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NaNoWriMo – 10 lessons on the value of writing each day

November 14, 2017

We now structure our hours not to flee from fear, but to confront it and overcome it. We plan our activities in order to accomplish an aim. And we bring our will to bear so that we stick to this resolution.

Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro

I’m doing NaNoWriMo and committing to writing 50,000 words in one month. Here are some lessons on the value of writing each day.

This year I’m doing NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – and committing to writing 50,000 words in one month. I’m writing a non-fiction book rather than a novel because I want to write that first up. It’s the practice, accountability and discipline that this activity is all about. I’m finally stepping up into doing the writing I’ve wanted to do for so long.

And it’s working a treat. It’s day 13 as I write this post and I’ve written 22,937 words so far this month, an average of 1,764 words a day. I’ve written 36,736 words in total now on the first draft of my book. Who’s counting? Me – and with great enthusiasm!

The working title of my book is ‘Wholehearted’ and it’s about wholehearted self-leadership for women in transition. Sound familiar? Yes, there’s certainly an element of memoir and personal narrative in there. I know from my experiences with leadership, self-leadership and learning as a Life Coach and Jung/Myers-Briggs Personality Type practitioner and intuitive tarot reader, that I have a lot to share. And as I write my draft, I realise just how much. Like any writing, my message and learning deepens as I write and I’m discovering more about what I know.

The biggest discovery – creativity over the long-haul

I feel like I sort of tricked myself into NaNoWriMo this year. You see, I wasn’t planning to do it this year except vaguely. In other years, I made it a big thing in my head and then didn’t make much progress. But, this year was different. And I realise, in truth, there has been plenty of creativity, planning and preparing going on for the longest time, so I shouldn’t sell myself short.

Not making a big deal out of it up front helped immensely to take the pressure off and just focus on getting to work. But it turns out I was in a great position to do the writing because of all the time invested in preparation and long-haul creativity. When I stop and reflect, I realise these strategies have been comprehensive, intuitive and practical.

Here’s a list of some of these strategies – and then I’ll take you through my learnings from this to inform your own writing and self-leadership plans.

Strategies for making NaNoWriMo part of a longer creative plan

NaNoWriMo is a focus for one month of the year. It’s a fabulous learning experience and community. Most importantly, it’s a way of focusing our attention on getting writing done and what it feels like. And this is priceless for the breakthrough value.

But it doesn’t exist in a vacuum, nor is it the only time of the year you can write like this. So a real discovery for me this year as I’m working on NaNoWriMo is that I’ve been building this opportunity for a long time.

Here are some of the strategies I’ve worked on in the past year to prepare the ground:

  • Working with a writing coach, Caroline Donahue aka The Book Dr, to work out where my writing sat in relation to my evolving coaching business. I realised it is central, the raison d’être of Quiet Writing and if I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t be feeling authentic!
  • Preparing an outline for the book which I did in February 2017 and worked on over time on paper and then put into the writing software, Scrivener, adding to it as I went.
  • Having the structure set up in Scrivener so I can write wherever I feel drawn to write but knowing the overall plan (as an INTJ Jung/Myers-Briggs type – I need to see the big picture!)
  • Making a start so I had 10K words written in my draft when I started NaNoWriMo.
  • Working with Dr Ezzie Spencer through her Book Whispering Project on getting my book written in simple and practical terms. This was based on her own experience of writing her book, ‘An Abundant Life‘ in a joyous, clear and productive approach, clear on her whys and attracting abundance into her life and writing, including getting published.
  • Writing my free ebook 36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence. This helped me limber up, work out the practicalities, feel like a writer and also understand my literacy lineage and the way I really wanted to write and tell my story
  • Becoming a Life Coach and Jung/Myers-Briggs Personality Type practitioner and learning the intuitive art of tarot – three key learning goals in my transition journey over the past year
  • Reading tarot each day in my Tarot Narrative journey and sharing it through social media.
  • Reading the key books I needed to read to support my transition journey from teacher and leader in a government organisation to successful Writer, Life Coach and Personality Type practitioner and creative entrepreneur.
  • Connecting with my writing mentor, Sage Cohen, via her book Fierce on the Page. Sage is also doing NaNoWriMo this year and put out a shout out for anyone else doing it so we could support each other on Facebook each day as we write.

Showing up and doing the writing

So yes, I sort of tricked myself by starting without fanfare, but I’ve really been creating a wholehearted plan for self-leadership of my writing for some time. This has made it possible to do the writing.

And through this, I’ve learnt how to show up each day as a priority. This is another thing I’ve been working towards. As I wrote in this piece on showing up, it becomes a practice all of its own. As Steven Pressfield exhorts us in his books, The War of Art and Turning Pro, we have to counter our resistance and make a start. In the end, you just have to turn the corner, change your mindset and put it into practice.

With writing, you can work up to it as I have done by writing each day in other ways. I got back to a practice of Morning Pages this year and it’s made the world of difference to start the day with writing each day. And I committed to my Tarot Narrative practice of reading tarot and oracle and working intuitively and then sharing it. This act of writing and organising myself to tell a story of insight each day based on an intuitive reading has been so powerful. It’s given me the confidence and self-belief to trust my story and intuition. Moreover, it’s been a keystone of my self-leadership. And weaving this into books and quotes has helped to connect with my literary legacy, creative influences and remind me of key thoughts. Sometimes, it’s become the message of the day’s NaNoWriMo writing, intuitively delivered.

In fact, the whole weave of these practices is making the book drafting process possible and real. It’s not something I could have done and realised without the act of writing to realise it.

So here are 10 learnings I’ve gathered from my experiences of writing each day via NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo

10 lessons from NaNoWriMo and writing each day

1 It takes a village

The first thought about what I’ve learned from NaNoWriMo is ‘it takes a village’. You might feel like you are sitting there writing all by yourself and you are at the moment of writing. But behind you and around you, there are all of your influences: your family, friends, experiences, coaches, mentors, all the books you’ve read that helped you, the people who cheer you on, the friends who’ve read your work and given feedback, the ones you could call on at the last minute to say, “help!”. And the people that support you and give you the space and peace to write each day now. Then there are all the podcasts you’ve listened to about how to write and self-publish there supporting you too. For me, for example, this is just about all of the 347 Creative Penn podcasts with the fabulous and inspiring Joanna Penn. I’ve been connecting and building my knowledge and creative community and skills over time through others. It’s true, writing can be a lonely trek. But when you are feeling alone writing, remember the village and community and all the mentors that helped you get there and whose spirit is helping you to write now.

2 Prepare the ground

NaNoWriMo happens in November each year. For me, the trick was to prepare the ground in many ways so it was a natural thing to write steadily each day for this month. This means knowing your topic and focus and the shape of your work. I’ve tried NaNoWriMo before and started with a novel but I had a lot of trouble. I don’t think it was the right piece for me at that time. Prepare the ground by knowing what you are writing and why. Some preliminary research will help to make the most of your writing time invested. And know it doesn’t have to be a novel. Whilst NaNoWriMo does focus on getting novels written and this is great, you can still use the framework and sense of urgency to make progress on other works. These might be memoir, personal narrative and non-fiction. I hope to write a novel next time around from these learnings.

3 Make a plan and have an outline

You could dive in cold without a plan and that might work best as a preference for some. There’s always that dichotomy between plotters and pantsers (who fly by the seat of same). But I think for most people some form of planning helps. I knew what I was going to write and where I was going this month.  I’ve had an outline for this piece of work for a while, adding to it as I thought of new angles and connections. I had an outline on paper in a mind map form and knew the main chapters and key points I wanted to cover. It was easy to transfer that outline to Scrivener as pieces of the plan to focus on. Having worked with Scrivener for my ’36 Books’ work, I had a basic working knowledge of how to make a plan that used this software to its potential.

4 Structure and the big picture helps you be flexible

Having that outline and the big picture helps me know the overall map and where I’m going. With it all there in Scrivener as a detailed plan of content, I can write whichever part feels right to me for that day. Each part is a chunk of approximately 1667 words I write whenever it feels right. I can draw on books I’m reading and my intuitive tarot work, podcasts I’m listening to, what’s in my head and feelings, to focus in on the piece that is calling my heart today. And you could do this with fiction or non-fiction. The structure and process help you be flexible and write according to your heart rather than having to be linear in your approach.

NaNoWriMo

5 Work with your intuition and its tools 

Whilst structure is great, working with your intuition is fabulous too. So a balance between yin and yang, between flowing and structuring works very well. In my work with tarot and oracle each morning, I am tapping intuitively into the guidance beneath the surface of my attention. This can help me with zeroing in on where to write.

For example, yesterday’s Tarot Narrative was about structure and order but being non-attached to outcomes. I was drawn to a quote from Danielle LaPorte in ‘White Hot Truth’:

Desire. Let go. Expect. Trust. All in, and unattached. It’s the paradox of manifestation.

As a result, my writing for yesterday for my book and NaNoWriMo then focused on being nonattached to outcomes in our work in self-leadership. So going with the flow of our intuition, with whatever tools we use, can be valuable inspiration pointing the way.

6 Connect with mentors and coaches

A key part of my strategy for preparing the ground was seeking out coaches and mentors. This helps you with your writing and also working out its place and processes. For example, as part of my Beautiful You certification as a Life Coach, I needed to undergo coaching myself with a certified Beautiful You Life Coach. So I chose to work with a Life Coach who specialises in getting writing done, Caroline Donahue. Caroline is also a Life Coach and Writer, so this was really valuable for working out where these pieces fit and how they guide each other. I reaffirmed that writing is the authentic heart of my business. This earlier connection with a coach helped lay the foundation for my work now. Plus I’ve built up my connection with writing mentors and coaches over time through reading, podcasts, ecourses and online linkage. (see #1 the village!)

7 Skill up via self-learning (find out what you need to know and do it)

As well as coaching, I’ve identified the skills I need to be the writer I want to be. This list of skills is always evolving but I know right now getting my book written and out there is key. And keeping it simple. So I signed up to work with Dr Ezzie Spencer in The Book Whispering Project. This has been pivotal in gaining focus and clarity on my book project. Over the longer term, I’ve worked on my Scrivener skills for a few years now via Learn Scrivener Fast and through practice. Over time and every week, I’ve invested too in learning about writing, creativity, technical aspects of creation, sales and self-publishing via podcasts and books including audiobooks. I’ve been building a knowledge base over time I can put into practice now and into the future.

8 Keep it clear, practical and simple using metrics 

Through NaNoWriMo, I’ve learned the value of keeping things simple, and using tools like daily metrics and graphs to keep on track. I now know I can write 1667 words in under an hour direct into Scrivener. This makes it seem so much more attainable – just finding one hour a day to write. If the day is busy, it’s manageable to see it as two half-hour spots to find somewhere. I use the Pomodoro Tide App to keep time and help me focus. I love this App! Most days I can get the 1667 minimum words down in under two Pomodoro 25 minute cycles. This metric keeps me focused and it feels doable. After I’ve finished writing, I back up my files and add the day’s count to my NaNoWriMo graph so I can feel like I’ve achieved. There are badges to help me celebrate progress and I can record my achievement in practical terms. I can see that this focus on metrics is a practice you can use all year round to write much more regularly.

