Tag: barriers to productivity

Video: Preparing for the Creative Road – Introduction to series


Who in you doesn’t want to do creative work?

Girl-with-hands-in-front-of-faceCenturies of introspection has shown that we, for all practical purposes, are made of many “parts.” You know, part of me wants to go to the family event and part of me wants to do anything but that. Part of me sits on my right shoulder and tells me how to be good and part of me sits on my left shoulder and tells me how to be bad. Part of me wants to knock my assignments right after I get them and part of me wants to wait to the last minute of Sunday evening. And so on.

Most days we flit between various parts taking center stage and donning our body and doing its thing through us.  That actor leaves the stage and we sort go along in neutral for a few days. By next week, a different part comes forward with its mood fog and we are in and act of a funk. So goes our month.

Parts are formed in our heads as things we learn from our family members, peers, and society. They can start as we copy someone’s attitude, beliefs, style, perspectives, the way they carry themselves, their tone of voice, words, etc. Our head takes these seeds and shapes them into something like personifications–sometimes close copies of those who put these ideas into our head and sometimes as general poetic renderings.

So large part of psyche is structured in the shape of people. This is our core programming as we age and move about in the world. We are actors, sometimes playing our unique selves but very often playing the roles of others.

How Parts Can Keep Us From Creative Engagement

Undoubtedly, in our vast cast of parts, we have some that aren’t lined up to help us do our creative work. They have their own agendas to follow. Some pull us to move towards those things they favor. For instance, a part we can call The Spa Recluse is that part that wants to hide out from the world by melting away into our best passive selves at the spa, all-inclusive resort, the large park, the museum, or anywhere that feels indulgent and where we get attention.

Others like: I’m Not Moving From the Couch Slouch; Mr. Burnout; Lost in a Weekend TV Show Marathon; It’s Too Late in the Evening to Start Something New; I Don’t Want to Talk To Anybody; Following a Wild Hair—want us to move towards what they favor and throw off clear messages that even the idea of doing something else is not where we should go.  These jealous parts signal this by a slight feeling of repulsion in our gut, head, and hearts towards the idea of doing something involving work. Yuck. Don’t go there.

Parts can also shape what we do by helping us “forget” some of the things we promised ourselves that we want to do. Active parts keep us so busy we remember everything on our things to do list, but our creative work.  Parts can put us into a cloud of amnesia dust.

Parts have real power. They largely control you and what you do, feel, think, and sense.

Steps to Finding Your Non-Working Parts

If we get good at spotting parts of all types, we can see who is on stage at a particular moment, who is shoving and shouting hard to get up there, and spot which parts are being ignored.  Recognition of active parts is a huge first step. In a later post, we will look at how to learn from and negotiate with the parts.

Step 1: Look inside your head/heart/guts and ask the question: Who doesn’t want to work?

A good way to kick off possibilities is by remembering your best times when you were the most relaxed, the most carefree, and the times you were the most exhausted and had to withdraw.  These instances can be large experiences or small events such as the part of you who enjoys a cup of coffee.

Step 2: Can you give a title to each of these you’s? This will greatly help you to understand what you have found and to spot these parts of you when they pop up later. If you can, sketch out a profile of each.

Don’t rush these steps. Take time to get to know each of your parts as if they were a person that just walked in the door and told you that they were a long-lost close relative. Indeed, they are.


Bunches of Reasons Not To Commit to Anything

To pass from casual creative to productive creative, commitment is required. Commitment that sometimes is hard to muster, painful to carry out, and the last thing you can handle at the moment. Commitment to work, to practice, to make your creativity a big part of your life, commitment to springing back after criticisms and hard times. The list of possible uses is long.

So is the list of reasons not to grab a hold of your calling/interests/strengths/offerings and create something. Pick one, pick a bunch.

Reasons, Reasons, Reasons

– Not guaranteed results. I must be guaranteed very good or great results if I am to be expected to throw myself into something.

– I can’t stand “failure” or to be seen as not following through. My self-esteem is on the line.

– I can’t live being so exposed to judgement and criticism – Worried about hurting self esteem

– I have no idea where to start. Without a set road map, forget it. Since I hate disorder, confusion, ambiguity, I don’t even want to start

– My regular life overwhelms so much, why take on something else?

– I’ll get to it sometime later. I’ve got plenty of time and my vision of the future is pretty clear, the future is the best time for this.

– To do my project requires all sorts of training, etc. and I can’t/don’t want to start that.

– In all probability, my work will not be considered “great” by others in my field. If I can’t be seen as great, so forget it.

– My friends/family/peers will make fun of me for working on such a project.

– I’ve “failed” in the past so I will fail in the future.

– I have low frustration tolerance.

– No one around me has done something like this. It has always been someone in the distance (someone on the news; someone in a magazine; someone in the past, etc.). I know they did something I want to do but it all seems so distant, so hazy.

– I couldn’t stand being boxed in by commitment.

– I’m not sure what commitment means in this case but I’m sure it means more pain (discipline, schedules, concentration, etc) than pleasure.

– Truly, I’m happy with just envisioning my project, I don’t want or need to actually do it.

– I have no target project in mind.

– Part of me will demand that my work will be perfect and another part doubts if it ever could be perfect. Too much inner conflict to handle.

– I can’t make up my mind which project I want to do first.

– I don’t want to give up anything I already have and a new project would rock the boat.

– There isn’t enough time in the day. There isn’t enough space in my house. There isn’t enough money in my bank account.

– To be an artist, one must constantly or regularly inspired and I know I can’t be inspired 24/7. I’m just a regular person.

– I find some aspect of my creative field intimidating so I will stay away from the entire field or hold way back.

– I must know every move I will be required to make. I don’t know all the future moves so no use starting.

– Getting through schooling and getting a job is the way to do things. Since I was never shown how to go much beyond that, it would be strange to try to do something in addition to the norm.

– People look pretty happy with the norm (see above) so that is the gold standard. Things are going pretty well so why take on anything else?

– People will dislike me if I stand out (“The tall poppy is the first one cut.”)

– I’m afraid I might start and then find out it wasn’t what I wanted to do so I would have wasted time and money.

– The only benefit for doing something is the end product, the process is not important. While I would love to have the end product, I think the process would stink, not be exciting, be painful, etc. so why even start?

– I know myself, once I start hitting some obstacles I get depressed.

– My gut tells me that this is a big job and one person can’t do it all alone. My head never realizes that I don’t have to do everything myself. Unique partnerships, hiring of help, etc. could make my goal much more reachable. Oh well, never got that figured out. Move on.

– I’ll spend a week on something but there is no way that I will work on a project for 30 days, 90 days, a year, etc.