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Posts tagged ‘plans’

Miranda: Putting it all together

In January I made a big decision. Something had been on my “maybe” list for over a year and I decided it was time to jump in with both feet.

I decided to become a certified creativity coach through the national Creativity Coaching Association (CCA). This means I’ll spend up to two years taking classes and coaching clients in order to earn my certification. My first class, with creativity guru Eric Maisel, began at the beginning of February. I’m already learning so much that I can hardly contain my excitement. I am now a CCA member, although I won’t be a certified coach until I complete the training program.

For me, becoming a certified creativity coach is the natural next step in what has long been my passion: understanding the ways in which we express our creativity and striving to help creative people (women, and mothers, most specifically) overcome obstacles, reach their creative goals, and live in alignment with their priorities. This work directly informs the nonfiction book I’ve been working on for the past three years: A Mother’s Guide to the Creative Life (a survival guide based on interviews with dozens of creative mothers). Receiving professional training helps me re-asses and refine the framework and strategies that I developed in my manuscript. And of course, certification will enable me to step up the informal coaching atmosphere of this blog — which is really an exciting prospect.

If you’re wondering what a creativity coach really is, here’s a blurb from the CCA website:

What is a Creativity Coach?

  • Creativity Coaches are similar to life coaches, but focus more specifically on your creative work.
  • Creativity Coaches help you to develop your artistic and humanistic talents.
  • Creativity Coaches have helped thousands of artists, writers, inventors, entrepreneurs and other creative souls to accomplish their dreams.

I feel so good about this decision — and the process itself — that I’m pretty much a grinning fool, even when nobody’s around to see me. Of course, one of the primary bonus by-products of coaching training is that I am learning how to address my own issues and perceived obstacles. By helping others, I help myself. And the more I help myself, the more able I become to help others. A pretty awesome self-perpetuating loop. While I naturally had concerns about how to fit one more thing onto my already overflowing plate, I know that this is an important step for me — one that merits prioritization. Like most “right” decisions, it’s working itself out organically. Even though I’ve been busy with classwork and coaching, I’ve also made time for my own creativity, with a renewed sense of presence and commitment. It’s happening.

Along the way, I’ll be needing volunteer “coachees,” in the same way that you can go to a hairstyling school and get a free haircut from one of the students. The student stylist gets to learn on a live person, and you get a free haircut — and hopefully leave the school’s salon without looking like a poodle, unless of course that was the look you were going for. So if anyone is interested in joining my pool of coachee clients, drop me a line at creativereality (at) and let me know. I promise I’ll do my best to avoid bad perms.

Monday Page Becomes Monday Post, 2011

The old timers at this blog will remember our Monday Page. For three years, the Monday Page was a dedicated section within this blog used for noting our short-term creative intentions/goals/hopes. The Monday Page was designed to help us focus at the beginning of each week and set realistic targets. Writing down your goals and posting them publicly creates a sense of accountability that for some of us is more effective than mulling over our ambitions internally — and continually putting them off as a result.

The Monday Page had its sporadic usage, but this year we’re going to try something different. Rather than using a separate page within the blog, we’ll be posting a Monday Post at the beginning of each week right here on the main page. If you’d like to participate, share your goals as a comment to the post. What can you accomplish during the coming week, given the specific parameters on deck? In breaking down a larger project, what small forward step can you take this week? Feel free to check in a couple of times to share updates on how your week is going or ask for a little commiseration when everything falls apart (as it will surely do, from time to time).

Suggestion: When you’re deciding on your creative intentions for the week, it’s a good idea to think about WHEN you’re going to write those 2,000 words or paint that canvas. Try to schedule the time slots in your calendar (if you keep one), understanding that flexibility is the #1 requirement for any creative mother. If it doesn’t happen when you wanted it to, that’s OK. If you wanted to write three haiku a day but only managed one for the whole week, that’s just fine. Give yourself a gentle push with one hand, but pat yourself kindly on the shoulder with the other if you don’t reach your goal(s) for a given week. Sometimes it’s easier, sometimes it’s harder. Ride whatever you’ve got.

