planning & productivity

creativity inspiration & influence planning & productivity

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

July 14, 2017



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

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.


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!


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

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

creativity inspiration & influence planning & productivity

Creative and connected #3 – on self-care

June 30, 2017


creative and connected

Inspiring resources to keep you creative and connected!

Here’s a round up of what I’ve enjoyed and shared this week on various social platforms.

This week I focus on self-care and productivity especially for writers and creatives. It’s been on my mind as I’ve just been diagnosed with osteo-arthritis in my right hand after experiencing some pain for a while. It’s made me more aware of the need for practical strategies for self-care and the creative long-haul.

Here are some recent and valued resources to help in this space as well as some other thoughts and experiences around self-care.

Podcasts on self-care

Dictation has been suggested to me by a number of people as a self-care practice for writing. So it was interesting to listen to this week’s podcast on The Creative Penn:

How To Use Dictation To Write Faster And Stay Healthy With Scott Baker.

The podcast discusses two key benefits of dictation with tools such as Dragon: firstly, speed and increasing word count and words per hour and secondly, as a strategy if you have an injury or you’re suffering from RSI. Mindset, process and habit also emerge as key issues and especially the advantages of treating dictation as a productivity tool. The podcast also covers practical aspects of dictation: how to focus on dictation whilst also plotting and working on ideas; the need for practice; and the technical aspects of how Dragon learns how you write.

I haven’t tried dictation yet but I think it might be time to give it a go! I’d welcome any comments on your experiences of using dictation tools to increase productivity or manage injury whilst writing. Scott Baker also has an book on Dictation which I’ve purchased. It’s not expensive and looks a good investment for learning about this skill.

How to Dictate your Book with Monica Leonelle is an earlier Creative Penn podcast on dictation which you might find interesting.

Self-care and Productivity for Authors with Ellen Bard is also a fabulous listen on self-care including the pomodoro technique, morning pages, working as a digital nomad and compassion as a self-care practice.

Books and reading notes

I’ve been enjoying the memoir, Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton which is about a tough journey to self-care and self-love. I’m nearly finished that book and looking forward to diving into the other books on my current to-be read pile as I featured on Instagram this week as part of the #mywritinglife series:

creative and connected

Sometimes all that reading we want to get done can put its own pressure on us! Especially as writers, it is part of our job to be reading but it can be a challenge to get as much reading done as we desire.

This Creative and Connected weekly post is helping me with my awareness and accountability on my reading practices. Self-care wise, I have been mixing up my reading strategies to include hard copy, ebook and audiobook as a way of taking the pressure off and getting more reading done. This seems to be working generally with audiobooks helping to make use of long hours in the car.

How are you making time to get those all important books read? And how do you manage the accountability – if that helps you?

As I work on finalising my e-book ‘The 36 Books that shaped my story’, I’ve really been thinking deeply about reading and its role in creativity and influence and can’t wait to share these thoughts with you.

Make sure you sign up to the Quiet Writing email list so that you can receive the ebook once available. The Quiet Writing newsletter – Notes from the Beach – will be winging its way out also this weekend so would love to chat more personally to you. Just pop your email in the box on this page and you will receive both!

Blog/Twitter/Instagram posts and interactions:

There have been some interesting blog posts on self-care recently :

In What are the Four Golden Rules of Self-Care, Dr Monifa S. Seawell reminds us that self-care is not always about indulgence and adding things to our lives; it can be also about eliminating people, practices and things that might be toxic. She also says that it’s not about comparison:

Your self-care practice should be as individual and as unique as you are, so if you are comparing how your self-care routine matches up to others, just, stop it.

In 6 Ways to Weave Self-Care into your Workday, Amy Jen Su reminds us that:

At the heart of self-care is your relationship and connection to self. As part of your job, it means that you’re attuned to and understand what you need to be your most constructive, effective, and authentic self. Therefore, rather than narrowly defining self-care as just physical health (which is an important piece of the equation), we need to pay attention to a wider set of criteria, including care of the mind, emotions, relationships, environment, time, and resources.

This is valuable advice and my learning about self-care has included this notion that it has a wide spectrum. This post also provides practical tips for noticing when you’ve slipped out of self-care mode.

My self-care activities

For me, self-care includes finding time to exercise and enjoy the environment where I live. It was such a pleasure recently to walk to Curracurrang in the nearby Royal National Park in Sydney. There were whales off the coast – breeching and rolling and blowing off some steam. And there were beautiful vistas of ocean, waterfall and bush flowers. I shared some of the bush flowers on Instagram:

Here’s another shot from just off the coast by a beautiful waterfall looking back towards the ocean through the trees.

coast walk

Working with intuition is also an important part of my self-care. I have posted my Tarot Narratives on Instagram every day this month. This intuitive work with tarot and oracle cards and linking them with books (reading +reading!) has become a part of a deep and focused morning routine like meditation and journaling. It calms me and connects me creatively to intuition and to the books and texts in my experience. This type of activity is about self-care as much as anything. Especially for introverts who need that deep focused me time in silence to recharge, just making this space in our days is an act of self-care.

So how do you find that deep focused quiet type of self-care activity?

tarot narratives

My thanks for all the engagement and feedback on Tarot Narratives. My plan is to place them on the Quiet Writing blog with a specific category so they can be easily located and referenced as a resource. And I plan to continue each day! As always, I welcome your feedback.

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

Have a fabulous creative weekend!

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 #1

Creative and Connected #2

Personality, story and Introverted Intuition

Shining a quiet light – working the gifts of introversion

creativity inspiration & influence planning & productivity

6 inspiring podcasts for creatives and book lovers

June 4, 2017


Podcasts are the best on-the-go inspiration for creatives and book lovers. Here are my 6 top podcasts for firing up your learning about books, blogging, writing and creative entrepreneurship.

Listening to podcasts – my experiences and tips

If you’re not listening to podcasts, now’s the time to start! And if you are, you know the joy of learning and connection it provides, so here are my hot tips and recommendations.

Whether it’s commuting on the train, driving in the personal space of your car, relaxing at home with a cup of tea or when you are exercising or cleaning, make use of that time to feed your creativity and help you prepare for future action. Take the time to learn about new people, new skills, new books, new ideas.

