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 Creativity Calling


The Newsletter of the Creativity Coaching Association

Hello Friends,

Happy Summer. I am pleased to offer the 2nd issue of the Creativity Coaching Association newsletter and hope it puts an inspiring step into your beach sandals. The positive feedback from our first newsletter was tremendous and we aim to continue providing you with a useful and fun read.

In this month's issue, we have an assortment of articles focused on different aspects of creativity. We are also expanding our vision of the newsletter so that it adds increased value to your creative life. That's why this issue provides several useful links and resources for artists, writers, actors, crafts people, and others.

Thanks again for your interest. We invite you to email us with your comments and feedback.

Rick Benzel, Executive Director

A Creative Linguistic Note

In the Old Days, When a Coach was truly a Coach!

by Etta Mology

We bet you didn't know that creativity coaches used to have wheels and were driven by horses. Our friend Etta Mology told us so and explained it as follows. It seems that the word coach actually derives through the ages from an old Hungarian village where carriages were made in the 16th century. Our English word coach stems from the French word coche which comes from the German Kotsche, which itself is derived from the Hungarian word kocsi, which is named after Kocs, a town in northwest Hungary that became famous for its manufacture of small personal carriages in the 1500s.

These carriages were so popular among the nobility of Hungary that their repute spread throughout Europe and over the next 100 years, the Germans, French, and British royalty and upper classes were all using coaches or carriages to get about their cities and towns. Having a "coach" had about as much status back then as having a BMW or perhaps a Hummer does today.

So how, you may wonder, did this word signifying a transport vehicle also come to mean what it does today — a tutor or guide? It seems that in the early 1800s, wealthy Oxford university students used to be driven around in their coaches while their tutors read to them to help them prepare for their exams. In this way, the process of tutoring or teaching came to be known as "coaching." Another explanation is that English tutors metaphorically helped or "carried" their students through their exams.

The moral of this linguistic truth is: the next time you want to go from Point A to Point B in your creative goals, perhaps you need to hire a coach, but preferably the kind without horses.

What Your Creative Soul Knows

There Are No Creative Accidents

Contributed by Kyle Morrison.
See her work at www.mindspring.com

If you take pictures, you've probably noticed that your photos sometimes include elements you didn't intend to capture. I am not referring to the poorly placed plant that appears to sprout from your friend's head, or the burst of your flash reflected in the window. Those are the kind of accidents we can learn to avoid by paying a little more attention.

The kind of accidents I'm talking about are the ones that bring unexpected meaning and vibrancy to a photograph. It could be the look in your parents' eyes that reveals the ongoing tension between them, even though all they are doing, on the surface, is facing the camera to smile. Or it could be the way that two passersby in your shot are wearing complementary colors, or it may be the disappointingly blurry photo that, when looked at in a new way, perfectly illustrates the movement and passion of a city at night.

I'm convinced that these aren't happy accidents so much as your soul guiding you to capture something it sees, even though your conscious brain doesn't notice until later. I believe your creative spirit has a wisdom you can't fathom but that can, at moments like those above, show itself with breathtaking poignancy and clarity.

It is the same wisdom that makes you write garbage on the page that later spins into gold, or that nudges you to flip your abstract drawing upside down to show you the sophistication in your scribblings. It's what made me realize that the sweeping arcs I couldn't stop making with my pastels one day were expressions of the violently bending palm trees I had recently seen in a terrifying tropical storm, but had forgotten about.

You may take a rather plain photo of an old barn only to notice when you get your prints back that a row of flaming red maple trees can be seen through one of its windows. These are the kind of incidents that let you know someone else is on duty inside of you, with its own idea of what it wants to say. This is why you need to learn to trust whatever comes out on the page, screen, stage, or design board. You don't have to like it but you do have to respect it, and at least consider what it has to say. What you gain through this dialogue is the precious knowledge that there is more to you and to this mysterious universe than we will ever know.

Form Habits So Your Creativity Flows

Commit to Just 20 Minutes a Day & See Results

Contributed by Barbara Millman Cole.
You can reach her at: bmillmancole@sbcglobal.net

How do you modify existing habits or form new ones to allow yourself to create? Three conditions must exist to form a new habit. You must:

  • Consciously create the new habit
  • Commit to the new habit
  • Consistently practice the new habit

Take my client, C.J., for example, who seeks to write a humorous account of her travels and experiences in Missouri where she plans to open a retreat, hold workshops and sell her book. She has also recently moved and so has boxes of books and brochures everywhere. She finds herself exhausted after a full day's work as a social psychologist and overwhelmed by the chaos of unpacking. She must develop a habit that will allow her to move forward with her creative plans.

