The Creative Process – From Dreaming To Reality

Here’s why people prefer to dream than to do something about their dreams.  The first stage is fabulous, it’s where you let all your ideas go wild.  You don’t censor anything, don’t tell yourself you can’t succeed.  It’s kind of like taking a drug that inhibits all your inhibitions.  I like that phase a lot.

Then you start to organize your thoughts and begin to create something real.  This part is where challenges start.  A lot of people give up at the threshold, and prefer to make excuses – I would if I could, but…  If you can push yourself over the threshold, though, it gets much more exciting than dreaming, and as challenges come up you deal with them.

Momentum builds and pretty soon you’re carried on the wave of your own creativity.  There’s nothing like it.  It’s also where you start to realize “hey, my dream could actually come true.”  It’s a pretty inspiring and energizing thought.

Then you’re done with whatever it is you’ve created and you launch it.  And without realizing it you’re back in the dreaming phase.  You think you’re being practical but actually you can’t help yourself believing you’re going to be an instant success.

You think of all the people who have managed to rise above the seething masses and be noticed by more than family and friends, and you think “this is going to happen for me too.”  It’s true, you have created this possibility, fashioned it out of a dream, worked on it in a real way.  You read and hear about the successes.

You even read about their challenges along the way but somehow it doesn’t sink it that probably you’re going to have them too.  You think, “well, it couldn’t have been so bad for them, because they must have known somewhere in their hearts that it was all going to work out okay.”

Maybe for some people instant success happens, but it hasn’t happened for me yet.  I have to constantly remind myself that that’s the operative word – “yet”.  I’m facing the reality that the challenges of this phase put you in a very lonely and scary place.  It’s the time you want to give up, because you’re swimming in a quagmire of self-doubt about you and what you’ve created.

It’s natural to look to the outside world for affirmation, and when you don’t get it, to believe you don’t deserve it.  It’s easy to want to give up.  But this, I think, is exactly the time when you have to stay and keep on going.   Live on hope.  Be grateful that you can generate it.  Try not to listen to the part of you that laughs, mocks, jeers “who do you think you are?  You’re a lunatic.”

I paper my walls with messages that remind me not to give in to that crap.  Remind me that the idea that I can’t succeed is as much a speculation as the idea that I can.  So why choose to believe the one that destroys my hope and cauterizes my creativity?

This phase of turning a dream into a reality is the hardest of all.  It’s a constant fight to hold onto faith and hope; remember the pleasure I’ve had so far in creating, and keep on reaching for it.  It’s a constant bloody fight to not give up.  But it’s the good fight.

To buy my ebook And What About Me? Am I Into Him? on how to get real love and respect and be real in relationships,  Click the title or the cover image at the start of this blog.  Only $5.99!

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Making Dreams Come True, Kate Middleton and The British Royal Family

I watched a British documentary on Kate Middleton and Prince William.  It showed, quite humorously at times, the massive difference in family cultures.  A middle-class young woman with values which seemed more geared to the right to have your own life and the importance of respecting one’s fellow human, marrying into a Royal family with values which seem centered on rigid manners, inflexible rules, maintaining the appearance of respect – and the individual being utterly sacrificed it all.

The Royal family has such a mystique about it, they barely seem human. They definitely seem above the normal man in the street.  They aren’t really, though.  They have to brush their teeth and go to the toilet, wear deodorant just like the rest of us.  If they don’t [respectively] their breath will smell and their teeth will rot; they’ll have an accident; and they won’t be able to lift up their arms.  When they die whatever happens to the rest of us will happen to them as well.

You’d never think it while they’re alive, though, such is the attractiveness of the fairytale dream and power of PR – which in this case has been building for hundreds of years.  The British Royal family has more media attention than any person or organization in the world.  If I think of meeting Queen Elizabeth II, much as I’d like to imagine myself being poised and charming, I don’t at all doubt that in reality I’d be intimidated.

Have to work on that.  The more I look at earthly success, in any field, not just royalty, the more convinced I am that it’s about a kind of general need amongst all of us to create gods and goddesses who we can believe are above the banal, the mediocre, the gritty challenges of day to day life that are time and energy consuming.  We want to believe that people whose dreams have come true in some way have escaped what it is to be mortal.  So if ours come true we’ll escape it too.

