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Exercises for Reluctant Creatives

Would you describe yourself as creative? How about artistic? If either feels like a stretch, it’s time to put away the labels and perfectionism and pick up a pen, says Keiko Agena, artist and actor known to many as Lane Kim on the long-running fan favorite TV show Gilmore Girls.

“I think we’re all creative people,” Keiko says. In writing No Mistakes: A Perfect Workbook for Imperfect Artists, she aims to provide simple tools and a gentle guide for those who need to dial down the voice of their own internal critic to access it.

“A lot of times creativity has a softer voice,” Keiko says. “But if we take the time to pay attention to it and listen to it and give it a chance to grow it could be a very wild, wacky strong, loud voice, which is what I’m hoping for.”

No Mistakes

Keiko’s “no mistakes” philosophy is inspired by her obsession with and love for improv, where anything can happen because nothing is planned, she says. The surprises are where the fun is.

“When something goes wrong or somebody slips up, then everyone gets excited and focuses on that ‘mistake’ in order to make it—sometimes—the most enjoyable part of the show.

“And so what I wanted to do was to find a way to look at what I perceive as imperfections in myself in a different kind of way, with that same kind of joy almost, of discovery, of where does this lead?”

The book’s intro says, “Your ragged edges are what make you great. Stop smoothing them out. Your odd point of view, your imperfections…these are your treasures. The exercises are designed to help you do three things: Discover your voice. Accept your voice. Express your voice.”

No Mistakes Exercises to Try Now:

Choose Your Own Path

So how do you apply “no mistakes” to your life? Put your creativity out into the world in a real way, Keiko advises.

“What’s fun is to journal, to start putting it down on paper! Have it be in a physical form,” she says. “And let it exist for a little while and say well, that IS weird, what’s weird about it? But what’s interesting about it?…See where it leads because it’s probably going somewhere unexpected, and that’s where your creative voice is. The way you express your creativity is down that path and not someone else’s path.”

Exercises reprinted from No Mistakes: A Perfect Workbook for Imperfect Artists by arrangement with TarcherPerigee, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2018, Keiko Agena.

Go to livehappynow.com on September 25 for our podcast interview with Keiko.

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