August 31,2012
Making Adjustments

Life doesn't always unfold just the way we envision it. We set a goal or make a plan, and then something unforeseen occurs to change or interfere with the plan. The important thing is how we respond to these unforeseen circumstances. We can't let them throw us off our path by over reacting or getting discouraged. We must simply go to that quiet place inside and ask for guidance, and follow our intuition. Look for the guidance and follow it. Be thoughtful, reflective, patient…

Sometimes, we meet so many obstacles that we must re-evaluate whether we are going down the right path. Maybe the Universe has a different plan for us and we must be open to it with faith and courage. Have you ever experienced so many blocks that you feel that you are unable to achieve a goal? If that is the case, maybe it's time to re-evaluate the worthiness of the goal or plan. What is the Universe telling you? Is it gently guiding you in a different direction? If so, be open to it and follow the path for a while to see where it takes you.

"I am told that the automatic pilot in an airplane does not work by locking onto a course and sticking to it. Instead, it steers back and forth over the path of an assigned course and makes the necessary corrections when it senses that it has strayed. In reality, the auto pilot is on course only 5 or 10 percent of the time. The other 90 or 95 percent of the time, it is off course and correcting for its deviation. I, too, must make continuous adjustments. I am much more willing to do so today because I have stopped expecting myself to be perfectly on course. … I can learn to steer the course my Higher Power sets by relying on a process of trial and error that includes a willingness to continually make adjustments (Al-anon Family Groups, 1992, p. 60)."

"A man who makes no mistakes usually does not make anything (Al-Anon Family Groups, p. 60)."

Reference:

Al-Anon Family Groups. (1992). "Courage to Change," New York, NY.


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August 29,2012
The Power of Vision

I am proud to be a member of an arts organization that has been self-sustaining for almost 40 years and continues to thrive. Recently, I was participating as a board member in some strategic planning for this organization. One of the long-time members reminded us that the organization came about as the result of 7 women who had a vision to love and promote the arts in the community. Today, the membership of this organization fluctuates around 150 members, and it has its own building with a gallery and holds many events including workshops and special creative art exhibits. While supporting its members' artistic growth, it also gives back to the community. Many arts groups are not able to be self-supporting and they rely on public funding to survive. See what the power and vision of 7 women can do!

© Carla Weaver 2012.


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August 28,2012
Time is All We Have

Last weekend, Sandie Rinaldo (CTV Anchor) interviewed Gloria Steinem in Toronto. Gloria Steinem said something I thought was very profound when Rinaldo asked her if she had any regrets or would change anything about her life. Stieinem said, "Time is all we have." She then went on to say that we can waste a lot of time doing what we already know how to do. Isn't that true? It is so much easier to continue doing what we already know when we could stretch ourselves to try new things, achieve higher goals and take some risks. After all, we don't usually remark about how creative something is when it has been done the same old way. Creativity involves making changes, facing challenges, shifting paradigms, thinking outside the box…

Do something different today. Take a new route to work, go somewhere different for lunch, ask a different colleague for advice or input, wear a different color, taste a new food, take a risk. After all, "Time is all we have (Gloria Steinem)."

© Carla Weaver 2012.


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August 25,2012
Be an Original Thinker

In this society of winning and money, are people encouraged to be able to think for themselves? Or, are we encouraged to adopt the thinking of the systems and organizations in which we function? I have been thinking about the issue of doping in sports. Our society has in recent years shunned and shamed several athletes for using or allegedly using performance enhancing drugs…Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones, Ben Johnson, many others. I do not support the use of drugs in sport. But, I question how we make heroes of these athletes and then strip them of their heroism in a modern day stoning via the media.

Think about a young new athlete with great potential being welcomed with open arms into a system where the pressure to win is overwhelming and being surrounded by "the experts' who provide guidance on how to survive and thrive in that system, where, for a time, performance enhancing drugs were allowed and it appears from the outside that a majority must have been using them at the time. Then, performance enhancing drugs were banned … but it would appear still widely used. It seems to me that the heroes that were made through the system should not be the only ones to be shamed and defrocked. What about the "experts" who supported them? What pressure did they apply to these athletes?