I’ve been listening to podcasts for a long time now, mostly because I live in a fairly remote place and have a long drive or train trip to anywhere. I cannot tell you how much I have learnt over the years from listening to podcasts. It’s like sowing seeds you can harvest straight away or down the track in so many ways.

Some people worry about not being able to take notes on the go. But I say, just relax, listen, let it all wash over you and soak in. If you love a podcast and want to take more from it, take the time to listen again with a notebook and pen in hand.

I’ve connected with people I’ve met through listening to podcasts; they’ve shaped my writing, coaching, self-care and reading practices. I know a hell of a lot about self-publishing, being an indie author and successful author mindset, information built up over years that I’m now armed with for the next steps.

I’m focusing on brand, blogging, social media and creative entrepreneurship at the moment as I shape new practices around coaching and writing so I’ve been listening to some new podcasts to skill up and be motivated around that.

I love books and reading, so podcasts help me to learn about new books, revisit old ones and discover classics I’ve never read or even heard of. Book-focused podcasts celebrate and share the pleasure of reading and creating books and so are very precious, like kindred souls.

And a tip for me – go with the unexpected and unusual! You never know what you might learn. I’ve learnt so much from podcasts that initially looked like they had nothing to do with my sphere of interests. Like this episode: Discipline and Practice in Writing and Swordfighting with Guy Windsor on The Creative Penn podcast. Easy to skip over as you think: what’s swordfighting got to do with me? Turns out plenty, so keep your eyes and ears open for the unexpected and broaden those horizons and connections.

So, here are the 6 inspiring podcasts for creatives and book lovers that I’m listening to right now! Links are in the title.

The Creative Penn Podcast – Joanna Penn

The Creative Penn Podcast launched in March 2009 and is up to Episode #323 as I write. I’m proud to say I’ve been listening pretty well since the start. I also support Joanna via Patreon because her shows are simply awesome. They cover “inspiration and information on writing and creativity, publishing options, book marketing and creative entrepreneurship“, I have learnt so much from Joanna about being a writer, an indie author, the book industry and a successful creative entrepreneur.

Joanna is a fabulous role model in writing and self-publishing and I’ve followed her journey as she left her day job and became over time a successful six figure author and creative entrepreneur. She is the most generous person, always giving insights into process, learnings and mindset based on her experience.

The podcasts include updates from Joanna about her writing, creative life and business as well as a round up of key trends in publishing, especially indie publishing. Joanna celebrates and embodies that self-publishing as an indie author is not a vanity thing, but a way of having an inspiring and self-directed creative life. Worked on over time, it’s a lifestyle that can also support you well financially too.

Some favourite episodes that have influenced me deeply with changed practices, connections and ideas:

Use your own life story to bring depth to your writing – with Steve Pressfield

How to find your author voice – with Roz Morris

Self-care and productivity for authors – with Ellen Bard

Productivity for creative people – with Mark McGuinness

Hashtag Authentic – for Instagram, blogging and beyond – Sara Tasker

Fast becoming one of my favourite podcasts, I’ve been busy listening to the backlist of Hashtag Authentic and every one is brilliant! Developed and hosted by Sara Tasker, who is on Instagram as @me_and_orla, it’s filled with creative inspiration for Instagrammers, bloggers and online creatives. With 167,000 followers on Instagram and a ton of practical experience, Sara is an Instagram coach and photographic influencer. Each episode is so full of tips shared in a spirit of support and co-creation. I’ve learnt about the journeys of so many amazing Instagram influencers and creatives – and all this has sparked so much creativity.

Some favourite episodes that have kindled ideas and supported creative practice and productivity:

Creating your ideal working week – with Jen Carrington

A social media, blogging and Instagram Q&A – with Sara

The power of personal projects – with Xanthe Berkley

I love this quote from Ira Glass discussed in the personal projects podcast with Xanthe Berkley (full quote in the show notes at the link above)

Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
Ira Glass

Make It Happen: a podcast for bloggers and creatives – Jen Carrington

After listening to the fabulous podcast chat between Sara Tasker and Jen Carrington on creating your ideal working week on Hashtag Authentic, I then made my way over to Jen Carrington’s website and her work.

It’s so practically encouraging and inspiring. Jen is a coach for big-hearted creative business owners and is based in Manchester, UK. Her blog posts are so helpful for those aiming to step up their own blogging work. And her podcasts are straight down the line insights, direct from Jen about such topics as:

S05 E08: Show Up As If You’re Already Where You Want To Be

S05 E06: Staying Connected To Your Version Of Success

S05 E02: Redefining Your Working Week

You’ll need a pen and notebook for this one because every statement is a gem of opportunity.

The Secret Library Podcast – Caroline Donahue

Caroline Donahue is The Book Doctor (@thebookdr) and a woman after my own heart: a reader, a writer, a coach who works with writers and an introvert who works with tarot and story. And she is also a super podcast creator and host exploring the most fascinating topics. Caroline’s mantra is that “books are a map, not just an escape” and this podcast is about all things books – the reading, writing, publishing, creation and enjoyment of books – as maps for growth, creativity and enjoyment.

With a love of tarot and intuitive practice, these themes feature strongly in Caroline’s interviews and the subjects explored. Perfect listening for an intuitive, tarot-reading, book-loving soul like me!

The episodes are diverse and inspiring – here are some of my favourites:

Episode #31 Kim Krans on The Wild Unknown

Episode #35 Amy Kuretsky on the healthy writer

Episode #42 Ezzie Spencer writes by the light of the moon

Magic Lessons – Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic: Creative living beyond fear’ has been widely read and influenced so many people. It was a catalyst for me in finally stepping into my creativity and authenticity more wholeheartedly in recent times. Liz Gilbert created the podcast because she felt she wasn’t finished with the subject and wanted to have “real conversations with real people” about “roadmaps for the path to creativity“. I am so glad she did.

Each interview focuses on a chat with a creative person who feels they are thwarted in some way in creating their big magic in the world. Liz coaches them and connects them with a special creative person who can inspire them and help with their goals and overcome fear. We get access to so much creative wisdom through this connection.

It’s a powerful combination and discussion. People bare their vulnerability and are held in such a special place as they break through the fear. The conversations provide moments of clarity and breakthrough and have supported and fuelled my own creative breakthroughs. It proves for me yet again the power of story in creativity.