 

NaNoWriMo

9 Connect with supporters and be accountable

Working with The Book Whispering Project also emphasised accountability. I was encouraged to be clear about what I was doing and why and how many words I planned to do by when. One of my fellow learners was also planning to do NaNoWriMo so we’ve linked up and had quiet email chats on the way through. And at the same time my long time writing mentor, Sage Cohen, put out a call for anyone in her community wanting to jump off the NanoWriMo bridge together for support. That has been so awesome for encouragement and connection with other NaNoWriMo writers via a private Facebook book. Plus NaNoWriMo has its own accountability and support processes. Connecting with others on the same road has been an excellent way to share and celebrate process and progress. Being accountable in both public and private ways helps boost our commitment to getting the work done.

10 I am so grateful

And a central piece in all of this is that I am so grateful. I might be a woman who loves writing, sitting there on my own writing quietly. But I am surrounded by the love, support, friendship, influence and wisdom of all my teachers, mentors, coaches, friends, fellow creatives and supporters. For this, I am extremely grateful and I look forward to sharing my learning and writing shaped from all of these experiences. The book I am writing is about self-leadership. A key component of this is acknowledging our influences and being grateful for them. Taking our influences forward in wholehearted ways is a spiralling adventure we can all engage in to help others.

So thank you to everyone reading for your support – I am so grateful. I hope these insights have been useful for you in making your voice heard in the world. I’ll let you know how I can get on for the rest of the month but I’m feeling positive. Remember too that these practices can be part of your practice any day or month of the year. The learnings from NaNoWriMo can be instructive for writing all year round. And I hope to write that novel next. So let’s spiral up in our creativity together!

When you start creating for and in honor of those that have made a difference to you, your work changes.

Seth Godin, Dedicating the merit

 

NaNoWriMo

Thought pieces

Here are some links to key influences mentioned in this piece and some great NaNo inspiration:

NatNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – there’s plenty of inspiration and resources – and you can follow my word count here

Dr Ezzie Spencer – The Book Whispering Project

Caroline Donahue, Life Coach  – Secret Library podcast episode – Crushing NaNoWriMo

Joanna Penn – Want to win NaNoWriMo this year? 7 Tips on Writing and Productivity – some excellent tips on NaNo from Joanna who went from one month of writing her novel in 2009 via NaNoWriMo to having 15 novels and many other books published. Plus there’s a great writing bundle available for this month.

Feature image of me is via David Kennedy Photography and the map and computer images are from pexels.com. All used with permission and thanks.

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If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Practical tools to increase writing productivity

Creative and connected #12 – The courage to show up

20 practical ways of showing up and being brave (and helpful)

Intuition, writing and work – eight ways intuition can guide your creativity

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Doing the work: 21 valuable quotes to help you show up

September 26, 2017

doing the work

As I was working on my post, 20 Practical Ways of Showing Up and Being Brave (and Helpful), I went back to my collection of quotes to consider different angles of showing up and doing the work. This was such a valuable exercise in itself, so I thought I’d share the quotes that popped up.

They tell a story about the different dimensions of doing your work. As a collection, they highlight values such as courage, action, uncertainty, mindfulness, prioritising, soulfulness, mystery and trust. I flag these many dimensions of doing your work here too to inspire you from all these angles.

Which one resonates with you the most right now?

1 INFLUENCE

Don’t underestimate the extraordinary effect you have every single time you show up to a situation with an open, loving heart.

Scott Stabile, in Big Love: The Power of Living with a Wide-Open Heart

2 MINDFULNESS

Let’s pay attention only to where we are.
There’s only enough beauty in being here and not somewhere else.

Fernando Pessoa, in A Little Larger than the Entire Universe: Selected Poems

3 COURAGE

So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?

Elizabeth Gilbert, in Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

4 ACTION SPEAKS

You are what you’ll do, not what you’ll say you’ll do.

Carl Jung

5 UNIQUENESS

The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.

Neil Gaiman, Make Good Art – Inspirational Commencement Speech at the University of the Arts

6 BE YOURSELF

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

7 FOCUS ON ESSENTIALS

I can’t think of anything else necessary to a writer except a story and the will and ability to tell it.

John Steinbeck, Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters

8 LISTEN WITHIN

Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.

Steve Jobs, 2005 Stanford University Commencement Address

9 HARD WORK

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.

Stephen King, from an interview in the London Independent (March 10, 1996)

10 SOULFULNESS

The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.

Caroline Myss

11 UNPLUG

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

Anne Lamott, TED Talk

12 BE SEEN

Courage starts by showing up and letting ourselves be seen.

Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way we Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

13 DO IT NOW

Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.

Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

14 PRIORITISE

What’s important is the work. That’s the game I have to suit up for. That’s the field on which I have to leave everything I’ve got.

Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

15 CONSISTENCY

I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.

Somerset Maugham (as quoted in The War of Art – see #16).

16 FACE RESISTANCE

In terms of Resistance, Maugham was saying, “I despise Resistance; I will not let it faze me; I will sit down and do my work.”

Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

17 TRUST MYSTERY

The professional trusts the mystery, He knows that the Muse always delivers. She may surprise us. She may give us something we never expected.

Steve Pressfield, Turning Pro

18 INTENTION

…that practice must be focused. It must possess intention. Our intention as artists is to get better, go deeper, to work closer and closer to the bone.

Steve Pressfield, Turning Pro

19 DO THE BASICS

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcuts.

Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

20 UNCERTAINTY

Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later.

Bob Goff

21 PRACTICE

Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.

Martha Graham

Which quote sings to you? Or share your own special quote!

I’d love to know which words sing to you the loudest right now!

Or share your own special quotes that motivate you in showing up and doing the work, day in and day out.

Let’s create a whole army of inspiration to help us (or make us) do the work.

Share your story in the comments below or on Instagram or Facebook!

Feature image from pexels.com

Below pic features my desk inspiration with card #42 The Word Wants to be Written from the Sacred Rebels Oracle Deck.

Note also: the nearly empty bottle of ink – work has been done!!

doing the work

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If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

20 practical ways of showing up and being brave (and helpful)

Creative and connected #12 – the courage to show up

Intuition, writing and work: eight ways intuition can guide your creativity

Creative and Connected #5 – being accountable to ourselves and others

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20 practical ways of showing up and being brave (and helpful)

September 19, 2017

You are what you do, not what you’ll say you’ll do.

Carl Jung

showing up

Showing up and being brave

This is all about practical ways to show up and be brave. Because it needs to be talked about so we can all show up more, be brave, share our experiences and celebrate them.

Each time we show up – personally, creatively and in support of others – it gets easier to do it again, more often and in a deeper way. Every time, one of us shows up and is vulnerable, it helps and encourages others to do the same. And it involves action at its heart.

Tara Mohr says that her frustration is:

Brilliant women playing small. Women like you, with dreams they want to pursue and ideas they want to share.

Brené Brown says:

You have to make a choice: am I going to show up and be seen?

So here are 20 practical ways of showing up and being seen. Because each time we act, it makes it easier for ourselves and others to do the same.

I hope that it inspires you to show up and be a little braver each time in all that you are doing. Know too that it’s not a selfish act. It’s a way of helping others, showing the way and opening the door.

showing up

20 practical ways of showing up 

1 Support others who are not well or who are struggling

  • Supporting others and learning with them on the journey has to be one of the biggest and most important ways of showing up.
  • It’s easy to get caught up in our own lives, but reach out, do what you can, make time, pick up the phone, send a note or a book. Support people practically and let them know you are thinking of them.

2 Hold space for others

  • Simply holding space for others – listening, witnessing, being there, asking questions – is so powerful.
  • It’s something I’ve learned through caring for my mother and through my coaching program this past year.
  • Having space held for me and holding it for others has been a huge support and source of growth, teaching me so much.

3 Make time for self-care 

  • Showing up for both yourself and others involves an investment in self-care.
  • It might be regular practices like yoga or meditation, exercise, knowing when to rest or making time for what lights you up.
  • Make time for practices that energise you in line with your personality. It could be finding time to read alone if you are a more introverted person. If you are more extraverted, self-care might mean connecting with friends and going out.
  • A huge learning for me this year has been about how self-care is a critical part of caring for others. Just like the adage of putting your own oxygen mask on first, we need to feed our own wellbeing to be helpful to others.

4 Set learning goals and achieve them

  • Identify learning goals that will help you reach your long-term goals and commit to them.
  • You can set smaller goals, like spending 30 minutes each day on an online program you’ve invested in or working through a book to learn new skills.
  • Set your learning goals and work towards them incrementally, knowing the direction.

5 Gain certification or qualifications to strengthen your knowledge and help others

  • Linked to the above, another way of showing up is to study to gain certification or qualifications.
  • This requires commitment and working week by week over time, making sacrifices and putting in the effort, but it’s so satisfying!
  • This past year I completed my Beautiful You Coaching Academy Life Coaching program. A key part of my life transition plan, I’m now a very proud Beautiful You Life Coach.
  • Whatever it is you need to know and develop, look at options to gain the skills you need. They can be in formal or less formal ways; both are important options.

6 Honour your personality and deepen your gifts

  • Honour your special natural attributes and skills, by recognising them, paying attention to them and investing in them.
  • Find out more about your personality and how to work your strengths. Personality wise, it could be introversion or extraversion; sensing or intuition; thinking or feeling. Talent wise, it might be writing, photography, sewing or art.
  • This past year, I learned more about Tarot as a way of honouring my personality and deepening my gift of Introverted Intuition.
  • Susannah Conway’s 78 Mirrors course helped me deepen my knowledge of tarot as an intuitive tool.

7 Develop your gifts and talents by practicing them consistently

  • Once you’ve identified your strengths and talents, one of the best ways to show up is to practice them.
  • Tarot and oracle have become deep personal practices that I work with regularly, flexing my intuition. I share my Tarot Narratives each day on Instagram, linked to books and quotes.
  • If you are working on writing, show up by writing each day. It might be morning pages, a set number of words, an amount of time, or a unit that makes sense to you. But whatever it is, put it into practice.
  • As Stephen King reminds us:

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.

8 Connect on social media as a way of showing up and practice 

  • Social media gets a bad rap as a time waster. And it’s true, you can waste a lot of time there if it’s unfocused. But connecting on social media can be a beautiful way to show up for yourself and your creativity. It can also be powerful in supporting and helping others.
  • I’ve shown up on social media – Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter mostly – over time because I value it immensely as a way of connecting with kindred creatives, growing the Quiet Writing community and learning from my connections.
  • Whether it’s sharing creative practices, books, tarot readings, the detail around you, the landscapes or streetscapes of your environment – it’s all a way of expressing you.
  • The community I connect with on Instagram has been such a creative and emotional support for years now. I likewise offer this support to them. Many of us have become close friends even though we’ve never met. Some of us have had the great pleasure of meeting in real life!

