The Practice of Creativity

Posts Tagged ‘creativity coaching

We’re two weeks into 2017. Have you already broken one of your New Year’s resolutions regarding your creative life?

If so, you’re in good company as studies show that at least one third of people break their resolutions within the first week of making them. And, almost half of all people who make resolutions break them within a month.

Most of us don’t reach our creative goals without structure and accountability.

Doors are almost closed on my signature ‘Tone Your Creative Core™’ Program.

I have added a NEW BONUS just for you:

On Sunday, January 15th, I will host a LIVE group coaching call. I’ll be talking about what needs to be in your creativity start-up kit to set you up for success in 2017. I’ll do a powerful visioning exercise and share a few ways to “hack your brain” for increased creativity. The majority of the call will be me answering YOUR questions. Have questions about publishing, finding motivation, getting past the inner critic? ASK THEM and get helpful answers. I want to support you in dreaming about what you want to accomplish in 2017 and to planning how you will do it.

Check out the details here. A small investment with a big payoff.

Hi creative peeps,

This is a reminder that I’ll be on Facebook Live tomorrow answering YOUR questions about writing, creativity, how to outmaneuver your inner critics and much MORE. I’ll specifically be offering tips on how to make the last quarter of the year your best. You can ask me ANYTHING!  I can’t wait to see you there. Just go to my Facebook page over on the bottom right on this page at 6:30 EST.

See my post here for a few more details about where this idea came from and how important the last quarter of the year is.

 

 

 

Affirmations-366Days#138: I am always prepared to capture my creative ideas, no matter where I am. Index cards, journals, Post-it notes, napkins or my phone will do!

For new readers, here’s why I’m committing to writing affirmations, about the creative process, during the next 366 days.

Affirmations-366Days#23-My writing space is a sanctuary. I keep this space decluttered and organized.

For new readers, here’s why I’m committing to writing affirmations, about the creative process, during the next 366 days.

Commentary:

How is your writing space looking and feeling these days? Your writing space may mean a desk, a kitchen table, an office or your laptop.

One look at my desk and you might believe that paper monsters had invaded, had sex on my desk and left their offspring behind.

Ah, Houston...we have a problem! This is not my office, BTW.

Ah, Houston…we have a problem! This is not my office, BTW, but I have been there.

January is the perfect time to assess one’s space and make small adjustments. I usually save big stuff for spring cleaning.

I did these three tasks which took almost no time at all, made me feel great and organized my space:

-I organized the growing stack of business cards and notes about writers I’ve met during 2015. I’m setting aside some time tomorrow to follow-up with a few people by email.

-I take many writing workshops and classes and tend to keep examples of other students’ work. I find it useful to see how someone approaches a style of writing or technique that I am interested in (e.g. writing a persona poem). The challenge, of course, is that these kinds of papers can accumulate. Today, I flipped through material I had been keeping for years, made some notes and then pitched the stack.

-I tend to have idea cards and sticky notes around my house and home office. I gathered them up, read through them, clustered several together (e.g. Zora Neale Hurston ghost story), and put them in my ‘idea folder’. I love going “shopping” in this folder from time to time.

What are three small tasks you can do that will help your writing space look and feel great?

Last December, my creativity buddy, Susan Guild, asked me to participate in her phenomenal monthly ‘Wake Up Your Magic’ tele-share live call. During the tele-share, Susan brings together various folk to talk about creativity and staying inspired during the pursuit of one’s dreams. Susan also invited Wendy Fedan, an artist and newly minted author. When the three of us got on the phone, it felt like a homecoming. I listened with interest as Wendy talked about how to follow the “nudges” we get from the Universe to move toward our creative dreams (what she calls “following Divine breadcrumbs”), and the importance of persistence in pursuing long term writing projects. I also fell in love with the title of her new memoir, Wearing My Weird: In The Great White North and knew I wanted to invite her here.

Wendy  is a freelance designer and illustrator. She has been a professional caricature artist since 1992. Wendy is also a creativity coach and leads ‘Create-A-Way’ workshops that explore the relationship between creativity and spirituality.

