Quiet Writing http://www.quietwriting.com The art of living and writing quietly, creating our wholehearted story. Tue, 19 Sep 2017 03:29:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 20 practical ways of showing up and being brave (and helpful) http://www.quietwriting.com/20-practical-ways-showing-up/ http://www.quietwriting.com/20-practical-ways-showing-up/#respond Tue, 19 Sep 2017 02:39:54 +0000 http://www.quietwriting.com/?p=5396 You are what you do, not what you’ll say you’ll do. Carl Jung 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 […]

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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

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Creative and connected #12 The courage to show up http://www.quietwriting.com/creative-connected-courage-show-up/ http://www.quietwriting.com/creative-connected-courage-show-up/#comments Fri, 15 Sep 2017 06:07:20 +0000 http://www.quietwriting.com/?p=5369 Courage starts by showing up and letting ourselves be seen. Brené Brown, Daring Greatly 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 […]

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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

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How to step up into our power – Pisces Full Moon Tarot Reading http://www.quietwriting.com/step-up-power-pisces-full-moon-tarot/ http://www.quietwriting.com/step-up-power-pisces-full-moon-tarot/#respond Fri, 08 Sep 2017 06:36:15 +0000 http://www.quietwriting.com/?p=5330 Follow my blog with Bloglovin Now, feel just how you would choose to have your life feel and infuse it with light and power. Pat Liles, from The Power Path    The Pisces Full Moon invites to step up into our power. This tarot reading reflects on how we can maximise our self-leadership at this time. Here are some thoughts on this Full Moon in Pisces from Mystic Mamma to set the scene for the energies available to us: Assimilating into the now, we welcome a watery *FULL MOON* in Pisces. She reminds us to go within and listen to the deep pulsing of our hearts. Can we hear our unique beat? Can we find our way back to our place of self-recognition, our exhale into ourselves, into our fullness, into the moment as it is? Exactly as it is? This Full Moon has powerful energies for shifting into our creative heart. It provides opportunities to break old habits and ways of thinking. It’s time to get back to what is important, sacred and wholehearted for each of us now. Special Pisces Full Moon connections I felt a special connection with this Full Moon. Being in the Sun sign of Virgo and on my birthday, it […]

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Now, feel just how you would choose to have your life feel and infuse it with light and power.

Pat Liles, from The Power Path

  Full Moon in Pisces

The Pisces Full Moon invites to step up into our power. This tarot reading reflects on how we can maximise our self-leadership at this time.

Here are some thoughts on this Full Moon in Pisces from Mystic Mamma to set the scene for the energies available to us:

Assimilating into the now, we welcome a watery *FULL MOON* in Pisces. She reminds us to go within and listen to the deep pulsing of our hearts.

Can we hear our unique beat? Can we find our way back to our place of self-recognition, our exhale into ourselves, into our fullness, into the moment as it is? Exactly as it is?

This Full Moon has powerful energies for shifting into our creative heart. It provides opportunities to break old habits and ways of thinking. It’s time to get back to what is important, sacred and wholehearted for each of us now.

Special Pisces Full Moon connections

I felt a special connection with this Full Moon. Being in the Sun sign of Virgo and on my birthday, it flagged particular personal significance. It also connects with the focus of Quiet Writing about being wholehearted and, in this, being of service.

Cathy Pagano highlights the Virgo aspects of this Full Moon period:

At this first Full Moon after the Leo Eclipse…we’re going to dive deep in the Collective Unconscious (Pisces Moon) to see those aspects of life which we’ve neglected and abandoned in favor of our patriarchal need to ‘get ahead’.

As we deal with our shadows, we can figure out how we can be of service (Virgo Sun) to our world.

But before we can be of service, we have to integrate our own body, soul and spirit.

That’s Virgo’s purpose: to integrate all of who we are so we can offer our talents and gifts to the world…

I felt shivers as I read this.

These words sum up my purpose here at Quiet Writing; that is it: “to integrate all of who we are so we can offer our talents and gifts to the world.

My focus here is on wholehearted self-leadership and these energies give us a special time to reflect on and step into our personal power. This includes an emphasis on how we can be of service to others in our work in the world.

This dramatic, transformational energy has been accumulating for a while now. But now we can step it up, with the combination of watery, creative Pisces and practical, efficient Virgo. It’s a perfect time to hone the passions of our true heart. A key part of this is leaving behind what no longer serves us, especially any negative habits of how we think about ourselves.

Pisces Full Moon tarot reading tools:

For my reading for the Pisces Full Moon, I worked with:

This Full Moon in Pisces tarot spread by Sam Roberts aka @escapingstars on Instagram:

Full Moon Pisces

Deck wise, I worked with the Sakki Sakki Tarot deck by Monicka Clio Sakki, my favourite tarot deck especially for questions around creativity.

Tarot reading: 

So here’s the reading:

Full Moon in Pisces tarot

I smiled as the TWO OF SWORDS arrived first up around “What’s bubbling to the surface from the shadowy depths?” It also popped up for my New Moon in Leo/Solar Eclipse reading two weeks ago around what’s blocking me from growing. This card for me is all about thought and feeling, how they come together and feed each other. So I sensed that this reading is all about being at a crossroads and an opportunity to move through.

THE WORLD turning up around how I can better connect emotionally with the world was a lovely synergy. Expansion and how being wholehearted relates to service jumps out as key themes.

There are three Swords cards in all so a big focus on cut-through and words as thoughts, tools, and weapons. And I love that both the first and last cards feature blindfolds, being trapped in some way, possibly of our own doing. This suggests it’s time to break free and the KNIGHT OF SWORDS hints at this energy of riding, moving and being less risk-averse.

The FIVE OF COINS (PENTACLES) and SIX OF RODS (WANDS) are also cards I connect with strongly. They are indicators around how we choose to see the world and what we do with all our experiences, including the challenging ones.

As always, a fabulous tarot narrative with these initial clues – so let’s dive into the fuller reading.

Tarot reading – card by card:

So here are some deeper thoughts, card by card, in relation to the questions. I worked intuitively with the Sakki Sakki tarot guidebook Playing with Symbols and Jessa Crispin’s fabulous book The Creative Tarot. Then connected back with the key energies highlighted for this Full Moon via the Mystic Mamma post and aligned connections.

1 What is bubbling to the surface from the shadowy depths? TWO OF SWORDS

The key message for me with this card in this spot is about the ability to choose between options. This is especially about what we choose to think and feel. When it came up for the New Moon, my thoughts were about “how being guarded comes at a cost” (Sakki Sakki Guidebook p139). This theme continues for this reading.

It could be taking the blindfold off to be able to see more clearly. Or it could be choosing to keep it on to zone out from what’s distracting us, just as we might wear noise-cancelling headphones to concentrate. But having the strength to choose and stop second guessing all the time is important now. How much energy do we chew up about what we can’t change? What effort goes into worrying about what we are unable to influence?

So what’s bubbling up as a force is being more certain and less trapped in our thinking patterns. It signals being more in tune with our feelings.

