On Creativity Bottlenecks

A professor once told his class, "we don't get stuck from having no ideas, but from having too many." 

I realized, my mind churns and spins with ideas at an alarming rate. If I don't get them out fast enough, they build up and bottleneck the whole creative processes. I become overwhelmed at the sheer number of ideas and end up doing none of them, which then discourages me. 

The professor told the class the solution to this problem though, "pick something and go with it. Don't think about it. Just do it. Then go on to the next."

Can it really can be that simple? Yes.

By picking one idea and running with it, momentum is created. The idea will either take off and fly or crash into the ground and be dragged through the mud, but forward progress has been made either way. This is the key to break through bottlenecks.

What if it fails?

What if it falls flat?

What if it is lame?

We need to give ourselves permission to fail, to fall flat, and to be lame because it will give us confidence to create. We also need to give ourselves permission to succeed, to inspire, and to be authentic because it is possible. 

So I am giving myself permission to follow through, on one idea at a time, because in the end I need to create or I will explode.  

Do you ever experience creative bottlenecks?

Deep Fried Strawberry Oreo

The following is one of the best ideas I have ever had:

  1. Cut the top off the strawberry
  2. Hollow the strawberry
  3. Crumble Oreo into said strawberry
  4. Cover in Abbitt's Sweet Hush Puppy Mix
  5. Fry in hot oil

I did not even take a picture because of the deliciousness. When I make these again, I will post pictures of the process; but for now, trust me when I say these are amazing. Enjoy!

Creative Spaces

Creative spaces are a very personal thing. It is where worlds are created and the abstract becomes something tangible. It can be the kitchen table or an entire room devoted to your craft. Here are a few things I prefer for my creative space:

• A large desk 
This gives me space to spread out papers and still have room for my keyboard and mouse.

• A book shelf
I enjoy having books at my fingertips and bookshelves are one of the most aesthetically pleasing ways to do this.

• Blank paper
I always go back and forth on whether to have lined paper or completely blank. I have found that I much prefer the blank. I like to draw and work organically and feel limited when I use lined paper.

• A Nerf gun
This is mainly to deter any interruptions and cats. 

• A computer
Writing and video editing requires me to use a desktop for most of my work. I currently work with four monitors.

• Sharp pointy objects
I have always liked knives and swords. My wife and I took a German longsword class and we both enjoyed it immensely. 

What does your creative space look like? What items do you find necessary?

The Art of Storytelling in D&D

I love a good story. Several of my friends are especially talented in telling stories. Last night, I had the privilege of joining them in playing Dungeons and Dragons for the first time in my life. 

It was explained to me that it is better to think of D&D, not as a game, but as a structure to create a story. The "Dungeon Master" sets the stage and plot, then the characters (us) add the details to the story. Dice are then used to decided how well those characters can use their abilities as the story plays out. It is an interactive story with chance that makes the whole experience more real and less random.

There were five of us last night, one Dungeon Master and four Characters. After I had created a character, we went on a journey to help a small town that was having an issue with their crops. An Orc attacked us at camp, but luckily we were able to survive. One of us got a good scar out of it and my character obtained a nice dagger. It was a great night.

With all the stereotypes in our culture about D&D, I never would have thought I would enjoy it as much as I did. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good story. 

Have you every played D&D? What was your experience?

The Super Bowl of Snacks


I have never been the type to sit down and watch sports and Super Bowl Sunday is no exception. I can, however, appreciate sports for the physical and mental skill required to do them. Sports are an amazing thing that not only benefit the people who play them, but can also bring groups of people together to eat food. It is the bringing groups of people together to eat food that interests my friends and I.


Since several of my friends don't enjoy watching sports, we decided to do something a little different this year. We are having the Super Bowl of Snacks party. We are getting together and eating all of the typical snacks and foods you would find at a Super Bowl party, just without the Super Bowl. 


So, in a way, watching sports did bring my group of friends together. Everyone else is watching, while we are doing the eating. 

I hope everyone enjoys the game!

You Need a Budget

I have never been much of a budgeter. In fact, I would be what Dave Ramsey calls a free spirit, someone whose default is to spend and not to save. Things are shiny right? I have paper that gets me shiny. Why save paper and not buy shiny?

When my wife and I got married, I did our "budgeting" in my head. If I was going to spend $2.75, I would round that up to $3.00 in my head as I swiped my debit card. That way I would never overdraft our checking account. Then we took Financial Peace University from Dave Ramsey.

Here is a video by Rachel Cruze explaining how to do a zero-based budget.

We started doing what is called a zero-based budget. That is where we put a name to every dollar that came in so there were none that were just floating around waiting to be spent by me. 

My wife and I started making a budget with a spreadsheet our friend made (who is a wiz at Excel). After a few years we wanted to switch to something that we both could edit easier and sync with our phones. We switched from a spreadsheet to an app on our phones about 6 months ago and about 6 years into our budgeting journey. 

The first app we used synced, but the interface really bothered me. I am a tech guy and I need good design. That is when I found You Need a Budget, YNAB for short. I had seen it before, but at $60 I could not justify the expense. This past December, during the Steam holiday sale, YNAB went on sale at 75% off. I could spend $15 on it. In fact after using it for a month, I would be willing to spend the full $60.

Quick tour YNAB and it's four rules.

YNAB has both phone and tablet apps that are designed and work well. It can sync between our devices and split transactions into multiple categories, something we have been needing for a while. Also, it has an almost drag and drop simple interface across all platforms.

We could not be happier with YNAB and would encourage anyone to check it out, along with Financial Peace University

What are you currently using for your budgeting needs?

Speaking Powerfully

My job often requires me to speak in front of people as an interpreter. This means, I have to pay close attention to how I sound and how I project my voice. 

As I was browsing ted.com, this week, I came across this talk by Julian Treasure that gives some great tips on how to sound more confident and how to speak so others will listen.