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9 Attitudes of Highly Creative People

Creativity-1Yesterday I looked at 5 methods for being creative. Today I’d like to look at some attitudes to build into your approach if you want to be a more creative person:

1. Curiosity

I’ve written previously on the topic of curiosity because I’m convinced that it is an essential skill to build as a blogger. Learning to ask ‘why’, ‘what if’ and ‘I wonder…’ are great questions to build into your life if you want to be a more creative person.

2. Seeing Problems as Interesting and Acceptable

ChallengeOne of the problems of the Western mindset is that we often see problems or obstacles in life as unacceptable parts of life. We avoid pain or suppress it when it comes and in doing so don’t often see and feel symptoms that are there to tell us something important. Creative people see problems as a natural and normal part of life – in fact they often have a fascination with problems and are drawn to them.

3. Confronting Challenge

Many of the most creative ideas through out history have come from people facing a challenge or crisis and rather than running from it asking ‘how can I overcome this’?
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Top 5 – Group Writing Project Day 1

Top-5Yesterday when I announced this month’s Group Writing Project I had a feeling that it’d be popular – but I didn’t expect the massive list of submissions that I’m about to lay on you. It’s been only 18 hours of the first day and already we have 132 submissions (and a few more have already arrived for tomorrow’s batch). In the midst of those submitted are some great posts (with such variety!). Hours of surfing fun!

Why Chitika Rocks – #5

All of our ‘Top 5′ posts are in the running to take home $1001 which has been generously donated by Chitika.

I said that for each day of the project I’d tell you something that I love about Chitika (and in doing so will come up with my own ‘top 5) so here’s my #5.

The first thing I like about Chitika’s eMiniMall ads is that they’re an interactive little ad unit. Where as most ad networks are developing ad units that are pretty stagnant for readers eMiniMalls offer a more dynamic ad which just beg to be clicked. With the ‘description’, ‘best deals’ and search tabs as well as on multi product units being able to bring up different products without having to refresh the page – the unit actually offers readers a number of different ways to interact with the ad which in my experience is leading to pretty good CTR.

Submit Your Post Today

It’s not to late to participate in this week’s project. In fact you’ve got until Thursday to get you post in (just remember one post per person and to read the full submission process before entering).

Day 1 Submissions

So without further ado let me share the first day’s submissions for this ‘Top 5′ Group Writing Project. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have this afternoon – don’t forget to surf through the list and to link up to, bookmark and comment on those you resonate with most:
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How to Be a More Creative Blogger – Methods of Creativity

Last week while cleaning up my hard drive I came across an old presentation that I gave to a group of young leaders on how to develop your creativity.

As I read through it I realized that some of it was quite appropriate for bloggers wanting to be more creative in their blogging and so thought that this week I’d present a short series of posts based upon my presentation. Today I’ll start with a post on ‘methods of creativity‘.

I’m not sure where I got this material from – it’s likely that at least some of it comes from some of Edward DeBono’s material (but it’s been a decade since I researched this).

So where do creative ideas come from?

As I ponder the different types of creative posts that I’ve written or that I’ve seen others write – they generally come in one of the following ways:

1. Evolution

When new ideas come as a result of building upon previous ones. This is very much a step by step process where at each step the progression in ideas very small but where over time it is significant.

A great blog related example of this has been the evolution of most blogging platforms, like WordPress which periodically updates it’s features – building each time on what they previously had.

Most bloggers enter into this evolutionary process every day with their blogging – taking previously expressed ideas (both their own and those of others) and extending them.

A good question to ask yourself when entering into this evolutionary process is – ‘how could I improve (insert thing to evolve here)….?’

Evolution isn’t the ‘sexiest’ of the methods that I’ll talk about here – but it’s probably the most common way of creating new ideas.

2. Reapplication

When you look at something old in a new way.

The exercise that I did with participants in my presentation to illustrate this point was to give each person a fork and to tell them to come up with as many new uses for a fork as they could in 2 minutes.

