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Creativity Calling

Dear Friends:

Welcome to the May issue of Creativity Calling!

It seems spring comes and goes quickly where I live in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. Believe me: I have been savoring its delights.

Recently, my husband and I took a trip to the 117th annual Lilac Festival in Rochester, NY. It's a 10-day outdoor event filled with artists of all genres sharing their gifts and talents. Enter great music, great food and 20 acres loaded with over 500 varieties of lilacs. Heavenly!

Also in May, we at the CCA have some inspiring ideas to share regarding creating positive, lasting changes in our lives. I so often quote, "Change your thinking, change your life!" Indeed...for how we think clears the path towards courageously taking more risks in expressing our individual creativity.

The CCA Creativity Coaches exist to provide support and encouragement in your creative endeavors, and assist you as you blossom and grow. David asks us to shift our perceptions of what 'struggling' represents as we more fully express our own truth. Starla suggests we courageously dive into our creative work and offers tips and tools for taking the plunge. Barbara believes it's imperative to embrace vulnerability in taking our artful expressions to the next level, and explains why this is beneficial.

Congratulations to Karen Sjoholm, the newest CCA Certified Creativity Coach! Karen shares her insights on how personal and professional growth are a given in a life centered in creativity.

Lastly, there are playback links available within this newsletter for the May 2015 CCA Tele-summit, in case you missed it. Simply scroll down to enjoy the taped "conversations" on how to grow your creativity, conversations between me (Bev Down) and five of the CCA's top creativity coaches.

Thank you for your readership! You are welcome to pass along our newsletter to your family, friends and colleagues. And please, do keep sending us your input and suggestions.

All the best,

Beverly Down

Beverly Down , President & CEO,
Creativity Coaching Association

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Love the Crisis
By David Smith

Part of the problem with creative blocks is that we see them as just that — a problem. It's more productive to see them as a symptom — a positive symptom of our own originality.

If you had never made brownies before, the goop on your mixing spoon could tempt you to dump the whole mess down the drain. Don't all creative endeavors go through a similar process: at some point, we have only a mess that looks nothing like what we had in mind? If we're working from a recipe, we trust and keep going; but, if our creation is original, we have nothing to tell us that everything will turn out OK. We look at the mess on the paper or the easel, and we can be tempted to dump the whole mess. Full of self-doubt, we can soon find ourselves in a creative block.

In Imagination: How Creativity Works, Jonah Lehrer writes:
Every creative journey begins with a problem. It starts with the feeling of frustration, the dull ache of not being able to find the answer. We have worked hard, but we've hit the wall. We have no idea what to do next.... When we tell one another stories about creativity, we tend to leave out this phase of the creative process.... Instead, we skip straight to the breakthroughs.... The danger of telling this narrative is that the feeling of 0 — the act of being stumped — is an essential part of the creative process. We need to have wrestled with the problem and lost. If we know only the narrative of triumphs, we give up... because we will never create what we want to create.

Our struggle is a sure sign that we are in new territory. And that's where we should be! We can feel safe if we try to write the next Harry Potter or paint like Monet or sing like Taylor Swift, because those folks have shown us something that works — a recipe for brownies. But we'd be imitating someone else rather than expressing our own truth and we'd know it.

Isn't it better to express our own truth from the beginning — to tread into new territory with no expectations or guarantees — to struggle to bring intuition into reality — to understand the struggle as a sure sign of our originality — to be in crisis... and to LOVE it?

~ David Smith, M.Ed. is a CCA Certified Creativity Coach who coaches writers, artists and other creatives through Creativity Smith, his on-line coaching practice. He is a published and award-wining playwright and has also written for children's television. David can be contacted at david@creativitysmith.com or www.creativitysmith.com.


Take the Plunge
By Starla J. King

It was mid-afternoon in the Bahamas, and I followed the sunlight to the gorgeous mosaic-tiled pool. One toe in the water. Yikes! Colder than expected. Another toe in the water. I know the chill will pass quickly but it still takes 5 minutes to attempt waist-deep. When the water nears my belly button, I squeal and scamper back out to the warm concrete.

I know myself. I know that I need to plunge in all at once or I will stay shivering and wistful at the edge of the pool.

Just as it is with any creative project.

For one artist, picking up the paintbrush means finding out if today is the day that ideas dry up.

For another, the keyboard whispers "don't touch me──you might fail."

For another, the stage threatens to change who he is, what she believes.

No wonder the "starting" part of creative work is so daunting! No matter how many times you've opened your sketchbook, set up your canvas, turned on your computer, reached for your instrument, or risen into the first plié of the day, it can still feel like a risk.

Yet we are artists because we are willing to take the risks, hoping to experience the bliss of creative flow, discovery, or something that feels darn near enlightenment.

To spend less time in anxiously procrastination, we need a few "starting tricks" to push us into taking the full plunge, all in, no dabbling at the waters edge.

  • Eric Maisel talks of breaking a raw egg into a bowl. Crack. Go!
  • Many writers work in the morning (before procrastination anxiety can set in), accompanied by a prized cup of coffee or tea.
  • Henri Matisse, Igor Stravinsky, Franz Schubert, and others lean(ed) on a non-negotiable daily starting time.
  • I set a timer for 30-minute increments: timer starts, so do I.
  • Others type any one word, paint any one brush stroke, write any one note, simply to start without drama.
If you don't have a creative plunge action list, jot down 10 possible "starters," then experiment until you find the one that works consistently for you.

Take the plunge; the water's fine!

