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Posts Tagged 'writers block'

Word by word…you can write a whole book that way!

Saturday, April 18th, 2020

 

 

Dear readers,

I’m currently working on a passion project of mine that I’ve been a mid-wife for during the last nine years. As I write, this work of fiction set in Rennaissance Italy, I’m also reflecting on my creative process and penning the lessons I’ve learned in a new creative memoir, non-fiction book, Word by Word: Lessons on Writing, Love, and Life I hope you enjoy this draft excerpt and it fuelled your own creative unblocking.

 

Looking in the Review Mirror

 

Writing, you may think is moving forward, word by word. But the truth is, sometimes we have to look in the rear-view mirror. By glancing backwards, we check how far we’ve come, measure the miles, and go over the piles. The piles of drafts, the piles of false-starts, the piles of creative U-turns.

Which is why I keep a draft folder, including scenes I’ve deleted and also those still I’m working on. I’m a big fan of using Scrivener, rather than relying on Word documents to store scenes and drafts.

Scrivener is both my car, the road I’m travelling and the roads less travelled. I can see in a glance the journey ahead and glimpse in the rear-view mirror the completed drafts and those in the final stages.

Like today, I sat down in a bit of a blank. I’d set aside an hour to write—I know, it should be two hours. 2 to 4 as a wrote in my previous chapters, right? But sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes an hour-long drive is more productive than leaving the car in the garage.

Often when you sit down to write your mind can go blank, or it can overheat up with so many options and choices. Then your anxieties and fears and creative blocks can jump in the car and put their muddy footprints all over your writing. Or they can wrench you out of your flow like a carjacker pulling you out of the driver’s seat and flinging you into the ditches of despair. Or, more likely, driving you to the fridge, the laundry, or whatever procrastination habit you block your writing days with.

What I do at this point after I’ve thrown myself to the ground, crying, “I’ll never finish this book,” is set my timer and methodically review my scenes. I open my trusty Scrivener file and began at the bottom, sifting through drafts and notes and reuniting with scenes I’d forgotten I had written.

Then voilà, I’m travelling down unexplored lanes, journeying into new landscapes – driving away from my despair into familiar and exciting new territory. It reminds me that all I have to do is ride with my manuscript by my side.

I don’t always have to be adding words. All I have to do is work with as much as I can see through my 15-inch laptop frame. That’s my window screen. I can forward, and I can look back. This is all I have to bite off at the time being. It’s all I am going to do right now. Right now, I’m going to review my drafts and then when I’m done reviewing, I’m going to write with word by word. I may add one more paragraph, or add some notes about things I need to add, or scenes I need to write.

E.L. Doctorow once wrote, “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as you headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

I’m reminded of the scene of the movie Driving Miss Daisy. It’s a film about a relationship that improves the more time the characters spend together. Its central theme is the passage of time. The film presents us with small vignettes, connected to the seasons of the year. It charts the growing relationship between Hoke and Daisy. As the characters age, we see every wrinkle on the skin and sense without it being pointed out too strongly how fragile and fleeting this thing called life really is.

Hoke Colburn: [Hoke is driving Daisy to Mobile] Did I ever tell you about the first time I ever been outside the state of Georgia?

Daisy Werthan: No, when was that?

Hoke Colburn: Oh, a few minutes ago.

When you feel creatively blocked, say to yourself in the kindest possible way, “Darling, all we are going to do now is take a drive through the story. We can stop if you like, take a break, write a few words, then set off again on the road less travelled. But right now, this is as far as we’re going to travel today. We’re just going to take it word by word. But we are going to get outside the state of inertia. We are going to show up and get in the car.”

 

This has been an excerpt of Word by Word: Lessons on Writing, Love, and Life

 

 

Available for pre-order now>>AMAZON

Breakfasts, lockdown, and breaking the procrastination virus

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020

 

 

 

A simple life, with a husband and children—a life with people you love—that is the real life.”

~ Coco Chanel

A simple life, with a husband and children—a life with people you love—that is the real life.”

~ Coco Chanel

I know I set out to tell you every single thing I know about writing, but I’m also going to tell you every single thing I know about breakfast, partly because the dynamics and disruptions are so similar.

