By In Inspiration

Why creative avoidance is a good thing

You may be wondering, “What in the world is ‘creative avoidance?’” It is one of my secrets. It is an essential component in coping with this chaotic world we live in. However, it is a secret that needs to be shared. Let me give you a little background to help you understand more of this concept.

One of my favorite things to do is to play the piano. At the age of five, I began to take lessons and immediately fell in love with the instrument. I quickly learned the notes and was blessed with two inspiring teachers that nurtured my love and passion for the black and white keys. I learned to feel the music. Music not only came to life for me, but it allowed others to feel and experience the emotion that music brings.

I quickly realized that playing the piano was a huge stress releaser and anxiety reducer. As I played, I could use that time to process and work through concerns and frustrations. As my fingers moved, my mind would open, and I would feel the well inside me begin to fill. My husband recalls a time after we had an argument during the first year of our marriage. He knew I was still frustrated, because he could hear Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude in C Minor” being angrily and passionately pounded in the other room. Within 20 minutes, the mood had fortunately changed dramatically with a few selections of Chopin resonating through our 2-bedroom apartment. Relief set in as these love songs communicated that he was now out of the doghouse and was forgiven. When I made time to play, I was more patient with those around me and had the ability to perform my tasks at hand more effectively.

10 years later, the responsibilities are now even greater. With two children, a husband, and running a business, I have very little time for myself. I know I am not alone in feeling like every ounce of time and energy I have is called for. I find myself more than ever yearning for that break from it all. I needed that time to turn inward, get grounded, and experience the euphoria that comes from stepping away. Thus, my token phase of “creative avoidance” was born. These times of “creative avoidance” became essential. Even a short 15-minute session would help.

The definition of “creative avoidance”: To participate in a creativity-centered activity for a short period of time in order to deliberately avoid the stressors of life.

The result of “creative avoidance”: By taking some time away and using our creativity, we are able to unwind, release stress, and experience joy in creating.

Because we are all blessed with different talents, various forms of creativity speak to us. Your “creative avoidance” could be very different than mine. Whatever it may be, find a few things that get your creativity going that give you that time to fuel your inner creative and give you more energy to keep on going! Need some ideas? Here’s some to help you get started.

12 Ideas of “creative avoidance”:

  • Playing an instrument
  • Going for a run/walk in nature
  • Reading a book
  • Writing a poem or portion of a book
  • Paint, draw, and sketch
  • Take some pictures
  • Make your favorite treat
  • Create something new for yourself or loved one
  • Sew, crochet, knit
  • Gardening
  • Build something that others could enjoy
  • Looking at blogs/websites for inspiration


I am fortunate enough to be creative constantly within my realm of work. From designing print work, creating brands, programming, or writing a blog article, I am constantly creating. I am proud to be a creative individual. I am most happy when I am creative. It is something that is in me, and I strongly believe that it is something that is in each one of us is. We have all been blessed with the ability to create. It is essential that we allow ourselves time to put down the list, leave the messy kitchen, turn off the smartphone, and experience some good, ol’ creative avoidance! After you’ve had that time away, you will feel more renewed and more capable to – once again – take on the giants that we battle in and out every day.

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By In Blogging, Inspiration

So you want to start a blog?


I’ve been there a hundred times before.  Amazing things come to my brain all the time– business ideas, stories, life-changing inspiration.  Unfortunately, it usually ends up going something like this:

6:30 AM.   In the shower.  The most brilliant idea strikes me, so I quickly and excitedly race around the house (in a towel) looking for a place to sketch down what I’m thinking.

6:37 AM.  The pitch.  This is the part where I disclose my magnificent plans to my wife.  If I can get her buy-off, international success is a sure bet.

6:39 AM.  My incredible idea is added to the pile of awesome ideas with the priority of “someday”.

So what is it that stops us from moving forward?  Why is that someday pile so full of expired possibilities?  There are probably a thousand reasons why we’re too busy, overwhelmed or afraid to share.  We don’t need to narrow down all of the exact reasons, but I have a few thoughts on how you can pull those concepts from the idea drawer and turn them into something really useful and tangible.


Write your ideas down.

