What the heck does coloring have to do with creativity in blogging, or enhancing your creativity as a blogger? I’m talking about grown-ups grabbing a box of Crayola Crayons and going to town on a more intricate, adult version of a coloring book. How do you color creativity into blogging? There are a number of blog posts “out there” suggesting that coloring is a panacea for everything from anxiety to toenail fungus. Color me skeptical – at least about the toenail fungus. But just for fun, let’s explore the link between coloring and creativity for bloggers.
Begin by thinking like a child…
Color Outside the Lines
It began by accident. I shared an article called “6 Ways to Get Creative with Writing Your Blog Content,” a blog post suggested by Klout (whoops!) that I had merely skimmed, based largely on the topic, the headline, and and a dearth of caffeine flowing in my veins. I confused lifehack.org with lifehacker.com. I fell for what now looks like a “generic guest post” by an author who has no social media presence beyond the site, who claims to be a “a financial writer, business consultant and freelance coach” who, when she’s not writing, can be found “geeking out over numberse”? Numberse. (Numberses, my Precious.) Mea culpa. Pass the coffee. Of course, @Mitch_M called me out on it:
The old, “I meant to do that!” But the more I thought about what I was suggesting, the more I warmed to the idea. Here’s where the notion of coloring outside the lines comes in: Pay attention. Listen. Any conversation – no matter how silly or trivial – can provide fodder for the blog. The trick is to find an original angle.
We’re All a Little “Colorful”
I don’t know anything about the psychology of adult coloring books. Depending on who you talk to, they may be relaxing, meditative, or even spiritual, and it’s probably a load of bunk – as Cathy Malchiodi, an art therapist, was quoted as saying: “Some people are adamant that coloring books are a path to mindfulness, meditation and some kind of psychological nirvana[.] I find that many of the loudest proponents are actually those that create the coloring books.” Reading that, I checked the post that started it all; sure enough, there’s a link to another article reviewing fifteen of the “best” coloring books for adults, complete with affiliate links. If I add a book link here, it’s just for grins – Amazon Smile, to be exact.
Then again, Carl Jung appears to have liked mandalas, believing they provided a key to unlocking one’s sense of “Self.”
“My mandalas were cryptograms concerning the state of the self which was presented to me anew each day…I guarded them like precious pearls….It became increasingly plain to me that the mandala is the center. It is the exponent of all paths. It is the path to the center, to individuation. ”
Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections
(See more at Carl Jung: Ten Quotations About Mandalas)
Of course, if you really want to unlock the self, you’ll have to draw – and color – your own original mandalas. But there’s nothing wrong with baby steps. Keep a pen handy. You may get flashes of insight from within that will translate to ideas for your next blog post; just jot those down as you draw and color. Don’t stop! Keep tapping into that well till it runs dry, trusting that a day’s experiences and a night of dreaming will fill it up again for tomorrow.
Some writers prefer to spend a few moments, each morning, “free writing” – just quickly writing, longhand, whatever pops into their heads, without an outline, plot, or any particular intent. Try that – but use at least six different colored ink pens. Don’t stop to edit or self-censor; don’t rip out the page, crumple it up, and try your aim at the circular file. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation don’t count! Just write for thirty minutes, switching pen colors every five minutes. Is your writing different when you use a black pen, a red pen, a purple pen, or a green pen?
Use Bold Colors!
@Mitch_M did that Mitch thing, sealing the deal:
I wasn’t sure, till later, which one of us had thrown down the gauntlet. But Mitch told me I did, and the Tweets don’t lie.
I believe that your color choices are key to your thought processes. I was using the boldest of blues, the most stubborn of oranges, the most mischievous of reds, and the silliest (but wisest) of sage green when I challenged Mitch to a blogging duel. He responded in the sunniest of yellows, the cockiest of cornflower blues (saying he’d practically had the last word on blogging creativity already – hah!) and a hint of thyme – his post will go live on Monday.
Is your crayon box one of those standard boxes of eight basic colors – or worse, that little assortment of three or four that they hand out to keep kids quiet in restaurants? Is it a modest but portable pack of twenty-four? Perhaps, like me, you prefer the classic but robust box of sixty-four colors with its built-in sharpener and a tendency to end up with a jumble of colorful wax nubs dumped into a coffee can. Or is it a ginormous box of 152 different colors of crayon, complete with glitterbombs? There is strength in diversity; don’t let your own voice be silenced by a dearth of color, or by choosing only the most quiet, unassuming, tepid shades. Live out loud; blog out loud. Grab your crayons and color out loud as a “warm-up” pre-writing exercise. Be conscious of the harmony between bolder and softer hues – don’t be afraid to explore them all and see how they clash or combine. People are a little bit like that, and will respond and resonate with your words as a blogger, if you consider how your “coloring and shading” choices – those little nuances of meaning – affect your readers.
Writers call their box of “crayons” a Thesaurus. You can also fill your blogging color-box by subscribing to their Word of the Day. Be sure to check out the history behind your favorite words to deepen your understanding of them; this is especially important for bloggers who are blogging in English, when it is not their native tongue.
Tap into Childhood
Build a blanket fort to color in.
Remember the best of childhood and see the world through childlike eyes. “Childlike” is not the same as “childish” (any more than “For Mature Audiences” means something that will appeal to mature people). Color on the floor. Scratch that: Don’t color ON the floor – even if the crayons are “washable” – just sprawl out on the carpet with coloring book and crayons and color. Lay on your tummy and kick your feet. Stretch. Sketch under the blankets with a flashlight. Sit under a tree and daydream; climb to the top of it and see the forest from a tree. Change your own perspective, both literally and figuratively. Sometimes, the best way to sneak around “writer’s block” is to explore a different venue and a different kind of creativity – whether it’s through art, photography, crafting, crochet, or coloring. When your brain is ready to begin writing, it will let you know. Till then, let it play – and fill it with color.
Now that he’s (finally) got around to posting it, here’s Mitch Mitchell’s take on coloring as it pertains to creativity and blogging: Coloring As A Concept For Inspired Blogging? Go read, then let us know your thoughts on the subject! She says, pointing down at the comments box, below…