Psych Central

Lisa Sonora Beam On Success As A Creative Entrepreneur

By Douglas Eby

“The act of making something new makes us vulnerable.”

Lisa Sonora BeamThat is a comment by artist and creative business consultant Lisa Sonora Beam, who writes in her book “The Creative Entrepreneur” about the variety of challenges that creative people face in developing a piece of artwork, a small business, or themselves as a writer or other artist – the central element of a creative endeavor.

She notes people may “experience a kind of mythic divide” between their creative work and business practicalities.

“This split can create tension and even trauma for the creative soul who is blessed with passion and purpose yet cursed by the seemingly mysterious realm of strategies and skills that are necessary to make an idea real.”

She notes that her book “addresses the three main issues that can result in creative business failure: emotional and psychological blockages, faulty thinking about the creative process, and a lack of practical business knowledge.”

One approach she finds very helpful for herself and clients is visual journaling:

“It is one of the most powerful tools I know to gain insight, solve problems, and explore new ideas without the pressure to produce a product… it is an appealing and unique vehicle for entrepreneurial explorations.

“If you have trouble with the word journal, call it a sketchbook or a notebook. Sketches and notes are never confused with the work they ultimately inspire.”

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Being Creative: Fear Is Not A Disease

By Douglas Eby

Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty“Life is about courage and going into the unknown.” Cheryl (Kristen Wiig) in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

The movie is a celebration of the wonderful diversity of people and places on Earth, and pursuing ideas with courage, even if most of the pursuit by Mitty is in his imagination.

It is based on a story by James Thurber (by the way, he hated the 1947 movie version, according to Turner Classic Movies), who said:

“Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.”

Ben Stiller stars in and directs this version, which a writer summarizes as being about “an ordinary man with an extraordinarily active imagination” who embarks “on a globe-trotting adventure that ultimately trumps anything in his daydreams.”

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What’s Keeping You From Creative Work?

By Douglas Eby

Saige Paints the Sky movieAs a child or teenager, we were perhaps more freely creative, but as supposed “grown-ups” we face fears and uncertainties about our talents, or the marketplace value of a particular form of expression, or what our investing in a project means – both for us, and others.

Some forms of creative work may have structures and guidelines to follow, at least during some stages, but at some point the venture is, well, creative. You need to make things up.

There can be many inner threats and challenges to all these aspects of creating.

Author Milli Thornton describes one example: a CPA who kept shutting off his dream to write.

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How To Create More Confidently – Part 2

By Douglas Eby

Margaret Bourke-WhiteIn Part 1 of this article Eric Maisel talks about moving from an everyday mindset of “getting things right” to a creative mindset “where huge mistakes and messes are permitted and even welcomed.”

But many of us tend to be perfectionistic – which can help drive excellence, but may also support anxiety and creative constriction.

Psychologist Stephen A. Diamond notes “Were it not for perfectionism, we would be in short supply of all those myriad human activities we deem extraordinary, excellent, outstanding or great in quality.”

But in his Psych Central article “Perfectionism: Adaptation or Pathology?”, Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D. notes, “Somewhere on a continuum between normality and pathology there is a point at which the behavior results in functional impairment.” Read more in my post Too Much Perfectionism.

Coach and author Barbara Sher has a helpful perspective on this.

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How To Create More Confidently

By Douglas Eby

Art & Fear bookCreating may often include anxiety and other sorts of fear. We need to develop courage and learn how to deal with these feelings to be more fully creative.

“Art work is ordinary work, but it takes courage to embrace that work.”

That is a quote from the book “Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking,” by two artists: David Bayles and Ted Orland. They also point out, “Artists become veteran artists only by making peace not just with themselves, but with a huge range of issues.”

Actor and teacher Jeffrey Tambor describes how fear can impact presence and creativity in performances and auditions, and how to shift the experience of fear.

He notes, “We are all fear-based creatures. And fear can be the great killer. It kills your original impulses, your creativity, and it kills desire. Rather than deny fear, we have to find new ways of dealing with it. We actually have to dance with it, so to speak.”