I am tempted to find everything that takes me from my writing as a distraction. This morning I resented being pulled away by my partner who was happy, and in a good mood and wanted to make breakfast for me. He wanted us to go together into the garden and pick fresh guavas from the tree.

‘So what’s the problem?’ I hear you ask. The problem was—if I chose to see it that way, which I did at the time—that I was in full creative flow. Stopping for breakfast was the last thing I felt like doing.  My writing was being fed. My writing was being nourished.  My writing was chomping down, after days of famine, on a plate full of porridge.

The last thing I wanted to do was to be dragged kicking and screaming to my highchair and fed. I was happy. I was productive. I was writing.

I had to do a quick mindset shift, or rather I chose to, because I don’t want to be a lonely isolated, unloved writer. “But we love your books,” I hear you say. “You are the queen of uplifting inspiration.” 

I am not unloved, but I want to share my life with an actual person. One that makes breakfast for me!

I know with Lorenzo in by my side life it is a lot, lot easier. It’s a lot, lot easier to do my work. Well sometimes.

The encounter and my mood that day challenged me to reprioritize what is truly important.  As I wrote in The Art of Success: Coco Chanel, she once said,

A simple life, with a husband and children—a life with people you love—that is the real life.

Chanel shared that one of her biggest regrets is that she didn’t spend more time devoting herself to love—instead she chased the wrong dream. She died a rich and lonely woman, by herself in The Ritz.

So I affirmed to myself, “This is good. This is fine. This is time to be together and nourish my mind.”

Later as we ate together my king said, “That should put more lead in your pencil.” And it’s true. Having a loving partner and eating good food should not be seen through the lens of distractions. Instead, it should be rejoiced as fuel for our creative soul. I write more about this in The Happy, Healthy Artist.

There are greater, more dangerous demons, masquerading as distractions.

Distractions are also created by multi-tasking, emails and other demands. Even seemingly reasonable requests like my king suggesting today I should create a blog about working from home.

It’s not an unreasonable idea. Especially as I write this chapter and the whole world is in lockdown during the COVID-19 crisis.  His suggestion may even be a salable idea. But I don’t want to write about working from home.  I want to write about creative unblocking. And then I want to create some art and put into practice what I’m sharing with you.

So here’s the thing that worked for me today. I have to say it’s a beautifully simple and effective strategy, but it’s also one I actually haven’t been doing.  I just simply said to myself, “I am in lockdown from 2 to 4 and I am not to be distracted.”

I took myself to a non-distractive place, which was sitting outside in the garden. And I wrote.  In this case, it was dictating into my manuscript something I had handwritten during a restless night of insomnia.  Dictating is the perfect strategy when you feel blocked because actually you have something you can do. You can just engage the other side of your brain and put some flesh on the bones.

That’s not to say I wasn’t tested. The thing about working from home is there are always distractions.  Especially when your home is a 10-acre property and you live with a perfectionist.  The wonderful thing about my perfectionist is that there is not a blade of grass out of place and everything is manicured—perfectly.

It’s a beautiful serene non-chaotic place to create.  The truth is that when I feel everything is getting messy and chaotic, it does my head in to be surrounded in mayhem. I find it hard to focus.

When my king approached my little locked-down bubble of writing mirth in the garden later that day and told me he was going to spray some weeds between business calls I felt guilty. I should be doing some housekeeping and cleaning. I should be helping!

My intention to be in lock-down from 2 to 4 protected me.  I just took a little mind spa break and I did a micro clean in 10 minutes which cleansed eyestrain and mental overload and mopped away any guilt. The old, non-quarantined me might have mopped the floors, cleaned windows or dusted with procrastination whip until I had cleaned the whole damned house.

But no, I had an important appointment.  I had a non-negotiable time blocked out in my calendar. And it felt great. Empowering. Freeing. But  I doubt it would’ve felt so great if I was hungry, famished, my blood sugar levels plummeting because I hadn’t eaten breakfast.

 

This is an edited extract of Word By Word by Cassandra Gaisford

Available for pre-order soon!

Why not making mistakes is the biggest mistake you’ll ever make

Sunday, March 11th, 2018
“And then, out of many years of silence and failure and feeling that my whole life was a disaster, the writer came, like a blessing, like a door that opened into another space.”

