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 Creativity Calling

The Newsletter of the Creativity Coaching Association

Dear Friends

Welcome to the April issue of Creativity Calling, the monthly newsletter designed to inspire and support your creative work.

We are confident this month's quiver of articles, all written by CCA creativity coaches, will be a boon to your personal and professional growth.

We encourage you:
  • To refocus on your creative projects and dreams that may be collecting dust
  • To be aware of the benefits of creating images/visions of our heart's truest desires
  • To reflect on the power of sincere and honest praise
  • To share insights on common creative challenges
It's spring in New York and this means warm sunny days with renewal everywhere: lawns turn green while perky crocuses and daffodils pop up to say hello after a frigid winter. Thanks for allowing us each month (through Creativity Calling) to shower you with a variety of perspectives. Corny as it may sound, one of our front burner goals here at CCA is to help you blossom into your uniquely creative self!

As always, if you have comments or suggestions for future newsletter topics, we want your input. Keep sending us that great feedback!

All the best,
Beverly Down

Beverly Down, President & CEO, Creativity Coaching Association

The Joy of Resurrection

by Karen I-Kemper

A man recently introduced himself to me. "I'm a retired painter". Pink Blossoms"Retired?" I asked.
The man explained that now he actually had the time to paint but found it difficult to start his art work. In declaring himself retired he had given himself permission to lower his expectations and disappointment. In talking together, this retired painter admitted feeling good about his single accomplishment, having completed a painting first started thirty years ago. "Ah," the realization came," it was a resurrection!" We both laughed.

So for those of us who have unfinished pieces, misplaced ideas, unfulfilled New Year's resolutions or generally unsatisfied desires, I have a few suggestions:

  1. First, and foremost give yourself permission to resurrect a long lost or recently abandoned goal. Self-forgiveness can be freeing.
  2. Make a list of possible choices, which seeds do you wish to replant for a viable harvest at a later date. Author Ray Bradbury keeps a file of opening lines and titles of stories yet to be written.
  3. Read The Resurrectionists by Michael Collins, a brilliant novel which inspires a new awareness of connectedness and reclamation of the ordinary as sacred. . .
  4. Create a Tony Busan "mind map" ( a right-brained technique which captures details), as a way to map your way to accomplishing your lost project.
  5. Rent Young Frankenstein and dance along with " Putting on the Ritz" If that doesn't make you want to reanimate some old material I don't know what will!
  6. Honor your intention to follow through with past projects and resolutions. Even if you didn't see them through to fruition at least acknowledge that you considered it important enough to set a goal. Give some thought to creating a 'minute-long' goal (what can I do in 60 seconds that will put me back on track today). Most of us can spare a minute for ourselves.
  7. Hire a coach or enlist a friend. Tell someone you have a dream to reclaim something important to you. It's worth the risk.

Karen I-Kemper is a certified coach for creatives. She recently made a cross- country trek to relocate to the east coast and can certainly empathize about change, keeping your vision, and creating in the middle of things. She can be reached at 77citygirl@gmail.com. What will you choose today?

Creating Visions
by Kathleen Gilday

Cloudy ViewWhat if you could improve your life with a simple cut and paste exercise? Can making collages of your dreams really bring success?

Most self-help experts and life coaches agree that creating a clear vision of your goals can improve your chances of achieving them. So, why not give it a try?

Collages, vision boards, dream books, or life maps; they're all basically the same. They are compilations of images that reflect your inner thoughts, dreams, and intentions. There are no rules, only your imagination.

Where to begin?

Start with a theme. Some examples include making a map of your career goals for one year or a collage of your perfect day. Ask yourself key questions, such as, what do I really want or what makes my heart sing? You might find many themes come to mind. Choose one, but jot down your other ideas for future collages.

Gather materials. Magazines, photos, scrap booking supplies, even small items such as shells and ticket stubs can be used. Basically, anything that can be glued onto paper. Next choose a destination for your pieces. Simple poster board works fine, but you can buy a small sketch book or journal. The latest trend is creating a deck of cards for your visions.

Think like a kid. Let your imagination soar. Go ahead, make a mess. Cut out words, images, anything and everything that you love. If you have too many cut-outs store them in a pocket folder for another time.

Let go of expectations. The idea is to explore ideas, allowing pictures to tell your inner thoughts. As you meander through magazines, let yourself wander into new territory. Maybe you're not an outdoors person, but images of people hiking makes you yearn for the experience. Go with it.

Again, there are no rules. Feel free to sketch your own images. Make a visual outline of the book you want to write. Gather your friends and have a collage making party. The real beauty is in the variety of ways you can make visions of your life. How will you design yours?

Kathleen Gilday is a certified Creativity Coach and freelance writer who resides in New Hampshire. Her coaching practice www.writeintoyourlife.com provides support and inspiration for all level writers.

In Praise of Praise

by Quinn McDonald

Adults learn very differently from children. As people become older, the ability to simply absorb information diminishes, as does the gift of instant memorization. Adults need to hear information more often, in different ways, in order to remember it. But adults have one advantage in learning that children don't have—experience.

Having tried, succeeded, failed, invented, dreamed and thought more than children, there is a richer field of experience to draw on when learning. The word "educate" comes from the Latin "educare' and it means 'to pull out of,' not 'to stuff into." Most adults in workshops learn easily from sharing information, practicing skills, and linking the presented facts with practical applications

An instructor's best guide is to provide praise. If the instructor tells a participant they are "wrong" the participant will shut down, unable to hear another word, steeped in shame. But an instructor who offers praise offers hope and encouragement and motivation.