Ideas that aren’t well documented get lost and become someone else’s property.  Ideas have a very short shelf-life.  If you don’t use them quickly, you’ll lose them.  Someone else is bound to think of something very similar.  Think about it, have you ever been watching Shark Tank and thought, “that is exactly what I was going to do?”  “I wish I would have thought of that” shouldn’t be your mantra.  The fact is, ideas come to everybody.  Whether we do something with those ideas is where most of us go terribly wrong.

Share your ideas.

Ideas need to be shared.  Letting them out into the open is the best way to make something happen with them.  Don’t hide them.  People who are interested in your ideas become your loyal fan-base, and you will gain credibility on the subject-matter.  It doesn’t really matter what the subject is, your interactions with the subject are what people really care about and love to read.  Do you love it?  Do you hate it?  How can it possibly be better?

So what does all of this have to do with running a blog?

Blogging makes it possible to publish your ideas, pictures, or anything with an extremely small amount of effort.  You just write, and save.  The software takes care of the rest.  If you’ve heard the saying “content is king,” then you’ll understand that it’s the content that really matters.  The technology will keep getting better, gain more advanced features, and open doors to new possibilities over time.  Your job is to, plain and simple, share your ideas.

If you still feel disinclined to get started with your own blog, consider the following answers to some common excuses reasons.

1.    “I don’t know what to write about.”

If you are struggling to find something to write about, then you are starving for a creative outlet.  You creative mind has checked out for the rest of the season.  According to the National Science Foundation, the average person processes as many as 12,000 to 50,000 thoughts per day.  There has to be a blog post –or two– hiding somewhere in that much thinking. Right?

2.   “How do I know people will actually read what I have to say?”

There’s only one thing I know that’s certain.  If you never write it, people really won’t read it.  Once you begin writing and publishing, you will have lots of ways to let people know about your new content. You could share your content over the social channels. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google Plus each have content sharing tools.  You can watch the numbers using free tools like Google Analytics.  You will know very quickly if people are reading what you have to say.  And, there’s nothing quite as exhilarating as the feeling you get knowing you have lots of people reading and commenting on your published works.

3.   “I don’t have enough time to start a blog.”

How much time do you think it takes to “start a blog” anyway?  Getting started is the fast and easy part.  I used this excuse myself for a really long time, until I recently had an incredible epiphany.  I was holding off, waiting until I had designed and built the perfect platform for publishing my yet-to-be-written content. I was putting the cart before the horse!   An excellent design or website is a by-product of the content it supports.  I enjoyed the creative process that led to each revision, but all I was really doing was designing the coolest “Lorem-Ipsum” page in the world.   I could have used the default WordPress template or subscribed to SquareSpace or something… my attempts to do everything was preventing me from sharing my value with a world-wide audience.  Well, lesson learned.  My highest priority is my content.  I will save the tinkering for another rainy day.

4.  “If I start a blog, will it be worth my time to keep it up?”

I guess that depends on what your time is worth.  Unless you’re one of the Kardashian sisters, you probably don’t charge $3,500 per tweet.  And if you are, you probably don’t actually handle that stuff anyway.

If you do decide to keep a blog, you will become a producer.  Instead of only consuming content, you will be among the  adding knowledge and value to society.  When you produce value, society has a way of paying you back.  Interpret that how you will, but aside from being an expert in some topic, bloggers are known for their ability to make legit incomes.  Sponsored posts, affiliate commissions, and pay-per-click ads all make keeping a blog a worthwhile endeavor.

But please, do not keep a blog just so you can make money.  Keep a blog because you are passionate about something.  Become an authority on some topic and share what you know.  Make sure keeping a blog is worth my time as well.

Since we’ve defunct all the possible excuses for why you haven’t already started a blog, why not try your hand at writing an article or two.  You don’t need to have a dedicated place to publish when you’re first getting started.  LinkedIn Pulse is a great place to publish articles if you are writing a business-y type article.  Utah Creative welcomes guest authors if you are looking to express your creative side.    Or, why not just start a blog now?  We’d be happy to guide you though the process of setting everything up.  Just email us at and tell us about your cool ideas.

Authors note:  This article reflects my personal experience as an aspiring blogger. I am really curious to hear other people’s stories and hesitations.  Please feel free to contact me to share your story.  -Dan





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By In Tutorials, Web Design, Web Development

Build a website: The first steps

Building a website can seem intimidating, but it’s a lot easier than you think.  There are a few basic things you need to know before you get started.  We’ll go more in-depth on the details in other articles, but this article will help you be familiar with the basics.