9 Commit to blogging, reading or other accountability practices regularly 

  • If you’re a creative, you can show up via commitment to a pattern of accountable, regular practice.
  • Showing up has an aspect of accountability. It might be books read on Goodreads, blog posts on your blog, social media over time or working quietly with an accountability group behind the scenes.
  • I’ve blogged for 7 years now but always struggled with consistency. This year, I’ve posted 1-2 times each week. It’s been a challenge but I’ve committed to it and talked about it.
  • Reading can also be an exercise in accountability and productivity practice.
  • Try to find a practice and metric that works for you and be accountable.

10 Write about your story

  • Be authentic and write your story. This helps others feel less alone and encourages them to do the same.
  • I’ve written about my journey of becoming more wholehearted this year on Quiet Writing, encouraging others to do so too.
  • From that, I’ve encouraged other women to share their wholehearted stories with 12 women coming forward to guest post on Quiet Writing in 2017-18. We will create an e-book together on our wholehearted stories to help others discover and share their own.
  • Each story opens the door for others. It might be a blog post, a novel, a poem or a memoir. Telling your story will help you work out so much – just as it will help others to read your experiences.

showing up

11 Write for others, guest post and stretch your audiences

  • Embrace your ability to draw on your experiences and knowledge to write for others such as via guest posting.
  • It’s a way of showing up for yourself because you have to ask yourself: What do I know? What have I experienced? What can I share? How can I help others?
  • It pushes your boundaries, stretches you and helps makes connections across your areas of knowledge and experience.
  • Powerful stuff, it makes you more visible and builds your audience as well. Here’s a guest post I wrote on a subject dear to my heart: leadership, self-leadership, and solitude.

12 Write and publish or self-publish

  • Write with a view to publishing whether it be on your blog, for a publisher or self-publishing.
  • It’s all valid and more than that, it’s a path to ways of earning income, developing your voice and getting your work out there.
  • Over time, I wrote 36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence, a personal narrative of the books that have impacted my story. It’s 25,000 words and is available free for Quiet Writing readers. It’s a gift but I also learned so much from it.
  • Self-publishing is not just vanity publishing anymore; it’s a very real way to be read, build business and skill, and seek further publishing options.
  • As Joanna Penn says on your publishing options:

The publishing world is exploding with opportunity right now…and many authors are finding new ways to build a career with self-publishing, traditional publishing or a hybrid combination of the two.

13 Communicate and connect with others especially kindred creatives

  • Connect with special kindred souls whether it be via your newsletter, in your social media exchanges or through sharing posts and books.
  • Create ways people can communicate with you and be accessible if your aim is visibility.
  • People want to communicate with you as a creative human being however you can make that work for you and others.
  • If you do find someone who you connect with as a kindred creative, reach out to them in some way. It can feel vulnerable, but it’s worth the risk. You never know what might evolve from showing up in this way. Some of my best collaborations and connections have developed from one of us doing exactly that!

14 Commit to working on energy healing and spiritual areas

  • Working on energy healing and spiritual development is integral to personal growth and self-care.
  • I’ve committed to working on my intuitive skills as well as healing and working with guides to support my growth and creativity. I work with the magical energetic healer Amber Adrian.
  • Find what works for you in energy and spiritual realms. Whether it’s prayer, angels, crystals, tarot, oracle, channeling, church or working with the cycles of the moon – working with these connections is supportive in managing our energy, healing, breaking through barriers and being authentic.
  • And it’s time to shed any concerns about what people think about this. As Ruby Warrington says in Material Girl, Mystical World, it’s time to come out of the spiritual closet.

15 Work through a life coaching series 

  • Working through a life coaching series is a fabulous way to show up for yourself and others.
  • Coaching is goal-driven and action-oriented. You’re in the driver’s seat and are responsible for showing up and doing the actions.
  • You can have an excellent coach, but unless you do the work, there won’t be much personal progress.
  • As part of the Beautiful You program, I’ve worked hard on coaching goals of balancing self-care with the care of others and of juggling writing and coaching as twin goals in Quiet Writing.
  • I’ve learned so much too from the experiences of my Pro Bono Life Coaching clients as they have learned through a life coaching series with me.

16 Connect with family members including through family history research

  • Making time for family and ancestry is a way of showing up for yourself and others you are connected with over time.
  • My family and family history is important. I’m committed to understanding the stories of the people who came before me.
  • This helps to keep family, family history research and ancestral connections alive and can teach you so much about yourself and your heritage.

17 Work with or for other people in line with your values

  • Whether it’s paid, pro bono, volunteer, in the home or outside, how are you working with or for other people?
  • How do the experiences and outcomes validate you and show that you are on the right path and have much to give?
  • If it’s not feeling right, how else could you work with and for other people to grow in a different direction?
  • Think about how you are aligned or how you can be better aligned so you can show up for what is of value to you.

18 Work through the practicalities of health and well-being issues

  • Our health is an evolving and changing issue and one we need to honour and show up around, whether it’s in public or private ways. There’s no point putting your head in the sand about your health – physical, emotional and mental health.
  • You don’t have to share what’s not comfortable but on the flip side, if we all stay quiet, what is the impact of this?
  • Consider: How are you showing up on the health issues in your life and how are you addressing them? How are you taking responsibility for any changes and understanding them? What actions are you taking? What support is there? How can you connect with others and with information on health issues? Are you reaching out for help if you need it? How are you showing up for others?
  • As well as caring for my mum who is unwell, I’ve been diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, this year as well as osteoarthritis. I’m asthmatic and the flu hit me twice quite badly. I’m usually well so it’s been a challenge all round!
  • Working through the practicalities of all this with tests, learning, treatments, and reading, I’ve aimed to understand the meaning of these changes in my life.
  • I’m not saying I have it all sorted by any stretch, but being authentic, honest and open about these issues will help me a lot more than pretending they don’t exist.

19 Identify your body of work in the world

  • Whether it’s the job you are in now or the job you are heading to or if you are self-employed or working for others, identify your skills and body of work in the world.
  • Consider: How have you shown up over time in roles and with skills that matter? How have you made a difference? What are the special skills you bring to the world?
  • Think about how you can develop and take this body of work forward to help others.

20 Identify the core themes in your business or life’s work

  • I’ve worked on my new Quiet Writing business and its core concepts – its focus, key tenets, proposed offerings, how I can serve people.
  • I know its focus is ‘wholehearted self-leadership’ based on my own experiences.
  • Being connected, creative, flowing, intuitive and poetic are core values of my brand.
  • Consider: What are the core themes in your business or life’s work? What are the threads that tie this story together? How can you serve others from all that you have learned?
  • Think about how you can show up in your business or creativity to help others.

showing up

Showing up is not just about us

It’s not just about us and our own experiences. Self-leadership is where it starts but each of these actions impacts and enables others. We can never know our full influence. A key part of showing up is trusting that our work makes a difference to others. Whether it’s what we write, our intuitive work, tarot readings shared, social media inspiration, communicating with and caring for loved ones or holding space.

My Tarot Narrative work started as a practice just for me but as I was doing the work, I thought I might as well share it. Each day I receive messages of how my intuitive work helps others. This means so much to me and deepens my commitment and practice.

It starts with each one of us but it’s not all about us. It’s about being of service to others and inspiring others as well.

So share your story…

How are you showing up in the world?

  • Where have you stretched a little this past year to show up, hold space, reach out, learn, put your creative work into the world?
  • When you have showed up and been vulnerable, how did it help others?
  • How could you be a little braver?
  • Where would it be of benefit to show up more?
  • How could your showing up more be helpful to others?

Share your story in the comments below or on IG or Facebook!

Feature image and open door image from pexels.com

Clivias are in my garden and the flowers were from my mum x

Keep in touch

Sign up + get your free ebook 36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence

Just pop your email in the box to the right or below and ’36 Books’ will be with you soon! It’s a 94-page reflection on the creative influence of what we read. It takes you on a journey through my own influences. Find out which 36 books influenced me and why!

You will also receive updates and opportunities from Quiet Writing and its passions. This includes coaching, writing, creativity, and other connections to help you show up and express your unique voice in the world.

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Creative and connected #12 – the courage to show up

Creative and Connected #5 – being accountable to ourselves and others

How to write a blog post when you have almost no time

coaching personality and story planning & productivity

Creative and connected #12 The courage to show up

September 15, 2017

Courage starts by showing up and letting ourselves be seen.

Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

show up

It’s Quiet Writing’s first blogiversary so I’m sharing thoughts on what I’ve enjoyed this week and over time on the courage to show up and be seen.

One year ago, on 13 September 2016, I hit the publish button with a welcome post on Quiet Writing. I’d been writing for six years before on my previous blog but it was time to step up. I wanted to refocus on my core values of being:

creative, intuitive, flowing, poetic and connected.

And this past year has been about weaving these values into everything I do. As I reach a one-year milestone at Quiet Writing, I’m thinking about what it means to show up here and elsewhere.

Showing up at Quiet Writing and elsewhere this year

The whole world changed this past year. Showing up for me has meant learning a new way to live. My primary role has been supporting and caring for my mother who is very unwell. That’s been a new experience of showing up, day in and day out, in ways I’ve never known before. It’s been emotional and has required digging deep.

At the same time, I’m working through a major life transition from leader and government employee of 30 years, to being a writer and life coach. I knew I needed to make this shift and then as I started, everything changed. This has involved all kinds of showing up – learning new skills, valuing my body of work, writing consistently and believing in myself in a new way. It’s taken place in an environment where I support my beautiful mother as the first priority.

In all this, I’ve had to focus on self-care too, learning how to be resilient and strong in this shifting landscape. I’ve had to learn to make time for myself – to rest, to swim, to plan a different future. And working with intuition has been important too even if it feels a vague thing to be doing at times.

I had one plan and circumstances delivered – and continue to deliver – a whole different scenario. It’s been a year of learning on all fronts – about myself and about what showing up and doing the work means. Certainly having the courage to be vulnerable and be seen has been a critical aspect of my learning and writing here. It’s also time to reflect on the need to be flexible in how we show up.

So with all this, here are some thoughts and resources on having the courage to show up and be seen.

Podcasts on what it means to show up

Scott Stabile on the Rawness of Real Life – on The Secret Library Podcast with Caroline Donahue

I love it that when I’m thinking about something like ‘showing up’ and writing about it, it pops up in my life in various ways. This podcast celebrates the release of Scott Stabile’s new book, ‘Big Love: The Power of Living with a Wide-Open Heart‘.

It’s a fabulous conversation and around the 17-minute mark, there’s an exchange on showing up and fear that really spoke to me. Scott says:

…what I found was that every day showing up at the computer was an exercise in just moving forward with your fear.

He talks about how fear is always showing up as well and how we need to learn to work with it. He suggests the best way to put fear in its rightful place is through action:

Action assuages fear.

