Podcast Episode 179: How to Be a Parent AND a Creative Person (and also help your child be creative)

Today’s guest, Dan Blank; image from his website, wegrowmedia.com

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

Today’s guest, author, artist, and speaker Dan Blank, knows an awful lot about fostering creativity. As dad to a six-year-old and a new baby, he also knows the struggles that creative people go through to retain their creativity – their sanity, even – while raising children.

For Dan it’s a foregone conclusion: the way we humans are, right down to our very core, demands creativity. It’s not something we can escape because it’s part of us – everything feels off when we don’t have a creative outlet.

But how do we accomplish that, while we’re caught up in the daily demands of work, and raising children, and everything else?

That’s what our conversation is all about today. I know you’re going to love it!

For the full show notes and key links – and to sign up for the FREE Streamline Your Mornings challenge, which will help you get a handle on the school day morning chaos and starts this coming Monday, September 4 – go to weturnedoutokay.com/179.

Dan shares so much in today’s episode about how to parent and retain our creativity – and foster our kids’ – all at the same time. Below, some words of Dan’s from today’s show that really resonate:

“Life is a process of finding out… boundaries [are a key part of that.]”
– On how constraints foster creativity

When Dan feels less-than-confident in his creativity… What does he do about it?
“Two things:, first, I turn to my support system, and second I ask myself “what is one action I can take to get through this?””

“Obsession is having extraordinary clarity about what you do… [when you’re feeling obsessed with some creative endeavor], go with it… It’s leading somewhere.”

“Collaboration helps create something we could not create on our own.”
– On the benefits of working with others

Dan and his wife foster creativity in their children by:
Harnessing the “power of boredom” and “underscheduling”

They teach good communication skills through, among other things, closing the office door. (This was a favorite part of mine in our conversation – kids need to learn when it’s okay to interrupt, and when it’s not. Dan’s idea that this teaches good communication skills resonated strongly with me; it’s something everyone needs to learn at some point in their lives. Best start early!)

We ran out of time for one last question, and Dan was kind enough to share a written answer:
Q: What if there are listeners to our conversation who want to get started on something creative… But maybe saying “that’s all well and good for you guys… But my situation is especially tough because…”
What help could you offer the listener who wants to be creative but is struggling to find the time, maybe the resources as well?

A: “For the person who is struggling to find the time, energy, or resources, I would encourage them to consider doing a “single push-up,” a metaphor from a Tim Ferriss podcast interview.
What is the smallest action listeners can take for their creative work each week?
For instance: no one has time to go to the gym, we are all far too busy. But everyone has the time to drop to the ground and do a single push-up. You can do it in your bedroom, the kitchen, the bathroom, your office, a hallway, the garage, the lawn.
And it takes 8 seconds.
The first one won’t work. It may take you 5 days to do one. Then you will get better at it. Then you can do 2 in 10 seconds. Then 3 in 13 seconds. And so on.
This will become a gateway habit.
So in other words: find the smallest habit you can reasonably do, even with your constraints. It will lead to others.”
– Dan

Key Links:

Find Dan’s podcast, Dabblers versus Doers, and sign up for his awesome weekly newsletter by going to wegrowmedia.com.

If you’ve never seen author Tommie dePaola’s wonderful, and wonderfully illustrated, books for children, this is your lucky day!
Click here for the book Dan and I discuss today, The Art Lesson.

Author Dani Shapiro, who wrote Still Writing, comes up in today’s conversation; find her here.

Author Neil Gaiman and his wife, writer and musician Amanda Palmer, also come up, specifically referencing Amanda’s instagram; find it here.

Click here for Tim Ferriss’s podcast.

Click here for the all things Freakonomics website, where you’ll find links to the podcast and books by authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. (Freakonomics comes up at the end, when I read out Dan’s answer to my last question.)

Are you worrying about the insanity of back-to-school time? Join WTOO’s Streamline Your Mornings challenge, where we’ll spend five days in early September making your mornings better! (9/3/17: Click Here for the Waitlist, so you’ll know immediately when I offer this challenge again.)

If you’re struggling with all of the difficult stuff that parenting brings, consider joining the community where I help parents with, well, all that stuff!
Click here to learn more about the Ninja Parenting Community.

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