All posts by Emmeline Chang

The people who help you succeed

As creative people, it’s easy to think what we create depends on us. But, the truth is, the people around us can have just as big an effect.

If you’re writing, painting, designing… there are times when you’ll get stuck in your head. You fall into thinking there’s not enough time, despair that you can’t fix the structure of your novel, resent your kids and husband for taking time away from your screenplay, feel crappy when your more-successful MFA friend puts on another big show (while there you are, still “emerging,” still “promising,” and still not there), and see another year passing…

At those times, the people around you can make all the difference. They can get caught in the stress and negativity spiral with you. They can commiserate with you.

Or, they can inspire you and call forward the biggest and best in you.

Even better, if they are creative people on the same path–up to big things like you–their insights, challenges, vulnerable moments, successes, and celebrations can feed your own transformation and success.

So… for those of you who want a community that lifts you up–a group of fellow artists who get what you’re doing and bring out the best in you, I’ve put together the CREATE! Mastermind.

This is a circle of ambitious, talented writers/ artists/ creatives who are committed to completing a high-level, career-changing piece of work–a breakthrough masterpiece.

In this community and with my support, here’s what else you’ll do:

Set up your life so you have the time, space and money to create. Dissolve resistance and anxieties. Get into the flow of regular creative work. Bring out your most profound and brilliant work. Find the people and resources to take your craft to the next level. Discover—and transcend—the hidden barriers to doing your best work. And keep going until you’re done.

Interested? Email me and I’ll tell you more!

The perfect way to get your creative work done

For those of you who want to finish a creative work that’s important to you—at a level that will establish you professionally–I’m bringing together a group of talented, ambitious people to do this over the next year.

(Without moving to a mountaintop cabin, living on rice and beans, or giving up your life!)

You choose a creative goal or project you want to complete, and in the group, we handle what you need to get it done: You’ll set up your life so you have the time, space and money to create. Dissolve resistance and anxieties. Get into the flow of regular creative work. Bring out your most profound and brilliant work. Find the people and resources to take your craft to the next level. Discover—and transcend—the hidden barriers to doing your best work. And keep going until you’re done.

Interested? Get in touch and I’ll send you the deets.

Why your amazing writers (artists) group is not enough

I had an amazing writers’ group. But for years, I still had trouble doing my creative work.

Here’s how it went: Every time it was my turn to submit, I felt the deadline looming. I pushed against all kinds of resistance to get my piece done. Sometimes I succeeded, but sometimes I failed. Sometimes I handed in something that wasn’t fully polished. Other times I didn’t finish and had to offer my spot to someone else.

This cycle repeated itself over and over.

So, even though I had a great group—-insightful readers who were great at seeing and unlocking a piece’s potential, a supportive and incredibly helpful group with great social dynamics–I began to question: Why am I here? If I can’t get enough feedback because I’m not writing enough, is it worth it to stay?

Eventually I left.

This illustrates the limitations of any group–no matter how supportive, insightful, visionary, or helpful.

** You see, an artist’s group only addresses a VERY SMALL part of what you need to do successful creative work. **

Here’s what groups are good at: Giving you an external deadline that may help you create. (If you have very mild resistance or blocks, this may be enough. Any more though… and good luck!) Giving you a peer group for artistic exchange and professional connections. Giving you feedback after you create the work.

(This is assuming you have a good group. Bad groups can mean substandard feedback, unhealthy competition, weird social dynamics, flake-y members, and people who are trying to turn your work into a version of theirs–instead of the best version of itself. They can even wound you creatively.)

Good writers groups are invaluable.

But, here’s what they DON’T do:

* Help you identify and handle internal resistance, procrastination, or anxiety that gets in the way of your creative work.

* Coach you through the emotional and logistical challenges of being an artist

* Help you work through scheduling challenges and develop your optimal creative work schedule

* Help you set up your sources of income so you have more time and money to create

* Identify and heal family stories that get in your way (“People like us can’t be creative” or “You can’t make money doing what you love”)

* Support you in day-to-day efforts to stay in the creative flow and do your work

* Help you create the long-term, intermediate, and short-term creative goals that enable you to create a finished work

* Discover and deal with the unconscious ways your “emotional make-up” limits the quality of your work

* Take you on a deep personal exploration of the “truth” within your work–so you can create a work of incredible complexity, depth, and power

If you’ve been trying to finish a creative project for years, it’s a mistake to think your writers group is the answer. (Your group is not enough. If it were, you’d be finished by now!)

If you regularly deal with procrastination, or you always feel too busy to do your creative work, your writers group will not change that.

