The Practice of Creativity

Posts Tagged ‘creativity coaching

Dear Creatives,

Have you heard about my Imagined Futures: A Transformative Writing Workshop in Panama?
This workshop is your opportunity to leave everyday life behind and get away for a week to be fueled, renewed, focused and coached by me to WRITE* without ANY distractions!

It’s amazing to think of how much writing you could do, isn’t it?

Just imagine what this workshop in a retreat setting, and the extra resources, will do to help you make PROGRESS on the writing that is most important to you.

I am leading the Imagined Futures workshop from July 2-6. And, then I am staying another week to do my own writing!

You can come for my workshop specifically or just come to write (or create in another medium) through the Summer Artist Residency.

Imagined Futures will draw on speculative fiction ideas for its inspiration (in keeping with the broader them of the program). However, writing in any genre will be welcome.

Think about it…Meals are prepared for us, we’re right on the beach, there’s structured and unstructured time…and great exercises. We are going to Time Travel with our past, present and future Writing Selves!

This workshop is hosted by Creative Currents Artist Collaborative. Creative Currents Artist Collaborative is an Atlanta-based, internationally focused arts organization whose mission is to widen and deepen public engagement with the arts and cultures of Africa and the Black Diaspora.  They do this by connecting artists, scholars and arts enthusiasts with exciting and varied arts-based cultural experiences. They offer a year round roster of cultural trips and workshops, of which the 2017 Creative Currents Summer Artist Residency is one.

Join me in Panama, and make 2017 the year your creative work gets DONE!

Let’s do this together.

Check out the details here. Feel free to email me with questions: mtb@creativetickle.com

*the Summer Artist Residency encourages artists of all kinds to apply.

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If you’re a writer, you’ve heard the term ‘writer’s block’. Writer’s block is an umbrella term symbolizing a variety of challenges that many writers face. Some writers will say they have writer’s block when they are stuck on a particular project. They are perhaps writing, but they can’t seem to make progress on their project. They don’t know what line comes next, or how to get a scene working.

Other times people use writer’s block to mean that all writing in their life has ceased. They avoid the page for a time and feel unable to write anything creative.

Many books have been written about writer’s block. They tend to fall into two camps: 1) writer’s block doesn’t exist-it’s a figment of one’s imagination and the remedy is to sit down and write. 2) writer’s block is real and requires deep introspection.

Heloise Jones’s new book, Writer’s Block Myth: A Guide to Get Past Stuck & Experience Lasting Creative Freedom offers a different perspective:

A core theme in the book is that writers are all different. It is important to find ways of writing that work for you.

Writer’s block is real, but it’s not what we think it is. And that’s where the myth lies.

Writers block is a symptom, not a pathology. What happens on the page is tied to what’s inside us (how we assign value and give meaning to our work, ourselves, and our process) and links to something in our life in the real world that we can shift so writing flows. Or, in the least, see what flows as something we can value. It’s not about Doing, as much as about perspective.

Heloise Jones is an author, speaker, and mentor. She assists writers and creatives getting to the heart of what they need to move forward & complete their projects. Her background includes years of study in craft, process, & the publishing industry + fields of wisdom and experience from a host of supportive holistic tools.

I’ve known Heloise through our participation in online writing communities. When I heard that Heloise was offering a new take on an age old topic, I couldn’t wait to see if she would be a guest here.

I am delighted to welcome Heloise Jones to The Practice of Creativity.

Tell us about your recent book, The Writer’s Block Myth. What are you hoping this book will provide readers?

The subtitle, “A Guide to Get Past Stuck & Experience Lasting Creative Freedom,” just about says it all. A guide minus shaming or hard rules written for people living in the real world. It grew out of hundreds of hours of conversations and my work with writers and creatives, as well as interview-conversations conducted with writers of all levels, interests, and experience.

The book includes the voices of other writers, plus examples and short, easy, effective exercises to help you move forward in your creative life.  It’s a book to refer back to, because no matter how much we know, we get derailed and need support.

My hope is readers find and embrace the ways that work best for them in creating a satisfying life, as well as written works. That they feel freer in the process, and know they have a supportive guide while they do it.