They are all fabulous so hard to pick favourites but ones that have especially spoken to me are:

Series 1, Episode 1 Do what ignites your soul

Series 1, Episode 9 Dear Creativity and Fear

Episode 204 “Who gets to decide if you’re a legitimate artist?” featuring Mark Nepo

But do listen to all of them – brilliant inspiration to create your work in the world!

The Casual Academic: A Literary Podcast

Billed as ‘literary discussion without the pretense – just good books‘ – that’s exactly why I love this podcast. Alex Johnson and Jacob Welcker, both based in Spain, share book love in a way that bridges academia with the every day.

As a person with a background in literature, it’s helped me reconnect with literary fiction. I’ve discovered books and authors new to me that are so fascinating, especially Clarice Lispector’s ‘Near to the Wild Heart’ and H P Lovecraft’s ‘At the Mountains of Madness’. I’ve also been reminded of authors who I’ve loved reading that I need to revisit: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Margaret Atwood, Shirley Jackson, Ursula Le Guin.

Starting out as a book club over Google Hangouts with friends all over the world, the podcast has retained that casual feel. But it’s backed in by informed, engaging and well-researched commentary. Just listening to the podcasts has helped me reconnect with literature. As a result, my reading list is growing but it’s oh so rich! Plus Alex and Jacob have the best voices to listen to as they read and chat – they have so much fun, it makes me smile as I listen and learn.

A couple of my favourites episodes:

Episode 13: Mirages, Dread, and the Unreliable Narrator in Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness”

Episode 19: Narrative Techniques & The Thing Itself in Clarice Lispector’s “Near to the Wild Heart”


Keep in touch

I hope you enjoyed this post and that the podcasts mentioned inspire you. Let me know your favourite podcasts also – I would love to hear about the podcasts you love. Share via the comments, Facebook or IG as below!

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

Quiet Writing is also on Instagram here.

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 tarot, MBTI developments, life coaching and other connections to help 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:

Shining a quiet light: working the gifts of introversion

Practical tools to increase writing productivity

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

Featured image via Pexels and used with permission and thanks.


creativity intuition planning & productivity

Movement, stillness and navigating challenging times

April 18, 2017


When navigating challenging times, movement can help you find stillness and new ways to manage change and negotiate uncertainty.

Leaning into movement

The idea of keeping in movement as a way of managing change came to me about a year ago at the beginning of this time of transition. I sought advice via a tarot reading from Marianne at Two Sides Tarot. At the end of an insightful reading around managing change and uncertainty, the oracle card ‘Movement’ from the Vessel oracle deck by Mary Elizabeth Evans arrived, dancing its dynamic way into my consciousness.

Here is this beautiful card, courtesy of @twosidestarot on Instagram:

And the message in my reading: the best way to manage all this change, these Wheel of Fortune times, was to keep moving:

Strength and solace can be found in getting moving – both by moving your body, changing up your self-care practices, and embracing this process. The change itself, although not always easy, will be such a source of healing and fulfilment!

I was reminded not only to move but to make changes in self-care and movement routines – do new things, do things differently, mix it up. To soak in the ocean instead of the bath for example. To just keep moving and make subtle shifts as a way of managing uncertainty and leaning into it.

As Marianne reminded me via my tarot reading:

Making a few little moves in this area of your life will let you keep yourself grounded and full, while gently stretching your boundaries and exposing you to new experiences.

Moving to manage uncertain times

The message came to me again recently through guides in an Activate session with Amber Adrian. I’m feeling stuck, for a number of reasons but ironically with so many thoughts and plans. Words and ideas come and flow through me. I try to capture them and still them into an order I can understand and work with.

But there’s so many ideas on my desk and in my mind. It feels so Seven of Cups and so Ten of Wands with this card from The Art of Life Tarot summing up my inner and outer world right now.

ten of

There’s so much magic there but it won’t come to much if I can’t work with it practically. So it comes down to a kind of patience and fortitude right now.

I ask how to have that patience to wait intuitively for the inspiration of spirit instead of trying to force things. I want to know how to be able to read the signs and symbols and have the strength to integrate this time wisely into the vision I can see and feel. Again, the advice via Amber and our guides in the session is to just keep moving: “Keep going, keep moving through it, keep showing up for yourself and others, keep taking care of yourself in all this. It will get easier. Keep using everything, every tool you have.”

Ways to keep moving

And funnily enough lately I have been moving. You see, I’m training to be a life coach and I’m moving ahead with that course, and I’m now more than half way through. As part of my Beautiful You Coaching Academy life-coach training, we practise coaching and also undertake coaching ourselves. One of my key goals has been around self-care at a time of transition and challenge, especially around being stronger and fitter.

So I’ve been moving much more than I have for a long time. And I’m finding that movement is a metaphor for and tool to negotiate these times. I find that yoga, walking, swimming and feeling the body move can help move you forward in many ways: the rhythm of your legs. walking; the syncopation of your arms beating the water; the timing of your breath moving in, moving out.

Chi, flow, blood, breath, steps into the air, into the light, through the day like honey, like the flow of words on a page.

Streets of my village I meander, paths of sand and rock in the bush I step through, my feet sinking into sand at the edge of the water as I flex and pressure onwards. Yoga postures I move through – still, breathing easy, dynamic, active, my body moves through them, pushing boundaries. My mind stills and comes with it.

Moving through different terrain

I’m searching for different walks in new terrain. I’m exploring new places as I step out, finding freshwater pools with waterfalls and tracks with different vistas in my beautiful backyard.

The yoga classes I go to stretch me in different ways and I learn new names for familiar poses. I’m moving differently and there’s the yin of slow held poses that stretch me hard along my muscles. And there’s the yang of vinyasa flow that has me warm and energised as my limbs move. There’s balance and stillness. I sleep so well at night afterwards.

I’ve started swimming in the ocean with a local group here where I live. The beauty of the underwater world astounds me and I swim with schools of fish and sometimes feel like a fish. My arms stroke the water and I breathe in and out like the beat of a drum.

I don’t usually like to swim out of my depth but I am there, past the shallow water, circling the edges of the reef with fish beneath me and feeling relaxed. I’m embracing change and newness with a sense of wonder, seeing things differently.

