2018 Year In Review

2018 Year In Review

This past year, I gave myself a huge gift. I cut back my teaching hours by half and poured myself into my writing life. Here’s what I learned, what I did and didn’t accomplish, and where I’m setting my sights now.
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Creativity Is Your Birthright

Creativity is not something we have to stress and strain after, contort ourselves into shapes over, feel terrible about, measure and fail.

Creativity is our birthright, our blood. It flows through us and all things, giving them life and growth, drawing forth unique expression, blossoming, beauty, gifts.

flower bud

photo by Pascal Chanel

Consider the Flowers

Just look at a flower, bursting from seed through soil, pushing past pebbles that must seem like boulders to the tiny, vulnerable sprout. Courageous, determined, seeking the light, it perseveres through darkness and difficulty, with no guarantee of success, to break through into opened ground.

Gulping in light, drinking water and nutrients through its roots, the flower grows into its unique, implacable form—giving color, beauty, fragrance to all who happen by. Not needing affirmation, assurance. Not comparing itself with other flowers, nor with trees, birds, rocks. Happy to give its gift openly to those who will receive it. Not forcing itself on anyone. Happy to allow them to make of that gift what they will.

The flower doesn’t feel guilty or undeserving of its plot of ground, the water it thirstily drinks, the sunlight it absorbs. It doesn’t worry that it is taking too much. It takes just what it needs and no more. It doesn’t question the value of its blossoms, if they are beautiful enough, if they matter. It gives what it came here to give, what is within its power to give.

The flower doesn’t try to be something else, more or other. It doesn’t strain. It perseveres and grows toward what it loves. It doesn’t hide its beauty, nor hide from the light. It has no need to.

Creativity is Life Force Energy

Creativity is the life force energy flowing through us. It is “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower” as Dylan Thomas wrote. [Read the poem here: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/force-through-green-fuse-drives-flower]

Creativity is unstoppable, unless we put up blocks within, paving over the rich soil in which we are meant to grow. And those blocks to our creativity only have as much power as we choose to give them.

You Have a Choice

We are at choice in our lives, in ourselves.

Do you feed the false beliefs, the perceived limitations and lack, the bad habits, and the wounded self?

Or do you feed the power of the Life that flows abundantly through you and all things?

Do you nourish healthy habits and positive self-belief? Or do you dwell in your past, your fears or seeming failings?

Do you grow like the flower steadily toward your heart’s dreams? Or do you allow every pebble and root to stop you cold?

Do you nurture the Essential Self—radiant, infinite, powerful, knowing—or do you wallow in old wounds and helplessness?

It’s up to you.

You Can Do It


by Skitter Photo on Unsplash

Yes, it takes perseverance, practice, repetition, faith and patience. Yes, it takes courage and support. We are not meant to go it alone.

And you can do it. You can be the unique flower you came here to be. You can let your creativity flow unabated and unabashed. You can blossom and let us see your beauty.

To your blossoming,


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The Power of Creative Routines, Part II

The Power of Creative Routines, Part II

This is Part 2 in a series on The Power of Creative Routines. If you missed Part 1, click here.

Supportive Structures

Accessing the power of routines is about creating supportive structures in our lives that have us putting what we most cherish and desire first and foremost in our days.

Routines then allow those healthy habits to become automatic, so that we do them without a ton of resistance, without needing to decide each time whether or not we’re going to do it.

This, in turn, frees up precious energy and time that would have been spent resisting, deciding, dithering, frittering, aimless. Instead we have energy and passion to be creative, to devote to our dreams.

This is what any good coach, mentor or course will do for us. They create supportive structures in our lives that help us focus around what matters most to us, so we don’t lose track. They also give us practical, do-able steps and guidance to move forward towards what we desire.

Any good course, whether it is a group program or one-on-one, can help with this, because it is so much easier to form new habits with the support of others, with encouragement and accountability and regular structure.

So, one way to begin getting healthy routines in your life is to sign up for a course or get yourself a coach or mentor.

Which Routines Do I Need?

Which routines will create supportive structures for your life around that which you most value? Because that is what you want to support, cultivate, put front and center in your life.

If you value your health, it makes sense to have regular exercise become a routine—and, I would add, it’s best if that is exercise you enjoy, that brings pleasure to body and soul.

If you value creativity, it makes sense to create structures that support creativity, such as a space that is conducive to creating, times set aside for making art each week, habits and rituals to help you begin that promote an inspired creative state in you. 

Make a list of things you most value, love or enjoy, that you desire in your life. Mine includes creativity, love and spirituality.

Write down: What routines or habits do you already have that support what you love and value?

What habits are not supporting something you value or are robbing you of time and energy for what you love?

Create a Routine 

Now, get creative, curious, experimental. What one new routine or practice could you try on that would foster something you love or value, that would support you having more of that in your life?

Choose a new routine and commit to it for the next 3 weeks. Keep a log of each time you do it. A star on your calendar will work for this.

If you miss a day, simply re-commit and do it the next time. Don’t beat yourself up or try to make up for missed days. This will only sabotage you.

