All posts by Emmeline Chang

My story: How I did what it took to break my writer’s block

When I was struggling to write, in the mid-2000s, I found a writing coach. I could tell he would be able to help me where so many other people and approaches had failed.

There was just one problem: he charged A LOT more than I had ever spent.

The amount scared me. I didn’t think I could do it.

My boyfriend at the time wasn’t hearing it. “You have to do this,” he said. “You are going to work with this guy–even if you have to take out a home equity loan to do it.”

His words had a big effect on me. As a child of first-generation immigrants who scrimped and saved, it was foreign and scary to me to take out a loan out to pay for creativity. (“Borrowing against your home! How irresponsible!” the immigrant voices inside me shrilled.)

But my boyfriend said, “You’ll make it back. You’ll pay it off. You HAVE to work with this guy because you HAVE to break your block and write.”

He was so serious and so certain–it really got me. I recognized: he was right. I DID have to do this. My soul required it.

(I don’t mean ‘I was broken and this coach could fix me, so I had no choice.’ What I mean is, there are some things so important to us, so core to who we are, that we MUST fulfill them. Writing was that for me. Whatever it took to get me writing again, I would do.)

So I took a deep breath and chose: I would work with this coach.

As it turned out, I didn’t have to take out a home equity loan. Once I made the choice, I found it much easier to pay for than I had expected.

(Side note: In the intervening years, I’ve found this phenomenon to hold true again and again, for me and for clients: once you CHOOSE and COMMIT, the way opens.

Corollary truth: The way does NOT come from thinking, “I’ll save up and try to make more, and if I have the money, I’ll do it.”

Decision and commitment open your eyes to new opportunity (and sources of money). Excessive caution and hanging back focus your eyes on lack of money–and that perpetuates more of the same.)

This is key: The WILLINGNESS to do what it took opened the way. The willingness to do the scary thing I would never have considered before. The willingness to listen past the fear… to my soul’s imperative. And the willingness to make that bold commitment with my emotions and my money.

Yes, I DID break my writer’s block then. And what that did for my self-esteem is beyond words.  

I was flying. Triumphant. Powerful.

Also, much more simply: I was capable. I believed in myself again.

And that is priceless.

 

P.S. As a side note, the results were priceless, AND there was money. 🙂 Within a few years, using the same power of commitment and choice, I also tripled my income–but that’s a topic for another post.

P.P.S. If you recognize the feeling of I MUST DO WHAT IT TAKES,” let’s talk. That is a message from your soul. Something in you is calling for you to break through your block–and to do it now.

I’m offering a new 1:1 program called TRUE CREATIVE SUCCESS. It’s designed specifically to help you break through what’s been holding you back for years, so you can do your TRUE creative work and take a DRAMATIC leap in your career and income. This is a program for talented, ambitious creative people who will do what it takes. Email me now to find out more.

If it’s hard to find time for your creative work, READ THIS

If you aren’t doing enough of your creative work, maybe you feel a sense of shame. Deep down, you believe you should be able to make the time for it.

But day after day, the time slips away. Sometimes you procrastinate out of anxiety or fear. Other times a family or work situation gets in the way.

And while you recognize that you’ve got a lot going on in your life, on some level you blame yourself. I should be able to make the time, you tell yourself. It isn’t rocket science. Just cut back on some things, commit to a time, and be firm about sticking with it.

Even worse, you might know people who just go ahead with their creative work–easily, simply, blithely doing it–while you’re tortured by your desire to do your creative work AND the fact that you’re not doing it. (Don’t beat yourself up over not being one of those people. They’re not superior to you–they just have a personality, worldview, family upbringing, or life situation that supports their creative work. You don’t have that. So don’t compare.)

Yes, it CAN be simple to find time for creative work and do it–IF you’re in the right  physical, mental, emotional, energetic, and spiritual state.

But here’s the truth: If it were easy FOR YOU to make time for your creative work, you’d be doing it.

The fact is, if you’re someone who ISN’T making time for your creative work, it’s because there’s actually a lot in your way.

To get to your creative work, YOU have to tunnel through layers of family beliefs and admonitions (“people like us don’t get to do what we love,” “get a real job,” “be responsible”), stare down worries about money and financial stability, get past fears about letting other people down, AND handle all the logistical challenges of your everyday life.

Still sound easy? 😉

There’s no victim mentality here–just a recognition that you have some real barriers in your way.

And with that comes another truth: When you really recognize what’s in your way and handle it, you CAN find time to do your creative work. And you CAN do it with that inspired golden flow and ease.