2 How can I protect myself while still letting down my walls in order to FULLY feel? FIVE OF COINS (PENTACLES)

The FIVE OF COINS exactly captures that feeling of being unprotected. As Jessa Crispin puts it in The Creative Tarot:

You’ve been cast out. Excommunicated. That’s how this card feels, like you’re some kind of leper, and the people around you can’t wait to stick you on an island somewhere and forget about you. You feel lost and unprotected. (p161)

My sense of this card is around choosing to see the positives in any given situation. As the Sakki Sakki guidebook puts it: “Start seeing the full half of the glass, what you do have; and never underestimate your caring relationships and friendships.” (p158)

It is so easy when we have been cut adrift to feel the whole world is a loveless and lonely place. You might be making your own way, especially creatively, and independence has its virtues. But access the help of friends and supporters as you make your way. New connections and those special friends who’ve been there for you over time are of immense value now.  They are ways to protect yourself at this time of vulnerability and forging new roads.

3 What plans do I need to take risks on in order to release any blockages in my way? KNIGHT of SWORDS

The Knight of Swords arrives, brandishing his sword in a somewhat swashbuckling way, to remind me to just get on with it. He reminds me to be less risk-averse in my vulnerability and creativity. I need to follow through with my planned thoughts and actions.

Especially, I need to not fear being innovative and making new connections.

If you’re making a new way in a new world, what ideas are you coalescing? How are you bringing together those unique combinations only you can create? In what ways are you expressing your unique life blend, your onlyness?

Jessa Crispin reminds us:

Swords are words and thoughts, and the Knight of Swords knows how to use his words as weapons…It’s about using your ability to put thoughts and words into action, to sway others, and to encourge dissent. (p241)

It’s a good reminder to review how we are using our words in the context of being of service to others. How are we encouraging, offering support, also being that special friend to others? Where can we use our influence in the world for good and for positive outcomes, to make a difference?

4 What can I incorporate into my life in order to better connect emotionally with the world around me?   The WORLD

I like that THE WORLD came up for this one – a beautifully expansive perspective! In this context, this card speaks of having a sense of completion and mastery. It’s time to realise those lessons learned and take them forward. Gathering all the pieces, steps and parts together, it’s a moment to step up and contribute.

We can stay focused, FIVE OF COINS style, on what we lack, what we’re missing, how we’ve been shut out. Or we can take a look at how far we’ve come in this past year and realise the hard won victories and efforts. And we can celebrate them and see how we can take them forward to help others now.

So the way to better connect emotionally is through a heightened sense of contribution – yours and mine. What can we do with all this learning, this mastery, this completion? How can we apply it to benefit others?

Spring

5 What wisdom and guidance is emerging from my old wounds? SIX OF RODS (WANDS)

The SIX OF RODS (WANDS) speaks of rising up especially against obstacles. Your new life is taking shape. All that learning from events and people that wounded or disappointed you is being transformed into wisdom. All that rich experience is being absorbed into the fabric of you, especially the grief-stricken and painful times.

As Jessa Crispin focuses our attention:

That’s the goal here: to use failures, near-misses, and lessons learned in battle, and focus on breaking through to something larger and bolder. (p172)

My favourite words about this card are from The Wild Unknown:

Where will you go with your new set of wings?

six of wands

6 In what ways will awareness of my Self manifest during this Full Moon? EIGHT of SWORDS

Ouch – the EIGHT of SWORDS! All of these swords at the end of the number sequence (8, 9, 10!) don’t always feel so great to receive. But there’s a powerful message here.

The image of the EIGHT of SWORDS shows a woman blindfolded (like the TWO OF SWORDS). She seems to be in a trap of her own making. It’s all in the mind it seems. This card here speaks to me of realising how my thoughts stop me from moving forward. What stories am I telling myself? How are feeling and thought interacting and where I am trapped in old habits of thinking?

The Sakki Sakki guidebook tells us directly:

The Eight of Swords is calling you to break out of restricting habits and thoughts, and to initiate your own well-being and advancement by heightening your awareness of your abilities and options. (p145)

So I need to stop waiting to be rescued and for someone to tell me what to do. In line with the TWO of SWORDS up front, I need to make decisions, be clear and cease the second-guessing. Be informed about options and act on them.

Moreover, it’s a message to save yourself and be self-sufficient, noting the support of others as per the FIVE OF COINS. Trust your judgement, listen within and pay attention to what you are telling yourself. Are you being kind and self-compassionate now as you make huge changes? Are you celebrating being more wholehearted?

Combine that KNIGHT OF SWORDS and SIX of SWORDS energy too. Find ways to create yourself anew and to be in service to others based on your learning.

Ways to step into our personal power

So are your thoughts also around how to step into our personal power, with a balance between self and service?

Here are some practical questions prompted by the Pisces Full Moon and reflections on my reading. They build on the recent Capricorn Full Moon reading around stepping up into our power, shedding what doesn’t help us. They also focus on how we can take our learning forward to support others.

Journal, reflect or brainstorm around these questions to help maximise your personal self-leadership at this time:

  • Where do you need to take the blindfolds off?
  • Alternatively, where is it helpful to turn a blind eye?
  • Where does being indecisive cause you grief and hold you back?
  • What is the reason for this indecision?
  • Where can you focus on seeing the glass half-full right now?
  • How are you honouring and calling on the special supporters in your life?
  • Where have you developed mastery and how can you share that?
  • What wounds or disappointments have you moved on from?
  • How can you celebrate and share the wisdom from this learning?
  • Where are your thoughts keeping you trapped? How can you change them?
  • What habits of thought need to be shaken now?
  • What are the underlying feelings keeping you stuck?
  • How can you acknowledge the feelings and move through?
  • Where are you waiting to be rescued or saved? Why?
  • Who is going to rescue you?
  • What can you do to be more self-sufficient at this time?

Special resources for this time:

Two special resources are waving their hands at this time.

Firstly, Brooke Castillo’s Self Coaching 101, which I featured in Tarot Narratives on Instagram recently, is stepping forward. This book is a great self-help guide to how our thoughts and feelings interact and cause us difficulty. It’s especially good for breaking old thinking/feeling cycles.

Secondly, I listened to the podcast, How to Stop Playing Small, on Hashtag Authentic yesterday. It’s Sara Tasker chatting with author and coach, Tara Mohr, of Playing Big fame. Here’s a key quote from the show notes:

A lot of us have some sort of sinking, subtle awareness that we’re playing small – even if we don’t know exactly what we mean by that. We have this feeling – I’m hiding, I’m holding back, I’m not using my gifts, I’m not really trusting my ideas.

It was such an awesome chat about how we second-guess and doubt ourselves, especially with language. As I wrote here today, I was much more aware of how I used words like, “I think…” “I guess…” and “It’s probably…”, undercutting my message. I then stopped myself and found another way. It was scary how many times this happened. Time to step up and stop that!

I’ve heard a lot about Tara’s book and I must read it. It’s clearly a book for now and for taking those blindfolds off and being more self-trusting.