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Top 5 – Group Writing Project

Top-5It’s time for another ProBlogger Group Writing Project – and this time we’ve got $1001 Cash (USD) up for grabs thanks to our generous sponsors Chitika!

PLEASE READ ALL OF THE INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE SUBMITTING – the process has changed. Particularly pay attention to the instruction to submit NEW posts not previously written ones. Old posts (written before today) won’t be accepted and will not be eligible for a gift. Thanks for your understanding. Also please note that there is ONE entry per participant.

update: This project is now finished. See the full list of submissions of top 5 posts submitted here.

The Topic

This project’s topic is:

‘Top 5′

Your task with this project is to take the theme of ‘Top 5′ in any direction that you’d like to. I’ve chosen this theme because it should be adaptable to most types of blogs. For example a personal blogger could write about their top 5 favorite foods, a celebrity blogger could write about the top 5 things Paris will do when she gets to jail, a tech blogger could rate their top five gadgets of the year, a productivity blogger could write their top 5 ways to save 20 minutes a day etc.

Write it in any style you like, a rant, list, poem, essay, video, pictorial, haiku, podcast….. anything.

Be as creative as you can and take this in any direction you like. You’ll have a much better chance of getting your post noticed if it’s useful and/or interesting to readers and write something relevant to the topic of your blog.

Once you’ve written your post simply follow the process for participating that I’ve outlined below (please note – to be eligible for the gifts from our sponsors you need to follow the guidelines below).

The Prize

For this project I decided to experiment with having just the one larger prize instead of lots of smaller ones.

As a result at the end of the week I’ll be randomly choosing one lucky participant to win $1001 USD in Cash which has been kindly donated by Chitika. Over the week in each of the daily summary posts I’ll be sharing a reason that I think Chitika is great (and in doing so will come up with my own ‘Top 5′.

Thanks also to those others who offered to sponsor this week. As I mentioned – there were many offers and I really grappled with which one to choose.

The Other (Real) Reason to Participate

Prizes are great – but the real reason to get involved in this type of project is that it has the potential to find you some new readers, make some new blogging friends and put your blog out there.

Every time I run these projects I get emails from bloggers telling me that they:

  • had big traffic days
  • found new blogs that they just love
  • had their posts get to the top of digg and other bookmarking sites

Of course not every entry goes viral as a result of participating – but it’s been a beneficial experience for many previous participants as hundreds of bloggers take part.

The Key to Participating

One last thing before I tell you HOW to participate.

These projects work best when those participating don’t only submit posts of their own but when they read and interact with others who submit posts. Here’s how you can do this:

  • Read the submissions of others
  • Make friends with those you like the submissions of (comment, email – get to know them)
  • Link up to those who you resonate with (some bloggers write a top 5 or 10 list each day of the submissions that they like the best)
  • Bookmark, Stumble and Vote for those you resonate with

The people who get the most out of these projects are those who throw themselves deeply into them.

How To Participate

Here’s how to participate and put yourself in the running for the prize (and to get a little exposure for your blog along the way). Please read this as it has changed slightly since last time (this time submissions are not to be sent via my contact form but via another form – please read on):

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WordPress Releases Stats Plugin

Yesterday WordPress released a plugin to allow hosted WordPress.org bloggers to use their WordPress.com Stats system on their blogs.

I’ve not tested it but Muhammad Saleem’s reviewed it for you here.

Personal Branding and Blogging

One blogger that I think has done a good job of positioning himself as an expert on social media is Neil Patel. I’ve previously linked to quite a bit of Neil’s blogging at Pronet Advertising but in the last few days he’s also started a new blog called QuickSprout – a blog on personal branding.

In his latest post Neil writes about using blogs (both starting your own and commenting on others) as a tool for branding yourself (something most of us as bloggers are familiar with to some extent). I’m looking forward to seeing more and more of Neil’s posts as personal branding is a topic is continues to grow.

My Personal Branding Tip

My own philosophy on personal branding is that it needs to be approached on two fronts – a big picture and a little picture one.