Identify why you need to build a website

Having a website is great, as long as you don’t have a website just for the sake of “having a website.”  Your website must provide value for the people who visit.  You are going to either promote a product or service, or you will be going through a lot of effort for nothing.  Having a purpose is key when creating websites.  Once you know the main purpose of your site, you can easily make decisions and decide what needs to be built.   Imagine what would happen if popular sites like YouTube and Facebook forgot why they existed.  YouTube would probably start selling popcorn and candy, and Facebook wouldn’t be the world’s most popular social network.

Get a web hosting account

Choosing a web hosting company is a decision most people (and companies) take for granted.  It’s easy to assume your web hosting provider is always going to be reliable and that you’ll never run out of memory, bandwidth or storage space.  Security is also growing concern; websites are constantly being hacked, and the list of ways of infiltrating web servers is growing in perpetuity.

Without an advanced degree in IT management or at least knowing the technical jargon, the process of selecting a web hosting company can be difficult.  To assist in navigating the pipe-maze of options, we’ve assembled a web hosting guide to make things easy.

In over 17 years of doing web design, I’ve worked with many different web hosting companies.  Some have come and gone, but there are other who’ve consistently delivered high quality web hosting with little to no downtime.  For low-cost, fully-managed shared web hosting, Bluehost always beats the competition.  They have the largest IT and support staff, plus they are based right here in Utah.

If you are into managing your own server, MediaTemple provides an impressive package at a very reasonable cost.  This site, for example, is hosted by MediaTemple.

Install software

Your content is the most important part of your website.   The Content Management System (CMS) or application is just software built to display your content and make it easy to manage.  There are hundreds of options and ways to get your content to display on the web.  Some options are more popular than others.  The most popular CMS is WordPress, a blog publishing platform that makes building websites a breeze.

Add content

Once you have a CMS installed, you can start adding content.  The key to a great website is content.  Content comes in a variety of ways, but I’m talking about text.  Raw, ugly, text.  Your first draft will probably have spelling errors, bad grammar, and no pictures.   Once you get your thoughts recorded, you can then go through and fix the issues.  If your website is supposed to be a blog, you’ll get used to this process.  Get your thoughts down quickly, and type the way you speak.  Thoughts are more interesting when they are told in your own voice.  Double-check the spelling and grammar.  You want to people to comment on your ideas, not your writing skills.  Finally, have fun!  Remember that anybody in the world could be reading your content, so don’t be afraid to open up and be who you are.

We’ve had clients who’ve provided shallow content as we’ve built their sites.  These sites are always the ones that end up taking a lot longer than we expect.  This is because designing around Lorem Ipsum text is very generic, lacks character, and feels very incomplete. It’s always more fun to design a website with real, meaningful, story-telling words that can be enhanced with a beautiful design.

What exactly does “content” consist of?  It’s more than just an “about” page. It could include:

  •   Text Copy
    • A description of what you or your company does
    • About you/your company
    • Biography/photos
    • Company history/how you got started doing what you do
    • Contact information
  • Pictures (more the better)
    • Products & Services
    • Photography if you have any
    • Stock photography, if you’ve found some you like
    • Infographics
  •  Videos (Optional)
    • Videos are rich media that people love to consume.  Videos are easy to create using any smartphone, and it’s a fast way to curate content

Create or purchase a theme

Once you’ve drafted your content, you can now focus on adding the stylistic elements and building your brand. You can use a pre-built theme or roll your own with HTML and CSS.  Either way, you will have a site that is uniquely yours.

A few places you can go to purchase themes are:

  • ThemeForest – All kinds of pre-built templates for all kinds of websites
  • Template Monster – The oldest and largest theme network
  • WrapBootstrap – Themes built using the Twitter Bootstrap framework

The Utah Creative community is also full people who can design and build exactly what you need.

The typical website theme is fairly easy to install.  Installation instructions should be included with the template files.  If you need help installing your theme, Utah Creative provides installation assistance for downloaded items from the sites listed above. 

Keep polishing

Your website is never finished.  You’ll always be adding content, tweaking the design, and adjusting things to make it look fresh.  You’ll want to keep an eye on the analytics so you can see what’s working and what’s not. Simple adjustments can make a bigger difference on conversion than you can imagine.  Test things out and see what happens.  There are lots of different tools to help you test your pages and optimize them for maximum impact.


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