Just for You, Our Muses

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend and/or Mother’s Day.

If you read the A to Z series in April, you might have caught the news that I’ve spend much of the last year training to become a life coach specializing in creativity, the creative process, and writers. YOU are the inspiration for that endeavor. This community not only gave me the courage, you gave me the vision for how I can give back and share all I’ve learned over a lifetime of creativity.

Because I feel so blessed to be part of the Muse community, I wanted to share with you a couple of opportunities before anyone else sees them. In fact, I’m not offering these anywhere else, though you are free to share them.

The first is that, now that training is complete, I need to amass 100 coaching hours for my first certification rank with the International Coach Federation. Though I’m well on my way, I discovered I could “give away” 30 of those hours. This is first for the Muse community and then for anyone you know that might be interested: up to ten sessions of coaching on subjects of your choosing, m. The best thing about coaching is that it serves YOU, not the coach. If you are interested in becoming a pro bono client (or know someone who is), please email me at robynalruecoaching [at] gmail.com. Preference goes first to this community and then to the people we know.

The second is that International Coach Week begins May 15th. In honor of ICW, and again for the Muse community, all coaching is 50% off if booked through midnight on May 21st. For a description and more information, I’ve set up a page here for reference.

In addition to individual coaching, I also offer group coaching, with the enhanced opportunity for peer-to-peer learning. I’m only running one “program” at this time, which is Habit Builder 45, designed to help you establish new habits for a lifetime. Again, click here for more information.

I am so honored to be of service to a community that has been so supportive. I’ll be writing posts here with what I’ve learned that is both of general benefit and specifically of benefit to writers. I’ve got a whole year of post ideas backed up between my ears!

If you have any questions at all about coaching or anything in this post, please do not hesitate to ask them in the comments below or privately at robynlaruecoaching [at] gmail.com.

Advertisements

H – Heart

Do the things that interest you and do them with all your heart. Don’t be concerned about whether people are watching you or criticizing you. The chances are that they aren’t paying attention to you.
Eleanor Roosevelt

There’s so much I could say in respect to this quote, so many directions this quote could take us. Paring down all that could (and perhaps should) be said is no easy task, and most of it is simply restating what Eleanor Roosevelt already said.

From all that I’ve read and all of the people I’ve talked to, hesitation in embracing a creative practice of any kind comes down to fear. There’s fear of the unknown, fear of disappointing ourselves, and most common, fear of judgment . . . especially while we are still learning skills.

It’s such a shame. We don’t allow ourselves to (knowingly) make public mistakes any more. Thus, we don’t develop either the resilience or the freedom to learn the skills we desire, or even to live the life we wish in many cases.

Isn’t that how we become trapped in lives of respectability but no passion?

I have plenty of soap boxes tucked into my closet. This is just one, but a big one. I believe we have a birthright to pursue creativity and other interests that enrich us and bring us joy (as long as we aren’t hurting others, of course). We should all be given the freedom of personal creativity without criticism, including the time we spend developing the necessary skills. It should be inculcated from childhood, prevalent in our school systems, and part of human rights.

If I can convince anyone to follow their hearts and blind oneself to others’ opinions (until they are wanted), I feel I would have given back to the world. Same goes for convincing creative people to choose carefully who they share their work with, because no one needs someone else’s bitterness flavoring what we love. Pouring your heart into your interests is so personally rewarding, it’s worth giving up that fear.

Please pursue your creativity. Painting, dancing, acting, writing, or whatever you love, do it for yourself. Do it for joy. Don’t pay attention to what the rest of the world thinks.

As Eleanor said, they probably aren’t watching anyway.

Would anyone like to share my soap box? There’s plenty of room. 🙂

Stay Limber

Yolen Quote TSM

Just like athletes, musicians, and performers, writing improves with practice. Often, writing improves ONLY with practice. Are you practicing? Are you cultivating a writing practice? If so, you have seen for yourself how keeping your writing muscle limber has improved your prose.

I’d Like the Big Box Please

MacLeod TSM

Remaining open to creativity might be the hardest thing to do in traditional education today, but most of us, at some point in our lives, feel that tapping on our shoulder. Honoring our creative nature is, in my mind, the best form of self care we can do.


How has your view of creative pursuits changed since you left high school? Did you remain creative or was it something you returned to as an adult?

 

What’s the Difference Between a Creative (Writing) Practice and Doing Creative Work?

Cultivate your creativityA writing practice (or creative practice of any sort–I use the words interchangeably) involves intentionally setting aside regular time—a routine—for creative work. Forming the habit of showing up takes away the idea that one must feel ready to create or “be in the mood.”

Isn’t it better to be in the mood?

Plenty of writers, especially early on, feel they must be in the mood or have the urge before they can sit down and write. While that’s nice to have, it’s not necessary. Writing isn’t just an art, it’s a craft, and craftsmen work at their craft regularly. Creative work is fostered by routine (and often results in inspiration or the right mood). No more asking yourself “should I write today?” If you set aside the time, you write. It may not be stellar work, but that will come.

A creative practice is like meditation or exercise. There’s resistance. There’s the excuse of no time. But regular routine breaks down the resistance until your practice is just an ingrained part of your life. Your mind and body learn to switch gears more readily as well.

Can I only write when scheduled?

We may write outside of our scheduled time as well, and that’s fine. The creative work happens both inside and outside of routine, but the busier your life is, the more a routine will help you to get words on the page.

Think of a writing practice as “showing up” to do the work. Think of it as a mindful way to honor your creative side and your desire to write. Self-care. Personal development. It is all of these things.

Where did this idea come from?

I was first exposed to the idea of a writing practice by Natalie Goldberg in her book Writing Down the Bones. The principles were restated and reinforced by Julia Cameron in The Right to Write. Since then, I’ve run across the term in every art form as well as yoga, prayer, exercise, and more.  One explanation I heard was “a practice is intention.” And that’s also true. If you are interested in creating a writing life for yourself, I recommend both of these books along with Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.

For many of us, writing is a lifestyle as much as a calling or passion. We didn’t get there overnight. We created a writing practice and stuck with it. We became practitioners.

So how do I develop a writing practice?

  • Write routinely. I’m a proponent of daily writing, but everyone is different. Whether it’s Sunday afternoon, fifteen minutes before work, or thirty minutes after the kids are in bed, make it regular and stick with it. (And start on time. The dishes and other things will wait.)
  • If you aren’t working on a project, use a writing prompt, write an essay, do a character sketch. Use various writing exercises if you like, from timed writing to stream-of-consciousness writing.
  • Tell yourself that you are worth it until you believe it. Honoring your creative drive is healthy, not selfish.
  • Get an accountability partner. Tell a trusted friend what you are doing and ask them to both encourage you and check in to see how you are doing with your practice.
  • If you naturally rebel against structure, keep your routine fluid. Perhaps set a quota to meet on a weekly basis or plan thirty minutes sometime before bed. It’s less ideal but I have confidence you will grow into a routine that suits you.

Why do I need a creative practice?

The moodiest, unhappiest people I’ve ever met were artists of one sort or another who were not making time for their art. I was this person for half a year. Creativity is an integral part of who we are. Ignoring it is akin to depriving our senses.  If you are already creating regularly, that’s great! Keep it up. If you aren’t, develop your own practice. If you need help, let me know and I will come alongside you until you are under way.


Do you cultivate a writing practice? If so, how has it helped you creatively? If not, can you see yourself starting one?