Watching Kate Middleton, I loved her air of determination, the way she carries herself, the resources at her disposal now.  The grandeur, the costumes, the history and the general aura of mystique is paradise for my imagination.  It does sound like a fairytale, a dream come true.  If I was in her shoes I’d also do everything in my power to hold onto it.

By contrast, my life is horribly pedestrian.  I rent a room in somebody else’s house, my mattress is propped up on old books and miscellaneous bricks, I have few clothes and seriously, my shoes have holes in them.  My achievements so far are utterly non-material, I have very little to show the world.  I’m dead serious about my dreams though, and they’re a combination of creating something worthwhile that people can relate to and I can be proud of, and let’s face it, developing that PR, getting material reward.  I want beautiful clothes, gorgeous shoes, Armani Mania perfume.  A car.  All those superficial material things.  I want them.

Fortunately for me marrying into the British Royal family isn’t one of my dreams.  I’ll leave that to Kate.  I wonder what the fairy tale life is like when you’re in it.  Do you stare out from what are actually prison walls at the simpler life of people like me and wish you could have my personal freedom, my anonymity?   Well, I’m willing to give it shot.  I’d prefer to achieve my dreams and then  realize they don’t bring me as much fulfillment as I thought they would, than to try and convince myself that I wouldn’t really be  losing out on anything if they didn’t come true.  Whatever the price, I’m willing to take the risk.

Making Dreams Come True and Maslow’s Hierarchy

Everybody’s got something to say on the subject of making dreams come true.  Meditate!  Don’t think, just do it!  Use your mind!  Be here now!  Follow these twenty easy steps!   Think of something that nobody’s thought of before!  Dream big!  And that’s enough exclamation marks, I think.

The list is endless.  Dream big sounds pretty good, but dreaming on its own doesn’t lead to the coming true bit.  In fact, if you dream big but you don’t know what to do, what actions to take from one moment to the next, don’t know how to get back-up and support, how to deal with obstacles, chances are nothing’s going to really happen.

What stops you from knowing?   So many people say all you need for you dreams to come true is to be passionate and doors will open.  I can tell you from experience it’s not always true.  You need a whole lot more than passion.  You need back-up and support.  And to be able to access that, you need to know you deserve it.  Just like L’Oreal says “you’re worth it”.

If you don’t know you’re worth it, right at the core of you, and you don’t realize it, I think your chances of anything changing in your life are slim.  I was thinking about Maslow and his famous hierarchy of needs yesterday, walking along the beach at the edge of Africa.  Maslow said that when a person is struggling for survival, they can’t even begin to address their aspirational needs.

He was partly right.  Maybe I’m being too simplistic here, but it seems that when you’re struggling at a survival level you don’t have much of an idea that you deserve to be loved and supported and helped so that you can flourish and develop your aspirations and dreams.  And it’s not the struggling that makes you feel bad about yourself.  You feel undeserving and that’s why you struggle.  Well, it’s a catch 22 actually.

Fear jams everything up.   If you don’t address it, your imagination runs riot with every kind of worst case scenario, and the more imaginative and aspirational you are, the worse it gets.  You feel smaller and smaller and increasingly overwhelmed by a hostile world.  It can be emotionally paralyzing.  In fact you end up reliving in a very real and material way, the emotional experience you had as a child, how about that.  No support, needs not being met, being forced to be hideously adaptive, fighting for emotional and possibly even physical survival.

So how as an adult do you get from there to the “coming true” bit about having dreams?  One tiny step at a time is how.  When fear starts to run rampant, you reach out for somebody else’s perspective on you, you don’t let your imagination run riot with worst case scenarios.  You take a stand, you refuse to entertain ideas that blight your outlook.  You stay vigilant.  You do it differently to the way it was done to you when you were a kid.   You start feeling better about yourself.  Of course you do – you’re not letting yourself be bullied – albeit by yourself!  Creativity kicks in, you think of solutions to your struggle.  You start realizing it’s okay to ask for what you need in a practical way, not just an emotional one.  You figure out how to do that.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that being in survival mode stops you from being able to develop your dreams.  I fall in all the time.  But now and then I get a glimpse into a different way of looking at it.  Survival mode reflects your experience as a child, and it highlights ravaged self-esteem then and now.  Back then you couldn’t defend yourself.  This is your chance to do it over.  Defend yourself, stand up for yourself, claim your rights.