Wisdom from the Six of Wands

And here is some final wisdom from The Six of Wands via the Art of Life Tarot because it made me laugh and focus on what we need right now!

Six of wands

Enthusiasm, seeing the glass half-full, being supported by our special new and old friends, playing our cards strongly in the world and trusting our visions. It sounds such a positive way forward and all this Full Moon energy is helping to make these big steps.

May you enjoy the unfolding of this time and may your wholehearted self-leadership help you be of service to others!

Fish feature image from pexels.com and used with permission and thanks.

Keep in touch

Sign up + get your copy of ’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 in 2017. This includes coaching, creativity and other connections to help 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:

36 Books that Shaped my Story – Reading as Creative Influence

The unique voice of what we love

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

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

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How to know and honour your special creative influences http://www.quietwriting.com/creative-influences/ http://www.quietwriting.com/creative-influences/#respond Mon, 04 Sep 2017 09:21:20 +0000 http://www.quietwriting.com/?p=5304 How we choose to pay attention, and relate to information and each other shapes who we become, shapes our creative destiny and, in turn, shapes our experience of the world. Maria Popova, Networked Knowledge and Combinatorial Creativity Here are some thoughts and tips on honouring our special creative influences, connecting them with our passions and taking them forward into new unique endeavours. Knowing and honouring our creative influences is how we connect with our legacy and passions and take them forward. A key theme in my ebook ‘36 Books that Shaped my Story‘ is an exploration of how creative influences shape us, our world and our own creations. ’36 Books’ goes through a personal journey of reviewing the books that have impacted me over the chronology of my life. I selected key books of influence and ordered them into a sequence. Then I revisited each book and honoured its wisdom and learning, reflecting on the narrative as it unfolded in my life. The creative influence of what we love I’ve always been acutely aware of creative influence and how each book I read makes some kind of impact on me. Perhaps it’s my INTJ personality and that mix of Introverted Intuition and Extraverted […]

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How we choose to pay attention, and relate to information and each other shapes who we become, shapes our creative destiny and, in turn, shapes our experience of the world.

Maria Popova, Networked Knowledge and Combinatorial Creativity

creative influenceHere are some thoughts and tips on honouring our special creative influences, connecting them with our passions and taking them forward into new unique endeavours.

Knowing and honouring our creative influences is how we connect with our legacy and passions and take them forward. A key theme in my ebook ‘36 Books that Shaped my Story‘ is an exploration of how creative influences shape us, our world and our own creations.

’36 Books’ goes through a personal journey of reviewing the books that have impacted me over the chronology of my life. I selected key books of influence and ordered them into a sequence. Then I revisited each book and honoured its wisdom and learning, reflecting on the narrative as it unfolded in my life.

The creative influence of what we love

I’ve always been acutely aware of creative influence and how each book I read makes some kind of impact on me. Perhaps it’s my INTJ personality and that mix of Introverted Intuition and Extraverted Thinking; or maybe it’s my language and literature background. But from a young age, I’ve always read deeply, kept notes and chronicled influences – whether it be music, the written word, images or art. Many of us seek ways to capture what influences us, what speaks to us, what leaves a lasting impression in ways that make sense for us.

Think of the musicians or writers, books or songs, that we love. Why of all the musicians and writers do some speak to us so directly and passionately? Why does Daphne Du Maurier – her books, where she lived, everything about her – capture my heart so much? When I hear The Cure’s ‘A Forest’, why do I get all shivery each time I even though I’ve listened to it many times? Why do I cry every time I hear ‘What a Wonderful World’? And why does the song, ‘Witchita Lineman’ do things to the top of my head that I can’t even explain?

And visually, why do artist Edward Hopper’s austere landscapes and solitary figures connect with me so intensely? Why do I feel like I exactly understand ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch? And why does the light in Ansel Adam’s photographs bring me tears?

I guess you could say I’m just sensitive. But all of us have had that feeling of reading, listening, seeing and engaging with all of our senses, witnessing something deep, visceral and connected with an artist, writer or place. Those influences stay with us and they gather, coalesce and merge into something unique within us, connecting with other aspects of our personality and passions.

Combinatorial creativity

In her fabulous Creative Mornings talk, Networked Knowledge and Combinatorial Creativity, Maria Popova explores the notion of creativity as a combination of influences. This is something I’ve long felt and honoured. So it was beautiful to read Popova’s piece articulating this and curating her own influences and thoughts on this concept.

Popova introduces us to the idea of florilegium, from the 14th century. These were:

compilations of excerpts from other writings, essentially mashing up selected passages and connecting dots from existing texts to illuminate a specific topic or doctrine or idea. The word comes from the Latin for “flower” and “gather.”

Popova provides examples of where knowledge or skill in one sphere influenced and sharpened another. For example, novelist Vladimir Nabokov was a butterfly collector which he believed helped with creating detail and precision in his writing.

butterfly

There are a few concepts tied up in this idea of combinatorial creativity. One is that different areas of knowledge and influence can come together to impact on each other in new ways. Another is that nothing is completely new from the ground up, but more a consequence of influences coming together and how we integrate or collate them in our unique way. And a third is that all that connected knowledge and skill creates a body of mastery we can call on to connect the dots further into new creations.

Books, narrative and story connections

I explore this concept in my ‘36 Books‘ analysis of the books that have impacted me and my narrative:

And story is the shape the words make – the narrative we weave through the body of work that we create through career, our creative endeavours and our passions. This story is unique – no one has read the same books as you in the same way; no one has the same life experiences as you; and you are the only one to combine your passions and experiences in the way that you do.

I focus on books in my exploration but that becomes a filter of so much more. The books we choose to read at any time, their influence on us, the ones that make a huge personal impact and the interaction of this with our context and story, all play critical roles. It’s fascinating to step back and reflect on the books that really moved you and why; the ones you keep close by and why they are always there.

Sage Cohen, whose essay ‘Honor Your Lineage’ in ‘Fierce on the Page‘ ignited my ’36 Books’ journey, talks about books as teachers. Just as special teachers and mentors in our lives impact on us and leave a legacy we take forward, so books are special teachers whose messages we need to honour.

How do you honour your influences?

So how do you honour your influences? I am a big believer in acknowledging my influences and the impact of others on me. I think it’s important to take the time to acknowledge who has influenced and helped you.

’36 Books’ is a deep analysis of this around the books that have shaped my story.  This is something I did also on the post My Seven Stars many years ago which thanked the role models who started me on this journey. It was a feature also of my welcome post when I relaunched my blog as Quiet Writing nearly a year ago. My regular Creative and Connected series here acknowledges the influence of what I’ve listened to and read as well as engaged in via social media. It’s a deep value of mine to acknowledge your influences and their inspiration.

I also believe strongly in acknowledging other’s work you are referring to, drawing from or weaving into your own. Perhaps it’s my academic background with all those essays and bibliographies and references annotated. Though in the workplace too, I would always acknowledge the contribution and influence of others. I’d talk about the outcomes of projects as the collation of the team’s influence as much as any leadership on my part. Such is my antenna about valuing influence.

