Minimum Daily Requirement

The good news… this quick tip will help you with any project or goal you are interested in starting or completing.

Now find the tension between you and your goal and get started today!

Chapter 14 – Minimum Daily Requirement

Now, I love home-remodeling shows, but I also believe that we are naturally inclined toward productivity. We love to be learning, doing, and playing. We love to stretch and grow and solve problems, and we love to feel like we’re making a contribution to the world . Too much unstructured time can be stressful and depressing. When we don’t know what to do with ourselves, we give up.

The trick is to inject some creative tension into your life. The word tension gets a bad rap, but remember that it is structural tension that holds the keystone in every arch — and sexual tension is often the beginning of all kinds of wonderful things .

Think of a goal that frightens you a little bit, something that stirs you up, maybe even something that you’re pretty sure is impossible. Let it loom large in your mind. Connect with it. Feel the energetic relationship — the tension — between where you are now and where the goal is. Feel that energetic spoke of the net between you and that goal, and let that tension to pull you forward into taking one first step.

When you’ve taken one step, celebrate. It’s easy to brush aside first steps, especially when you believe that you really should be farther along already, but don’t. You did something, which is more than you did yesterday. Which is excellent. Be proud.

To finish reading… just grab a copy here: http://www.StartRightWhereYouAre.com

You’ve Been Burned Before (Start Right Where You Are)

“My teacher told me I had no talent.”

“My partner isn’t very supportive.”

“I’ve failed before…”

One of the reasons you aren’t moving forward on your projects is because you got your heart broken.

You’ve gotten bad reviews, lost money, chosen bad partners, been scorned, laughed at, put down, fired, misunderstood, tricked and rejected.

And that old pain still hurts.

But guess what?

We ALL have experienced that pain.

Moving past the pain is what turns you into a great artist, because it forces you to learn about fragility, about limitations, about foolishness, ambition and trust.

Once you release the idea that you (alone) have been victimized, you can start to dive into the infinite subtleties of human dynamics.

You can start to realize that everyone in your life genuinely thought they were doing the right thing. They honestly believed that they were helping you, protecting you, teaching you something important.

No matter how misguided, they were doing the best they could with the information they had at the time.

Just as you were.

And are, still.

Your creative life is not supposed to be an endless hopscotching from one lily pad of success to another, any more than every romance is supposed to end in happily-ever-after.

Being a creative genius is about falling down 8 times and getting up 9.

Or, more accurately, falling down 8000 times and getting up 8001.

Every single person – and certainly every single artist – can tell you toe-curling stories about their agonizing failures and impossible obstacles.

So…it’s not just you.

I know your heartbreak has been painful for you, but it’s no reason to stop working.

In fact, the first thing I would recommend is for you to make some art about that heartbreak.

Make a story/song/dance/picture about that humiliated student, that wounded daughter, that neglected performer, that bad review, that unwise bargain.

And then…perhaps you can spend 15 minutes on your project.

“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.” – Tom Hanks as Jimmy Duggan in A League of Their Own, screenplay by the great Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel

This little missive is #2 in a series of 7 that I’m doing to encourage you to Start Right Where You Are.

Start Right Where You Are is a lovely, live, 6-week teleclass that starts next Friday, Oct. 16th. It’s only $197 (payment plan available) and, as usual, “satisfaction guaranteed or your tuition cheerfully refunded.”

Here’s where you can go to find out more about it: www.StartRightWhereYouAre.com.

And here’s where you can watch the straight-from-the-heart preview event:
http://app.webinarjam.net/replay/608/7cfca59ac1/1/0

Which got these responses:

“awesome very helpful answer – so joyfully actionable. I’m on it!” – K.

“totally laughing out loud” – C.

“Yep! I even snorted” – T

“love that reframing – actually brought tears for honoring and being authentic..” – K.

“very emotional…. thank you Sam” – S.

When was the last time a webinar made you laugh AND cry?!!?

Plus there’s a special offer that’s only good for the first 50 people who take advantage of it, so listen SOON, OK?

So just to recap, here are your opportunities:

1) Spend 15 minutes right now making some art about one time when you got your creative heart broken.