~ Isabel Allende


 
Conquering failure often requires learning the hard way to reach dizzying heights and allowing room for disappointment. 
One successful author, whose name escapes me, once advised aspiring authors to affirm the following, “I am willing to write badly; I am willing to do the work whether it is any good or not; I am also willing to allow brilliance.”

 
Many people stagnate under the weight of perfectionism or fear of failing because they worry about making mistakes. 
It may be challenging, but investing in strategies to create more tolerance and acceptance towards making mistakes will prove liberating.
 
One strategy is to learn from others’ misfortune.
With hindsight, sometimes the greatest fortune comes from making the biggest blunders.
 
Here are just a few mistakes that turned out well:

 
Isabel Allende started her career in journalism and soon found herself offside with people who didn’t appreciate her outspoken views. For years she felt under-appreciated—until she decided to tackle her first novel, The House of Spirits.
The novel was named Best Novel of the Year in Chile in 1982, and Allende received the country’s Panorama Literario award. The House of the Spirits has been translated into over 37 languages. It was also adapted into a film of the same name starring Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Winona Ryder, Glenn Close, and Antonio Banderas.
 

Musician Ornette Coleman’s mistake led her to be acclaimed as the inventor of “free jazz.” She was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship (nicknamed the Genius Award) in 1994 and the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2007.
“It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something,” she once said.
 

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper for lack of ideas. He also went bankrupt several times before he and his brother co-founded Walt Disney Productions, one of the best-known motion picture production companies in the world. Disney’s revenue last year was $US45 billion.
Dr. Suess’ first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected by 27 publishers. The 28th publisher, Vanguard Press, sold six million copies of the book. He went on to write numerous other books which still sell well today.

 
Rhonda Byrne’s life was at an all-time low. Fifty-five and twice divorced, her father had just died and her career was in crisis. 
That was until, acting on an inspired thought, she created the DVD The Secret and later produced a book, both of which galloped away to become some of the biggest-selling self-help resources of all time.
 
 

At the heart of Byrnes’ inspirational series of products is the Law of Attraction.
“Everything in your life is attracted to you by what you are thinking,” Rhonda says. “You are like a human transmission tower, transmitting a frequency with your thoughts. If you want to change anything in your life, change the frequency by changing your thoughts.”
Refuse to be a victim.
 
Next time you feel you’ve made a mistake, ask yourself, “How could this work out for my highest good?” 
Be gentle with yourself. Sometimes making mistakes heralds a time of new birth and energy.
 
Draw on the lessons you have learned to help you move forward
Notice how you have grown and changed as a result of everything that has happened.
 
Gather information as you go and be ready for a new adventure. Look for positive signs for successful outcomes in the future.
 





Mining for Gold


 
What is the biggest mistake you ever made and what did you learn?
 

Buoy your resolve by collecting stories about other people who felt like failures, or were treated harshly by peers, critics, family, and other disbelievers.
 

Collect a file of inspiring stories about mistakes that turned out well.
 

Follow your inspiration.


 

 

This is an edited extract from The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book One: Developing a Millionaire Mindset by Cassandra Gaisford. ORDER THE EBOOK TODAY, and SEND YOUR ORDER CONFIRMATION AND RECEIVE YOUR FREE BONUS GIFTS—Click the Amazon link here getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor

Develop A Millionaire Mindset Today!

How to Overcome Writer’s Block Easily

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

Rewriting is a lot easier than writing because you have a problem to solve.

~ Aaron Sorkin, screenwriter

 

Many people blame writer’s block for their lack of productivity. But delve deeper and the chances are you’ll find other culprits, including perfectionism, “blank page syndrome,” stress, or lack of devotion. But there’s also a simpler cause and one that is easy to solve, trying to write with both sides of the brain.

“To be more productive, you need to learn how to write faster,” says Mary Jaksch, Chief Editor of Write to Done. “The key point is to separate the actions of creation and editing.”

This means allowing yourself to write terrible, horrid, amateur first drafts! Perfectionism will keep you poor.

“When you try to write your first draft well, you are creating and editing at the same time (activities which activate different areas of the brain). This is like being in a car and stepping on the accelerator and the brake at the same time. You won’t get anywhere fast!” says Jaksch.