I am also reminded about James Frey, author of "A Million Little Pieces." It was his first book, and obviously a worthy literary work, as Amazon editors selected it as their favorite book in 2003, the year it was published. Frey was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and she promoted his book. Then, it was discovered that the work was not technically a memoir, as the author had taken some liberties and embellished the story. As I recall, the publisher felt that the book would sell better as a memoir than fiction. Sure, the author was wrong to embellish the story if it was a memoir, but what role did the publisher, "the expert," play in providing guidance to a never before published author?

How many employees have been pressured to do things that are morally or ethically or legally wrong for fear of losing their jobs? And, when found out, lose their jobs despite the fact that what they did was encouraged and condoned by the system?

Creative thinkers think for themselves. And it is always best to think for yourself to apply your own values and morals to your decisions. If you are functioning within a group, organization or system that is inconsistent with your own values, morals, ethics… then, you can choose to speak out and try to change the system, or you can move to one that is consistent with your own values.

Whatever your choice, it takes great strength and courage. Don't be tempted by money, winning, power, pressure, opportunities to go against your own values because when the world decides to try the guilty, the golden heroes get stoned and often the system continues on. I believe that eventually, good prevails over evil, but protect yourself, think for yourself and preserve your ability to create. Be a free and original thinker and make your own decisions.

© Carla Weaver 2012.


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August 24,2012
What is Inspiration?

Spiritual writers suggest that creativity is being in tune with God or a higher power. Wayne Dyer describes the creative process as: "Consciously embracing the fullness of God in all that you see and do and placing your attention on what it is that you want to manifest is the secret of the mechanics of creation (Dyer, The Sacred Self, P. 24)." Deepak Chopra offers the following definition of creativity: "The source of all creation is divinity (or the spirit); the process of creation is divinity in motion (or the mind); and the object of creation is the physical universe (which includes the physical body) (Chopra, 1993)." Shakti Gawain defines it as, "To whatever degree you listen to and follow your intuition, you become a creative channel for the higher power of the universe. When you willingly follow where your creative energy leads, the higher power can come through you to manifest its creative work (Gawain, 2008)."

References:

Chopra, D. (1993). The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams, Amber-Allen Publishing, San Rafael, CA.

Dyer, W. (1995). Your Sacred Self: Making the Decision to be Free, Harper Collins Publishers, New York.

Gawain, S. (2008). Living in the Light, ReadHowYouWant.


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August 23,2012
What is Passion?

"What is passion? For most people, the word "passion" refers to that something which they can do with utmost fondness, that something which awakens their inner desires to go beyond typical, that something which drives them to forget that they are alive and causes them to go beyond natural. Passion for some is that something which they truly love with supreme sincerity, that something which allows them to wake up in the morning with something to look forward to, and above all, that something which gives them genuine happiness in their lives. Passion is defined by many things to many people (Prince, http://www.articlesbase.com/motivational-articles/what-is-passion-715150.html , retrieved August 16, 2012)."

I believe that it is human nature to create. Throughout time, all cultures and civilizations have had some form of creative expression – cave drawings, music. Actor, Andy Garcia, has said, "Acting was like hunger in the pit of my stomach, and if I didn't cater to it, it got worse." Olivier Messiaenn composed "Quartet for the End of Time" while in a Nazi concentration camp. Artist Lyn Schwartz says, "Painting slows down a complex world for me. It allows time for the study of a leaf or rock. It satisfies a hunger in me." (Lynn Schwartz). And, Paramahansa Yogananda says, "Every human being has some spark of power by which he can create something that has not been created before."

According to Choquette, "It is our purpose. When you infuse your will to create with real love and enthusiasm, the effort becomes a pleasure. People who work with love attract it into their lives. People who work with enthusiasm bring it out in others. Magical thinking does not mean manipulative thinking. It does mean getting out of the work involved, escaping the necessary steps to your dream. It means working from your true self, your soul, and being authentic about what you must do to create your dream." (Choquette, 1997, p. 146). We feel there is more to life than what we are experiencing …a longing to create.

