Creativity and a Creative Blogger Award Nomination!

creativebloggerI used to think creativity was a magical, mystical wind that snuck into my bedroom at night and whispered stories and poems into my ear. So romantic. So unpredictable.

Which is why I was completely surprised, a few years back, to read this line from Twyla Tharp’s amazing book The Creative Habit.

Destiny, quite often, is a determined parent.

She was referencing Mozart, a man thought to be one of the most creative musical geniuses ever to compose music. More so, she was talking about Mozart’s father, a skilled musician himself who recognized a talent in his son that prompted him to think something like, Huh, interesting. The kid’s got talent. Let’s see how far he can go.

In short, creativity doesn’t just come to anyone, just as children aren’t inherently well-mannered, kind, and able to compose perfect, flittering sonatinas.

A true creative discovers something that gives them energy and joy, and then commits to the hard, determined work of making it happen. This means that behind the quiet genius façade, a creative person is simply an honest being who is unafraid of work, and who knows two things.

Creativity is process and practice.

This is something that Kayla Johnson, who has just started blogging at The First Twenty Rows, totally gets. She’s got that crazy awesome mix of personality, skill, and literary knowledge in her writing voice, and I love seeing her new posts pop up in my inbox. We’re slowly becoming friends in the shy way that internet people do – commenting, liking, interacting with one another’s words, and it’s good.

Then she went and nominated me for a Creative Blogger Award, and now I have to think of some amazing way to thank her, which might be hard since she’s in Oregon and I’m in Minnesota and I can’t just drop fresh eggs and perennials off on her front porch.

Meanwhile, there’s this matter of the award and a few rules, which are as follow:

  1. Thank the nominee.
  2. Share five facts about myself.
  3. Nominate other blogs and notify them.
  4. Tell the nominees these rules.

I know you’re just dying to hear five facts about me (as though I haven’t overshared on most aspects of my life already) so I’ll dig deep. Enjoy.

  1. One of my strangest pregnancy cravings was raw cake mix. Preferably the Duncan Hines yellow variety. No, I never got worms. Or gestational diabetes. But I probably deserved both.
  2. I love the outdoors. If I can trek it, climb it, swim in it, dig in it, or slide over it, I’m sold. Someday, my husband and I want to hike one of those crazy three month treks like the Appalachian trail, the John Muir trail, the PCT, or the Camino Real.
  3. I never thought I’d live on a (hobby) farm. I’m pretty sure I specifically told my mom that one day while we were doing dishes and talking about my future. I’ve never been so glad to have been wrong.
  4. In sixth grade, I won a young author’s contest for a book entitled, “Clouds, a Foot, and a Little Old Man.” Twenty years later, I still suck at titling.
  5. My favorite place to brush my teeth is in the shower. Next is outside my tent when I’m camping.

There you go. And now, it’s my turn to nominate a few blogs that I read for various reasons, and that all have an understanding of true creativity. Please go say hello!

  1. The Local Kitchen – Kaela makes beautiful, local, drool-worthy food from the Hudson Valley and pens great stories to go along with her recipes. I have a list of her recipes I need to go back and try when I’m done doing my 40-day fast.
  2. Sarah in Small Doses – Need a laugh? Sarah’s on it. Always, always on it. She’s got great insight on writing, creativity, and pop culture. Plus I went to grad school with her and she’s a cool person to boot.
  3. Barren to Beautiful – Rebekah’s blog on faith and motherhood is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to talk mama business. She’s not a typical mommy blogger doing reviews of plastic toys and obscure clothing labels. She talks Jesus and parenting and contentment and I love it.
  4. Everyday Inklings – This Sarah – she’s got skills. Word skills, parenting skills, life skills. She is incredibly mindful in the everyday and her posts rub off on me in the best way. Plus, she’s my neighbor. Lucky me!
  5. Jackie Lea Sommers – Can I brag for a second? Jackie wrote a book – a CRAZY good book called Truest which comes out SO soon, and you all should go pre-buy a copy now. She’s also in my writing group, which means I get the honor of talking craft, words, and frustrations now and then. So. Great.
  6. The Creative Jayne – Welcome the beautifully designed world of Kayla. She’s got graphic design in her blood and it shows in her blog, in her styling, and in the way she presents her words. Definitely one to keep on your radar!

Why writers need groups…and voices in our heads

Hey guys, today my writing group compatriot and dear friend Jackie Sommers is breaking down the necessity of writer’s groups. She should know. Her new book Truest will be published by Harper Collins and out on the shelves in 2015 – much of which saw its first reading in our group discussions.

I’d love for you to head over to her blog and see just why it is that writers like me to do the group thing.

Here’s the intro to get you started.

My Writing Group’s cropped-orangeheaderThoughts on Writing Groups

Today, I’m going to introduce you to a few of the women from my writing critique group here in the Twin Cities. We meet once a month to catch up with one another, to provide feedback on each others projects, and to be a sounding board for any writing-related headaches we’re experiencing. That, in fact, is one of the things I love most about my writing group– that it is full of talented, whip-smart women who are flexible enough to be whatever I need them to be: sometimes I need brutal critics, sometimes I need shoulders to cry on. They do it all.

Keep Reading…


writers-toolboxAnd if writing is your thing, but you want a few new ideas and voices to kick you in gear, go check out my friend Addie’s post about her favorite tools of the trade – aka the books she keeps in her writer’s toolbox.

Here’s her intro…

10 Books in my Writer’s Toolbox

Because I spend a good deal of my time writing or thinking about writing or avoiding writing, it’s only natural that I’d have a stack of books on the subject. I thought I’d take a minute to introduce you to some of my favorites.

There are lots of amazing books on writing out there, and the ones that are precious to me are influenced by the kind of work I do. Because I am a Christian, and because I am forever trying to figure out my faith, books that explore that strange and stunning intersection between faith and art are important to me. Because I’m interested in the careful mining my own memories and experiences in the form of memoir or creative nonfiction, a lot of my favorites explore the power and potential of that genre.

Keep reading…


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMeanwhile, here on the farm… it’s Jason and my 10 year anniversary today. Yep. Ten years. Here’s us on our honeymoon, rocking a little mountain laundromat with our coolness and dirty hiking socks.

I’m so glad I married my best friend. Enough said.

Ten years is a big deal, so tonight we are headed out  sans kiddos (thanks grandma and grandpa) to wander and eat our way through some new downtown Minneapolis spots we’ve had our eyes on.

Butcher and the Boar, we’re looking at you…