Why It’s Hard To Do Your Creative Work

I had planned to write something else to properly introduce this workshop. Since I work in real time, not ahead of time, here on my blog…you’re getting the raw, uncut version of what I really want you to take away. I hope you’ll take it away, whether or not you care about taking this workshop.

It’s the only way I can do this today.

Take Away This

Life—your life and time here—is limited.

You have something you want to make or do that you haven’t done yet.

Please go make a start.

There is something you are “dying to do“.

Or you want that feeling of living on fire with that kind of purpose.

Or you want to simply be present to what is, more than be worried or anxious.

I want for you to have what you really, really, really want. Whatever it is.

I want you to feel good in your own skin, and courageous enough to do that thing that is stuck in your craw…that won’t let you alone until you do it.

I promise you that there is someone in the world who will benefit from what you are making, from what you dare to share.

For the second time in as many weeks, I’ve lost someone close to me. Death came.

The person I was just drinking hot chocolate with the other day, the person whose stories I wasn’t finished hearing.

Death finds me today, waking up even more determined to live my own truth, to make what only I can make, and then dare to share it, as best as I can.

Daring to share. That’s, to me, the essence of Marketing for Artists. It’s always the damned hardest thing about my job.

I find endless reasons not to do it – and I suppose this is what Death…and The 7 Creative Powers is helping me do today.

This is my best offer for you. Nothing else really matters.

/// Inelegant Segueway Here ///

The 7 Creative Powers is a course that is seven years, maybe more, in the making.

I first touched on the subject of creative blocks (how to build with them and work with them, instead of letting them boss you around), in my first book, The Creative Entrepreneur.

Why I Made the 7 Creative Powers

Like all of my work, it first flows out of what I needed (and need) for myself, as a lifelong self-employed creative who has somehow managed to eek out her living doing things I love…even when it’s hard to do the work.

You see, while I always knew I was destined to create, it took a lot of fits and starts and detours to finally find my rhythm, my path, and really listen to the call instead of pushing it away as impractical, irresponsible, impossible.

Have you noticed that the voice of creative blocks can sound like a very reasonable-sounding father figure?

I’m one of those people who can’t help but share what I’m learning, and what has helped me. I’ve been some form of teacher, therapist, coach…my whole career—whether I worked as a therapist, meditation teacher, intuitive painting trainer, or art director at a design firm.

All of this alongside doing my own creative work as a visual artist, writer, and former musician…muddling through my own ups and downs with it for decades.

Alas, the path of creativity is not straight, narrow, linear. Nor does it rise in a continual upward trajectory of “success”, like what a “normal” career resume is supposed to look like.

If the thought of your own resume or “success” in anything, not just creative, and including your life, makes you a little queasy, I hope you keep reading. Stay with me.

Why It’s Hard To Do Your Creative Work

Making something new is hard for a lot of reasons.

If what your making or doing is really new to you, then you will experience the very uncomfortable feelings of being disoriented and lost in the woods.

When we don’t know what we are doing, or how to do it, we will immediately begin to doubt the why of what we are attempting.

Doubt is such an uncomfortable emotion that it takes all sorts of forms that are hard to pin down (like the reasonable-sounding voice, mentioned above). In one feel swoop, we go from doubting what we are doing or making, to doubting ourselves.

Making something new lands us directly in unfamiliar territory. It is in this strange land where doubt and fear take hold of even the most sensible individual, even if they’ve produced significant creative work already.

This isn’t the end of the world, or your creation, unless you don’t have a way to manage doubt, and the other difficult emotions that give rise to fear.

Most people give up on what they are making at this point. Many who keep going only do so through mood-altering behaviors and substances.

Who This Workshop Is For

I made this workshop for anyone who struggles with letting doubt and fear stop them.

For people who struggle with too much emotional turmoil, or analysis paralysis (overthinking!) or plain old procrastination and avoidance.

For people who haven’t been able to “just do it”. Look. If it were that easy, we’d all be doing it by now, right?

For people who don’t believe that anesthetizing themselves should be the only way to make unfamiliar territory safe.

How This Workshop, and Body of Work is Different

There are so many good books and methods on getting things done, and even creative blocks and resistance. I believe I have them all, have read them all, have even studied personally with one of more of the authors.

My way of teaching and guiding is through designing creative tools and experiences meant to give people their own direct experience of healing and conscious awareness.