2) Watch the “Procrastination & Desire” video here:http://app.webinarjam.net/replay/608/7cfca59ac1/1/0

3) Check out Start Right Where You Are at www.StartRightWhereYouAre.com and see if it feels like a good fit for you.

And please write me back and let me know how it goes for you, OK?

Remember: The World Needs Your Art.

 

You Just Don’t Have The Time? (Start Right Where You Are)

“I’m so busy…I just don’t have the time.”

“Now is not the right time…maybe later.”

“I’m not ready yet.”

You know your projects are important to you…but you just can’t seem to find the time to work on them.

Or maybe you feel like there will be some time in the future….once the kids are in school, or once you lose 10 pounds, or maybe after the holidays….

Or you honestly believe that you are not yet ready to begin. You need another certification, or maybe a training, or you just need to feel more ready.

I hear this all the time.

And in all love, I gotta say: BALONEY.

You DO have the time. You’re just spending it on something else.

And I guarantee there is no time in the future when it will be more “convenient” or a “better” time to begin.

And you are ready.

Believe me, the fact that you have had the idea tells me that you’re ready. If you weren’t ready, you never would have thought of it.

Look, we all get the same 24 hours.

Nobody gets more and nobody gets less.

And I know you have real demands on your time…the job, the kids, the spouse, the parents, the community….but I bet you can find 15 minutes, right?

So do that.

Commit to that right now.
Put your hand on your heart and say this pledge:
“I promise that I will spend 15 minutes every single day, 365 days a year, on my project, starting right now.”

And then set your timer or the alarm on your phone and do it.

Even if you just stare at a blank piece of paper for 15 minutes – that’s great!

Or maybe you want to meditate or pray or breathe or stretch or dance or play with polymer clay or embroider a flower on a scrap of fabric or compose a few bars or write just ONE SENTENCE of your memoir….

Whatever the project is that you know would make a difference in your life, spend 15 minutes on it right now.

And then do that again tomorrow.

And the next day.

And then – and this one might be hard because somehow doing more than 3 in row of anything can be a little challenging – you’ll want to do it again. And maybe give your a little reward (like a nice walk around the block or a phone call with an old friend or a nice swim….) just for being so good and brave.

This little missive in one is a series of 7 that I’m doing to encourage you to Start Right Where You Are.

Start Right Where You Are is a lovely, live, 6-week teleclass that starts next Friday, Oct. 16th. It’s only $197 (payment plan available) and “satisfaction guaranteed or your tuition cheerfully refunded.”

Here’s where you can go to find out more about it: www.StartRightWhereYouAre.com.

And here’s where you can watch the straight-from-the-heart preview event:
http://app.webinarjam.net/replay/608/7cfca59ac1/1/0

Which got these responses:

“awesome very helpful answer – so joyfully actionable. I’m on it!” – K.

“totally laughing out loud” – C.

“Yep! I even snorted” – T

“love that reframing – actually brought tears for honoring and being authentic..” – K.

“very emotional…. thank you Sam” – S.

When was the last time a webinar made you laugh AND cry?!!?

Plus there’s a special offer that’s only good for the first 50 people who take advantage of it, so listen SOON, OK?

So just to recap, here are your opportunities:

1) Spend 15 minutes right now on a project that means something to you.

2) Watch the “Procrastination & Desire” video here:
http://app.webinarjam.net/replay/608/7cfca59ac1/1/0

3) Check out Start Right Where You Are at www.StartRightWhereYouAre.com and see if it feels like a good fit for you.

And please write me back and let me know how it goes for you, OK?

Remember: The World Needs Your Art.

Nearly Miraculous Daily Habit

Nearly Miraculous Daily Habit

“…Because you told me I was a stuntwoman and I believed you…” Painting by Lesley Perdomo

Allot Fifteen Minutes a Day to Your Project

If I could actually make you do stuff, the first thing I would get you to do is to spend fifteen minutes each and every day working on your project.

As it happens, you are the agent of change in your life, and I can’t really make you do anything.

But I strongly urge you to make this daily commitment to your project.

