All posts by Emmeline Chang

The instant shift–so you can do your creative work

“I’m not doing my creative work. I have so much going on, I never get to it. I’m afraid I’ll run out of time, and it’ll never happen.”

I get it. Everyday life can be a sandstorm blowing in your face: so many daily responsibilities like endless grains of dust and grit.

Know this: Everything can change in an instant.

It changes the moment you CHOOSE.

When you truly COMMIT to your creative work, the shift is instantaneous. You say, “I will do my true creative work–and have the life I want.”

And then the magic begins.

Here’s how. You say, “Yes, and.”

“Yes, the roof just sprang a leak, and yes, my son is home sick, and I have three things that have to go out today. AND I can do my creative work.”

And you ask yourself, “What can I put in place, what can I create, so that ALL my priorities are taken care of?” And yes, that “ALL” includes your true creative work. And your self-care. And your love for your family. And the way you uphold your commitments.

This is how magic works. You make the commitment, you hold the vision, you open to possibilities. You feel your discomfort and fear–and expand beyond your comfort zone. You take aligned action.

Sometimes the solutions are immediate, and sometimes they take more time. But you stay constant through it, holding the vision of your creative work and the life you want, making it a priority, challenging yourself to open, to do things in new ways.

You will get there.

Choose your creative work. Choose your true desire. And let it begin.

Are you trapped by your success?

Are you trapped by your success?

A lot of creative, ambitious people are.

I remember talking to a creative director colleague (back in my ad agency days) who’d just come back from her college reunion. Her friends were published, had books, won awards, were teaching at universities. “And,” she said, “I’m writing this.” She gestured at a pharmaceutical ad.

There was a hint of regret. Not soul-baring agony: she was a naturally cheerful person, and she had plenty to be happy about. She was rock star in her own world–a talented, fast-rising, well-liked, and very successful creative director.

But the truth was, she WASN’T satisfied. There was a hunger her advertising work wasn’t satisfying. She wanted to create something original–something truly her own.

I see this often with incoming clients. They’re successful, with jobs, businesses, or incomes most people would envy. But they’re trapped.

golden handcuffsThey want to do their own creative work, but they’re afraid: I’m successful here–what if I give it up and don’t make it? I’ll be nothing.

If you’re feeling this, let me share a few thoughts.

First, if your “success” doesn’t feel like TRUE success to you deep down–if it feels like you haven’t succeeded at your TRUE dream–that’s a message from your soul to go for more. Your soul’s desire to do your true creative work isn’t a silly pipe dream–it’s embedded in your soul because it’s a key part of who you are and the path you’re meant to follow in this lifetime.

Second, your choices are not black and white. The choice isn’t “ignore my creative dreams” or “cash in my 401k, abandon my family, and move to a deserted mountain cabin.” Fear–and the success trap–just make it feel that way.

You don’t have to quit your money-making work to make it as an artist. (In fact, I don’t generally advise doing it right away.) You can reconfigure your work schedule, find better clients or a better job, change things right away or over time. You can make any number of choices to design a life that supports your creative work. I’ve done it, my clients have done it, and you can do it too.

Third, when you COMMIT to your creative work, opportunities you can’t see now will appear. When you make a choice and go for it, the universe responds with support–often in unexpected ways.

Here’s a sampling of unexpected opportunities that appeared when my clients committed to their visions: A surprise severance package (giving her the financial support to pursue her dreams). Publicity from a prominent expert in her field (leading to almost $20k in sales). A dream client who found her “out of the blue” on the web ($6k right away, then more in ongoing work). An agent. Getting featured at top film festivals. A New York Times review.

Last but not least, committing to your dreams doesn’t mean casting yourself into the complete unknown. There are reliable things you can do to turn your dreams into actual reality. Ways to tune in to the Real You and get guidance on what’s truly right for you. Ways to “download” career shortcuts from your magical, successful future self–so you can take dramatic career leaps very quickly. Ways to find opportunities that feel truly miraculous. All while doing your truest creative work.

It all begins when you say no to the “success trap”–and yes to yourself.

The real keys to “making time” for your creative work

“I don’t have time.”

That’s why you’re not writing, painting, making your film, designing, creating your line of organic aromatherapy products… why you’re not doing what your soul is desperately calling you to do. Right?

Meanwhile you’re beating yourself up because you know you ought to “make time” for it. After all, we’ve all heard that you can “make time” for what’s important to you.

That’s true–but only part of the truth.

You see, it goes much deeper. If it were just a matter of setting your priorities and making some logistical changes to your schedule, a lot more us would reach our goals and have the life we want.

The real question is, what stops you from “making the time”?

 

Sometimes it’s getting clear on what you want–and the basic steps to take. But let’s face it: your true desire and the basic steps toward it are not rocket science. If you want to put out an album of our songs, the fundamental steps are simple: Write your songs. Find band members and backup singers. Rehearse. Record your songs.

Where it gets complicated is everything we attach to the steps. What if my songs aren’t good enough? What if people laugh? What if I hire people and pay them and it’s for nothing? What if we don’t get along? Should I go to a recording studio or DIY it? And then–aaahhhhhhh!!!–your brain goes into meltdown.

