Please help me welcome Cathy Spangler as our guest blogger today.

GOT CREATIVITY?


Yes, that’s a rhetorical question (duh). Of course you have creativity. If you’re a writer, your work begins and ends with your creativity. It’s your lifeblood. But it applies to all humans. We’re all creative in one way or another. It’s a divine, inherent part of us, a magnificent gift from the Great Creator. We are co-creators with God. We create new life; we create amazing inventions and light-speed technology; we create civilizations, war, peace, art, music, literature, movies, cities, medicine, monuments, and places of beauty and wonder.

As a writer who’s between contracts right now (as are many writers in this economic downturn), I have struggled with whether or not to keep writing, or what I should be doing instead. This led me to an online course of The Artist’s Way, based on the book by Julia Cameron. I can’t recommend the book or this course highly enough. It helps all artists understand creativity, the process, and their own personal roadblocks. Based on what I learned from the course, I have compiled the following:

CATHERINE’S TOP-TEN FACTS ABOUT CREATIVITY

1) Creativity is a divine gift from the Creator. It is a spiritual endeavor. As such, it flows much more freely when you acknowledge the divine link and work with God/Goddess/The Universe/Supreme Being of your choice. The added bonus is that God/The Universe is ready and willing to aid you in your endeavors, if you will only ask. “The universe is prodigal in its support. We are miserly in what we accept.” – The Artist’s Way

2) Creativity is not a luxury; it’s crucial to your well being. We all need to be able to express our creativity. It’s a gift, just bubbling to be out, and we suffer if we don’t use it. Because it is essential your well being, it is NOT selfish or silly or a waste of time to express your creativity. Throw away your guilt!

3) You have no control over having creativity. It’s as intrinsic as the changing tides or the sun rising and setting. It never goes away—and isn’t that a good thing!

4) Creativity can be harnessed, however, just as we harness the power of the sun. So you can channel it, direct it, and use it in a multitude of ways. It is limitless and fluid.

5) When you honor your creativity, you honor both the Creator and yourself. This is the time to acknowledge that your needs are as just as important as those around you. As you would honor others, you should also honor yourself.

6) Your inner artist is a child and must be nurtured. Having fun is important to keep the artist child happy. The Artist’s Way recommends artist dates as a way of refilling the creative well and nurturing your artist child. The date can be anything fun and engaging for you. It is something you should do alone (although you can go where people are). Examples of artist dates that participants in the online course did: Going to a quilt shop to look for new fabrics, going out with your camera to take interesting photos, working on a vision board, going to a movie, window-shopping in a mall, visiting an art gallery, staying home alone and watching movies, a long walk, visit to a craft fair, etc. The list is endless. It just needs to be something you enjoy. Artist Way recommends at least one artist date per week, more often if you’re involved in an intense or demanding project.

7) The creative process—not the end result—should always be the main focus. Understanding this gave me a tremendous sense of freedom. It reminded me to have fun just writing, without worrying if the work is good or if anyone else will like it. Just go with the flow and know the Universe is behind you.

8) The creative process works best when no expectations are attached to it. As with number 7, this gives us immense freedom. Just write, without worrying if the book will get you an agent or if it will sell, or if your mother will like it. Writing freely and spontaneously and with joy will produce your most amazing work.

9) According to A.R.T.S. Anonymous http://www.artsanonymous.org, it only takes five (only five!) minutes a day to keep your creativity primed and active. You don’t have to worry if you don’t have a lot of time for your writing. Even a little keeps the flow going.

10) Solitude is essential to creativity. Healing time alone allows our inner artist to recharge. Basically, we all need down time. So take that bubble bath or that long walk or curl up with a book or take a nap. You’ll be nurturing both your artist child and your creativity and honoring yourself.
Now that you have the facts, go forth and be creative!

Feel free to ask Cathy about her books, her career or her first boyfriend.

Cathy has offered to give away two of her books,
Touched by Light, so comment for a chance to win one of them.



23 comments

  1. Joelle Charbonneau // February 23, 2010 at 1:04 AM  

    Hi Cathy! Great post. I agree that creativity is essential for the human spirit. And I do think the creative process is often the best part of writing...and an essential part. Worrying about the end result, ie. contracts and sales, never helps the words flow.

  2. Judy // February 23, 2010 at 8:31 AM  

    Wonderful blog, Cathy, and something I needed! Thanks for helping me to center once again during busy days. When I'm not able to write for a time, I get grumpy because I'm not able to release that urge within me to communicate with my characters, who tap their feet impatiently, waiting for me to visit.

  3. Mary Marvella // February 23, 2010 at 11:11 AM  

    Hey, Joelle and Judy, everyone's gonna love this blog today. Cathy, you really hit on something we all need to remember.

  4. Catherine Spangler // February 23, 2010 at 11:34 AM  

    Hi Joelle,

    I agree with you 100%. But it can be hard to create spontaneously without worry and expectations, especially once you have a contract and have to produce whether or not your artist child is in the mood.

  5. Catherine Spangler // February 23, 2010 at 11:36 AM  

    Hi Judy,

    I'm glad the blog was helpful. It's hard for me to stay centered as well. I tend to write in spurts rather than every day, but after learning it only takes 5 minutes a day to keep my creativity primed, I'm trying to do something creative every day.

