Checking in with my creativity

One of the things I wanted to focus on this year was creativity. I think I mentioned that in one of my posts recently.

Creativity comes in different forms for different people and one of mine, the biggest one for me lately has been in the kitchen.

You’re shocked, right? I mean… Who wouldn’t be? I love a lot of things in this world, but playing in the kitchen with cooking or baking or coffee…that’s one of my biggest jams.

Y’all have heard me talk about how long I’ve been cooking, that my first jobs were in food service. The first kitchen I loved was my grandmother’s kitchen and the smells that would come from it. My favorite meal smell is Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey and dressing.

My favorite comfort. Food.

Over the years, being married for so long, dinner gets stale. Ideas are harder and harder to come by, even with Pinterest and food bloggers and YouTube and cookbooks galore. I tended to just stick to the things I knew my family would eat until this year.

We joined HelloFresh for a few months and I started to fall in love with cooking again. We tried new dishes. We tried new ways of cooking familiar ones. I tried things I hadn’t before. It became fun, making dinner.

We canceled the service a few weeks ago, but I’m still cooking. I started falling back into the same old ruts from before until dairy decided it didn’t want to be friends with me anymore. Now, I’m trying new recipes that are dairy-free, a lot of them are more vegan than not, and they’re good. They appeal to my sense of curiosity in the kitchen.

My thing right now is taking food I grew up loving and trying to make it tasty and dairy-free. This is easy and not, and it tests and tries and rewards my creative soul. And when my creative soul is thriving in one area, it also starts to thrive in others. I’ve learned that I need a day to simply play in the kitchen. A day to try something new. A day to explore and experiment. A day to just get excited with no expectations.

Yesterday was one of those days for me. I made vegan Mac and Cheese.

Now, I’m a Southern woman. Mac and Cheese is one of our religions down here. Every family has a secret to their recipe. But what happens when you can’t have all those layers and layers of cheesy goodness? Well, you try to find something that will work for you.

This is not the kind I grew up with. This is not the baked with burnt edges of cheese and pasta that I grew up with. This is definitely not the holy grail that the Spouse grew up with. But it worked. It worked and I ate a bowl of it and I wanted seconds. It satisfied the craving for pasta and cheese, baked under a crispy layer of breadcrumbs.

I also roasted my very first butternut squash yesterday. I’d never had it before. Roasted or otherwise. See, I don’t like yellow squash at all and I pretty much lumped all squash into the category of NOPE! But I wanted that mac and cheese up there in that picture and the only way to get it was to roast a butternut squash. I only needed half of it for the recipe, so the other half of the squash was roasted with maple syrup and cinnamon and let me just tell you now… Oh. My. Goodness. Literal goodness.

I was happy. I was making messes left and right. I was testing the taste at every stage of the recipe. I made a cheese sauce out of…no cheese. You read that right. No. Cheese. And yet, with the combination of ingredients in the recipe, it became a cheese sauce for the pasta. Even the Spouse said it was good and that he’d eat it. And remember, he grew up with the holy grail of mac and cheese.

I was so proud of myself and for the second week in a row, I exclaimed how much I love being able to cook.

Yesterday, I also made some iced pour over coffee. And two different kinds of overnight oats (maple cinnamon and lemon).

It’s fills my heart and soul to be able to play in the kitchen. It boosts my overall mental wellbeing. It’s a happiness and a need that I have. It’s a must like writing. When I’m going strong with writing, doing it daily, especially, it becomes a living, breathing part of me and my mental health thrives.

Creativity is something I need to be happy and whole. It’s not everything I need… There are other things too… Music, naps, drives up into the mountains, reading. Each thing fuels and feeds the others. And playing with food, playing in the kitchen… I definitely do need it for my creativity and for this new way of eating. Talk about nourishing the soul and the body…

Talk to y’all soon…

5 Things I’m Tackling In My Creative Life Right Now

And sadly, no, tackling isn’t a football reference in this instance. And y’all, I miss football. I know there’s the draft and pro days and the combine and so on and so forth, but I miss GameDay on Saturdays and a full slate of football games from noon until midnight. At the same time, I’m getting a shit ton done in my creative life right now so I can’t complain too much … Football will be back soon enough! 148 days, 18 hours, and 58 minutes …

Okay, now that I’ve gathered myself together …

I’m working and creating and dreaming and putting into place and changing how I play the game. I’m doing a lot more embracing of change this year, facing my fears than I have in a very long time. (Then again, I got new computer glasses that I’m in love with I can’t wait to put them on). So, I thought I’d share with you 5 Things I’m Tackling In My Creative Life Right Now …

Creative means, according to Merriam-Webster, marked by the ability or power to create … As indie authors, blog writers, indie publishers, content creators, etc … We have an immense amount of power in our collective voices and at our fingertips. We’re limited only by our imagination. I was HUGE limited by my mindset for a long ass time. That’s no longer the case as I continue to learn just how much power creatives do have. Facing the fears, accepting them, and leaning into them to come out on the other side, that definitely takes creative courage and an open mindset. I’m still fighting against my limiting thoughts and I’m making progress every day, often, multiple times a day.

