.  It’s time to go out and find some real friends.  Or not.  Perhaps this is my problem.  I’m trying to “find” friends.  And perhaps, just like romantic love, rare are the instances where an arranged relationship is highly successful and mutual.

But I digress.  There’s another reason it’s time for me to let you go, Facebook.  I wish I could say you make me a better person.  But you don’t.  You just create another vehicle for me to feel like I have to prove myself to the world, to justify my choices and my life.  And really, I don’t.  Those who are my real friends and love me for who I am need no explanation, and those who need an explanation don’t deserve one.  Furthermore, those who really want to be my true friends will take the time to make a phone call, send a personal e-mail, or plan a visit (this last one is key).  Facebook, you’ve created an “easy way for people to stay in touch,” and this is precisely the problem – we now have passive “friendships,” we just wait for people to share their thoughts and struggles instead of taking a true, human interest in what they’re up to.  And I, for one, am sick of it.  I want friends who think I’m worth five minutes of their time for a one-to-one interaction instead of waiting around to see what I’ll say to the rest of the world.  It’s time for a change.

So, dear Facebook, I can’t shoo you away from my life completely.  We have too many friends in common, and this would make things very awkward for them.  So, I’ll allow you into my life, but only as an acquaintance (like those 300+ friends).  Let’s see each other once a week to begin, and only check things out when absolutely necessary.  Then let’s move it to once a month… until we kind of forget about each other all together, perhaps.  I’ll still hang out at some of our common groups.  But I no longer feel the need to use you to prove myself.

I have also come to the realization that I’ve been saying something for so long, and then, via Facebook, I’m going against my own conviction: that those who have not asked for your opinion don’t want to hear it.  I’m so good at biding this in conversation, yet here I come to Facebook speaking my mind and giving my opinions to people I barely know, and for what?  If they haven’t asked my opinion, they’re not interested in it.

So our very “close relationship,” dear Facebook, has to end.  I’m going to use you to stay in touch with my extended family, spread all over the world, and post some photos so they can at least “see” me in a way, and know how my little family is doing.  But I think this whole “what’s on my mind” and status business has gotta go.  Do we want to know what’s on our friends’ minds?  Really?  Let’s call each other.  Do we want to know our friends’ opinions on something (out of curiosity rather than as an excuse to judge them?)  Let’s deliberately ask for it.  Do we want to call someone out on something they’ve done wrong?  Let’s have the guts to say it to that person’s face.  Do we want to praise someone for something good they’ve done?  Let’s send them a letter.  Oh, it’s expensive?  When’s the last time you spent $20 on an impulse purchase?  $1.15 won’t kill you.

I’m looking to really “speak” to people, not use an electronic means to say random things that maybe some of the people who might one day call me friend might press a button to “like.”  I’ll be looking to speak to real friends when I need a real listening ear from now on.

Good bye, Facebook, and no hard feelings.  We can still be friends.

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I will continue to use Facebook to share my articles and to promote my business. But I will spend less time perusing people’s statuses and sharing things on my personal page. To that end, I’ve installed the Chrome extension “Newsfeed Eradicator for Facebook,” which keeps me more productive and a little less inclined to waste time online. It’s worth checking out – and it’s free.

How do you use Facebook? Do you think you are using it to justify your choices to the world?

Put the fork down – you’ve had enough.

Put the fork down; you've had enough

You’re sitting at the table, looking at the wonderfully delicious piece of chocolate cake you’re about to devour for dessert. It smells and looks just as wonderful as it’ll probably taste. But as you look down, you see the muffin top coming out of your jeans, and you start having second thoughts.

Put the fork down. You’ve had enough.

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Have You Settled for a Less-Than-Ideal Life?

Have you Settled For a Less-than-Ideal Life

I pulled my hood over my head as I looked down into one of nature’s most magnificent creations, and one of my favorite things: a gorgeous waterfall.

We were ten kilometers into our hike at Yosemite National Park in California, and I wasn’t at all tired. I was energized, drinking in every moment, knowing that for the next month and a half, I had even more amazing experiences coming my way.

This was the trip of a lifetime – the trip I had been dreaming about for years, and now it was a reality. My husband and I were on the road for two months, travelling the perimeter of North America – from Ontario out west to Vancouver, from Vancouver to San Francisco, from San Francisco to Florida, from Florida to Newfoundland, and back to Ontario.

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