Interview with Jeff Leisawitz on Creativity
Jeff Leisawitz burns with a mission — to inspire writers, artists, filmmakers, musicians and every other creative human to amp up their creativity, heal their hearts and shine in the world.
Jeff is an award-winning musician/ producer, a college instructor, a critically acclaimed author and internationally distributed filmmaker who has devoted his life to the art of creativity.
Not F*ing Around — the No Bullsh*t Guide for Getting Your Creative Dreams Off the Ground is Jeff’s first book.
What are your greatest artistic challenges and how do you resolve them?
My greatest artistic challenges are choosing which challenges to engage with. I have so many interests — music, film, writing, photography, etc. I have lists of projects for each one. It’s tricky to decide what to work on. But I do commit to finishing my projects when I choose which one to work on.
You’ve trained as a life coach and have practiced Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Could you briefly NLP and how it relates to and/or benefits creativity/productivity?
NLP is about helping clients untangle subconscious blocks which keep them from realizing their potential.
These techniques are incredibly powerful and will benefit anyone, not just creative types. Read about it. Find a practitioner. Really good stuff.
Is there a vision/project you haven’t been able to realise yet due to things like time, money, technology etc.
My biggest creative dream is to write and direct a feature film. I have a script. But I need a serious pile of money and at least a year to pull it off. It’ll happen in the next 5–10 years.
What do you love most about what you do? What do you dislike about it?
As the author of Not F*ing Around — The No Bullsh*t Guide for Getting Your Creative Dreams Off the Ground, I love interacting with creative people in my workshops and online events. I love to teach, empower and encourage people to be creative, heal their hearts and shine in the world.
I’m not that thrilled about social media marketing. Especially Twitter.
You’ve interviewed a variety of people at your website. What have you learnt about creativity through these interviews? What connects or differentiates your interviewees?
All creatives go through similar struggles. And we all find similar solutions. Everyone fails. Everyone has fears and doubts. Successful people in any field use these challenges (and others) and fuel themselves to get better at what they do and move forward.
In your book Not F**king Around, you tell the story of your advisor at college who told you that “If you choose to be an artist, be prepared for 97% pain and rejection.” What do you think it is that drives you and others to pursue an artistic career?
An artistic career is different than an artistic hobby or pursuit. It takes a mass amount of energy, will and determination to go the career route. I believe that people who want to do this and who are willing to do it have a great need to share their experiences and perspectives with the world. Respect anyone who cares this much about sharing their heart and their stories with you. Even if you don’t like it.
What advice would you give to someone who was unsure about how to or what to create?
I would advise someone who isn’t sure which direction to go to simply take a deep breath and step back. What feels right? What turns you on? What is interesting, fascinating? What are you in awe of? Then move in that direction.
Who or what have been your greatest influences in your life in regards to creativity and productivity?
I never, ever, ever do superlatives. Any music, movie, image or whatever that I’ve ever seen or experienced has influenced me in some way. Maybe I love it. Maybe I hate it. Either way it exerts a force on my creative direction.
I do believe that I learned the most about productivity from a simple lesson my dad taught me when I was a kid. He told me to make lists of things to do. Or put things in piles to keep them organized. One day I visited him at his office and was astonished to find a pile of lists on his desk!
Do you have any quotes or a motto that you live your life by or think about often?
Catcher in the Rye. I’ve read that thing about a zillion times.