Most of the literature by spiritual and religious writers involves the word love in the definition of creativity. Love is commonly thought of as how we respond to something; for instance, we love a person or thing. In creativity, it is the cause, not the response. We create the object of our love…we love something into being. A creator loves something that does not yet exist. When we do something of our own choosing - utilizing our unique gifts and passions, we bring our love to it. In creating, love is an action verb - it is about the creating, not about the rewards and/or happiness that the result may bring to the creator (Fritz, 1991).

Tanis Helliwell wrote an article describing the stages of the soul's growth. In stage one, we learn society's rules so we can survive. In stage two, we ask what we want to do with our life. In this second stage, a person operates at a personality level - inside the box – and is conventional in approaches. At stage three, an individual feels that society's rules are not enough, and questions, "Is this all there is? The individual may experience depression, meaninglessness, emptiness, or a feeling of the void. The person assesses what they're doing with their life. Stage four involves taking responsibility for creating a better world by being more conscious of bringing the soul to work and to life. At stage 4, our lives take on new meaning and our motivations change. When we are doing something that is of our own choosing and fulfilling our purpose, we begin to make better use of our unique gifts, we express our passions, and we bring our love to it. (Helliwell, 2001).

"Passion is a gift of the spirit combined with the totality of all the experiences we've lived through. It endows each of us with the power to live and communicate with unbridled enthusiasm. Passion is most evident when the mind, body and spirit work together to create, develop and articulate or make manifest our feelings, ideas and most sacred values. Passion enables us to overcome obstacles (both real and imagined) and to see the world as a place of infinite potential. The passionate spirit looks at every occurrence and discovers the golden kernels of what can be, what should be and what will be. Passion has its own energy - - an energy that's observable and transferable (Norris, http://www.briannorris.com/passion/what-is-passion.html, retrieved August 16, 2012)."

On August 20th, I wrote about Fritz's "creative cycle;" the middle stage of this cycle is assimilation, which I believe involves passion. Consider the energy of passion and how it figures into your creative cycle. References:

Choquette, S. (1997) Your Heart's Desire: Instructions for Creating the Life You Really Want, Three Rivers Press, New York.

Fritz, R., (1989), The Path of Least Resistance, Fawcett Columbine, New York.

Helliwell, T. (October/November 2001). "Stages in our Soul's Growth," Synchronicity, The Magazine, Issue 49, Calgary, AB, p. 45.

Norris, B., http://www.briannorris.com/passion/what-is-passion.html, retrieved August 16, 2012.

Prince, J. (June 8, 2009 ). "What is Passion?" Articlesbase, http://www.articlesbase.com/motivational-articles/what-is-passion-715150.html, retrieved August 16, 2012.

© Carla Weaver 2012.


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August 21,2012
Negativity Sucks Your Energy!

Dealing with negative people and situations can suck the energy and creativity right out of you. I know this from both reading and experience. We can make healthy choices to avoid negativity by choosing to be around people who are emotionally healthy and by avoiding negative situations. However, sometimes we are just powerless because we may be forced to deal with negative people in our families, work or other groups to which we belong. What can we do? Take the high road whenever you can. Remove yourself from the negative situation, set boundaries, speak your truth kindly but firmly, and protect yourself from abusive situations. Try to avoid watching negative TV and movies … violence, bad news, etc.

Recently, I was exposed to some negativity over which I am powerless, and it affected my energy, productivity and mood. This morning, I am feeling tired and depleted. I remembered reading somewhere that crystals can help and heal our energy. A few months ago, I was attracted to purchase an aquamarine crystal pendant. This morning, I googled "crystals and healing" and read that aquamarine crystals can clear and energize your aura, soothe you and help to stimulate creativity, as well as having a few other remarkable healing properties, so I thought, Why not? I am wandering around wearing my aquamarine crystal. I'll see how I feel as the day progresses.

Try to avoid negativity today, but if it crosses your path, take the high road, and have a positive and creative day!

© Carla Weaver 2012.