Julia Cameron shares how she approaches first drafts in her book The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation Into the Writing Life. “Early in my writing life, I tried to polish as I went…. Writing this way was frustrating, difficult and disheartening…I learned to write, setting judgment aside and save the polish for later…

“For the first time, I gave myself emotional permission to do rough drafts and for those rough drafts to be, well, rough. Freed to be rough, my writing actually became smoother. Freed from the demand that it be instantly brilliant, perfect and clever, my writing became not only smoother but also easier and more clear.”

Many successful authors, including Julia Cameron, say it’s important to get out of your own way, to be a channel, or medium, for the stories which want to be told.

Show up! Show up! And soon the muse will show up too,” says Isabel Allende, author of The House of Spirits.

“What writing is,” announces Stephen King in the same-named chapter of his memoir, On Writing, “Telepathy, of course. It’s amusing when you stop to think about it—people have argued about whether or not such a thing exists, folks like J.B.Rhine have busted their brains trying to create a testing process to isolate it, and all the time it’s been right there, lying out in the open like Mr. Poe’s purloined letter. All the arts depend upon telepathy to some degree, but I believe that writing offers the purest distillation.”

Here are just a few simple ways to tap into your writing genius, get your creative juices flowing and love your first drafts more:

• Tap into your subconscious mind and write freely—write non-stop for three minutes. It doesn’t matter what you write, just don’t stop for three minutes! You may be surprised at the clarity and depth of ideas that flourish unhindered.

• Do a da Vinci and carry a notebook with you at all times to capture ideas, doodle in, collect snippets of dialog or jot down compelling descriptions around you, and use it to improve your craft and your daily writing practice. Or you may prefer to use a digital notebook or app like Evernote.

• Collaborate with other authors and do a sprint, or sign up for an organized event like Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month, in November, to write your book fast (http://nanowrimo.org). This is a month-long program that encourages writers of all ages to stop thinking about writing and just get it done.

• Affirm, “Done is better than perfect,” and remind yourself getting words on the page frees you up for the easier task of shaping them into something coherent. You can’t edit a blank page.

• Create your own sacred “receiving” place and channel your story.

• Write by hand and use technology to input your words later.

• Read the following chapters—particularly “Fifteen Minute Sprints” which follows.

 

Mining for Gold

How can you give yourself permission to write imperfectly?

Schedule separate time for right brain and left brain writing tasks.

 

 

This is an edited extract from The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book Two: Productivity Hacks: Do Less & Make More) by Cassandra Gaisford. ORDER THE EBOOK TODAY, SAVE and SEND YOUR ORDER CONFIRMATION AND RECEIVE YOUR FREE BONUS GIFTS—Click the Amazon link here getBook.at/ProductivityHacksDoLessMakeMore

Do less and earn more today!

Although this book was written for writers, the principles and strategies can be embraced by business entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, actors, dancers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, and thousands of others around the world who want to enhance their productivity, do less and make more.

Productivity Hacks for Authors

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

How to Boost Your Productivity Without Endless Sleepless Nights & Breaking Into a Sweat

Productivity isn’t about being a workhorse, keeping busy or burning the midnight oil…It’s more about priorities, planning, and fiercely protecting your time.

~ Margarita Tartakovsky, blogger

Palomino horses cantering in field

If working smarter, not harder and doing less but earning more is your goal, and I’m guessing it is because you’ve been drawn to this checklist, you’re committed to finding ways that balance effort with ease.

We all want to be more productive but do we really know what this means? What does productivity look like? What does it feel like? How can productivity benefit your life—will it accelerate your wealth, happiness, and fulfillment? What might it steal—your sanity, relationships, health, and wealth?

These are questions many of us never ask—until it’s too late. Avoid barking up the wrong tree and chasing an ideal that may lead you further from the things that really matter, pause for a minute.

Before you dive into these checklists and charge into applying the productivity tips and tools I share, ask yourself what does productivity mean to you?

“Productivity is the outcome of your efforts”, says Laurie Wills, a former bank executive. “It’s how much you get out, versus how much you put in. The question you need to ask,” he says, “Is when you look at what you’re getting out is it what’s important to you?”

As you’ll discover, many of these simple hacks will help maintain your focus, boost your energy, top up your reserves and fill your productivity tank simply and easily.

