Read an Excerpt
By Eric Maisel
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLCCopyright © 2004 Eric Maisel
All rights reserved.
The six decks in the A Little Every Day series are Everyday Calm, Everyday Creative, Everyday Smart, and the soon to come Everyday Mindful, Everyday Centered, and Everyday Joyful. These six ideas—calm, creative, smart, mindful, centered, and joyful—make up a complete program for creating an excellent way of life. Each individual idea supports the other five. If you use the decks in concert with one another, you will find yourself growing in profound, unexpected ways.
The thirty cards in the Everyday Creative deck provide you with thirty different ways to wake up your inner artist. They help you undertake new creative projects, live your life more authentically, and manifest your true artistic nature. I invite you to acquire confidence, allow for fortunate accidents, embrace mystery, reduce limiting anxiety, and much more. Each card in the Everyday Creative deck will help you grow more creative—just shuffle and cut!
I am always happy to hear from readers of my books and users of my decks. You can find the best way to contact me at my web-site, www.ericmaisel.com. I hope that you find the decks in the A Little Every Day series evocative, beautiful, and useful. May you have a calm, creative, smart, mindful, centered, joyful day!
Creativity flows from relationship. It flows from the relationship you forge with yourself. You are the teacher and you are the student.
Grow creative by fostering self-relationship.
Start a journal you call "My Creative Solutions." Every time a problem or issue arises, turn to your journal and ask yourself, "What do I already know that will help me solve this?" Begin to see yourself as your own best resource.
Be everyday creative. Embrace creative work. Manifest the qualities of an artist.
Grow creative by manifesting your artist's nature.
Name some creative project that you would like to tackle. Then write down the qualities in you that will help bring this project to fruition— qualities like imagination, spunk, discipline, a sense of humor. These qualities make up your artist's nature.
Stay close to your creative work. Creativity requires intimacy. Distance causes forgetfulness and pain.
Grow creative through intimate connection.
If you are a writer, always carry your writing pad. If you are a painter, always carry your sketch pad. If you haven't settled on a discipline or project, carry a notebook in which you jot down thoughts about how you might work creatively.
Mystery is the artist's territory. We know. An we don't know.
Grow creative by embracing mystery.
What do you find really mysterious? In that direction lies the potential for excellent work. Make a list you call "Mysteries" and then read it over. Circle the mysteries that stir your soul and repeat each one out loud, like an incantation.
Silence provokes deep responses. Quiet your mind. Then beauty will rise up in you.
Grow creative through genuine silence.
Pick a quiet hour of the day. Turn off the television, close your book, eliminate all stimuli. Quiet your mind by saying "Hush!" Let silence reign. When you are fully quiet, say to yourself, "Come, creative work!" Pursue what arrives.
Astonish yourself. Then you will astonish others. What is most astonishing in your heart is truest.
Grow creative by astonishing yourself.
What would astonish you? To write a novel in six weeks' time? To start a wildly successful business in your home? To draw beautifully? Name something whose accomplishment would astonish you and then astonish yourself.
Concentrate, but also surrender. Surrender, but also concentrate. Sometimes one first, sometimes the other, always both.
Grow creative through concentration and surrender.
Find a brain teaser, puzzle, or conundrum. Concentrate very hard for five minutes on solving it. Then let it go completely. Experience total surrender to "not knowing." Repeat this process three or four times.
Learn by doing. There is no other way. Experience is the best teacher.
Grow creative through simple effort.
Select a creative project. Prepare and commit to a "creative work" schedule. Work on your project for a month without second-guessing your choice or badmouthing your progress.
Art happens on dull days too. Do not wait for inspiration. Do not wait for anything.
Grow creative by regularly and routinely creating.
Make the following pledge: "I will do some creative work every day, if only for fifteen or twenty minutes." Honor your pledge for the next two weeks and spend fourteen consecutive days creating.
Unexplored territory has no maps. You will have to go into the unknown. Guided only by your inner compass.
Grow creative through endless exploration.
Pick a subject that fascinates you, one that you've always wanted to study. Avoid saying "It's too late to start" or "There's too much to learn." Enter the unexplored territory of your new subject like an intrepid explorer.
Intending is more powerful than wishing. Intend to create. Hold the intention in your heart and in your belly.
Grow creative through powerful intention.
Confirm your intention to work on a given creative project and to live a creative life by posting that intention on signs that you post around your house—on the refrigerator door, above your desk, on the bathroom mirror.
Enjoy today what exasperated you yesterday. Yesterday your creative work frustrated you. Today the universe may have shifted inexplicably.
Grow creative by returning to your creative work.
Have you abandoned some creative projects in the past? Most of us have abandoned quite a few! Pick a project that you abandoned but that is still dear to your heart and return to it with optimism, an open heart, and a firm belief in renewed possibility.
Discover what your life is about by creating. Creativity is the life force coursing through you. Let it flow and teach you.
Grow creative through self-exploration.
Pick a creative project whose express purpose is to teach you something about your situation and your nature. If no project comes to mind, try your hand at a ten-page autobiography.
Anxiety limits creativity. Fears, worries, doubts freeze us. Freedom equals anxiety management.
