How to Crush Your Creativity: Resentment

The first entry in this series, How to Crush Your Creativity: Worry, appeared on Nov. 17.

(Note: For purposes of clarity, I exaggerate. Many people have milder forms of resentment than what’s described below. However, if any of the attitudes and actions ring even somewhat true, it’s time to detox.)

People often lack clarity on the difference between resentment and anger. Anger, to be explored in a future post, has an active, expressive quality as well as a feeling of relief once it’s been expressed. (Note: this relief may only last until the next occasion for anger.) Resentment is more like a smoldering fire that doesn’t achieve release or relief.

It’s been called the act of taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

Another aspect of resentment, worthy of highlighting, is that often people who don’t want to feel anger believe that resentment, because it’s less aggressively expressed, is an acceptable, even a polite, emotion.

To crush your creativity through resentment, do the following:

Notice with deepening misery how others succeed and you don’t.

Frequently say, “It’s not fair.”

Look for examples of why it’s not fair.

Get specific. Observe exactly why and how some people seem to have all the luck.

Believe that there’s a small club of succeeders from which you’ve been excluded, probably deliberately.

Talk a lot to others about the various forms of unfairness you’ve noticed and experienced.

When you’re not talking about it, brood about it.

Decide that you might as well give up.

Give up. Remind yourself often that if the world had been a more fair place, you might have succeeded.

Stop giving away your power. In the end (and also in the beginning) you’re responsible for both your creativity and its results. That doesn’t mean it’s your fault. It means you have the ability to respond to circumstances, which means you can choose how to respond.

If other people aren’t helping you, ask yourself if you’re helping others. Develop the habit of helpfulness. At least once a day, find a way to help others on their creative journey. What goes around really does come around.

To take this a step further, believe in yourself. If you do, so will others.

Interview with Author Dana Taylor

This week I interviewed Dana Taylor, author of several books. Her writing will be of special interest to those reading this blog because she writes stories to uplift the spirit. Her work as an energy healer influences her tales of flawed humans seeking spiritual and emotional healing.

CB: I’ve noticed that those who become authors often are highly imaginative as children. Some want to create their own stories shortly after they learn to read. Some enjoy solitude. Others have imaginary playmates. Are there events and patterns in your childhood that you can look at and realize that they helped to propel you into your writing journey?

DT: Definitely! I was an only child and enjoyed the company of my many imaginary friends. I also had an old black and white TV in my room for company. I loved to sing and perform the catchy theme songs of the day—“Gilligan’s Island,” “Beverly Hillbillies,” and “I Dream of Jeanne” come to mind. I remember jumping on my bed and pretending I was the “Swamp Fox.” When I was writing the campy Royal Rebel, I channeled a lot of my power-girl fantasies.

My latest release, Hope for the Holidays, is a collection of short stories. This summer I enjoyed writing Patty’s Angels, which is inspired by my childhood in Los Angeles of 1960. My mother drove into downtown LA to work as a choir director. A woman with a checkered past named Geri became my “Sunday mother.” It was fun to imagine how a couple of angels might have influenced people’s lives.

Last week I was with my 3 year old grandson, Will. All week long we made up stories about a turtle named Mack and his dinosaur friend, Ned. I told him his imagination is his best toy! Maybe he’ll be a writer someday like his “Nina.”

CB: Telling him his imagination is his best toy is the best gift you could ever give him.

That brings me to the subject of elements that can short-circuit imagination.You and I share the desire to express what we believe in our fiction. In my first book, Big Dragons Don’t Cry, that meant working with the idea that a large percentage of human problems come from their alienation from and disrespect for other life forms.

That’s potentially a heavy theme, and I found that I had to take great care not to get pedantic and, frankly, boring. I had several priorities in this regard: not to allow the natural flow of the character development and story line to get derailed by what I thought “should” happen, to make extra efforts to “show,” not “tell,” and to reread the so-called “spiritual” sections of the story with special care.

As a writer who has a a well-developed belief system, how do you balance these beliefs with the desire to entertain?

DT: Lovin’ this discussion, Connie! There was once a Movie Mogul, Samuel Goldwyn, who was urged to make “messages movies.” He replied something to the effect, “If you want to send a message, use Western Union.” He knew audiences balk at getting a “message” shoved down their throats.

On the other hand, the pen is mightier than the sword. It was the invention of the printing press and the essays of Martin Luther that split Christendom, and ultimately inspired Puritans to settle a New World in pursuit of freedom of thought. Today, the so-called “Arab Spring” is being fueled by social media in a modern pursuit of freedom of thought.

