Tag Archives: Inspiration

How to Make Procrastination Your BFF! – A Telejam

No, seriously! It’s possible – Procrastination doesn’t have to be the bane of your life.

It’s more like an awkward dinner guest that you wish hadn’t come but by the end of the night has chatted to everyone (including your cranky aunty who never approves of anyone) and is standing over the sink washing the dishes while you enjoy your third slice of cake. It can be that good!

Let me show you how!

Join me on Wednesday, June 5th at 1pm PST for a one-hour jam that I hope will ultimately end the deadlock in your life and have you more productive than ever before.

I’ll also be making time at the end of the call for a Q+A on CREATIVE SCAFFOLDING, a 4-week guided adventure to unlock your innate Artist, find your own personal frame-work for engaging creativity and court inspiration in all you do!

:: Learn my 4 Golden Rules to Befriending Procrastination

:: Why we need Procrastination on our side instead if pushing against it and…

:: What to do when you just have no choice but to get the work done (otherwise known as ‘You Have One Hour to get Your Dreaded Jazz Harmony Homework Done – GO!’)

:: As well as all the juicy details on Creative Scaffolding and what to expect from 4 weeks of creative canoodling with moi.

My sincere hope is that this call will be of practical use to you. I’ll be sharing things that I learned the hard way, insights I wish I had had when I was in college and felt immobilized by a wall of procrastination that felt more akin to a straightjacket. There is no reason why work, Art or life need ever be this hard for anyone else…

And if you can’t make the call live, fear not! There will be a recording sent straight to your inbox for good measure, yours to keep forever and listen to whenever you need a pep-talk.

Just click the giant star below and sign up for all the details and call-in info. I can’t wait to get this party started with you…

sign me up!

Are You Drawsome?! – A chat with Mara Belzer

Holy Creativity, Batman! I am so excited to share my very first interview podcast with you. I’m all about the talking…and the sharing…and the integrating. So it was about time I got this party started.

I got chatting to Mara Belzer, creator of ‘Be Drawsome’ – a 30 day practice of self-discovery through drawing for Artists and non-Artists – about the benefits of doodling, self-transformation without the legwork and creative self-care (hint: it might involve new stationary!)

:: How do you plan to bring the element of ‘doodling’ into your creative endeavors?
:: How do you show yourself impeccable self-care while being creative?

We’d LOVE to hear! Let us know in the comments below…

‘Be Drawsome’ kicks off TOMORROW so nip over here for more info and sign up on the double!

And check out some of Mara’s seriously impressive doodling-handiwork on Instagram, @poodlecat, #bedrawsome. You’ll even find a few of my own early efforts there too, @parisaroohipour.

marabelzer.comMara Belzer is a brand-decoder and ideas-wrangler who helps people
that consider themselves WEIRD build personality-perfect businesses.

You can find out more about her work and follow her blog at www.marabelzer.com

The 5 Lessons of Vogue

You expect ‘The September Issue’ to show you something specific. Specifically the world of fashion, the trivial pursuits of looking good and the mad dash to look better than someone else (because, really, fashion is always relative…and circular).

I own the docu-film and have re-watched it numerous times despite it annoying me so much in parts.

I finally realised this evening that I re-watch it so much because it reminds me, it brings me home, to some of the most important lessons of Art-making.

1. It’s all about the collaboration…

For a documentary supposedly focused on the woman at the helm of Vogue, the helmet-haired and tight-lipped Anna Wintour, the real heroine of the piece is Senior Stylist Grace Coddington. The point of this film is how these two greats of the magazine world work together, the push-and-pull of Anna’s ruthless eye for the business of print media and Grace’s Artistic sensibilities. She’s the talent behind the ‘big name’ and Wintour pretty much admits it in the final minute of the film. This documentary is entirely about collaboration and the dynamics of art-making when more than one viewpoint must be respected.

2. Are you prepared to stand-up for what you make?

Grace Coddington has a fit on camera when she realises that her spread is being cut. She bears her teeth and the depth of passion for what it is she creates is disarmingly obvious. You see just how much of herself is invests in the clothes she picks, the scenes she curates, the vision she wants to communicate. You see just how much it hurts when her vision isn’t respected. No need to ask where she gets the nerve to push back again the most respected editor in fashion or where she gets the energy to keep creating even when it has all been cut. She admits it’s hard to pick yourself up again but she doesn’t quit. She believes in what she creates.