My swim-mask fogs up early on and I need to learn how to stop that which I do. Sometimes I don’t swim straight as I am not used to ocean swimming. “You were all over the place,” says one of my swim chums. It’s true but at least I am out there, zig-zagging across the water and learning how to swim straighter next time. And when we chat about it over coffee later, I find many of my fellow swimmers also zigzag or have dealt with it and I am not alone. We share strategies for navigating the way into straighter paths.

It seems there are many benefits of moving with others as we track our separate paths together, learning from each other but going our own way forward to our unique destination.

The medicine of movement

So I encourage you to seek solace in the medicine of movement: take a walk in the silence of your garden, take a swim in the salt water of your heart, breathe through the yoga moves of your transition.

Balance those paradoxes: stillness and hurry, quiet and busy, calm and worry, slowness and the sheer act of getting on with it regardless of the speed. Yin and yang with it all and the moon, and realise that even resting can be an integral part of movement.

Breathe like waves as you move, negotiate the uncertain nature of the time, its alchemy threading through each word and act unknowing. It’s weaving a song you vaguely recognise. If you listen carefully, you might find that in the singing of birds or the waving of seaweed you are gently shown a sign that says, “This way.”

You pick up a shell and see the spiral of your life moving stealthily on, trusting that nature can take its perfect course, without you needing to tell it how.

You pick a card and it’s the Two of Wands reminding you that:

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.


From The Art of Life Tarot deck by Charlene Livingstone

So you jump into the water of your thoughts, you swim through the barriers of your mind and you stretch through the tightness of your joy.

You’re not staying where you are – you know that. And you trust the intuitive action of movement to take you where you know in your heart you need to be.

In movement, stillness.
In stillness, movement.


Thought pieces

For a rich and beautiful read about movement, yin/yang and flourishing with cycles of the moon, you might enjoy the new book, An Abundant Life by Dr Ezzie Spencer. There’s also a fabulous podcast with Ezzie over at the Secret Library Podcast with Caroline Donahue aka The Book Doctor.

Keep in touch

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

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 tarot, MBTI developments, coaching and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world. New special offers coming soon including a limited number of pro-bono coaching opportunities.

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

You might also enjoy:

Healing with words of gold: The Empress, Kintsugi and alchemy

Overwhelm, intuition and thinking

Practical tools to increase writing productivity

blogging creativity planning & productivity

Practical tools to increase writing productivity

January 30, 2017

writing productivity

Getting organised to write and create

Writing productivity techniques are the best practical strategies for directing creative overwhelm into output. This post explores some options including Scrivener, the Pomodoro technique and other tools for breaking through.

It follows on from a previous post, Overwhelm, Intuition and Thinking on creative overwhelm and initial strategies to turn inspiration into action, especially for intuitive types. This post focuses on the practical, doable tasks to make organised creative work happen in an environment of self-care.

Scrivener – the writer’s friend

First up, and the centrepiece of a writer’s toolkit, is the Scrivener software writing program. Scrivener is a content-generation tool for writers that combines writing and project management. Being project-based, you can have multiple writing projects on the go. This means you can be gathering research information, capturing ideas, drafting and revising your work all in the one application across multiple projects. It’s especially good for managing long-form work such as novels or non-fiction work, both in the production and the preparation stages for publication.

No wonder it’s so popular! Designed by writers for writers, it’s fabulous for all aspects of writing: researching, drafting, revising, editing and publishing. It’s a writing tool used by many bloggers and authors, notably two of my key influencers Joanna Penn and Susannah Conway, as well as many other successful creatives for whom writing is a key focus.

Scrivener has long been high on my list for getting organised with my writing. I purchased the Scrivener program a couple of years ago along with the Learn Scrivener Fast program which provides a great introduction to how to work with Scrivener. I went through many of the well-structured lessons but being busy with work and not applying it directly, I had forgotten it all over time.

So recently, I went back to relearn. I’ve found it’s best to work through the Learn Scrivener Fast lessons and apply the learning straight away, organising your projects as you go. After a solid effort, I’m using Scrivener as planned including while writing this post. It’s been quite easy to set up various projects and get moving, learning the finer points as I go.

The key writing projects I have set up include:

  • blog posts
  • articles
  • poetry
  • tarot study and readings
  • various larger works such as novel ideas and non-fiction works

As I said in the last post, I have no shortage of creative inspiration at present! Scrivener makes it easy to have these multiple project pieces where I can add research information and write wherever I wish to focus on any particular day. This process reflects what I have been doing on paper but is oh so better organised and easier to work with. Plus you feel like you are making real progress which is encouraging.

Further reading and viewing on Scrivener:

This article, ‘8 Ways Scrivener will help you become a proficient writer overnight’ by Joseph Michael, creator of ‘Learn Scrivener Fast’, is an excellent overview of the benefits of Scrivener.

Writing Tips from Joanna Penn is really valuable viewing on all aspects of writing fiction and non-fiction books and focuses on the practical use of Scrivener.

Scrivener project

The Pomodoro Technique

I was lucky enough to win some coaching sessions with the fabulous Rae Ritchie late last year. I won’t go into all the confidential aspects of our first wonderful conversation recently. However, one thing we touched on was the Pomodoro Technique as a way of working in more concentrated bursts to get writing done.

This conversation sparked something I was aware of but had not acted on. So this week, I applied the Pomodoro technique to my writing and learning activities. I downloaded a fantastic app called the Tide Focus Timer to help manage the ‘pomodoro’ times and worked with the approach. The app is great as it has different options for background music and sounds to help you concentrate.

Pomodoro helps you focus and is a really valuable self-care aid when writing and sitting for long periods. The technique and app remind you to get up after the 25 minute ‘pomodoro’ period to move and stretch.

It’s interesting that the Pomodoro Technique has popped up for me on two podcast conversations in the last few months in relation to self-care:

  • In an excellent Creative Penn podcast interview, Joanna Penn talks with Ellen Bard on ‘Self Care and Productivity for Authors’. This wide-ranging discussion includes tips on morning pages and the Pomodoro Technique as well as encouraging an attitude of self-compassion as we create.
  • In a recent Secret Library podcast, Caroline Donahue interviews Amy Kuretsky about being a healthy writer. The discussion emphasises self-care as being more than just care of the body. The Pomodoro Technique is one of a number of practical tips recommended for writers in honouring our body, mind and spirit in the process of creativity.

