Monday Motivator email

Introduction to Creative Challenge

In the second week of each month, The Go Creative! Show will look closely at creative challenge. A problem is a block, but when you frame it as a challenge, you can meet with creative energy, and transform it.

In this episode, I introduce a three-step approach to overcoming creative block or resistance, using:

  1. Explanation
  2. Exploration and
  3. Experimentation

Alex and Nelly of Pixbee Design are currently setting up a new home for the show, which will make it easier for you to find and follow them and subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher or YouTube. We should have that in place for next week.

As I’m still getting used to audio, this recording is a little uneven… and there’s an abrupt transition in the middle. Thank you for your patience as I acquire this new skill.

I learned so much this week and I’m excited about The Show and what it’s going to allow us to do together.

Motivator Mail

If you’re interested in learning more about how to be more creative in life as well as work, sign up here for my weekly Monday Motivator Mail, which will bring you news of the broadcasts and books, together with special giveaways and offers just for subscribers.

The first one goes out on Monday, September 12th at 8am, London time, and every Monday after.

So on with the show. Here it is on soundcloud.

The Go Creative! Show Episode 2



Paul: You’re tuned to the weekly Go Creative Show, an audio-video broadcast about creative writing, creative publishing and creative living with Irish Indie Author and director of the Alliance of Independence Authors and the Indie Author Fringe, Orna Ross.  Find out more or join Orna’s Creativist Club on  Now let’s see who Orna’s got for us this week and what they’ve been creating.

Orna: Hello, and welcome to Episode 2 of the Go Creative Show and this being the second show of the month, it is the one where I talk about creative challenge. My own creative challenges, what I’m trying to make at the moment and the various things that are coming up for me and also your challenges, what you’re trying to create at the moment and the various things that are coming up for you.

And in this show I’m going to talk particularly about the importance of a can-do attitude to conscious creation, and the three key core creative can-dos: explaining, exploring and experimenting.  And in the second part I’ll be offering you a creative visualisation that enables you to go a bit more deeply into your own creative intentions.


Orna: So obviously when we talk about a can-do attitude, we’re talking about positive thinking, which is not a new concept.  People have been talking about the merits of positive thinking for at least a century now in self-help and human potential circles, so no, it’s not a new concept. However, it’s no easier today than it was a hundred years ago when the early self-help writers were getting into their swing to maintain positivity. And the reason for that is: scientists have uncovered that we actually have a negativity bias in us, we all have, at this point in time.

Now, that may change. It’s likely this bias arose from the need to identify danger and to be alert for potential problems in our environment, in our habitat and that, as an evolutionary advantage, we developed this highly, highly developed sense of fear and caution that serves us well in lots and lots of ways.  But it also does not serve us so well in other ways.

So we tend to ruminate about problems, it’s just a function of the human brain and it’s true that when it comes to the things that we want to make, what we want to create in this world, as soon as we make a creative intention and decide that we want to make something, creative anxiety rises up. We see all the problems, we see all the potential pitfalls and downfalls and very often that’s enough.  We don’t even get going. 

So positive thinking, when it comes to creativity studies, when it comes to going creative, when it comes to being a creativist (somebody who applies the creative process to everything in life), positive thinking in that context is very much about turning around those negative thoughts and posing problems as challenges.  The second you begin to think about something you want as a challenge rather than a problem, you begin to think about how you can meet the challenge and how you can use the challenge, in a sense, to get to where you want to go. 

A problem is a block, something that stops you but a challenge is something you meet with your energy to transform it and to make something happen.  So that’s why we will always, when we talk about the dilemmas, problems, issues, blocks etc that we’re meeting in terms of challenge, creative challenge. 

And there are three can-dos, that  I want to talk about today, the fundamental can-dos when it comes to creativity. 

The first is explanation, so how you explain. You can explain things creatively to yourself and others. I’ve just given you an example there.  How seeing  something as a problem is one sort of explanation but as a challenge it’s a different sort of explanation. So you begin with your explanation to self.  Can you pose it more creatively?