  6. Catherine Spangler // February 23, 2010 at 11:37 AM  

    Hey Mary,

    Thanks again for inviting me to blog today. Being an artist is hard work, and it helps to know we're all bumping along together :-)

  7. Mary Ricksen // February 23, 2010 at 1:59 PM  

    What a great blog. Sometimes I have to look for my muse. This should help!
    Good luck Cathy and thanks for posting with us!

  8. Caroline Clemmons // February 23, 2010 at 2:32 PM  

    Wonderful post, Cathy. Obviously, you've centered yourself to create great books. It never hurts to hear that advice over and over. When we are sitting alone at our computers, it's easy to forget. I plan to heed your advice for my WIP and go with the flow instead of worrying about each sentence. Thanks for your reminding me of the process and the joy of writing.

  9. Catherine Spangler // February 23, 2010 at 3:32 PM  

    Hi Mary R,

    Thank you for your kind comments. I have to look for my muse everyday--lol.

  10. Catherine Spangler // February 23, 2010 at 3:33 PM  

    Hi Caroline! How in the world are you? I haven't seen you in forever. Thanks for checking in. Working on anything new?

  11. Autumn Jordon // February 23, 2010 at 3:49 PM  

    Wonderful post, Cathy. I feel so alive when I let my creativity flow. Sometimes if the words are not coming to me, I stop and do another creative reactivity, ie design a new flyer, cermanics, baking.Just letting me be me helps me be me. Does that make sense?

  12. Caroline Clemmons // February 23, 2010 at 4:14 PM  

    Cathy, my WIP is a time travel. My cancer seems to be under control. Thanks for asking.

  13. Scarlet Pumpernickel // February 23, 2010 at 4:53 PM  

    Cathy, welcome to the pink fuzzies! We're so pleased that you decided to get fuzzy today! Thanks for sharing this with us. I intend to buy the book right away. This is something that most of us fail to do, feed and care for the inner child of our writing. How wonderful for you to come and remind us. Now, about that boyfriend?

    Scarlet

  14. Angi Morgan // February 23, 2010 at 5:22 PM  

    As always, Cathy. You're an inspiration ! Thanks for sharing.
    ~~Angi

  15. Donna Caubarreaux // February 23, 2010 at 6:06 PM  

    Waving furiously at Cathy...hey, girl. You are right on. We need to feed the creativity well. Sometimes we shove other creative ideas back in the closet while we fret over the words that are locked in the hard drive. Just taking a few minutes to do something else will take your mind off of what is blocking you.

    I have one of those small minature gardens where you have to rake the sand, I need to move it closer to my computer. I'm sure the repeating motion will loosen my muse.

    Maybe I need a little birdhouse with a door, so I can have a place for my muse to live, open the door and ask for her to come out and play.

  16. Beth Trissel // February 23, 2010 at 6:15 PM  

    Welcome to the Fuzzies, Cathy! Super post! I would have stopped by sooner but I was busy being creative. Thanks for the encouragement. Now, back to my edits.

  17. CATHERINE SPANGLER // February 23, 2010 at 10:33 PM  

    Hey ladies, thanks for the comments. We had company for dinner tonight, so I'm just now getting caught up. Hope you don't mind the group response.

    Hi Autumn! Love your idea about doing a different fun and creative project when the words don't flow. I'm sure your artist child does, too.

    Caroline, I'm so glad to hear you're beating the cancer. Or, to put it as a positive affirmation, you're creating perfect health in your body. Exciting that you're doing a time travel. I'd like to see more of them.

    Hi Scarlett! Thanks for buying the book. As for that boyfriend, hmmmm. I really don't remember my first boy friend, but I remember my first real love. He was Latino and oh so sexy. A very dangerous, bad boy :-)

    Hello Angi! Good to see you here. Thank you for the kind words.

    Last but not least, hi Beth! I'm glad you've been creative today. Good luck with the edits.

    Thank you all for making me feel right at home. This is a great group.

  18. Mary Marvella // February 23, 2010 at 10:50 PM  

    So glad you stopped by, Cathy!

  19. Pamela Varnado // February 24, 2010 at 10:21 AM  

    Welcome Cathy. I can relate to your blog on creativity. Being extremely right-brained, I rely on the flow of my creative juices in most areas of my life. It's how I solve my everyday problems. Creativity allows me to look at the world through rose tinted glasses. Nothing is as bad as it seems, because when you use the blessing of creativity, you will definitely find a solution.

  20. Catherine Spangler // February 24, 2010 at 3:50 PM  

    Hi Donna,

    I didn't mean to overlook you yesterday. Love your idea about the bird house for the muse. I think a dish of chocolates would be a good home for mine :-)

  21. Catherine Spangler // February 24, 2010 at 3:51 PM  

    Hi Pamela,

    What a positive, upbeat attitude you have! I agree with you--when the creativity is flowing, life is just better.

  22. Mary Marvella // February 24, 2010 at 9:49 PM  

    Yay, Cathy! Guess we need to choose 2 winners?

  23. Mary Marvella // March 13, 2010 at 1:23 AM  

    Winners are Mary Ricksen and Pam Varnado.