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August 21,2012
Problem Solving

Some say that creativity is nothing more than an aspect of problem solving (Matlin, 2009). Heuristics provide a quick way of examining a few different alternatives to solve a problem, although they may not necessarily ensure that the best decision is reached. Three possible heuristic approaches to problem solving are: 1. Analogy approach, 2. Means-ends heuristic, and 3. Hill-climbing heuristic. (Matlin, 2009).

The Analogy Approach is a method of solving a new problem by referring to how a previous problem was solved. For example, the Wright brothers created the first airplane by comparing the flight problem to how birds fly. The key is to figure out a similar problem with the same structure and solution, but with different details. Sets of problems with this similar structure and solution are called problem isomorphs. In order to successfully apply the analogy heuristic, the problem solver needs to focus on the structure of the problem. When they work with structurally similar problems, this is an effective way to solve problems. However, "People often have trouble solving the same problem in a new setting; they fail to transfer their knowledge (Matlin, 2009, p. 368)." In fact, people who have poor problem solving skills often have difficulty using analogies (Matlin, 2009).

The Means-Ends heuristic requires dividing a problem into sub problems and then trying to reduce the difference between the initial state and the goal state for each of the sub problems. In other words, you first determine the desired end (outcome) and then figure out the means to achieve it. Users of this heuristic identify the difference between the current state and the desired end and then work toward achieving the desired end, or goal. This is an effective problem solving method. The sub problems can be solved by starting with the desired outcome or by starting with the sub problem and defining the steps to move toward the desired outcome. Sometimes, one needs to temporarily move backward away from the desired outcome to effectively solve the problem (Matlin, 2009).

The Hill-climbing heuristic involves selecting the best choice at various decision points. This method is useful when you cannot see far beyond the next step; however, it can also be a method that causes you to sidetrack from your goal because you are required to make some decisions when you don't have all the information about what the next best choice might be. A shortcoming of this approach is that it may not result in the best long term decision, as it favors short term rather than long term goals (Matlin, 2009).

But, is creativity more than problem solving?

Reference:

Matlin, M. (2009). Cognition, 7th Ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.

© Carla Weaver 2012.


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August 20,2012
The Creative Cycle

Robert Fritz, author of "The Path of Least Resistance," likens the creative process to the birth of a child, and he identifies three steps in the "cycle:" germination, assimilation and completion. He states that, "Every complete creative process moves through this cycle and always in the same sequence (Fritz, 1989, p. 155)."

During germination, there is a burst of energy that initiates projects. Fritz describes this initial stage with words like, "keen interest, excitement, freshness, enthusiasm, change, power… (Fritz, 1989, p. 156)."

"The great joy for filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock was in conceiving and planning his films. For months before he worked with cameramen, actors, scenery, costumes, or other details; he thrived on germinational energy by sketching the entire film, frame by frame, on long sheets of yellow paper. He was fond of saying that filming the movie itself was much less exciting to him than conceiving, writing, and planning it (Fritz, 1989, p. 156)." Fritz states that the energy of this stage occurs as you conceive your vision (Fritz, 1989).

After the germination energy dissipates, the next step is assimilation during which you teach the vision to yourself. You assimilate the vision. Fritz says that you become one with your vision. During this stage, we experience "insight, ideas, connections and momentum (Fritz, p. 157)." Fritz states that it is difficult to describe this stage … we just do it. Roger Sessions, musician, describes this process as:

"The process of execution is first of all that of listening inwardly to the music as it shapes itself; of allowing the music to grow; of following both inspiration and conception wherever they may lead. A phrase, a motif, a rhythm, even a chord, may contain within itself, in the composer's imagination, the energy which produces movement. It will lead the composer on, through the force of its own momentum or tension, to other phrases, other motifs, other chords (Fritz, 1989, p. 158)."

The third stage is completion. Fritz describes this stage with words like "manifesting, finishing, following through, bringing to fruition (Fritz, 1989, p. 160)." "Some people feel uncomfortable having what they want. Receiving, or learning to live with your creation, is an essential phase of completion and hence of the creative process. It is the ability to receive the fruits of your endeavors (Fritz, 1989, p. 161)." Finally, one accepts the completed creation and releases it to the world.

