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Thursday, April 11, 2013
Win a Free Creativity Coaching Session!
 

Eric Maisel’s prolific, multifaceted career is a testament to his profound understanding of what it takes to live out one’s creative ambitions. A therapist who is also America’s foremost creativity coach, a bestselling author, a columnist, and a featured blogger for Psychology Today and the Huffington Post, Maisel is an expert on all that blocks the creative person. In this guest blog post, he explains the important role that confidence plays throughout every stage of the creative process.   

We are pleased to announce that Eric has generously agreed to give away a free 30-minute creativity coaching session via phone or Skype to three lucky individuals. In each session, Eric will work with the winner to identify issues in his or her creative life and create a working plan for dealing with those issues.
For your chance to win, simply leave a comment below answering this question: How would you choose to make your creative mark if you knew you could not fail?

Winners will be selected via a random drawing. Be sure to adjust your settings so we can see your email address, or leave it in the comments section. Good luck!

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Confident Creating
by guest blogger Eric Maisel


If you want to live a creative life and make your mark in some competitive art field like writing, filmmaking, the visual arts, or music, and if at the same time you want to live an emotionally healthy life full of love and satisfaction, you need an intimate understanding of certain key ideas and how they relate to the creative process.

One key idea is that you must act confidently whether or not you feel confident. You need to manifest confidence in every stage of the creative process if you want to get your creative work accomplished. Here’s what confidence looks like throughout the creative process.

Stage 1. Wishing
Wishing is a pre-contemplation stage when you haven’t really decided that you intend to create. You dabble at making art, you don’t find your efforts very satisfying, and you don’t feel that you go deep all that often. The confidence that you need to manifest during this stage is the confidence that you are equal to the rigors of creating. If you don’t confidently accept the reality of process and the reality of difficulty, you may never really get started.

Stage 2. Incubation/Contemplation
During this second stage of the process you need to be able to remain open to what wants to come rather than defensively settling on a first idea or an easy idea. The task is remaining open and not settling for something that relieves your anxiety and your discomfort. The confidence you need here is the confidence to stay open.

Stage 3. Choosing Your Next Subject
Choosing is a crucial part of the creative process. At some point you need the confidence to say, “I am ready to work on this.”  You need the confidence to name a project clearly (even if that naming is “Now I go to the blank canvas without a preconceived idea and just start”), to commit to it, and to make sure that you aren’t leaking confidence even as you choose this project.

Stage 4. Starting Your Work
When you start a new creative work, you start with certain ideas for the work, certain hopes and enthusiasms, certain doubts and fears — that is, you start with an array of thoughts and feelings, some positive and some negative. The confidence you need at that moment is the confidence that you can weather all those thoughts and feelings and the confidence to go into the unknown.

Stage 5. Working
Once you are actually working on your creative project, you enter into the long process of fits and starts, ups and downs, excellent moments and terrible moments — the gamut of human experiences that attach to real work. For this stage you need the confidence that you can deal with your own doubts and resistances and the confidence that you can handle whatever the work throws at you.

Stage 6. Completing
At some point you will be near completing the work. It is often hard to complete what we start because then we are obliged to appraise it, learn if it is good or bad, deal with the rigors of showing and selling, and so on. The confidence required during this stage is the confidence to weather the very ideas of appraisal, criticism, rejection, disappointment, and everything else that you fear may be coming once you announce that the work is done.

Stage 7. Showing
A time comes when you will be obliged to show your work. The confidence you need here is not only the confidence to weather the ideas of appraisal, criticism, and rejection but the confidence to weather the reality of appraisal, criticism, and rejection. As with so many other manifestations of confidence, the basic confidence here sounds like “Bring it on!” You are agreeing to let the world do its thing and announcing that you can survive any blows that the world delivers.

Stage 8. Selling
A confident seller can negotiate, think on her feet, make pitches and presentations, advocate for her work, explain why her work is wanted, and so on. You don’t have to be overconfident, exuberant, or over the top — you simply need to get yourself to the place of being a calmly confident seller, someone who first makes a thing and then sells it in a businesslike manner.

Stage 9: New Incubation and Contemplation
While you are showing and selling your completed works, you are also incubating and contemplating new projects and starting the process all over again. The confidence required here is the confident belief that you have more good ideas in you. You want to confidently assert that you have plenty more to say and plenty more to do — even if you don’t know quite yet how that “plenty” will next manifest itself.

Stage 10: Simultaneous and Shifting States and Stages
I’ve made the creative process sound rather neat and linear, but usually it is anything but. Often we are stalled on one thing, contemplating another thing, trying to sell a third thing, and so on. The confidence you need throughout the process is the quiet, steadfast belief that you can stay organized, successfully handle all the thoughts and feelings going on inside you, get your work done, and manage everything. This is a juggler’s confidence — it is you announcing, “You bet that I can keep all these balls in the air!”

Manifest confidence throughout the creative process. Failing to do so at any stage will stall the process. It isn’t easy living the artist’s life: the work is taxing, the shadows of your personality interfere, and the art marketplace if fiercely competitive. If you learn some key ideas — for instance, that you must act confidently whether or not you feel confident — you give yourself the best chance possible for a productive and rewarding life in the arts.   
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Eric Maisel is the author of Making Your Creative Mark and twenty other creativity titles, including Mastering Creative Anxiety, Brainstorm, Creativity for Life, and Coaching the Artist Within. Widely known as America’s foremost creativity coach, he coaches individuals and trains creativity coaches through workshops and keynotes nationally and internationally. He blogs on the Huffington Post and Psychology Today and writes a column for Professional Artist magazine. Visit him online at www.ericmaisel.com.




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