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 Creativity Calling


The Newsletter of the Creativity Coaching Association

Hello Friends,

Fall is about to happen and for many of us, we experience a renewed desire to learn, to move forward, to accomplish something exciting. Fall reminds us of going back to school, of new notebooks and pens, of new ideas and people — even if we are adults and no longer in school. For me, autumn is also a very inspiring time, as the brilliant colors of the leaves, the crisp air, and the color of the evening sunlight all move me towards wanting to write, paint, photograph — and make stew.

In this 3rd issue of the Creativity Coaching Association newsletter, you will find several items. First, we have an exciting announcement about a new partnership we have formed. Next, the events in New Orleans demand that we express our feelings on this topic and so you will find an "ode" to this great city. Finally, we offer a few articles and tips about creativity that we hope will inspire you in your endeavors.

Thanks for your interest in the Creativity Coaching Association. We invite you to email us with your comments and feedback.

Rick Benzel, Executive Director

Exciting News!!! CCA Teams Up with Creativity Portal

The Creativity Coaching Association will be partnering with Creativity Portal (www.creativity-portal.com), one of the most popular and noted web sites for creativity. Founded more than five years ago by its publisher, Chris Dunmire, the Creativity Portal offers articles, tips, projects, and ideas for creative people of all kinds.

As stated on its web site, Creativity Portal is "an imagination-inducing sanctuary for artists, writers, crafters, and creativity enthusiasts. It's been featured in Imagine magazine, Writer's Digest, Blogger's Buzz, and thousands of other places Web-wide. It features free coaching articles, creative projects and printables, and quality hand-selected 'how to' Web resources designed to inspire your creativity."

Beginning in October, 2005, the Creativity Portal will become the "front-end" web site for the Creativity Coaching Association. Our web sites will effectively be joined, allowing you to flow seamlessly from one to the other. The partnership allows you to read great articles and projects about creativity while being able to find and communicate with creativity coaches at any time.

We look forward to a productive, inspiring, creative partnership and are confident you will benefit from the new joint effort. If you have not yet visited this wonderful web site, click over to Creativity Portal.

Ode to New Orleans

You may have left your heart in San Francisco, but we are all heartbroken over New Orleans. Even if you have never been to this city, we all know it is one of the great creative cities of the world. Its history, architecture, food, music, and diverse peoples give this city a distinctive creative soul unlike any other in the world. There's hardly a person alive who doesn't conjure up colorful images when they hear the words Mardi Gras, Creole, gumbo, or jazz. Losing New Orleans to the triple whammy of the hurricane, the flood, and the insult of all insults, lack of leadership from you know who, makes this tragedy simply gut-wrenching.

It may be just a coincidence, but I recently learned that New Orleans is known as the Crescent City because of its geographic shape as the city is situated on a curve in the Mississippi River. If you recall from the June newsletter, the word "crescent" is etymologically related to the word "creativity" and perhaps this explains why New Orleans had so much creative soul. (See Eat a Croissant, Be Creative to read about this word linkage.)

It is also ironic to note that New Orleans got its name from the French city Orleans, because the American city was named in 1718 for the "regent" of France, Philippe II, duc d'Orleans. This duke was the nephew of Louis XIV and, after the Sun King's death, Philippe was put in charge of the next king of France, Louis XV. Apparently, Philippe was known for a certain amount of "immorality" and it may be that his spirit has lived on in New Orleans for centuries.

We all can only hope and pray that a new New Orleans can be rebuilt quickly to bring this creative city back from the dead and to provide jobs and housing again for hundreds of thousands of deserving people who made it their home.

A Creative Linguistic Note

The Power of Your Craft

by Etta Mology

Are you drawn to developing your artistic skill to the point of feeling like you truly have a "craft?" If so, there's a very good reason you may want this degree of skill. It has to do with the fact that the word "craft" actually has its roots in the Old English word "cræft" meaning to have "power, strength, or might." In other words, having a craft is having power.

Our dear friend Etta Mology explains this interesting relationship. Apparently, the Old English word (actually borrowed from the old German word "kraft") was used to signify power and strength. The usage was then extended to the mental use of power, and eventually came to mean artistic skill. By extension, the word was also used to describe a trade or occupation requiring manual dexterity or skilled artistry. At some point in Middle English, the noun "craft" was also used as a verb, to refer specifically to the artful construction of a text or discourse, as in "that writer crafted a great story."

Furthermore, the skill implied in the word "craft" eventually also came to signify a vessel or boat — probably because of the craft one needed to build a boat.

Finally, somewhere along the way, the word "craft" also came to mean "skill in evasion or deception" as in talking about a crafty thief or even the crafty fox.

So, putting this all together, please refrain from being a crafty, sly person. It is so much better to have a craft in your life, or to write well-crafted words, or to craft beautiful songs, or to build sea-worthy crafts using your knowledge of the carpentry craft. Whichever your choice, there's power in having a craft!

And Now a Word from Our Sponsor!

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!