"The nature of creative energy is not to run down but to increase and multiply itself (Fritz, 1989, p. 162)."

Reference:

Fritz, R. (1989). The Path of Least Resistance, Fawcett Columbine, NY.

© Carla Weaver 2012.


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August 20,2012
Do you have a plan?

A few weeks ago, I started writing specifically about the creative process. I started by writing about having a clearly articulated Vision and the Intent to achieve your vision. Then, I wrote about understanding the environment in which you will undertake your creative project by taking stock of your strengths and weaknesses and how your creative project fits within the bigger picture of your vision. After taking inventory of the situation, it's important to work with what you've got; build on your strengths and overcome obstacles or weaknesses that could stand in the way of achieving your creative goals.

Once you know what you want to create and what strengths and weaknesses may stand in the way of achieving it, put a plan in place to achieve the creative project. Do you have a plan?

Whether your project is a major undertaking with multiple activities, such as constructing a building or planning an event, or a singular activity, such as writing a novel or painting a portrait, a plan is in order. If the project involves multiple activities, you need to define what they are and the order in which they need to be carried out. Are there contingencies, such as Activity A must be completed before Activity B? You may need to prepare a formal schedule. Or, if you're writing a novel, you'll need to outline your plot. If you're painting a portrait, maybe you plan to do some sketches or take some photos.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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August 19,2012
Getting Back On Course

I have not been able to write on my BLOG for several days, and I apologize to those who read it regularly, as I see that there have been many hits on the site and no new writings. Thanks for continuing to check. I am committed to this BLOG, but, like anyone, sometimes I experience obstacles that stand in my way.

One of the obstacles I have experienced lately is writer's block. Although I feel and know inside that I have much to write, I was simply unable to write for a few days. I felt without inspiration. I was also very busy with many work and volunteer and personal commitments. And, I have been dealing with a couple of negative situations and stress, so as I work through these obstacles, I know that my experiences provide fodder for my writing. Leading a creative life is a gently unfolding process, and sometimes we are sidetracked by learning experiences or sometimes, we simply get off course. However, we can use the tools of life experience to consolidate our learning or to get back on course. These tools include: quiet reflection, meditation, journaling, talking with trusted friends, prayer, exercise, rest, doing what we love, walking in nature, being around supportive loving friends and family …

"Obstacles cannot keep me from finding the good in my life and following where it leads. Nothing can get in the way of this … unless I allow it (Alanon Family Groups, p. 185)."

"…men may rise on stepping-stones
Of their dead selves to higher things. " (Tennyson: "In Memoriam").

Reference:

Alanon Family Groups. (1973). "One Day At A Time in Alanon," New York, NY.

© Carla Weaver 2012


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August 08,2012
Don't Be Blindsided

When we recognize that there are obstacles standing in our way of achieving our goals or bringing our vision into reality, we can acknowledge them and accept them as part of the process of achieving our vision. If we ignore them, they may prevent us from realizing the vision. So having inventoried any obstacles by writing them down, we can accept that we will need to consider them in our process. We will need to have a s strategy or plan to deal with them. For example, if you want to buy a home but you have no money, you need to recognize that this could stand in your way of purchasing the home. You will need to consider ways to overcome this obstacle. There is a distinction between recognizing obstacles and then feeling negative or overwhelmed or discouraged versus recognizing that there will be challenges and planning to overcome them. Always believe in all possibilities and the power of the Universe, but don't be blindsided by obstacles that you failed to consider. Consider them, accept that they are there, and plan for them.

If you want to paint a painting for the next juried show, but you have limited time, recognize that lack of time will be an obstacle and plan for that. Take a couple of days of vacation from your day job or plan to paint for two hours every day after work to complete the project.

Even if you fail to recognize a potential obstacle, the fact that you have considered others and planned for them will minimize the impact of the unanticipated obstacle and you will be familiar with the practice of being aware of obstacles and accepting their reality by planning for them.

© Carla Weaver 2012.


