Discover Who You are as a Creative and Why Your Work Matters | Michele Sagan | Skillshare

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Discover Who You are as a Creative and Why Your Work Matters

teacher avatar Michele Sagan, Author, editor, writing coach

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Discover Who You Are As A Creative & Why Your Work Matters

    • 2. Class 1: Why Questions

    • 3. Class 2: Your Life Chart

    • 4. Class 3: Your Purpose

    • 5. Class 4: Your Values

    • 6. Class 5: Your Work

    • 7. Class 6: Your Purpose Statement

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About This Class

Why do you do what you do? What makes you want to write? Or paint? Or create new things? What drew you to your craft? 

Hello, my name is Michele Sagan. In this class, I hope to help you discover who you are as a creative and why your work matters. I am a writer, an editor, a writing coach, and a psychotherapist. Over the years, I have worked with many authors who have gone on to publish their books. In that time, I’ve also had many clients approach me about wanting to give up on their craft. And it’s no surprise they feel this way. After all, pursuing your passion can be a terrifying journey. I know, I’ve struggled. And not just with getting the words down on the page, but with showing my work to others. What if they hate it? What if it’s no good? And so what I’ve come to understand over time is that what most creatives need is to understand WHO they are and WHY their work matters. This will allow them to push through during difficult times, especially when facing rejection and disappointment. 

In this class, we will be using a life chart to help you capture all the experiences that make you who you are today. The life chart will help you understand your purpose as well as your values. It can also help you make sense of your work. We will be looking at whether any underlying themes appear in your work and what message you’re trying to share with the world. 

I have also included a downloadable workbook to help guide you. All I ask is for you to be honest, vulnerable, open, and kind to yourself on this journey of self-discovery. 

For more writing resources, visit You can also get in touch with me at [email protected] I am also on twitter and hope to connect with you there!

Meet Your Teacher

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Michele Sagan

Author, editor, writing coach


Hello, I'm Michele! I am a writer, I am represented by Jamie Cowen from The Ampersand Agency, UK.

Fun facts about me. I have eight rabbits, four kids, two dogs, two sisters, and fortunately, only one husband. My hobbies include reading, going on beach holidays and riding big bikes on long road trips. 

​Other not so fun facts. I have a degree and masters from the London School of Economics and was a student at both Curtis Brown Creative and Faber Academy where I completed both their Six-Month Novel Writing Courses. I have written columns and articles for magazines and journals and in 2018, I won the London Book Fair’s The Write Stuff competition. 

