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 Creativity Calling

The Newsletter of the Creativity Coaching Association

Dear Friends:

Welcome to the September issue of Creativity Calling!

Depending on what part of the world we live in, the change of seasons has a distinct impact in our daily activities. Personally, I love to view the change of seasons as an opportunity to see what I can realign in my life i.e., how can I tweak, shift or change my current routines to better suit both my personal and business creative growth?
Each of us possesses unique rhythms and preferences. How do we create a schedule that best suits us? How do we design a creative practice that inspires us and is optimally productive? How do we keep it fun, creating balance between work and play?

This month, Alison, John and Quinn share fresh perspectives for creative "time and energy management". Awareness of our choices and possibilities is always empowering and a great place to start! Change can be pleasurable.

For those joining us October 15-17 at the CCA Creativity Conference in Lake George, New York, you will have the opportunity to realign and design the creative lives of your grandest dreams. The conference is a transformational event! If you haven't registered yet we invite you to join us; you will be glad you did!

Feel free to share this newsletter with others and keep sending us those ideas for future newsletter topics. We love your input and suggestions!


Beverly Down

Beverly Down , President & CEO, Creativity Coaching Association

Tuning Your Creative Schedule

Flying Clock By Alison Gresik

A guitar string needs just the right amount of tension to sound a note in tune. Too tight and you can hardly hear the quiet plink. Too loose and you get a mournful twang.

You can do the same kind of tuning when deciding on your creative schedule.

On one hand, you don't want a plan so tight that you can hardly move. "I must write from 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm every night!" That kind of schedule can provoke rebellion or feelings of guilt when you don't follow it.

On the other hand, a plan that's too loose lets you flail all over the place. "I'll write when the spirit moves me." Then you get scattered doing other things and never pick up the pen.

The trick is finding the perfect pitch somewhere between specific and flexible.

Everyone has a different sweet spot. Here's how you can find yours:

  • Remember what has worked for you in the past. What times of day are especially fruitful? How long does your creative energy last?
  • Look at the other aspects of life you need to accommodate: overtime at work, social events, your own health. How much give do you need? How often will you forego your creative time for other things? 
  • Outline your work time and then test it. Notice when your plan makes you anxious or grumpy. Do you feel like you're spending too much or too little time in the studio?

Adjust your schedule until you're humming along. And remember that fine-tuning your creative time is a constant practice. You're not looking for a perfect set-up, but one that responds to the rhythms of your life.

~ Alison Gresik is a fiction writer and creativity coach in Ottawa, Canada. Visit her Back To The Studio coaching practice at www.gresik.ca and find her on Twitter at @AlisonGresik

Boat by a lake
Simplify! Simplify!

By John MacDonald

What do Miles Davis and Henry David Thoreau have in common? Both focused on the essentials. "Simplify, simplify" wrote Thoreau in his book, "Walden." And it was jazz trumpeter Miles Davis who, when asked how he created such wonderful music, replied, "It's not the notes I play, it's the notes I don't play."

Whether you paint, perform, write or compose, you're probably aware of the danger of overworking a piece, of smothering the life in a work by burying it beneath unessential details or unneeded ornamentation. It's trickier, but no less important, to apply that same understanding to how you structure your creative work time. Are you compromising your creative process and your artistic output by allowing numerous, non-work activities to eat away at your creative time?

Bills must be paid, groceries bought, and the house cleaned. But do you really need to accomplish those tasks during the period when you have the most creative energy and the largest block of free time? And what of those other tiny time-wasters you often engage in, such as checking your email for the umpteenth time, calling a friend only because her name suddenly pops into your mind, or running to the fridge when you feel the least twinge of hunger. It's so easy to remain unaware of how often little distractions can seriously erode your ability to work deeply and productively. If you're unhappy with the quality or quantity of your work, maybe the work isn't the problem!

Spend a week closely observing what you do during a typical day. What is your daily routine? List every activity, omitting only the actual time you spend working on your art. Then eliminate those activities that involve responsibilities to others that cannot be avoided. Now evaluate those that remain. Ask yourself, "Is this activity essential to my being at my creative best?" If it's an activity that truly prepares you to work and helps you work well, then keep it. But, if the activity is really just an excuse you use to avoid working, save it for later or drop it entirely. Be honest with yourself. It may be that reading an hour of poetry before starting work really does put you in a creative frame of mind. If so, keep that activity and don't feel the least bit of guilt for doing it--it's part of your work. But if it's not essential, drop it! It's often what you don't do that will lead to creating more efficiently and more meaningfully. Simplify, simplify!

~John MacDonald is a freelance illustrator, painter, and certified creativity coach, who specializes in working with visual artists and particularly around issues of anxiety and fear. To learn more, visit www.thecreativewell.com © 2010 

View of a lake off a pier

Switch from Creative Work to Creative Play
By Quinn McDonald 

Working hard can make creativity seem far away. A change in the weather or a change in your plans may push creativity into the background. Most people have more time on weekends for indulging some whims, so plan a weekend day to indulge your creativity. Some tips to try:

 1. Indulge in the creativity of other's genius. Relieve yourself of the burden of creating. Listen to music without doing anything else. Go to a museum and look at what you like, without a guide.

2. Re-live an art activity you loved as a child. Fingerpaint. Collage. Coloring. All wonderful and tactile. Fingerpaint is still available and it still feels great to squish it through your hands and mix colors. No art medium smells as wonderful as a new box of crayons. Or buy a coloring book and color the way you never allowed yourself to color. Invite a friend over!

3. Fire your inner critic Deliberately do something creatively outlandish. Paint using only a sponge and sock. Go to the secondhand store, buy cheap, ugly plates, break them, and make a weird mosaic. And while you are there, buy some big clothing in outlandish colors and wear them while you are making bad art. Venting creatively lets the light in for good, positive work.

~ Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach, author, and workshop leader. She takes breaks when creativity seems too much like work, and plays. Her website is http://rawartjournaling.com

New CCA Creativity Coaching Classes
begin September!

Life is not about finding yourself...
Life is about Creating yourself. ~ E.W. Wilcox

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.

Tap into Our Database of Creativity Coachescca logo

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed 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 80 coaches who are ready to work with you and propel you forward. CCA-member coaches specialize in nearly 100 different specialties.

Find a coach here.

Join us October 15-17 in beautiful Lake George, NY

Ft. William Henry Did you know?
1. You will have an opportunity to meet many of the CCA creativity coaches that write regularly for our monthly newsletter and chat with them about your creative practices & projects? We have plenty of networking time and fun group activities built into this conference.

2. The half price rooms available to CCA conference attendees at The Fort Henry Resort and Conference Center (Lake George, N.Y. conference site) will no longer be available at that price after October 8, 2010. Register now to secure a room at the Center and take advantage of this fabulous discount.
Photo courtesy of Carl Heilman

Shop the CCA Creativity Marketplace!

Click here to learn more

CCA Creativity Coaching Success Stories E-book

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Read this book and get motivated!

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.  

Our Price: $ 12.75
List Price: $14.95
S & H: $6.00

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 publisher@creativitycoachingassociation.com to find out how much your postage costs will be.)

Click here to purchase a copy now.

Hope You Enjoyed Our Newsletter!

This is the end of the September 2010 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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