From Chaos to Creativity Powell’s Books Reading [Video]

Last Monday, I did something that terrified me: I held a creative productivity workshop in front of about 50 people at Powell’s Books.

I’ve read from my fiction before, which is its own version of terrifying. But I’d never stood up as an expert in front of a crowd of mostly strangers and tried to impart my wisdom.

And you know what?

It was pretty fun.

Plus, people seemed to find it inspiring and asked a lot of insightful questions. Honestly, the discussion with everyone afterwards was my favorite part. If you were there, thank you for coming!

And a HUGE thanks to Rebecca and the rest of the staff at the Powell’s on Hawthorne for hosting me, as well as to Elly Blue and the team at Microcosm Publishing for setting things up.

My husband Robert Kittilson put together a video of the event, editing out the “ums” and giving a really great overview of what it was like.

(Don’t worry, he left in plenty of the “Jessie being a nerd” moments.)

Video not showing up? Here’s the link.

Did you miss the workshop?

I’ll be doing another workshop at Two Rivers Books in St. Johns (Portland, OR) on September 10th. I’m also planning a mini book tour in the Seattle area mid-October.

Get on my mailing list to stay in the loop.

Or, head here to learn more about From Chaos to Creativity.

Creative productivity workshop! Come with your chaos, leave with a plan

You know how sometimes every waking moment feels like chaos incarnate?

Like it’s a quiet Saturday morning and you’re dying to work on your art, but first you really need to make yourself some breakfast. And before that you need to find the kitchen underneath all the dishes. Which reminds you that you never returned your neighbor’s tupperware, and — oh right — you’re out of paper towels and so you might as well pick up potting soil for your jade plant because you promised you’d make a cutting for that friend. And as you’re emailing your friend you see a note from your boss, or a client, or the electric company — and how the hell is it Monday morning?

Where’d your time to do your art go?

It got caught in the chaos.

It happens to all of us.

If the above scenario didn’t resonate with you, high fives. Go off and live your awesome productive life.

But if it did, you’re not alone.

It’s so, so easy to get caught up in the chaos of everyday life, being buffeted around so hard that you lose sight of the thing that really mattered to you in the beginning.

Your art.

Your writing.

Your business idea.

Your family time.

Your dream.

I’ve spent my whole life trying to figure out how to get rid of the chaos of everyday life, only to realize it’s not going anywhere.

But you can lessen it, you can tame it, and you can organize it.

I figured out a way that works (mostly) for me, and I interviewed and learned from a bunch of other creatives about what works for them.

My goal: help you figure out what works for you.

So I wrote a book.

My book on creative productivity, From Chaos to Creativity, is now out from Microcosm Publishing. To celebrate, I’m doing a reading/creative productivity workshop at the Powell’s Books on Hawthorne, Monday, July 29th.

From Chaos to Creativity, a talk with Jessie Kwak

Come chaotic, because I’ll be leading the audience in a series of exercises from the book to help you get a bit of a handle on the chaos of everyday life and find time to do your most important work.

I’ll also leave plenty of time for questions and discussion, because honestly we’re all in this together, and there’s nothing I like better than helping people brainstorm ways to get their creative work done.

Sound like a plan?

Sweet.

I’ll see you there!

From Chaos to Creativity Kickstarter is a Go!

I look around, and I’m surrounded by creative people.

My mom makes these amazingly artistic quilts. My dad welds incredible works of art and invents ingenious farm contraptions. My sister does intricate cross-stitch hangings. My husband takes stunning photographs. My friends write and paint and dance and sing.

My neighbor’s 8-year-old kid asked for bricks and wood and cement this Christmas so he could build things in the backyard.

They’re all creating art.

I’m assuming you’re also creative, because I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t have some sort of creative passion.

And I’ve never heard anyone say they have enough time to do their art.

I mean, I certainly don’t.

I’ve been struggling for years to find the perfect productivity system or tool that would help me Do All The Things.

Get my oil changed. Read all the books. Meet my client deadlines. Text my friend happy birthday.

Oh — and write a novel.

I eventually cobbled together a system that worked for me, drawing from David Allen’s Getting Things Done, James Clear, Laura Vanderkam, Mark McGuinness, Gretchen Rubin and dozens of other productivity experts and researchers to make something that just clicked.

I wrote about my system a while ago, but I wanted to do more than just tell people what I personally did.

I wanted to help people come up with a creative productivity system that worked specifically for them.

So I wrote a whole book.


From Chaos to Creativity

c2c cover

From Microcosm Press — coming fall 2019

Art and writing can be the most fulfilling part of our lives. But it’s often difficult to make space for it in our day-to-day existence. Sometimes we have so many ideas it’s difficult to keep them all organized, much less maintaining a creative schedule or dedicated workspace.

With all the clutter overwhelming your scattered brain (not to mention your desk), it’s all too easy to fall into procrastination and disarray. 

From Chaos to Creativity is a series of glowing beacons. Jessie L. Kwak has written a Getting Things Done for artists and writers, drawing on her experience as a professional copywriter with a novel-writing habit, and from interviews with other authors, artists, musicians, and designers, to teach you how to focus on the good ideas, manage your project, make time in your life, and execute your passions to completion.

Make great art by channeling your chaotic creative force into productive power and let the world see what you’re capable of!


I’m incredibly excited to share this project with you!

If this sounds at all useful, head to the Kickstarter page to learn more and preorder your copy.

As one of the rewards, you can get the Jessie Kwak Superpack, which includes copies of my three Durga System novellas, as well as most of the Bikes in Space anthologies that have my short stories in them.

Check it out!

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PS — What’s your art?

Let me know in the comments. 🙂