Call me a dreamer, but I reckon that’s where the coming true bit of dreams starts taking root.

Don’t die before you’re dead: making dreams come true

To listen to the audio of this blog, click here: blog sept 22 2010

Yesterday when I wrote about life being a continuum, and that death isn’t the end, I didn’t mean that we don’t have to live our lives in the best way we can this lifetime because hey, who cares, we can do it next time.

I didn’t mean that at all, because it’s really saying that life isn’t precious.  But life is very precious, every moment of it, no matter what happens next time round.

Believing that death isn’t the end isn’t really a philosophy to live by, because it doesn’t address living, it’s about dying, it addresses fear of death.  But it’s speculative, because what happens beyond this experience is possibly something we can’t know for certain.

What we do know for sure is that we’re alive now, with a lust for life, and things we want to turn from dreams into reality.  Big things and small things.

Right now what’s preoccupying me much more than what happens when I die, is trying to figure out how to combine the fuel of my dreams and desires with practical management of time and prioritizing so that my dreams translate into something real.  Because I want to accomplish the things I’ve had my sights on since I was a child.

Whether I succeed or not isn’t ultimately in my hands and I recognize that, but I’m giving it my best and I will never give up.  Lately I’ve been feeling as if everything is slipping away from me; too many projects, not enough time.  I can feel a Bridget Jones type catastrophe coming on!   Helllp, I’m going to die and be eaten by Alsations.

But actually, I just needed some help in managing what I’m doing, that’s all, and I got it.  Phew, relief!  Can be woman of substance after all.  Definitely don’t fancy being eaten by Alsations.  So now I have a plan that has priorities and points of focus.

Managing our lives?  It’s a pretty challenging thing to do, if life is precious to you and you don’t want to waste it.  You want to make the best decisions you can, you want to work hard but not drive yourself to death, you want to retain your independence of mind and spirit.  Eat well, sleep well, play, have fun, love, be loved, live in community in peace and harmony, work well and with inspiration, be rewarded well… These things apparently don’t come that easily to humans!

Yes, there’s plenty to do while we’re alive.  As for death, I don’t want it to happen, I want to carry on living, just the same as everybody else.  I sure don’t want to die before I’m dead, what a waste.   Even when I’m dead I don’t want to die!   Whatever happens, I think I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.  Right now I’ve got some living to do.

In general, this blog is about the pursuit of dreams.  Mine are to establish myself as a vocalist, film script & blog writer & novelist, to have my own radio station  & to earn by doing something meaningful.   Click here to read more.   To hear an audio blog with me singing Stormy Weather click here: 2nd blog audio sept 18 2010

Who says the truth sets you free? Where dreams come true…Anybody know Michael Buble? Oprah?

Hopefully you can listen to this on audio.  click the following link: 1st blog audio sept 12 2010 If you like it, I’d love you to share it with your FaceBook friends.  Well, any friends, actually.  Anybody know Michael Buble?  Oprah?  The transcript is below, minus, of course, the bits of singing.

This blog marks the start of a pretty grand dream, using a funky old PA system and computer to record.  When I worked out how to do this, grandiose visions blossomed in my head of perfect songs emerging first time round;  instant world fame; recording labels jamming up my phone lines and internet connection; blog going viral overnight and Michael Buble stopping whatever he was doing and yelling “gotta sing with that woman!! Who the heck is she?”

Ha ha – it isn’t going to happen, folks.  Ooh, daunting thing listening to your own voice for the first time.   I thought I had excellent pitch.   Eugh.  No control at all.  Oh.   Now I sympathise with people who sing karaoke so horribly!  One teeny tiny consolation is – oh.  There isn’t one!.

Even talking and not sounding voice tense or boring is difficult.   I have renewed respect for people who do this and make it sound easy.   I’m sure I can whip my voice into shape within the next ten years.  Okay, maybe twenty.  Well look, definitely thirty.  Forty without a doubt.  Fifty – tops.   By then I’ll be in the grave.   What would I sing?  How about cemetery blues.

Well that’s cheerful, Jennifer, what a great way to start.  Actually, it doesn’t matter how / where you start, it just matters that you start.   And of course that you don’t let anything stop you.  You just put one foot in front of the other and travel along your chosen road.