Tips for knowing, honouring and acknowledging your influences

So here are a few practical tips for knowing, honouring and acknowledging your influences:

1 Take the time to identify your influences: 

  • Pull the books off the shelves that are special influences, collect them and find ways to honour them by writing about them, connecting their messages and spending time listening to what they have brought to you.
  • Collect influences from different genres in your life (music, books, movies) and see how they connect to identify the common themes in your life.
  • Identify the people (eg famous figures, online connections, teachers, family, friends) who have had the most influence on you. Think about the impact and why it was important.

2 Thank your influencers:

  • Publicly or privately (or both), take the time to acknowledge and thank the people who have influenced you for their contribution to your journey.
  • We don’t always know when we are having an influence. Taking the time to tell others of their impact can be something that buoys their creativity for their next effort. It gives strength to their work and channels more energy for their contribution.
  • Sometimes we might not be able to thank people directly. But show gratitude for their work in some way such as acknowledging sources in a written piece. This allows others to learn from them and integrate it into their own creative journey.

3 Acknowledge influence and the source of ideas in your own work

  • If you quote someone else’s words or reference someone else’s thoughts, make sure it’s properly and correctly attributed.
  • Don’t claim others work as your own. Honour the creator by quoting and attributing their words correctly.
  • Don’t be afraid to mention who has influenced you because it’s all part of that rich combination of ideas and dots that brings new connections to life.

4 Wear your influences with pride and originality

  • Boy George was a judge on the ‘The Voice’ television program in Australia recently. He said to one of the contestants after their performance: “You need to wear your influences – they make you who you are.” As you connect the dots of your influences in new ways, wear them in ways only you can to create your unique work in the world.
  • Just as we can dress creatively, putting together different styles like modern and vintage, wear your unique influences confidently and proudly. Make your own Style Statement.
  • Look for connections, common themes and even the tension of opposites as sources of creativity. In this way, you can create your personal signature in how you work and present yourself.

5. Work through jealousy and envy 

  • A huge killer of combinatorial creativity is feeling jealous about the work of others that draws from similar influences. You have a great idea and then you see someone doing a very similar thing. You can feel gutted and overcome with envy.
  • Work through this so your unique perspective is not lost. You might have very similar sets of passions and influences to someone else. But the way they are blended with your unique personality and experiences will always be individual. So find your own way and have confidence in your unique remix and personal style.
  • You could connect with the person and celebrate their strengths. You could share their work, see how you can work together and find new ways to co-create from these shared influences. Acknowledge the envy and work from a sense of abundance, not limited thinking.

thank you

Have the courage to do your own work

At the end of the day, we also need to have the courage to do our own work. The best way we can take all those antecedents and influences forward is to honour them in new creations. Finding ways to identify our special perspective, our niche, our unique way of working is a creative act all of its own.

As Steven Pressfield reminds us in The War of Art:

Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.

Sign up + get your copy of ’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!

What are your creative influences?

Ok, so what or who has that visceral effect on you – book, song, movie, author, singer, artist? What has had a huge impact on you and how has it influenced you? Would love to hear!

You can share in the Comments or visit Quiet Writing on Instagram or Facebook.

Keep in touch and interact with the growing Quiet Writing community. There are regular posts on intuition, influence, creativity, books, productivity, writing, voice, introversion and personality type.

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

You might also enjoy:

36 Books that Shaped my Story – Reading as Creative Influence

The unique voice of what we love

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

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

Butterfly image from Shutterstock.com

influences

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36 Books that Shaped my Story – Reading as Creative Influence http://www.quietwriting.com/36-books-story-reading-influence/ http://www.quietwriting.com/36-books-story-reading-influence/#respond Fri, 01 Sep 2017 09:18:30 +0000 http://www.quietwriting.com/?p=5276 My free ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence’ celebrates the books we love as our creative legacy and the clues they give as to what is emerging in our story. The story of ’36 Books that Shaped my Story’ I’m so excited to be launching my ’36 Books’ ebook and sharing the story with you! When I started working out what to include as a special gift and free ebook here, I wanted something that summed up the heart of Quiet Writing. I wanted to create something that sparked creativity, that shared generously and that provided a springboard for others for their own reflections on their lives and creativity. And I kept coming back to books – sharing books that made a difference to me, sharing how they influenced me and shaped my life, reflecting on how this can be a source of growth. Words are at the heart of Quiet Writing – the words we read, the words we write, the words we say to ourselves or another person such as a trusted friend or coach as we form our vision and process our journey. The words we listen to as we read, as we […]

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My free ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence’ celebrates the books we love as our creative legacy and the clues they give as to what is emerging in our story.

The story of ’36 Books that Shaped my Story’

I’m so excited to be launching my ’36 Books’ ebook and sharing the story with you!

When I started working out what to include as a special gift and free ebook here, I wanted something that summed up the heart of Quiet Writing. I wanted to create something that sparked creativity, that shared generously and that provided a springboard for others for their own reflections on their lives and creativity.

And I kept coming back to books – sharing books that made a difference to me, sharing how they influenced me and shaped my life, reflecting on how this can be a source of growth.

Words are at the heart of Quiet Writing – the words we read, the words we write, the words we say to ourselves or another person such as a trusted friend or coach as we form our vision and process our journey. The words we listen to as we read, as we engage with another fully and the words we want to write.

And story is the shape the words make – the narrative we weave through the body of work that we create through career, our creative endeavours and our passions. This story is unique – no one has read the same books as you in the same way; no one has the same life experiences as you; and you are the only one to combine your passions and experiences in the way that you do.

Gathering special books around us

I’ve always gathered special books around me as a sort of altar, a source of strength, a connection to influence, like a wise chorus of silent voices surrounding me. So when I read Sage Cohen’s piece, ‘Honor you lineage’ in her book, Fierce on the Page, it rang special bells of resonance. In her beautiful piece, Sage explains:

I have always been magnetically drawn to the books I need as teachers. Recently I cleared a shelf and, with great reverence, placed on it the books I most love – the ones that have shaped me in the way that water shapes stones, almost imperceptibly over time.

She invites us to gather the books we most love around us and to sit with them and appreciate how they have influenced our vision and sense of direction, especially in our writing life.

And importantly, she flags that in the light and strength of these books and words, the heart of what we want to write is lingering:

I wonder if that’s really all our writing asks of us: to know what we love, to listen, and to give ourselves over to what presents itself.

So that’s what I did – I gathered the special books that have shaped me over time and spent time with each of them, honouring what they have brought to me. And it became a fascinating and deep exercise. Choosing them, remembering what they have given me, unpacking and unravelling it a little more, organising it into a continuum and seeing how it fitted in the context of my life – was an insightful joy. And I learnt so much about myself and the recurring themes in my life.

It became a deep excavation and navigation of what I love and how it drives me.

And that is the heart of Quiet Writing – it’s about gathering the threads of our lives, finding the connecting pieces and weaving them together.