If your work feels dry and uninspired, or if your creative work and career have plateaued, you need to go deeper to bring out your inspiration and brilliance. Your group cannot take you there.

Your writers group is not supposed to do these things.

But that 360-degree support is crucial. Without it, your creative work can founder for years.

I know from experience: I spent DECADES dealing with blocks and resistance.

 

It took me that long to put the necessary pieces together for myself–to uncover my exact blocks, to do the healing work, to figure out and set up the structures that would let me do my best creative work.
 
(Yes, I did it–and, yes, I did finally rejoin that writers group.)
 
But, even though I learned and grew incredibly along the way, I wouldn’t wish that experience on other artists. (Wouldn’t you rather spend your time and energy just DOING your creative work??)
 
So I’ve created a mastermind group that includes ALL the support you need to create the “breakout” creative work that can establish you professionally. The CREATE! Mastermind includes

* Support to make sure you’re “ALL IN”–instead of stymied by internal fears or resistance

* Coaching on how to set up your life so you have the time, money, and space to create

* Guidance and structures to help you actually DO the work

* Support in doing the highest QUALITY of work (including how to find a good artists’ group!)

* Accountability and coaching to keep you going until you FINISH

The CREATE! Mastermind supports you in all the elements necessary to do the “breakout” creative work that will establish you professionally. If you could use that, stay tuned.

 

P.S. If you know you’re interested, email me with “CREATE! Mastermind” in the subject line. I’ll make sure you don’t miss the announcement!

The real risk

“If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.”

~ Erica Jong

 

Sometimes it’s scary to go for your big creative dream, so you think,

“I’ll play it safe. I’ll wait till I

have more training

get more clarity

save up more money

figure it out

find the courage.”

 

The truth is, inaction is a decision too.

 

When you choose

not to write or paint or compose today,

not to submit your work,

not to take on the scary-big opportunity,

not to approach the artist you’ve admired since childhood,

not to get coaching to advance your career,

not to invest in your dreams…

 

You’re choosing a life where you are

Not doing the work you love

Not building your creative career

Not being seen

Not expanding and growing

Not succeeding

Not getting what you want

Not satisfied with your life.

 

Is that the life you want?

 

Be willing to risk.

Be willing to succeed.

 

No more starving artists

I’ve never liked the phrase “starving artist.”

Here’s what I believe: As an artist and creative, you deserve to make money.

Being paid well is not “selling out,” “exploiting others,” or “being an evil capitalist.”

(In fact, if creative people AREN’T paid well for their work, then only the wealthy and privileged can be professional artists.)

The money you receive is an expression of how much you choose to ask for your creative work–and how much others are willing to pay you.

It is an energetic exchange that measures how you and others perceive the value of what you are offering.

(How you actually BRING IN the money is another topic for another day. But the first step is to let go of the starving artist paradigm–to believe it’s possible to make good money, and to choose to make money.)

By the way, it’s possible to have a “starving artist mindset” even if you have a high income or a lot of assets. In fact, most of us have it, whatever our level of wealth.

The starving artist mindset is the belief that art and money are in conflict. It can take a lot of forms: the belief that you can’t make money as an artist, that commercially successful work isn’t “real art”, that art is “pure” so you shouldn’t want money for it, and so on.

When you let go of the starving artist paradigm and get paid well for your creative work, here are a few things you also let go of:

  • Squeezing in time for your creative work around your day job, taking care of your kids, and all kinds of household chores… and being too exhausted to do any of it well
  • Feeling like you constantly have to choose between your creative work and the rest of your life–and feeling stressed and guilty no matter which one you choose
  • Believing that even though you have money, it isn’t “worth it” to invest in your creative work–so that you subtly resist things like working on your novel, making your film, hiring a band, or working with a coach to produce the high quality work that will take your career to the next level
  • The deep-down horrible belief that you’ll never finish your creative work and you’ll die with your potential and talent still locked away inside you

Now, letting go of the starving artist paradigm *doesn’t* mean the money starts rolling in overnight (though in a few cases, that is all it takes).

It does mean you stop squeezing the life out of your creative work with an “I don’t have enough” attitude–and open to more.

You open to give your creative work time and energy–so it can stop existing as a pipe dream, and start existing as a real thing in the world.

You open to invest money in your creative work–doing it, working with teachers, working with coaches–so you can create incredible work and incredible success.

You open to being seen–to putting your work out there so you can win awards, sign clients, get exhibited, get optioned for films… and so you can move people and change their lives.  

So, will you stop living like a starving artist?

Will you go for the creative success you want?