To develop her habit, I suggest that C.J. find just twenty minutes a day to focus on her book. This means consciously setting aside time to focus on specific aspects of plotting, researching, filing, sorting, taking notes, and writing chunks of chapters. At first, this is hard for her.

"I have been dreading it because it just felt overwhelming to attack all these boxes of information. But when I decided to just do 20 minutes, I just grabbed a handful of brochures, and all of a sudden I remembered why I wanted to do this in the first place. I spent a good 1 ½ hours today working on my book and it was actually fun."

C.J. now commits to dedicating time each day to work. After three months of consistent practice, she says, "I feel like I have gotten used to focusing on my dreams and projects. It has become a habit. I know that when I have a day off or time off in the day I will start writing. This is new. I used to just feel like a failure and that feeling would bleed over to my days off and nothing would get done."

Making 20 minutes each day to focus on your art or craft will keep you moving forward; declaring and maintaining space will give you a place to work; and thinking about your creation in down times will keep you focused and ready to begin when you do have time to work. These all require conscious intent, commitment and consistent practice to become habits. By identifying and forming habits that work for you, you will allow your creativity to flow.

Singing — The Tonic Of Life

Contributed by Michael Oliphant.
He's at www.exploreyourvoice.com

Most people these days associate singing with the popular music they see and hear on the radio and TV. This can make you feel like singing is beyond you, as if it's some form of high skill that you need to be born with. A natural talent if you like. In fact singing is much more a part of our everyday lives than you might realize, and it can be a tonic for an improved state of mind and a recipe for stress reduction and better health.

For example, think about songs that when you hear them on the radio make you remember something wonderful in your past. There's the song that reminds you of your first kiss or when you proposed to your partner, or perhaps the song that brings to mind some good times with old friends at school or work. You can be sitting all alone feeling sorry for yourself about the way life has treated you and a song comes on the radio that reminds you of a great time in your life.

I'm sure you have songs that do this to you — songs that you sing along to in the car at the top of your voice, ignoring the strange looks from other drivers at the lights. These can be a form of instant attitude adjustment and will often completely erase the effects of a bad day. This effect is multiplied ten fold if you can sing along with a favorite song. For the moments when you sing along you get to journey through a personal fantasy, a kind of mental movie of events that you recall related to that song. When you sing along to a CD in the car you get to momentarily exit this reality and visit another which is tailor-made by you.

If you are a person who has a lot of emotional ups and downs in your life, then try this trick for a kind of "instant pick-me-up." Burn a CD with about 10 of your favorite songs and keep it with you at all times. Make sure these songs are related to great times in your life. When you become annoyed or upset, or you just need a boost, put the CD on and play one song at random. Do not play more than one song and resist the urge to play the same song over and over because doing that just reprograms you to re-associate that song with your current situation and it will loose its positive effect. Then sing your head off! Make sure you are alone and sing from your heart. Don't spare the horses — just go for it. Make sure you take a good deep breath to start — and concentrate on the sound of your own voice, not the voice of the singer in the song. This will help you pitch correctly and make you feel like you are a real singer on stage.

Many people ignore the importance of music in their environment. They regard it as background noise like traffic or the murmur of people talking in a cafe. The truth is, music is a custom-built emotional trigger. We all react to it in different ways. How many times have you found a piece of music totally distracting when you were trying to concentrate on something? This is because music is created specifically to evoke a response; it looks to push your buttons, to make you participate. The next time you see some motor racing on TV, check out the sort of music they put behind it. It won't be Beethoven or Mozart; it will be high speed aggressive guitar music. How does it make you feel? This music is chosen to evoke your adrenalin response, to get you excited and feel like you are part of the action. Conversely, you are unlikely to hear thrashing guitars used behind a documentary about gorillas in Kenya, you will hear thoughtful music that is designed to create empathy and wonderment.

What this means is that you should take more notice of the music around you and try to participate whenever you can. Above all, listen to music that allows YOU to sing and express your emotions. Let it all hang out and don't give a damn about what other people think.

The next step is to get better control of your singing voice. Try getting some karaoke tracks and sing to those regularly. From there you might consider some actual singing lessons.

