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Women Writers of Paris tour, 2006
Cynthia Morris Interview : Page 4 of 4

Artist, Writer & Creativity Coach Cynthia Morris

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Q: What should fledgling writers know about creating a sustainable, individualized writing practice? What tools are used in your book to help them achieve their writing goals, get past creative blocks, and write joyfully and easily?

Two Tools to Get Past the Inner Critic!
  1. Plan for short spurts of time, say, 10-15 minutes 3 times per week.
  2. Use free writing to get going. Learn about and befriend the free writing technique. Start with that for all and any kind of writing you want to do.

A: What I like about the work I do with writers is that I help people create a writing practice that is suitable for them, for their writing goals and for their lifestyle. Dictates like "You have to write every day" don't work for everyone. Sure, it's a good idea to practice daily, but many people I work with are juggling work, home, family and more. They have to get the writing in where they can.

To make your practice yours, you need to know why you're writing. The first chapters of Create Your Writer's Life are devoted to helping writers gain clarity on their unique motivation for writing. This is essential to help a writer stay on track.

Q: Can you talk a little about your audio program, Your Best Writing Year Yet? I know our readers are curious about this, and so am I. How can this program help writers to clearly focus on their goals and achieve success? What are some of the tools you utilize here to help writers structure their time, focus, and improve their writing?

A: As with all my work, I start with the big picture. What do you want to see at the end of the year? What is your writing focus for the year? Taking the time to reflect on what you want for your writing is a powerful start. And of course, putting it into writing is one step closer. Many people don't do this, which astonishes me. If you don't know what you want, how will you ever get it?

Then, in the program I help the writer break the dream into doable segments, on a quarterly, monthly and weekly basis. I'm using tools that successful businesses use to stay on track with their goals. Once you have a plan, you can take steps on a daily basis toward your goals. It's also useful to keep all this in one place so that when the end of the year rolls around, you can look back and see the actions you've taken and the progress you've made.

Q: When you're feeling blocked, how do you become aware of it first? How do you move through it and joyfully dance with the Muse again?

A: I get irritable. I feel the writing building up inside me and I have to get the pen and notebook out. One thing that I feel is important to note is that making art isn't always a joy-fest. Like any relationship, the relationship with the Muse has its ups and downs, its dramas, and its crashes.

I think people make the mistake of thinking that because they enjoy writing or making art, that they want to spend all their time doing it. There's an idea that it's all about play. And while it is joyful and playful, I have found that writing can be difficult.

If you are committed to making art, you're going to learn a lot about yourself. You'll come up against your limitations and your beliefs. I really appreciated Franck's Art as a Way, where he talks about making art as a spiritual practice, as a way to work on yourself as a person. I agree, so I take 'blocks' or other phases of the cycle as normal, healthy and as opportunities to work through my own stuff. When you encounter difficulties, it's not a sign to give up. It's an invitation to dig deeper and to go more to the heart of what wants to be expressed.

Q: Many artistic types have a tough time creating a workable practice that allows time for creative work AND a personal life. Do you have any insight or advice for those of us who may be struggling with this issue?

A: My first thought is to advise people to let go of the struggle. Make it easy. Get clear on your priorities. What's important to you? The 'lack of time' excuse is often a mask for fears. I write about this in Create Your Writer's Life. When someone is committed to her art, she makes time for it. It is easier to spend time doing art than frittering time away on social activities. There's a rigor that's required when one wants to do something.

If people were more honest with themselves there would be much less struggle around creating. Get real about your priorities and how you want to live your life. Then, with great kindness and compassion, nudge yourself toward living that truth. This is a real trademark of my work — the no-nonsense calling forward of your truth combined with kindness and compassion. It's fierce love, and it works to help my clients get charged up to meet their goals.

Q: What is the Creative Leap you're leaping towards now?

A: I have four leaps currently…I'm traveling in Europe making illustrated journals of my trip, using the Creative Travel Tools that I have developed on my tours. It's fun and challenging, too. I'm also blogging about my journey, which is quite a job. It takes time to craft a decent blog entry with links and images. My third leap? I signed with an agent in May and I'm also revising my novel, hopefully for the last time. I've said that at least three times, though, so. I'm really developing patience and tenacity with this book! The other leap I am making is working from a mobile office. I'm still coaching clients and so far it's been great, completely easy to connect. I worked from my office in Boulder for eight years and now I'm in the mobile office in Europe.

Cynthia at Giverny, Monet's home and gardens in France, 2007

Q: What does the future hold? Any upcoming projects, books or products you'd like to share with our readers?

A: The last e-book I created, Cross the Finish Line! Five Steps to Leap Over the Hurdles to Completion was an important one for me to finish. So many people have a hard time finishing things, so I wanted to offer support for that last leg of the creative journey.

I'm designing a training course for corporate teams using these creative tools and travel methods.

Right now I'm more in the research and less in the development phase. When I return to the States I have several other e-books to write, but for now my work is about traveling, making art and making friends — and writing about it.

Q: Famous last words… do you have any last-minute advice or inspiration for our Creativity Portal readers, or anything else you'd like to add?

A: I believe this fully: if you have the urge to create, you must follow it. You don't know if the work you create will be any good or will be well received by the world. You just have to start and see where your art leads you.

Develop a loving toughness with yourself. Don't let your precious creative time slip away on lame excuses or distractions like laundry. There's always time for the mechanics of life, but somehow we can think that we don't have time to create. You do. You just have to choose it, again and again. Be sure to find out what works for you and then do it!

Thanks for those words of advice and inspiration, Cynthia. You will be pleased to know that, true to form, I left the laundry on the floor this morning instead of taking it to the Laundromat! I couldn't wait to edit this hot-off-the-presses interview with one of today's premiere Creative Goddesses and Inspirational Huntresses in the Sisterly Order of the Muse: YOU!

Please visit the Original Impulse, Inc. Website at www.originalimpulse.com for more info about Cynthia's latest adventure tours, projects, and creative tools.

© 2008 Molly J. Anderson-Childers. All rights reserved.

Molly Anderson-Childers is a a highly creative writer and artist from Durango, Colorado. More »

6/4/08