Guest Emma Liggins

Our guest today is Emma Liggins, who is an intuitive business coach and is going to discuss the impact of energy vampires on creativity. Thank you Emma!

Almost everyone has had a time in their life when they are working on a project and get stuck inside their own head and depending on the deadline or lack there of this can last for hours through to years. This is quite an easy thing to break free from but the problem is you are stuck inside your head and so it becomes overwhelming and impossible to identify the solution through the internal noise that’s going on.

I personally like to define a problem in order to be able to find or create a solution. Defining this problem is likely going to start with something you may never considered before, you see we call this one an energy vampire. 

An Energy vampire is a common term and is generally defined as a person, animal or object that drains energy from its prey. Think friend who is always complaining, narcissistic ex or sitting in Centrelink. We tend to only think of energy vampires as external but they can also be internal.

This is what we are going to talk about today.

The internal energy vampire that is the inner critic!

Now an inner critic can be a good thing and at times you may have found it really helpful, when it assists you with that final tweak or reins in your massive idea to something much more manageable at a certain point in your life. But unfortunately sometimes it is given free rein and it becomes overwhelming and all consuming.

Several years ago I had a client who was an aspiring writer. My client was an exceptional writer and a very talented individual but he was struggling to get words down onto paper. He would spend the day writing and get two and a half pages and then he would come back the next day and cull it back to one. This would have likely still worked ok if he could achieve the two and a half pages regularly. However there would be long periods of time where he would struggle putting down a sentence and then labouring over that until he was satisfied and then he’d move to the next and so on until he had a paragraph. Then he would go over that again removing what he considered not good enough until he was left again with only a sentence or perhaps even no sentence at all only a blank page staring back at him.

This was an inner critic that new no bounds and had effectively taken over my client’s whole creative process and pretty much annihilated it.

So we decided to evict the inner critic!

We used a visualisation technique to walk the critic to the door and politely, or not depending on your mood, ask them to stay outside for a period of time.

Next we created a new behavioural pattern.

Once outside a timer was set for two minutes and the client tasked with writing non-stop during that time. The topic could be anything and in the beginning the client wrote about their pen and then later their desk. And when they could not think what to write, in order to keep writing they wrote ‘I do not know what to write’ over and over.

After doing this exercise for some time the client was then able to apply this behavioural pattern to their writing. First evicting the critic, then setting the timer and finally writing. What they found was once they had started to write for their project it flowed. Even when the timer went off they were able to continue writing and time passed quickly while words filled the page.

By evicting the inner critic for an agreed period of time you can create a new pattern for yourself which can then be applied to your creative work.

Bio
Emma Liggins is a qualified Intuitive Business Coach with a Master of Adult Education, Certificate of Intuitive Wellness Coaching and is completing her last two subjects for a Graduate Diploma of Psychology.
 
Over the last 20 years, Emma has worked in a range of different settings including medical education (both primary and tertiary care), oil and gas (WHS), migrant resettlement and hospitality. Emma has also built two businesses from the ground up, one a massive failure and the other a national/international success. Combining her professional experience with her extensive travel, property development and living in urban and rural Australia and overseas, Emma has significant life experience to guide her clients towards achieving their personal and professional goals.
 
Emma is passionate about Occupational Wellness, supporting and guiding employees, startups and existing business owners to combat limiting beliefs and impostor syndrome through identifying personal genius and recognising challenges as great learning opportunities. Wherever you may be feeling stuck, Emma is able to uncover the endless possibilities available to you and support you in implementing practical achievable actions.

Ideas Popping

This happens all the time with my writing. Up until about now, not so much with my paintings. I go to classes, do what the task is and that’s it. Until now.

Finally, I’ve got ideas popping like popcorn in my head!

And it’s exciting.

Not only am I learning new techniques, I want to go home and try them on a blank canvas. To add my style to them, to experiment and see what art I can produce. I’ve got one blank canvas ready to go, and I now own an easel, and I have new colours to paint with.

I’m not sure what’s happened. Maybe a certain heat level, has been reached and now the ideas are popping into life in my head? Or I have done (finally) enough basic experience so I can begin to use what I’ve learnt with more confidence A bit of both maybe?

To actually be conscious that this is going on is something, which further inspires me. I can map out my journey because of this; of how I’ve improved and persevered and now I am expanding on my journey of creative painting.

I’ve not managed to find this point when on my writing journey, so I like being able to mark this difference in these creative endeavours. It helps me to be more self-aware of the process, so that I can ensure that I repeat these positives when creating in the future.

Ripping Up My Notebook

As part of art class we’re doing a collage activity. My inner child was inspired and excited, as well as my adult self as I got ready to mix mediums to embark on a more grown up version of a technique I haven’t used since primary school.

