CHAOS THEORY: A Review of ‘ORGANIZING FOR CREATIVE PEOPLE’ by Sheila Chandra

REVIEW by Robert Beck 

51yPU7t7VxL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_I’ve been working my way through Sheila Chandra’s book Organizing for Creative People: How to Channel the Chaos of Creativity into Career Success. The book is a veritable bible of helpful tips and ideas to turn someone from a walking disaster zone into a streamlined and employable creative powerhouse.

The best thing about this book is that Chandra knows what she’s talking about. After many years as a well-known and respected singer and song writer, she is now turning her hand to helping others achieve the success that she has enjoyed. And what does she put her success down to? Organisation. 

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There are a lot of very talented artists out there who make fantastic work but who never get the recognition they deserve. Often, this is because their work space resembles a war zone and they can no more knock together a press release or impactive marketing campaign than fly! This is where Chandra’s book is so helpful.

What’s even better is that this is not a long book, nor is it particularly dense. The author doesn’t waste much time pussy-footing around the issues and gets right to it: if you want recognition for your work and you’re looking for success then you should ditch the idea right away that chaos results in creativity. It doesn’t!

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Whether you’re a painter, a singer, or an actor, it’s vital to maintain a tidy working space and to treat yourself like a business which needs to be constantly managed. It’s the total opposite to the oft-touted stereotype of the “lazy creative” – the kind of person who lies around all day, smoking, drinking, and just waiting for that one idea to strike them which will make them rich and famous. In this scenario, all that usually happens is the “creative” slides deeper into the mess they’ve made and even if that idea does come – eventually – they have no idea how to produce it, market it, or sell it.

Chandra’s opening section – “Physical Space” – starts with ways that you can organise the places you work in. Some tips may seem blindingly simple like clearing room on your desk so that you can actually work on it, or throwing away that pile of magazines you’ve been keeping on the off-chance you’ll actually read them one day.

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Others may take a little more effort such as laying your studio/room out as a series of work-stations – one for each of the creative tasks you do on a daily basis – based around factors such as where is the best light, proximity to certain tools you might be using, or even just proximity to the kitchen so you don’t waste time walking back and forth to grab coffee. Each idea is carefully designed to systemise your working environment and create a clutter-free space to create in.

Only once you have a tidy space, where you can access the implements you need to create the work and where you’re not spending half the day searching for that one A4 page that’s got lost amongst the rubbish, can you begin to think about some of the more complex tasks that go hand-in-hand with being a self-employed creative. It boils down to that old adage – “tidy space, tidy mind”.

Chandra’s argument is that you can’t possibly have the brain space to deal with creating a PR campaign or doing a tax return if your physical space isn’t organised. So while the first half of her book might not seem particularly ground-breaking, it’s a vital step for any creative person to take to ensure that both your physical and mental spaces are efficiently ordered.

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With your working environment now organised, the second half of her book – entitled “Head Space” – is where it gets interesting. Drawing for her own experiences as a creative professional, as well as from being on the other side of the table and working with creatives like the street artist STIK (who incidentally wrote the foreword for the book), Chandra lays down some of the dos and don’ts when it comes to launching a creative career.

These involve managing yourself and your brand effectively, learning how to make social media work for you, and surrounding yourself with the right people who can help you with tasks such as accountancy and publicity.

Again, the concepts are far from revolutionary and are largely just common sense, but the style of writing is open and honest and the advice is sound and easy to follow. In a world where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to break into the creative industries, Chandra is determined to give as many people a leg-up as she can. One of the book’s charms is how orderly and methodical it is (for a book about being organised, this isn’t a huge surprise).

It’s recommended that you treat the book as a guide and read it from cover to cover. While there may be sections that you don’t need to read in quite as much depth as others, it’s a process and one that is best absorbed whole, rather than in bits.

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The only way to truly judge the book’s success is to read it and try the ideas out for yourself. However, take it from me as a creative person, one who is on his own journey to achieve recognition and career success, this book was a great little companion that has genuinely given me some practical tips that I can use to ensure both my physical workspace and mental headspace are running as efficiently as they can. Ultimately, the book isn’t going to teach you how to be a better artist – that comes from you – but if you are struggling to be creative then maybe it’s because you’re still stuck in a chaotic pattern.

What Sheila Chandra has done is show us how to use that chaotic creativity and to channel it into career success. They’re simple tricks but all highly effective – give them a go and find out for yourself.

‘Organizing for Creative People: How to Channel the Chaos of Creativity into Career Success’ by Sheila Chandra is published by Watkins.

