Practicing my creativity: My quest to be a loser

Throughout my rural childhood, there were two things that I coveted about urban living: a morning daily newspaper and pizza delivery. No pizza places would deliver to our farm four miles outside of a small central Minnesota town. And the only way to get the Minneapolis Star Tribune was through the USPS mail which did not arrive until mid afternoon. So when I moved to DC three years ago, one of the things I was most excited about was having home delivery of the one of the nation’s most respected newspapers, the Washington Post.

While I quickly acclimated to the front page, sports sections and opinion sections, one of my favorite surprises of the Post was a section of the Sunday edition known as the Style Invitational. The Invitational consists of a weekly humor contest with the winners published weekly. I am often entertained by the results and have often wondered if I have what it takes to make the list of published winners.

For example, the results published this past Sunday featured a contest to come up with a new, creative definition for an already fake word. My favorite:

Scabinet: A Republican president’s pool of potential nominees for labor secretary. (Mark Eckenwiler, Washington)

So this past January, in a quasi-New Years resolution, I decided that I would start taking a stab at the contest. Upon my first entry I learned about the community that has formed around the people who enter this contest and because the vast majority of the entrants do not win every week, they affectionately call themselves the “losers”.

As with most of my resolutions, I have only completed four entries in 2013 with none being close to worthy of publication. But as I have been thinking about what I can do to better myself as a speaker, I am thinking that I need to “condition” myself to be more creative. Just as you do cardio to help you get better at sports, I am going to use the Invitational to help my brain become more fit.

I do all right when it comes to creating interesting material for my speeches, but I know this is something I need to improve if I want to take that next step. I am hoping these brain exercises will get me in shape for my future speaking endeavors.

Image credit: Flikr: the-empress, 2012.

Question: What do you do to keep your brain “in-shape”?

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