21 productivity hacks:

  • Begin with why: Get clear about what’s most important to you, the outcomes you seek, and your motivating reasons ‘why.’
  • Purposeful productivity: Share your gifts with the world. Work with purpose. Work by priority. Work for prosperous productivity.
  • See your goal achieved: You go where your vision Think big, feel big, and see your goal achieved.
  • Measure your success: Determine your most critical measurements of success or Key Performance Indicators
  • Tackle the toughest items first: The most valuable tasks you can do each day are often the hardest and most complicated. Tick of the toughest items before tackling things you can do more easily.
  • Affirm for success: Use empowering affirmations to boost flagging motivation, overcome obstacles and stay focused, enthusiastic and confident about your goals.
  • Understand the rules: If you want to fast-track your productivity in any endeavor start and stay smart—understand the tried-and-proven rules of your chosen field.
  • Model your heroes: Who do you admire? Who has achieved the prosperous productivity you yearn for? Become a diagnostician and analyze their success strategy.
  • Successful daily habits: Identify daily rituals that boost your productivity and makes these a daily habit. Repetition and consistency are the important things.
  • Miracle mornings: When you win the morning, you win the day. Take time to ‘be’ (center and prepare yourself) before rushing into ‘doing’
  • Journal your way to productivity: Create a productivity journal with empowering quotes and other sources of inspiration, or embark on cathartic journaling to boost confidence and self-belief.
  • Your not-to-do list: What can you simplify or subtract from your life to free up some space for enhanced productivity?
  • Meditate: Stressed, fatigued or overwhelmed minds will never be productive. 80% of successful people have some form of guided mindfulness practice.
  • Embrace Technology: Format and publish your books with Scrivener and Vellum. Use dictation to write faster, Ghostreader to improve flow, Grammarly to check errors and Evernote to store and retrieve ideas quickly.
  • Batch to hatch time: Dedicate blocks of time to similar tasks is a powerful and simple way to decrease distraction and increase efficiency and productivity.
  • Get Organized. Chaos is the enemy. Declutter and get organized. Spend time each day, each week, developing systems to streamline your efficiency.
  • Boost your energy: Sleeping well, eating well, walking or some other form of exercise, and reducing alcohol are some of many effective ways to create and sustain highly productive energy.
  • Aromatherapy for mental alertness: The simple truth is, even if you are unaware of the power of smell, aroma affects your mood. To feel sharper and more alert, rosemary, peppermint and cardamom are just are few essential oils to try.
  • Focus: Juggling too many balls? Prioritize them, set a timer, and allocate segmented time for all the competing activities you feel must get done.
  • Take the procrastination challenge: It might seem counterproductive, but sometimes the best way to be productive is radical acceptance—flow with your current mindset.
  • 15-Minute Sprints: Small increments of progress help to maintain momentum over the longer-term— making it more likely you’ll finish larger tasks. Set the timer and just ‘do it’—you’ll be amazed at what you achieve.

Suggested Reading:

The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living with Your Writing/Book Two: Productivity Hacks: Do Less & Make More

getBook.at/ProductivityHacksDoLessMakeMore

The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living with Your Writing/ Book One: Developing A Millionaire Mindset

getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor

 

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Subscribe to this blog, and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletter for inspirational tips and strategies to live your best life. Click here to claim a FREE copy of Find Your Passion and Purpose>> http://eepurl.com/bEArfT

 

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NEW RELEASE. The Prosperous Author: Developing A Millionaire Mindset

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

For anyone who has dreamed of becoming an author.

For anyone who wants to make a living from books.

For anyone who wants to release the fear of failure, get motivated and achieve success. . .

This is the book to make your dreams a reality.

 

In my new book The Prosperous Author: Developing A Millionaire Mindset I reveal dozens of insights based on survey research, my professional achievements and the success secrets of extraordinary artists, authors and creative entrepreneurs like Tim Ferriss, James Patterson, Paulo Coelho, Nora Roberts, Arianna Huffington, Oprah, Isabel Allende, and many more.

It’s one thing to write a book, it’s another thing entirely to make a living at it.

Developing a prosperous mindset is the foundation skill from which all else follows.

So many famous stories are about having belief in yourself and achieving your potential.

But in many of us, there is a hesitant skeptical part of ourselves that knows, “I probably should believe in myself more, but what if I am deluding myself? What if I’m not good enough?”