The main differences in how I work:

Your creativity (and mine) is used, experientially, to learn the material, meaning: we actually make and create something meaningful together. You’re not just reading, I’m not just talking. I’m guiding you through your own unique experience, using art supplies and actual blank pieces of paper, and I’m showing you what my creative process looks like, too.

I create a safe container to experience unfamiliar territory. The work you do is kept private, and off-limits of comparison or “feedback” from others.

We use our whole brain, including the emotional centers – not just the right or left – the whole thing: creative and strategic, intuitive and logical

Your emotional life and your feelings are important and incorporated into the work: these are usually left out, or even shunned, in so many methods

You’ll get not just get and inspiring workshop experience, but an entire roadmap to refer to again and again. It’s all in service of helping you work on your own, especially when your creativity has you in it’s teeth, or you’re lost in the woods. You’ll have breadcrumbs and a way back to yourself.

I’m not just a workshop designer or teacher or creativity coach. I am a working artist who is involved in the daily act of making and creating…and…having to sell what I make in order to support myself and my family.

I’m going to share with you what’s worked for me, and for others who experience the ups and downs of creating and overcoming significant fear, doubt and resistance to do so.

Teaching and guiding is what I do because I love it, and because it is a resonant part of my art. If I ever don’t feel that way, I’ll stop teaching.

The 7 Creative Powers Graphic

Find out when the next session of 7 Creative Powers is happening here: http://www.lisasonora.com/workshops/7-creative-powers/

If you’d like to be notified of future workshops, please subscribe to my mailing list. Thanks for your interest!

Please let me know if you have questions – feel free to ask in the comments or shoot me an email (email is the slower route).

19 Responses to Why It’s Hard To Do Your Creative Work

  1. Frannie October 14, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

    Dear Lisa, I am sorry to hear of you recently loosing loved ones. I have been following your posts as I can. Hope that your big move is going well and that you are getting settled. Your new program sounds interesting but I am pretty booked up at the moment. thanks for keeping touch. Namaste, frannie

  2. Anne DeMarsay October 14, 2014 at 8:48 am #

    Lisa, I realized from reading your FB posts that you’d lost two people you loved in a short time and had to rush back to the States. Just wanted you to know that Root and Dreaming on Paper have been big comforts to me during a similar period of loss. As you said to us in the former, “Go gently.”

    • Lisa Sonora October 15, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

      @Anne – no – didn’t rush back to the states. I have family here. 🙂

  3. Lisa Sonora October 13, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

    Monday, Oct. 13 Update: Hi Everyone! Just today, I’m slowly getting back to work since this was originally posted last Thursday.

    A quick note to let everyone know I’m seeing your questions about the course and loving condolences here – thank you for all!

    As for email, dear goodness, I can’t face that quite yet! But I will! There is quite the pile up.

    Hang tight – answers and the link to get Dreaming on Paper as a download are coming soon! Any moment!

    Everything is still rather going in slow motion.

    I am surrendered to it and I think this is really just one of the big life lessons from the past week.

    Thanks again for your love, kindness and patience.

    “I’m doing the best I can.” Is the mantra that emerged for me when trying to face the work after so much grief and all of the logistics that funerals entail.

    I invite you, too, to enjoy this mantra if it serves.

  4. Jennie Mack October 11, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

    Hi Lisa, I am so sorry for your loss.
    I would love to do this course but have only done creative+practice and the free Roots course. I am waiting to see what you have planned (last paragraph above) that may make it possible for us to still participate. Also I hope to sign up for your Facilitator Training in January and am wondering when details will be released.
    Thank you for the great courses so far, they have been both a sanity saver and a pathway back to creativity for me.
    Kind regards,
    Jennie

  5. Linette October 10, 2014 at 6:35 am #

    So sorry for your lost. Be gentle with yourself, now is the time for lots of self care.
    I have participated in your last Roots offering and it has truly deepened my creative practice. Thank you. I am now disappointed that I didn’t enroll for the Dreaming on Paper workshop (due to time constraints) because this offering sounds amazing.