My experiences this week have shown me that I can gain much from working with this technique, both in terms of output and feeling better whilst writing.

Productive Flourishing – productivity tools

Another area that is critical for writing productivity is scheduling, prioritising and capturing any ideas and actions that come to us. I recommend Charlie Gilkey’s Productive Flourishing Planners to help with this.

There are various planners and tools including Momentum Planners (monthly weekly, daily) and Blog Post Planners. One of my favourites is the Action Item Catcher which is a single sheet to capture thoughts that arise or actions from meetings. It helps to corral these to-do items and stops the distraction of moving away from focused activities like writing. It can be combined with the Pomodoro Technique to capture things that pop up as you concentrate on the priority work at hand.

I hope these practical ideas are useful to help concentrate your writing effort where it can be most effective – that is, getting the words and ideas on the page and out into the world!

I would love to hear about any productivity tools and experiences you might have found useful. Please share in the comments below or on the Quiet Writing Facebook page.

Keep in touch

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

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 – including MBTI developments and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world.

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

intuition planning & productivity

Overwhelm, intuition and thinking

January 27, 2017

thinking and intuition

You can get overwhelmed when the intuition is firing and there’s an abundance of creative inspiration. Whilst it’s a good problem to have, without balance it can lead to inaction. Here are some thoughts on how to manage this.

As an INTJ Myers-Briggs Type Indicator type, Introverted Intuition and Extraverted Thinking preferences play out to a large extent in my life. They are my dominant and auxiliary preferences respectively. There’s a frequent tussle going on between intuition and thinking over which takes the lead role at any particular point.

Being the dominant one, intuition often leads, coming from an interior and quiet place. It’s an inner voice or a flash of insight, a mystery I don’t fully understand and possibly never can. It’s taken me a while to begin to understand this part of me even though it’s the preeminent piece.

Thinking then is not far behind, connecting the ideas that come from intuitive inspiration, shaping them into an argument or a project, a strategic plan or a blog post. It links symbols in poetry more overtly or plays the role of editor, cutting back, refining and polishing.

When our intuition is switched on and we learn to tune into it more, suddenly so much comes in. That big picture becomes huge and threatens to overwhelm. Our to-do lists that involve crafting that inspiration further become enormous. It feels like all that creativity is going nowhere, just spinning round and round our head.

The Seven of Cups tarot card from the The Fountain Tarot recently captured this for me so well.
7 of cups

So many ideas, so many options, so many projects, so many plans. I can relate to the look on the woman’s face. The first time I drew this card, on a day of particular overwhelm, I laughed out loud. It just captures the feeling so perfectly, a state of being stunned into inaction by the options.

And the upshot of all this? Nothing much gets done except a lot of brainstorming, scribbled notes of potential and words of promise. We need to learn how to bring the intuition and thinking functions together to ground ourselves more into action in the external world.

Coalescing intuition and thinking

So if your interior world is running hot and your to-do lists are longer than your arm, here are some suggested strategies based on my experiences to focus energy and attention into action.

1 Practise rest and self-care

Ironically, I am finding that rest and self-care is fundamental to coalescing intuition and thinking to get action happening. Self-care is fundamental to all things, but it’s a special consideration here.  Like self-care in emergency situations so we can be of service, we need to ensure our buzzing intuition and sparking ideas don’t drive us into an energy tailspin where we are of no help to anyone. As Amber Adrian, intuitive and energy healer reminded me, “Put your own oxygen mask on first.” Wise advice.

And lo and behold, when we do rest and practice nourishing ourselves, the well-springs fill and the right ideas burst forth. Suddenly we know the answer or the next best thing to do.

2 Capture ideas and work in bite-size chunks

One of the big issues with creative overwhelm is that it’s all so exciting. We can feast on that emotion and not much else happens. I’m working to focus on specific aspects of projects within the time available each day. My Write Your Own Adventure planner, with its open and spacious approach, is helping to make every day a creative step in the journey. It’s easy to document progress and it’s showing me where my energy is going and where it’s dissipating.

I’m also working on breaking things up more: time into chunks and words into achievable targets. I’m starting to work with Scrivener  more to shape writing drafts and manage inputs. I’m using tools to capture ideas and connections so I don’t lose them. I’ve been a long time user of Evernote for gathering ideas, references and images and tagging them to bring together later.

I’m exploring time management and productivity techniques like the Pomodoro technique. Linked to self-care, it’s all about short bursts and writing sprints plus getting up, walking and keeping refreshed instead of sitting for hours. This is something I need now.

In a Secret Library podcast interview with Caroline Donahue, Scott Carney explains his formula for getting writing done which combines these techniques. He explains how he uses Scrivener and writes 500 words a day, 5 days a week and that over eight months, this ends up the length of a book manuscript. Or it could be a lot of blog posts. Either way it’s a great practical way to focus effort into chunks and get the writing done.

3 Realise the benefits of strategy

Sometimes a combination of intuition and intellect can lead to ‘analysis paralysis’ and over-thinking, especially when combined with introversion.

At our best, however, we can bring these three orientations together to create visionary plans, then work out the logical steps and goals to get there. We can identify the measures that help us achieve the plan and we can define what success looks like. And we can leave room for the unexpected.

Strategy is elegant clear thinking, being confident and assembling what we have logically. As Colette Baron-Reid says in relation to the ‘Thinker’ card from the ‘Wisdom of the Oracle‘ deck, when strategy is calling…

Things are exactly what they seem. You have all the information you need. Keep it simple and you will win the game of life you’re playing now.


Joanna Penn is my role model in this respect. Her webinar on how to achieve your goals in 2017 is a valuable example of strategy development in creative spaces. Joanna’s achievements over time exemplify how to work with both intuition and strategic thinking goals to make excellent progress.

Like any journey, knowing the destination helps with managing the steps to get there and avoids the wasted time of going down wrong paths.

4 Keep showing up

The overwhelm of so many creative ideas can make us feel that we are not getting anywhere compared to our aspirations. Consequently, we get discouraged and do nothing or not as much as we had hoped.

So it’s important to keep showing up to write the words, get the blog posts published and focus on the inputs that will help manifest our vision.  It’s vital to keep learning the skills that will help us do the work of our heart. But it’s achieved little by little as we show up each step of the way to bring that effort to bear.