There was also a valuable takeaway on how showing up means different things for each of us. We all have our own unique ways of working. Doing the work and sitting down to write or create is central to it, but we all do this in different ways. We need to honour our own process and the ways of showing up that work for us. It might be working every day at a certain time or in a stretch of intense time. Perhaps we write in a cafe, at home, at night or while we’re commuting and it might be dictating to a machine, hand-writing, typing or speaking to someone else. But it’s all valid and our own rhythms and processes, so let’s celebrate and not be so damn hard on ourselves.

Thanks to Caroline and Scott for a fabulous chat and I look forward to reading Big Love!

Show up as if you’re already where you want to be – Jen Carrington, Make It Happen podcast

This short (8:41) podcast is a pep-talk from creative coach, Jen Carrington, on her mantra of “showing up as if you’re already where you want to be in your creative work and life”. It looks at how to honour this in your work by shifting mindset, changing practices and modifying the stories you tell yourself and others. Self-care is an important factor too in “fuelling your hustle”. It’s a powerful burst of inspiration to help you show up in your life and work.

Who gets to decide if you’re a legitimate artist – Mark Nepo with Elizabeth Gilbert, Magic Lessons

Ths podcast shifted my thinking enormously about external validation and who or what I am waiting for to feel valid. It’s a soulful conversation on how we can limit ourselves with this waiting. It illustrates that embracing and expressing our creativity is the best way to move forward. Again, fear of rejection emerges as a key factor to challenge!

show up

Books and reading notes: My reading week

In line with showing up with reading more productively and my accountability here, I’m reading a few books concurrently. I haven’t finished any lately though am making progress on all. I’m reading:

Getting my own ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence’ out into the world has been a big and satisfying priority!

I also received a Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday recently so I’m looking forward to reading more via this device. It’s so lovely to read on, managing the eyestrain and screen impacts. It also means having access to books at reasonable prices including those of indie authors! Plus it’s better for the environment, easier to carry and helps with managing space in my library.

Book and blog notes on the courage to show up

In How do you show up? Teresa Cooley, Executive Director of the Center for Courage and Renewal talks about showing up in the light of recent and current natural disasters. She says:

The only thing we can control in the face of nature is how we show up. This kind of courage usually doesn’t take thinking about. It’s simply what we do. And every small and large spontaneously brave action tells us something precious about what humanity is capable of. It is that knowledge that helps us get up to face another day, no matter what it brings.

In The Vitamin Cocktail of Courage, Jane Bolton looks at varieties and elements of courage. She provides practical tips for how we can “supplement our personal reservoirs of courage” through action.

It seems action is a consistent theme! My favourite books on showing up, doing the work and courage are:

Steven Pressfield: The War of Art, Turning Pro and Do the Work

Brené Brown: Daring Greatly, Rising Strong

Elizabeth Gilbert: Big Magic

Stephen King: On Writing

Some of these feature in my special ‘36 Books‘ list so you can read more there.

And I think Scott Stabile’s ‘Big Love’ might join this list soon!

What are your favourite books and blog posts on the courage to show up and do the work?

courage

Social media interactions

On Instagram, there’s been plenty of people showing up around Kim Manganelli aka @journeyofawriter and her #showup100 hashtag project. The idea is to show up for 100 days before the end of the year and share pics of how you are doing this. If you are looking for an online community focused on showing up creatively – this is the place for you!

On Quiet Writing and Tarot Narratives

On Quiet Writing, I’ve been thrilled to launch my free ebook: 36 Books that Shaped my Story into the world. It’s been so lovely to hear from readers engaging with my story! It’s a journey of creative influence and how books are ways that shape and flag what’s calling us.

My Tarot Narratives on Instagram continue to be a way to practice intuition at this time of change. There have been plenty of messages about going with the flow and trusting our journey. Gabrielle Bernstein in ‘Spirit Junkie’ reminds us of the role of intuition and connection with spirit in our work and life:

Since my primary focus was to stay connected to spirit, everything else flowed. Each outward action I took was backed by strong intuition and inspiration. All I needed to do was commit to the belief that with spirit as my guide, everything was possible.

Share your thoughts:

Would love to hear your favourite books, posts and thoughts on the courage to show up! And all about how you are showing up in your life!

Have a fabulous creative weekend.

show up

Creative and Connected is a regular post (most Fridays) and links to recent previous posts are below. Or you can find them all here. There are so many rich resources to inspire you and I hope you enjoy them. I would love any feedback via social media or comments and let me know what you are enjoying too.

Feature image and desktop pic via pexels.com

Keep in touch

Sign up + get your free ebook 36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence

Just pop your email in the box to the right or below and ’36 Books’ will be with you soon! It’s a 94-page reflection on the creative influence of what we read. It takes you on a journey through my own influences. Find out which 36 books influenced me and why!

You will also receive updates and opportunities from Quiet Writing and its passions. This includes coaching, writing, creativity, and other connections to help you show up and express your unique voice in the world.

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on tarot, intuition, influence, passion, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality type assessment.

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Creative and Connected #11 – on the special value of self-leadership

Creative and Connected #8 – ways to honour your unique life blend

blogging planning & productivity writing

How to write a blog post when you have almost no time

August 14, 2017

blog post

One of the challenges of blogging is keeping up the commitment over time. You need to be organised with your planning and also productive in actually getting the work done. I’ve certainly found it to be a challenge but one I get better at over time.

Today’s article is from content marketing expert, blogger and writer, Benjamin Brandall, and covers seven ways to get your blog posts written more efficiently and productively.

Seven tips to help you write a stellar blog post

Time is precious, and writing (especially when you’re starting out) can take a lot of it. If you’re juggling other responsibilities like a full-time job, family commitments, and capping it all off with keeping up a personal blog, the strain can quickly seem like too much.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

You don’t need to be an expert to write quickly, and you don’t need several hours to write your blog posts. I’ve learned seven tips in particular over the past two and a half years of blogging and guest posting that you can use to help you quickly write a stellar blog post, even when you don’t think you have the time to do it.

I’ll be covering why you need to:

  • Let everyone know when you’re writing
  • Make writing a part of your regular routine
  • Plan your points before writing
  • Write with tools that won’t distract you
  • Write in one sitting (when possible)
  • Have separate writing and editing times
  • Try using dictation software

Let’s get started.

blog post

Let everyone know when you’re writing

Writing a full blog post after a full day of work or family commitments can be daunting, especially if you don’t have a quiet place where you can work without distractions. Thankfully, if you let everyone know when you’d like to be left to your own devices, this can solve many of your problems.

In my two years of writing for various sites like TechCrunch, Fast Company, and (mostly) Process Street, I’ve learned that one of the worst things you can do is interrupt your workflow. To write anything quickly you need to be able to sit down and get into a flow of writing, and every time you stop to answer a family member’s question or have a quick chat you’ll have to waste time getting back up to speed.

It’s not always possible to completely stop people from distracting you from writing, but by letting them know when you’d like to be left to work you can take some of the pressure off your own mind.

Make writing part of your regular routine

Habits are incredibly powerful. By making something part of your daily routine you can take the effort out of starting it – eventually your body runs on autopilot. Not to mention the fact that even 15-20 minutes of something every day can quickly add up to hours of practice a week.

It might not be possible for you to write for an hour every day, and some days you might not have time to write at all. That’s fine.

Just make sure that you fit a regular writing slot into your current routine, whether that means writing for a half hour after work or after most of your household have gone to bed. Don’t go crazy and slot in writing to the point where you’re dropping from exhaustion, but instead go for a regular routine which you can settle into and easily replicate.

Practice makes perfect after all, and if you can fit a half hour or more of writing at least every two days you’ll be well on your way to writing fantastic posts in a flash.

Plan your points before writing

I used to absolutely despise planning my work before I wrote it. It seemed silly to me to plan out my ideas beforehand when my posts usually evolved as I wrote, and especially so to waste time planning when I could instead be making progress on the meat of the post.

Unfortunately for me, writing without a plan is the biggest way to get tangled up in your own train of thought and waste hours when it comes to editing your content.

If you want to be able to write a post quickly (or just to efficiently use whatever spare time you have), you need to be planning your posts before you actually write them. At the very least you should have a set of headings, sections, or topics you’re going to cover, the points you’re going to make, and some research to back those points up.

I know that seems like a lot of work, but all you’re doing is changing the order of how you write a post. You’re spending exactly the same amount of time researching your content as you would be without the plan, and while you’re writing for maybe an extra five or ten minutes before truly starting, you’ll save that time tenfold later on.

If you don’t plan, you’re handing your work up to the whims of your mood and environment. If you get distracted or have to stop writing before you’re finished, it’ll be incredibly difficult to find your train of thought again, which can leave your post reading in a very disjointed way.

The only way to solve this would be to heavily edit the post and rewrite at least a couple of paragraphs to segway into your new argument better.

Don’t waste that time. Spend five minutes or so jotting out a quick outline so that you have something to aim for when it comes to actually writing your content.

blog post

Write with tools that won’t distract you

It’s hard enough to stay focused on writing when you have everything going your way, so why let your writing tools be another thing to stop you?

We all write best in different ways, and above all else you should use the tool that suits you. Whether you’re a pen-and-paper person, write on a computer or tablet, or even dictate your work (more on that later), you should use whatever best encourages you to get into that all-important workflow.

However, if you haven’t already, I’d recommend trying Quip, Dropbox Paper, and Google Docs. These are the best productivity apps I know when it comes to writing, for the simple reason that they provide a way to write while limiting the distractions on your screen as much as possible.

Quip is the best writing app I’ve found for purely writing with minimal distractions. While it doesn’t quite match up to the other two in terms of sharing and collaborating, the app is boring to the point where the most interesting thing you can do is keep writing. With little to catch your eye (and even a full screen mode if your browser itself proves distracting), you’re free to pick up the pace.

Google Docs is like an online (and much more useful) version of Microsoft Word. Not only can you store all of your documents automatically in Google Drive (keeping your computer clear and letting you access them from any device with an internet connection), but you can easily share the document with anyone else who might need access.

So, if you have a proofreader, editor, or team that you want to work with, you can just send them a link to the document and then work on it together in real time.

Finally, Dropbox Paper is sort of a cross between the two. It’s got the shareability of Google Docs with the minimal design of Quip, even if it does both of these worse than the other two. Essentially, if you already have a Dropbox account then you can use Dropbox Paper to avoid any hassle with setting up a new cloud storage system.

Write in one sitting (when possible)

Now, I know that I said you should be planning out your posts in case you have to stop writing them part way through. That’s still true. However, there will be times when you have the time to sit down and write your entire post in one go, and you should absolutely aim to do that as often as possible.

Even if you plan everything out in full, there will still be a disconnect in the tone of your writing if you take a break halfway through. Meanwhile, if you write everything from start to finish in one sitting it will give you a much more coherent argument, and can even let you develop your points more fully as you go along.

I don’t mean that you have to write everything perfectly in one sitting or that you should double back on yourself or edit as you write. All of these practices will slow you down and ultimately force you to rush the later sections of your writing.

Instead, quickly check over your plan to make sure that you know where you’re aiming for and what points you’re going to make next, and then don’t stop writing until you have your first draft.