But, I am aware that the average Kindle owner is looking for entertainment for their 99 cents. Compelling characters, good writing, a plot that keeps must be the key ingredients. Any “message” has to be a delicate spice added for flavor. (How’s that for a metaphor?)

CB: Fantastic metaphor. You’ve given us some ideas about ideas and/or experiences that inspire you to write. Since my blog is about creativity and inspiration, I’d love to hear more, so I’ll throw out a few questions.

When you’re writing a novel, do you have the plot line down before you begin, or do you discover it as you write (or any variant of these choices)?

DT: I am in awe of people who can plot before the get-go. Alas, there is often a point in my writing process when I feel the story should be subtitled: “Characters in Search of A Plot.” Which leads to your next question.

CB: Which comes first, the plot or the characters?

DT: The characters always come first, even when I’d like a bit of peace. A few years back, I’d finished a long project and was ready for a break, Christmas was coming. But no. Maddie and Phil and that Devil Moon showed up. The opening scene began as a dream—two lonely people, the lake, and the huge, compelling moon bringing them together. I remember stumbling to my computer and pounding out the first draft in the pre-dawn hours.

CB: When/if you come to an impasse, do you use meditation or energy work to get the creative inspiration flowing again?

DT: When I get to “what happens next,” I like to go for a pounding walk. I also open my top chakra and just watch my feet, trying to break through the top level of mundane consciousness to the creative consciousness. If you put stock in the left brain/right brain theory, there’s a knack for stimulating the right brain, which is where all the good stuff comes through.

A little aside—people ask me where I got the idea for “Shiny Green Shoes,” which is part of “Hope for the Holidays.” SGS features an 8 year old black child and an aging actress during the Depression in a small Oklahoma town. I feel like that story was a strange sort of collaboration.

A few weeks before I was trying to come up with a new kind of holiday story, I had gone to receive a Reiki treatment. The treatments really changed my life, as my book Ever-Flowing StreamsEver Flowing Streams relates. On this particular visit, the image of a black woman dressed in a satin, purple dress and hair band came into my mind. I had the impression she was a blues singer from the 1950’s. She seemed very friendly. I left the appointment thinking, “That was interesting.”

When it came time to write the story, I saw a row of fancy theatrical shoes and “heard” the opening lines. A black actress named Mazie June MacDonald reflects back on her life and I think the inspiration came from the woman I met during the Reiki session. It’s my most popular piece—so far!

CB: Your stories about how inspiration arrives truly demonstrate the power of receptivity. So often, people try to stalk creative ideas in a kind of predator-prey relationship, but the prey is always faster.

That brings me to the post-writing phase of a novel: promotion, publicity, etc. It can be very tempting to link sales to external conditions: the economy, people are busy getting their kids back to school, people don’t read, and so on.

I try to walk on by when these excuses lure me and look inside. What am I doing, what am I feeling? From that, what am I attracting? Since I launched my first book, I have learned so much about my subconscious thoughts and programming. Being responsible for my book is both confrontational and enlightening.

How has this experience been for you?

DT: The publishing industry as we knew it is dying and then being re-born. There is certainly pain in the process. It’s a challenge to do things that are actually productive and not just big time suckers. Following intuition is essential. Being willing to learn and move on is also important. Consistency is also key. Get the word out every day, somewhere, to a new group of readers. Make the rounds.

One thing I have I enjoyed more about Indie publishing than I did in the Traditional publishing world is the authentic sense of support from other authors. Traditional publishing was more competitive—there were only so many contracts, so many 1st places in contests. The digital world is infinite. Everybody can publish, everybody gets a shot—even if they are terrible writers!

The cream rises to the top. I love finding a new Indie author who is a real gem. It’s like digging through a pile of rocks and finding a diamond. With the free sampling available, it’s great fun to jump from sample to sample on a Sunday afternoon, searching for the diamonds.

As far as finding my audience, a phrase came through in a meditation session yesterday—“As Within, So Without.” If I write competently from the heart, the readers will come. I find it quite stunning, actually, to see that now somewhere, pretty much every day people are downloading one or more of my books.

It’s a great time to be a writer.