Sometimes it’s hard to see where it’s all leading as an intuitive creative. But just ‘doing the work’ in line with our vision and plan is the way to take it forward.

Steven Pressfield is the best person to read about showing up and doing the work. His work has clearly shown us that the ‘not sitting down to write’ is resistance and ultimately, fear. We need to break the impasse and show up to find the intuitive mystery of the words as they unfold. In Turning Pro, Steven reminds us:

That place that we write from (or paint from or compose from or innovate from) is far deeper than our petty personal egos. That place is beyond intellect. It is deeper than rational thought.

It is instinct.

It is intuition.

It is imagination.

So the plan, the strategy, the structure, the formula are all valuable, but the heart of the work and the journey is at that space where the pen hits the page or the fingers hit the keyboard. It’s when the instinct, imagination and intuition find form.

And we only make that journey by showing up and writing, unfolding the mystery of our intuition, word by word.

Making the connection between head and heart

So my reflections on this have led me to realise that intuition leads the way, being the inspiration and destination. The intellect is there too but its role is to shape the map, plan the timeframes, create the doable list or corral the effort into something manageable. It has its place and its ultimately about keeping things simple and on track, not over complicating.

But the intuition, the active imagination comes first. It’s not so neat and time-sensitive nor is it predictable, but it’s the heart of the effort, the raison d’etre.

We need both. Without intuition, we wouldn’t have the creative imagination to start with. Without thinking, the inspiration wouldn’t see the light of day in a practical way.

In comes the Queen of Swords

I left this piece open-ended overnight as I thought how best to finish it. And in the night, the Queen of Swords came like a flash, her sword glinting in the darkness.

Queen of Swords

And this brought all the pieces together. You see, the Queen of Swords has been my poster girl for a while. She sits at the front of my Softly Wild  journal, guiding this piece of my life, where it says: “I dedicate this notebook to making the connection between head and heart.” I am on the last page of that book now.

And only yesterday as I work through Susannah Conway’s fabulous 78 Mirrors course, I discovered that the Queen of Swords can be seen as the court card for the INTJ type. Cutting through, clarity of thought and commitment are her specialty. I’ve recently completed my Myers-Briggs Type Indicator certification so this link holds special meaning as I seek to take this work into the world.

So in the end I find that I have the answers within me. That intuition is the heart and conduit to feeling. Thinking is the sword to cut through to the essence and bring it to light for me and others. It’s time to finally commit and do the work, given that I already know the strategies to get there.

I hope the spirit of the Queen of Swords and these ideas can give you the courage to face the overwhelm and get on with your work in the world too. Because we so need to see its refined shining light.

This piece is written for #IntuitiveFriday – you can find more about this initiative celebrating intuition here.

Keep in touch

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

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 – including MBTI developments and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world.

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

Featured image from Shutterstock via Pixabay and used with thanks.

Queen of Swords image is from the Sakki Sakki Tarot deck.

creativity planning & productivity

Planning for a productive 2017

December 27, 2016

planning productive 2017

2016 and the Six of Swords

Like many people, I’m reflecting on 2016 and planning for a more productive year in 2017.

This year has not been the easiest of years. It’s been something of a threshold year, a year of transition as the Six of Swords has continued to pop its head up to remind me. There’s been a series of shocks, wake up calls and disappointments. There’s also been some very proud moments and shining lights pointing the way ahead. And recent times have been full of quiet intuitive work that is laying deep foundations for a different future.

The Six of Swords image of traversing water with a whole bunch of cargo in tow speaks volumes. As Monicka Clio Sakki explains in Playing with Symbols:

The Six of Swords can also mean that you will go through a period of evaluating your past, putting aside any stress, anger, resentment and pain you may have experienced. You will come to realize that because of those painful experiences you can now advance. Gather what is most important to you, and make the choice to flow into the passage that is now in front of you. The wind is in your favour, and original thinking will take you far.

six of swords

A different future

The phrase ‘a different future’ keeps coming to mind suggesting that I need to make change to get the outcomes I am seeking. For too long, I keep doing the same thing and expecting that things will change. It’s clear that the work needs to start from deep within. Another card that keeps stopping by is the beautiful Sacred Pool from The Enchanted Map deck. It seems to often arrive reversed, in what Colette Baron-Reid calls ‘the protection position’, reminding me:

Dimming your light serves no one. Turning away from the truth that is reflected in the stillness of the Sacred Pool keeps you in denial, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

sacred pool

There’s no denying there’s been a sameness to my goals year after year for a while now. However 2016 has been a year of finally breaking through and beginning the crossing that is taking me to a different place. This heralds an exciting year in 2017 where real change takes place and that original thinking bears fruit.

Planning for a productive 2017

I’ve been preparing for a while now but the next period into early January offer a perfect opportunity to reflect on 2016 and to plan for 2017. Mercury Retrograde currently also favours this period of reflection. I’m keen to learn from the past to create this different future, gathering together the critical pieces to take forward. The spirit of Quiet Writing and its various aspects of writing, introvert strengths, process, connection and intuition is the heartbeat of the future. It is the summary of my passions and Core Desired Feelings I wish to share from my corner of the world to yours:

creative, intuitive, flowing, poetic and connected

My ways of planning a productive 2017 will focus on 4 key interlinked tools and strategies:

1 Reflecting on 2016 learnings and mapping the landscape for 2017

There’s great power in reviewing the learnings from the past and working out what to take forward. We can easily forget some key happenings and focus on the negatives. We need to step back and look at what we have learnt over the experience of the whole year, not just more recent events. Taking a special day or a few hours to dive deep, reflect and consider future plans is exceptionally valuable as we transit the line between years.

I highly recommend Unravel your Year 2017, a free annual workbook, developed by Susannah Conway that guides you through reflections on 2016 and planning for 2017. This will be my fourth year of working through this process. So it will be great to see where I have made progress and where I am setting the same goals over time and not getting anywhere (cf above Sacred Pool). Time for some breakthroughs this year I believe.


2 Setting a Word for the Year

There’s also positive and quite enigmatic energy to be drawn from setting a ‘Word for the Year’. Again, this will be my fourth year in finding a word that acts as an intention for the year’s focus. This year’s word was WRITE and here I am writing now and focusing on writing, my life’s passion, as a central tenet of the way forward.