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The Joy of Creating

By Douglas Eby

Clara Schumann“Composing gives me great pleasure… there is nothing that surpasses the joy of creation, if only because through it one wins hours of self-forgetfulness, when one lives in a world of sound.”

Pianist and composer Clara Schumann (1819-1896)

In an article of hers, career change mentor Valerie Young writes:

“People told you to put away your silly ideas about being ‘happy’ and just get a ‘good job.’ So everyone from your guidance counselor to your mother swayed you toward being a teacher or an engineer or an executive. There’s just one problem. You’re miserable.

“And sadly, you’re not alone. As Benjamin Disraeli once said, ‘Most people will die with their music still in them.’

“But, what if the most ‘real’ thing you can do is to do work that reflects your authentic self? To find a way to actually live your life on your own terms? What if what you really need to do is to get ‘unreal.’

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Abandoning Your Creative Fulfillment – Part 2

By Douglas Eby

[Continued from Part 1]

Kurt Vonnegut“The practice of any art isn’t to make a living, it’s to make your soul grow.”

Kurt Vonnegut

To be creative at times feels like an almost effortless flow, but creative work may also require a high level of courage and boldness – even to make the choice to do something creative.

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Abandoning Your Creative Fulfillment

By Douglas Eby

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

"paint by numbers!" - By originallittlehellraiserThat quote (attributed to both Leonardo da Vinci and Picasso) is most likely about the process of creating a piece of work – but what about abandoning even the attempt to create something: a painting, novel, smart phone app, new business, or anything substantial?

What if your talents and intelligence have gained success for you in an area that is not particularly creative, but still, deep down, you have a passion to create?

Did you enjoy creating early in life? What stops us from continuing that pleasure? There are, of course, a number of reasons.

In her book The Gifted Adult, Mary-Elaine Jacobsen, PsyD, for example, writes about an experience in fifth grade when her teacher “shredded” a poem she had written:

“She insisted I had copied it from a book, humiliating me in front of the class by bellowing, ‘No one your age could have written such a thing. Shame on you.’ I learned that expressing myself was a dangerous thing to do. Becoming a person of few words was difficult for an enthusiastic extrovert such as myself.”

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Do We Need to be Crazy to be Creative?

By Douglas Eby

“Creativity is a divine madness… a gift from the gods.” Plato

musician Sting“People who are getting into this archetype of the tortured poet end up really torturing themselves to death.” Sting

This mythology of madness as a fuel for creativity, or an inherent part of creative minds, continues to affect how we think of artists – and ourselves as creative people.

For example, psychiatrist and creativity author Albert Rothenberg MD commented that “Deviant behavior, whether in the form of eccentricity or worse, is not only associated with persons of genius or high-level creativity, but it is frequently expected of them.”

That is one of the dangers of this mythology: that we may consider ourselves “not crazy enough” to be creative, or that our mental health challenges such as anxiety and depression should be endured, in order to “protect” our creative power.

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Feeling Like A Fraud

By Douglas Eby

“At any time I still expect that the no-talent police will come and arrest me.” Actor, writer, director Mike Myers

Many talented and creative people experience impostor feelings and beliefs about themselves, despite their accomplishments.

Valerie Young, Ed.D. is an expert on impostor syndrome and commented in an Entrepreneur magazine article: “Millions of people, from entrepreneurs to celebrities, have a hard time internalizing their accomplishments.”

The article author notes “the impostor syndrome is especially common among people who become successful quickly or early, and among outsiders, such as women in male-dominated industries.”

Dr. Young adds, “They explain away their success as luck or timing. They feel this sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

From Fake It Until You Make It: How to Believe in Yourself When You Don’t Feel Worthy by Nadia Goodman.

Emma WatsonOne example is actor Emma Watson, who commented about its impact for her:

“It’s almost like the better I do, the more my feeling of inadequacy actually increases, because I’m just going, Any moment, someone’s going to find out I’m a total fraud, and that I don’t deserve any of what I’ve achieved.

“I can’t possibly live up to what everyone thinks I am and what everyone’s expectations of me are.”

Continue reading… »



 
 

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