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August 08,2012
Back to the God Particle

For the average reader like me, the discovery of the Higgs boson particle ("The God Particle"), is a difficult story to understand. The Higgs boson discovery validates the idea of a mathematical model of force fields in the universe. It could explain why subatomic particles have mass, which is acquired as a particle meets resistance when it moves through the vacuum of space and slows down.

The particle is considered a basic building block of the universe, which helps quantum physics to explain creation, and this is why it has been nicknamed the God particle. "The Higgs boson is the last, missing link in the highly successful quantum theory of particles, called the Standard Model. It is also highly unstable, very elusive. To detect it, one has to observe many, many high energy collisions of protons and build up the statistics. In the LHC collider, particles are accelerated through a tunnel, brought together at speeds close to the speed of light, producing showers of particles, with high energies, capable to generate the Higgs particle. It exists for only a tiny fraction of a second before breaking up into many other particles and can be detected only indirectly by identifying the results of its immediate decay and analyzing them to show they were probably produced from a Higgs boson (Chopra, Tanzi, Kafatos, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/god-particle_b_1674717.html , retrieved August 6, 2012)."

This is a complex story and scientists still have many questions about what they've discovered and the impact of the discovery, so for the layman to understand it is difficult. However, it could lead to the answers to some very basic questions, such as Why are we here? or, Why are we conscious? And Where did mind come from? (Chopra, Tanzi, Kafatos, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/god-particle_b_1674717.html , retrieved August 6, 2012).If this discovery is as profound as I think it may be, it is relevant to the study of everything.

Reference:

HUFFPOST HEALTHY LIVING CANADA, August 6, 2012, By Deepak Chopra, Rudolph Tanzi, Menas Kafatos, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/god-particle_b_1674717.html , retrieved August 6, 2012.

© Carla Weaver 2012.


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August 06,2012
Overcoming Obstacles

A big part of the creative process is overcoming the obstacles that stand in our way. Obstacles are those weaknesses and threats that we've identified in the inventories and/or SWOT analyses.

Obstacles can be real or imagined. They may be things like procrastination or not believing in ourselves. These obstacles defeat our creative projects before we even get started. My artist friends and I have often commented on how easily and often we put off our painting; yet we profess to love and have passion about this activity. I have had 3 paintings leaned up against the wall in my kitchen since June. They are almost finished. For me, part of this is procrastination … there is so little to do to complete them and they seem to be turning out well … I'm also afraid of ruining them.

And, of course, all of us are busy and it takes time to be creative. I find that I really need a block of 3 to 4 hours to quietly approach my art, so I often don't get to it because I can't fit in such a block of time. However, I must say that I seem to fit in several blocks of 3 to 4 hours to watch TV … so I know that with a little self-discipline, I could paint.

Fear of failure is a huge obstacle for some of us. We have a dream of creating something that we feel passionate about and it is scary to think that we may not be up to the task.

Some of us lack the support and encouragement that we need to accomplish our creative projects. This is an important element of success. I encourage you to find the support that you need. If you're trying to start a new business, join a group of entrepreneurs; if you're a writer, join a writers' group. If you paint, join a painters' guild. If you take photos, join a photo guild. The members of these groups will provide support and encouragement and the groups will also provide resources, such as educational programs or workshops, libraries, etc. Mentorship is important in everything that we do.

I will address this topic again. However, it is important to recognize and name the obstacles that stand in the way of achieving our creative desires. Awareness of the obstacles is the first step in overcoming them.

"Ahead lies a broad expanse of river, flowing rapidly. The oarsman, only recently learning his skill, nervously maneuvers to avoid the one and only rock breaking the surface downstream, dead center, smooth current to either side. You watch from shore. The oarsman zigs left. Zigs right. And then crashes directly into the rock. When you act out of fear your fears come true."

Fears about art making fall into two families: fears about yourself, and fears about your reception by others. In a general way, fears about yourself prevent you from doing your best work, while fears about your reception by others prevent you from doing your own work. Both families surface in many forms, some of which you may find all too familiar (Bayles and Orland, 1993, p. 23)."

Reference:

Bales, D. and Orland, T. (1993). Art and Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Art Making, The Image Continuum, Santa Cruz, CA.

