Tag Archives: procrastination

coaching the creative

Years ago, when I signed up for Jill Badonsky’s Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching program, it was largely a form of self-service : I needed to gather together and implement a set of tools in my creativity arsenal so that I could continue tapping into the parts of myself that I knew I was here to not only exercise but express to the world.

Earlier this week I commented in my little co-admined (with Kim and Lisa) Facebook art group, Salon des Muses, that getting artists to collectively do anything is a little bit like herding goldfish. You can say your piece and suggest… and the rest is pretty much up to the universe and each individual artist to take note of and follow… or not.

The same can be said of the artist’s creativity, too. Ever try herding goldfish? Me neither, but the only way that they seem to be remotely interested in being led to a specific area of the pond is if they are enticed by something yummy that they simply can’t resist partaking in.

Herding the Artist
Creative types are notoriously resistant to being told what to do. In fact, the more you insist on telling them what they should be doing, the more they will blow you off. Well-intentioned advice will oftentimes fall on deaf ears and achieve the opposite result. So how does one get around that?

1. Engage innate intelligence.
The mind loves a good puzzle. Ask it enough questions and it will come up with answers (and all answers are good answers). Better yet, ask it just before lights out and you may well have some answers upon waking up the next day. We all have an inner-sphynx that asks oblique questions and demands the right answers in order for us to move on to the next phase. So if something is vexing you, start by asking:

  • What has worked in the past?
  • What drew you to the project in question?
  • What made you fall in love enough with a creative idea so much that you felt compelled to court it?
  • Can you remember or tap into that initial excitement; how?

2. Keep things light.
Play is the single most overlooked aspect of the creative process. As children, creative output was always a by-product of something else – engaging in play or immersion into our imaginations. How to lighten up? Try…

  • engaging in the absurd. Nonsensical mental jogs keep us from getting too entrenched in our work – just ask Dr. Seuss.
  • approaching whatever you are doing with curiosity, just to see what happens next.
  • pretending you are creating from the point of view of one of the subjects of your art work, or story characters.
  • letting your medium express itself as though you were conducting an interview – ask it some Q&A’s. What does it have to tell you?

3. Create a space-time container.
There is nothing that encourages greater procrastination than not allowing for adequate time in which to create. To stay engaged in a creative project one must actually, well, interact with it. The only way I know to do that is to actually schedule time for it, just like one would for any other item on our vast to-do list. Setting up specific times in which to create, or to interact with a coach, helps keep things moving along. Jill hosts Parallel-Universe time weekly – it’s a great opportunity, if you don’t otherwise, to engage in your creative process in a “held” space.

4. Change the vibe from obligation to opportunity.
One of my biggest takeaways from Jill’s work is the phrase “I get to…” inserted in front of just about anything I am in some way resistant to. As a general rule, life becomes so much more filled with gratitude and grace when you realize just how lucky you are to “get to” do all of the things you do, all the time. When applied directly to a creative process, which is way cool to be able to engage in anyway when you think about it, it turns an “I have to” into something far more appealing. How lucky is that?!

5. Own the progress.
Many creative types are also high-achieving perfectionists. Chances are they out-perform the vast majority of people production-wise, when comparisons are made, and they STILL think they are falling short and aren’t doing “enough”. Keeping score of what you DO do helps put things into better perspective and continues to fuel the enthusiasm you have for the things you are building toward. I recommend investing in some gold stars and using them copiously and conspicuously in your scheduler.

6. Learn to love the tortoise vibe.
Slow and steady does indeed win the race. Item 5. helps keep the progress in focus but breaking things down into tiny little steps will inhibit the feeling of overwhelm that invariably makes many of us short-circuit into inaction. How small? So small that you can do whatever “it” is in ten minutes or less. If you become lost in a time-space fold and end up working for longer, you can always claim it was quantum mechanics at work.

7. Pull straws.
If your creative mind is anything like mine, there is never a shortage of ideas flowing through your consciousness stream. Thing is, you can’t do it all, all at once, so you are going to have to pull straws on which ones get to be in the spot light and which ones are just gonna have to wait. The particularly appealing ones I scoop up for future reference (I jot down the ideas in my iNotes) while others will just have to be left to swim on by and be caught in someone else’s net. The matter of which projects to work on is always a question of how many to adequately juggle before you end up with a trout slapping you on the head and the rest of the fish flailing around on the ground. So put the ones you aren’t working on into a holding tank where they are easily accessible and focus on the one sitting on your head. It will all go swimmingly that way.