I communicate this heart and this spirit, through writing and life coaching, the twin hearts of Quiet Writing, so we can work with it in a supportive way to shine. For when we find those connecting pieces, those values, those desires, those long held passions and values, they can help us negotiate the next phase more successfully and work out what we really want to do and feel.

What to expect in ’36 Books that Shaped my Story’

So what can you expect in ’36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence’? It starts with a personal essay about the rationale and process and draws the threads of the experiment and experience together into key themes.

The second part then tracks through each of the 36 books individually and shows how they appeared in the context of my life and the legacy and influence they have provided. There are also suggestions as to why you might want to read each book.

Taken overall, the book shows how the books you love can be:

  • a source of writing inspiration
  • a narrative for your life
  • a timeline for reflection
  • prompts for memoir
  • a way of gathering evidence about your body of work over time
  • a way of understanding what you really love
  • a way of noticing the key themes of your life, and
  • the key to the influences that are your guiding light.

I think will find it a valuable read about the value of books and reading as creative influence and as a way of finding clues to help you enrich your quiet writing life.

How to get your copy of ’36 Books’

So if you already a Quiet Writing subscriber, the link will already be with you in your inbox via the ‘Beach Notes’ monthly message I have sent out.

If you are not already a subscriber, make sure you sign up to connect and receive ’36 Books’. Just sign up to the right or bottom on this page and the ebook will be with you in no time.

You will also receive my regular ‘Beach Notes’ newsletter full of inspiration about books, writing, story, narrative, voice, personality and all things quiet writing to inspire you. You will also be the first to know about Quiet Writing life coaching, guest posting and e-course opportunities when they are available.

I hope you enjoy ’36 Books’. It’s an opportunity for us to reflect on and share our thoughts on reading, books, creativity, influence, story, narrative and writing. These are all fabulous inspirations central to Quiet Writing and the community here.

I can’t wait to hear your feedback – happy reading and reflection!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:

How to read for more creativity, pleasure and productivity

Being ‘Fierce on the Page’ – a book review

On the art and love of reading

How to craft a successful life on your own terms

Quiet Writing

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My wild soul is calling – a wholehearted story http://www.quietwriting.com/wild-soul-wholehearted-story/ http://www.quietwriting.com/wild-soul-wholehearted-story/#comments Sun, 27 Aug 2017 23:19:23 +0000 http://www.quietwriting.com/?p=5206 This guest post from Elizabeth Milligan reminds us that listening to our wild soul calling can provide important clues to a more wholehearted life. This is the second guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing. I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here – and I’m still keen for more contributors if you are interested.  Quiet Writing celebrates self-leadership in wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity. This community of voices, with each of us telling our own story of what wholehearted living means, is a valuable and central part of this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other. I am honoured to have my online friend, Elizabeth Milligan, as a ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. Elizabeth and I met through Susannah Conway’s e-course, Blogging From the Heart, years ago now, and have followed and celebrated each other’s journeys ever since. My sincere thanks to Elizabeth for the contribution of her beautiful personal story to Quiet Writing, including the stunning […]

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wild soul

This guest post from Elizabeth Milligan reminds us that listening to our wild soul calling can provide important clues to a more wholehearted life.

This is the second guest post in our Wholehearted Stories series on Quiet Writing. I invited readers to consider submitting a guest post on their wholehearted story. You can read more here – and I’m still keen for more contributors if you are interested. 

Quiet Writing celebrates self-leadership in wholehearted living and writing, career and creativity. This community of voices, with each of us telling our own story of what wholehearted living means, is a valuable and central part of this space. In this way, we can all feel connected on our various journeys and not feel so alone. Whilst there will always be unique differences, there are commonalities that we can all learn from and share to support each other.

I am honoured to have my online friend, Elizabeth Milligan, as a ‘Wholehearted Stories’ contributor. Elizabeth and I met through Susannah Conway’s e-course, Blogging From the Heart, years ago now, and have followed and celebrated each other’s journeys ever since.

My sincere thanks to Elizabeth for the contribution of her beautiful personal story to Quiet Writing, including the stunning images from her journey. It’s a journey that has taken her to many new and rediscovered places – read on to find out more!

My wild soul is calling

It’s difficult to say where my story of living a more wholehearted life started.  There was no one dramatic, life-changing event.  It was more of an ongoing unease and restlessness that prodded me awake at night through my twenties and thirties.  A gentle tap-tapping, a whispering breeze, a far-off voice calling my name.  I tried to listen and follow my heart.  I travelled widely and far afield but I never found an answer.  I kept on moving.  I switched careers, jobs and countries more times than I can recall, but still something was missing.  Depression hit me.  Anger.  Despair.  Why couldn’t I just be?  Why the restlessness?  The continual searching?

I arrived at my forties and decided it was stability I needed.  I stopped moving, got a job, met a man.  For a time I was able to breathe.  The elation and euphoria of a new love blotted out all other concerns.  Or did it?  Soon the question of our combined futures was gently raised, and it turned out we were both looking for something other than the lives we were leading.  Ten months into our new life together we jumped ship, left the city and ran away to the countryside.  The plan was to use our savings, take a sabbatical of sorts from life and work in the city and do something more creative with our days, surrounded by nature.  We found a housesit in the middle of nowhere in rural France, gave notice on our jobs, put our stuff into storage, and set off.

Doing the groundwork

It sounds like this was all a smooth transition, but in reality there was a lot going on before any of it could happen.  I’m talking about mind-set and subtle changes that take place through conversation, discussion, self-questioning and research.  Where ideas and thoughts start to become viable possibilities.  I had been listening to Danielle LaPorte’s Fire Starter Sessions and was wanting to take a more proactive approach to my life based on my true values.  I had made my first vision board and stuck it on the wall opposite my bed so it was the first thing I saw in the morning and the last thing at night.  I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for but I was certain I was looking for something different.

wild soul

I felt like I had spent the best part of my life as an observer and onlooker.  When was I going have the starring role in my own life rather than a sad, out-of-camera cameo?  I could see very clearly where I was in life and to most people, this probably looked like a pretty good place.  A good job in a nice French city, a leisurely cycle to work, regular meetings in Paris, outdoor markets for shopping, and beautiful city parks or the hills of Beaujolais for weekend jaunts.  But in reality, my job was boring me to tears.  It was not who I was and it was not what I wanted.  I felt guilty for not wanting it but I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I realised things had to change and I had become aware of other options.  Instead of constantly trying to quash the panic and feeling of wanting to run, like I’d been doing for so long, it was time to listen to my gut and break free.

Taking a risk and breaking free

So we took a risk, threw everything up in the air and allowed the universe to catch us.  Ever since I read the books of Oriah Mountain Dreamer many moons ago I have wanted to trust in the power of the universe, to open up and surrender to something bigger and infinitely more powerful than we will ever be.  This was my chance.  I knew that we were going on a journey but I didn’t realise, and still don’t fully understand, the long-term implications of that decision we made one warm summer’s evening in our tiny French apartment.