You discuss the concept of permission slips for writers. What is a permission slip and why is it helpful for writers to use them?

Permission slips are like hall passes. They provide passage through territory that may hold restrictions in our minds. We live in a loud world that describes success, and iterates definitive approaches to writing. That lists ways to judge ourselves and accomplishments good/bad/right/wrong. Permission slips are our greenlights and go-aheads to take time to write in the ways that work best for us when resistance and challenges come up. This includes those inside you (doubt, guilt, feeling selfish or like you’re doing ‘it’ wrong, not writing enough, are a failure, etc.), and outside you (validation, acceptance, understanding, etc.).  All the loaded issues for people living with relationships, obligations, and lifetimes of shoulds and oughts. Not to mention, conflicting desires.

Permission slips, or green lights, are empowerment tools our brains can respond to because they come from outside us. Leave us only to decide how to use them, or not.

What did you learn about yourself as a writer while working on The Writer’s Block Myth?

I learned how much the economy of online writing and reading has affected my writing Voice. When writing fiction and poetry, my process is longhand, pen to paper, for rough drafts. When writing essays and nonfiction, it’s fingers to keyboard from get-go. The past two years I’ve focused on my blogs. And though my ‘Getting to Wise. A Writer’s Life’ blog is a journal about navigating life, I compose on the computer. I had to write the entire manuscript of The Writer’s Block Myth twice to shift into the Voice that works as well on paper as online.

While crafting your book, did you look to other writing books as models for inspiration, support or even for what not to do? If yes, what were they? If no, where do you turn for writing inspiration?

This is such an interesting question because I read like a writer, and go to others’ written works to learn craft. For instance, I read Ann Patchett’s novel Bel Canto to learn how to effectively transition different POVs within scenes. But I don’t go to others’ books for process.

I swiftly read blogs, articles, interviews, and short essays, glean nuggets. I’m intuitive and curious, so if it sticks, I file it whether I agree with what it says or not. It’s a daily practice, and where I get inspiration and learn to think bigger. Two books were recommended to me as I was writing The Writer’s Block Myth. I approached the material in them the same way.

I want to share something useful for me as I gathered material. Once I knew what the book would be, I trusted the process. I hung one of those nice folded bags of thick paper with fancy cord handles you get from a boutique on a door. It was one I enjoyed gazing upon that also contained a message for my Soul: a lovely Hawaiian print in neutrals with the words ‘hana hou.’ Hana hou means encore or one more time in Hawaiian. I could’ve used anything. A basket, box, or whatever. The important points were 1) it was visible, reminding me of my intention, and 2) accessible. I put everything I came across in the bag without editing or culling – quotes, articles, blogs, paragraphs, Facebook posts. When it came time to write, I sorted what I’d collected over the months to the sections in the book. I applied the same sorting process to the interviews I conducted as research.

What’s your next for you? What are you working on?

Developing workshops and retreats that incorporate the principles in the book. Creating communities where writers write together, and connect with others who understand what they do. I believe the experience while in a group or on retreat is as important as words on the page. That creatives need environments which nurture and nourish our process, as well as improve our craft. Plus, I love talking about writing and working with other creatives.

For my own writing practice, I’m back to writing fiction whenever I can, which is joy for me. . .as vol. 2 of The Writer’s Block Myth perks.

What’s your best writing tip that you’d like to share?

Trust the process. Let go in the story you’re telling, and let go of the way you intend to tell it. Open to what might be there you hadn’t thought about before you go into edits. Think of your writing as a dance you’re doing, and you’re expanding the dance floor. You’ll be a stronger writer, and it will help you feel freer inside. This includes the process of editing, too. But that’s another conversation.

Thank you for having me.

Heloise Jones assists writers and creatives getting to the heart of what they need to move forward & complete their projects. Her background includes years of study in craft, process, & the publishing industry + fields of wisdom and experience from a host of supportive holistic tools. Most importantly, she knows what getting past stuck and lasting creative freedom mean, and all the ways writers and creatives get waylaid.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Go visit her: http://www.heloisejones.com/

 

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.

wendyfedan

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.

wearingmyweird

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


Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

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

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