In his self-coaching creativity manual Coaching the Artist Within, Eric Maisel offers four specific tactics or strategies you might adopt to help yourself create more consistently and more easily.
Stop complaining. Take that time and energy-sucking, self–indulgent complaint/excuse-generating habit and redirect its power and intensity toward doing the work instead. Do you seriously have enough creative mental energy that you can blow it off?
Avoid feeling any pressure by beginning your work without expectation – no high standard, no big dream, no anticipated fabulosity, no grand sweep. Picture this: the great muddy Mississippi River starts from a sleepy little pond up in the wilds of Minnesota; a marathon run starts with picking up one foot; an epic novel starts with one letter; a painting starts with a single brushstroke.
“Imagine a Flawless Ignition System”
Maisel uses this technique himself. Before beginning to write every morning, he imagines himself starting a car step by step, right through turning the key and getting that immediate roaring engine response. This play by play mental picture allows him to assume he will start writing effortlessly so he doesn’t worry about the road ahead.
Not into cars? Experiment and find a metaphor that works smoothly for you. I’m a gardener from way back, so I think of a big fat bean seed germinating. Those suckers are programmed to grow!
“Suit Up and Show Up”
Assign yourself a time and place to create, no matter what, come hell or high water. With this rock-solid routine, you place yourself at the easel, at the keyboard, at the desk and do some work. Whether the work is good or bad doesn’t matter. This is of course borrowed, you may realize, from a widely known 12-step AA program.
You owe it to yourself to give these a try, see which one(s) work best for you. In my experience, establishing the daily habit is the key, although you may find something quite different. It’s worth trying these out — because staying stuck in the alternatives is rotten. And the typical ineffective methods we try tend to be less than optimal.
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