Don’t stop for spelling, grammar, or even formatting errors. All of these can be fixed in the edit. Focus solely on getting the initial writing done – you’ll find that you work much faster if you do this.

blog post

Have separate writing and editing times

Following on from the last point, you should never (and I mean never) edit your content before you’ve finished writing. It’s almost difficult to describe the full extent of the damage this can do to your writing productivity, but I’ll list off a few reasons quickly.

First, it stops you writing. Anything that stops you writing is taking time that you can be spending on getting further into your post. If you’d rather have extra time to focus on other things (spending time with family, promoting your blog, creating other content, etc) rather than stressing about fitting in an extra writing session for the same post, you need to just keep going.

Second, it takes you out of your writing workflow. I’ve mentioned this already, but anything that interrupts your workflow doesn’t just ruin your productivity by stopping you from writing. It takes around 25 minutes to get back to full speed after a distraction, meaning that even on can be devastating if you have a limited amount of time to work on your writing.

Third, writing and editing require completely different mindsets, meaning you’ll have to spend even more time adapting to the skills and style of thinking that the tasks require. This isn’t a problem if you only edit your work after writing the whole thing, but if you’re regularly flitting between the two then you’ll likely never work at your full speed.

Personally, I’d recommend separating your writing and editing into slots on completely different days if possible. That way you have a set barrier between your tasks to encourage you to stick to one or the other, and you also have a decent break between each session. This gives your mind time to process everything you’ve written (even subconsciously), which will make you more effective when it eventually comes time to edit.

Also, try setting up an editing checklist to run through to give yourself a consistent method. You’re spending a little time in the short term to set up the checklist in return for a massive payoff further down the line, as you won’t have to worry about forgetting a step or waste time worrying about what to do next.

Try using dictation software

So far I’ve given fairly standard advice – you may have even heard these points before in many different forms. However, one thing that many (myself) don’t consider is that you don’t have to type a single word in order to write a post. You don’t even need to have your hand free at all.

Instead, you can speak your post and let dictation software write it for you.

If you’re using a computer, both Mac and Windows have native dictation software which you can use to both navigate your computer and type directly into apps. The problem, however, is that these aren’t accurate or responsive enough to warrant using them for long-form writing (you’ll have to spend an extra chunk of time editing).

Alternatively, if you want to make a professional habit of dictating your text, you can invest in software like Dragon. It’s a little pricey at $75 for the Home edition, but Dragon learns your accent, dialect, and slang as you talk, meaning the more you use it, the more accurate it becomes.

Finally, if you’re out and about, you can install Dragon’s Dictation app (or a similar voice assistant from the app store) for free, which will allow you to dictate text to then either send in an email or as a text message. You can also edit the text using a touch keyboard and copy it to paste in another app.

In other words, you can write in a digital format when you’re out and about, without even needing to type with your hands. If that’s not a great way to fit in some extra writing time, I don’t know what is.

How do you fit writing into your day?

Whether you’re writing for fun or trying to build up a personal brand, the time it takes to create a successful post can be daunting. However, with a little practice and ingenuity, you can fit your writing habits into your regular routine without having to sacrifice anything else.

You don’t have to have endless free hours to write your posts – try using the tips above to make your time work for you, rather than the other way around. I’d also really love to hear how you fit writing into your busy schedules in the comments below!

Benjamin Brandall

 

Benjamin Brandall is the Head of Content Marketing at Process Street and runs his own blog on the side. He also writes at TechCrunchThe Next Web and Fast Company. You can find him on Twitter at @benjbrandall 

 

 

Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes personality type assessment developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free e-book on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on intuition, influence, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Practical tools to increase writing productivity

How to read for more creativity, pleasure and productivity

Making blogging easier – a note to self

The value of howling into the wind

inspiration & influence planning & productivity reading notes

Creative and Connected #9 – on the art and love of reading

August 12, 2017

Read in order to live.

Gustave Flaubert

reading

Here’s a round-up of what I’ve enjoyed and shared this week on various social platforms on the art and love of reading. My post on How to read for more creativity, pleasure and productivity has been really well received this week. Thank you so much for the feedback about how this post has inspired thoughts about reading practices. Above all, it was so lovely to connect with kindred souls who share my passion for reading.

So to further share that joy, here are some podcasts and reads that celebrate the art and love of reading.

Podcasts on the history, art and love of reading

I listened to two podcasts about reading this week and they were perfect counterpoints about the historical contexts of reading and current ways to enjoy reading.

In Our Time: Culture – Reading – BBC Radio 4

In this discussion from 2000, Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of the politics and practice of reading. The podcast covers the history of reading in social and political contexts with a particular emphasis on how women were banned from reading in times past and how it was seen as a trivial activity for them. This historical perspective makes you realise how far we have come. I always feel a responsibility to take these hard-won rights forward.

Guinevere de la Mare and the Silent Book Club – on the Secret Library Podcast with Caroline Donahue

This was such a great podcast chat on a movement I had completely missed – the Silent Book Club. Developed in response to the occasional pressure and social nature of book clubs, Silent Book Clubs involve just turning up together to a venue and reading. It emanated from Guinevere turning up with friends to a bar and just reading over a glass of wine. And this is the flavour behind the Silent Book Club. With Chapters growing all over the world, it’s a word of mouth trend that celebrates just sitting in a public place with others and reading. I can’t actually think of anything more appealing right now. Introverts unite! I notice there is no Australian branch so I think I’ll start a Sydney one – if any local people are interested, let me know. Happy days!

 

reading

 

Books and reading notes

My reading week

In line with my post this week and reading more and the accountability here, I finished two books I’ve had underway recently. Jojo Moyes’ Paris for One was such a fun read, full of chance encounters that result in quirky life changes and fresh perspectives. I loved the last story especially.

I finished listening to The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon, by Scott Baker as an audio book. As a result, I’m weaving dictation into my days via my iPhone and Mac Pro as I work. It’s so easy and a stepping stone to using dictation more fully for writing and transcription.

I’ve continued savouring David Whyte’s Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity in a slow read (probably too slow) on work and identity. It does, however, feel like it’s mirroring my life, so maybe there’s a reason for the slowness of my reading, so my life can keep time. A favourite quote this week:

To find good work, no matter the path we have chosen, means coming out of hiding. Good work means visibility. (p146)

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Book notes on this week’s theme of the art and love of reading

Alberto Manguel is an author to savour on the art and love of reading.

His  A History of Reading takes us into the heart of the experience of reading through a series of interconnected essays. It focuses on his personal response to reading from all angles, such as: learning to read, picture reading, being read to and reading from various standpoints such as translator and author. It’s a beautiful reflection and treasure trove on reading.

In ‘A Reading Diary: A Year of Reading Favourite Books’, Manguel decides to reread some of his favourite books, one month at a time. It’s a journey over a year, blending memoir, journal writing and reviewing into a reflective reading experience. There’s a lovely review of this book here.

One thing I have found as I revisited my books about books and reading this past week is that the authors are all so witty and funny.

A favourite book of mine in this genre is the fabulous Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, by Anne Fadiman. This 1998 book was recommended to me by a fellow bibliophile and it’s a book of essays celebrating the love of books. It’s so very funny in the way that only a book lover can appreciate. My favourite essay is ‘Marrying Libraries’ about how Anne and her husband are merging their book collections into one after a time together and the conflict and negotiations that ensue. So many great thoughts and laughs:

Books wrote our life story, and as they accumulated on our shelves (and on our windowsills, and underneath our sofa, and on top of our refrigerator), they became chapters in it themselves. How could it be otherwise?

I’m a huge Nick Hornby fan. No other writer makes me laugh out loud as much, and so I was delighted to stumble across his collection of essays on reading, first published in the US Believer Magazine. The Complete Polysyllabic Spree is the full collection of these 28 monthly essays on the books he has bought and read. I just smile the whole way through reading these essays. They are a romp through reading, including the classics, with humour as the connecting thread.

Some of Nick’s thoughts:

If reading books is to survive as a leisure activity – and there are statistics to show that this is by no means assured – then we have to promote the joys of reading, rather than the (dubious) benefits.

and

I’m a writer, and I need to read, for inspiration and education and because I want to get better, and only books can teach me how.

In terms of novels about books and love of books as a connecting factor, there are two main ones that stand out for me:

84 Charing Cross Road, Helene Hanff – My copy has disappeared, ironically, but it’s a slim volume celebrating books as a connecting piece between people, in this case, a London antiquarian bookseller and a New York based reader. Based on the true story of their connection and exchange of letter over nearly 20 years, it’s a celebration of books, reading and the connections they inspire.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer – This book is focused on post-war Guernsey and is told entirely through letters between various correspondents. It tells the story of connections between columnist Juliet Ashton and the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, as they live under German occupation. Mary Ann Shaffer wrote this book, her first novel, when she was 70. Sadly, she didn’t get to see it in print. It’s a heart-warming story of friendship, love and books across the miles.

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Blog/Twitter/Instagram posts and interactions:

On the art and love of reading, Joanna Penn’s post on Habits of a Book Junkie in a Digital Age is excellent on digital reading strategies and trends including how to review books.

I shared the beautiful piece by Kerstin Pilz, on Tiny Buddha, How a 10 day silent retreat helped heal my grieving heart last week. Inspired by Katherine Bell’s guest post here: Our Heart Always Knows the Way, the first of our Wholehearted Stories series, Kerstin has written a fabulous post on how life change is all about hard work and not luck in Why luck had nothing to do with my self-directed life.

On Instagram, there’s been plenty of activity around Susannah Conway’s The August Break focused around noticing, community and inspiration. Yesterday’s prompt was lavender. Not being able to think of any lavender in my immediate surroundings, I went back to my recent iphone shots and found this skyscape I had forgotten about:

 

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Another thought would have been the Murasaki-Shikibu lavender ink I write with every day – I thought of this hours after! It’s a great month of prompts for noticing and seeing afresh, also connecting with special memories, sacred objects and new people.

I also shared that my favourite novel is Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. Here’s me thinking it’s an unusual choice. Clearly not, when it’s been voted UK’s favourite book from the past 225 years. I’m so glad so many people are discovering its pleasures!

On Quiet Writing and Tarot Narratives

On Quiet Writing, we have been exploring the art and love of reading in the post on How to read for more creativity, pleasure and productivity

Here are some other relevant posts on Quiet Writing on books and reading:

“You are the authority on you” – a review of Danielle LaPorte’s White Hot Truth

Reading Australian Women Writers in 2017

Being ‘Fierce on the Page’ – A Book Review

My Tarot Narratives on Instagram have continued to be a rich source of inspiration and insight for my creative journey. Thanks for all the creative interactions. Thomas Moore’s SoulMates keeps popping up lately. Here was a key quote that emerged:

I’m not suggesting that all psychological experience is interior, but it’s clear that the dynamics, dramas, and characters of the individual soul play themselves out in the external world, so that relationship is always a dialectic between inner and outer, a dance between actual people and one’s own life of the soul.