BIO: Dana Taylor writes uplifting stories filled with inspiration and humor. Born and raised in California, she graduated from the University of Redlands. She has been published in various magazines, including the Ladies Home Journal. She hosted the Internet radio program Definitely Dana! at and won various contests with the Romance Writers of America, including Best First Book from the Desert Quill Awards. Her published works include ROYAL REBEL, AIN’T LOVE GRAND?, HOPE FOR THE HOLIDAYS, and DEVIL MOON: A MYSTIC ROMANCE. Her non-fiction book is EVER-FLOWING STREAMS OF HEALING ENERGY. Visit her blog site Supernal Living with Dana Taylor at www. She is a founding member of the on-line community and can be reached at

What Keeps Us From Being Creative?

It’s as simple as biology sometimes. Any negative emotion can shut down our creativity, but I am going to describe fear.

Bruce Lipton, cell biologist and author of The Biology of Belief, explains that a single-celled organism can move towards a situation, which is growth, or away from it, which is self-preservation. It can’t, however, do both at the same time.

Neither can humans. Fear, the easiest negative emotion to describe in this context, is a natural response to a situation perceived as life- threatening. Biologically, it’ss designed to set off a series of life-saving responses.

The following happens:

The hypothalamus realizes the threat and makes an emergency call to the pituitary, the master gland. The pituitary signals to the adrenal gland, which creates adrenaline, to make us more alert and focused, and cortisol, which converts protein to energy and releases glycogen to gives the body the fuel needed for a rapid response.

Blood is diverted to the legs and arms, so you can flee or fight. Blood pressure, heart and respiratory rates accelerate. Our muscles tense; our senses sharpen. The immune system, which uses a lot of energy, gets shut down. (This is why frequent or constant anxiety can lead to illness.)

How does this relate to creativity? Let’s say you have a great idea. You get very excited about it, and you start to develop it. This corresponds to the growth aspect of a single-celled organism.

Then you think about launching this idea. Here you could substitute “book,” “painting,” “marketing plan,” or any creative project.

The thoughts occur, “What if they don’t like it?” “What if they make fun of me?” “What if they fire me?” Fear can take over, and if it does, your creativity shuts down as you switch into life-saving mode.

You might be thinking, “But would the above responses really be life-threatening?” Not to everyone. But to the extent that a human is a herd animal, the disapproval of other herd members means being out in the cold, at the mercy of whatever dangers threaten a solitary creature. So it’s not an outlandish statement.

However, it’s a great question, because it holds within it the germ of the solution. You can choose your response.

You can examine how you react to the criticism of others. You can ask yourself why others’ good opinion is so vital to you. This isn’t necessarily a speedy process, but it can expose a lot of responses you learned in childhood that are stored in your subconscious mind.

In future posts, I will describe how other negative emotions can have similar effects to that of fear in stifling creativity.

Groundhog Day

It isn’t. However, during spring, summer, and early fall, every day is Groundhog Day in my back yard.

Since I don’t grow vegetables, I don’t have the hostility that many have towards this large rodent. In fact, I half-wish a dozen lived on my property, because I’d never have to get my grass mowed. I’ve never seen any animal eat as quickly and cover as much territory as a groundhog. They astonish me.

This is what I like most about groundhogs: the way they periodically pause in their high-speed munching, rise on their hind paws, and look around. This behavior is like that of many animals who regularly check for the presence of predators, but the groundhog’s stance is unusually regal, almost Buddha-like in its dignity.

I like it for another reason. This behavior reminds me to do the same—not because a predator might be sneaking up on me but because I need to interrupt my own mindless mental munching and be aware of the present moment.

One of the ways I do this is to turn my eyes away from the computer and look out the window to study whatever animal is within sight. It may be a hawk perched on a tree limb or the ravens who wing past.

It may be a parade of baby turkeys or a fawn. At night the raccoons lean against the glass door of the downstairs part of the house to say hello.

And sometimes it’s the groundhog, standing tall, its eyes bright, as if to remind me to be here now.

Prioritizing: Step 4 Where Are Your Choices Taking You?

“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
– J. K. Rowling

Random choices are like randomly deciding to turn left or right. Your choices will get you lost if you don’t know where you’re going.

Unlike a physical journey, your journey of choices doesn’t have to detail every step of the route. Being creative means allowing for the unexpected, whether this comes through inspiration, information from the outside world, offers of help from others, or any kind of surprise that may assist and guide you on your path.

However, you can’t prioritize unless you know whether a choice leads you closer to your goal or takes you further away from it.

For example, I have the goal to have my novel, Big Dragons Don’t Cry, and its sequels be widely read. That doesn’t mean that everything I do in my life is related to that goal. Many of my activities are orientated to the normal maintenance of life. Others are geared towards income production. I choose some on the basis of relaxation and agreeable people.