~ Starla J. King is a CCA Certified Creativity Coach, writing coach, and author of the book "Wide Awake. Every Day. Daily Inspiration for Conscious Living." You can reach her through http://outwriteliving.com


Vulnerability Imbues Soul into Art
By Barbara Millman Cole

By definition, we are vulnerable beings, ephemerals, placed upon earth for a time to live out our existences until we eventually cease to exist. Why then do we endeavor so hard to protect ourselves from the full experiences of life? So often, we hide our vulnerabilities deep within ourselves so as not to be hurt because of them. In my opinion,as artists, we cannot afford to be so protective. For, if we do not allow our most precious thoughts and emotions to see light, we will fail in our principle mission, to awaken hearts and minds.

Vulnerability is one of the most crucial ingredients in art. Artists' acceptance of their own vulnerableness can differentiate artists who truly touch others through their works from artists who fall short of their mark.

Vulnerable implies nakedness, rawness, exposure. Vulnerableness is the ability to be courageous enough to lay bare all, truthful enough to fully commit, and open enough to express ourselves without allowing fear a say. Though being vulnerable can leave artists susceptible to ridicule or praise, an artist can only bring creative works to life through the vulnerableness with which the artist infuses those works. This vulnerability in art is as one's own heart; it is the organ that provides the beat, the instrument that creates the rhythm, the essence of humanity that imbues the soul into the piece and makes it whole.

Artists who allow their vulnerable sides to show in their works connect more fully with their audiences than those who hold back from fear of putting their most prescient thoughts and deepest emotions into their writings, paintings, dances, textiles, or dramas.

Embrace vulnerability, welcome uniqueness, find true meaning then imbed them, with delicacy or force, deep within your creative expressions. When you focus fully on meaning and recognize its import, you see it for what it is──your vulnerability, your insight, your stance. Don't deny vulnerability; rather, seek your most vulnerable ideals, and share them with the world.

~ Barbara Millman Cole is an award winning author of Short Literary Fiction, content editor, and creativity coach, who helps writers delve deep to discover their true meaning. Understand why you create so you know what to create. Contributing author of the CCA's Creativity Coaching Success Stories and author of the forthcoming book,The Painted Woman and Other Short Stories, she can be reached at bmillmancole@sbcglobal.net. ©2015 All rights reserved.


Congratulations to Karen Sjoholm,
CCA's Newest Certified Creativity Coach!

Answering the Call of Creativity
By Karen Sjoholm

"Respond to every call that excites your spirit."

These words by the poet Rumi give voice to the impact creativity has had on my life.

As a young person I had the great fortune of neighbors who designed and built stained glass windows for the National Cathedral in Washington DC. I was invited to sit quietly in their studio and watch, day after day, as each brilliant fragment of color was added into a larger whole. I began to sense a call towards the profoundly creative expression of the human spirit.

For the last twenty years I have gratefully answered a deep calling as an arts educator who teaches and guides graduate students in creative processes. These processes are embed in psychology, the spiritual, the symbolic, in consciousness, and in culture. Witnessing and participating in the transformative power of creativity became a daily experience that has never ceased to generate wonder. Unfortunately, my program is closing this year and I will be moving into a period of personal and professional transition.

I began the Creativity Coaching program as a calling to expand my work into the larger world outside of academia. The certification process has brought me much of value in personal and professional areas. From this journey I am taking away the following:

  1. A deepening sense of Balance──between dreaming and practical manifestation, between creativity and work, between working alone or with others, and between internal and external worlds.
  2. The value of Community──of working within a field that is built on a wealth of wisdom and expertise from practitioners who share similar goals.
  3. Trust──in the universal power of the imagination to awaken our world.
Growth is a fundamental essence of a life centered in creativity. Perception and spirit unfold. Potential and dream begin to take form. Answering the call of creativity opens the door to an ever deepening transformative energy that sustains and nourishes our lives.

~ Karen Sjoholm is an artist, educator, and CCA Certified Creativity Coach who guides intrepid explorers into and through the creative process for both personal and professional development. You can contact her at karen@insightcreativitycoaching.com or go to www.insightcreativitycoaching.com.


Special CCA Events for
2015--Save These Dates!

To celebrate the Creativity Coaching Association's first decade of service to Creativity Coaching and to Creativity For All, we have several events scheduled and more being planned!


* In May...
In case you missed the live calls for:
"Catch The Creativity Wave: Success Strategies for Growing Creativity", the CCA's special one day live Tele-Summit held on Friday, May 8, 2015...it's not too late!

Experience these live conversations with Bev Down, CCA President and the following CCA Creativity Coaches:

  • Session #1) "Being a Creativity Steward" with Melissa Rosati
  • Session #2) "Self-Care with a Creative Flair" with Nanette Saylor
  • Session #3) "The Power of Creative Collaboration/Connection" with Susan Miller
  • Session #4) "When Opportunity Knocks...Be Sure to Answer" with Doreen Poreba
  • Session #5) "Building a Real-Life Creative Practice" with Miranda Hersey
You can still hear the following 5 " taped conversations" by using the following URL:


This was a free event, devoted to the creative gifts, talents and genius that lie within and belong to us all. The tele-summit was hosted by Beverly Down, CCA President & CEO and a special group of our top CCA Creativity Coaching Professionals. We are happy to share the tapings of these "real conversations" which are sure to uplift, inspire, and give practical tips, tools & techniques for expanding creativity!


* In September...
CCA Creativity Coaching Conference & Celebration
CCA Creativity Coaching Conference & Celebration Join us as we celebrate the first decade plus of the Creativity Coaching Association! The event will take place in Lake George, New York on September 25- 27, 2015.

This will be the third live International gathering for the CCA. Plans are underway -- stay tuned for details as they are confirmed!

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 100 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.

New CCA Coaching
Certification Courses
Begin on April 9, 2015!

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.


Shop the CCA Creativity Marketplace!

Click here to learn more

Engage the New Year with Creativity!

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 May 2015 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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