Before arriving at our housesit, an isolated farmhouse sitting alone in over one hundred acres of rambling fields, I had no plan of what I would do every day.  I wanted to see how things would unfold.  I was not going to force myself to do anything.  I was craving unstructured days and freedom and this was the perfect opportunity.

Finding my inner child

Being completely free with no commitments, no expectations from anyone, and no structure in the day is rather strange at this age.  I can see how some people may be uncomfortable with this, but for me it was a wonderful and decadent regression.  I felt like a child left behind in a secret world after all the adults had gone home.

I found a pair of wellington boots that fit me and spent my days in wellingtons and shorts trudging around the fields spotting the local wildlife.  Deer, hares, coypu, egrets, foxes, wild boar, although these I never saw.  I only heard them some nights when the moon was full, calling across the fields with their terrifying blood-curdling screams.  I chopped wood for the fire and foraged for herbs and fruit, making nettle soup, elderberry jam and mountains of quince chutney.  I made friends with the barn owl that lived in the unused kitchen chimney, and the bats that flew around at night, often through the open windows.  I watched the sunrise in the morning and the sunset at night and every full moon I would run into the field behind the barn to catch the first glimpse on the horizon.

wild soul

Feeling like I was finally in my true environment, I became re-acquainted with the little girl inside and realised with relief that she hadn’t left me after all.  She had just been hiding and waiting for the right conditions to show herself again.  As a child I loved cycling and I had forgotten what fun it was to cycle around quiet country lanes.  Using bikes we found in the barn we started cycling to the shops for our groceries instead of driving.  When the weather was warm we would stop off and swim in the river on the journey home.  I felt alive.  I felt in touch with this beautiful planet we live on.  I had rediscovered a missing piece of the puzzle.

Rewriting my story

The next piece of the puzzle I found was regarding personality type.  I was in an online group of women and one week a discussion about personality type came up.  This was new for me so I did an online test and identified as personality type INFP on the Myers-Briggs scale.

This means nothing if you don’t know about this scale.  But what the test results revealed was that I was an introvert.  I had never considered whether I was extrovert or introvert before but the realisation felt like the penny dropping.  I suddenly saw my past with startling clarity.  I had felt like an outsider my whole life.  An observer.  Someone who kept their distance.  I thought I was maybe anti-social.  I had been called shy and quiet at best, and aloof and stand-offish at worst.  Here was something saying I was perfectly normal and not only that, other people felt the same way too.

I realised that if the stories I had been telling myself were no longer true then everything could change.  If I nurtured my introvert qualities and stopped trying to be extrovert like the world seems to want, then I could rewrite not only my past, but my future.  Astounding.

wild soul

Freeing my creative soul

So I started to nurture my newly discovered introvert self.  I very tentatively started to allow myself to enjoy being who I was, rather than reprimanding myself for not being someone I wasn’t.  I tried to stop worrying about all the things I was not and focus on all the things I was.  Of course, this is easier said than done.  But what seemed to help me was the daily pursuit of a more creative way of life.

To document life in the farmhouse I had started a blog and this became my way of communicating my newly discovered introvert self to the outside world.  Using writing and photography I started expressing myself and sharing my journey online.  Later on in our housesitting adventures, I would learn to express myself through art, something I had sadly locked away for years but which thankfully resurfaced along with other creative pursuits as yet another important, and previously missing, piece of the puzzle.

Intuition as a guiding light

Trusting my intuition, although incredibly difficult at times, has become a guiding light on my journey.  If I had planned things out too much I would never have discovered my creative side as I have, because I would have been busy committing to those plans.  I still have a lot of problems trusting my intuition and tend always to look outward first even though I know that only I have the answers to the deep questions I ask myself.  But I’m slowly learning to take the lead in my own life.  Inhabiting my life with my creative, nature loving, introverted self rather than filling the role of onlooker in a life that appears alien to me.

Bit by bit the negative and fractious energy built around the person I thought I should be has dissolved and been replaced by a more positive, gentle, flowing energy that is built around who I truly am.  Some parts of me I am still shy to show to the world, but these things take time and if I continue to trust my intuition then I am sure everything will slot into place as and when it needs to.

The struggle of self-discovery

All of these new experiences and discoveries were not without struggle though.  My demons showed up time and time again in dark moods, self-doubt, fear, impatience and insomnia.  Try to imagine this wonderful farmhouse in rural France in the middle of winter when we have been living in a grey cloud for the past few weeks.  There is no dry wood for the fire and the wind is howling through the badly fitting doors and windows.  The boiler keeps blowing out so there is no hot water and we are sitting there in the kitchen with our demons wondering how long you can spend in such isolation before going completely insane.

wild soul

In dialogue with my demons

This part of my journey I was not prepared for.  But one by one as the demons showed up at the door, snarling at me in disgust, taunting me with their snide comments of ‘not good enough’, ‘failure’ and other such niceties, I invited them in and I sat with them.  Quietly hearing them out until they had no more to say and disappeared off, one by one, back into the mist.  I knew they would return but I felt like it would be ok.  For the first time in my life I had opened up a dialogue with my own mind and somewhere deep inside I knew this to be a turning point and something to learn from.  I am still learning, but I now know that once we let the light in and start to show up every day as our true selves, everything changes.

We never did go back to real life, whatever that is, like we sensibly thought we would after our one year sabbatical, now four years ago.  Our savings lasted longer than we thought and it was difficult to say no to other housesits.  A winter by the sea looking after a tiny hotel.  Another two winters looking after an 18th century château and the resident cat.  A summer in a city apartment in Copenhagen.

The way forward

I’m not sure what’s next and I’m not sure it really matters.  My life has changed from the inside out and although I know I’m not there yet, I’m certainly on my way to living a much more wholehearted life.  Letting go of what no longer serves me and focusing on what lights me up.  Most importantly though, I’m enjoying the journey. ♥

 

About Elizabeth Milligan

Elizabeth is an aromatherapist and quiet creative.  She is currently redesigning her life and work around her own wholehearted values of creativity, positive interaction with nature, and slow and simple living.  You can find Elizabeth online at www.elizabethmilligan.com or on Instagram and Twitter as @libbylibellule.

 

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 developments on coaching, personality assessment offerings, creativity and other connections to help express your unique voice in the world.

My free ebook on the ’36 Books that have Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence’ is coming out in the next week for subscribers only – so sign up to receive it! Just pop your email in the sign-on box and it will be with you within a week. 

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 based on Jung/Myers-Briggs theory.