At the end of the 3 weeks, evaluate. I recommend you do this in writing. How did it work for me? Do I need adjust the routine in some way or try something different? What support might I need to keep going?

Have Accountability and Constancy

One of the most powerfully helpful practices I know for accomplishing your heart’s desires is to have an accountability buddy or a group, a mentor or coach, that you check in with regularly. That way, you have a place to report on how it’s going, get support when you feel lost or are struggling, and celebrate when you have a breakthrough.

The Best Creative Practice

The most supportive creative habit I know is to schedule creative time (what I call “studio time”) into your calendar every week, preferably on the same day(s) and at the same time(s) each week.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash.com

Don’t wait for inspiration to strike. And don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll get to it sometime in the week. Show up at the same time week after week, and the muse will start showing up too. You’ll also learn how to be creative without needing that lighting bolt that comes and goes.

It doesn’t matter if you start with 3 ten-minute periods of time or one 5-hour block. Choose whatever works best for you, your creativity and your current life. Whatever helps you overcome resistance. What matters is actually showing up at the time you set and doing what you set out to do.

Start small and then build on your successes. I can’t emphasize this point enough. Start with whatever feels do-able and inviting. You can always add more later.

This may take some trial and error to find what actually is most supportive of you and your flourishing creativity. It also requires devotion, a willingness to keep playing with it. And to notice what gets in the way if you don’t show up at the time you planned. What changes do you need to make?

There are many helpful routines for establishing a life you love. The key is to find the ones that align with you, and then to make them a habit through repetition and constancy.

Especially early on in establishing a new routine, it’s important not to skip days and make lots of excuses. This will slow you way down in developing a true creative habit.

If you’re still stuck, you may have some limiting beliefs and old patterns that keep sabotaging your creativity. That’s where a really good creativity coach or mentor can be invaluable.

Let me know how it goes for you. I’d love to hear your stories, insights and questions. If you post your comments here, I’ll respond.

And if you got value from what you read here, please use the links below to share this with your friends.

To your prolific creativity,




P.S. If you’d like help creating a life centered around what you love, I offer one-on-one Coaching and Mentoring. If you’re curious about how this could support you in your life dreams, email me to sign up for a free Discovery Session. We’ll explore various options and see if we are a good match for creating your big life dreams.



6 Essential Ingredients Webinar

6 Essential Ingredients Webinar

The 6 Essential Ingredients You Need
to Thrive in Your Creative Life

A completely FREE, interactive 90-minute webinar with Maxima Kahn

Tuesday, August 22 from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. PST
(To find out when that is in your time zone, click here.)

You’re invited. To register, send me an email here.

Note: You’ll need to register at least 30 minutes ahead in order to receive the connection information.

Why Do I Need These Ingredients?

Lacking these 6 Ingredients, creative people tend to spin their wheels and blame themselves for their failures to realize their dreams. They feel frustrated, blocked, uninspired and confused.

These 6 Essential Ingredients make a huge difference in your creativity, fulfillment and enjoyment. And you can easily begin adding them to your life now.

Maxima KahnWhat You’ll Receive:

♥ We will dive into the 6 Essentials Ingredients you need to thrive in a brilliant creative life. What they are, why you need them, and how you can bring them into your life now.

♥ You’ll identify the most essential ingredient for your creative life now. Focusing on bringing this in can radically boost your creativity.

♥  You’ll leave with ideas and action steps to bring these ingredients into your life.

♥  I’ll answer your questions and offer free coaching around the 6 Essential Ingredients.

♥  And you’ll receive a copy of my e-book The 6 Essential Ingredients of a Brilliant Life.

This is my gift to you.

Join me for this free webinar and see how your creative life can be transformed.

Feel free to share this with friends.

To register, email me here.

Why Should I Listen to You?

I have guided hundreds of artists, creative people and dreamers to free themselves from the blocks that limit their creativity and the full expression of who they are and what they dream of being, doing and having. I have helped them to create remarkable lives of passion, purpose and deep play.

Together, we play, dive deep, listen to our hearts and souls, get inspired and get real!

The Power of Creative Routines Part 1

The Power of Creative Routines Part 1

Today I share with you the first of a series of posts on The Power of Creative Routines to support you in your creativity and in actually living your dreams.

This is something most, if not all, professional artists know. And it can be the dividing point between those who realize their dreams and those who don’t. So read on!

[Other news: I have space in my schedule for a few more Creativity Coaching & Mentoring folks. If you find yourself struggling to fulfill your life dreams… If you want abundant creativity, fulfillment and freedom in your life… If you are frustrated, stuck and tired of going it alone… contact me here to set up a free Discovery Session.]

The Power of Routines Part 1


photo by Alex Jones

There’s a popular notion that a new habit can be formed in 21 days. A simple habit, like taking a vitamin pill each morning, can happen in as little as 21 days. But, studies show that anything more involved, like cultivating a new exercise regime or, say, a regular creative practice, takes more than 84 days to become habitual. 84 days was the length of one of the studies.