Have a fabulous creative weekend!

Creative and Connected is a regular post each Friday and the previous posts are below. I hope you enjoy it. I would love any feedback via social media or comments and let me know what you are enjoying too.

Feature image via pexels.com

Image 2 of ‘Compartment C, Car 193‘ 1938, by Edward Hopper, in Edward Hopper by Rolf Gunter Renner, Taschen

Image 4 of ‘The Quiet Room’ c1929by Sir George Clausen from ‘The Reading Woman’ Calendar 2017

Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free e-book on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on intuition, influence, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Creative and Connected #8 – ways to honour your unique life blend

Creative and Connected #7 – how to craft a successful life on your own terms

Creative and Connected #6 – how to be a creative entrepreneur

Creative and Connected #5 – being accountable to ourselves and others

inspiration & influence planning & productivity reading notes

How to read for more creativity, pleasure and productivity

August 7, 2017

reading

People have asked me how I get so much reading done. Here are my strategies for how to read for more creativity, pleasure and productivity.

On Quiet Writing, we share the threads that tie our wholehearted stories together. They can be passions, skills, values – anything we go back to over and over again in different ways.

One of the key golden threads that ties my story together is reading and a passionate love of books. My life has been a mosaic of loving reading, learning about it, teaching it and sharing this love with others.

In this post, I share my reading story and background in teaching reading and sharing its joys and skills. I reflect on my current approaches, providing strategies for reading more broadly and effectively for creative purposes and pleasure.

My reading story

I wrote in my last Creative and Connected about our unique blend and how the skills and experience we bring together make up our onlyness and contribution to the world. When I reflect on my onlyness, the art of reading, teaching people to read at and sharing this love shines out.

As a child I always loved books. I can remember being at school in Year 1 reading a story about The Cutty Sark. It’s my first memory of being a fluent, independent reader. I grew up in a house full of books and my father was an avid reader. On holidays, I can remember him reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and The Source by James A Michener. He read Australian classics to me when I was young – Blinky Bill and Snugglepot and Cuddlepie and those stories still resonate.

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I excelled at English, especially exploring books deeply and writing essays about them. I was headed for a career in journalism and communications but was put off by the more extraverted side of this. So I studied English and Education instead, enabling me to develop my love of reading and literature and also learn to share it. I studied primary education and focused on literacy. My Honours year featured research on literacy and language structures in early readers and whether they encouraged children to enjoy reading. I also researched the poetic reading experience and whether educators fostered a love of reading poetry.

Later, I completed a Diploma in Adult Education specialising in literacy. This focused on adults who had missed out on the ability to read and write well in their first language or who needed to learn it in English as another language. For nearly 20 years I taught in this field, teaching everything from how to read signs to working with apprentices on their trade courses to teaching speed reading and reading for tertiary and academic purposes. I gained a Masters in Language and Literacy specialising in English for Speakers of Other Languages where I learnt all about genre and social contexts.

Then, I became a leader in adult vocational education including working on strategic policy and advising Ministers and Government. My reading was all policy documents, reports, media and many emails! I also read about leadership, mentoring, competencies of leadership and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as I built my leadership and self-leadership skills especially as an introvert.

And through all this time, I read for more personal enjoyment: for pleasure, for information and for productivity. I love to mix reading novels with reading that is more about personal development, learning and knowledge. Being an INTJ Myers-Briggs Type, Introverted Intuition is a dominant function. The ideas and symbols from books are a central organising principle in both my inner and outer life with pretty much everything stemming from that quiet reading time.

The many skills of being able to read

As my background shows, there are many skills of being able to read and many ways in which it plays out. Here are just some examples:

  • functional reading – to get around and meet the basic needs of society
  • content reading – reading for vocational areas, for a purpose such as a course
  • reading for pleasure – focused on the pure experience and enjoyment of reading and books
  • reading for information – reading to research, gain ideas, summarise, scan and skim
  • academic reading – skills of reading literature and articles to summarise, argue a point, write an essay and come up with something new
  • reading for social media – scanning, reviewing, liking, responding, connecting, visual reading
  • reading for strategic purposes – policy, strategy, positioning, influencing, persuasion

And the truth is, we often mix them up to suit our reading purpose.

There’s also a kind of reading linked to creativity and productivity and ‘reading like a writer’. It’s something I am finding myself thinking about as I step into more fully embracing my writing life. It’s as if we need to bring all the many skills of being able to read together and apply them in a new way. This is especially so in this environment of social media and technological choices around how we read. So what does it mean to ‘read like a writer’?

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Reading like a writer

Novelist V E Schwab takes the role of reading seriously in her job as a writer. In an interview on Caroline Donahue’s The Secret Library Podcast, she says:

About two/three years ago, I decided I wasn’t reading enough. I was really busy and I couldn’t find time…At the beginning of the interview I said “it’s not about finding time, it’s about making it.” And I realised that reading is a fundamental part of my job and not just in the, “Oh I need to know what else is selling and what else on the shelves.” It’s a fundamental part of becoming a better writer…”

V E Schwab describes a ‘story monster’ that lives inside her chest and the more stories she takes in, the cleverer it gets. The story monster provides intuitive guidance when writing, like a barometer, enabling her to feel the story. Reading broadly is the best way to ‘feed’ the story monster, and is a critical input into the writing process. She explains:

So I decided that reading needed to be treated like any other part of my job and needed to be something that I made time for, a commitment. And so I set out to read one hundred books a year. I always have one paperback, I always have an e-book and I always have an audiobook….I’m continually accompanied by narratives….It’s still difficult, I still have to work at it…but I’m just committed to it.

You can read V E Schwab’s summary of her year in reading for 2016 here. This interview and her committed approach to reading made me think about my own practices. It really helped me to hone my thinking about the various reading skills we bring into play, how we can vary our reading for creativity, pleasure and productivity and read like a writer.

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How to read for more creativity, pleasure and productivity

Some of the hallmarks of reading for more creativity, pleasure and productivity including reading like a writer include: setting a target, accountability, variety, intent, making the most of the opportunity to read and making time.

Here are some strategies for reading for more creativity, pleasure and productivity. They are based on my knowledge and experience as well as tips from other committed readers including V E Schwab, Joanna Penn, Gabriella Pereira and Nick Hornby:

1 Read across different book formats

In line with V E Schwab’s strategy, read across book formats – hard copy, ebook and audiobook. I find I read differently and choose specific types of books for each format.  I tend to use ebooks when I want to really study a book and make electronic highlights and notes. I’m listening to audiobooks on writing techniques and business for authors. And I like to relax and read for pleasure with the hard copy of a book in my hand. You can autosynch between devices including between ebook and audiobook. You might decide to go pretty well all digital as Joanna Penn has done. Find out what you like to read and how and mix it up!

2 Make time for reading

All the committed readers I know including myself make time for reading. They don’t watch a lot of television or they get rid of the TV altogether. Or they get used to reading with distractions! Social media is another time waster that takes away our reading time, so monitor that carefully. Find a way to weave reading into activities like driving and walking via audio books. It’s simply a case of committing to reading more and putting the strategies in place to make it happen.

3 Commit to reading goals for the year

One strategy that helps is to set a reading goal for the year such as 100 books a year as V E Schwab has done. You can also join book clubs or reading challenges with goals such as the Australian Women Writers Reading Challenge I have participated in over a number of years. I’m aiming to read 52 books this year. I know I need to be more organised in tracking my progress to this goal. I’m also aware I do a lot of reading that is not related to completing a book, but it’s still a goal worth shooting for or extending beyond.

4 Be accountable to your reading goals

Once you’ve set the goal, be accountable to it. My Creative and Connected posts each week are an opportunity to check in on my reading. It’s amazing how quickly the week rolls around and just being accountable keeps me focused. I could perhaps include a goal and tracking in my Creative and Connected post as a way of keeping an eye on progress and being more accountable. You can also keep track of your reading via Goodreads.

5 Read more than one book at a time

Probably one of the big changes in my reading habits is that I no longer read one book at a time. Reading across different formats has helped to break this limiting way of thinking. I’m now reading about 4 or 5 books at once. I read across formats depending on the circumstances. And I can pick up the book that best suits the time I have – like reading to relax at the end of the day rather than speeding up the mind with ideas. It might not be for everyone and there are times when you might want to read one book at a time, but it’s worth experimenting with.

6 Read across genres (mix it up)

Linked to both #1 and #5 is reading across genres and across fiction and non-fiction. There’s a fabulous list of genres here. V E Schwab reminds us of the value of reading broadly. If you’re writing a novel, read both inside and outside the genre you are writing in for new perspectives. If you like historical fiction, read the occasional fantasy novel. Have both fiction and non-fiction books on the go at once so you can choose what suits the moment best. Even if you love literary fiction, have lighter novels available to you so you can keep reading when you are not quite up to the more intense read.

7 Stop reading a book you don’t like 

Another habit I’ve learnt to break is feeling that I need to finish a book even if I don’t like it. Nick Hornby in Stuff I’ve Been Reading says: “Read what you enjoy, not what bores you.” And in The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, he says of a boring book: “Please, please: put it down. You’ll never finish it. Start something else.” It’s good advice. It only slows you down and wastes your time.

8 Read actively: highlight, take notes, make reading lists

Reading actively helps keep you engaged so highlight, underline and take notes. Ebook options make it easy to highlight electronically and keep these documents as a single record. I keep notes in a large Moleskine journal too if I am reviewing a book, such as when I wrote about White Hot Truth. This more intensive reading can be time-consuming but it rewards you many times over in return as you engage deeply with an author’s message. In DIY MFA, Gabriela Pereira suggests actively making reading lists just as you would in a formal MFA (Master of Fine Arts) program.

9 Share your reading experiences

Share your reading experiences whether it be on Instagram, your blog or on Goodreads. Write reviews, share quotes, celebrate your library, participate in reading challenges, blog about genres that you love and why. Through my daily Tarot Narrative, I link books to a tarot story for the day which helps me to revisit the books in my library and share value from them. Others are appreciating this connection! Social media has been such a boon for sharing reading experiences, finding out about new books and reminding us of what we love.

10 Read like a writer

Gabriela Pereira in DIY MFA says that “Reading like a writer is like trying to figure out how a magician performs his tricks.” V E Schwab suggests a similar view on this when she talks about her ‘story monster’. It’s really about getting behind the scenes, under the hood and getting a feel for the narrative or structure of non-fiction. As Pereira goes onto say:

Because the moment you figure out how the author pulled off her trick, you’ll be able to start applying it to your own work.

11 Read about reading 

And finally, read about reading and take the time to reflect on your reading journey just as I have done here. Seek out books that help you take a meta view of your reading patterns and skills and how to extend them. Connect with those that seek to spread the pleasure and joy of reading through reviews and sharing information about books.

I’m preparing two special reads about reading coming soon:

  • Creative and Connected this Friday will feature a round up of books about reading and celebrating reading: the art, history, process and joy of it. So look out for that!
  • I’m working on a free ebook on reading as creative influence. It’s about the books that have influenced my story, so sign up to Quiet Writing to be the first to receive it once it’s released this month! Just pop your email in the box on the right.

