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If you are just getting started or stalled out, find a blueprint and run with it. Blueprint?  Yes, look for a blueprint that covers the next steps for you. For instance, if you want to write your first novel, get one of those books that tell people how to write a novel in 30 days, 90 days, a year, or every evening, whatever.  Don’t overly worry about if you have found the absolute best blueprint in the world. What you need is a plan for moving. If the blueprint looks reasonable, get it and carry it everywhere. In your back pack,…

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Painful. Beginner’s mind is painful. We are swamped with self-doubt, uncertainty if we are doing things right, uncertain if we even know what to do next. But that is just the way things go. Being a beginner is being a beginner. We feel out of sorts most of the time, whether we are doing things right or wrong. Everything in our body and mind tells us: “If things feel odd and feel wrong, things must be wrong. Stop!” Don’t believe your mind, it is lying to you. It is not your friend. Discomfort, fear, and doubt are there but it…

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I learned recently from Suzy, a student in one of my The Stuck Creative classes, that all quilters try to push the thought of U.F.O.s out of their minds. Otherwise, going on would just be too disturbing. U.F.O.s , as quilters know them, are Un Finished Objects. Yes, unfinished objects can truly haunt us. There they are in a closet, drawer, a things-to-do box, on a book shelf, in the garage, or some other safe place where they can’t escape. “What to do? What to do?” is the question that plays through our head like Poe’s tell-tale heart thumping away….

We all face a host of inner troublemakers that include: The Inner Critic The Inner Type A Personality Self-Doubt Low Frustration Tolerance Fear Worry Psychotherapy gives us a method to get a grip on these guys when they come up and stop us from working: Take a deep belly breath – That’s right (how simple), breathe into your belly and make it balloon out a bit. Breathe in for a count of 5, hold things naturally for a few seconds and breathe out for a count of 5. Repeat about 6 times and you will find the edge of the…

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According to the organization for professional trainers, the American Society of Training and Development, we can’t do everything alone. The following stats reflect a person’s likelihood of completing a project: -If you hear an idea (or I suspect, think up an idea), you have a 10% chance of turning it into a project. -If you go the next step and decide when you will implement the idea, you have a 40% chance of doing the project. -If you go even further and develop a plan of how to do the project, your chances of completing the project go up to…

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You are being bombarded with all sorts of things that have little direct relationship to your Creative life, right? You really get knocked off your path when things come along.  Sound familiar? We previously defined some of these forces as distractions, dips, and dives. Today we go beyond definitions to actual practices for bouncing back and getting down to creative work. Bounce Back Fact of Life: When you get knocked off your path it is not long before you forget almost everything about your path. You forget much of what you had painstakingly built:  how to get down to work;…

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Let’s say you have all the intention in the world to paint 45 minutes, 6 days a week. You hit this target just fine for a few days but by the fourth day, some distraction (big or small) comes up and you just can’t get your work done. When we don’t meet our creative daily goals we are presented with two choices: 1.) we can beat ourselves up for not getting to our goal and thereby burn our energy on blaming ourselves and gnashing our teeth  or, 2.) we can choose not to sweat it and instead put our energy…

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I give credit to A. from Alexandria who suggested this at a recent The Stuck Creative Meetup. Even when A. is at her busiest and life is crazy with demands from other people, she makes sure she is scheduled to take a workshop a few times each year. Once she is off at the workshop, she is safely away from all sorts of distractions and her people leave her alone for that time. An island away from it all. A. from Alexandria got me thinking: What would happen if we were to make sure that we are scheduled for a…

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There are two major ways to get somewhere: leave most of your options open and stumble forward or narrow your options and move forward at a good pace. While there are plenty good arguments for leaving your options open (i.e. discovery), we will save that approach for a later post. To move forward at a good pace requires knowing where you want to go. In the realm of personal achievement, the best way to know is to develop a vision of what you want to do. Once you have that, you can work backwards developing the means to get there…

How you handle the inevitable distractions, dips, and dives of life determines if you can get unstuck and stay unstuck. Distractions are the little things we can live with and without. Watching one rerun of Seinfeld or House, M.D. is o.k. but if you make watching a weekend marathon a priority ahead of your creative projects, you’ve got problems. Do this once, o.k. Do this every time, goodbye creative life.  Watch out for your “soft addictions” as Judith Wright calls them. These socially acceptable distractions will get you. Come to turns with what distracts you, find out how to allow…

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If there is one area in which a Stuck Creative should consider staying stuck it is keeping on, keeping on. We have heard the stories of people going on in the face of rejection and they are good teaching tales we should remember and turn to when facing our own rejections. Here are examples of the hard facts of rejection. They also show the sweet smell of success from hanging in there. They could have quit, but no, they kept on going. Will you keep on going? Do you expect the road to be easy? See the list:http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/05/17/50-iconic-writers-who-were-repeatedly-rejected/

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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe The big decision you have to make is: Do you want to be a Casual Creative or a Committed Creative? Being either is fine but the choice needs to be made. A Casual Creative is the person who enjoys creativity and creative things such as recent and obscure movies, new authors, plays, museum and gallery openings and the rest. If the the Casual Creative is driven to produce, they work in spurts with long gaps between spurts. They also work only when inspired. For the Casual Creative there is no well defined vision of what comes…

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Although I discussed the issue of grabbing time where you find it before, I’ve got to talk about it one more time. One of the first principles I teach in group and individual creativity coaching is that we can’t wait for large swaths of time to begin our projects. This is true of everyone with the exception of people: about to retire, about to go on sabbatical, about to lose their jobs, or who are a creative pro or semi-pro. If you are not one of those, you have to make the best of the time you are given in…

Creating and sustaining a creative life is tough for two major reasons. First, it requires daily consciousness of what the heck you are doing, where you want to go, and focus on what to do next. This feels so different than the other parts of our life that require no brains. Think of how it is no sweat to do things unconsciously such as drive a car, find your way to work, grab the same old lunch day after day, or take your dog for a walk. Although all of those things took some sweat (full on awareness) earlier in…