My own experience working with people for many years to cultivate healthy creative habits bears this out.

People often ask me why The Artist’s Way course that I teach is 90 days long. They want the quick fix, less commitment. But, in my experience, 90 days is the shortest possible time to form life-long habits and perspectives that nourish and sustain a happy, healthy creative life. Most of us need six months or more for those new practices and ways of being to become truly habitual.

Habits Are Automatic

Woman drinking coffee early morning

by Benjamin Combs

A new activity, way of thinking or being becomes a habit when it becomes automatic. That means you don’t question each time whether or not you are going to do it. You just do it. And there’s very little friction or resistance, very little wear and tear.

For many people brushing your teeth is a habit. You do it daily without thinking. You don’t fight with yourself over whether you are going to do it or not.

Writing is like this for me. I have studio time at certain times of the week, and I just show up without question and begin. In fact, I can’t wait to get into my studio, even when the work is hard. Part of why this works so well for me is because I have ways to enter into the work, but that’s a topic for another day.

Why Bother Forming Creative Routines?

writer's desk

by Dustin Lee

Forming habits and routines that nourish and sustain your creativity and your life dreams helps you stop being constantly at war with yourself over trying to get yourself to create, or judging everything you create, or unhappy about what you are or are not producing.

Instead you create a life in which you feel that eagerness, the playful delight, the curiosity, the wonder and the inspired flow of creating, and you are able to tap into that regularly. You feel alive and aligned with yourself. You’re doing what you love and making it a central part of your life. And that feels good.

Without Habits, Resistance Wins

For many people, making art is not a habit, so it comes and goes, if it happens at all. If you plan on doing it, part of you tries to weasel out of it or distracts you with a million other things to do first. Most of the time that part of you wins.

When you think about making art, you may dread it, argue with yourself about it, or simply avoid it. Then you feel frustrated with yourself and think you are lacking some fundamental quality required to sustain a creative life.

To support and sustain yourself in living the life you dream of, in following your heart’s dreams and desires, the way becomes much easier and more enjoyable when you put positive, supportive habits into place.

Creative Routines Feel Good


by Luis Davila

The good news is that the habits that support a creative life are generally enjoyable and fulfilling. And the relief you get from not fighting yourself anymore and actually doing what you love and long to do is huge. You also free up a lot of energy.

But first you have to make your creative practices into a habit, a regular routine. They need to become embedded in your daily life. Then you start reaping big rewards.

But I Hate Routines!

Many artists or creative types are averse to routines. They love spontaneity and don’t want to be tied down. But, without any structure or habits, they often find themselves at sea in their creative lives. Either they don’t know what to focus on creatively, so they don’t begin or fritter the time away, or they simply do not making any time to do the things they love.

Many artists resist routines because they don’t know how to create routines that actually work for them and their lifestyle and personality.

They also don’t know how to foster routines in a loving way. Instead they summon the Inner Taskmaster, who tries to bully them into keeping routines, and then they resist and rebel. They find themselves locked in an endless war within.

So, they try and fail and become convinced that routines don’t work for them. Meanwhile, life continues to feel unruly and chaotic, and they don’t make much progress toward their big life dreams.

If you develop routines and rituals that feel good to you and that make doing what you love and following your dreams a part of your daily life, you’ll soon find you have a life you really love.

In my next post, I’ll talk about how to start fostering creative routines that work for you. We’ll look at the kinds of routines and support that foster a flourishing creative life and help you realize your heart’s big dreams.

Until then, may you flourish in your creativity and in your life,




P.S. How do you feel about creative routines? What gets in the way of sticking to them?
Post your comment here and I’ll respond.

P.P.S. If you like what you read here, use the share buttons below to spread the love. Thanks!

The Seasons of a Creative Life ~ Part 3: Autumn

The Seasons of a Creative Life ~ Part 3: Autumn

This is part 3 in a 4-part series on The Seasons of a Creative Life. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here.

Just as the season of summer does not last all year, neither does the summer of our creative life.

Autumn comes and, with it, a period of harvesting and then pruning.

In the natural world, we see things fall away, die back and turn colder during this time.

In our creative lives, this is the time for bringing projects to completion, revising, refining, and also honing our skills. A priceless time.

Autumn: A Time of Learning and Discerning

The autumn of our creativity is when we have the energy for studying new tools, looking with a discerning eye at our works and seeing how they can be made better. You may not feel the inspiration of new ideas flowing, but it is just as valuable and important to go over your first and second and third drafts and make improvements, learn from your mistakes, and practice new skills, to grow as an artist.

Autumn: The Final Harvest

In the harvesting phase, we have the focus and discernment to refine our projects and bring them to completion. Letting ourselves complete a project is necessary to make inner space for something new in the next springtime cycle.

In the next post, we’ll talk about the winter of our creative lives and how it paves the way for spring. Stay tuned!

If you want ongoing support, guidance and community to help you navigate the seasons of your creativity so you can really thrive and shine, join me here.


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