An experienced instructor can provide tools that will make the task easier, and exercises to practice the skill. Nothing works better, however, than praise. By praising workshop participants for something they are doing well, it is more likely they will continue to do it. That alone will make them better at that skill, and that's a valuable goal-getting participants to do something better, to try harder, to keep working.

Someone who has received praise, values it and tries to repeat the action that worked. That's a good definition of success. It is a gift every workshop leader can give to participants, every manager to their direct reports, and every creative person to themselves while they are struggling with a creativity project. Praise multiplies as it is passed on, growing in power and effect.

Praise is now moving into organizational development, where it is called Appreciative Inquiry. It is a hopeful, positive alternative to demands, punishment and motivation through fear.

Resources for AI

A portal to Appreciative Inquiry:
Making the most of strength and potential:
Books on AI:

---Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach and trainer who teaches business communication, writing and giving presentations, and journal writing.
See them all at QuinnCreative.com. (c) 2008. All rights reserved.

Congratulations to John MacDonald, CCA's newest Certified Coach!
The Other "C" Word

by John MacDonald

John MacDonaldCreativity. It's the "C" word for coaches and clients alike. We wish to become not only productive but creative artists. We discover something deeply meaningful to do and then attempt to express it as creatively as possible. Because we're doing something meaningful, the search for creative expression can become difficult when we encounter two challenging but necessary ingredients for creative growth.

First, when we work creatively we will experience periods of confusion and vulnerability. These periods of "floating in the unknown" are as disconcerting as they are important and necessary for our creative growth.

Secondly, becoming creative requires our becoming self-aware. We must honestly acknowledge that it is our personality traits, our thinking patterns, and our habitual ways of behaving that most inhibit our creativity. We sabotage our own dreams and we must be willing to look at how and why we do this.

Dealing with these twin challenges to our creativity often turns art-making into an arduous task. It is during these periods of confusion and difficulty that we most need the other "C" word—Compassion.

It is compassion—self-compassion—which brings joy and ease into our search for creative expression and personal growth. Compassion means acknowledging that we cannot be perfect. Compassion means learning from and letting go of failures. Compassion means keeping our goals and expectations reasonable. Compassion means learning to ignore the vicious voices within us which pounce on every mistake and moment of doubt or hesitation. Compassion for ourselves doesn't mean indulging in or excusing our harmful habits but it does mean acknowledging their existence without judgment or self-flagellation.

How can we nurture our self-compassion? Here are five ways:

  1. Challenge your self-critical thoughts. Don't automatically believe them.
  2. Celebrate and enjoy your strengths, successes, and small victories.
  3. Tap into community. Spend time with friends, family, and fellow artists.
  4. Nurture your curiosity and wonder. Occasionally set your art down, go out into the world, and play.
  5. And if needed, seek professional help. Asking for help can be a self-compassionate response to an intractable problem
Cultivating self-compassion is not a selfish endeavor. It is the path to a healthier relationship to life and greater creativity in our work.

John MacDonald is a freelance illustrator, painter, and creativity coach, who specializes in working with visual artists and particularly around issues of anxiety and fear. To learn more, visit www.thecreativewell.com © 2008.

Tap into Our Database of Creativity CoachesCCA logo

Twenty years from now you will be more dissapointed by the things you didn't do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. " --Mark Twain

Are you:
  • just starting out in exploring your creative desires?
  • a working artist who is stuck on a creative project?
  • looking for something new to juice up your creative work?
  • going into midlife and feeling that now is finally the time to do the art you always wanted to do?
  • already a known artist but interested in taking your success to the next level?

For any of these situations, why not hire a creativity coach? Check out our database of over 50 coaches who are ready to work with you and propel you forward. CCA-member coaches specialize in nearly 100 different specialties.

Special Book Offer

book coverIf you have not yet purchased your own copy of Inspiring Creativity, why not take advantage of this special offer today? An anthology of 22 powerful essays by professional creativity coaches, the book will get your creative juices flowing and make you feel more confident, excited, and ready to tackle your creative work.

Special Offer: $12.75 + $6.00 Shipping = $18.75 (Note: This offer is good only for copies to be mailed within the United States. It does not apply to copies to be mailed to Canada or overseas. If you live outside the United States, please email rickbenzel@msn.com to find out how much your postage costs will be.)

Click here to purchase a copy now.

New CCA Creativity Coaching Classes Beginning in September 2008!

"We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time" --T.S.Eliot

If you've been thinking about becoming a creativity coach, or adding creativity coaching to your existing life coaching, consulting, or therapy practice, we invite you to explore CCA's Certification Program. Our program includes a variety of basic and advanced coaching courses that can be done online or through telecourses in a reasonable period of time. The knowledge and skills you will develop in this program will serve your own work and open up opportunities for you to professionally coach others.

For details, please visit our Certification Program web page for a full explanation of the courses offered and requirements.

Hope You Enjoyed Our Newsletter!

This is the end of the April 2008 issue. Send us an email and let us know your thoughts and suggestions.

Note: If you are a life coach, executive coach, literary agent, therapist or any other profession involved with creative people, and you are interested in joining the Creativity Coaching Association, please drop me a note at join@creativitycoachingassociation.com for information.

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