If making time is one of your challenges, come join me in this sacred circle (done via Facebook live): HOW TO FIND TIME FOR YOUR CREATIVE WORK.

We’re going to unpack the half-hidden beliefs, work with the anxiety, and start finding solutions.

Join me here!

Go on vacation–and get more done

As you read this, I am on vacation!! And basking in the sweet sunshine of just BEING.

Last year while on vacation, I learned a valuable lesson: sometimes, doing NOTHING will open up the fastest and easiest path to what you want.

Before my vacation, I was struggling to fit exercise into my day. With two kids and a busy schedule, it just wasn’t happening.

Then one day, on vacation, I just thought, “I’m up early. Why don’t I just pop down to the gym and get on the elliptical?”

So I did. I brought an inspirational book and read it while I exercised. And in the middle of doing that, I suddenly realized how I could change my schedule to exercise in at home.

I got off the elliptical, glowing. I felt so alive–and I felt incredible excitement. I exercised every day for the rest of the trip.

And when I got home, I made that schedule change–and it was done! I’ve exercised at least 6 days a week now, for the past year.

What’s even more exciting: as I kept exercising, other things got easier too. Writing, taking action in my business–action became part of an easy, flowing, joyful movement through my day.

So I want to let you know: If you’re pushing hard and not getting things done, if you feel stuck because you don’t know how to fit something into your day, take a break. Stop pushing. Give yourself a long stretch to do nothing, and just be. And allow the answer to come.

P.S. If one of the things that you’re stuck on is your creative work, I’ve put together a program designed to help you do your TRUE creative work and finally go for the true CREATIVE SUCCESS you’ve been longing for. You’ll move past your blocks… uncover your truest, best creative work… and DO the creative work you’ve been longing to do. And, you’ll also discover the unseen opportunities already in your world so you can take a dramatic leap in your creative career.

This is a high-level program for ambitious creative people who are ready for big results. If that’s you, click here and let’s talk.

How to find time for your creative work

I ask people what stops them from doing their creative work–and the most common answer is, “I don’t have time.”

When I help clients with this, sometimes it’s a simple fix–a couple practical suggestions that make a huge difference.

At other times, it seems like the problem is “not enough time,” but the real issue something else: an emotional, mental, or other block. Often, it’s something a client wasn’t even aware of.

How do you know what it is? And once you know, how do you deal with it and actually FIND TIME for your creative work?

Join me in this sacred circle.

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How to find time for your creative work

In this sacred circle (done via Facebook live), you will

  • Discover the REAL reason you don’t have time–and how to change that

  • Find creative time that WORKS with your life

  • Get support for actually DOING your creative work

Join us now!

National breakdowns and creative breakthroughs

Or, what I realized after the Trump-Putin summit

I have strong grounding practices, but yesterday they temporarily failed. Just before dinner, I found myself obsessively reading about the Trump-Putin summit. Analyses, opinion pieces, Facebook posts and Twitter threads–I kept going and going.

As I read, I noticed something: my body felt more and more jittery. Nervous energy was building inside me–an electrical tension with nowhere to go. Finally, it got bad enough that I had to stop and recognize, “Wow, this is really doing something to my body.”

Now, I’ve been reading about Trump and Russia since well before the election, and nothing had ever affected me like this.

And then I realized why. Until this summit, I didn’t truly FEEL, deep in my body, that our president was under Russia’s sway. Intellectually,  I suspected it. As article after article, discovery after discovery came out, my logical mind said, “There’s too much here. Something must be going on with Trump, the Russian mob, election collusion…” But it stayed there in my mind, on the level of intellect.

Only when my body began to process it as REALITY did it create an anxiety so strong that I had to get up and move.

 

 Then I made another connection–about breakthroughs.

Not long ago, I had a BIG breakthrough. I began holding space for people at a whole new level–and showing up in my business in a much bigger way. When it happened, the whole energy of my body felt different–a whole new level of openness, expansion, calm, confidence, and love.

Last night, I recognized this Trump-Putin anxiety as an opposing energy, with a completely opposite effect.

One was powerful, nourishing, and uplifting–inspiring me to work with ease and flow, hope and trust. The other felt like an addiction–I felt worse and worse, more and more jittery (like a bad sugar high), but more and more compelled to keep reading–and of course, less and less able to function.

I realized how powerful it is–the energy we carry in our bodies. This energy is a real thing–and is PART OF THE PROCESS every time we are about to make a big breakthrough and uplevel.

When BIG shifts happen in our lives, our bodies react. We get anxious. Our “reptilian brains” act up.

