writing prompts

Writing Prompts: Are you afraid of being creative?

I was surfing through some of my LinkedIn groups and I came across a link to this article about Living with a Creative Mind. The authors share 5 tips for living with a creative mind that made me think about people’s fear around creativity. I had difficulty identifying with their description of a highly creative mind. I consider myself a highly creative person who is  well grounded and easy to get along with, which is the opposite of what they are describing. Yet they make some good points about living with a creative mind that I think we can all benefit from. This led me to my introductory question: are you afraid of being creative? I want to talk about this for a minute and then share a couple of writing prompts to help you push through your fear.

You may have read my article on remembering how to be creative last week where I talk about how our self-judgement and doubt often stems from what we are told about our creative abilities. I don’t remember ever being praised or complimented on my artistic abilities as a child or young adult. I wasn’t a great “artist” in the traditional sense but I loved being creative, making crafts and trying out new ideas. I was often praised or got good grades and awards for my writing, so I let my more “artistic” tendencies fall by the wayside. It took me way too long to return to my creative self and to realize the connection between my creative self and my spiritual self.

What happened to me was that the fear of criticism overruled my desire to create. One of the tips shared in the article on Living with a Creative Mind is that creative types need a lot of affirmation. I would add to that that children and adults need a lot of affirmation without comparison to some aesthetic ideal of what is art and what is not. I am a big believer in the power of being creative just to enjoy and immerse ourselves in the creative process. When we can set our inner critic aside and allow ourselves to create, without attachment to the outcome and without comparing ourselves to others, we are able to tap into a sacred well of creative joy. It’s not about creating a masterpiece, it’s about having fun and allowing ourselves to believe in our own creative expression as a tool for discovery and personal development.

I saw this happen in my Meetup last week. We tackled two creative projects that strike fear into the hearts of many: self-portraits and poetry. Everyone started the experience asking, “Are we going to have to draw a face?” “Do we really have to right a poem?” By the end of our 3 hours, everyone was smiling and enjoying the process. I asked them to leave their inner critic outside. I led them through a guided visualization and some journaling activities. I asked them to create a mixed media self-portrait that expressed all of who they are and to include words from their journaling experience. As they started working, I noticed some people were not including faces in their collage… “But it’s a self-portrait,” I claimed, “it must have a face!” These women found the most beautiful ways of incorporating a face or figure into their self-portrait. It was such a powerful experience. One women left without a face on her canvas and went home to finish it. She kept saying, “I struggle with these projects, I am just not creative this way.” Look at the stunning final piece that she created!

writing prompts

This week, I would like to share some writing prompts to help you think about your relationship with creativity and how you can move through fear to find your creative spirit again.

Writing Prompts for Writing through Fear:

1. Write about your experiences as a child when you drew or colored. How did parents, teachers, friends respond?

2. Describe your creative self as you are today. How do you express your creative genius? Remember, this may have nothing to do with making ART or writing the GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL.

3. I want you to go and buy yourself a brand new box of crayons, you can get one at your local Dollar store. It doesn’t have to be a fancy box or have tons of colors, just a few will do. Bring the box home. When you have a quiet moment I want you to sit at a table or on the floor. Take a few deep breaths. I want you to have a brief conversation with your inner critic and ask him or her to take a break for a while. Get your journal out and open it to a clean page. Now I want you to open the box of crayons, enjoy looking at all of the colors. In your journal (with a crayon or your pen,) write about what you are experience right now. Are you afraid of the box, excited by the box? Just write through the feelings, whatever they are. Write until you feel complete. Then I want you take the crayons and create an abstract picture of how you are feeling. Whatever your hands want you to do, do it. Don’t think about it! Remember, you are allowing yourself to feel the joy and journey of the creative process.

4. Write about how you felt upon completing prompt number three. Ready to play some more?

5. Finally, I want you to explore what living a creative life means for you. It’s different for each of us. For me it means being outside, making art, writing, preparing beautiful food, enjoying my garden, reading great books… the list goes on. I have a clear picture of myself as a creative person. What does our picture include? Be inclusive. Make a list, a mindmap or write about your perfect day. The goal is for you to pay attention to where you are already being creative and notice where you would like to be more intentionally creative.

If you are afraid of being creative, I invite you to join my HeartWise Sister Circle. I am offering a free 30 day trial in March. Join other women who are feeling called to make a change, who want to remember why they are here and who they want to grow into next. Once you join, you will have access to what we have created together so far. Come and play with us. And if you are in Santa Barbara, check out my Meetup and come play with me in person!