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 Creativity Calling

The Newsletter of the Creativity Coaching Association

Welcome to the January issue of Creativity Calling!

Dear Friends:

Many of you have shared that this first month of 2013 has been a whirlwind of energy, events and happenings! I do understand, since my first week of January included three weeks worth of activity. All the more reason for us to take time to re-align our intentions and deepest heart's desires!

This month our CCA coaches offer valuable insights, tips and tools to motivate and assist us in moving forward...in the directions we most want to go. One of my personal intentions is to create a 2013 that is a fun-filled, prosperous and joyful journey - for myself, and everyone I encounter.

I know you'll enjoy gleaning the goodies from this month's articles. Kris asks us to take another look at beginning our new year and suggests that small steps and daily actions are important keys for success. John quizzes us on our willingness to fail on the road to mastering our artistic craft. (Yes, you read that right!) Marin explores the meaning of practice at the deeper levels of our art making. And David, the CCA's newest certified creativity coach, invites us to join him in bringing back a bit of our childhood spontaneity and curiosity. Sounds good to me!

As always, don't hesitate to contact us with topics you'd like to see featured in future newsletters. Your input and suggestions inspire us! Please feel free to pass this newsletter along to anyone you know who enjoys an uplifting, inspiring message and appreciates tools to enhance and expand their creativity.

All the best,

Bev Down 

Beverly Down

Beverly Down , President & CEO,
Creativity Coaching Association

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painting toolsRight here, Right now.

 By Kris Reichart-Anderson

The month of January appears well named if current Internet articles and magazine articles are any indication. The name comes from the Roman god, Janus. He's shown looking forward and backwards. Articles either look back at the year 2012, who was born or married or died and how the zombies didn't get us (yet) or they focus on the future. What resolutions will you make this year? How will this year be so much different than the ones that have gone before?

Yeah, right. Now, I'm not against a little retrospection and planning but really, will you keep up those resolutions past January? Will you even remember what they are in March? Instead, how about this? Right here, right now, move that mouse. Remember those paints, or maybe it is clay that you need to order? Do it now. I'll wait.

Oh, you writers out there, you know that piece of research; you've been meaning to do. You know. What was it again? Was it the distance between London and Stonehenge? Or was it about Memphis in 1866? You know the fact you need. Right here, right now, move that mouse. I'm in no hurry.

Performing artists, you, too, right here, right now, move that mouse.. Review that performance. Look at that clip again. You know the one. How long have you been putting it off now? I'm not going anywhere. Take your time.

OK, are we all back now? I have one last thing for you to do. No, don't move that mouse. Pick up that phone. You know that thing that is probably on the other side of the keyboard from the mouse. That--ah, procedure, your doctor wants you to have. You know the one, the mammogram, the colonoscopy, the teeth cleaning. Call it what it is. Make that phone call.

"But Kris" And I wonder if you want cheese with that whine. "What does that have to do with my art, with my creativity?" Simple, it is the stone in your shoe, the fox in your cloak, the herd of elephants in your tiny garret room. Make the appointment, do what you have to do. And then let me know how much easier your work flows because it will. And now I'm out of here.

~ Kris Reichart-Anderson is a Certified Creativity Coach living in West Texas. Visit Kris at her blog, The Leaping Net. http://leapingnet.blogspot.com/

Are You Willing to Fail, Again and Again?

By John MacDonald

Several years ago, while reading a book about painting, I came across the following statement: "In order to produce a few great works, you need to be willing to produce a lot of mediocre work."

I wish I could remember who said it, but I don't. I do remember it being an "Old Master," perhaps Matisse, Picasso, or Cezanne. It doesn't really matter who said it as it is so wise and so true. If we consider the implications of this statement, made by an artist who had reached the pinnacle of artistic mastery, it can tell us so much about how we should approach our creative work. The key word in that statement is "willing." We need to be willing to produce poor work--in other words, to fail--in order to learn and improve and finally to master our craft and to clearly and powerfully express our vision. But first we need to be wiling to take risks without knowing or particularly caring about the outcome. We need to understand that all artists spend their lives--even as the Old Masters did--trying and failing again and again, in the knowledge that it will lead to learning, to improving our craft, and to bringing into clearer focus what we find most meaningful about our work.

It says much about patience, about our willingness to continue to work, and often fail, because we have the conviction that what we want to say is worth saying. It says much about our keeping our focus tied to this very moment, to this particular work, and not worrying about whether the outside world will consider it a masterpiece or not. It says everything about the need for artists to continue to work, to try, to produce, to fail, in the belief that it will ultimately lead to those "great works".