If left unchecked, this is what happens: We hesitate and second-guess ourselves. We wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep. We freeze or run away or pick fights. We turn down opportunities out of fear (or we make up an excuse about why it wasn’t really a good idea). We back down from the brink of a move that will MAKE our careers.

Here’s why: our bodies are wired to seek the familiar. We know we’ve survived it before, so on a deep animal level, we seek it out again–because it’s survivable. And SURVIVAL (not creative or spiritual fulfillment, not growth or transformation or success or lots of money) is what the reptilian brain wants.

So, when you’re about to take a BIG step that will lead to a MAJOR breakthrough for you (that is, something completely UNFAMILIAR), your system freaks out.

This is different, this is scary, maybe we won’t survive!” it screams. “We can’t do it, we’re going to fail, we don’t have time, we don’t have money, maybe this is not a good idea.”

Your reptilian brain tries everything possible to bring you back to your familiar default state. Whatever stories you tell yourself, whatever you do to take yourself out of the game (emotional eating, drinking too much, picking a fight with your partner, escapist fiction (my favorite!), overworking (another favorite of mine!)), your reptilian brain will bring them all up.

This is similar to the anxiety that comes up when the political situation feels shocking and scary.

An American president under Russia’s sway is SO UNFAMILIAR to me, my system got jittery and overloaded with anxiety.

The major breakthrough you want (for example, doing your TRUE creative work and making FABULOUS money with it) is SO UNFAMILIAR to your system, your system could overload with anxiety in the same way.

  

Here’s the good news: The anxiety is NOT the truth–just a body reaction to something wildly unfamiliar.

Unprecedented and scary as our political situation seems, we are NOT powerless. We have voices, we have power, and our actions have impact. We are creative, loving, connected people who can change the world.

Unfamiliar and scary as it is to do your TRUE creative work, you have the power to do it. You are divinely creative, connected to magic and love, depth and truth.

The anxiety doesn’t have to overwhelm you–IF you know how to handle it.

So here’s how to handle the incredible anxiety when it comes up:

1. FEEL the feelings.

Acknowledge the anxiety. Don’t try to push it away or shut it down. Let the feelings run through you like water.

2. While you’re doing that, give yourself COMPASSION.

It can feel f*cking scary. Your body is on anxiety overload, your nerves are filled with extra energy, and you want to escape. Just be with it. Give yourself love.

This is big stuff. Standing up for the country we believe in… doing our true creative work… creating the lives we truly want… all in the face of opposition and fear. As individuals and as a nation, we’re facing big things right now. Let’s recognize that and give ourselves compassion and love.

3. Focus on what you want to CREATE.

Yes, feel your feelings, but then let it go. Don’t energize the fear.

Give your energy to your vision and desire.

Let in the energy of what you are creating. See and feel the reality you are bringing into being–feel the joy of it, the gratitude for it. Allow that energy to fill every cell in your body.

Yes, this goes for the political too. What do you stand for? How can you call on your highest creativity and resourcefulness? How will it feel to know that you stood in solidarity with your allies and created the country you believe in? Feel the gratitude and joy for a world that is loving and just.

4. Take ACTION.

The best outlet for nervous energy is action. Action creates momentum, momentum creates confidence, and all three create results.

Don’t just take any action: let go of the nervous busywork (which is really another way to avoid) and choose the big-impact action that is the fastest way to your goal. Politically and personally, what’s the fastest and most direct path to creating what you want?

If you don’t know what that action is, take one step that makes sense.

(Write one page of your book. Campaign to remove one electorally vulnerable Senator who is enabling Trump. Email your old colleague about connecting you to that artist. Go to an Indivisible meeting. Put aside 20 minutes to sculpt. Go to a town hall about health care. Stand up for what you believe–with your body and your voice. As you continue, you’ll get clarity on the big-impact actions.)

5. Take CARE of yourself.

Get enough sleep, eat well, make time to do nothing. Remember play and pleasure. Connect to your communities.

Whether we’re transforming ourselves or our country, remember: this is a lifelong journey, not a sprint. Nourish yourself along the way, so you can keep going with hope and love, day after day.

We are transforming. Our country is transforming. Yes, big anxiety comes up when we transform. But if we can stay with the discomfort and keep going, if we can let go of fear and stand for hope… we truly can make magic.

P.S. If you’d like read more of my blog posts, join me here.

P.P.S. If you’re feeling the anxiety of big transformations, you don’t have to do it alone. Email me, and let’s talk about how I can support you through YOUR big breakthrough.