3. Grow an Opinion

Oh man! After watching Coddington standing up for her vision and giving cheek to Anna Wintour, the rest of the Vogue team look like they might burst into tears if Wintour looks directly at them. When looking at spreads everyone is suddenly in complete agreement with Wintour, oblivious to the fact that they just stated something completely different on camera two seconds earlier. The words ‘maybe‘, ‘kind of‘ and ‘eh, well Anna said…‘ should be banned they’re used so often.

I like people with opinions, even if their opinions are completely different from my own. Bland and agreeable do not serve me when I’m pushing to create something remarkable. A bit of honesty, kindly given preferably, is what I’m looking for.

4. Keep your eyes open

Grace Coddington, while being taxied around Paris, talks about how she was advised early on in her career to never read or zone out on the move because you never know what you might see.

This is just plain everyday good advise for a society that’s obsessed with multitasking. Paying attention fuels your creative reserves because it’s life that inspires Art. Yes, I realise the irony in needing a film to remind me to pay attention to life!

5. Having a Point of View makes everything easier

Love her or loathe her, Anna Wintour has a perspective that is all her own. Knowing it strengthens her when others belittle her work. Her point of view steers a ship as colossal as the fashion industry itself and since it’s her own it is always the right direction, she is always being truthful to herself, no second guessing. It seems somewhat simplistic or obvious, even wrong somehow, and yet… How refreshing would that be in your life? She had made it so that, in her world, she is always right!


6. Make freakin’ sure that you have something more to come home to than a (albeit beautiful) bookshelf filled with with your magazines, and more work. There is more to life that work, fashion, even (dare I say it?!) Art. Don’t get swallowed up. Even if you love your work. Yes, you need to do it, follow your potential, release the beauty/message/experience into the world. But you can’t take it with you when it’s all said and done.

Just something to think about…

4 Questions to Steady your Creative Ship

In January I’m running my first round of Creative Scaffolding of 2013 and I wanted to give you a sneak peek into some of what we cover over in the course…instead I felt moved to share this in the hopes that it will be of service to you as one year ends and another begins. I like the idea of ‘practical’ more than ‘preview’!

On signing up for Creative Scaffolding the first thing you receive from me is a list of questions – a way for me to get to know you and for you to clarify exactly what you want out of this experience.

These questions are useful anytime however to right a creative ship gone astray or to investigate what’s holding you back right now. In fact I journalled on these very questions late one night last week and I’ve included by own insights below. So grab your inkiest pen, make a cup of tea and get a head start on your planning for 2013…

:: 1. How does creativity manifest in your life right now? What Art are you up to?

If your answer to these questions are ‘It doesn’t’ and ‘I don’t know’ I would ask you to have a good hard look at your everyday before you dismiss yourself as entirely uncreative…

‘I don’t do anything creative…

…but I do like to experiment with new recipes.’

…I never teach the same yoga class twice.’

…I journal everyday. I have to write.’

…I have a thing about creating unique outfits.’

Look to the little things. Consider everything as potential creativity realized. Maybe you would tell me about your parenting style, wardrobe, unique filling system that you created (that’s the jackpot word right there!), how you decorate your home or tend your garden…you tell me!

Right now creativity manifests in my life through journaling, this blog and the crazy-exciting ideas I have for it in the New Year, through Creative Scaffolding and being of service to others and through singing and songwriting with super talented friends. For me community and creativity go hand-in-hand and collaboration is currently where I feel truly inspired.

:: 2. What’s the best thing to say to you if you’re feeling scared or resistant?

After the high of the first question this might seem like a bummer but bear with me! In Creative Scaffolding, and in life as Artists, we are mindfully working against the tide of cultural, social, religious,…*insert influence of your choice*…opinion that says creativity is trivial. expendable. worthless.

We pick up this message in often subtle, unconscious ways and often from people who mean the very best, who are just trying to protect us as someone once protected them, by dismissing Art.

Poking around in these places can feel uncomfortable at best. It can feel like a betrayal of where you’re from or like you’re going against the world, all alone. Neither of these things are true – being creative isn’t a betrayal of anything , it’s a returning home to yourself! – but when these fears rear their ugly heads you need to be aware of what’s happening and deserve to be comforted in whatever way works for you.

This is a powerful thing to be able to tell your nearest and dearest. Offering support when you just don’t know what to say, or seeming to be making everything worse the more you talk, is a no-win situation for anyone. So give them a script (or tell them to back out the door slowly and leave the chocolate bar on the table) and make life a little less frustrating for everyone involved this New Year!