So.  Here’s to having overcome the first round of challenges which I thought were insurmountable and it turns out they weren’t.  I seriously didn’t believe I could work out how to record using my computer.  Mind you there was a time when I thought I couldn’t work out how to use an electric drill either.

So here’s to the next lot of obstacles, yay, love those obstacles.  Gaaad.   It’s rough when your dream is to be a singer and your obstacle is the way you sing.   V. funny, Universe.  Who was it said the truth sets you free?  It’s absolute bollocks of course.  We all know that.

Just kidding.

1st blog audio sept 12 2010

In general, this blog is about the pursuit of dreams.  Mine are to establish myself as a vocalist, script & blog writer & novelist, & to earn by doing something meaningful.  I need help with some things.  Click here to read more about my dreams and what I need.

Foundation for a better life and making dreams come true

I have 2 basic dreams:  to establish myself as:  1) a vocalist/musician;  2) a film script/novel/blog writer.  I wanted to be a musician and writer as a child, but my belief that I was stupid, ugly, uncreative, unlovable and undeserving got in the way.  I couldn’t change those beliefs until I went bankrupt 8 years ago.   In that place of having nothing I faced the truth of my self esteem and what I believed about myself.

I set about doing the inner work I had to, to be able to change.  I also began to sing, play piano and write again.  Gradually, as I changed on the inside, my creativity developed, and my desire and ability to have healthy relationships.  Now I’m rediscovering my mojo, reconnecting with my dreams and people, and starting my life over, with the same dreams but a better foundation.   I’m claiming my life back.

This is what I’ve done on my own so far:

Singing: I’ve developed my voice with some lessons, but mostly on my own.  I have a jazz repertoire of about 100 songs, but I’m developing my own compositions too.   I play piano (classical for my own benefit, and am learning jazz) and acoustic guitar (only have a cheap one).  See my blog of August 24 for more on that.

Writing:  I’ve completed a TV series with colleagues;  I wrote a novel Meeting Robert de Niro (working title) then adapted it to a screenplay, which I got to Robert de Niro (haven’t heard from him, though).   The script ended up being better than the novel, so I need to rewrite the latter.   I’m on the 5th draft of my 2nd script, and have 2 others partially written plus 2 in early stages of development.  I’ve started on a book about my bankruptcy experience, what it taught me and how it benefitted me.  Finally I’ve started a crime novel, which will be the first in a series.  I also write this blog, and post articles on Searchwarp.com

Not having money has stood me in good stead in a way up to this point, because it’s forced me to focus on developing my – music and writing.   I’ve had help for survival up to now, and haven’t needed many material resources but now they are starting to be important for me to take the next steps, as I move out into the world.

Recovery from bankruptcy (to read the story in 6 parts click here) included overcoming my fear of the world, and beginning to earn again.  I  have some work that brings in money, but it’s often not enough to sustain me very well (I live off about US$650 – 700 a month, which includes $400 for rent), and definitely not enough to pay for equipment.

This is what I need right now:  I’ve quoted approximately.
1.         Good quality condenser microphone (Rode M3); US150
2.         Decent guitar (Tanglewood); US$400
3.         Piano overhaul (pads needs replacement); US$500
4.         Good quality digital camera (for my blog, and to earn with iStock);  US$600
5.         Good quality video camera (also for blog, and to earn with YouTube); US$600
6.         More memory for my computer;  US$60
7.         Cost of sending scripts to: Oprah, Charlize Theron, Matt Damon, Jim Carey, Gavin Hood, Sol Kerzner, 5 other US producers, Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Renee Zelweiger.  US$630 – $45 per script
8.         Paper and cartridges for printing scripts and manuscripts US$210 – $15 per script
9.         Decent anti-virus / spyware etc.; US$519
10.         Get my car fixed (service, starter motor, new tires, and rust fixed); US$600

These items will give me better earning capacity, and allow me to take the next steps in moving forward in my two chosen arenas.  I’m looking for help to create a balance in my life between financial independence again and the development of my dreams.

If you have a suggestion, or something you don’t use that you’d like to pass on to me, I’d be so grateful.  If you want to donate some money that will also be wonderful.  Click on the “donate” button and follow instructions.  Choose your own amount.  I don’t get to see your bank or credit card details, by the way.

Thanks for reading this.