Do fifteen minutes every morning

— before you check your email, before you check your email, before you check your email…working on your project.

You will need an iron will to resist the siren call of the Internet, but it’s worth it.

Whatever’s out there can wait while you put yourself first for just a few minutes.

So get out your kitchen timer, or use the timer on your cell phone (in which case you can select an alert sound that you particularly enjoy), and even if you just sit still for fifteen minutes, you will profit.

I’ve heard from my students with attention deficit disorders that using a timer is an especially useful focusing ritual.

You will be amazed by how much work you can get done in fifteen minutes. You will be flat-out astonished by how much progress you make by putting in fifteen minutes a day, seven days a week, for a week, for a month, for three months, for a year.

Intellectually, this makes perfect sense. You know that if you practiced guitar every day for fifteen minutes, before long you’d be a better guitar player.

If you spend fifteen minutes a day writing a novel, eventually you will have written a novel.

If you spend fifteen minutes a day working on your abs, pretty soon you’ll have strengthened your core.

But emotionally this strategy doesn’t feel like it will work. It feels too small and too half-baked.

It may also trigger some feelings of rebellion, anger, despair, or fatigue. Sometimes those feelings show up right when you’re on the verge of a breakthrough.

You might want to think of this as your Daily Fifteen Minutes of Fame.

It ’s your chance to treat yourself like a famous artist for fifteen minutes every day.

After all, would a famous artist have any trouble claiming this small amount of time for herself ? Of course not.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Okay, Sam, but how do I go about this fifteen-minute thing?” Here ’s what I recommend:

Your Daily Fifteen Minutes of Fame — the Why

Quickly — without pondering — close your eyes for a moment and ask yourself, “What does this project represent for me? What value of mine does it represent?” and just let the answer bubble up from inside.

Maybe your answer will be “freedom” or “joy” or “self- expression” or “love” or “escape from the cubicle” or “to prove everybody wrong” — whatever word or phrase brings a little smile to your face is the right one.

You might even make yourself a little sign with your word or phrase on it and post it on or near your timer. (You could even grab a paint pen and decorate your kitchen timer if you were so inclined — a bit of glitter and glue, anyone?)

Your Daily Fifteen Minutes of Fame — the What

Working swiftly, brainstorm a list of fifteen-minute tasks.

Include a wide variety, since some days you might wake up feeling bold and want to tackle something brave such as “entering poetry contest,” and on others you’ll feel quiet and shy and want to do something simple like doodling or daydreaming. With this list at hand, you can quickly select the task that matches your mood.

For example, if I were writing a play called Romeo and Juliet, my list of fifteen-minute tasks might look something like this:

• Write a quickie character sketch of the nurse.
• Research poisons and sleeping draughts.
• Work on the balcony scene.
• Call agent.
• Brainstorm titles (Capulet vs. Montague, Why Fifteen-Year-Old
Girls Should Not Be Allowed to Go Dancing Unchaperoned )
• Write an author’s bio for the back cover.
• Double-check penalties for dueling.
• Write a blog post about doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.
• Research whether a rose by any other name really would
smell as sweet.

Your Daily Fifteen Minutes of Fame — the When

I usually suggest working in the morning, just because getting stuff out of the way first thing seems to work for a lot of people, including myself, but you might find that working after school works well (family homework time?) or just before bedtime.

Some people like to work in the middle of the night. Experiment.

LUNCHTIME PLAYS

My friend Emilie Beck is an award-winning playwright and theater director, and once she wrote a play (two plays, actually) in twenty-minute increments.

She had two small boys at home and a very demanding full-time job, and twenty minutes each day during her lunch hour was truly the only time she had.

It was not her preferred method of working, to be sure, but she made the best of it.

She found not only that she was able to do some great work but also that the action of writing every day helped remind her of her life goals, and kept her in touch with her artist-self, which was, I imagine, in danger of getting temporarily swallowed up by her mommy-self and her executive-self.

LESLEY’S STORY (In her own words)

I will be honest, I didn’t believe you at first. You were so adamant about how only fifteen minutes a day can help you complete a project. “Yeah, right,” kept sounding in my head. It was that same voice that always held me back from starting a project because I never knew where to start.