Wearing My Weird follows the adventures of a twelve year old Wendy as she navigates a painful transition with humor and compassion. It is about self-acceptance and renewal. It is the first in a three book series.

I’m so happy to welcome Wendy Fedan to The Practice of Creativity.

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Tell us about your first book, Wearing My Weird. Why did you want to write this book?

My first motivation, when I was twelve, was to write about the most important thing that ever happened to me – moving from one country to another. But as the years passed, it became more about capturing this moment in history – this snapshot from a period in my life when I was a child battling between feelings of hope and insecurity. It’s an important period of my life, I realize, as I look back – more important than I realized. I’m thankful that I wrote as much I did about it as a child going through it. Thanks to my writings back then, I was able to recapture the voice of my 13-year-old self and bring her back to life in this series, giving her the spotlight she always wanted.

How did you get bitten by the ‘writing bug’? Did you always wish to become an author?

Yes, I always wanted to be an author – even before I knew how to read. I remember looking through books, wondering what all those marks meant. Not just the words, but the punctuation and even paragraph structure (Why were some paragraphs big and some only a few words long?). I remember watching my father reading and understanding how powerful books were – again, before even knowing how to read. And when I finally learned how to write in the first grade, I immediately raced out of my gate and wrote as much as I could. I tested my bravery by even reading my stories aloud in class in the second grade. That was when I knew writing was my favorite thing in the world. I loved the act of sharing my ideas and stories with others, entertaining them with my words, and making them understand me in my own quiet way.

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Can you talk about the role of persistence and the support you received from your writer’s group that helped to make WMW a reality?

Persistence is essential to writing. You always hope the book will magically write itself while you go on with your life, but it doesn’t. You have to make the effort to sit down and take a bit of time out to record your thoughts. Then you have to be willing to go back to what you’ve written with an open mind and learn to edit yourself. And edit again. And edit again. Sometimes the act of writing feels like I’m creating an endless work in progress. And thanks to the magical technology of self-publishing, even after publication you can continue to edit your work.

I’m thankful to my writing group. With the help of my peers and teachers, I’ve learned how to edit my own work. And the group has also given me a sense of accountability. We as writers need some kind of group around us to help give us accountability and encouragement. Otherwise you’re just a lone writer, with nobody around to lend support or encouragement. It’s hard to find motivation in a secluded lifestyle. We need writing peeps.

You manage to pack a lot into your day! You are a consistent blogger, freelance designer, illustrator and creativity coach. How do these activities feed into each other and you?

Blogging has become my new form of journaling (I always wanted my journals read anyway), so it’s been a wonderful outlet for me. When I discovered blogging, I felt a light from heaven open up, and I thought, WOW! THIS IS FOR ME!

Freelance design and commercial art in general (as well as caricature work) has helped pay the bills for me. Art has become my meat and potatoes job. That makes me very happy. When I made the choice to go to art school, I knew I was deciding what my meat and potatoes focus was going to be. I didn’t want my writing to be my meat and potatoes focus. Writing was too precious to me. Writing is too spiritual to me to become my day job. I like my job focus to be the way it is now, and I’m happy things have worked out that way for me!

As for becoming a creativity coach, this is something I have just begun budding into. I’ve begun leading workshops and retreats to help others get in touch with their creative and spiritual selves because I know how important that is. If more people were in touch with their intuition and creativity, we would be much happier people. I feel like doing this kind of inspirational work is my own way to give back what God has blessed me with. I have to share what I’ve been given, in hope that others will find their own special connection to God and creativity. I’ve begun speaking to schools to promote my book and to inspire kids to write. This has been one of the most rewarding experiences ever for me.

You advocate a DIY approach to publishing and encourage other writers to explore self-publishing. What have been some of the benefits and challenges of this approach?

The benefits of self-publishing are enormous:

⁃  You don’t have to rely on an publishing editor behind a desk to tell you whether your story is good or interesting enough for the world to read.
⁃  You can make your dream happen. NOW.
⁃  You don’t have to adjust your story to death to satisfy a publisher (there’s a point where it stops being your own book).
⁃  You receive a much higher royalty.