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

You might also enjoy:

Our heart always knows the way – a wholehearted story

Shining a quiet light – working the gifts of introversion

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

How knowing your authentic heart can make you shine

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Creative and connected #11 – on the special value of self-leadership http://www.quietwriting.com/creative-connected-self-leadership/ http://www.quietwriting.com/creative-connected-self-leadership/#respond Fri, 25 Aug 2017 09:19:44 +0000 http://www.quietwriting.com/?p=5210  “Become a scientist of your own experience.” Elizabeth Gilbert quoting her guru on The Good Life Project Here’s a round-up of what I’ve enjoyed this week on self-leadership and how we work towards being wholehearted through taking personal action. My guest post on How To Become The Heart Of Successful Leadership featured recently on WorkSearch.com. It celebrates the art of self-leadership and knowing yourself as a leader. It was based on the recently published book, Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude by Raymond M Kethledge and Michael S Erwin. My personal experience as a leader, introvert, life-long learner and committed autodidact also influenced my thoughts and reflections. Two key threads underlie Quiet Writing: one is being wholehearted and how we create our stories; the other is self-leadership and how we work towards being wholehearted through taking personal action. The key to taking action and knowing which actions to take are: knowing ourselves and what we value and desire learning to listen to our inner knowing understanding our innate personality, including its strengths and what is challenging for us seeking out, incorporating and acting on influence and inspiration from others. My thoughts on wholehearted self-leadership stem from being a leader in […]

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 “Become a scientist of your own experience.”

Elizabeth Gilbert quoting her guru on The Good Life Project

self-leadership

Here’s a round-up of what I’ve enjoyed this week on self-leadership and how we work towards being wholehearted through taking personal action.

My guest post on How To Become The Heart Of Successful Leadership featured recently on WorkSearch.com. It celebrates the art of self-leadership and knowing yourself as a leader. It was based on the recently published book, Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude by Raymond M Kethledge and Michael S Erwin. My personal experience as a leader, introvert, life-long learner and committed autodidact also influenced my thoughts and reflections.

Two key threads underlie Quiet Writing: one is being wholehearted and how we create our stories; the other is self-leadership and how we work towards being wholehearted through taking personal action. The key to taking action and knowing which actions to take are:

  • knowing ourselves and what we value and desire
  • learning to listen to our inner knowing
  • understanding our innate personality, including its strengths and what is challenging for us
  • seeking out, incorporating and acting on influence and inspiration from others.

My thoughts on wholehearted self-leadership stem from being a leader in the workplace and learning from this experience. The leadership of creativity and my impact on others’ ability to be innovative has been a key theme in my life’s work. I’m interested in how this lens can now be applied more broadly so that self-leadership is a way of promoting self-driven approaches to more holistic career and creativity.

The key aspects I have chosen to focus on in Quiet Writing are:

  • Life Coaching – for wholehearted self-leadership
  • Writing – to discover our wholehearted stories and in this how we strive for creative lives and careers
  • Personality assessment and exploration – to be able to explore our personality stories through Jung/Myers-Briggs frameworks and other perspectives to help us in our quest for understanding, accepting and knowing ourselves.

These three threads interweave throughout Quiet Writing. Today, let’s focus on the special value of self-leadership: what it means to me and what’s in the literature about this idea so that we can build on it together.

Podcasts on aspects of self-leadership

It was difficult to find podcasts specifically on this subject. This made me reflect on what self-leadership is and how my listening and reading choices and influences now and over the years are part of self-leadership. How I’ve decided to spend my time, who I’ve decided to engage with and listen to and read and who I’ve decided to learn from and study with – are all part of my self-leadership choices, especially as a self-directed learner.

I wrote many years ago about My Seven Stars and it’s amazing how these stars still influence me today. They have reappeared in critical podcasts this week, with themes that reappear over time. This week seemed to be all about these influences coming together in new ways.

Susannah Conway on Building a Heart-centred Business – on The Priestess Podcast with Julie Parker

This podcast felt like two parts of my world coming together – both centred around building a heart-centred business. Susannah Conway is one of my seven stars from my 2010 post, so I have been connected with her for a long time. I have done just about all of Susannah’s fabulous ecourses and each has been a critical part of my life, especially Blogging from the Heart. She has inspired my notions of building a heart-centred business.

When I made a plan to pursue Life Coaching as a new wholehearted career, I was naturally looking for a program aligned to my goals of being heart-centred. It was such a thrill to find Julie Parker and the Beautiful You Coaching Academy. I have just finished this life-changing program and am now a Beautiful You Life Coach working with clients. To hear Susannah and Julie talk together on this podcast – their first chat together – about building a heart-centred business was amazing. It’s a fabulous example of self-leadership in action as they follow their hearts in business. And it’s not with a business plan, but with a passion and desire to make a difference and connect authentically with people.

Curiosity and the Passion Fallacy – Elizabeth Gilbert on Jonathan Fields’ The Good Life Project

Jonathan Fields is another person I’ve followed for many years. He is a big fan of the examined life and what makes a good life. Elizabeth Gilbert is another major influence on writing and creativity and especially how we can give ourselves permission and take charge. This conversation was full of gems about self-leadership in life and creativity and especially the role of curiosity and learning. I love the quote that heads this post that Elizabeth cites as advice from her guru: “Become a scientist of your own experience.” I love that thought of having self-compassion as we learn and not beating ourselves up too much as we try new things on our journey. I need to listen to this one again with a notebook in hand.

Feels like the first time – on Personality Hacker with Joel Mark Witt and Antonia Dodge

Knowing our personality type and its strengths and challenges is a key part of Quiet Writing. That’s why I’ve gained certification in personality assessment given the impact that knowing more about my personality type had on me. It was another life-changing step on my self-leadership journey. On the Personality Hacker podcast, Joel and Antonia talk about their recent experience of learning more about their personality and how, even as experts in this space, it felt like the first time. They talk about how we can resist integrating parts of our personality and that it may take time to absorb the information, especially for the more challenging aspects. This podcast highlights how learning about yourself is an ongoing and open-ended adventure which can be so enlightening.

How to be a writer: traditional publishing to indie and hybrid – with John Birmingham on The Creative Penn

Joanna Penn is another of my seven stars and not a week goes by when I don’t learn something from her! So much of being an indie author is about self-leadership and self-learning. This chat with Australian author, John Birmingham, was a fantastic insight into the publishing industry. It shows how, even for experienced full-time writers, indie publishing offers a self-directed alternative that puts control and resources back in the author’s hands. It’s an honest and fascinating account of how John Birmingham took himself through this shift to being hybrid for practical reasons. Great to hear an Aussie voice on the show too!

 

Lead Yourself First

Books and reading notes

My reading week

In line with my recent post on reading more productively and the accountability here, I’ve been reading a few books concurrently. I’m reading Sharon Blackie’s If Women Rose Rooted: The Journey to Authenticity and Belonging in hard copy and also Spitting Blood: The History of Tuberculosis by Helen Bynum as an ebook. Both very different reads, but fascinating in their own way.

I’ve also been listening to Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No Luck Required Guide to Self-publishing Success) by Sean Platt and Johnny B Truant with David Wright, as an audiobook. The authors make their living as full-time indie authors and tell you how they did it and make money from it. And yes, there’s a lot of self-developed knowledge and self-leadership in there – including a heap of mistakes they’ve learnt from. There’s a lot of swearing and honest fun in this practical book based on years of experience.