Then the second one is exploration, exploring the problem and the challenge, seeing what it’s actually made up of, seeing if the things you’re telling yourself about it are true.  And then the third thing is experimentation.

So an example.  Jenna wrote recently with a problem as she saw it.  She is a young woman who is, has a fantastic business idea.  It’s under wraps at the moment, so I can’t say what it is, but it really is an exciting digital business.  But Jenna, like many of us who want to creates something, we’re also in day jobs and she has two young children, she’s got a life and she’s got all sorts of things going on.  And her problem was: “I don’t have time to write my business plan and make my funding application”.  They were two things that she needs to do for the next bit to happen for her. 

So we kicked off with the three can-dos. 

First, we looked at her explanation of that to herself. When we’re looking at explanation, at how we’re explaining something, the first thing we ask ourselves is: is it true?  So we’re feeding ourselves a line about what our problem is and in Jenna’s case it was: I don’t have time to write my business plan.  Given that she has a day job which is 9 to 5 — not a terribly onerous job, not a highly demanding job but definitely a presentism job, she has to go into work and sit at a desk and be there 9 to 5 with a lunch break from 1 to 2 —  and then she goes home to her two young children in the evening and her husband, I suggested to her that really the only times she had available were before work in the morning or at lunchtime.

She said “I can’t do it at lunchtime, you know, my head is too much in work mode, I can’t switch over into my creative mode around my business.”

The first thing we do when we look at an explanation to ourselves like that is ask ourselves, is that true?  Is it actually true, the line you’re feeding yourself about why you can’t do what you can’t do, is it actually true? 

And secondly is it serving you, is it a useful thing to tell yourself?  And then thirdly if you weren’t feeding yourself that version of events, or version of how things are, if you turned it on it’s head, turned it around and Bryon Katie is somebody who has actually made an entire approach to living which she calls The Work, simply on that idea, on that concept of turning it around and asking yourself, actually is the opposite equally true? 

So very often, you find that it is. Very often, you find your explanation is a sophisticated form of resistance.  And in some cases not sophisticated at all, but often it’s quite a subtle form of resistance. It’s actually a form of fear.

There’s fear of finishing, there’s fear of putting yourself out there, there’s fear of losing face, there’s fear of what other people might think, there’s fear of failure, there’s fear of success.  A thousand fears rise up when we decide that we are going to create something new, because it means we’ve got to change, and put ourselves out there. And there’s that part of us that just does not like to change, or expose ourselves, and that is the part that throws up all these ideas and concepts about why we can’t do the thing that we most want to do. 

So that is the second part of the can-do, is the exploration, the true exploration of your explanation, of what is really going on, digging a little bit deeper.  Now here’s where free-writing comes in, it’s a fantastic tool for actually getting beyond what you’re telling yourself.  Getting beyond the surface explanation to the deeper explanation of what’s really going on.

So you begin your free writing by telling yourself your problem, writing it out, maybe with a great deal of emotion or sadness or anger or frustration or, you know, berating yourself or whatever.  You begin there but as you move more deeply into the free writing, as the unconscious mind surfaces beyond the surface complaints, you begin to get to the deeper explanation.  You begin to realise uh-oh, I’m actually telling myself this, it’s easier to tell myself this than it is to actually face in, and do what I need to do.

So Jenna, in fairness, very quickly was turning it around, saying “actually, it’s not at all true that I can’t do my creative work on my lunch break.  In fact I would look forward to lunch if I did that.  Maybe not everyday but…” So she settled on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, she will actually do her creative work and Tuesday and Thursday she was just going to bazz off, read a book, go shopping, do what she usually does at lunchtime.  And she’s gone off to explore and experiment with that. 

That’s what do you do after you’ve done the explanation, and turned it around and had a look at it and done the exploration and found out what’s really underneath, what the true explanation is. Then you begin the  experimentation.  You approach it and ask: if I try it this way, how might it go? 

