Cliffjump! Manifesto – coming soon!

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Creative Commons License photo credit: |vvaldzen|

The following is an excerpt (paraphrased in a few places) of my upcoming Manifesto… sign up for updates to be notified when it is released!

Creativity fascinates me.

It is the focus of my life, the thread of my narrative.

Creative people are a profound mystery to me, despite the fact that I have been told all my life that I am one. On good days I suppose I am, but this doesn’t diminish the mystery and magic of it. Creativity is a small miracle that happens every day, all over the world, and this document [and generally!] aims to help you engage your creativity in a deeper, more empowered manner.

I have spent my life in pursuit of creativity, and I’ve also spent a lot of time around other people who are on the same quest. I’ve watched myself and others wrestle with the process, frustrated by its unpredictability and with the futility of trying to control it. I don’t believe it has to be this way. I think we can do better, and I will be using this space to explore what I believe to be a healthier, more joyous, less fearful creative process.

What exactly is a Manifesto, anyway?

Manifesto: A public declaration, usually of a prince, sovereign, or other person claiming large powers [aw, shucks!], showing his intentions, or proclaiming his opinions and motives in reference to some act done or contemplated by him…

In this case, I’ll be presenting the framework for what has been for me a very fruitful way of approaching the creative act. This is not just about getting you creatively ‘unstuck’, though that is a noble goal and a nice side-effect. This is not just about presenting techniques or tricks to get the creative juices flowing, though we’ll certainly look into a few of those along the way. This is not even just about digging deep into our fears and creative blocks and finding ways to transcend them, though we’ll be doing a lot of that too…

I want to offer what I believe to be a deeper and richer model of what creativity is, and a method with power and purpose that can be applied in every aspect of your life – not just your creative work, whatever that may be. In fact, it will gradually make less and less sense to try to separate the two. Your innate creative energy will be engaged and inextricably entwined with every decision, every act.

Fair warning: getting there may involve some potentially uncomfortable and possibly even painful self-examination; certainly it has for me, but the results have made it more than worthwhile. Remember the old saying about making an omelette and breaking eggs – nothing good comes without some sacrifice. In this case, we’ll be sacrificing some old habits, ways of thinking that may unconsciously be sabotaging your creative life and, possibly, your career.

Why should you be interested?

Will this make you more money? Probably not, at least not directly… although we will be investigating some of the psychology that inhibits creative people from successfully marketing or promoting their work, and pointing the way towards a healthier mindset about it.

Will it make you happier? I can only speak for myself – the model of creativity I am presenting here has made my creative life more fulfilling than I ever thought possible. How? It has given me a way to tame the self-doubt, silence the inner critic that judges what we do before we even do it.

Completely? Permanently? No. I am human, I slip, I lose focus like everyone else and old habits creep back in. I do not promise that the model I propose here is infallible, that it will in and of itself erase these tendencies that are so much a part of our human condition.

However, the method offers a structure to fall back on, a way to reset and get started again when the wheels get stuck. It provides a framework for seeing these doubts and fears for what they are, for assessing the case made by the voices of self-criticism against a more encouraging, supportive set of messages, so we can choose the course that seems most promising. I’m pretty sure I know which one that will be.

Or you could ignore me and keep doing what you’re doing…

Of course, it is possible to be creative when motivated by fear, by competition, by the desire for attention, fame or fortune or by the drive to make one’s mark on the world before we die. Indeed, there have been countless highly creative people through the ages who were and are driven by these things… However, I believe that over the long term, they tend to make us bitter and unsatisfied – always chasing impossible goals. I’m not assuming that this describes you and your creative process, but it certainly applied to me for a long time – and I’d love to help a few other people avoid it.

I believe there is a better way, a way more joyful, more rewarding, more ‘spiritual’ if you will… I believe this, or rather I know it, because I have followed this path for years. Like many things in life, it gets easier, and better, with practice. Now I want to share it with you.

The Cliffjump! Manifesto will be released in June… stay tuned for further excerpts and teasers over the coming weeks!