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 Creativity Calling

The Newsletter of the Creativity Coaching Association

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Creativity Coaching Association newsletter. On behalf of the creativity coaches who are members of the Association, we are excited that you have joined our community and we aim to provide you with inspiring, practical, and even just plain fun readings (like the first one in this issue).

In this newsletter, you will find a variety of articles from creativity coaches who are interested in sharing their ideas and suggestions to help you feel more supported, more motivated, and more inspired to do your creative work, whether it's writing, visual arts, performing, or crafting. Several of the articles this month focus on how you view yourself as a creative person and how certain beliefs can obstruct getting your creative efforts off the ground. We believe in helping you achieve the level of success you desire, but we also know if you hesitate to be creative out of fear of failure, you won't even begin.

We hope you find these readings meaningful and useful. We invite you to send this newsletter to your creative friends using the Forward Email link at the bottom. We are eager to grow our community and thank you for your support.

Finally, we invite you to visit the web sites of the contributing writers using the links provided next to their names.

Wishing you a creative June,

Rick Benzel, Executive Director

A Kreative Light Note

Eat a Croissant, Be Creative!

by Etta Mology

We bet you didn't know that croissants are related to creativity. Our dear friend Etta Mology explains how. If you look up the word creative in a dictionary, you will find that it comes from Middle English, creat, which comes from the Latin creatus, past participle of creare, meaning to make. So, creativity signifies the idea of "making something," which of course you knew.

But delve deeper into Merriam-Webster's and you will note that the Latin word creare is akin to the Latin word crescere which means to grow. That's why creativity is also about growing something. But, to the point here, the Latin word crescere is the root of the English word crescent, as in crescent moon. And the word crescent is the origin of the French word croissant, as in that gorgeous, buttery, flaky pastry so cherished for breakfast.

What this means is that creativity and croissants actually share a deep linguistic (or shall we say culinary) connection that dates back millennia. So the next time you butter up a calorie-rich soft and moist golden croissant, rest assured that you are simply enhancing your taste for creativity!

Does Your Creative Self-Image Support You?

Musings on Creativity

Contributed by Suzanne R. Roy, M.A., www.coachingthecreative.com

If you believe in the theory of abundance, you realize that the only thing standing between you and all that the universe has to offer is a lack of vision and openness to that abundance. I believe the same is true of creativity. Unlike young children who marvel at the miraculous nature of the world around them, most of us are jaded when it comes to creation itself and are unable to see the creative within ourselves and the people around us.

I was reminded of this fact a few weeks ago at a local bookstore where I was scheduled to do a book signing. I was a bit early and was standing near the table where the anthology I was promoting was displayed, when I noticed a sad-looking woman in her late 50s or early 60s hovering around the collection of local books nearby. Noticing that she wasn't actually picking up anything, I approached her and asked her if she was interested in the topic of creativity, the subject of the anthology to which I had contributed. She assured me that she wasn't and started to move away.

Undaunted, I approached her again and, making it clear that my intent was not to sell her a book but simply to satisfy my own curiosity, I asked her if she considered herself creative. She assured me that she wasn't creative at all and that her only hobbies were knitting and crocheting. When I pointed out to her that she was, indeed, creating something with her hands and that she might want to start thinking of herself as creative, I saw a startled look in her eyes and a hint of a smile on her lips. As she walked away, I noticed that she turned around to look at me again, and I could tell that a door had been forced open within her mind.

If you're having difficulty achieving your creative goals, it might be worthwhile to reassess your creative self-image. Once creativity has taken hold, it snowballs, so you'll want to be sure that you're not inhibiting its rooting at the heart of your being by failing to see it and acknowledge its presence. If you're an active human being, chances are fairly good that you ARE creative, so go ahead and admit it! You'll be opening the door to an abundance that may startle you.

A Parable for Stuck Creative Minds

Stand on Your Head and Give Your Creativity a Boost

Contributed by Kaylen Bennett, www.souletudes.com

A father had a six-year-old daughter who, at that age, was already adding some pretty big words to her vocabulary. One day he walked into the living room and found her standing on her head. When he asked her what she was doing, she replied, "I'm looking at things from a different perspective."

Sometimes a change in perspective is just what you need to jump start your creativity when you're stuck on a project. So how do you go about doing that? If such things are your talent, you could actually try standing on your head.