And whilst I’ve talked about reading more in some ways, it’s not always about quantity. Reading more creatively, productively and enjoying it is always a valuable goal, regardless of volume. A message that resonated in my recent coaching training is to honour our spend, making sure we carve out space to apply what we read and implement the knowledge.

Thanks for reading. I hope this has been useful and of interest.  

Share your thoughts on how you read more or differently for reading, creativity and pleasure – would love to hear! You can respond via the Comments here or on Facebook.

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coaching creativity planning & productivity work life

Creative and Connected #7 – how to craft a successful life on your own terms

July 28, 2017

Once we trust that we are giving it 100%, then we can trust that every day 100% looks really different.

Jen Carrington

successful life

Inspiring resources to keep you creative and connected – this week with a focus on how to craft a successful life on your own terms.

Here’s a round-up of what I’ve enjoyed and shared this week on various social platforms on crafting a successful life on your own terms. This includes looking at how we structure our working week and how we define our success.

Imagining a different lifestyle

I started a transition plan for a new career and working life one year ago now. I worked with a coach and identified my professional development goals including Life Coaching. Shortly after, I shifted to a part-time work program. My beautiful mum was diagnosed with a serious illness just as I started on this journey. It’s been challenging time as I negotiate a life transition and provide important care and support.

A key part of this journey has been imagining a different lifestyle. This involves balancing self-care and care for others. It also means learning how to craft a successful life on my own terms through:

  • working on what I love, centred around my passions of writing and creativity;
  • enabling a self-sustaining creative lifestyle;
  • making a difference via teaching and Life Coaching, inspiring and sharing resources and learnings from my whole life, not just my work life;
  • having writing and Life Coaching as the twin hearts of a creative, flexible working week; and
  • changing my definitions of success.

I’ve just completed my Life Coaching training this week and am now a Beautiful You Coaching Academy Life Coach. This was the key centrepiece of my year plan. I’m working with pro bono clients at present and hope to start working with paying clients later this year. I also see writing as a stream of income into the future.

My learning over the past year has been about crafting a successful creative lifestyle. In fact, I’ve been preparing for a long time on how to be a creative entrepreneur.

In this post, I dive deeper into this theme of crafting a successful, self-sustaining creative lifestyle. A key focus is how we manage our time and structure our working week and how we might define success differently.

Podcasts on crafting a successful life on your own terms 

Creating your ideal working week, with Jen Carrington on Sara Tasker’s Hashtag Authentic

This podcast is a fabulous conversation between Sara Tasker and Jen Carrington, coach for big-hearted creative business owners. I recommended this podcast in 6 Inspiring Podcasts for Creatives and Book Lovers post and I listened to it again today. It’s such inspiring listening.

It covers:

  • the intuitive work week – learning to work differently as a creative, self-employed person;
  • self-care as self-employed creatives;
  • working in ‘ebb and flow’ and in seasons, of hustle, rest and struggle, knowing we can’t always be ‘on’ all the time;
  • learning how to define success in different ways from the traditional work ethic model and managing what Jen calls ‘work week baggage’; and
  • women as self-employed, creative breadwinners.

Both Sara and Jen are successful creative entrepreneurs and their learning is based on experience. It’s so heartening for me to hear young women having conversations about living a successful, creative life on your own terms.

You can also listen to Jen’s podcast episode Redefining your work week, which explores the intuitive work week and scheduling an ‘impactful, joyful and productive work week’. It encourages self-employed, creative people to look at current schedules and how to get in the flow and be more productive. The concept of ‘work week baggage’ and the stories we tell ourselves about work is also discussed.

Jen’s The Intuitive Workweek course is an awesome resource and e-course for deeper personal work on this theme.

Money, Writing and Life – with Jane Friedman, on The Creative Penn, also explores creativity as a ‘proper job’, and specifically, business models for writers and being an author entrepreneur. This is a way of living a successful life on your own terms as a writer.

Books and reading notes

I’ve continued reading David Whyte’s Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity on work and identity. I’m savouring this book in a slow, delicious read. In the flip side (or precursor!) to some of the creative business models above, David talks about ‘the haunted house of insignificant success’:

The house I had built from my work was busy, but in the way a haunted mansion is busy, full of wails and rattling chains. All the time, I refused to acknowledge my core work, I was turning into a ghost on the surface. (p126-7)

We’ll be exploring this book next week on Quiet Writing, so stay tuned!

I finished the audiobook of Joanna Penn’s Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur. It is a comprehensive overview of how to be successful as an author. It’s recommended reading for learning more about operating as an author and business person. It also shows how living life on your own terms as a writer is possible through self-publishing.

I also started reading The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon, by Scott Baker as an audiobook as part of my self-development and sustainability as a creative entrepreneur. I so love writing by hand and especially with my fountain pens and Japanese inks. But being able to write more and without pain is definitely a long-term goal I’m investing time in.

successful life

Blog/Twitter/Instagram posts and interactions:

In Defining your own success, Sara Tasker discusses success and how women are defining new ways of working based on creativity, community and connection. She announces that her husband is leaving a secure job to become a member of Sara’s team. In reflecting on this, Sara says:

So I guess that is what success means to me: the freedom to choose, and to keep choosing, and to craft whatever kind of life we want. To be so blissfully contented in those choices that we don’t even care what anyone else is measuring us by, or give it a second thought.

In How I intentionally schedule my week as a creative business owner, Jen Carrington provides an update on learnings from her experiences. These include:

  • working outside the home more
  • making client days more fun
  • personal development as a daily habit

Successful entrepreneurs are more likely to have these two personality traits highlights the role of intuition in entrepreneurship. This is a theme I have found weaving through so many of these podcasts and reads. Intuition is a personality trait I rely on more as I work to live a successful life on my own terms.

I wish to give a huge and grateful shout-out to the awesome Beautiful You Coaching Academy as I successfully completed my Life Coaching training this week. Beautiful You is dedicated to training heart-centred life coaches who can build the unique business of their dreams. The number of highly successful businesses that the Academy has spawned is testament to the excellent quality of the program and the inspirational leadership of Julie Parker, the CEO, founder and lead trainer. Julie is a shining example of how to craft a successful life on your own terms.

successful life

I will write more soon about my experience in the course and what it has taught me. Beautiful You has fabulous resources for creative business owners interested in living a successful life on their own terms. And really, life coaching is all about encouraging and supporting people to do exactly that! For example, How to breakthrough negative core beliefs and build the business of your dreams focuses on building a Life Coaching business. The advice is transferable to anyone looking to build a self-sustaining, creative business and focuses on mindset.

On Quiet Writing and Tarot Narratives

My post on Quiet Writing, How to make the best of introverted strengths in an extraverted world, explores ways to work and influence as an introvert to make the best of natural strengths.

My Tarot Narratives on Instagram have continued to be a rich source of inspiration and insight for my creative journey. Thanks for all the creative interactions. On crafting a successful life, in a recent post, Eleanor Roosevelt in ‘You Learn by Living’ reminds us:

Maturity also means that you have set your values, that you know what you really want out of life. What are the things that give you great satisfaction?…To be mature you have to realise what you value most. It is extraordinary to discover that comparatively few people reach this level of maturity. They seem never to have paused to consider what has value for them” (p72)

And here’s the beautiful orchids continuing to come out in my garden. We’ve been blessed with a bumper crop through no great effort for which I am grateful.

Have a fabulous creative weekend!

successful life

Creative and Connected is a regular post each Friday and the previous posts are below. I hope you enjoy it. I would love any feedback via social media or comments and let me know what you are enjoying too.

Feature image via pexels.com

Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free e-book on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on intuition, influence, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

Creative and Connected #6 – how to be a creative entrepreneur

How to make the best of introvert strengths in an extraverted world

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

Creative and Connected #5 – being accountable to ourselves and others

creativity inspiration & influence planning & productivity

Creative and connected #6 – how to be a creative entrepreneur

July 21, 2017

 An entrepreneur creates value from ideas.

Joanna Penn, The Creative Penn

creative portfolio

Inspiring resources to keep you creative and connected – this week with a focus on being a creative entrepreneur and portfolio careers.

Here’s a round-up of what I’ve enjoyed and shared this week on various social platforms with a focus on how we can make a living from our creative skills.

I’ve been listening to podcasts and reading about being a creative entrepreneur and making a living from creativity for years now. It’s been part of “the long runway” – as Elizabeth Gilbert calls it in one of her Magic Lessons podcast – or preparation for this transition I’m now more actively embracing.

In this post, I share recent podcasts, books and posts on this theme as well as resources and contacts I have found valuable over time. A key focus is how we can work as multi-passionate people on portfolio careers with a number of income streams. These streams can include activities such as writing, coaching, speaking, self-publishing, workshops and online courses.

Podcasts on creativity and money

Real Artists Don’t Starve. Creativity and Money with Jeff Goins – on The Creative Penn

I loved this recent chat with Jeff Goins on my favourite podcast, The Creative Penn. It focuses on Jeff’s new book, Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the new Creative Age. Jeff summarises key themes around creative success: showing up, discipline and taking a portfolio or multiple streams approach.

Key takeaways:

  • Jeff’s writing practices – his goal is “to write 500 new words every day”. He has a writing routine called the three bucket system. Each day, “I start something new, I finish something old, and I publish something. And so the three buckets are ideas, drafts, and edits. My work is every day, to move something from one bucket to the next.”  I’m so inspired by this idea of structuring work into a pipeline of action!
  • portfolio ways of working as a successful model for creatives and the benefits of having multiple streams of income. These streams include writing, workshops, online courses, speaking, coaching, as well as other revenue sources like property.
  • timeless strategies for creative success – the focus of his new book – about 12 things thriving artists do to achieve success.

How to be a Badass at Making Money – Jen Sincero on Your Kick-Ass Live Podcast with Andrea Owen

This podcast chat is about limiting beliefs around making money. It’s based on Jen Sincero’s latest book, You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth. This is a fun, energetic conversation that explores mindset issues that can stop us taking action.

Books and reading notes

I’ve continued reading David Whyte’s Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity. It’s becoming heavily underlined as each page speaks to me around work and identity. We’ll be exploring this book in more detail here soon on Quiet Writing.

I’m nearly finished Joanna Penn’s Business for Authors: How to be an Author Entrepreneur which I’ve been enjoying as an audiobook. This is recommended reading/listening for anyone keen to learn more about operating as an author and business person.

Joanna is a creative entrepreneur who has built up income over time from multiple sources. She generously shares her tips and experiences via her books, blog and podcasts. Her recommended books and resources on creative entrepreneurship include:

  • How to Make a Living with your Writing – where Joanna shares practical tips based on her ability to earn a six-figure income through blogging, writing books and marketing ethically. I listened to this as an audiobook and it made fantastic learning.
  • Making a Living with your Writing – a page full of resources based on Joanna’s experience including practical tips and lessons learned on her entrepreneurial journey.