So what’s really going on?

1. The emotions

The things we’re worrying about aren’t the problem–they’re the symptom. Some part of your creative work is scary–and is triggering your animal brain (which has three basic reactions: fight, flight, or freeze). So you’ll resist your work, avoid it, or get stuck.

This is a normal reaction to creating something new. Our brains are hard-wired to seek the familiar, because that’s what we know how to survive. When you stare the unknown in the face (and that’s what you do every time you create something), the animal brain gets activated.

When you know how to move through this discomfort, it becomes SO much easier to do your creative work.

 

2. You’re stuck in a habit loop

Here’s one you may recognize: In the evening, you squeeze in the last bit of work… which means you go to sleep late. In the morning, you’re exhausted, so you lie in bed trying desperately to snatch at some last few moments of sleep. When you finally get up, it’s too late to exercise because you need to do things for the kids. By the time the kids are off to school, your body feels off, you feel cranky and pressed for time, and the rest of the day’s responsibilities are staring you in the face. You’d planned to start writing, but you can’t muster up the emotional energy.  

Habit loops are created from a complex intersection of physical, mental, emotional, energetic, and spiritual ways of being. And usually, one lynchpin can shift the whole negative loop.

When you make this shift, what was once hard to do becomes surprisingly simple.

 

3. Your creative work is no longer PLAY

Yes, even if you’re doing creative work you’re passionate about, if you’re not experiencing more FUN than WORK, eventually you’ll feel ground down… and your creative work will grind to a halt.

But, once you bring back the play and delight, your natural creative compass kicks in. You’ll follow the flow of inspiration.

And, that artist’s dream–the golden flow of channeling pure creativity–will become a regular part of your life. (Yes, really! This is possible.)

The golden flow of creativity

4) You don’t have the external support: a community that has your back, coaching to get you through blocks, accountability to keep you going, practical advice to get you through the bumps.

When you DO have external support, obstacles that once stopped you for weeks or months become small speed bumps–and you move over them quickly.

And that creates confidence, momentum, and joy.

 

If you want to find out exactly how to activate these powerful dynamics, join me in this telecircle: The Magical Keys to Doing Your Creative Work and Creating the Life You Want.

In it, you’ll discover the keys that REALLY make your creative work possible–and start using them. And yes, you’ll find out how to become someone who does her creative work successfully–and creates the life she wants.

Join us here.

Why I couldn’t write (and what I know now)

At one point during my years of creative block, I said, “It’s hard to write because it feels like it doesn’t matter. No one cares at all if this book gets written.”

And my life coach worked with me to come up with ways I could find validation–sharing my work with friends or colleagues, publishing small things so I could see people respond to my work… All those were valid strategies, but to tell the truth, I couldn’t muster up the energy to take those actions when the gaping hole inside me kept saying, “No one cares. Why bother?”

Here’s what I realize now:

Yes, it’s hard to do your creative work when it feels like the world is a big, busy mass of indifference to what you’re doing. I mean, why lock yourself in a room to write (or sculpt, compose, choreograph, or paint)… why take time away from your family or paid work to work on your film when no one is calling for you to create it? When no one needs or wants it?

That’s true.

No one is asking you for your work YET… at this point in space and time. That’s because at this point in time, it doesn’t exist for them.

But, the Truth is bigger than this one moment, isn’t it? The Universe contains so much more than the point in space and time you occupy right now.

There are places in the world you can’t see, and people in the world you don’t know… all real, despite the fact that they don’t exist for you. The same is true for time. Reality extends far back into the past… and far forward into the future.

Hold the vision of the future

So here’s the real truth:

If you go deep and bring out your best, truest creative work, there is a future world where people are moved and inspired–where their lives are changed–because of your creative work.

There is a future world where people are incredibly grateful for your work, and grateful you did what it took to bring your work into being.

This isn’t some unrealistic fantasy.

In the big cosmic perspective, this future world is just as real and valid as the one you live in now (along with the many other future worlds that are possible).

And this future world comes into being because you choose it–and you back that choice up with action.

So here’s part of your work as a creative: Hold the vision. And then act.

Hold a vision that is bigger than today. Hold the vision of a time where more exists. Hold the future where your work shines bright… even when you don’t know exactly what it looks like.

And walk forward into your creative vision with faith that it will meet you.

The world is waiting.

Gazing into the future

What’s new this spring

Happy spring!!!

I’m starting some new, exciting things, and I want to share them with you.

The biggest: I’ve realized that my greatest genius is helping people do their creative work–the truest work that comes from their soul–and making BIG leaps with it. (Read, launching a freelance career and making six figures in a year, getting an agent, working with a celebrity’s production company, getting published regularly in The New Yorker, and more).

To me, the underlying thread is, I help people do their creative work and create lives they love. There are many ways we do this, working on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels to create big breakthroughs and lasting change.

I call it the “Creative Witchery” approach: helping people access and use the magic of creation. When you really get these principles and make them part of your life, it’s easy and natural to

  • do your TRUEST and BEST work
  • create the life you want, and
  • make money with your creativity

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