So Jenna will try her Monday, Wednesday and Friday and see does she actually get her business plan done?  Maybe find, actually, by the time she gets round to it, by the time she’s eaten, she actually doesn’t have enough time to get into the swing of things.  What she might have to do is maybe get up an hour earlier or an hour and a half earlier and get into work early and do it beforehand, perhaps. 

The point is: while you’re experimenting and trying something out, you’re moving, you’re making progress.  While you’re sitting there and telling yourself that you can’t do something, you’re stuck. 

Creation is always doing.

When you experiment, you’re doing something, you’re not thinking about it, you’re actually doing something.

So they’re our three can-dos.  If you have a block or a problem that seems unsolvable right now, just try approaching it with those three tools: the explanation to yourself, turning it around and seeing if it actually is that, exploring in depth, what’s really going on and then experimenting with an intention of what will arise out of your explorations. 

So you explain and explore and out of that you say I’m going to do X, Y or Z. You come up with a creative intention.

One of the ways you can take that deeper is to do some creative visualisation around the intention.


Orna: So that’s what we’re going to do next. Go more deeply with your one of your intentions, getting down into the imaginative mind as well as absorbing the concepts that we’ve been talking about.  To do that, I’m going to be bringing you through a creative visualisation that’s going to enable you to go more deeply into your creative intentions and use your own innate, creative potential to ignite and foster these intentions and help turn them into actuality. 

So now, to prepare for that, you might want to choose a particular intention for the purposes of the visualisation. Make it something that’s not too difficult for this first practice, something that you would like to have or like to make. An  experience or thing that’s not huge for you but that doesn’t exist in your life just yet.  Or it could be a block or problem that you’re turning around, just as we were talking about a moment ago. 

And also to prepare you might want to just pause the recording, and find yourself a comfortable space where you are sure that you won’t be interrupted for about ten minutes.  And settle in and relax.  You can do this visualization sitting or lying or in any position that feels comfortable to you but do recognise that you’re going to need to let go and you’re preparing to let your imagination loose and so be comfortable, get a blanket if that feels good, light a candle, some incense, whatever makes you feel that you’re ready and prepared to ignite your imagination.  So back soon.


Male: You’re listening to the Go Creative Show with Orna Ross.  Find out more or join Orna’s Creativist Club at  Coming up, Creative Visualisation.


Orna: Settle in and relax.

Become aware of your breath.

Breathing in, know that you are breathing in.

Breathing out, know that you breathing out.

In … out.

We are all, always creating.

Bringing things and experiences into our lives, and into the lives of others.

Sometimes we do this consciously, more often, unconsciously.

Inspiration mediation makes us more aware of what and how we are creating.

Meditating regularly acquaints us with the movements of our mind at three levels.

We get to know our surface ego mind and the deeper emotional and imaginative mind and the level beyond, the inspirational mind.

Getting to know our observing mind in this way is all we need to do to develop our creative intelligence.

We find a flow of creation spontaneously arising in us.

We don’t have to force it or chase it.

We only have to open to it.

To allow it to be.

So begin in this space.

Know that the space contains all.

And while in this space imagine something or experience you would like to bring into being.

Imagine it through your five senses.

What does it look like?

Create a picture of you enjoying it in your mind.

Strengthen the vision, see it in full colour.

What does it sound like?

What do you hear?

Can you taste or smell anything?

What are the flavours and aromas?

Can you touch it?

What is its texture?

What is your overall feeling as you imagine it being here with you?

Are there any other feelings?

Feel them now.

Name them here.

Return to the vision of your desire made manifest.

Strengthen it one more time in your mind.

Wrap your creative intelligence around it.

Allow it to be.

And now, allow it to fade.

Allow it to pass.

As all things will.

Return to the space.


Paul: You’ve been tuned to Orna Ross’s Go Creative Show, an audio-visual broadcast about creative writing, creative publishing and creative living, with music by Kimber Arem.  You can subscribe to the show on YouTube, iTunes or Stitcher.  Find out more about Creativity and Creativism at, Now go create.

31 minutes, 54 seconds – END OF TRANSCRIPT