Here’s an email I sent to the Roanoke Times / roanoke.com newsroom today:
Thanks for taking the training poll I sent out a couple of weeks ago.
The clear winner was “How to be more creative,” which I’m really excited about, as it’s my favorite topic to research and discuss.
Creativity is way too big to tackle in one brown bag, so I thought we could take the entire month of August to explore the topic.
“Individuals who want to increase their creativity need to be open to trying things they haven’t done before, even when the results are completely uncertain,” writes Tina Seelig, author of “inGenius” and a brilliant professor who teaches creativity at Stanford.
So I invite you to have some fun and explore some new ideas in two ways:
1. Tea with TED (in under 20 minutes)
Ever heard of TED Talks? These are short (5 to 20-minute) videos of some of the world’s greatest thinkers sharing “ideas worth spreading” at TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conferences around the world. I’ve found many of these talks brain-bending and inspiring.
I’ll screen one *surprise* TED Talk every Wednesday in August at 2:30 p.m. in the News Conference Room. If you bring a mug of hot water, I’ll bring the tea and snacks.
If any volunteers would like to screen the same TED Talks in the NRV and in the evening for the night shift, I’d be happy to coordinate with you.
2. Try something new for 30 days
Are you up for a 30-day personal challenge?
Let’s tap into our subconscious minds and stretch ourselves just a bit. August could be the month when you give yourself permission to play, relax and explore.
The key is to THINK SMALL, so you don’t feel overwhelmed — and build it into your daily routine, which will give you the momentum to keep going. Remember, it’s only 30 days!
For inspiration, watch this wonderful, brief TED Talk with Matt Cutts , who talks about how his 30-day challenges changed his life. The video is only 3 minutes long!
Need some examples to help get you started?
DISRUPT YOUR ROUTINE
Want to get out of the office more? Aim to work/report from a new place in the community every work day.
Don’t eat lunch at your desk for 30 days.
What makes you laugh or relax? Tackle a gardening project. Paint every day. Take up knitting. Been putting off playing basketball at the Y?
Watch every Will Ferrell [or other comedian] movie available.
WORK YOUR BRAIN
Read one random Wikipedia article every day
Read a chapter of that book you’ve been meaning to get to every day.
Watch a brief “TED Talk” every day
STRETCH YOUR JOB
Take 15 minutes to brainstorm mundane story assignments (on the roof garden?) every work day with this storytelling checklist
How might you reimagine your job? In what areas would you like to grow the most? Pick something specific and work on that every day. Perhaps it’s shooting a short video every day. Or taking a beautiful photo every day. Or crafting a creative Tweet or Cornershot.
Read one Poynter article every day
Ask a random stranger every day for a story idea
Send an email thanking or praising someone every day
DELIGHT YOUR SENSES
Listen to mix tapes/CDs from your past every day.
Try an exotic new food — or recipe — every day.
Practice some yoga or meditate every day.
Sunshine and fresh air can do wonders: Do something outdoors every day.
Take a brief walk — on a different route — every day.
For those of you who’d like to share your project, prizes will be awarded for the most creative and most life-changing 30-day challenges on August 29.
Hope you can join us this *Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.* for our first surprise Tea with TED.
By the way, we’ll tackle the other most popular training topics in future months. September will most likely focus on Engagement (engaging in person, building a strong blog community, promoting your work, etc.).