I’m still reflecting on my word for 2017 though I have an inkling of what it might be – more on that and reflections of my previous words’ impacts in a future post. Finding a guiding word for 2017 is covered in part in the above workbook. I also recommend Find Your Word for 2017 – also developed by Susannah Conway – as a way to work through this. It comes via a free 5 day email class you can do at your own pace with excellent resources. There’s also a private Facebook group where you can connect with others working through their word-finding processes. There’s fabulous energy engaging with others on their word journeys.

3 Seeking a Goddess to guide you in 2017

Having a goddess to guide you through the year is also a powerful experience. Amy Palko is offering 2017 My Word Goddess Readings for the 6th year running. This is the second year I’ve chosen to work intuitively with an accompanying goddess. My first year has been full of insights and connections to word of the year and overall planning around theme and intention.

Amy creates the goddess readings through a special intuitive reading also helping to choose possible words as a touchstone for the year.  The goddess guiding me in 2016 has been the Lady of Beasts with a focus on what I want to nurture in my life. Creativity, writing, introvert strengths – these have all risen to the fore as productive areas to invest time and energy. This is all in line with my word of the year and plans.

My guiding goddess for 2017 is Pele – Goddess of Irrepressible Passion and Hawaiian volcano goddess of fire, so watch out! I’ll be looking for a bit more fire, energy and action in 2017 and my word of the year and plans will reflect this. I’ll be excited to dive into this exploration and reflection in more detail in the coming days. Amy’s goddess readings are available until January 31st (Cost 25 GBP) at the above link.

4 Intuitive Tarot and Oracle work

And there will definitely be some intuitive tarot and oracle work over the next days to usher in the new year as positively and wisely as possible! The Ace of Wands has been making striking appearances already, echoing that sense of beginnings, initiation, ignition and creation.

The next posts will feature reflections on 2016, plans for 2017, my word of the year and goddess and oracle/tarot work as it unfolds and how it all fits together into an exciting and productive year ahead for Quiet Writing. And of course there’s a year-long journey of opportunity ahead to weave word, spirit and intention together.

Would love to hear about any special ways you are reflecting on 2016 and planning for 2017 or any plans you already have underway! Do share your thoughts in the comments.

Thought pieces

The labyrinth symbol: I was drawn to this labyrinth symbol, chosen at random from a page of planning images. I’ve always loved a labyrinth symbol but it was great to cross check to find that it is the perfect image for this planning journey:

A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. It represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. (from

This spiralling into our centre and then channelling this light forward into our work in the world in new ways is the essence of planning. I like that it is ‘a meandering and purposeful path’ not necessarily a straight line.

Labyrinth photo via rzwo via Visual Hunt

start up


creativity planning & productivity

Creativity and flow

January 11, 2015


FLOW: ‘Being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in an interview with Wired: ‘Go with the Flow’

My word for 2015 is ‘flow’. When thinking about my word and focus for 2015, I knew it had to be something to do with creativity, writing, poetry and actually producing more tangible results.

When I reflected and searched for what would make this creativity happen, it kept coming back to flow as the essential active ingredient.

At first, the word came intuitively; then I sat down to reflect and test it further. I started with a mind-map and all sorts of connections arose:

  • flow of writing – ink, words on a page, lines
  • flow of ideas – associations, imagery, symbols, poetry
  • flow of energy – water, breath, blood, tides, oceans, yoga, chi, chakras
  • sacred flow – mandalas, Jung, archetypes, sacred geometry, alchemy
  • shapes and movement – flow of a dress, narrative, stanzas, brushstrokes, dancing
  • productivity – mind-maps, flow charts

Exploring with Pinterest I found more connections and associations, many tapping into special experiences and key symbols, like all was gathering around this word as a focal point for now and into the future picking up on the energy of the past.

So what’s flow all about really?

It’s about capturing the creative moment, being in the energy of it and enacting this.

It’s what you see, what you notice on a walk, looking up and around you. It’s what you pick up from the beach, it’s what you find on the bed of the sea-shore as you dive beneath the shallow waves.

8 shell 2

It’s shells, rocks, birds, trees, the sound of cicadas in the background, aboriginal carvings, ancient landscapes, your feet in the sand, your skin in the water.

It’s what you choose to capture in a photograph or in a series of ink marks on a page. It’s what you select or craft to share with the world in various ways like social media, blogging or publishing

It’s what comes to you – symbols, associations, ideas – what you notice and connect, and the process and product of what you do with what comes.

It’s the energy kindled inside of you and the creative parts of you sparking again. It’s the promise of engagement with a wider flow of chakras, shakti, chi, oracles and your place in the energy of the world.

It’s knowing that the steps to get there are within reach, knowing that you have the know-how, that you recognise the pieces and components to connect and focus on from the sequence of days and years you’ve already traversed and invested your time and energy in. You know you’ve just got to harness this in a productive way and find the flame to ignite it all.

As Danielle LaPorte says in What it really means to go with the flow

Going with the flow isn’t about being passive or lazy. It’s not about just letting things happen “to you”. It’s not aimless wandering. It’s a co-creative act.

“The flow” is the ocean of cosmic intelligence. It’s the substance that carries the whole shebang. The flow is life energy itself.

Going with the flow is responding to cues from the universe. When you go with the flow, you’re surfing Life force. It’s about wakeful trust and total collaboration with what’s showing up for you.”

It looks like an exciting journey with my word of the year in 2015. I know others have also chosen ‘flow’ as their word for the year and I look forward to sharing the journey with these special fellow travellers.

What words are showing up for you for this year and what are they suggesting? Would love to hear!

2015 planning


blogging planning & productivity

Setting the scene

January 26, 2013

setting the scene

There’s been a certain amount of scene setting for 2013 going on here at present. I’ve moved my roll-top desk, the centre of my creative universe, from the back of the room where for some reason I had my back to the window and trees. It’s now closer to the window where I can see the trees and feel a cool afternoon breeze wafting in. My room is less cluttered, still busy and full of books and papers, but more organised so I can see and find things. It feels cooler, calmer and a more relaxed place to be.