© Carla Weaver 2012.


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August 04,2012
Build on Your Strengths

Build on your strengths. What do you do well, as it relates to your creative project? If the project involves making a painting and your strength is composition, focus on making the most interesting composition, which will help you to build and strengthen your style. If you are good at promoting yourself, focus on that. Tell everyone you can about your project and get them excited about it. If you're good at planning and organizing, build a plan and schedule to complete your creative project.

Get started on your plan while focusing on your strengths.

© Carla Weaver 2012.


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August 03,2012
Take inventory of the project.

In 12 step programs, people in recovery take a personal inventory of their strengths and weaknesses. They list their positive and negative characteristics. This accomplishes two things: it helps them to see themselves in a better light by reviewing their good qualities, and it help them to know what they'd like to change about themselves in their recovery.

By taking an inventory related to our creative project, we accomplish the same thing. We see the strengths of the project and how worthwhile it is and that motivates us on to achieve it. And, we see the shortcomings or areas where we'll need to work harder to achieve the project so that we can plan to overcome any weaknesses, threats or disadvantages.

© Carla Weaver 2012.


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August 03,2012
What is your creative project?

What is your creative project? Does it fit into the big picture?

I am currently working on several projects: a couple of work projects related to education and training, my BLOG, losing some weight, some paintings, some writing projects, some arts related projects for two organizations for which I am a board member, a university degree. As you can see, this is a full plate, and creativity takes time and attention. If we want to achieve something, as I wrote last week, we must have clear vision and intent ... so I must have many visions and focused intentions to do all of these projects well. Even though I do have an overriding vision, is the vision for each of these projects consistent with my overall vision?

I am currently making a vision scrapbook for all of these projects where I can devote a page to each project's vision, intent and plan. Whatever projects you're working on, give some time to taking stock of what they are and asking yourself if you have an overall vision, and is each project consistent with that vision?

If you're working on something that is not consistent with your vision, ask yourself why you're working on it? How does it fit into the big picture?

Prioritize the projects … it may be difficult to hold the intent of achieving too many things at once, so if you prioritize, you can focus on the most important ones first. As you complete them, you can shift your intent to the next most important projects.

© Carla Weaver 2012.


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August 01,2012
What's Next?

For several days now, I have written about kicking off the creative process with a well-articulated vision and the clear intent to achieve the vision. What's next? Take stock of the situation. Now that you know what you want and you have set your heart on it, how will you get there? Assess the situation. What are your strengths and what obstacles could stand in your way? In business, we call this a SWOT analysis … an assessment of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. So, for example, if what you want to create in your life is a new home, what are your strengths and weaknesses for being able to accomplish that? Perhaps you are knowledgeable about the market in which you want to purchase or you have knowledge and experience in the construction industry. Perhaps you have a good grasp of budgeting and understand mortgages. These are all strengths that you bring to this creative project. What weaknesses do you have? Perhaps you want a home, but you have no money to buy one, or you have a bad credit rating. These are weaknesses that you'll need to overcome to achieve this creative project.

Let's take another example. Perhaps your vision is to write a book. Your strengths are that you have a great plot in mind and you're a good writer. Maybe your weaknesses are that you have trouble applying yourself and you have no idea about how to get a book published.

Make a table with two columns on a piece of paper and head them: STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES. Write down yours as they related to your creative project.

Now, draw a line under this table and make another two column table and head the columns: OPPORTUNITIES and THREATS. Opportunities and Threats are external forces over which you have no control... things like the economy, laws, etc. For example, if your creative project is to own a home … what external opportunities influence your project? A shortage of affordable homes in the area where you want to buy could pose a threat to achieving your project.

If your creative project is writing a book, an opportunity may be that there are no books currently on the market about your topic. A threat could be that the publishing industry is having hard times and it may be tough to find a publisher. Write down the opportunities and threats.

No need to go any further just yet ... you don't need to know how to overcome the weaknesses and threats now. Just assess the situation.

Congratulations! You've just completed a SWOT Analysis for your project!

© Carla Weaver 2012.


Posted by Carla Weaver at 09:35 0 Comments
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