Creative Process: Layers of Expansion and Contraction

by SofiaWren on September 7, 2016



This week I am on a last minute vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. I’m focusing on the clients on my calendar today, and working on my book as much as I can so it can get to the presses ASAP.


I want to speak today about expansion and contraction in the creative process. It’s something I have thought a lot about in a number of contexts thanks to some muses including Sarah Michael and Cortney Budney. (I like to give credit where it is due, because it’s an interesting topic and a lot of conversation around it recently).



Sarah, creator of Project: You, has reminded me so many times of how when we are very visible we often have a “backlash” or contraction after a lot of people see up. Downtime for contracting and hiding from sight is something she recommends business owners should schedule in especially around a big launch so they don’t feel like an emotional wreck.


Recently, this happened to me because I did the Sacred Writing Challenge with a public video every day. I was also very available in the private facebook group for a lot of conversation around the ideas of guilt around what you really really want, and it was very touching, very vulnerable and very powerful for me. So I needed to rest after all of that visibility in my marketing!


The truth is during that time I was expanding my marketing presence for the Challenge as well as my paid long term Writing Circle (see info here), but I was contracting in another area. I have also been using that marketing push as an excuse to hide the fact that I am rapidly approaching the end of working on my book Freedom: From Doormat to Dominance and Beyond. And I wasn’t yet ready to really talk that much about it. It’s an incredibly honest and powerful book, in my opinion, and the process has been very revealing to me about my own shadow, judgements around letting myself be powerful, sexuality and more. So it’s a big deal for me and brings up a lot of stuff to come out about in a bigger way, so I just hid it for the time being.


I am excited to be moving closer, but around my birthday August 8th I felt totally immobilized, paralyzed to do any real mentioning of the work to be published soon. I even made a pre-publication sign up form in case anyone wants to go ahead and buy a copy ahead of time (here) but I didn’t post it on my blog or email it or anything.


So at her conference, I mentioned it to Cortney Budney, who is a friend of mine and talented coach. She suggested that I just give into the urge to hide it, and to be with myself through that hiding process to work out what I needed to work out.


Well I don’t know if I am done “working out” the whole hiding thing around it, but I at least feel comfortable enough mentioning it now.


Now I am taking this vacation to recover from the marketing, and the business work, as well as other stuff in my life. I am now sort of hiding from my job and regular life by being on vacation (lol), meanwhile I am working on my book daily and making great strides with the some inner work around it. So once again I am contracting one thing, and expanding another.


Something I have realized from this and also is that we can be contracting and expanding in different areas of our life all together. As creatives this can help us to direct energy to make faster progress across the board in a way you may not expect.


While we may be contracting in one area of our lives/careers, we can be contracting or hiding in another place. In a way this is totally useful and handy!


It means that we can focus our energy more on one thing that is ripe for growth, while another is cooling or in preparation stage.


If you’ve ever done research before a long writing session, then you know that the research is a phase where you may not be writing much down on paper for your final essay, but it is where you are reading, and sort of thinking, piecing together valuable information for the final work although it might be up in the air for a long time. I think of the project as existing in a sortof nebulous cloud above my head, and not yet taking on a shape.


In the end that preparation or research time was incredible valuable. When I go to do the paper often it just pours out because I did all this thinking before, and I can add in thoughts that occurred to me as I was driving, or showering, in addition to relaying words I read already. One time I wrote a ten page paper in four hours this way. From the outside when you get back to work on something you researched or let cool, it just looks like you did the paper all at once, but you were thinking about it a long time before.


When you let one part of your life, your business, your creativity cool, and put your focus on another aspect, you allow yourself to conserve energy from pushing before it’s going to be productive to do so. You may be piecing things together in another way, a more enjoyable, natural and organic way.


It doesn’t mean you have to completely put that project to cool off your radar and procrastinate–it’s just that I firmly believe sometimes the energy is just not there yet. You either need to rest or contract on that phase, or you need to work with someone like me to figure out what is going on. Set a reminder and come back in a week or two.


Talking to people about their career and creative progress over the last week in my free Creative Soul sessions has been really valuable for me. I love connecting to the energy and feeling the difference when people gain clarity with me through our conversation.


People find it helpful when I ask questions to draw out what they are working on, the challenges and reflect to them where I really see the energy is right now. If I have some resource or service to offer as well, I totally will, although I am very honest when I see– the energy is not there yet for Goal A! You need to rest or contact in this area for Goal B. Focus on this other thing, and put the rest on the shelf. I will remind you in a few weeks so you can assess if you want to move forward on your goal A yet, but if it’s not there it’s just going to feel bad.


You may be surprised what happens when you stop trying to do it ALL at once, and instead think of things in terms of what areas are you contracting, and what areas are you expanding and what feels right for you at this time. Then you can do a number of things in their own time.


If you want to make faster progress and know what to do next, give me a shout by going to the page here.


We can set up a free Creative Soul Session to see clearly what you are working on, what the challenges are and if it is time to prioritize on expanding/contracting certain things so you can make faster progress. If you are ready to move forward on one of your writing, creative or business goals, I can offer free resources to help, and even working with me if that is a fit for you to make the fastest progress.


I am sending you all love, this felt important to share, have a great week!



Sofia Wren


PS Apply here if you want to know what to do next to make faster progress.

We can talk about all the things you want to accomplish and where you might be putting too much on your plate. What’s the priority? What do you really need to focus on to make the fastest progress? I can help you figure out what to do next with a complimentary conversation, just fill the form here to see if we can talk.

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