14908327_10210355251256100_1014946024230999709_nRobert Beck is a theatrical director and performer living in London. He also works as PA and admin assistant for urban LIFECLASS. Follow him on Twitter @robertjamesbeck

New urban LIFECLASS TEAM Member : Luisa Bradshaw – Breathwork Practitioner & Team Co-Leader.

 

_DSF6211-Edit-Edit-EditDavid Parker welcomes Luisa Bradshaw – 

After instigating URBAN LIFECLASS 4 years ago, as Not-For-Profit, Luisa will initially support me as she is a Breathworker, trained by Diana Roberts, taking the weight off my shoulders, as well as assisting on group work and seminars, coming up with ideas, & new directions using her well-honed skills. #BREATHE 

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Hi, I’m Luisa, now 42 and live with my partner Annette and our two lively teenage children!!  I have been an actor for 30 years but acting has never been enough for me, I have always wanted more! 

After discovering breathwork and becoming completely fascinated and hooked on the process I trained as a Professional Breathworker in the early ‘noughties’ with wonderful Diana Roberts, a pioneer in the late seventies of the perinatal ‘conscious connected breathwork’ Rebirthing technique in the UK. 

At the time I was soul searching and trying to sort my own issues out. I would like to say I have done that now, but I know it never really ends does it? However I am no longer searching, just being and doing, living in process as healthily as I can. Progress not perfection.    

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Whilst training with Diana I did a weekend Relationship Workshop with David Parker, in which we breathed to Barbara Streisand!!!  . . . not the usual meditation tracks, suffice to say I never forgot him!!! 

I really connected to breathwork with music and always wanted to pursue this path in my own practice. So I am really looking forward to working alongside David, and learning from his wealth of knowledge and finding out more how I want my own personal individual breathwork style to be.

Experientially, I have come through the other side of past trauma and now mostly live my life in a state of joy. Joy I purposely seek every single day of my life.

Sometimes it is there shining down at me when I wake up….other days I use every tool I know to find it! I am also interested in using essential oils and different styles of music and sound vibration to compliment the breath work.

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The core of Urban Lifeclass’s mission – to support those living and working in a creative sphere – fits like a glove, so expect to see me assisting, learning, breathing, co-leading and supporting the team with experience, connection and JOY.

The Funeral of Diana Roberts

Diana was, and remains, our ‘Birthing Mother’ of Urban Lifeclass Coaching, part of our Breathwork Team

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11am Tuesday, 23rd May 2017

Mass at the Church of the Holy Apostles, Winchester Street
(Postal address: 47 Cumberland Street, Pimlico, SW1V 4LY)

To be followed immediately afterwards by refreshments in the Church Hall to celebrate the work, energy and guiding light of Diana’s presence. 

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*Please wear bright colours*

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Donations please instead of flowers to

‘Royal Trinity Hospice’
c/o JH Kenyon Funeral Directors, 74 Rochester Row, London SW1P 1JU.
(Cheques by post or cash/cheques in person to the office)
Reference: Diana Roberts

If you are considering attending please let us know so catering can be organised

Judy Totton 07798 806079

David Parker 020 7388 3109 / codacoach@yahoo.co.uk 

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https://urbanlifeclass.me/2017/04/26/diana-roberts/

Diana Roberts

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Tuesday April 25 2017

 A true supporter of Urban Lifeclass, my trainer since 1988, my loving friend of 29 years, Diana released herself yesterday after a cancerous battle.

I would not be where I am, who I am, and continue to be a Breathworker since then, if it wasn’t for Diana and for this my heart beams with gratitude. We will all miss her leadership, gentleness, humour, lack of ego, stylish rebellion and service to all who walked her path of generosity. #BREATHE 

Her extraordinary energy is still with us.

Rest in Peace dear heart.

David Parker

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Diana was our  ‘Rebirthing Mother’, supporting us all with caring, compassionate wisdom and mentioned in Nicholas Albery’s book HOW TO FEEL REBORN published in 1985, though she was a pioneer of Rebirthing Breathwork in 1978 way before that time.

Sondra Ray was a founding member of the Rebirthing Process of healing trauma in the 70’s. In the mid 80’s, Diana became Sondra Ray’s Organiser/Producer for over two decades in London with The Loving Relationship Training ( LRT ) and became an LRT Trainer herself, leading Seminars around the globe and creating her own Rebirthing Practitioner Programme in London from then, and into the new century.

We were blessed to have had her extraordinary energy with us, as a leading member of our team here @ Urban Lifeclass since we started. An energetic love irreplaceable.

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Diana at the back, ( left top ) – our shield, our backbone and Birthing Mother et al.

RIP

Om Namaha Shivaya

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