There is no right answer, anything goes. Some people like to hear tough love ‘Snap out of it, silly!’ and some people like softly-softly ‘There, there. I understand. It’s OK to feel like that’.

For me, I want to be affirmed that I’m facing the right direction, heading where I’m meant to go as a person, fulfilling my called – ‘Parisa, you are talented. You are meant to sing. You’re doing what you’re meant to be doing’ – because these are the first things I start to question when I get fearful around creativity.

Which leads us to our next question…

:: 3. What do you question about yourself when you get fearful about creativity?

It’s good to know where the meanies will try and attack first, where the chink in your armor is.

If you’re unsure grab your journal and ask yourself where you feel the most insecure in general or think of feedback in the past that really cut deep. Even if the person meant it as constructive, that feeling of near-shameful pain after criticism or feedback is a neon sign telling you to protect yourself.

Knowing this puts you in control. Yes, the thought might come, the feeling of pain or powerlessness may be there, but now you know what’s up! Now you can counter it with self-care. Now you can call someone you trust to tell you differently or offer support (see question 2! In fact just pop your answer to question 2 on Facebook and direct all inquiries there when the sh*t hits the fan!)

It also offers you insight. Why do your fears go there? Is there a memory, experience or doubt that needs to be aired or let go of? Is this actually someone elses fear that you picked up along the way, carrying it with you out of loyalty or pride? This is the root of the root. This is where the work really lies.

For me it is always, always, that I’m not talented and that I’m fooling myself if I think I am. I basically call myself deluded. Thanks for that one Brain! When I get mean I like to cut right to the heart of the matter and let my fears make camp there. Perfect way to stall all forward movement so being aware is paramount and backing away slowly, preferably into my bed with a good book, is the best course of action.

:: 4. What do you want to focus on next?

In Creative Scaffolding we only have 4 weeks together. Having a focus or intention (a ‘sankalpa’ as it’s called in yoga) is so important. You can’t fix everything in 4 weeks but you can narrow down and put your lazer-sharp vision on one significant area and see it shift.

This is also true in life. Now, I’m the first to admit that I love switching focus, having lots of projects on the go at once and following where the inspiration leads. Every now and then I have to admit though that seeing something through to the end, letting it develop and mature, is necessary and hugely beneficial to my peace of mind.

And when your intentions seem vague to begin with, it’s amazing what a little extra detective work can uncover. ‘I want to be more creative in my life’  OK, in which part of your life? Your home life? Work life? In relationships or how you dress or express yourself? If it’s your home life, is it how your home looks or how your household functions or what you cook for dinner? Is it in terms of how you treat yourself?

Suddenly ‘I want to be more creative in my life’ becomes ‘ I want to work on bringing more variety and fun into how I treat myself – creative self-care!’ Bravo!

Moving forward into 2013 I want to focus on bringing more fun and lightheartedness into my creativity. I’ve been taking my Art-making waaaay too seriously recently and as 2012 draws to a close I want to see it out with FUN! I want to follow what feels good to my heart and right now that is all about collaboration. In fact watch this space because January will see the beginning of my most collaborative, conversational, exploratory, adventurous, community-driven project to date and I can’t blinkin’ wait…

I hope these prompts serve you in uncovering where your creativity lies and saves you from heartache when the work seems too hard or irrelevant.If you feel moved to share your answers I would LOVE to read them in the comments below.


Being creative is a returning home to yourself

If you’re interested in joining me for Creative Scaffolding in January 2013 head over to the sign-up page now for a special treat. As a Christmas present to all you wonderful folk out there, until the 31st Dec, you can sign up for Creative Scaffolding for $150…that’s $50 less than it normally is! In the New Year the price will be going up to $250 to accommodate the new-fangled awesomery that I’m shoe-horning into it so snap it up now to start your New Year with clarity and the tools to see your Art flourish or  gift it to your most closeted creative friend and they’ll love you forever (er, love not guaranteed!)

More on Igniting Your Creativity!

More on Igniting Your Creativity

I’ve scoured the inter-web (thank you kindly Google!) for more info and inspiration on getting your CREATIVE on! Here are my favourite interviews, podcasts, blogs, articles and suggestions from other readers who commented or tweeted about this week’s article ’25 Ways to Ignite Creativity’.

Thanks so much for all your input and please feel free to keep commenting your ideas or thoughts!