I know this feeling very well. For many years I struggled with a negative mindset. I started books and other writing projects and never finished them. I told myself I wasn’t good enough. Who did I think I was writing a book? What if I failed? What if my books never sold? And loads of other messages that kept me stuck in a soul-sucking day job I hated. But, using the techniques I share in The Prosperous Author: Developing A Millionaire Mindset I’m not only making a living from my writing but I’m inspiring other people to follow their dreams too.

Perhaps you’ve bought into the myth that you can’t make money from your writing. For years, the fallacy of the starving artist has pervaded our culture, leaching into the minds of creative people and stifling their dreams.

But the evidence-based truth is that the world’s most successful authors and artists do not starve. In fact, they thrive by leveraging off the power of their millionaire mindset and capitalizing on their creative strengths.

The Prosperous Author: Developing A Millionaire Mindset is a blueprint for mastering five principles of success.

By fuelling your desire, mastering your subconscious mind, maintaining optimum health, empowering your relationships, making a commitment to turn pro and slaying obstacles, you’ll elevate your attitude to success itself and create the ultimate mindset.

 

Though it was written for writers, the principles and strategies can be embraced by business entrepreneurs, actors, dancers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, and thousands of others around the world who want to enhance their mindset

A must read for anyone who wants to make a living from their writing, or earn extra income on the side!

ORDER THE EBOOK TODAY AND RECEIVE YOUR FREE BONUS GIFTS—Click the Amazon link here getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor

BONUS GIVEAWAYS

The Prosperous Author 5-Part Video Mini-Course

FREE copies of my Amazon best-sellers:

  • Find Your Passion and Purpose
  • Box Set Mid-Life Career Rescue Series
  • The Art of Success: Coco Chanel


Develop A Millionaire Mindset Today!

 

ORDER THE EBOOK TODAY AND RECEIVE YOUR FREE BONUS GIFTS—Click the Amazon link here getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor

Boost your creativity

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Young woman laying on dry leaves and enjoying life

It’s incredible to believe that seven years have passed and I’ve become more and more distanced from my creative self. As we head into Autumn it’s the perfect time to start shedding old patterns to make way for new habits.

Listed below are just 8 (lucky 8!) of the many creative tools and strategies that have helped me in the past to tap into and boost my creativity – I hope some reasonnate with you.

1. Stress less: Being overwhelmed can put a real dampener on people’s creative ability. Making a commitment to reduce the stressors in your life will help boost your creative juices. Become a creative procrastinator by putting off until tomorrow that which won’t advance your goals today! Meditate to boost your creativity and stress less

2. Diet: Eat well – you’ll have greater physical, mental and emotional energy and be more focused. Knock artificial energizers and stimulants such as caffeine, V’s and alcohol and nicotine on the head (or at least limit your intake). For more energy and creativity up your intake of water, eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, and B group vitamins.

3. Brainstorm: Unleash ideas you’ve been holding back and generate new ones you never knew you had by tapping into the creative power of brainstorming. Creating some pressure by setting a time limit of 5 minutes or setting a target of 20 new ideas can liberate new ideas and free up old patterns of thinking.

4. See your way to success: Visualization is the creation of a clear mental picture of your goals and life desires. Actively picture in your minds eye your desired outcomes. Imagine or “image” the goal as already realized is a powerful creative technique.

5. Collage: Collect images that capture your goals and aspirations. Preparing an image board or collage and placing it somewhere you will see everyday is a great way to affirm goals and ensure the life you desire is always at the forefront of your mind.

6. Normalise failure: Not allowing room for mistakes is one of the biggest barriers to creativity. Normalise failure by viewing setbacks or mistakes as part of the learning process. Reward yourself for having the courage to try.

7. Learn from the experts: Take a class or invest in some bibliotherapy and learn your way to success. The successes I have had with my art have definitely benefited from attending workshops with top artists like Max Gimblett, Megan Schmidt and Jane Kellahan. I’m doing the same with my writing – I’ve benefitted from great authors and teachers like Karl Englesias and Carol Hughes, and the success of romance authors like Robyn Donald and Daphne Clair and editors like Mary Buckham and Sherry Gottlieb.My photography skills received a major boost when I travelled to Puglia, Italy in 2014 for a workshop with inpirational Carla Coulson.  It’s always inspiring to learn off people who have a passion for what they do and do it well.