Today is Australia Day and it’s a long weekend, so a wonderful time to breathe in and out, and work on the personal planning I need for 2013. Much has been rattling around my head and I’ve had the opportunity to read how others are working on their plans for this year. I  have especially loved reading about the 2013 approaches and plans of my Blogging from the Heart buddies, Victoria Smith and Liv White and so many others which have warmed and inspired my heart. Such different and wonderful approaches to thinking about this year; some more structured and others more free flowing and intuitive, and now it’s time to work though my own.

Key members of my Seven Stars virtual support team, nearly three years on, continue to be a huge influence. I will start with Chris Guillebeau’s annual review process which I have worked through for a number of years now; it’s good to have a process that is consistent to go back to and review over time. Susannah Conway is a wonderfully wise and gentle support in so many ways and her Unravelling the year ahead 2013 workbook will also be something I will work through.

In terms of participating in projects and e-courses this year, I have started off this year with blogging buddy, Flo Gascon’s ‘Time of your Life’ ecourse . It’s about refocusing so you realise the positives and ensure you are in fact having the time of your life and not some sub-standard version of what it might be. It’s the first week but already the thoughts that are being sown are powerful and I look forward to this renewal of perspective.

I’m also working through Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map multimedia guide. Again, I’m just getting my toe in the water but it’s already enabling some refocusing on what my core desires drive me to do and understanding this better. I loved working through ‘Style Statement‘ and the power that this gave me for bringing together aspects of my core values that I hadn’t previously connected. I’m looking forward to more of this and am in no rush; I will just take this one gently and deeply and as I can.

I’m also joining the Australian Women Writers’ Challenge again this year and will post soon on last year’s experience and what I hope to focus on this year. I absolutely love this challenge, the reading and writing experiences and the community it brings with it. I have learned so much more about a space that brings together three of my great loves: Australia, women and women’s issues, and writing. Linking with people who also share these loves has been a source of inspiration and learning.

So, lots of scene-setting, physical, mental and emotional, and I’m looking forward to sharing the evolving scenes here as they play out this year.

What scene setting are you doing for this year?

planning & productivity

Gems #15 Travelling Light

August 5, 2012

I’m reconnecting with my ‘Gems’ series with this post and I hope it becomes more than an occasional feature now as I settle back into more regular blogging.

Like many bloggers, I find it valuable to gather together and share inspiring links, visuals and reads. These are also some of my most enjoyable blog reads of the week as I see what others have discovered and are reading, and wander off into cyberspace following their tracks.

Some of my favourite inspirations are:

Corbae Cafe’s ‘This Week’s Enthusiasms’

Susannah Conway’s ‘Something for the weekend’

Tammy Strobel’s ‘Inspiring Links’

Most of the weekly round-ups I read tend to be whatever is inspiring or of interest; everyone has their unique flavour which I love. My ‘Gems’ have evolved to focus on a theme. I tend to find themes popping up and collecting together as I read the net and elsewhere through the week. My associative mind tends to group them and make connections and I have found this a useful way to write about them, bringing different threads together.

Here is a round-up of the previous ‘Gems’ posts and their focus:

Gems #14 Writing Poetry

Gems #13 Time to write

Gems #12 Planning and productivity

Gems #11 Managing complexity

Gems #10 On Creativity

Gems #9  Shining light on yourself

Gems #8 Blogging

Gems #7 On creativity and solitude

Gems #6 Encouragement, kindness and resilience

Gems #5 Facts, inspiration and story

Gems #4 Putting yourself out there

Gems #3 Untitled – the earlier ones are a bit less connected; this post features Chris Guillebeau’s great ‘Free Advice’ post, self-publishing and memoir writing

Gems #2 Untitled as above – Susannah Conway’s book announcement and Stephen Cummings’ lyric

Gems #1 Reading notes

The theme surrounding me at present is ‘Travelling Light’. This is about having less belongings, less clutter and moving about with less stuff generally in the world. It’s also about travelling a little lighter here in ‘Transcending’ from time to time and not feeling like every post has to be huge, crafted and heavy. There’s an opportunity to free things up with more visuals, less words, less structure and interspersing the more fully developed posts with lighter ones.

The reading that has influenced my thinking most this week has been ‘Go Small, Be Happy‘ by Tammy Strobel in the Huffington Post. This is such a beautifully written piece; as Victoria Smith says, Tammy’s ‘clear, clean writing is always such a breath of fresh air.’ Documenting the journey on simplifying her life, living in a mobile home, getting rid of many belongings and reducing debt, Tammy shows how all this change over time has made her more flexible, happy and able to focus more on the people in her life.

Susannah Conway has also written about the experiences of travelling light on her recent book tour in ‘ The carry-on experiment’, Susannah shares her experiences of the freedom of moving around more lightly and efficiently in her travels as well as some of the practicalities of this. Others also writing about lighter packing this week include Leo and Eva Babauta at zenhabits in16 essential trips for travelling with a family and Eva’s list: Travelling light for women.

I’m about to enter a period with a fair amount of travel and  moving around for work so will be reading more closely to see if I can make this time less hassled and more productive and streamlined. I have a lot to learn, I can tell you! Light packing is not a current strong point of mine.

Finally, I am thinking about how I can travel lighter here in my blogging. My tendency is towards intensive, crafted posts that are focused on my main love of writing. I will still keep the writing focus, but also keen to see how I can mix this up with lighter, more visual posts. I’ve signed up for ‘The August Break 2012‘ to help me do this. Fortunately as with all of Susannah Conway’s creative ventures, there are few or no rules, but a cleverly constructed framework for engagement with visuals and other creative people, seeing how this can give you inspiration as well as a lighter touch in the blogging world.

I’m looking forward to this as an opportunity to reduce my reliance on the written word, develop the visual side of ‘Transcending’ and also reconnect with my love of photography. I’ll be out and about a bit more, so a good time to be seeing new things and documenting them in different ways. It will still probably be mostly iphone and instagram pics but I’ve  also charged up the Nikon battery and plan to read about polaroids as well through Susannah’s ‘Instant Love‘. So all in all, a perfect time to travel with the light of photography here.

So this week’s thoughts are all about rethinking attachment to belongings, how much I need to carry with me and how I can move more lightly about the world and here in my blog space.

How are you travelling, or seeking to travel, light?