Are You Doing Great Work? Or merely Good Work?

Contributed by Michael Bungay Stanier

Milton Glaser — You may not know this name but you probably know at least one of his works of art — the “I 'Heart' NY” logo. In his book, Art is Work, Glaser provides these provocative definitions of work:

  1. Work that goes beyond its functional intention and moves us in deep and mysterious ways we call great work.

  2. Work that is conceived and executed with elegance and rigour we call good work.

  3. Work that meets its intended need honestly and without pretence we call simply work.

  4. Everything else, the sad and shoddy stuff of daily life, can come under the heading of “bad work.”

I combine Glaser’s second and third distinctions to have just three categories: Great Work, Good Work and Bad Work. (And by “Work”, I’m talking all of “the stuff you do”. It’s not only about what you do in the office, but what you do 24/7. Work includes looking after your children, watching TV, preparing meals, exercise, being with friends, being by yourself, and so on).

How do you know what’s what? Here’s my litmus test.

Great Work: Great Work brings with it both exhilaration and terror. You’re delighted when someone asks you what you do, and they have trouble getting you to stop talking about it. You tap into reserves of courage and chutzpah to get done what needs to be done. You often have no idea how to do what needs to be done — and are only a little fazed by that, because you are certain that this is truly what needs to be done.

Great work is a place where impact and effect trumps over efficiency and process. It is often a place of waste, because creativity needs waste to thrive. It is a place of inspiration, where suddenly all your past makes sense (“A-ha! That’s why I did that, learned that, experienced that”). It is a place that honors your skills, your passion and your experience.

Great Work is also a difficult place to be. The temptation to “downgrade” to the comfort of Good Work is constant. Your “inner critic” is rampant, whispering “Who are you to try this? Who do you think you are to be this ambitious? Don’t you know you’re doomed to failure?” Great Work can also be elusive, because it can degrade in a moment to be simply Good Work. To do Great Work, you must be ever vigilant.

Good Work: With Good Work, there is no shame attached. You’re doing work that uses your skills, it gets stuff done, it may well pay you a wage. It’s comfortable, because you know what you’re doing. It is probably something of a routine or a habit.

So it’s not that you’re having a bad time. It’s just that when you’re asked by strangers what you do, sometimes it feels like you’re trying to convince yourself more than them that this is great. Good Work is often about “being efficient”, without ever asking the difficult question “is this the right work to be efficient with?” (Peter Drucker says this: “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things”). In a year’s time, you won’t remember the Good Work you were doing a year ago.

And as for Bad Work, the test is simple. It’s when you have that sudden flash of realization and you ask yourself: Why exactly am I wasting my life with this?

Take Action: Here’s a quick exercise. Draw a biggish circle on a piece of paper. Now, divide it into three segments that represent the proportion of each of these types of work in your life today.

How much Great Work are you doing? More than 80%? Less than 20%? In my experience, many of us are doing a fair amount of Good Work — but very little Great Work. The goal is to remove Bad Work from our lives, and continually increase the amount of Great Work.

What would you have to say “no” to, to double the amount of Great Work in your life? What would you have to say “yes” to, to halve the amount of Bad Work in your life?

Resources for Great Work:

  • Peter Block, The Answer to How is Yes
  • Michael Bungay Stanier, Get Unstuck & Get Going on the stuff that matters
  • Richard Carson, Taming your Gremlin

Copyright 2004, Michael Bungay Stanier, Box of Crayons. Michael Bungay Stanier is the author of the best-selling coaching tool, Get Unstuck & Get Going. A Rhodes Scholar, he works with coaches, trainers, teams and organizations to help them get unstuck and get going on the stuff that matters. Sign up for Michael’s Outside the Lines ezine at web site, www.BoxOfCrayons.biz.

Join Me on a Retreat in France at My New Home

My New Castle in France

Actually, I'm fantasizing here...I don't really own this castle, but I just came back from visiting it with my daughter Sarah on a great 2-week trip. If you'd like to see this chateau or numerous others, I can take you there when you join me on a creativity retreat in France. I've been advertising this retreat for 3 months now, and have had several expressions of interest, but we need a few more people to make a group.

I can arrange the retreat to occur either in Normandy, the Loire Valley, or Burgundy depending on your preferences. In the mornings, we will work on our creative projects and support each other. Afternoons are open for touring and sight-seeing. In the evenings, we will share great home-made meals or go to gourmet restaurants.

Cost: We will rent a large house or castle and share the costs. A small guide fee will also be required. You simply provide 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

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The Creativity Coaching Association Press is proud to present Inspiring Creativity: An Anthology of Powerful Insights and Practical Ideas to Guide You to Successful Creating. This exceptional book has been chosen as a Selection of the Month for several book clubs and is being excerpted in numerous upcoming magazines. Reviewers are raving about the book! Order your copy today at a special price.

To peruse the Table of Contents and download a FR*EE sample chapter, go to www.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 September issue and we're glad you made it down to here. Send us an email and let us know your thoughts and reactions.

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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