​When not writing, I'm a writing coach, and hel... See full profile

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1. Discover Who You Are As A Creative & Why Your Work Matters: Why do you do what you do? What makes you want to write or paint or create new things? What drew you to your craft in the first place? Was it a book that changed your life? Was it a painting that moved you to tears? Or is it because you said to yourself, oh, I want to do that. Create something so beautiful, draws out the same emotions in others. The book or painting drought in me. Hello, my name is Michelle second in this class, I hope to help you discover who you are as a creative and why you work matters to the world. Apart from being a mom to four wonderful children and to, to active for babies. I'm also a writer and in 2018, I wanted the London Book Fair is the right stuff competition. But more than just a writer, I'm also an editor, a writing coach, and a psychotherapist. And I've worked with many authors, have gone on to publish the books. But in that time, I've also had many clients approached me about wanting to give up on your craft. It was only when they uncovered why they did what they did that they were able to reignite the passion for the work again. And it's no surprise they feel this way. After all, pursuing your passion can be a terrifying journey. I know I struggled and not just with getting the words down on the page, but with showing my work to others. What if the Hadean, what if it's no good? And so what I've come to understand over time is that what most creatives need is not just helping improving the skills, but in understanding who they are and why they work matters. In this class, we will be using a life chart to help you capture all the experiences that make you who you are today. The live chart will help you understand your purpose, your values, and it will help you make sense of your work. We will be looking at whether any underlying themes appear in your work and what message you're trying to share with the world. And your class project will be to create your own life chart so you can discover who you are as a creative to kick you off. Here is your first prompt. When was the first time you realize you wanted to create something? Do grab a pen and a piece of paper and reflect for a moment. Then jot down your thoughts and I'll see you in our next class of self-discovery. 2. Class 1: Why Questions : Before we begin, I would just like to go through a few key rules as to how you can make the most of our time together. The journey of self-discovery is very empowering, but it can only really work if we follow a few simple rules. Number 1, being honest, do be as honest as you can be with yourself when you are working through the exercises and reflecting on your answers. Honesty is the only way we can uncover our true or 10 Dick cells and acknowledge how we feel and what we want in life without worrying about what the world thinks. Number 2, being vulnerable, due will be as vulnerable as you can be. If you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you can really begin to uncover your deepest fears and allow any insecurities to surface. Number 3, being opened, dubious openness you can, being open to new learning will allow you to grow and shift any limiting beliefs that are holding you back. Number for being kind, to be kind to yourself on this journey. Don't beat yourself up if you're not meeting your own expectations and be patient as you start to reflect and understand who you really are. Now that we've got that out of the way, Let's begin. In this class, we're going to look at some quick questions like, Why are you doing what you're doing? Why have you chosen to be a writer and artist or musician, or some other type of creative? It took me a long time to answer this question for myself. But when I finally did, it helped me to understand my reason for writing. It explained why similar teams kept reappearing in my work. Teams such as loss and forgiveness and starting again. It also helped me to understand my writings place in this world. I realized the reason I wrote was far larger than just me wanting to tell a story. It was something much more, not just an outlet for my creative expression either, but also for my own self healing. It helped me to make sense of my path, my hurts, my pain, my decisions, my joyous moments to writing allowed me to find meaning in my life. It was also a way for me to touch my readers intimately to help them to understand that they're not alone in this world. There are others out there who advertise with the applied. And I also wanted to inspire them so that they'll believe that there's hope even in the worst of times. And that is why asking yourself the why question is key. It helps us to understand our purpose for doing what we do. Knowing this purpose is critical to understanding who we are as creatives. The reason why so many people feel as though life has no meaning, as if they're just floating in a sea of coincidences is because they don't understand your life purpose. What is life purpose? While our life purpose is the key reason we were able to live a fulfilling life. According to research, there are five key elements to well-being. And purpose is the most important of the five elements. And that is why so many of us find meaning in life when we've discovered our purpose. Do you like, what do you do each day? Only 20 percent of people say yes. And that is why we see so much dissatisfaction and frustration in the world. But when we understand our life purpose, live changes as will become clear about the reason we get up in the morning. Purpose guides our life decisions, influences our behavior, shapes our goals, and creates meaning in the work we do. 3. Class 2: Your Life Chart: In this class we're going to dive straight into our live charts. So what is a live chart? A line chart captures all the key moments in your life. These key moments could be the significant milestones like finishing school, starting your first job, meeting your life partner, or learning that you're a new parent. It could also be everyday things such as a family holiday, a walk in the rain, or a day spent just call up with a cup of coffee and a good book. Alive chart is basically a snapshot of our lives up until now and can help us to unpack so much of our path. And how can our live chat help us discover who we are? Well, for one, it can help us answer our why questions. Much of who we are today is molded by our past as events in our lives shaped the way we think, act and interact with others, it's more than likely that your childhood experiences still continue to impact your life today. Even the ones that seem irrelevant or insignificant. And if we don't examine the connection between our past and our present, then we can't understand why we may be driven to do what we do, and how this may impact our creative process. Understanding our past, and how it influences our craft can also inspire us to push through when the going gets tough, especially when we face rejection and disappointment. Making sense of our past can also help us to chart our future. Our past can help us to uncover a purpose and that will help us to take control back of our lives. Is Soren Kierkegaard wants in life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards. And how do we plot a life