In my last post I talked about how negative stereotypes and beliefs can lead to those dreaded creative blocks and how awareness can help to limit the fear we feel about creating. Another terrific weapon in your arsenal against creative blocking is to use affirmations.
More Creativity Tips from Julia Cameron
Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, is a strong proponent of this process where we apply affirmations to reassure ourselves. As she explains it, by allowing ourselves to envision safety and hope, to speak to ourselve using positive self-talk instead the negative self-talk, we can begin to work on those core negative beliefs that lead to blocks.
Discover Your Negative Beliefs or Blurts
To identify your personal negative beliefs, begin by making a strongly positive, affirming statement about your creative work. Cameron recommends you begin with: “I, (fill in your own name) am a brilliant and prolific writer (or painter, poet, or whatever you are).” Write the statement ten times quickly. While you do this, your mind will supply you with some objections to that statement. Cameron calls these “blurts”.
Blurts are Laser-like Negative Thoughts
These thoughts or blurts are very rude and pretty deadly. My personal list includes the charming title “Wannabe-Poser!” and the always popular “Two bit hack!” (No, I’m not spilling any more! You’ve got your own list!) Ackkk. Eeek. Gaaah.
List Your Negative Thoughts
Be alert to these nasty thoughts as they pop up and really pay attention to them during this exercise. Jot them down as you go. You will probably discover a pattern to them and may be able to figure out where these doubts started. But the important thing is that you uncover them and recognize them for what they are: Negative self-talk.
How to Customize Your Affirmations
The main purpose of this exercise is to identify these specific negative thoughts and create positive statements to counter them. A writer for instance might come up with an affirmation stating something like “I am a genuinely talented and highly productive writer.” “I deserve to be well paid for my work.” It may seem a little overdone on the positive side, but that’s the whole idea. Pump yourself up to the max!
Add Affirmations to Artist’s Way Morning Pages
Use this positive self-talk to counter the negative beliefs you hear in your head. Cameron recommends you write out your affirmations each morning after completing your morning pages. You could even repeat them as needed during the day.
I think of these affirmations as self-induced brain washing; you may have your own pet name for your affirmations. I’d love to hear what kinds of affirmations you are using? Or do you not use them? (For another approach, you might also want to take a look at suggestions from Coaching the Artist Within by Eric Maisel on affirmations for creative people.)
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