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Awe-manac : Truths 3 & 4 of the Creative Crash Course

Creative Crash Course Truths

More Excerpts from The Awe-manac: A Daily Dose of Wonder

April 16 Page from Jill Badonsky's Awe-Manac: Establishing Creative Habits. Click for full-sized view.By Jill Badonsky

This is a continuation from the last installment of Awe-manac Excerpts That Ended Up On The Editing Floor Because The Book Was Getting Enormous and My Editor Had to Reel Me In. She told me to "Get reel," I complied and now I share with you what was left out.

Here are steps three and four from The Creative Crash Course on busting through creative blocks. The first two are in the previous column.

Third reality: One of the most effective ways to by-pass the demons, (fears, ruthless inner critics, inconvenient perfectionism, flying monkeys, your mother-in-law etc.) is to break steps down so small that the demons don't notice you are engaged in creative vulnerabilities. HA! Fool them demons! Small steps include focusing one to five minutes at a time on a creative task, doing a very small part of an action like setting up your space, and even thinking for a few minutes about your ideas. Some people think this will slow them down but repeated over and over, small steps create a comfortable neural pathway called a habit AND once the habit is installed, the momentum increases, motivation and self esteem kick in, and the creative process becomes irresistible; your progress takes off. If something then changes and you notice that the demons return, the trick is to remember to start over — it will be easier now that you have done it before but many people just give up because they think they should start where they left off. Not so.

Small steps keep the brain out of fear which is truly desirable because when the brain is in fear, the creative part of it closes down so the fight or flight response can take over. This not good. Fear is uncomfortable; procrastination is comfortable from the standpoint of our scared selves unless a creative habit replaces it. My belief is that our higher selves want us to be creative so when we take a few minutes even just to think of a new thought, an idea, a different way to view our life — our bodies, minds and souls are rewarded with healing, with energy, and with amusement — motivation to dislodge from ruts is inevitable. This is good.

The Awe-manac is filled with small steps that retrain your mind into embracing this more effective strategy. If you take small steps, you will soon be further along in your creative endeavors than you would be if you planned big steps in blocks of time so big that you never get to them because they overwhelm you. This approach is gentle ... isn't it about time you were gentle with yourself? And isn't it good to know that gentle small steps have been proven to WORK BETTER?

Fourthly: Here are two tricky reasons why many people procrastinate:

  1. They minimize the degree to which they are stuck in a comfortable rut that they do not want to give up.

  2. They think creativity is supposed to be easy and when it is not they give up because they think they don't have what it takes rather than realizing the creative process gets hard at certain points.

Just being aware of these reasons is power. Kindness and small steps help as well as using the imagination to enlist all the senses in a daydream about what it might be like to be engaged in the process. Unlike getting something done for your boss, daydreaming about what a creative process looks and feels like is a valid part of the creative process.

Right now: feel in your body the same feeling you've felt in the past when you were doing something creative and were caught up in that deliciously timeless flow. Now apply that same feeling to a vision of your next small step as if, in this moment, you were engaged in it. The subconscious just imprinted an action step and the forces that be (Muses) will make your effort to begin a little easier. •

Copyright © Jill Badonsky, 2009. All rights reserved.

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