chart? Well, to create a live chart, we will begin by plotting our horizontal and vertical axis. Your horizontal axis is time, which you can start plotting from the time you were born right up until now. Or you could start it from another point in time, like your first memory. For mine, it will be starting school for the first time. Your vertical axis is how you feel about life. You can call this your happiness scale. This scale can be scaled from 0 to 10, with 0 being when you release happy and 10 being when you are most. I've chosen the word the dumps to represent the times when I was really down. The next level up from that is masquerading to represent exactly those times in my life when I felt confused and insecure, I couldn't see where I was going in. Felt like I was faking it the whole time, threading water at a time. So you know, it's just trying to stay afloat on land at the times when at SOM to safety but we're still loss. Taking the reins would be when I felt like I was taking control of my life again. Waking up at a time soon I felt reborn in home-free at the times when I felt truly like myself, like I was living the life I was supposed to. So as you can see, you can use whatever language you are comfortable with to plot your chart. So now it's time for you to populate your chart. Many times we do not examine our lives and do not put in time for self-reflection. We are so conditioned to just accept things and don't question ourselves enough. Other reasons we don't examine ourselves could also be because there's still so much hurt and pain left inside of us that still haven't healed. So yes, I know it can be difficult, but for today, let's try to be vulnerable and dig deep. For me. I'll start with my first memory, which was my first day of school. I was four and cried the whole time, are the key moments for me, include reading and writing competition. When I was nine, being appointed as editor of my school magazine when I was 17, leaving home to go to England to study when I was 19, graduating from university, getting married and having my first child writing my first book right after having my second child writing my next book after that. But then there were the times in my life after my third child when it was very dark and I fell into depression, got a divorce, and quit my job and banking and stop writing completely. But then it picked up again when I recovered and got recertified as a coach and psychotherapists. And then the more joyous moments when I started writing again, met my new life partner, had my fourth child, one, the London Book Fair Competition, found my literary agent and finish my tenth book. As you can see, you can populate your life chart in any way you want. You can be as granular or as generalists you like. However, you will find that the more detail you are, the more you take away from your life chart. So do take some time to really plot this out. I suggest including all those times in your life as well. That has to do if you becoming and growing as a creative. This will help you to understand your own journey better. 4. Class 3: Your Purpose : In this class, we will be reflecting on the live chat and asking ourselves some empowering questions to understand ourselves better. It is only when we dig really deep and begin to examine and question the things that we normally take for granted that we can uncover meaning in what we do. Questions to ask yourself to uncover who you really are can include. What did you love to do as a child? What makes you forget time? What would you do if you didn't have to worry about money? What would you do if you didn't have to worry about other people's perceptions, what do you want your life to be about? For me? What I love to do as a child was to create stories of other worlds, times and people. Sometimes I would get so engrossed in writing these short stories that I would forget the time and my mom would have to remind me to eat or to do my homework. I think I must have known as the child already that my passion was writing and over the years, I've always come back to it. Questions you can ask yourself regarding your craft are, when was the first time you realize you wanted to create something? When was the first time you share your work with someone? And how did it make you feel? What experiences do you want to create for yourself, for others? What would happen if you stopped doing the work you do now? What would you do instead? How would that impact the world? How are you going to save the world? If you knew you were going to die one year from today, what would you do and how would you want to be remembered? Now that you've answered some of these questions, take some time to reflect on what you've discovered about yourself. Can you identify what matters most to you? What you want to do more of? What steals your joy? What role your craft place in your life? Why is that important? For me? Connecting with others is very, very key. And that is why may craft plays such an important role in my life? It allows me to engage with my readers and for us to connect to my writing. If you can answer some of these questions, and that's great. That means you're on your way to discovering who you are and why you're craft methods. But if you haven't been able to, don't worry, we'll be going through several more exercises so you can understand you live chat and gain more clarity. 5. Class 4: Your Values: In this class we are going to be looking at values. Values are the basic and fundamental beliefs that guide or motivate our attitudes or actions. They help us to determine what is important to us. Values are the motif behind purposeful action and can be the reason we do what we do. Now go back to your chart and ask yourself some of these empowering value questions. What moves you to tears? What makes you happy? What makes you angry? What do you suppress? What would you never compromise on? What moves me to tears is the suffering of others, especially when they feel alone in this connected with the world. I also realized I fell into depression sometime in my mid-thirties because I was doing a job I didn't find meaning in. And I felt like I was constantly thinking. And for me I was happy during the times in art, creating new things. Like when I finished writing a book and felt like I created a whole new world populated with characters at fleshed out. I was also happiest when I was with my family. And as for me, I would never compromise on my faith. So think about the times when you were feeling joy, pride, sadness, disappointment, and ask yourself why understanding our own emotions and why we feel the way we do u. So key to understanding ourselves. Now lists your values down. You can use the values inventory that I have provided in the class material as a guide. So for me, my long list of values based on my previous answers are acceptance, achievement, awareness, compassion, creativity, enlightenment, family, happiness, helping others, inspiration, religion, wisdom, and more. Now it is time to chunk your lists of values. Think about the ones that are similar in nature. For me, acceptance, compassion in helping others are related. And awareness and enlightenment and wisdom are related as well. Empathy, belonging, family are related. Now it's time to prioritize your values. What values are essential to your life? What values represent your