~ John MacDonald has been a full-time freelance illustrator and painter for over 30 years. A member of the Creativity Coaches Association and a Certified Creativity Coach, he lives and works in Williamstown, Massachusetts. www.jmacdonald.com

Elements of Practice

By Marin Magat

I believe the highest form of art-making is a practice of listening to and responding to who we are at the deepest level. Our role as creativity life coaches is to help our clients concentrate on what wants to come through them. The practice of paying attention and responding to what is deeper must be developed and honed. Assisting our clients to articulate their practice can be a powerful exercise. Here are nine elements of practice that can serve as a starting place:

  1. Simplicity--Able to be completed.
  2. Regularity--To make work regularly. This allows us to build and maintain the "muscle" of staying connected to the voice within. A regular connection will ensure that one's inner voice does not become a stranger.
  3. Solemnity--To take one's voice seriously and to respect one's connection with the greater universe. Yet we must do so while also holding our work and ourselves lightly.
  4. Intensity--To be full present.
  5. Ceremony--To treat all aspects of art-making with respect and care. During a Japanese tea ceremony every gesture of serving is done fully and beautifully, not just the meal itself. So we can create ceremony in putting out material and putting them back, not just in the making itself. It is all part of the "dance."
  6. Joy--Connecting to our deepest inner satisfaction. This comes from doing what our bodies crave in response to who we are intrinsically.
  7. Discipline--" Discipline: To be a disciple of oneself." ~ Bev Down. This is my favorite definition of discipline.  Even if one feels torn away or distracted, discipline means bringing oneself back to the commitment to self and voice.
  8. Self-trust--To trust that the voice inside is authentic and comes from a sacred place. This voice says: "I am responding because I am a part of a sacred universe. Let's do our best."
  9. Primacy--To get clear on one's priorities and commit to the one(s) that take primacy.

In my personal experience, this last element--primacy--has been most important. When I realized that art-making is a non-negotiable base of my health and well-being, I made a commitment to a practice. "Practice" is an appropriate word. One of its definitions is "repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency." In our case skill and proficiency are not a destination, but a way of being.

~ Marin Magat is an artist, creativity life coach, and mother. Her coaching focuses on creative recovery and linking fertility and creativity. To learn more visit depth-coach.com

David Smith

Congratulations to David Smith,
CCA's Newest Certified Creativity Coach!

By David Smith

A few weeks ago I met my neighbor at mailbox, and we fell into a long-overdue conversation.. He is a retired architect and a lifelong painter. I asked him how his painting was going.

"I have a new approach," he said. "I call it Smoosh!"

"OK," I chuckled. "Let's hear it."

"No more measuring and filling in the lines and worrying if the color is perfectly mixed. I'm through with that. Now I just take my brush and put it on the canvas, smoosh! The body knows the right thing to do. I trust it. And what I paint is more interesting than when I did all of that planning and worrying."

His comments have stayed with me. Could I ever hope to be so free in my writing? Could I just smoosh words onto the page, trusting that my body knows better than my mind what direction to take?

Let me drag you into this question, Gentle Reader--could you follow my neighbor's example? Could you let your body discover new choreography, new color combinations, new metaphors without letting your judgmental mind get in the way? If we can, then our creative acts will become exciting adventures in curiosity. If we can, we will return to some of the spontaneity of childhood when we first became delighted by the possibilities of color, words, music, acting, dancing, and molding clay. And curiosity is key. I truly believe it is the natural antidote--the universal solvent--of creative blocks.

Will you join me in an experiment? Let's agree to set aside one work session to begin with a smoosh--a spontaneous dab, sentence, gesture, image--whatever suits our work. Then, in a mood of innocent, child-like curiosity, let's follow our smoosh without judgment or control.

I promise to do it. Will you? I hope so. And if you do, drop me a line to tell me how your smooshing experiment went: david@creativitysmith.com. And I'll tell my painter friend the next time we meet at the mailbox.

~ David Smith, M.Ed. coaches writers, artists and other creatives through Creativity Smith, his on-line coaching practice. Artistically, David is a published playwright with several awards and productions to his credit. He is the creator of a writing method called Experiential Journaling, which he teaches in workshops and through his book/audio program Writing the River. www.creativitysmith.com

CCA's 2013 Coaching Certification Courses

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.

Shop the CCA Creativity Marketplace!

Click here to learn more

CCA eBook

CCA Creativity Coaching Success Stories E-book

Click here to learn more

Let Inspiration Prompt You with this Book!

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.

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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 January 2013 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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