It’s also useful to have a sense of your minimum requirements (come hell or high water I’m going to write 100 words) while keeping a lookout for sudden opportunities to do more. You know, the day that the baby takes a monster nap or your partner takes the kids out to run errands and you find yourself with an unexpected “extra” half hour. Grab that time for yourself. You can catch up on the dishes and the laundry later. If you keep something creative in the back of your mind for those sudden opportunities, you’ll be more likely to use them to your advantage — rather than squandering your precious bonus moments on Facebook or vacuuming out the sofa cushions. Right?

Robin: Focus in the Flurry

Lately, ideas flow furiously as I move through my day. The momentum is to a degree that I have never experienced before. Ideas come in the middle of the night as well. I am no longer making the dreadful mistake of thinking I will remember them in the morning — I NEVER DO! In the past, I would have an idea and I would wake literally every hour and rehearse the idea in my head convinced that this time I would retain the inspired thought only to wake up with NOTHING. And then of course, the constant awareness of the thought throughout the night would play so vividly, that restlessness would creep in. But I digress

The biggest fear in all this productive yumminess is that the flow will end. I admit my pessimist’s attitude when it comes to the idea of a writer being able to make a living from her craft — surely one would run out of ideas after awhile. So, rather than enjoy the bounty of material for as long as it lasts, I calculate the endgame, challenging whether or not this is the most practical use of my time given the length of time a windfall like this could possibly last.

These thoughts are hilarious given my state of life at this moment. I am a stay-at-home mom of a toddler. I am a type A, multitasking, yoga-practicing woman who has incredible amounts of energy. I have about 10 books I am in the process of reading. Three “books” are in various writing stages. I crochet to relieve stress. I am dabbling in homeschooling. I started a six week e-course this week. I run an etsy shop. Oh, and the e-course is about DREAMING BIGGER. Yeah, lack of ideas is not really my issue; it is focus.

What about you? Where does your writing anxiety stem from?

[photo credit]

Michelle: Dreaming in 2010

Hello, my name is Michelle Norton and I’m about to become a full-time freelance writer.

I had to practice that. In front of a mirror for about 24 hours but then I sucked it up and went to my current boss to tell her I was quitting.

I’m a web designer and a single mom. Back when I went through my divorce, about nine years ago now, I quickly finished college and took the first job that came up. I put everything aside to care for my infant daughter. I went from housewife on welfare to single mom secretary in six months. And boy did it blow all kinds of bad things.

Between job changes, a looming house short sale, medical debt greater than what I make in a year, and pay cuts, 2009 has been a crazy year. This is the year that I became really sick and yet it was also the year that for the first time the opportunity to follow my dreams arose out of the ashes my past.

What I Do
As I said, I’m a full time web designer for a non-profit. I also do web design on the side and write. I never stopped writing in my spare time but it rarely got me anywhere. Most writing gigs were payed out in trade or some very low income. Some time in 2004 I started writing my own gaming modules for local conventions. People seemed like them. It really sparked the will to do more in me. In 2008 I had my first short story published by Transmitter magazine. People seemed to like that too.

What Started This
There’s one more thing I do with my free time, as copious it is not. That’s ML for NaNoWriMo. That is, I am one of the Municipal Liaisons for Denver for National Novel Writing Month. As something I really enjoy it has brought friendship and fun into my life. One of the guys who participates asked me to write a guest post on it for his blog. That went live in October 2009.

And then things got a little crazy.

Suddenly I was making money writing content. Enough to make me think I might be able to quit some day. Then I got sick.

Kidney stones aren’t fun. However, being homebound for a few days with nothing better to do than write showed me that I could support myself. I made back the money I was losing by staying home (I was out of sick days at work) and then some. By December I made the decision. I was going to quit my job and start freelancing full time. All my experience and a degree (I have a degree in Creative Writing) were finally paying off. I gave my boss notice.

So I am now one month away from leaving my full time job. I won’t have health insurance (that’s a whole ‘nother story), my daughter is excited to be able to come home after school instead of around six or seven at night and I’ll be working from home.

Am I scared to make the jump? Oh yes! But I’m committed to do it.

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