Creativity Tips from Martha

One thing’s for sure… If any one of us unleashes our creativity, our world will split open. We’ll find unprecedented ways of solving problems and expressing our souls, and our lives will be forever changed. 

But perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of creative expression is that it depends on resistance to the opinions and interference of others. For the many of us worried about doing something “wrong,” in the eyes of others, Martha has two sure-fire exercises that will help us develop that resistance muscle and keep it strengthening.

Exercise 1: Get a piece of paper and write down the words “I’m so ashamed that _________________.” Finish the sentence with whatever pops into your mind. Feel the shame. Observe it. Notice that it does not motivate any positive action — only paralysis, fear, and self-hatred.

Now, stand up to your shame and the people who have shamed you. Question them (on paper, not in person). Start by writing phrases like “What makes you think you can shame me for making mistakes? What makes you think you can stop me from moving forward, learning, and growing? What makes you think I should be ashamed of the person I was created to be and the things I am meant to create?” You get the idea… and notice now how you’re moving from a place of shame to a place of empowerment.

Exercise 2: Find a private spot to sit down. Now take your notepad and write: “If I didn’t give a damn what anyone thought, I would _____________.” Finish the sentence any way you want, as long as it’s true.

If the action you’ve listed is ethical, legal, and wise, promise yourself to do it when you’re ready. If not, pat yourself on the back and promise yourself a treat (a mocha Frappuccino instead of ordinary coffee, and a half-hour alone in the park) for being honest. Keep your promises!

6 replies
  1. Cheryl Hora
    Cheryl Hora says:

    I started reading Martha in O magazine. It’s what I look for first. She is such a down to earth person and really sees how life is with the “normal” woman. She always “speaks” to me and gives me ideas on how to handle so many things. Thank you, Martha! Keep up the good work!

  2. marilu cloudwalker
    marilu cloudwalker says:

    NEVER GIVE UP !!! I am 76 and, last year I emerged from a years-long art dry spell. The one thing that I did right during that time was, that I kept creating SOMETHING.If it was painting it was BLECCCH!, but I kept trying. AND I tried all sorts of creative, crafty things that I LOVED. I just kept switching and trying new things (a strong plug here for the magazine Cloth, Paper, Scissors)! Then I joined a new art group and jumped in. I put pen to paper and the cocoon opened . . . my wings began to dry . . . and I AM FLYING!!! I also kept Journaling . . SO important! Love to all . . keep CREATING . . BRING YOURSELF INTO BEING! You are unique and precious and the world is richer because you exist.

    • Val
      Val says:

      Thank you for your post and your encouragement!
      I’m retired from my profession, I think, but not from life. Creating was
      therapy while working and now it’s freedom to be me and fly!

    • Subhadra Hemphill
      Subhadra Hemphill says:

      Thank you for this. I just turned 57 and my fourth child just turned 18 and moved out of the house and in with her father. I have been muttering for 35 years now and don't know whether I'm falling apart or taking off flying. Hearing what you said has made me more determined to fly. Thanks again!

  3. Janis Theron
    Janis Theron says:

    this is so liberating! I am going to do it tonite and yes, it will free me of many things I have locked up and put away cos of so-called shame or trying to fit in…. i also let people walk all over me – from now on, at age 46, I am going to change… thanks Martha, I love your books, your website, your motivations….

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