However, it does mean that I make a lot of my choices based on whether an activity will contribute to the achievement of my goals.

I had recently joined a message board that discussed books of a certain genre. After a month or so, I realized that I had other outlets for book discussion, and this board wasn’t helping me learn what I really needed to know: about marketing and promotion and other areas related to getting my book better known.

I left the group and joined an authors’ group. In this group I can not only learn but have found many ways in which I can give support and encouragement, as well as making contributions that help others. Mutual assistance is an important part of my journey.

In that theme, since 1987 I have been writing articles about well-being and spiritual growth for two reasons: because I believe I have something to contribute in these areas and because free content has been a way to give back to people who supported my business enterprises.

Recently, when my time became a little more constricted, I needed to make prioritize and decided to stop writing for another publication. I didn’t feel a strong connection to the audience, and I realized that continuing to write in that setting was doing nothing to further my goals.

It may help you to visualize a circle. See your goal at the center. Many roads can lead to it, but some can take you out of the circle itself. When you need to prioritize, ask yourself if the decision you make will bring you closer to the center or take you away from it.

Priorities: Part I

Do you ever get paralyzed when you have more projects than you can count on your fingers and toes? This is how a creative mind can degenerate into chaotic explosions.

It happened to me today. I thought about the two minibooks I’m working on, one a guide to pet care with Bach Flower Remedies, the other a collection of short stories, and several other projects I am doing. One is the second volume in the Dragon’s Guide to Destiny series.

I could feel myself inching towards panic mode. I will never get this done, I thought. Then I thought, Maybe I won’t. So what?

With the second thought, I realized how, at least for me, creativity can run amuck: when it collides with the accomplishment ethic. In itself, that ethic is fine. Completing what we start gives a feeling of satisfaction. Trouble starts when the urge to accomplish becomes burdened with a lot of baggage. This isn’t the baggage you chose to pack for your journey through life. It’s what others gave you to carry.

Labels on this baggage include “You must accomplish more than is humanly possible in order to be a worthy human being,” “Do that, or I won’t love you,” “Only struggle and suffering yield worthwhile results,” and other heavy burdens.

If you’re carrying that weight, knowing it is the first gigantic step towards dumping it. In recent years, children and young adults have taken the radical step of divorcing their parents. A less drastic step could be to divorce yourself from those of their beliefs that don’t serve you.

I’ll write more about doing that in the next post.

Baby Time

This time of year is best described as the parade of the baby animals, in which fawns, baby raccoons, and tiny turkeys march through the back yard.

This year the fawns have been first, wobbling through the grass with more enthusiasm than grace. Their excitement is contagious. I can almost imagine the world through their eyes: “Sun! Grass! Leaves! Movement! Mom!”

To see the world through new eyes is perhaps one of the most creative acts possible. When we clear away old prejudices and ways of both being and seeing, new possibilities spring forth. Even if they enter our awareness with a fawn’s awkwardness, their liveliness is irresistible.

They remind us that once we, too, were new to the world.

Last week another baby opened his eyes for the first time, my grandson, Lyric. His father (my son) and mother are ecstatic and exhausted.

Welcome to the world, Lyric, and may you find it a creative playground.

Filling in the Blanks

This week brought a milestone in my life. My partner and I have decided to close our business, which has been on the Internet since 1996. I intend to continue with the courses and consultations I give. I will also continue writing the nonfiction and fiction that’s been central to my life for a long time.

I’m hardly contemplating idleness, but I’m feeling the sense of a big gap from where I’ve been to where I’m going. In a lot of ways this is the essence of creativity.

Creativity is all about the gap, the emptiness, and the uncertainty. If not effectively harnessed, it can be about fear, the “what’s going to happen now?” feeling.

Yet it can’t be any other way. Going back to the days of the typewriter, if I have a piece of paper that already has type on it, I can’t use it to write something new. My new typewritten words will blur into those already written. I need a fresh, blank piece of paper in order to create something new.

I remember that whenever I rolled a piece of paper into the typewriter, nothing intimidated me more than the vast emptiness of that paper. It’s the difference between “what’s going to happen?” and “what am I going to create?”

The second question empowers us. It reminds us that we do have the ability to shape our worlds. It prompts us to know that every choice we make begins to fill that blank page.

I have made many choices by default through sloppy thinking and by allowing fear to dictate my decisions. Today is the perfect day to remind myself that I can be deliberate and creative in my thinking. I can imagine what I want for the future and make choices that will bring my vision to reality.

What choices are you making today?