Improve Your Creativity With 31 Days of Giving

Look around at your biggest cheerleaders (those who encourage your writing goals).

How often do you thank them? How many times have you said it with actions, instead of words?

I found a radical new way to say “thanks” to my biggest supporter … and I made a bonus discovery in the process. Turns out, when you give back to those who support your writing goals, you get something even more valuable in return: a boost in productivity, motivation, and creativity …

My biggest supporter is my husband, Craig. Over the years, he’s surprised me with “encouragement gifts” like a new chair and a small coffee maker for my office.

Everything he gave me went toward making my home-office experience more enjoyable.

I, on the other hand, am not such a talented giver. I’m the kind of wife who gifts socks for Christmas and take-out for birthdays.

This year, I decided it was time to change that. I concluded that a single gift wouldn’t do. My gratitude for his unflinching support runs deeper than that.

So, I came up with “31 Days of Holiday Joy.”

For each day of December, I gave Craig a new and different gift.

But, it wasn’t just a matter of buying 31 presents. It took a lot more thought and planning than that — more than I bargained for, in fact.

I started with the easy gifts. Day One was a CD … Day Three was a book.

Then, I went for treats I knew he’d enjoy … Day Four brought homemade orange rolls. Day Seven, a massage. On Day 11, he got breakfast in bed.

It was fun at first. But in no time, the giving got hard. We were barely halfway through the month, and I was short on ideas.

I had to dig deeper. I considered his interests and passions. I mulled over every important memory we’d made together.

That turned into Day 14 being a bottle of his favorite wine … Day 18 was a bike repair stand … Day 22 was dinner at the resort where we were married.

Basically, I went from the standard gifts to really delving into what makes him tick and why he’s unique.

Without realizing it, I had gone through the exact process freelance copywriters use to get to know their prospects, like figuring out what books they like to read, or where they like to eat. Essentially, uncovering the details of what makes a person unique.

Yet, it never felt like work. In fact, the more I dug, the more the ideas started to flow … which motivated me to seek out better ideas — bigger ideas. I started paying closer attention to Craig’s comments and moods so I wouldn’t miss any hint of what might make him happy.

The more ideas I came up with, the more creative I became. Like on Day 26, when I gave him a homemade contraption to prop his fish tank open. I made it out of a yoga block, some hardware, and synthetic grass.

I only have three days left of giving these surprises, but I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. For starters, it feels dang good to throw your energy into a month-long thank you process.

The hidden bonus I never expected is that it woke me up to a world I didn’t know I was missing. I hadn’t realized how many subtle things slipped by me before this experience. Learning to “read Craig” roused me to the benefits of paying closer attention to others — from my children to my clients to my fellow writers.

It’s easy to fall into habits in which you listen for what you expect and write about what you know. But, when you stop and concentrate on the full spectrum of what goes on around you, you’ll realize an incredible boost to your motivation, writing creativity, and ability to carry out projects.

So, that’s today’s lesson in gratitude: Take the time to thank those who support you in your goals.

Try this and see how it changes your own outlook. Let me know if you’re up for it here.

And, if you want to know about another hidden bonus to giving, read my article, “10 Astonishing Ways Giving Improves Your Health."

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Published: December 28, 2011

5 Responses to “Improve Your Creativity With 31 Days of Giving”

  1. Mindy, Mindy, Mindy. . .what a cool idea! You have to admit, Craig is a sweetie. And you thought all that stuff just belonged in your copywriting office! This is a keeper, for sure, and I'll be sharing this with non-copywriters as well. Thanks!!!


  2. Hi Mindy! What a wonderful idea...and a wake-up call...all rolled into one! I love this and am already busy working on a list of surprises for my number one supporter (also my husband!) to kick off the new year! You´re articles this week - as always - have been full of valuable insights and tidbits to really get me thinking...and taking action! Thanks! As we say in Germany: Guter Rutsch! (have a great start to the New Year!) ;)

    Guest (Jan Marie Mueller)

  3. In other words, how to use the skills you develop to become a great copywriter to simultaneously develop other parts of your life and your relationships - excellent.
    Thank you!

    Suresh Nair

  4. Mindy, what a lovely way to thank someone you love, and also to demonstrate to him that you have paid attention to who he is.

    Ironically, the story spurred the idea that I am the person I have never thanked for getting me through the highest and lowest ebbs in my life.

    I might turn the table so to speak and give myself the gift of appreciation for 2012 - one a month every month, to remind myself of just how much I give to others and rarely take for myself.

    Time for Terri in 2012 :-)

    Terri Mitchell Melb Aust

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