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

Valentine’s Day

A few Reminders : They say you can’t give away what you haven’t got.

Expecting LOVE from others when you can’t give it to yourself, is like driving a car without lessons – straight to A&E with codependent concussion.

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WAKE UP! Don’t short change yourself. Learn to LOVE YOURSELF FIRST.

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TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS NEVER WORK. Change YOURSELF – Not OTHERS. 

 

Facebook Suicide

SOCIAL MEDIA COMMENT by David Parker

2899416335_d7c7b29712In the 1950’s when colour came back in vogue after the darkness of World War 2, women fashioned themselves on movie heroines including home perms and colouring. The image makeover had begun.

Radio Luxembourg, a European short wave radio station playing pop music, followed the American radio tradition of product sponsorship and jingles, which explains why Friday Night was always ‘AMARMI Night’. Amarmi was the L’Oreal of the day, a hair dye you could use at home rather than use the expertise of expensive hair salons. But you could always tell a home job and it was noted with glee by some women in particular, eager to pounce and point the finger that that woman was a ‘suicide blonde’. Dyed by her own hand.

In the Internet Age we can easily makeover our identity on dating and social networking sites like facebook and perform *facebook suicide* by simply deleting or deactivating our virtual reality. It’s a modern version of walking into the sea, pile of clothes on the beach and starting again somewhere else.
Various theories abound the net as to why people do this to themselves with the most popular one being *overwhelm*. Too many friends, messages, event invites, chat buddies, pokes and promotional spam being the cliff they jumped over. Very different indeed from the *suicide scarers* who share their emotional despairing plight online and ask for help or role play assistance.

facebook-death2With security scares, hackers fears and serious stalkers most people using facebook provide fake information somewhere to protect themselves, so lying about age, birthdate or even work details are commonplace. Most of us don’t really care if someone calls themselves Tumbleweed De Bior, is 96 and has a *complicated relationship*. We would be surprised if they hadn’t.

It’s all part of the performance, the alter-ego of amusement. But god help the fake who fails to amuse, who reports what petrol station they have just visited or has 5000 friends but only 5 ever reply to posts. Unforgivable. Then you get serial relationship addicts who perform a service to us all, reminding us that posting *IN A RELATIONSHIP* two weeks after that first date is also the first step toward Codependency Anonymous. Like bystanders at the Colosseum, we watch and stare as the lion of temporary love snarls at the brave illusion of longevity. Then the inevitable happens – it ends in tears and the facebook friends/rescuers rush in with kisses on a stretcher, identifying the pain of rejection, offering hearty soundbites to cover the wounds of failure and unfairness of it all. But two weeks later, they return with another trophy in hand on FB, another victim, another David to fight the Goliath of approval addiction. Now that’s what I call real facebook suicide.

No boundaries, limited emotional intelligence, no time to waste. It’s called ‘love’. The addiction to be approved of. Codependents are inclined to be a bit all or nothing, hard on the outside, soft centred toward the rim, waiting, searching for solution but often living in the world of the *unavailable*. They can have high goals, even higher ideals and an extreme sense of perfectionism wrapped around a core of procrastination. Like Lord ‘Mandy’ Mandleson they are “Fighters not Quitters*, often *coping* with life instead of living it for higher purpose. Many people with long term illness fit this type, I certainly did, but like others, with help and experienced functional support learn to live again, despite circumstance, without blame or inner revenge of the world around them. We discovered a level of acceptance leading to spiritual growth, gratitude and self respect.

Facebook-suicide.jpgWithin the urban dictionary *facebook suicide* refers to deleting and disappearing identity from cyberspace, via overwhelm, information overload, a serious stalking presence or an act of attention like a teenager sulking in his room. Until we learn to face the world on it’s terms, we will always attract rejection.
I focus on three words in my seminars : REJECTION, RIVALRY & REBIRTH. By playing with and accepting rejection as normal and healthy, we grow into adults. By releasing the need to be number one all the time, and solving sibling rivalry, the requirement for competition and winning withers. You have already WON, why the need to WIN again? . . and again?

images-3When someone wins around you – bathe in their glory, honour the aliveness not the death of losing. Jealousy can be the kiss of death. Never compare and despair. Don’t be tempted to destroy your creative outputs and your ideas – put them away – for the drawer can be pulled out another day for review and refreshment. When you take this approach to life, the law of attraction delivers peace.

Facebook suicide, or the un-intentional duvet day, procrastination and separation from human contact are all elements to watch in order to heartily belong to the world of living, not existing, coping or suicidal thinking. Deleting yourself from life, risk, rejection and experimentation is simply a slow death of spiritual energy. So take a deep breath – and savour your life adventure –

or join us for our MONTHLY BREATHE and come back into your body.

http://rebirthyourlife.me/urban-lifeclass-monthly-breathwork/