In terms of creativity and money, my thinking over time has been stimulated by Chris Guillebeau. Chris’s work is full of practical, grounded advice. His books on creative entrepreneurship include:

creative entrepreneur

Blog/Twitter/Instagram posts and interactions:

In 7 Reasons Creative People Don’t Talk about Money, poet and coach for creatives, Mark McGuinness talks about the love/hate relationship creatives often have with money. The post includes resources about money and creativity, especially around banishing some of the stereotypes.

Turn Your Creativity into a Career provides a guide for creative professionals interested in turning their creativity into a career. The perspective is around mapping your future as an independent creative entrepreneur and shaping your body of work.

How to Launch a Successful Portfolio Career, an article by Michael Greenspan in the Harvard Business Review, is targeted at corporate and executive level leaders and argues for a pragmatic approach to professional transitions. He advises: “The more specific and unique your skill set and experience, the more valuable your portfolio will be.”

In The idea of  “one true calling” is a romanticized lie, Emilie Wapnick explores the myth of the true calling and whether you might be a ‘multipotentialite’ or “someone with many interests and creative pursuits“. Emilie talks about the spectrum of being a multipotentialite and provides some models for managing multiple portfolios and career strands. She also has a book, How to be Everything, which explores this issue in more detail.

My post on Quiet Writing, How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine,  looks at the power of finding the thread that connects through your passions and career journey; in my case, writing. It also provides suggested strategies for finding your golden thread or authentic heart to guide you.

My Tarot Narratives on Instagram have been a rich source of inspiration and insight for my creative journey and I hope they are connecting with you too. This has been a consistent daily intuitive practice since 1 June now and I haven’t missed a day! Thanks for all the creative interactions.

And here’s the beautiful orchids coming out in my garden. Have a fabulous creative weekend!

Creative and Connected is a regular post each Friday – previous posts below. I hope you enjoy it. I would love any feedback via social media or comments and let me know what you are enjoying too.

Feature image via pexels.com

Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free e-book on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on intuition, influence, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

6 Inspiring Podcasts for Creatives and Book Lovers

Creative and Connected #5 – being accountable to ourselves and others

Creative and Connected #4 – the wholehearted edition

creativity inspiration & influence planning & productivity

Creative and Connected #5 – being accountable to ourselves and others

July 14, 2017

 

accountable

Inspiring resources to keep you creative and connected – this week with a focus on being accountable to ourselves and others!

Here’s a round-up of what I’ve enjoyed and shared this week on various social platforms with a focus on being accountable especially for our long haul creative projects like writing a novel.

Podcasts on being accountable

The Secret Library Podcast – Dal Kular on being at the beginning of the writing process

This podcast was such a treat! It’s a chat between host, Caroline Donahue, and Dal Kular about the beginnings and process of writing. Dal is a special Instagram creative buddy and Caroline is a fabulous coach who works with writers who I happen to be working with right now. So just to be able to hear these two special people, who also have a connection between them, riffing on the writing process together was pure joy!

They talk about the novels they are both writing – the initial ideas, the inspiration, the incubation and the getting down to writing. I loved hearing how their novel ideas were conceived and how they evolved.

The key points for me were all about accountability to ourselves in our bigger and longer creative work.

This includes:

  • how we can often put this accountability to ourselves around long haul creativity last. As Caroline says in the podcast, she is not late for appointments with others but can be late for writing appointments with herself.
  • remembering our deep work and those special inspirations that we may lose touch with but that are so important to honour and get back to.
  • that the process of writing something like a novel has its own special joys like travelling to experience details and being able to shape characters based on your experiences, including negative ones.

As a result of listening to the podcast and a coaching session, I am now aiming to get two larger creative projects including a novel, higher up the order of time priorities!

The Creative PennDiscipline and Practice in Writing and Swordfighting with Guy Windsor

This podcast is an excellent one about writing discipline and practice using links between martial arts and writing as its basis. Guy Windsor is a swordsman, author and entrepreneur. He chats with Joanna about what writing and martial arts have in common including skill building and dealing with fears.

They focus on practices and tools to create accountability in writing. These include:

  • starting with achievable goals
  • using tools to create accountability like word count
  • making mental adjustments about how we are categorising our writing.

The last one is powerful and involves seeing something like writing a novel as play rather than work. I think this sort of flipping the identity and shifting our mindset is a really great strategy for enjoying those longer engagements that can feel a little daunting. Bring them into the arena of fun!!

Books and reading notes

Reading-wise this week, I started David Whyte’s ‘Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity’. This is a special read and one I’ve been savouring. It’s been such a deep pleasure to enjoy David Whyte’s beautiful poetic prose about work and identity, a theme I have been reflecting on:

Taking any step that is courageous, however small, is a way of bringing any gifts we have to the surface, where they can be received. For that we have to come out of hiding, out from behind the insulation. In a way, we have to come to an understanding of ourselves in our work according to where we have established our edge.

I love this book for how it strives for and celebrates finding wholeness in our identity in the workplace. There will be a special focus on this book later in July here on Quiet Writing, so stay tuned!

I also had the pleasure of reading Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership through Solitude by Raymond M. Kethledge and Michael S. Erwin. I absolutely loved this book on solitude and self-leadership as the heart of leadership. It was a rich experience to reflect on its pages whilst reading. I will be writing about this special book further soon.

Blog/Twitter/Instagram posts and interactions:

I’ve been reading Ellen Bard’s post: How to Set Up an Accountability Group and Get Serious Results and thinking about setting up an accountability group.

I connected with Ellen on social media after listening to her great Creative Penn podcast chat with Joanna Penn on ‘Self-care and Productivity for Authors’ last year. Through our connection, we had a conversation about accountability and the role of accountability groups in helping us be more productive. The blog post spells this out in more detail: the how to’s, the advantages, the guidelines, the results.

Ellen has set up and led accountability groups as a form of inspiration to drive accountability and productivity. It’s also a way of ensuring support for both the good days and the bad days as creatives working in isolation.

As Ellen says in her post, Who’s in your corner? 7 ways to connect with kindred spirits:

I ended up with a group of ten amazing people who have inspired and pushed me to much greater efforts than I would have made alone.

Being held and holding others to be accountable for their actions is powerful and inspiring, and is another way to build connections.

So do read Ellen’s post on setting up an accountability group. And I would love to hear of any of your experiences with accountability groups or partners or if anyone is interested in exploring this further with me! Let me know via the comments or social media. Or you can email me at terri@quietwriting.com

Through Twitter, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with Content Creator and Social Media Strategist, Bree. A fellow INTJ, she is just awesome with blogging tips. Wait til you see 3 of the best tips for the most successful blog post ever is fabulous is excellent, especially the headline tips and tools that she shares, available free via CoSchedule. I followed her tips and – yes, I had the most successful blog post ever in the past week with 10 Amazing Life Lessons from Swimming in the Sea. Thanks, Bree and a recommended follow on Twitter for you all.

In 7 ways to identify your uniqueness, Business and Life Coach, Naomi Arnold, reminds us that identifying our uniqueness is an important part of our accountability to ourselves in living a wholehearted life. This is a theme that is woven into the heart of Quiet Writing and something I love to write about and work on in my Life Coaching with women.

There’s been some awesome transformational energy around this week. Have you felt it? I wrote about it in my post, Transforming into the new with my Capricorn Full Moon tarot reading. The energies this week have been about embracing our uniqueness as a springboard at this time, especially the threads that tie our unique story together and give it coherence.

My Tarot Narratives on Instagram have been a rich source of inspiration and insight for me and I hope they are connecting with you too. This has been a consistent daily intuitive practice since 1 June now and I haven’t missed a day! It’s so true that as Danielle LaPorte says in White Hot Truth:

And you can keep flexing your intuition (because it’s like a muscle) to feel into the next right step.

Each day deepens my creative connection with tarot and spirit. The messages this week have been around creative order, organising principles things coming together and making sense. And today, there was a beautiful message about manifesting and finding a form for creative inspirations. Love to hear what’s happening for you in finding the form for your creativity!

Tarot narrative for 14 July: finding form You’re finding the form for your creative desires and inspirations now. Whether it be the new business that coalesces your heart or finally bringing that long-held dream to fruition or practically starting the book you’ve been writing in your head, or all three, it’s about manifesting now and finding a shape that’s real. It’s a time of fertility, sculpting, connecting the pieces, working out the organising principles and unearthing the treasure that’s there and bringing it into the light. And sharing the wealth of our discovery so others can also be inspired. #tarotnarrative #eachdayajourney Reading notes: Cards: The Empress and the Ace of Earth (Pentacles) from The Good Tarot deck and #9 Treasure Island from Wisdom of the Oracle. Book notes: Today is about writing your life, creating your story, whatever its form. Find the way to start, continue or shape the form that works for you to help you find the treasure that is uniquely you: “Our stories create us. Our stories tell us and others what is significant and valuable about us. Our stories validate who we are; they are our personal myths.” How are you finding form?Writing Your Life, Patti Miller #quietwriting #intuitivefriday

A post shared by Terri Connellan (@writingquietly) on

There was also a fabulously fun chat on Instagram based on this picture about sleep rituals and Sleepytime Tea. This tea is a nightly habit of mine, combined with Rescue Remedy Sleep Spray. Both work wonders for restful sleep! Anyway, pop onto IG to learn more and share your story about restful sleep solutions or chat in the comments.

accountability

Response to guest posting on Quiet Writing 

I want to thank everyone for their fabulous responses to the opportunity to guest post on Quiet Writing in last week’s Creative and Connected!

I am excited to say we have five very special confirmed guest bloggers lined up for the next months. I can’t wait to share the voices of the Quiet Writing community here to celebrate wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity.

There is one special spot for 18 December left if there is anyone called to write for Quiet Writing just in time for Christmas. I’d love to hear from you, special person!!

I am hoping that we can also consider a regular or one-off publication or online magazine as well.

Feel free to provide any thoughts on the concept of ‘My Wholehearted Story’ – see the previous Creative and Connected post – in the comments or via email. I’d love to hear your thoughts and can’t wait to receive your responses!

Garie

Creative and Connected is a regular post each Friday – previous posts below. I hope you enjoy it. I would love any feedback via social media or comments and let me know what you are enjoying too.

Have a fabulous creative weekend!

Writing pic via pexels.com

Keep in touch

Subscribe via email (see the link at the top and below) to make sure you receive updates from Quiet Writing and its passions in 2017. This includes MBTI developments, coaching, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. My free ebook on the books that have shaped my story is coming soon for subscribers only – so sign up to be the first to receive it!

Quiet Writing is on Facebook – Please visit here and ‘Like’ to keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on tarot, intuition, influence, passion, creativity, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

If you enjoyed this post, please share via your preferred social media channel – links are below.

You might also enjoy:

6 Inspiring Podcasts for Creatives and Book Lovers

Creative and Connected #4 – the wholehearted edition

Creative and Connected #3 – on self-care

Creative and Connected #2

Creative and Connected #1