2 Creativity Topics, Semi-Related


After sharing some thoughts about Autumn last week, I heard several “Favorite Parts of Fall” stories from you — how fun! If you have more, I’d love to hear.

Tonight, I’m writing this blog post between trying to get some other things done, so you’re getting just 2 quick blurbs on semi-related topics . . .

1. Random Musings About My To-Do List:

(This is the introspective part of this post, so feel free skip to #2 if you’d like something more academic.)

When the days grow dark early and the nights get frosty, I find myself increasingly tuned in to things I want to accomplish. The energy of the cool fall months steadies my thinking, propelling me forward toward the end of the year. I can hardly believe we’re nearing the end of October — Halloween is only a few days away!

Here’s a quick peek at the creative projects I’d like to complete before the end of 2016:

  1. The Pirates’ Pizza Party – A collective children’s book project that I’m working on with some co-workers & friends.
  2. #1000amazingwomen – This is a personal illustration project I started earlier this year but lost track of over the summer.
  3. Completing the Logo Re-Design for EBFC – We’re a couple of rounds into the design for this logo & I’m not sure what’s next.
  4. Illustration/Design for “The Christmas Game” – I’m just getting started with the development of these designs and am excited to see where it will go. I’m hoping to make fast progress so that a version of it can be available for Christmas.

This list doesn’t include about a hundred other things related to (in no particular order) the holidays, my house, family, friendships, travel, church, volunteer work, personal development, etc.

So time isn’t necessarily on my side, but I feel the pressure driving rather than discouraging me. At least for today.

2. An interesting study I came across this week:

Plos One published a paper called “Modelling Creativity” in which 90 creativity-themed academic works from over 60 years were assessed for recurring themes, yielding a list of 14 factors contributing to the creative process.

The study is complex, so I wouldn’t expect that you’d want to read it all, but check it out if you’d like, take a look at this list, and let me know what you think. I’d like to dig into this a little deeper.

This paper describes a unique approach to developing a suitable model of how creative behaviour emerges that is based on the words people use to describe the concept.

14 Factors in the Creative Process (not all required, not necessarily flowing in sequence):

  1. Active involvement and persistence
  2. Dealing with uncertainty
  3. Domain competence
  4. General intellect
  5. Generating results
  6. Independence and freedom
  7. Innovation and emotional involvement
  8. Originality
  9. Progression and development
  10. Social interaction and communication
  11. Spontaneity and subconscious process
  12. Thinking and evaluation
  13. Value
  14. Variety, divergence, and experimentation

And now it’s time for some assorted questions of the week . . .

Does autumn spur you to productivity or tempt you to hibernate. Do you have a challenging to-do list? Any creative problems you’d like to discuss? What do you think is the most important factor in your creative process? What’s your favorite color of autumn tree? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts in a comment.

Wishing you a productive and creative week,
❤ Nicole

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Autumn Thoughts


Autumn is my favorite season. It’s a time when leaves turn to beautiful colors, the humidity of summer (here in Pennsylvania at least) dissipates, and everyone begins to bundle into cozy sweaters and scarves. According to a made-up statistic, a mug of warm apple cider makes everything feel 5-10% better.

Sunny autumn afternoons are great for visiting local parks to explore new paths, working on house & garden projects, trying out new restaurants, testing your physical limits with new challenges, taking a hayride out to a pumpkin patch, or visiting nostalgic sites.

Cool autumn evenings are great for tackling a book you’ve been wanting to read, working on art & design projects, going to a corn maze, huddling with friends and family over a bonfire, or tucking in to watch your favorite movies.

One of my favorite things to do (especially in the autumn) is to combine loved ones + creative activities. That’s exactly what I had the opportunity to do last Monday (which is why I didn’t post a regular weekly blog post that day):

Two sweet friends and I rolled, cut, and decorated these amazing autumn-themed cookies . . . classic autumn shapes like leaves, giraffes, kangaroos, elephants, and more.


Autumn is also a wonderful time for adventures and memory-making. Over the weekend, I visited Washington D.C. with a group of friends and found my creative spirit fed by sights across a spectrum from tiny trees (at the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum) to grand columns (at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial) . . .



Things like this remind me how much I totally love that humans are propelled to create.

I’m keeping today’s post short. Instead of reading something longer here, I’d like to invite you to take 5 minutes to pause and think about what you may want to create with the remaining months of 2016. Something artistic? Small, positive steps in a friendship? A house repair project? A new romance? A memory with a family member? An apology? A new playlist? A personal best?

Are you enjoying autumn? I’d love it if you’d leave a comment telling me about your favorite part of this amazing season.

Wishing you a wonderful week,
❤ Nicole

Would you like to click “Follow” to be notified each time I post? I promise you’ll never be bombarded with spammy e-mails. My regular schedule is a weekly post every Monday & sometimes I add a mid-week “Collecting Creativity” post about other creative topics.


Doused in Ice & Creativity . . .

Sometimes the timing of things makes me think I should pause and take a closer look. Over the weekend, a friend and I went to visit another friend’s Dad who has ALS. On the way home from this visit, I was listening to NPR & heard an interview with Nancy Frates on the TED Radio Hour. The show featured clips of Nancy’s TED talk about why her family started (and how much they invested themselves into) the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Hint: Her son, Pete, has ALS.

I remember being amazed in the Summer of 2014 by how quickly the Ice Bucket Challenge took off and grew. Hearing Nancy’s story and reading more of the history of the challenge on the ALS Association website, I’m impressed by how much quick thinking and creativity was invested in fueling the movement while it was in its prime and how much dedication and effort continues to go into supporting research and the search for treatments and a cure. I also know how much creative experimentation, love, and sheer hard work go into caring for an individual with ALS. 

Certainly the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge had its share of detractors, people who critiqued it for a variety of reasons. Some labeled it ‘slactivisim’ (a too-easy brand of activism fueled by emotion). Others questioned its impact. The ALS Association has posted a helpful info graphic that shows some of the results that have come from both the funds raised and the increased awareness that was generated by the movement (this is just a clip – click to see the full graphic):


I wanted to draw attention to this topic in today’s blog post, not because I feel qualified to make any sweeping general judgments about the Ice Bucket Challenge itself but because I think it’s a story that demonstrates creativity in a unique way (my blog is all about creativity in various forms) and because I think it’s worth thinking about what factors come into play to make things like this spark to life.

What does it say about us as humans that we continue to try to raise awareness of and support for causes that are important to us . . . or that sometimes we don’t continue trying?  I ask the last part of that question with zero judgment. I know that sometimes life doesn’t allow us to try, sometimes we’re fatigued or overwhelmed, and I know we can’t all always be trying about everything, but I feel grateful that we live in a world where there’s such a thing as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (and the American Cancer Society . . . and World Vision . . . and adoptive parents . . . and people who volunteer at local food banks . . . and without getting too cheesy, people who are simply as kind as they can be and as willing as they can be to admit it when they don’t feel like being kind and need a bit of grace) . . . It inspires me.

If you read this & think it might be of interest to anyone you know, would you pass it along? I’d also love to hear any of your thoughts about it if you’d leave a comment for me below.

Wishing you a week that’s full of kindness and grace,

❤ Nicole

P.S. This isn’t a pressure thing, but if you donated to ALS during the Ice Bucket Challenge but haven’t thought of it since then, or if you have never given to this cause, and have any interest in giving, please click here.

Would you like to click “Follow” to be notified each time I post? I promise you’ll never be bombarded with spammy e-mails. My regular schedule is a weekly post every Monday & then sometimes I add a mid-week “Collecting Creativity” post about other creative topics.