The challenges of self publishing:

⁃  You’re on your own… for everything. You’re responsible for your own book’s editing, cover creation, and marketing.
⁃  You can’t just be a writer anymore. You need to learn how to network and promote your work effectively. That means you have to get out of your shell and actually talk to people. If you are a writer who likes to speak, you’re in good shape! If not, you have a challenge to face – and I recommend Toastmasters, BIG TIME, to help you overcome that challenge!

What is the best writing tip you’d like to share?

The best tip I can give regarding writing is not to give up. People ask, “What is the cure for writer’s block?” The answer is “TO WRITE.” Write anything. Write gibberish. It doesn’t matter. Edit yourself LATER. Just get it out on the page.

Your story will never write itself. YOU have to write it.

So please… just write it down.

As a Cleveland author, Les Roberts, says, “Nobody else can tell your story.”

 

To find out more about Wendy and to check out her three book series of Wearing My Weird, visit her site

onair

I was a guest on Joan Newcomb’s radio show ‘Mystic Musings’ on Wednesday, August 7.  The topic was creativity and I discussed the top myths why people don’t create, how to get creativity to flow more easily, why creativity operates like a code and how creativity saved my life. About twenty minutes in, I also discuss how people can become part of ‘The Creative Tickle’ community and the free gifts that I’m giving away. We went deep and I think you’ll enjoy the interview!

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/joannewcomb/2013/08/07/mystic-musings-with-joan-newcomb

In May, I completed the 12 week ‘Mentored Workshop’ course as partial fulfillment toward a Certificate in Creative Writing from my local community college’s Creative Writing Program. The weekly three hour workshop covered a broad range of topics for advanced students including polishing, revising and submitting work for publication. Besides manuscript critique and craft readings, students were also expected to attend several author readings, read work at open mikes, volunteer to help with one of the Creative Writing Program’s events, and write three online book reviews. Our teacher created these additional requirements to strengthen our visibility as ‘literary citizens within a community of writers’. I’m already a pretty active and engaged literary citizen and have written about the importance of practicing being a writer in public, so I thought I was pretty much already on the right track.

The one thing, however, that I don’t do is write reviews. I know reviews serve an important role in the writing community. Good reviews take time and energy and like many, I find that reviews remain on my ‘gee, that would be nice to do’ list without any upward movement. Our teacher made this task easier by telling us that we could choose any three books (recently published or not) and to keep the reviews short. I chose The Woman’s Book of Creativity by C. Diane Ealy. Dr. Ealy is a pioneer on creativity and this is one of the first books that delve into the topic of women and creativity with clarity and wit. It’s a book that I often use in my coaching practice and refer to when I teach ‘Women and Creativity’ courses.

While completing my three reviews, I discovered that I enjoyed reviewing and that it didn’t take as long as I imagined. Now, I’ll aim to write a few reviews every quarter.

 

crcoverb

Ealy debunks many myths about creativity that have been handed down over the centuries (e.g. ‘creativity is about producing a tangible thing’ and only ‘a few people possess creativity’). She explores why so many women feel like they aren’t creative. Through reviewing the received wisdom of ‘creativity research’, she demonstrates that women’s experiences and expressions of creativity historically haven’t been included in ‘what counts as creative’. Prevailing definitions of what constitutes creativity or creative thinking have been male-defined (i.e. the solitary male genius).

Ealy argues that women tend to gravitate to holistic models of problem-solving. She walks a fine line between arguing that both holistic and linear thinking styles are human traits and not sex specific, and yet that women have inherent leanings toward holistic thinking. One thing is clear, when some women tend to problem-solve or express their creativity in holistic ways–it is often devalued. She urges women to embrace and value their unique style and shows how to overcome common issues that block women (i.e. fear of being called selfish, being outer directed, unhealthy responses to conflict, etc.). In my work with women across the life span, I have found that almost all struggle with the issues identified by Ealy. The book offers practical, easy and fun techniques for expanding what’s in one’s creative toolkit. Her expertise as a therapist, coach and seeker is evident; she skillfully weaves together empirical research, archetypal psychology, client case studies and her own insights.

 

Find out more about The Woman’s Book of Creativity on Amazon

Interested in more books about creativity? See some of my top picks here.

 

 

 


Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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