The benefits are huge in terms of improving your sense of well being and confidence. Finally, pay a visit to The Explore Your Voice Show Podcast. It's a half hour downloadable mp3 audio show on the net where we talk about all aspects of singing, performing, and getting your voice into shape. This might be just the tonic you need.

About the author: Michael Oliphant is a new friend of the Creativity Coaching Association. A musician, producer and songwriter, he is one of the inventors of Explore Your Voice Singing Lessons. He also co-hosts a weekly free show called the Explore Your Voice Show Podcast. You can reach him at michaeloliphant@exploreyourvoice.net

And Now a Word from Our Sponsor!

About the Creativity Coaching Association

If you are new to this newsletter, perhaps you are unfamiliar with the Creativity Coaching Association. We are an association of about 50 creativity coaches and we are here to help you improve your creative work, whatever it may be. Our coach members have a wide range of skills and talents that can prove useful in helping you overcome your creative blocks, deepen your work, or get your work into the marketplace. We invite you to check out our coaches by visiting our FIND A COACH page. Many of these coaches offer a FR*EE initial consultation too, so you have nothing to lose — and everything to gain. Go ahead, give a coach a call or email today.

Click here to find a creativity coach today!

Useful Links for Creative People

Over the past month, we've discovered some great web sites and information that you may not know about. Here are a few:

Creativity Portal — Find inspiration and activities to help explore and express your creativity in art, writing, and other creative pursuits. Features free resources, articles, and projects by creativity coaches, artists, crafters, and authors. Go to www.creativity-portal.com

Bob Fraser's Hollywood How To Newsletter — Subscribe to this free monthly newsletter especially published for actors. It's called Hollywood How-To — and it's easy to get. Just go to this URL and sign up for the email newsletter: www.youmustact.com/freebees.html. Be sure to check out Bob's "You Must Act! The Acting Career Course on Your Computer."

The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard- Johnson — If you have written a book and are seeking to learn how to market it, Carolyn's book is a great resource. Carolyn also has a fantastic periodic newsletter, called Sharing with Writers. You can subscribe by sending her send an e-mail with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line to: HoJoNews@aol.com.

Art Deadlines List — A monthly newsletter (via email or paper) with several hundred announcements (every month!) listing art contests & competitions, art scholarships & grants, juried exhibitions, art jobs & internships, call for entries/proposals/papers, writing & photo contests, residencies, design & architecture competitions, auditions, casting calls, fellowships, festivals, funding, and other opportunities (including some that take place on the web) for artists, art educators and art students of all ages. Go to www.artdeadlineslist.com

In Case You Missed the Tour de France...

Get Inspired the Relaxed Way on a 7-day Creativity Retreat in Burgundy, France in October 2005.

Creativity coach and devoted francophile Rick Benzel will guide up to 8 people on an amazingly relaxing and enriching week in Burgundy. We will reside in a lovely house near the small town of Chalon-sur-Saone, just when the grape harvest is happening. In the mornings, we will meet to share and work thoughtfully on each person's creative work. Participants will then have time to write, paint, or photograph in the surrounding areas. Local experts will be on hand to provide up-close tours such as to wineries, gourmet restaurants, castles, and specialties of the region.

Cost: Based on shared house rental costs + Modest Guide fees for the week. You will supply your own airfare + local travel and food expenses (though rental cars will be shared.)

Send an email to get further details to creativitycoach@verizon.net Please put the words "France trip" in the subject line.

If You're Looking for a Truly Inspiring Read

15% OFF — SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL DISCOUNT FOR READERS OF THIS NEWSLETTER.

The Creativity Coaching Association Press is proud to present its first book, Inspiring Creativity: An Anthology of Powerful Insights and Practical Ideas to Guide You to Successful Creating. This lovely book has already been chosen as a Selection in several book clubs and will be excerpted in numerous upcoming magazines. Reviewers are raving about the book!

To peruse the Table of Contents and download a FR*EE sample chapter, go to www.cca-press.com.

By the way, if you have an essay on creativity that you might like to contribute to the next anthology, or if you have written a book that you would like to submit to a publishing house, please contact me at publisher@cca-press.com.

Special Price: Retail $14.95, but with this discount, the book is just $12.95 plus $6.00 Shipping for readers like you!

Thank You for Your Time and Attention

This is the end of the July issue and we're glad you made it down to here. Send us an email and let us know your thoughts and reactions. Otherwise, we'll be back in touch in early September.

Note: If you are interested in joining the Creativity Coaching Association, please drop me a note at join@creativitycoachingassociation.com for information.

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