Or, you might rearrange your work space; listen to a different style of music; turn your canvas upside down; write the middle chapter first; set a dollar bill on fire; look at a poem in a foreign language and write down what you think it says; come up with seven different ways to hang the bath towels; test drive your dream car; pretend you are somebody else; and take your creative project and turn it, twist it, color it, enlarge it, reduce it, do it backwards, cut it half, add something.. you get the idea. Find ways to "stand on your head." This comes naturally for creative people. Amplify that ability, and see what happens!

The Difference Between Competition and Creativity

Contributed by Dave Storer, www.thecreativitycatalyst.com

Our culture is obsessed by competition, and we especially see it in sports. Unfortunately, our over- emphasis on competition in so many aspects of life stops many people from engaging in profoundly meaningful and pleasurable creative activities because they are afraid of "losing" at what they love.

Ask yourself, for example, have you ever stopped yourself from trying to write a story, paint a watercolor, or compose a song because you felt you weren't "ready"? You tell yourself you need to take more classes, you need to practice more, study more, or get "permission" from a qualified judge of talent. This type of fear of creating is like going up to the plate thinking you have three strikes before you've even batted. It reflects the idea that you think you have something to lose if you do not create the proverbial home-run.

But remember, winning and losing are qualities that are NOT inherent in any one person, activity or creative product. They are simply a reflection of defined values. For instance, in China, shy people are respected much more than aggressively outgoing people. Consider this scenario: A film is made of two people having an encounter. One person is loud and assertive, bordering on the overbearing. The other is shy and self-effacing. In the scene, they interact with each other according to their natures. Then, the film is shown to two audiences, one a group of Americans, the other a group of Chinese. After watching the film, the audience members are asked which person in the film "won" the interaction. Don't be surprised, but in general, Americans tend to think the assertive person "won" while most of the Chinese think the shy person "won."

This points to the truth that "winning" is not an essential element of reality; it is a human construct. If no one is around to define the rules of the game that specify who wins, there are no winners or losers.

The wonderful thing about creating is that it takes you outside of all of that overly-simple, black/white, winner/loser mindset and into the richness of a fully present reality. In fact, one of the essential functions of creativity (not to mention one of its greatest pleasures) is to allow you to move outside of your usual rigid ways of seeing and thinking so that you can experience reality more directly and fully -- to connect as deeply and richly as you can, and to find new insights and meanings in life. You cannot "lose" when you are engaged deeply and creatively.

So right now, go do something you love and forget the score card.

And Now a Word from Our Sponsor!

Finally, a Good Use for Your Cell Phone

If you've invested in a cell phone and can't really figure out a worthwhile use for it, here's a great idea. Use your cell phone to call a creativity coach today. Why waste all those cell phone minutes on idle chatter when you can maximize your investment's value by spending your time talking about your serious creativity issues with a professional creativity coach who can guide you to new directions, new goals, and possibly a new career success. And if you don't yet have a creativity coach, well, it's simple enough to find one. Just click on the link below.

Click here to find a creativity coach today!

Enhance Your Creative Work with Journaling Exercises

Contributed by Lael Johnson, www.writerseye.com

Keeping a journal is a form of expression that enhances your own self-coaching process. It develops your emotional awareness, reinforces self-esteem and aids in problem-solving. Keeping a journal also provides a written record of your artistic growth, struggle and change. Here are three basic exercises that I use throughout my creativity coaching process.

1. DIALOGUE: Writing a dialogue between one or more people representing your conflicts helps to identify and separate your emotions, ideas, issues and influences in your creative situation. The primary result of writing a dialogue is to clarify your creative dilemma, to give voice to all its aspects and to restore your vision to its proper perspective.

2. GRATITUDE LIST: Thank you lists are very easy to write. It takes no more than a few seconds, some paper and a pen to create your list. Thank you lists, no matter what the length, powerfully challenge negative thoughts, disappointment and discouragement. Lists also help restore your vision to its rightful place in your creative process. Thank you lists are especially useful when pursuing long-term goals and facing crises.

3. GOAL LIST: Identifying and developing a list of your artistic and business goals often provides a clear path to fulfilling your dreams. Recognizing your regular progress through each goal becomes a ready source of motivation for you.