8. Comparison kills creativity.
Have you ever seen little Billy unabashedly, unapologetically paint his trees blue? Damned right you have. And he could give a rat’s ass that trees are generally not that colour, and that fish don’t customarily float through the atmosphere like clouds. Kids will generally look at each other’s drawings and yell “coooooool!!!” when they see some amazing stuff their own imaginations hadn’t yet thought to conjure up but they will not generally feel ashamed of sharing what they’ve made. Kids proudly and regularly brandish their creations. Take it from them. They know better than us stuffy ole grown ups. And you know what else? There’s room on the classroom wall for all of it.

So, that’s about it for today. Know that the world is ready to witness your genius. Know that you create because you were meant to express yourself exactly in the way that you do.

Adriane xo

So… here we go again…

Performance anxiety and the blank sheet…

I’ve printed out all of the reference images that I intend to use for my “colors of India” piece/postcards. Again, I plan on using a larger sized 400lb watercolor paper sheet and cutting into nine pieces once I’m done. My pens and pencils are at their ready and yet I’ve been circling the table warily, not quite ready to get started. You know I’ll feel a sudden rush of inspiration at 9PM tonight, after an afternoon of birthday partying with a pack of eleven year old boys at Boomers, just minutes shy of my bedtime, don’t you? Yes… of course.

Instead of sitting down at the table, I’ve been surfing the ‘net and ogling other people’s work… reading little snippets of book reviews and excerpts on Amazon… looking for an elusive csoki csucs recipe… and have finally decided that I must categorize and itemize my watercolors and gouache on an Excel spreadsheet, and perhaps make a run to Sterling Art to fill in some (if any) gaps I have in my colors. Alas… my large Ziplock bag of paints is calling…

Moments gone in a blink and other meanderings

Every year I plan on sending out Christmas cards. With the best intentions, I actually purchase boxes of cards before the holidays (at full price) and plan on getting them written and sent out. These days I don’t even delude myself with the hopes of getting them out before Christmas, but I do have the expectation that they will go out somewhere around the week between Christmas and the first of the year, or at least close to that. As you can see, they sit in a pile, haunting me every time I walk by, and we are now several weeks into the new year and it seems hardly appropriate for me to mail them now.

It amazes me how quickly time goes by… another year has slipped by and I have barely accomplished anything that I truly wished to. I’ve accomplished lots of the mundane… hours of sleeping, eating, working, doing household chores, parenting, taking care of basic bodily functions. All of that sprinkled with a little bit of reading and writing… and the creating of some art. Nothing substantive or organized. I keep saying… “next year I’ll [fill in the blank]…” but when push comes to shove, it’s so easy to fall into the same old patterns of complacency. Maybe it’s time for me to invest in another “self-help” book… the greatest self-help book of all time, which will kick me in the ass and get me onto the right path. Just need to figure out which one it is…

Gabriel and I were watching TV today and this “short” came on… he said it was one of his favorites and “I wish we could get a video of it.” I went on YouTube and voila… there it was. We chuckled throughout several rounds of viewing and then decided to move on to other things.

I really liked the weird, large eyes and decided to doodle one of my own…

(Click to see image in separate window)

Good? Maybe not so much… but silly? Yes!

I’ve done tons of laundry this weekend. My hands could use some softener. I still have two loads of linens/towels left. Ack!

I did manage to get a very long shower in… the kind that drains the hot water heater. I turn off the bathroom lights, turn on my CD player (blast some Delerium, and probably drive the neighbors nuts), light a couple of candles and shut out the world… or rather, pull it all in. I do a chakra meditation in the shower. So here you go… instructions for an unguided shower meditation, just for you:

+ place self under shower stream, so water is beating down onto top of crown, facing outward (it will become apparent shortly why the outward facing stance is preferable)
+ breathe deeply through the nose (aha! see? that’s why…), feeling your belly expand with air and then exhale through the mouth, your belly shrinking as the air is expelled, several times
+ stand with your feet comfortably apart, knees slightly bent, with your body comfortably centered over your feet
+ imagine the soles of your feet growing roots, and those roots going down, down through the tub and through the foundation, down through the earth, wrapping themselves around the core of the earth
+ imagine that the top of your head is open, like a pitcher and that the water streaming down upon you and through you is pure, white universal light. Pouring into you, flowing through you, clearing, cleansing and purifying as it goes, down through your torso and your arms, hands and through your fingertips, down through your chest cavity and through your mid-section and hips, flowing down into your legs and your feet, and down through your roots, into the center of the earth, with it all of your dis-eases and impurities
+ now, imagine the earth’s energy rising from the center of the earth and up through your roots, through your feet and into your body, activating your lowest (red) chakra, situated where your genitals are
+ as you breathe in through your nose, imagine that you are breathing in this earth energy, and upon exhaling through your mouth, that there is a red beam of light shining out from within your first chakra, the red light clearing any blockages as it radiates outward
+ feel (smell, taste) the earth energy rising to the next chakra, with the clearing of each as it progresses. The colors corresponding to each chakra, as well as their “energy” and location is as follows:
+ base or root chakra – red – survival, physical needs – location: genitals
+ sacral or second chakra (don tien) – orange – emotional balance, sexuality – location: a few inches below the navel
+ solar plexus or third chakra – yellow – personal power, self will – location: between navel & base of sternum (where you feel butterflies sometimes)
+ heart or fourth chakra – green – love & relationships – location: center of chest
+ throat or fifth chakra – turquoise – communication, self-expression – location: base of neck
+ third eye or sixth chakra – indigo – intuition, wisdom – location: above & between eyebrows
+ crown or seventh chakra – violet – spirituality – location: top of head
+ breathe the color in (through your nose) as you fill your lungs with air, and as your expel the air out through your mouth, imagine the color beaming through each of your chakras, all the way to the top of your head. Breathe your way through each chakra as many times as you feel the need to
+ now, imagine once again that pure, white, universal energy is being poured into you, through your crown chakra
+ breathe the light in as you inhale through your nose, and as you breathe out, starting from your sixth or third eye chakra, imagine that a beam of white light projects through each chakra, purifying, cleansing and healing as it flows
+ imagine on each exhale the white light of the pure universal energy spiraling (like a helix: think DNA) with the color of each respective chakra
+ once you have reached and cleared the root, base or first chakra, imagine that as you inhale through your nose and fill your lungs with air that you are filling your whole body with pure, white universal energy
+ as you exhale through your mouth, imagine that the light you’ve just inhaled is now being expelled throughout every single pore, in all directions
+ finally, give thanks to both the earth energy and the white universal energy and close your crown chakra and pull up your roots from the earth’s center

Well… now you know why I drain the hot water reservoir. Enjoy!

Posting hiatus… or… yeah, I suck…

Travel Sisters of the Soul Journal

Origami Sisters of the Soul Journal

I know, I know… it’s been weeks since I’ve last posted. Mostly, I’ve led too boring a life to post anything, and my art production has been somewhat sporadic. I finally finished working in the two Sisters of the Soul journals currently in my possession. I need to pick up some boxes tomorrow from the Post Office and send them off. I must say… pretty weak work, but…

For the travel journal, I got to share my admiration of Renoir and comment (here, now) on his fine taste in women… no skinny chicks in his paintings. I felt the same way about Freddie Mercury (i.e., “Fat Bottomed Girls”) and can’t tell you how crushed I was when I discovered that girls’ bottoms were not of great interest to him. I’ve never been to France, but if I went I’d have to spend at least a month traveling around. Paris is a definite destination (I’m told that one can spend a week visiting the Louvre), a dinner cruise on the Seine in a bateau mouche, then off to the south to the Riviera… Nice and environs… and Grasse, where my olfactory senses would most certainly go wild. I’d at one time in my life fantasized about becoming a “nose”. I love the food and the wine, and I’m sure, once out of the larger cities, they’d be happy to hear me spouting the language in my Quebecois French, no matter how provincial it sounds. “Un accent mignon”…

The origami book proved a bit more difficult… I was going to invent a whole story about a mermaid and the hippocampus. I’m about as dexterous folding paper as I am skilled at conversing in Japanese (hi… akudesai… moshi-moshi)… so… those sad looking little fishies are my handiwork. At least the mermaid looks alright… I drew her on vellum, scanned her into Photoshop and printed her out onto a transparency, and then colored her in using Prismacolor and Copik markers and foiling for the scales and boob cups. Not my greatest, nor my most inspired work, but … oh well.

These collaboratives have been somewhat disappointing lately. Everything looks so scrapbook-y and uniform… they lack soul… so I’d hoped that this Sisters of the Soul exchange would be different, but it’s proven to be same-o, same-o. This will be the last collaborative that I sign up for for a long while. It’s time to start working on my own stuff and I’m feeling just about ready… if I were pregnant, I suppose the belly button would be popped out and I’d be at 37 weeks… oh so ready to drop the kid, but not quite.