Approval from people who don’t matter … I fight this a lot. I tackle this issue day in and day out. Some voices are louder than others. I do a much better job now of surrounding myself and reaching out to people who have my back, who support me, who let me bounce ideas off them without judgment, who pull me out of my funks, who are constructive and creative in their criticism and not out to see me fall and fail. Seeking approval and advice from some people can and will kill creativity faster than you can say, well, anything. And this is not about competition and outside validation. This is simply about seeking creative guidance and sometimes, there are people, who you and I need to steer clear of or our creative desires and willpower will fly right out the window.

Comfort Zone … Boy. Howdy. I am tackling the creative comfort zone every second it seems. I am facing things that are pushing me out of where I am and where I’ve been. They’re affecting the bottom line and the momentum I had going when I started 2018 with a plan. But I also get stronger each time I take a leap. I believe more in myself when I put myself out there in ways I never thought I would. And sometimes it definitely takes having your hand forced before you’re even remotely ready in order to do the things. Don’t get me wrong here. The fear never goes away, but it when we lean into it, push through it, drown out the negativity of our own minds and that of other’s words, we gain power over it and we’re able to say ‘Bring It On’ even louder the next time.

Using multiple parts of my creative brain … At all times. All day. I’m changing how I approach Lissa Matthews, some from my own desires, and some from outside sources. A new pen name that I’m really excited to play with. She’s going to be a lot of fun when I get a point I can dedicate several hours a day to her. Some creative online business courses. Some of the information isn’t anything new to me, but the ways it’s presented is different and it’s allowing me to push against the frame of mind and limits I’d imposed on myself for years as a writer and creative. And a new venture about helping creatives see their to-do lists in a new light. (I’ll be telling you more about it later). The more I use these creative brain waves, the more creativity I’m dealt and that’s just fine with me.

Falling back into old habits of procrastination … So, yes, on the heels of a lot creativity flowing through me and facing fears, I still have to deal with old habits creeping in. I haven’t been watching television much. Sports, yes. March Madness. Golf next weekend, etc … But television shows? I’ve pretty much ditched them. I still catch a 30min one once or twice a week, but that’s it. I haven’t watched a Hallmark movie in months. Or binged on Netflix. (Though I do have it in my planner that I’m allowed to binge watch Bosch when it returns in April). But television doesn’t serve my business or me. Yes, one could get ideas from it every so often, but not enough to waste valuable time. And I’ll occasionally find myself playing Candy Crush and have to force myself to walk away. I don’t do Facebook much. I’m there only for specific things (a few groups and my Page). Instead, I read more. Business books, female entrepreneurial books, fiction, blog posts, articles that are relevant to what I’m doing, and the like. I’ve gotten to the point I can let my house go if necessary (but not for too long… I can’t work for too long in the equivalent of a college frat house). But putting my business and myself first has helped me add to my creative well and pull myself out of the time sucks. I’m a much happier person now that I’m not wasting so many precious moments on things that mean nothing. The caveat to this is, once again, sports. My son loves sports. Sports broadcasting is what he wants to go into when he goes to college. We watch sports together. It’s something we’ve always done. It’s one of the ways we connect and share time together. It helps that I like sports, too.

What are you tackling in your creative life or in your life in general? Leave a comment below! And have a great Thursday!

~lissa

On Creativity

I use Pinterest a lot. Still. I have 60 public boards and several private boards. I love the different things I find, the visual inspiration. The things that are most repinned are food. I’d like it if other things got equal representation, but food seems to be universal…

I started a new board recently and I titled it On Creativity. I’ve been feeling more and more creatively inspired this year. This is a change. And a good one. A really good one. I didn’t feel creatively inspired last year. Or even the year before. I was kind of slogging through the days, waiting to get to the next one. I wasn’t sure how to approach my writing or even if I could call it a business. I mean, other people did, but was it? Really? And that whole line of thinking has changed for me in the last few weeks. I do see it as a business and more specifically, I see it as a creative business.

Follow Lissa Matthews’s board On Creativity on Pinterest.

Enter my On Creativity Pinterest board. It’s not very full yet. It has links to some books I like, some links to articles I like, some links to infographics and such. It’s about how to find and get creative. It’s for those who need some direction toward creativity in their lives.

According to Merriam-Webster, the simple definition of creativity is: the ability to make things or think of new ideas.

Cool. I can do that. It doesn’t have to be crafts or books. It can be whatever inspires us… Coffee. Cooking. Making things with our hands. Music. Art. Dance. Meditation.

It can be in how we inspire others, too.

On the board is a Pin for TED Talks for Creative Entrepreneurs. I am in love with TED. And I love these because they’re given by people who were once like you and me. They once had a dream. They once needed a road map. When they didn’t have one, they created one. They inspire me to create my own.

I’m going to be talking about creativity throughout the year. I’ll hopefully be able to get a few people to come onto the blog to talk about what inspires creativity in them.

But if you need somewhere to start with creativity, try my Pinterest board, On Creativity…
~lissa