Grow creative through anxiety awareness.
Learn one or two anxiety management strategies from the following list: breath awareness, meditation, guided imagery, yoga, tai chi, self-relaxation, affirmations. Learn them and use them on a regular basis.
Commit, which means, live and create with risk. Choose a creative project with all your heart. Take that risk.
Grow creative by risking and committing.
Picture yourself separated from your creative work by a chasm that is a thousand feet deep but only a foot wide. That chasm represents our fear. Its narrowness is the truth about how easy it is to cross over. In your mind's eye—and then in reality— cross right over.
Work effortlessly or work with difficulty. Your way is your way. But work.
Grow creative in your own idiosyncratic way.
Describe for yourself your way of working. What is your process, your style, your rhythm? Get clear in your own mind how you create. Then accept your way of working or change it if it's not effective.
Wildness is part of the process. So is care. Each exists imperfectly without the other.
Grow creative through measured wildness.
Pick a time today to create. When that time arrives, say to yourself, "I am a wild, passionate, energetic creature!" Shout it out, if you dare. Work in a frenzy of creative energy. At the same time keep a measured eye on the work's progress.
Intensity fuels the artist. The mind whirls, the heart beats. There is always more to do.
Grow creative by living intensely.
Work on a creative project for more hours than you usually do. If you typically write for two hours, write for five. Increase both the duration and the intensity of your effort.
Excellence is serious business. Get serious. Take your art—and your life—seriously.
Grow creative by demanding excellence.
Choose a new creative project to work on. As you begin it, say to yourself, "I want to raise the bar and do my best work." Calmly and confidently launch into your project. As you work, remind yourself that you are a serious, committed artist.
Create first thing each morning. An hour of creating prevents aday of guilty feelings. Start your day making meaning.
Grow creative by putting creating first.
Tomorrow morning, create first thing. If you can't manage it tomorrow, aim for the day after. Or the day after that. Keep putting "I will create first thing!" on your agenda until the idea takes hold and you begin each day creating.
Create everywhere. In the rain. On the road. Wherever you find yourself.
Grow creative by always creating.
Create in a place you would never think of creating—in the supermarket, in the dentist's office, in the parking lot, at work in your cubicle. Say "I am an everyday creative person" and "I am an everywhere creative person!"
No desire, no creativity. Burn to create. Fall deeply in love with life.
Grow creative through passionate desire.
Fall in love (maybe all over again) with a discipline—literature, dance, the visual arts, biology, history, music. Then pick out an object of desire—to write your memoir, to understand evolution, to learn to play the concertina. Get passionate!
Lack of confidence ruins everything. You may feel unequal to the task. That doesn't mean that you are unequal to the task.
Grow creative by feeling more confident.
Use the following three-step cognitiverestructuring tool:
1) Identify your negative thoughts—"I have no talent" or "I have no time."
2) Dispute them by saying "No, not true!"
3) Replace them with affirmations like "I can make time!"
Allow for fortunate accidents. Maintain your grip. But not with an iron hand.
Grow creative by opening to serendipity.
Pull out odds and ends from your refrigerator—the mustard, the radishes, the peanut butter, the apple juice, the carrots. Try combinations of food—carrots with peanut butter, apple juice with radish slices. Most will taste horrible. But one will be a revelation!
Distinctive flaws appear in every work of art. Do not fear blemishes. If you try to eliminate all error, you will never create.
Grow creative by not fearing mistakes.
Put too much salt in the soup. Leave the sugar out of the cookie dough. Feel the feelings that come with making stupid mistakes.
Then say, "I can survive these feelings."
Remind yourself that you must grow easier with mistakes and messes.
There is power in starting. There is power in working. There is power in completing.
Grow creative by starting, working, and completing.
Divide a sheet of paper into three columns. Label the first column "Starting," the second column "Working," and the third column "Completing." In each column list as many strategies as you can that will help you start, work, and complete.
Beauty resides within you. Where else would it be? Just look inside.
Grow creative by tapping into your own sense of beauty.
The next time you want a beautiful object for your home, make it rather than buying it. Let the beauty inside you decorate your environment.
Courage and persistence are the watchwords. Courage in the moment. Persistence over time.
Grow creative by bravely persevering.
In your mind's eye, picture yourself never giving up. If you are a writer, picture yourself still writing at thirty, at forty, at fifty, at sixty, at seventy, at eighty, at ninety, at a hundred. Picture yourself never giving up, despite any challenges that come your way.
Everything is permitted when you are creating. You are free. Express yourself!
Grow creative by asserting your freedom.
Ask yourself, "What would I love to create?" Let nothing hamper you or censor you as you wait in silence for an answer. When an answer comes, as it will, freely, positively, passionately begin!
Today is the best day to create. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow isn't here.
Grow creative by creating today!
As an everyday creative person you have two goals: to do creative work and to respond creatively to life. Repeat these two ideas: "I create!" and "I respond creatively to life!" The first produces rich work, the second a rich life.
Excerpted from Everyday Creative by Eric Maisel. Copyright © 2004 Eric Maisel. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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