Affirming Your Creativity in the New Year: Affirmations-366Days#1
Posted January 2, 2016on:
Feeling worthy is a learned behavior.
Happy New Year!
How lucky are we that we have another year to explore our creative passions and dreams.
Last month, I got the nub of a terrific idea from meeting the writer James Maxey. He is using the energy of 2016, being a leap year, to spur him on to write every day and aim for 366,000 words by the end of the year. Intense, I know!
I loved the idea of attempting something inspiring, mind-stretching and ambitious for my creative life in 2016. I thought about what I need in my creative life and what other creative folk might need.
I asked myself the question: What could I share with you on a daily basis that would support a positive mindset as we approach our creative work?
I was lucky enough to meet renowned visual artist, Beverly McIver at a professional development conference. She talked at length about how important it is that creative people do the inner emotional work to support the (often) long path to professional success. Anxious and unhelpful self-talk and inner critics often stop us before we can even get to our projects.
What I need as a writer is lots of practice in self-kindness, plain and simple. I have technique, craft, discipline and perseverance in spades. Many creative people struggle with simply being self-accepting. As you know, we can think the meanest things about ourselves.
Over the years, I have found affirmations to be a potent tool in combating unhelpful self-talk/criticism. The use of affirmations has come a long way. An affirmation is a short, simple, positive declarative phrase that as Eric Maisel says, in Coaching The Artist Within, “you say to yourself because you want to think a certain way…or because you want to aim yourself in a positive direction.”
You can use them as ‘thought substitutes’ to dispute self-injurious thoughts (as a cognitive behavioral approach), or to provide incentive and encouragement when those seem to be in short supply. Affirmations as writer and coach, Rochelle Melanader notes in her book WRTE-A-THON: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and live to tell about it), helps to “challenge and reframe assumptions.”
Now that many psychologists, mental health workers and coaches advocate the use of affirmations, they’ve become respectable. Gone are the days that affirmations made you only think of Shirley MacLaine, flouncy scarves, and quartz crystals. (Though for the record, I’ve liked each of the above at different times in my life.)
So, my commitment to you and myself is to post an original affirmation every day through the end of the year. It’s a fun and daunting goal! Some affirmations will focus generally on creativity, but many will focus on writing. I imagine some will be serious and others will be a bit more whimsical. They will usually arrive without commentary, but occasionally I may offer some additional thoughts. I encourage you to use the affirmation as you see fit. You can say it to yourself several times a day, write it down or adapt the words to your liking. Periodically, I’ll be writing about the different ways creative people use affirmations and the current research on the use of affirmations.
My greatest hope is that the affirmations I write will be there when you need them most. And, that they will embody a tone and energy that can carry you past the sometimes insistent, unhelpful and inaccurate voices in our heads.
Affirmation #1- The more creative work I release into the world, the happier I am.