  6. Susanna Grace October 10, 2014 at 3:47 am #

    Lisa, my sincere condolences for your (second!) loss. And my thanks for transmuting that pain Into energy to be more of who you are and share more of what you do. I’m reminded of that Mary Oliver line “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” My Mom (who was an artist) died 5 weeks ago so I utterly relate. Also, I have inherited all her paints, piles of sketchbooks, art supplies etc so I feel strongly called to sign up for an entry-level course with you SOON. The timing, as always, is cosmic. I send love and blessings and gratitude your way.

    • Lisa Sonora October 15, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

      Susanna – Thank you, and I’m sorry for your loss, too.

      What a gift to get your mother’s art supplies!

      20 years ago I had a dear friend who was like a mother to me (I seem to collect mothers wherever I go!). When she moved to India from the USA, she gave me her art supplies, and told me not to save them, but use them.

      I love having her watercolor sets and pencils – used gently and slowly… it’s like she is always with me. I love that.

      • Susanna Grace October 16, 2014 at 3:02 am #

        Lisa, I love your reframing of my loss – using my mother’s materials WILL keep us connected and I will be exploring WITH her. That insight will stay with me – thank you! I really need to do one of your intro courses now to get up the courage to make marks. I hope your equilibrium is gently restoring itself around the new spaces in your life too. (The hospital in which my Mom died has a 90ft long stone wall outside it on which is carved in giant letters ‘ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS’ – ‘Art is long, life is short’. Let’s acknowledge that.)

  7. Debbie October 10, 2014 at 1:36 am #

    Hi Lisa,
    I am interested in taking your seven creative powers workshop but I haven’t taken the dreaming on paper workshop. I didn’t sign up for it because I was going to be away during the time and already journal regularly and don’t have fear of a blank page – so I didn’t feel this one was for me. Perhaps you can consider a way for people who couldn’t or didn’t feel the need to take dreaming on paper to purchase a summary version of the class so we can participate in this next one? I do have your book ‘The Creative entrepreneur’ already.
    Anyway I’m loving what you are doing and sharing and if there’s a way I can join you on the next course that would be great.
    Look forward to hearing from you.
    Debbie

  8. Susan Rochester October 9, 2014 at 11:54 pm #

    Dear Lisa, sending you warm thoughts during this sad time. I hope you find solace in memories of your friends, and in art.

  9. Anne DeMarsay October 9, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

    Lisa, I’m so glad you posted/emailed today, because I’m deciding whether or not to take “7 Creative Powers” in this first session You’ve mentioned several times that it’s a prerequisite for the Creative Practice Facilitator Training Program that starts next spring. I’ve benefited so much from taking Creative + Practice (twice) and continuing to work in a sketchbook on my own that I’m interested in the possibility of become a facilitator–which would influence my decision on whether to take “7 Powers” now or later.

    Would you describe the Creative Practice Facilitator Training program, at least in its broad outlines? Who is it for (that is, is it intended mainly for people who teach or coach professionally, because I don’t)? What will facilitators be equipped to do? What topics will you cover? Is it completely online or do attendees have to travel? How long will the program run, and what is the approximate cost?

    I realize you’re probably still in the planning stages of this program, especially after the Big-Ass Move, but any information you could share would be helpful.

    Thank you!

    • Anne DeMarsay October 12, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

      As a followup, I found a description of the facilitator training on your Workshops & Training page today that answered my questions.

    • Lisa Sonora October 15, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

      Anne: Thanks SO much for your questions. I’ll be posting the Facilitator Training info shortly! It’s just one of the MANY things I had planned to have ready before putting out this course… I’ll email you once I have it ready.

  10. Kate Michmerhuizen October 9, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

    Hi Lisa,

    Your work has been an inspiration to me since my son handed me your book about four years ago. I am in the midst of a huge creative project that involves my whole family but sometimes it’s a huge all consuming crazy thing that takes my time and energy and leaves nothing for my personal creativity to grow. That’s when I turn to your book and remind myself that even if I only do something small I am still expressing and bringing something forth.

    We’ve had tremendous grief to wrestle with in the past three years and I know you are in that now. The journey is unique to all and yours is your own but you have so many people who care. Even people like me who have never spoken to you. I’ll be in a class one day, smiling and happy to be making a lovely mess with color and fabric and shape and love.

    You are a powerful leader and you are appreciated.

    Take Care,
    Kate

    • Lisa Sonora October 15, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

      Thanks so much, Kate! I’m so glad you wrote, are enjoying the book, and have shared here.

      Until we meet!

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