8. Collect feedback: boost your creative confidence by noticing what you do well. A good way to do this is to collect unsolicited feedback that you receive from others. I’ll share some of my recent feedback to show you what I mean – I have a special inspirational feedback journal  where I keep comments such as these:

Art

“I saw your beautiful pieces at Thorndon. I recognised them straightaway and loved them sooooooooo much. So did Heather!! They have a strong magnetic pull and for me I just adored them . I found myself in front of one ALL the time.

“I’ve been receiving your inspiring newsletters for some time now and wanted to let you know that I finally saw one of your paintings when my husband and I visited the Affordable Arts Show on Friday. I was busy admiring ‘Whole’ then recognised your name. After seeing your other art works on the website I felt I had to let you know how much I enjoyed them particularly the colours you use and your free flowing style. I would love to come along to your upcoming exhibition. Could you please send me more details nearer to the time?”

“I love it. I really love it.” – Megan Schmidt re abstract “Autumn”

and from the lovely man who brought my award winning Wai art piece love stain,” introducing the “Photographer” who fell in love with your Wai Art Award entry . . . . thank you, R”

All those comments and many more life them make the world of difference to me – it means people have connected with what I do and felt uplifted, happy and positive when my joyfully created works are around. Thanks to this feedback I continue down the path previously less travelled. I can’t encourage you enough to start collecting your own feedback too.”

I’ve done the same with my writing, photography and other creative pursuits. Keeping and reviewing feedback nourishes my creativity.
Writing

“It’s bloody blockbuster material, girl! Great characters, great plot, great conflict and tension and stakes that just keep racheting upwards.”

“I know I threw a lot at you and my greatest fear is that I stop a writer dead in their tracks. That would be horrible. But if I didn’t see the potential in your work and in your story — which is sheer brilliance – I wouldn’t push you so hard. Have fun with the revisions — I know you’ll do a great job!”

 

How this works in practice

If I didn’t take time out to think about my achievements and to replenish I wouldn’t have achieved a fraction of the things I have in my creative and artistic career. Recently I scheduled a block of time and took off to Fiji. Taking this time out helped me stress less and return to my normal life with greater resilience.

Having just purchased a new property, and all the stress that comes with buying and selling and moving etc I’m planning time out again. My soul needs it. By actively investing in myself and my creative skills I’m aiming to  came back super inspired and energized. I’m confident that, rather than push myself with self-imposed deadlines and expectations, by taking some time out I’ll be positively brimming with creative ideas and a whole new sense of joy and colorfulness will emerge in my work – both professional and creative.

So even though I’m not actively creativing right now I am proactively visualizing and planning my next creative journey. I’m collecting and adding photos  other inspiring images to my visual diary and passion journal  to help make my dreams more real. I did they same thing before I went to Maui in 2008 – the last time I felt truly creative following winning the Supreme Art Award and finalling in the The Adam Portrait Award that same year.

 

I’m looking forward to living with passion and creating with joy again and hope you are too. The world needs more happy people.

How to whip writers block and procrastination into shape – take the challenge!

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

This month I’ve been taking part in NaNoWri challenge – 50, 000 words in a month, via the Harlequin site.

Never mind that I started late. I’m there now and clocking up words on my new idea for a romance novel.

Working with a group of like-minded people, even if they are all on-line, is incredibly, incredibly motivating and encouraging.

The other thing that works well for me is rewarding successes – and offering myself bribes.

My first bribe was a scented candle when I reached 10,000 words.

Now my next bribe will be a massage when I’ve made 20,000 words – only (she says optimistically) 6160 words to achieve this reward.

I’d like to achieve by the end of this NaNoWri challenge. So what with four days left that leaves 1540 words a day, maybe 770 in the mornings and the same in the evenings to pace myself. She says have devoured the eBook Daily Rituals (which is a brief analysis of some of the world’s best known and loved authors. A great read – very encouraging on so many levels.

I could stretch it to 25,000 then I’d achieve the huge psychological challenge of attaining the halfway mark to a completed book – but with only four days left and a lot happening in my personal life I don’t want to set myself up to fail.

What are your favourite ways of whipping writers block and/or procrastination into shape?

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