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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Review: Writing Fit - Creativity Coaching for Writers

Writing Fit: Creativity Coaching for Writers
is an in-depth personal development course for writers, from author and creativity coach Phil South.

Phil has contributed several guest posts to my blog, including the recent Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?

I was fortunate to receive an advance review copy of Phil's course, which has only just been released. It's the first in a planned series of courses called the Creative Genius Program, or CGP for short. Other courses in the works include one for musicians and one for visual artists (both also creative fields in which Phil is active, incidentally).

Writing Fit: Creativity Coaching for Writers is largely audio-based. At the core are eleven audio lessons, around twenty to thirty minutes in length.

The lessons are provided in the form of MP3 files, so you can play them on your PC or a dedicated MP3 player. They take you step-by-step through how the creative process works, and how to tap into and enhance your own natural creativity. There is also a PDF workbook which sums up the main points made in each lesson and invites you to answer questions based on what you have learned (an effective learning tool!).

In addition, you get a series of accompanying 'Alpha Technique' MP3s. Phil says that these are a kind of 'soft hypnosis' he developed. They are designed to program the coaching into the student's brain and also get him/her used to being in a high-alpha-wave state (a condition associated with a relaxed, creative frame of mind).

The Alpha Technique MP3s are a similar length to the main course modules, and one is associated with each module. Because they aim to produce a state of light hypnosis, students are recommended not to play them while driving or doing anything else that requires their active attention.

All of the audios are produced to a professional standard - of course, I would expect nothing less from someone with Phil's background in teaching, writing and music production! The lessons and Alpha Technique CDs are mainly delivered by Phil himself, with a pleasant and unobtrusive electronic music soundtrack. I assume that the music was also composed and performed by the multi-talented Mr South.

The course is based on Phil's experiences as a creative artist (in the broadest sense) and as a teacher attempting to instill creativity in his students. The basic philosophy is described by Phil himself as follows...
The creative process goes like this: Desire to create occurs in the mind, and this is a message from the subconscious that ideas are forming. The desire must be focused on in a relaxed state of mind where the brain waves lower to the alpha level and the subconscious can work on the desire and form the first idea. Then this initial idea must also be focused on in alpha, and this releases the subsequent ideas which start to stick to the first. Sooner or later the ideas have the correct “weight” and you can start working on it, whatever the idea is for.
As you work you are in a state of semi-relaxed awareness called flow. This is not as dreamlike as the state you have to be in to grow desire and ideas, but has similarities. It’s like you opened the faucet by being in alpha and you have to keep one foot in alpha to keep the flow going.
[The method] all works together as a coherent whole, and no one part of the process can be removed without affecting the other parts. That said, if a person only does only one part of CGP they will ramp up their creative output and access to ideas noticeably...

Having worked through the course myself, I can say that I found it both enjoyable and inspiring. I think of myself as a reasonably creative person anyway, but taking the time out to consider how the process works has actually proved surprisingly beneficial to me. I found following the course relaxing but also energizing. I know that sounds a bit contradictory, but that's really how it felt! In any event, I'm sure I will reap the benefits in the months and years ahead, and I plan to return to the lessons and (especially) the Alpha Technique audios regularly.

I suspect this course will work well for most writers, but maybe not all. In particular, I think it's important to be able to put aside any preconceptions you might have about creativity and accept (provisionally, at least) Phil's approach to the subject. If you can do this, there is every chance you will experience the benefits, not only in terms of generating ideas (as Phil says, that's only the start of the creative process) but in harnessing and developing them.

Writing Fit: Creativity Coaching for Writers is normally sold for $197, but readers of this blog can get the course for the bargain-basement price of just $97 via this link. If for any reason the previous discount link doesn't work on your browser, go to the course info page and use the coupon code "nickdaws2" when ordering. Note that this is purely a discount code for my readers - I won't receive any commission on sales!

As ever, if you have any comments or questions about Writing Fit: Creativity Coaching for Writers, please do post them below. Phil has promised that he will drop by to answer any questions directed to him personally. You might also like to check out his popular Going Down Writing creativity blog.

Photo Credit: Inspiration by H. Koppdelaney on Flickr. Reproduced under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic Licence.

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