I’ve come prepared with tissue paper from home, and have both acrylics and oil paints to use. The brief was to draw a figure and I selected a Victorian looking lady from the pile of images. I’d rather not to have to draw another figure because I find it hard, but I’m inspired so I embraced the task. Victorian Lady

There were stencils to use and I sat thinking what I to include in order to add texture and variety to the background of this rather pensive lady I’d chosen to draw and paint.

Why not use my own words? Written on paper with my fountain pen? My notebook and fountain pen are always in my handbag. Inspired I took them out and turned to the back of my notebook to write words I think will compliment this lady.

writing for artNot once do I think about how I’m going to have to rip out these pages of my notebook ~ one of my rules is not top rip out pages. If I don’t like what I’ve written too bad. It stays, a record in time of a difficult writing day. Right now, I’m too inspired about the canvas I’m working on to even care about this rule.

I want to get the words written, paper ripped up to see what magic I can create on the canvas. Then to see how the colours change, the image forms over the next few weeks. This is the part of creating I love. The experimenting side. The hold my breath stage, maybe it will work out, but maybe it won’t. The time when I have an idea of what I want to do, I’m going along with the journey and the destination could be quite unexpected.

When did you create art which was completely different to what you set out? How did you feel about this? Please share your comments below.

Quick Study of Seascape

To start a recent workshop on seascapes, the teacher had participants do a quick study. With only 20 minutes to do the painting, I had no choice but to go with the flow. And to keep it simple.

I learnt that this was a fun way to experiment, and learn. And it will be something I’ll try again at home. This is always a good sign as I’m inspired. Often I don’t get to paint in short time frames like this, normally it’s much longer, and can take months. So it’s also refreshing to do a smaller image in a short time.

Sometimes writing is a long drawn out process. And I can’t map the process like I can when painting a canvas. So to be able to see the stages from start to finish in a short time is exciting. It’s a different creative process for me, which helps to keep me inspired, and ready to try new things, and to experiment. Because it’s also a quick study, if things don’t turn out, then because it’s not taken a huge investment of time, I don’t get hung up on that. I can take what I’ve learnt, and apply it to another study or if I’m happy with my skill set then a canvas.

With this new level of inspiration, and off to get creating. Who knows what I’ll create and learn!

start quick painting  step 2 quick painting.jpg finish quick painting.jpg

 

Seascape

The fine line between not liking your work to being constructive about what you’ve created is important. Actually, it’s important in life as well.

I was reminded of this boundary between my perspective of negativity versus constructive thoughts in regard to a recent workshop on painting seascapes. Not only did I learn how to paint waves I also learnt the value of looking at my work, seeing how I feel about it, by asking myself some questions.

Do I like what I see? Is the painting working? No. What can I do about it? What can I change?

It’s the last two questions which I found particularly helpful. Because the answers gave me positive action to take. By asking these questions, it also prevented me from spiralling down into a puddle of negativity that what I’m doing isn’t good enough.

Why were these questions so valuable?

Not only did the answers help keep my mindset positive but also allowed me to pause and consider how I could improve the painting. The answers gave me a positive focus. And a chance to try something with the intention of progressing the painting.

Whatever I do may not improve the painting (to my liking) but I can keep repeating these questions until I do. Or worse case, if I’ve tinkered too much or overworked the painting, then this becomes a valuable lesson for me to have learnt, which I can apply to the next painting I do.

How did I apply this process to my seascape? The big wave in the centre wasn’t turning crashing over like it is now. It was rolling in a white top across the canvas. This looked a little boring. I wasn’t happy with it.

step 4 seascape.jpg

With the help of the teacher the wave was changed part way across so that it was partly rolling over. It worked. It could’ve easily not have. And if that was the case, then I would’ve tried something else. Or learnt what not to do for the next seascape I painted.

 

Seascape Finished

It’s too easy to get down on your creative project, so it’s a good safety net as such to have process like asking yourself a few questions. “Am I happy with this? No. Then what can I do about it?” Because this can help generate inspiration and ensure the creativity keeps flowing.

New Skill Level

I’ve always found it difficult to read crochet patterns. It’s as if they’re written in some old secret language. I’ve only been able to start new projects with the help of YouTube.

By starting a new project where I can only finish by reading the crochet pattern, I found I’ve actually got a feel for what the pattern means, and I’m actually able to progress and reach a new skill level. It surprised me really. I’ve tried to read crochet patterns for many years and it was a skill I’d given up on ever understanding. It’s harder than trying to learn a new language!

What it reflects to me is that I’m getting a feel of what’s required when crocheting. I’m slipping into that creative flow, to a deeper understanding to where I can begin to make confident decisions on the stitching and knotting to produce what I want to (and if not then I can see where I’ve gone wrong, frog it, and start again).

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It’s a new skill, a new level, and it’s exciting because this opens up so many more possibilities for me to try and explore in the crocheting world. I’m looking forward to it.

When have you unexpectedly found your skill levels improve? Please share below in the comments.