On a big picture front one needs to think about the larger ‘picture’ that you’re wanting to paint of yourself. You might do this by thinking about the words that you want associated with your name for example. So someone like Guy Kawasaki you might associate the word ‘entrepreneur’ or Michael Arrington it might be ‘Web 2.0′. Most bloggers attempting to build their personal brand think about this and generally do a reasonable job at it.

On a smaller picture/micro level I think bloggers need to consider that every action that they take has the ability to add to or subtract from their personal brand.

  • Every Blog Post
  • Every Comment
  • Every Instant Message
  • Every Email

Particularly the public actions (posting and commenting) can have a profound impact upon how you are perceived – particularly when viewed cumulatively over time.

Don’t just think about ‘what’ you write either – it’s about ‘how’ you do it also. Your style, tone, language as well as they way in which you interact with others all have an impact upon how people will perceive you and the words that they’ll associate with you.

It’s on this micro level that I see some bloggers break down and prove to be inconsistent in their branding by having a big picture branding that says one thing but a small picture branding that is quite different from their overall goal. These mixed messages can confuse and even aggravate readers.

This inconsistency can come in any number of ways – for example:

  • presenting as an expert but proving to have little knowledge of the topic at hand
  • presenting as a relational person but with an unwillingness to interact on a one on one level
  • presenting as a reasonable, diplomatic person but with a history of personal attack
  • presenting as an honest person but being found to consistently attempting to pull the wool over other people’s eyes
  • presenting as an aggressive blogger but in personal interactions being gentle, meek and mild

The list could go on (and you’re welcome to suggest others). The problem with such inconsistencies is that over time they become quite obvious (particularly in a medium like blogging) and they can eventually lead to the creation of anything but a positive personal brand.

So as useful as thinking about the big picture that you want to portray is – a more useful question to continually be asking is – ‘do my actions back up the brand that I’m attempting to portray?’

This is a question to be pondering in the daily grind of blogging, commenting and interacting with others.

Group Writing Project This Week! – Here’s the Prize

This is just a short note to give readers some advanced warning that this week is the week for the next ProBlogger Group Writing Project.

Tomorrow I’ll announce the topic (it’s one that every blogger of any topic should find accessible) but in the lead up to it I’d like to announce the sponsor and prize of this next project.

I’m pleased to announce that Chitika (the ad network that I make around 30% (it does go up and down a little) of my income from) is coming to the Group Writing Project party and is offering one lucky (and random) participant….

$1001 cash

My request for sponsors brought in some generous offers for prizes but I decided to go with Chitikas for a few reasons:

1. They’re a relevant sponsor for ProBlogger

2. I believe in them and have no hesitation in recommending them (see my previous review of Chitika and tips on how to use them).

3. Readers have previously fed back that ‘cash’ was the prize they competed hardest for

So stay tuned over the next 24 hours for a topic announcement – along with a new system for submitting the posts that you want to submit which hopefully will streamline the whole project a lot more (and let me run them more regularly).

Oh – and thanks Chitika!

PS: if you’ve never done a ProBlogger Group Writing Project before you might like to check out this post introducing the last one to give you the idea of how they run.

Speedlinking – 6 May 2007

Technorati Gives Blogs an ‘Authority’ Ranking

Ben has noticed that Technorati have started giving blogs an ‘Authority Rank’. The Top 100 list used to be base upon incoming links but now is based upon ‘authority’ (although I don’t see much has changed in that list so far).

There’s nothing about how they’re coming up with authority rankings yet on their blog – it’ll be interesting to see if this is just a new new name for the old ‘incoming links’ description or if they’re making bigger changes.

PS: It also looks like they’ve changed the way that blog’s profile pages are displayed. I don’t remember how the old ones displayed but here’s ProBlogger’s page. Now with screen shot of the blog, ‘blog reactions’ (what others are saying about the blog) etc.

I also note that they’ve started calling those favoriting a blog ‘fans’ which could indicate some more changes in the favoriting system are under way.

update: More on these changes are now on the Technorati blog