» Elizabeth Gilbert, author of ‘Eat Pray Love’ and ‘Committed’, talks to bigthink.com about her creative process

» An interview with Julia Cameron, author of ‘The Artist’s Way’ and creative mentor, on the tools she uses to kickstart creativity and the interchangable natures of spirituality and creativity

» An article by Scoutie Girl called ‘The Art Makeover: Starting with an Unblank Canvas’ exploring recycling your work and starting with something other than a white canvas!

» Gideon posted this great comment on ’25 Ways to Ignite Creativity’. I particularly like the Bob Dylan quote…

There’s a few tricks which work for me. One I worked out very recently, which was that you have to make sure that it’s something that fires you up.

For me, first of all the thing is to try and make it fun.

Say I want to write a song, then I have to ask myself what the coolest, funkiest type of song I’d like to hear is. That gets me thinking about what kind of wild stuff I’d really like to do instead of something boring.

Use good bait, as Bob Dylan says. Put yourself into situations that demand a response.

» Gideon also recommended this article from Steve Pavlina on Passion vs. Self-Discipline…

» @druchunas tweeted this article, Fruitflesh:  Seeds of inspiration for women who write, by Gayle Brandeis http://www.gaylebrandeis.com/fruitflesh/ Thank you so much @druchunas for your kind tweet :)

Reading List:

~ ‘The Right to Write’ Julia Cameron … ‘We should write because it is human nature to write.’

~ ‘The Artist’s Way’ Julia Cameron … yes, I know that is twice in one list but she is veeeery good. This book in particular is for any artist or any discipline with any kind of block. Even if you are creating often it’s perfect for an internal spring clean!

~ ‘Living the Creative Life’ by Rice Freeman-Zachery …ideas and inspirations from working artists on living the creative life, touching on inspiration, overcoming blocks, work spaces, journalling and moving things from ideas to work.

~ ‘Women Who Run With the Wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estes …one for the women reading this maybe, I found it hugely inspiring and provocative even though not specifically about creativity (though there is one chapter dedicated to it that you can skip to, it is a long book) but I felt energized and inspired after reading it!

~ TWO fellow college-mates of mine mentioned this book to me within a day of each other, syncronicity or what?! Check out ‘The War of Art’ by Steve Pressfield, as recommended by working artists Nick D’Agostino and Lucinda Roberts


~ ‘The September Issue’ …Documentary film about the legendary Anna Wintour and the American Vogue office during the making of their largest, most successful issue ever. Look at the dedication to excellence, attention to detail and the beautiful photography particularly from Wintours right-hand stylist

~ ‘The Planet Earth’ series by BBC. Awe-inspiring footage of our Earth at it’s most creative and at the end meet the highly creative teams behind each episode and the lengths they went to capture pure earthly magic.

~ Rainn Wilson (best known for playing Dwight in the U.S. version of The Office) talking to Oprah about his site Soul Pancake, a place for people to talk about life’s big questions and explore their own spirituality and creativity through art, music, photography, social networking, thoughtful discussion and more. Brilliant interview…Art is Prayer!!

~ ‘Frida’ the film, starring Salma Hayek and Alfred Molina …she made Art, even with all the tests and hardships in her. She had every excuse to give up and instead she turned them into every excuse to make Art!

~ Documentaries about artists that you admire …I started collecting ones about musicians I admire on my parents sky+/tivo box. I love them – Elvis, Joni Mitchell, Thin Lizzy, Billie Holiday…or even better, watch them play LIVE!! See how they come alive when they create!

Journal It UP:

~ ‘The Truth and The Questions’ by Sabrina Ward Harrison …a really beautiful art journal filled full of glorious colour, question and journalling prompts. The journal saved my sanity during my final semester in college. I owe it a lot!

~ ‘Living Juicy – Daily Morsels for your Creative Soul’ by SARK …little stories, meditations, questions and tasks to get your mind moving every morning.

» And lastly, GOOD MUSIC! Here’s something stellar me and my friends were giggling over this week…man, Kate Bush rocks my universe!!

OK, this is by no means an exhaustive list…in fact, this is just what I could think of off the top of my head which means I have watched these videos, read these books and heard these interviews. I would love to add to this list and discover some new creativity-boosting material!

Leave a comment and I’ll add your ideas to this list too and we’ll turn it into a resource that anyone can refer to when they need a creative pick-me-up!

Have a great weekend everyone!!