primary way of being? What values are critical to supporting your inner self. Next, identify your top five core values. These are the things that are important to you about the way you live and work. After reflecting on my life chart, I would say my top five core values, our family, happiness, religion, enlightenment, compassion, and achievement. The reasons why I've selected these five are because I realized my family have always been my priority. They're the ones who uplifted me even in the darkest of times. The same with my faith. I've always turned to God to carry me true stormy weather. I also prioritize enlightenment and compassion as I feel that I need to connect with myself as well as those around me. Achievement is also important, is I feel happiest when I've been productive and have completed meaningful word. 6. Class 5: Your Work: Now it is time to go through your work, looking for analysis, read your writing, refresh eyes. Look through your drawings that you're looking at it for the first time. Listen to your music somewhere different from where you normally listen to it. Try and examine your work and you to see it from outside yourself. Do you see any recurring themes? For me, as I mentioned before, it is lost, regret, forgiveness, and starting and you, are there similarities between your characters? Do you use the same type of settings, locations, abandoned buildings, for example, the countryside. Always write about certain types of furniture, like maybe a grandfather clock that reminds you of your family home. Are there any hidden meanings in the objects or symbols that you use in your work? I found the weather influence my writing a lot and I will often cause my story during stormy days. Are your stories happy, sad. Do they all have the same ending? And what does your work intend to do? Move, disturb, inspire. Now look back at your life chart. Have you mirror it, your life in your work? If you are a writer, sometimes you may write about worlds and characters so completely different from the world. You know, at first, they may seem to be nothing familiar in your work. But if you look deep enough, you might find some underlying teams or messages. Many writers I've coached have said that writing is about unraveling who they are inside. By writing can also be about healing and will allow you to understand your pain so you can move on from your past more easily. For others, you might do what you do because you're fighting for a cause. There's something inside you, something possibly connected to your purpose that you want to share to your work. Many writers who feel strongly about issues such as women's rights. My finally, keep writing about the same themes in the same topics over and over again. For some, it's about achieving a goal and measuring up to expectations, especially if you come from a family of writers and musicians or artists, for example. Others might do it because they want to belong to a group. Many musicians feel a sense of belonging in a band with shared goals. So that is why it's so important for you to examine and reflect on your work so you can discover why it matters to the world. 7. Class 6: Your Purpose Statement : In this session, we will be crafting out a purpose statement to help you crystallize who you are and why you work matters. It isn't easy and you might not be able to craft a statement right way. I've worked with clients who had light bulb moments go off and who have written your purpose statement in days. Others have taken months, and some even years. But be patient with yourself. A lot of work needs to be done to figure out who you really are. This is especially true and so many of us bury our immune cells so deep, sometimes even hiding behind our art in order not to face ourselves is usually only when you've dealt with PaaS, heard trauma and regrets that you can move on with life and uncover your authentic self. Use the previous exercises you've completed on your live chart, your why question, your values and your work to help you frame your thoughts and guide you. Your statement should be two to three lines at maximum. Convey what you want to do in your life and should make you come alive and wanted to get up in the morning. It should capture your authentic self. So you can leave a life honest to who you are. If you can come up with your own purpose statement, then try asking yourself these questions. What is the one thing I'm good at? What do I enjoy doing? How can this make the world a better place or make an impact or change the world whether big or small. What kind of work and I do that will help me to live the life I want. Who am I helping? Why does this allow me to be my authentic self? And why does this allow me to live my best life? Use the following statement and fill it in as honestly and as authentically as you can, because this statement can change your life. It can really help you to crystallize who you are as creative and why your work matters. For me. My purpose statement would be, I'm good at creating stories and I enjoy writing because I value creativity and self-expression. My writing matters because it allows me to connect with others, especially those who are going through challenging times. It also helps me to be more empathetic to do struggles. True my work. I'm also able to embrace my own vulnerability and cultivate my own inner string. This is important because it allows me to empower myself while inspiring others. Congratulations. We've come to the end of our journey of self-discovery together. How do you feel? I know it hasn't been easy working through all these exercises. But I hope you found this journey as rewarding as I have. And that you found some answers to who you are as a creative and why your work matters. If not, don't worry, as discovering your purpose isn't easy and it takes a lot of self-reflection. It took me many years to figure it out for myself. But when I did, it was so rewarding. And so I would encourage you to keep on asking yourself the difficult questions. If you are a writer and would like to explore this topic further, then do download my book, Life on paper, which contains writing prompts to help you uncover who you are as a writer. And as the writing prompts are drawn from your life, you will find that they can adapt and authenticity to your writing. If you're interested in building confidence in your craft, then please do join me in my next class and title, unlocking your full potential as a creative. We'll still be using the live chart. But this time it will be about unlocking our paths to uncover any limiting beliefs that are holding us back from reaching our full potential. Many creative suffer from imposter syndrome and tend to self-sabotage because they don't believe in themselves. They might also still be carrying a lot of emotional pain inside. But if you can remove those limiting beliefs and deal with the herd from your past, imagine the amount of potential you could unlock. If you're interested in turning your purpose into life goals, then do joy, my next class and title, setting goals for your creative life. We will still return to our live chat, except this time we wouldn't be plotting out our paths, our future. So we can create achievable goals, not just for a creative work but for allies. Thank you so much for joining me on this journey and I look forward to seeing you again.