Whether I was starting a necklace or a painting, I always felt that if I started it, then I would have to finish it right then and there. That is a lot of pressure, so I would sometimes just shrug off some great ideas.

I figured I had nothing to lose by following your advice. I set the timer on my cell phone and started a neck- lace right away. It took me three fifteen-minute sessions to complete one, but by the end of the week, I had three more necklaces than I had anticipated.

I filled in my fifteen minutes with production, and I started to value what fifteen minutes can bring you in a day, a week, and a month! So I decided to transfer this wisdom to my paintings.

Sometimes I would feel inspired to go longer than fifteen minutes. However, if I had only fifteen minutes to give to a project, I was okay with it.

What I am sharing with you today is a painting that I started in February 2011 and finally completed it August 2011. This painting is very meaningful to me and expresses the journey that I have embarked on since starting the fifteen-minutes-a-day process.

The background is a tile collage of different tattoo images that I found in various tattoo magazines (during my fifteen minutes a day I would skim through magazines and cut out my favorite images). Soon I had collected enough to fill up the canvas (again, in different fifteen-minute segments, I glued them to every quadrant of that canvas).

Once the canvas was filled, I started painting the woman. (In those fifteen-minute segments I learned how to get the skin tones I liked, and I played with shadow.)

I will be honest: sometimes during my fifteen-minute segments I would just stare at the canvas and try to figure out what my next move would be. But those fifteen minutes of thought are what helped bring about the spiderweb, the filigree, and the crystals, all of which helped me complete this painting.

I call this painting the Stuntwoman, which is something you once called me. I have found balance in my life, in my career, by just appreciating fifteen minutes every day.

By the way, I gave Lesley the stuntwoman idea because once as she was talking to me about feeling overwhelmed by her schedule, I suggested that she consider the idea of being busy without buying into the story that busy equals being stressed out:

“Think about being busy in the same way that a surgeon is busy during an operation,” I told her. “Be busy like a trapeze artist flying through the air, or like a stuntwoman — just cleanly moving through each task with great clarity, concentration, and grace.”

Getting-Ready-to-Get-Ready Syndrome

Getting-Ready-to-Get-Ready Syndrome

The symptoms of Getting-Ready-to-Get-Ready syndrome include feeling like you can’t possibly move forward until you lose ten pounds, get a degree, receive permission, know the right people, have enough money, get more experience, pay your dues, or obtain the right equipment.

The trick to defeating Getting-Ready-to-Get-Ready syndrome is doing fifteen minutes of research. (And yes, this can be one of your fifteen-minute daily tasks.)

If you assume that you need to do something before you can do the thing you really want to do, please check that assumption — especially if the source of your information is your own mind. Google it, ask around, and, most important, ask someone who’s already done the thing you really want to do.

Chances are good that you’re over-complicating things.

There was the photographer who was convinced she couldn’t market herself until she had digitally optimized all her photos for her website, which would have meant weeks if not months of painstaking work. I asked her if she had one photo that she thought of as iconic, and when she said yes, I urged her to place just that one on her site. She was up and running twenty minutes later.

Lara was a highly intuitive performer who was feeling a pull toward embarking on a second career as a life coach, but she was feeling discouraged by the two years and several thousand dollars that certification would take.

Now, I admire and respect the people who’ve gone through coach certification, but it is not a prerequisite to being of great service to people.

When I pointed out that she already knew enough to at least get started with a few clients, she brightened right up.

Last I heard, she was running high-end retreats once a month in Beverly Hills — further proof that if you can deliver outstanding results, nobody really cares about your credentials.

And finally, there are the countless men and women who’ve told me that they can’t possibly get started on X, Y, or Z until they lose weight.

Honey, your destiny doesn’t care how much you weigh.

You can find a lover, sell your art, star in your show, and earn your fortune with the body you have right now. And it’s entirely possible that you will become so busy and happy working on your project that your body will self-adjust and become closer to your version of perfect.

After all, there’s nothing like joy to create health.