The Personal Meaning of "Creative Success"

Contributed by Quinn McDonald, www.quinncreative.com

It was Sunday afternoon on a long show weekend. The crowd began to thin, and the artists used the time to check out business with each other. My booth neighbor asked, "Was it a success for you?" "Looks like it," I said, without quoting a number. My neighbor looked doubtful, mentioned there hadn't been a huge crowd of shoppers, then smiled gamely, "Well, your idea of success is probably different from mine. I won't be doing this show again."

At first I felt a little stung, but then an interesting thought settled in -- her idea and my idea of success probably were different. All artists who take on a tough show schedule need to make a living, but if the only measure of success is the amount of money you take in, you'd better keep that day job.

This particular show did not bring in the highest total of the year, but I had gotten some great feedback on some of my pieces; some long-standing clients had stopped by to tell me how often they got compliments on the pieces they owned; some new clients told me how my pieces 'spoke' to them; a woman who wanted my opinion on a piece was surprised when I said it wasn't the right piece for her -- then delighted when I dug through the inventory bag to find a piece she loved; and a woman who was "just looking" said she could feel how much I loved my work. All that in one show! It was my idea of success.

Artists become artists for many reasons, but the one that is clearest to me is to make meaning of life. Life doesn't come with a hidden meaning that we discover over time. Life is a series of events we choose reactions to and apply interpretations to. We create our own meaning as we go along. As artists we get to think a little more and look a little closer at our work and how it sustains us spiritually and emotionally. It's easy not to want to look. Sometimes the easiest choice is to make money and not meaning. But more often than not, the best choice is when we create from that deep, hard, authentic secret place, which allows us to arrive at our private understanding of success.

Tap into CCA to Support Your Creative Work

We invite you to send us your questions, your challenges, your thoughts and feelings about any issues that are important to your creative work. Write us at publisher@creativitycoachingassociation.com. Each month, we will pick out some of the most universal challenges and provide ideas and suggestions. Use our creativity coach-members as a resource to build your creative satisfaction and success.

And if you are serious about your creative work, consider checking out the wide range of creativity coaches who are eager to work with you. Their fees vary, but are usually very reasonable for email and phone coaching. Give yourself the gift of 1, 2, or 3 months of coaching and see new results in your work.

Check out our creativity coaches here.

Creativity Retreat in France

Get Inspired on a 7-day Retreat in the Normandy Region of France in October 2005

Creativity coach and devoted francophile Rick Benzel (possibly along with 1 or 2 other noted creativity coaches) will guide you on a passionately enriching creative week in France. We will reside in a lovely house in a small town in the Norman countryside. In the mornings, the group will meet to share and talk about each member's creative work over coffee, tartines and confiture. Each participant will then have time to pursue their own creative work in the gardens and on walks, whether it's photography, painting, writing, or researching.

In the afternoons, we will journey to take in the richness of French and European history found in the historic sites and inspirational monuments of this noted region, such as Mont St. Michel, Rouen, Rennes, Dinard, St. Malo, the Bayeux tapestries, the famous harbor at Honfleur (a painter's paradise), Monet's Giverny, and many "wish-I-could live-here" vistas of the French pastoral countryside. You will return with joyous memories of stunning scenic images, stimulating conversations, gastronomic feasts, and many, many new ideas to fuel your creative work.

Cost: Will be Based on Shared House Rental Cost + Modest Guide fee 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 more details to creativitycoach@verizon.net Please put the words "France trip" in the subject line.

A Final Word from Our Sponsor

Hurrah! Hurrah! The Creativity Coaching Association Press is a new publishing house delivering to you a fresh line of books about creativity. Our first publication is hot off the press. Inspiring Creativity: An Anthology of Powerful Insights and Practical Ideas to Guide You to Successful Creating offers tips, tricks, and techniques from 22 creativity coaches, each with a different perspective on creativity. Inspiring Creativity is already getting rave reviews.

I highly recommend this book...a valuable and practical treasury of inspiration for anyone passionate about creating," says Jeremy Tarcher, the noted publisher of best-selling creativity books such as The Artist's Way and Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.

No matter how many books you've read on creativity before, this is one book you will cherish.

Price: $14.95 + $5.00 Shipping / Handling

Thank You for Your Time and Attention

This is the end of the June issue and we're glad you made it down to here. Send us an email at publisher@creativitycoachingassociation.com and let us know what you thought about our newsletter. We welcome your suggestions, comments, and concerns. We'll be back in July.

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