Do you read? A lot? A little? Not at all? Many people I know, do not. Or do very little. Or do only for daily tasks (e-mails, road signs, contracts, notes from kids’ school, etc…). But wait. You’re reading this. Just sayin’….
According to Mr. Warren Buffett, reading a lot helps make us smarter. My takeaway when I read his advice is this: Reading often (and varied) gives us an advantage because we can oftentimes use that information in new ways as we piece different ideas, opinions, or facts together to form new ideas, opinions, or possibly – facts. This is the essence of creativity: making something new out of something that already exists.
Now we’re not talking novels and beach-style summer reading (you know what I mean… muscled guys and bodacious gals). No… this is more like nonfiction, informational reading that elicits questions in your head, opinions backed by thoughtful response….. that sort of thing.
Sidenote: As a Reading Specialist, I taught my high school and college students the same idea: Read often and ‘read widely’ (varied) to improve your vocabulary and general knowledge. Be ready to speak to many subjects – or at least, listen with a thoughtful perspective. Who knew Mr. Buffett and I would be on the same page? 🙂
He says, “That’s how knowledge builds up, like compound interest.”
He also says…. Sleep on it. Really. Let those ideas marinate. It’s like putting money in your knowledge bank, right?
So here’s my tip:
Read often. Read widely. Think. Sleep. Repeat.
Want to read the full article on Mr. Buffett’s thoughts on this? Check out this blog post over at Farnam Street.
What do you notice?
Do you see that small crack in the sidewalk as you walk from your car to your office? How about that piece of red thread that’s been billowing from the skinny tree branch outside your front door? Or maybe it’s the shape of someone’s eyes…. What about that scratch of green paint on that door? Or the old house you’ve passed a gazillion times? Did you notice that vintage truck in the parking lot that makes your heart sing every time you see it?
One of the hallmark characteristics of Creatives is simply We Notice. This is especially true of writers. No matter how small, we notice the details.
So what do you notice?
Here’s my tip:
Notice the details. Take pictures of everyday things as you move through your day. No posing. No selfies. No props. Just notice and click. Aim for 1 – 3 (or more!) pictures a day. Before long, you will have curated a small gallery of images that make you smile, laugh, or cry. They remind you of something – to do or say – or of someone. Or of that time…
Maybe you’ll be inspired to share them online or use them for reference to write or to paint…
Go ahead. Notice the details. You’ll be glad you did…
I often listen to people thinking through things at work. As an Instructional Coach, it’s a large part of my role… to listen. Just this week, I listened as a fellow teacher who’s in a new teaching role this year shared how much she dislikes what she’s doing.
Not her students, but the challenges that are systemic and largely unchangeable right now. (I’ve said for years our traditional educational system in the U.S. continues to fall short of our societal needs.)
As I listened, I could hear myself saying to her in my head, “Write it down. Work through it. I promise. It will help.” And yet, I didn’t say it because I knew it would fall on deaf ears. She needed to vent and trusts that she can be honest with me, which I’m keenly aware of.
But still I kept thinking… if only she’d write it down…. let the frustrations, the questions, the a-ha thoughts, even the celebrations (there was one that day – that’s why she called) all have a place to Just Be.
So here’s my tip….
Write it down. I know. I hear you.
Are you kidding, Robin? It’s not that simple.
Actually, yes it is.
Yet sooooooo difficult for many people. I think because we get caught up in the notion that we need to write comprehensible sentences. Not even comprehensible words… but full-on, grammar-correct, essay-ready sentences.
With proper indents.
Oh, dear god! We break out in a cold sweat as we remember those English class assignments.
Write what you’re feeling. One word. One hundred words. Just Write It Down.
Pick up a pen. Or pencil. Or lipstick. Or crayon. And write that shit down. Apologies for the folks who prefer g-rated material, but I cannot overstate the simplicity of what I’m suggesting. ~ Robin Le Roy-KyleTweet
Then, put it away for now. You’ve given your feelings, your thoughts a place to rest. To simmer. To marinate. To yell. Scream. Cry. Wonder. Explore. Discover.
I promise. You’ll be glad you did. Maybe not right away, but at some point, you will look back and see those words with a fresh set of eyes. And thoughts. And feelings.
P.S. – A fancy notebook and/or pen? Optional but not needed. A writing utensil and a scrap piece of paper will do. Want to keep all those thoughts? Drop them in a plastic baggie for safekeeping. Or a box, jar, even a book on a shelf… an altered book journal, maybe? Creative journals make great writing space.
You’ve got this. I’m cheering you on.
Go ahead. Just Write.