How to Radically Boost Your Creativity and Self-Esteem in 5 Minutes

LovePursuing a career as a writer is tough. We all take the same risk. It’s that risk your parents warned you about when you told them you had decided to major in Literature instead of Accounting.

To pursue our dreams writers usually give up the comfort zone of a conventional lifestyle.

Maybe we said no to an office job, a house in the suburbs, or a college degree. Or we decided that a traditional marriage and having children just wasn’t for us. Or maybe we wanted all of these things and now we’re trying to balance job, house, and kids, and write a book (or a series!) at the same time.

Successful writers have to build new comfort zones in their lives. And these new comfort zones often do not include a ridiculous amount of free time, or a 401K plan.

When we leave our conventional comfort zones behind, we enter into an area of freedom where we can decide for ourselves specifically what is going to work for us. This is really cool, until we realize that whenever we start anything new and challenging our ego goes into full-scale attack mode.

If you leave a well-paying corporate job that’s killing your creative soul, your ego will use money-fear to try to drag you back to it. If you sink considerable time and energy into self-publishing your novel, your ego will use need-for-approval-worries to try to hold you back. If you start writing the book you have always been afraid to write, your ego will use your own self-worth issues to try to slap you down.

Any time you move out of your comfort zone your ego will start twitching its tail. If the comfort zone surrounds something you care deeply about—like your writing—your ego will coil and then strike.

The ego is always rooted in fear. That’s why it always tries to push you into a scarcity mindset. The ego believes that there is not enough, and there will never be enough. It also believes that the world is unfair, the deck is stacked against you, and it’s all someone else’s fault.

There is only way to drain the ego of its power. When you find yourself in the scarcity mindset, you’ve got to make the choice to shift.

Take five minutes to sit by yourself and breathe into your heart. Mentally list everything in your writing life for which you are grateful. Even if the only thing you can come up with is that you’re grateful you know how to read, it will still work. A five-minute gratitude exercise roots you back into the mindset of abundance. It is one of the fastest ways to shift into love.

When you operate from an energy of love it opens everything up.

Start consciously bringing in thoughts that will encourage you to play and experiment with life. Thoughts like: There is enough for everyone. I can have everything I need. I have the power to make my life what I want it to be. This kind of mental energy encourages creativity, flow, and personal discovery.

Another easy way to notice when you’re in the grip of the ego is to check in with your body, which only takes about five minutes too. The scarcity-driven, fear-based thoughts of the ego will cause many different areas to tighten and constrict. Headaches, shortness of breath and anxiety are all symptoms of the ego using your own fears against you to attack.

You can also start at the most basic level and work on your body language. One of my all-time favorite TED Talks is by Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist from Harvard. She explains that anyone can spend five minutes on changing their body language to “fake it until we make it.” You can watch the video here.

Learning to find comfort as we move into new uncomfortable areas is one of the most valuable skills a writer can cultivate. But we’ve got to take responsibility for learning this skill and it begins with what’s going on inside our own head. Check your thoughts at the door and only let the ones that best serve you into your creative party. It only takes five minutes. What have you got to lose?

If you enjoyed this article, you might want to check out:

Writing Your First Novel? Watch What You Consume.

5 Lies Writers Tell Themselves

Secrets Your Inner Critic Would Kill to Keep

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  • Reply hilarycustancegreen 19 June, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Thank you. I went and watched the Amy Cuddy talk and I think it might help me a lot. I am busy getting my third novel self-published. There are masses of things to understand and decisions to make and I am doing my best. I know I will get there and I will publish the book. But. At the back of my mind there is this persistent knowledge that the book is not as good as it should be, some of my reading friends have loved it, others have given me helpful, but negative, feedback, others liked it but not as much as the first or second book. Still, it is time I wrapped up this project. The trouble is I don’t really believe I am a writer (except during the few meetings I have had with reading groups, who seemed to think I was). So I feel fraud publishing my book. Now I shall fake it until I become a writer.

    • Reply Lauren Sapala 19 June, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      Hilary you ARE a writer. If you’re writing books then you are a writer! However, I also know what it feels like to believe yourself a fraud. I’ve read a few articles that talk about how gifted people tend to feel like imposters because their standards are very high, and their gifts come naturally to them and are enjoyable so they don’t all the time believe that they’re putting in the “work” to get where they need to be. If you Google “gifted people imposter syndrome” you will find a ton of helpful information on this subject.

  • Reply Jo 21 June, 2014 at 2:19 am

    Truly loved this post Lauren. It’s so true that so many feel obligated to follow the prescribed ideals of those they care for, families, friends, society and such, over the true whisperings of their hearts. I know many creative people who have been told that writing or art is a hobby and not for work, or as my father once said, isn’t a “real” job (!) but though we can all be shaped by our childhoods, what is really liberating is that we don’t need to let negative experiences rule the rest of our lives. If we do that, we give away our power. Instead our inner artists are nourished when we write and overcome that initial resistance from our tail-twitching egos. Love what you wrote about stillness and gratitude too. Every kind of mood can be brightened by listing our blessings! Thank you for another beautiful post.

  • Reply hilarycustancegreen 21 June, 2014 at 2:35 am

    Thanks for the supportive comment. As a Jack of all trades (sculptor, psychologist, writer and a few other sidelines) I suspect that curiosity and application are my only natural talents. They will get you most places, but not, I have to admit, to the top levels of achievement. Reading Middlemarch and Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour are filling me with a mixture of envy and embarrassment at the presumption of publishing anything… but I will. I should have added bloody-mindedness to my list of natural talents. Thanks.

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