 

Snatching Time to Write

Sometimes when and where I write isn’t planned. Today, I did my usual writing (which was actually editing today), then while at the shopping centre I went and did a few jobs. During this time, bubs well asleep. A deep sleep. One which I was very reluctant to wake him from, even though by this time I was more than ready to go home, and I was tired and not at all inspired to write.

cafe while bubs sleeps.JPG

I listened to my gut, which was to go sit at another café, and to write. I’m glad I did. Because even though I was tired, I managed to write quite a bit. A lot actually. So it was a very satisfying session as I hadn’t planned writing this book today. And I wasn’t visited by the muse. It was all about me using the time that unexpectedly came available.

writing inspiration at the beachWhen I got home, I decided some fresh air was in order, so I got bubs back in the pram, Kimba on the lead and off we went to walk along the beach. During this time my mind started composing an abstract I had worked on at the first café. Suddenly my thoughts were ordered. So I sat on a bench and wrote them in my phone capturing the essence. Was this the muse? Maybe or maybe not. I think it was more to do that I had worked on the abstract this morning and so it was in the forefront of my mind. Then while walking, my subconscious pushed forward the suggestions I needed.

So for a day which was going to be a bit unproductive writing wise, turned out to be very successful. Only because I was open to snatching time to write. This is the writer’s journey, going with the unexpected.

Lilliana

Art Classes with Bubs

As a new mum, there’s a lot to juggled. Maybe I don’t need to be going along to art class, I’m not sure I’ve got the time or if I can really afford it. But then my soul needs nourishment, and for me it’s natural to go along to art class with bubs. Can’t start them too young! So far bubs has been exposed to university, art classes, Pilates, and a creativity writing workshop I presented. His education is about to continue with an upcoming conference I’m presenting at. There’s lots of variety for him to experience, even now, just by me simply living my life.

During art class, Bub is in the sling, resting on my chest as I paint. He’s content. The other ladies in the class are amused, nothing like a little baby energy in the room to help with the creativity! Instead of a tea break half-way through the class, for me there’s a bottle break. I can use the time to chill, and also reflect what direction I want to take my painting (which I’m having to go to plan B because I’ve stuffed up! And Bubs has been such an angel I can’t even blame him. Completely my lesson to learn here!). I’m very grateful for Splashout to help accommodate by letting me come along with bubs.

my art in need of fixing

By going along to art class, I’m reminded that my mum did something similar. She had her baby daughters in the wicker bassinets, under the table, while she did her china painting. It’s what the women in our family do. It’s a tradition. And I’m glad to be continuing it. The quiet things you’ve learnt from mum, which you then pass down to your child; an unexpected bonus, which also helps keep my memory of mum alive.

Lilliana

Blessed

This morning when writing in a café I was interrupted by a lady. Nothing unusual for that to happen to me. I give off some vibe, or I’m like a light to moths, and people come to talk to me when I’m writing in cafés.

What was different about today was, that bubs wasn’t happy to be in his pram, so he was in my arms. It had been an effort to get out of the house, into the car, and to the café. But I had persisted. Left my phone behind which always causes me to feel naked. Also left one of the notebooks I wanted to write in at home. But I had made it to the café, the computer was open, and while not ideal I could sort of type one handed while holding bubs. What was really happening was that bubs was getting cuddles, and nothing was getting written. At least I could have my thinking time and ponder on what I wanted to write (which was a middle grade book, based on a story idea I had written about 7 years ago, so there was plenty to ponder).

Then when I was rocking gently side to side, cuddling bubs, staring at my screen, my mind deep in the world I wanted to create, an elderly lady came up to me. She said, ‘Bless you.’

I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I smiled. It’s a good thing to say to someone, right? Even if not religious. Then she repeated her blessing. ‘Bless you both.’

I responded with ‘thanks’. Then she said I’d made her day seeing us there.

She asked what his name was and thought Shephard was a lovely name. It connected deeply to her, and justified her actions in coming to bless us both. She told me we had made her day by seeing us.

It’s interesting the symbolic world that we live in. Shephard has a religious connotation (not at all why I choose this name for him) along with the lady’s action of blessing me. Something deeper here was going on perhaps. Either way it was a lovely interaction with a stranger.

Then she said it was lovely to meet us, and went on her way. All of us, her and me and bubs, with much lighter hearts as we continued the day.

(And do you know what I kid you not, as I write this and post it we’ve just received another blessing, this time from an elderly man. The angels are with us today.)

Lilliana

Replenishing my Stock

When going to get a new notebook the other day I discovered that I didn’t have many left. Well, actually I only had one. This is so not like me. Usually I have too many, to the point I begin to wonder if I will get around to using them in this lifetime and I need to stop myself from buying more.

It feels great to have filled so many notebooks with my creative writing. I felt even better having an excuse to go to the shops and buy more. And I can’t wait to fill them with words.

Lilliana