Monday, January 24, 2011

Start Me Up

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." Walt Disney

Start with the smell of burnt toast. Or look for a pair of missing earrings. Try falling out of love. Or waiting for an interview for a job you desperately want ( or one you never thought you'd have to get). Start with a line from a song or a classic movie. Look at a snapshot from a family album. Or a photo from the newspaper.

These are all prompts I have used in creative writing workshops to help writers tap into the creative well that is available to every artist. We typically use the first fifteen to twenty minutes of each session to just write, write, write. The prompt is merely a suggestion- a jumping off point- which can be used or eschewed in favor of an image or idea rumbling around in a writer's head. The premise: uncensored, uninhabited writing can open the creative passageway often blocked by the raging self-doubt of that pesky inner critic who always seems to tag along for the ride.

After we finish writing, folks can share or pass ( I'm the only one who never passes; I think as the facilitator it is incumbent upon me to share). No one offers criticism. How can we? We know the work can't be very good; it is after all, a very raw, rough draft. People can, however, mention a particular image that stood out, if they are so inclined.

The surprising thing: many of the images, turns of phrase, characters, are often vivid or amusing or touching. Some even serve as starting points for stories and poems, scripts and even books. You'd be amazed at what your inner artist can do when s/he is left to play without fear of recriminations, without that pounding "It's no good," "No one will care," "No one will ever publish this."

These exercises give you permission to try, to play, to experiment. And once you dip into that creative well, you're apt to dip in again and again.

Is something burning? It may be your desire to connect or re-connect with your inner artist. Or it may just be your breakfast. Either way, it's time to get started.

Drive safe, play nice, think peace.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Ready For Change?

"They always say time changes things, but actually you have to change them yourself. -Andy Warhol

Think about the following statements: Change is hard. Change is exciting. Which one sounds more inviting?

Approaching any change--career, artistic endeavor, relationship,diet, etc.--with the belief that it will be a long, arduous slog is far more daunting to most of us than if we embrace the change as an adventure. Re-framing the way we look at the world is the first step of finding happiness with our lives as they currently are and successfully handling transitions and effectively achieving goals.

Easier said than done, I know. And that's where an effective coach comes in. As a creativity coach I can help you define your goals and focus on the area or areas in your life that you'd like to change, expand and explore.

As a professionally trained coach and counselor with a Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling and post-graduate work in Creative Writing and Personal Coaching, I have helped clients in one-on-one sessions as well as through writing and personal growth workshops for ten years. I am also a professional writer--a journalist, award-winning playwright and novelist-- and radio talk show host. I have faced my share of transitions as I've navigated, from the driver's seat, the bumpy ride that a creative life often traverses.

I can help you:

set realistic goals
create and implement action plans
explore creative and spiritual arenas
conquer artistic blocks
work on relationships

As your coach I will: offer you a safe space where you will always be heard, validated, encouraged and held accountable to your goals.

Coaching is a rewarding, inter-active process. As we forge this unique partnership, we will collaborate on an amazing journey of positive growth and change.

Phone sessions are available; so no matter where you are, I can be accessible to you. In person sessions and workshops are available by arrangement in New York and Connecticut, though many local clients also find phone sessions more convenient and intimate.

I invite you to start a creative conversation.

Call me at (914) 939-5579 or
The first conversation, of course, is on me.

Thank you.

Drive safe. Play nice. Think peace.

Amy Beth Arkawy