I’ve also been really hard at work reading my own ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence’ as I prepare to send it out into the world to Quiet Writing subscribers! There’s been so many practical stumbling blocks and so much learning as I go through my own first self-publishing journey. My plan is to launch on 3 September so make sure you sign up to Quiet Writing so you can receive it!

Book and blog notes on this week’s theme of self-leadership

First mention goes to the fabulous ‘Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude‘ by Raymond M Kethledge and Michael S Erwin. Reading this book intensively over a weekend as for the guest post, How to Become the Heart of Successful Leadership, was a deep, immersive read on the aspects of self-leadership at the heart of being a successful leader. This was something I had long known and felt myself, as the post explains. This book really helped to understand these aspects of self-leadership in a new and thorough way.

Based on case-studies of leaders and interviews with contemporary leaders, it is full of grounded advice on managing the self as the first step in leading others. It’s about how people need solitude to be clear and in touch with themselves as they lead. And it’s not just about introverts; the case study examples show that extraverts also need to check in with themselves through solitude especially in challenging leadership circumstances. I highly recommend this excellent book. More in my guest post – so hop over to WorkSearch.com and have a read!

To be honest, the idea of self-leadership has been with me for quite a while. It was there before I read ‘Lead Yourself First’ and before I found anything online about it. It emerged from my own thinking and experiences, especially ‘wholehearted self-leadership’ as a central focus of Quiet Writing.

It’s been interesting to see what is already out there about self-leadership. So here’s a snapshot of some information.

Self Leadership International which provides the definition:

Self-leadership is having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do, where you are going coupled with the ability to influence your communication, emotions and behaviors on the way to getting there.

The article What is self-leadership reinforces the central role of self-leadership in leadership and making a difference. The article postulates that self-leadership begins with self-awareness and self-management then shifts to awareness and management of others.

Derek Lauber provides 8 principles in The zen of self-leadership, based on the premise that:

Self-leadership is your ability to masterfully lead yourself so you can create the success you want for yourself, your family, your business and your life.

In Self-leadership and success, Brett Steenbarger’s thoughts are most in line with what I am thinking about. He says:

Think of your life as a diversified organization. You are in the business of living….

When you think about it, you are the CEO of a rather diversified enterprise. Any such business requires capable leadership.

His key message is that:

Self-leadership begins when we stop prioritizing tasks and start prioritizing the elevated state in which we are most productive.

This is very valuable advice! I see our personal productivity as a key piece in being positive self-leaders.

ferry

Blog/Twitter/Instagram posts and interactions:

A favourite blog read this week was Nicole Cody’s post on healing stones and their energies, something I am exploring more. I sought out a few key stones this week that were calling me: amethyst, citrine, black tourmaline, amazonite and carnelian.

On Instagram, there’s been plenty of activity around Susannah Conway’s The August Break focused around noticing, community and inspiration. My photo for ‘silver’ this week featured the shimmering waters of the beach beckoning me. I haven’t been there as much as I would like and need to get back after being unwell. One thing I’ve learnt about self-leadership is that self-care and exercise is a huge part of it! I need to honour this.

self-leadership

On Quiet Writing and Tarot Narratives

On Quiet Writing, it was busy behind the scenes as I worked on my 36 Books ebook. I also prepared for our next ‘Wholehearted Stories’ post on Monday in partnership with the author. I can’t wait to share this beautiful story with you from a very special guest blogger.

My Tarot Narratives on Instagram have continued to be a rich source of inspiration and insight for my journey. Thanks for all the creative interactions. It was so lovely to celebrate the arrival of Lisa McLoughlin’s Life Design Cards along with my healing stones this week. It’s a deck focused on tools and practices for self-leadership and ‘weaving a different story’. It was lovely when #28 ‘Enjoy the lush and flourishing’, popped up to say hello with the message:

Through the simplest of pleasures, be more present to the warmth, colourfulness and juiciness of life. What is holding you back from making pleasure a priority?”

Indeed. It’s a good time for getting unstuck in many ways.

Have a fabulous creative weekend!

Life Design Cards

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) 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 – so sign up 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 #9 – on the art and love of reading

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

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Creative and Connected #10 – in praise of comfort reading http://www.quietwriting.com/creative-connected-10-comfort-reading/ http://www.quietwriting.com/creative-connected-10-comfort-reading/#respond Fri, 18 Aug 2017 10:59:47 +0000 http://www.quietwriting.com/?p=5173 Comfort reading is a ritual, like worry beads or a nice hot cup of cocoa at bedtime. It relies on repetition and familiarity. It makes unbearable times bearable. Jane Sullivan Turning Pages – The authors you read when you need a bit of comfort Here’s a round-up of what I’ve enjoyed and shared this week on comfort reading. Find out about the comfort books people read and reread, and why! Anyone else had a tough week and feeling in need of some comfort reading? I’m not sure if it’s Mercury Retrograde, the Eclipse Season, the Balsamic Moon, or a combination of all three right now, but it feels a perfect time to hunker down with a good book. All this energy made the words ‘comfort reading’ come to me – that revisiting of the books we love and that special genre or author that just makes us go ‘ahhhh’ and rest up, all cosy, hot chocolate or cup of tea in hand. So here are some links and thoughts on comfort reading including my favourite comfort reads as we head into the weekend with all this fairly intense energy. So if you’re feeling unwell or just in need of some rest and […]

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Comfort reading is a ritual, like worry beads or a nice hot cup of cocoa at bedtime. It relies on repetition and familiarity. It makes unbearable times bearable.

Jane Sullivan

Turning Pages – The authors you read when you need a bit of comfort

comfort reading

Here’s a round-up of what I’ve enjoyed and shared this week on comfort reading. Find out about the comfort books people read and reread, and why!

Anyone else had a tough week and feeling in need of some comfort reading? I’m not sure if it’s Mercury Retrograde, the Eclipse Season, the Balsamic Moon, or a combination of all three right now, but it feels a perfect time to hunker down with a good book.

All this energy made the words ‘comfort reading’ come to me – that revisiting of the books we love and that special genre or author that just makes us go ‘ahhhh’ and rest up, all cosy, hot chocolate or cup of tea in hand.

So here are some links and thoughts on comfort reading including my favourite comfort reads as we head into the weekend with all this fairly intense energy. So if you’re feeling unwell or just in need of some rest and respite, here is some inspiration for reading, comfort style.

I hope you find some time to rest and read. Would love to hear about your comfort reading preferences and practices too!

Podcast on comfort reading

A podcast that features and praises comfort reading is:

Reading the End Podcast Episode 10

There’s a great list of books on the show notes plus thoughts on what makes a comfort book. The hosts reinforce that there are different categories of comfort books: ones that put things in order eg. Georgette Heyer books; episodic books that don’t require so much effort; books for when you are sad and books that represent ‘wholesome olden times’! They include one of my comfort book authors, Rumer Godden. It’s a fun listen and a great list! It reinforces that comfort reads are contextual and different for everyone, though there may be common themes and authors that reappear.

There were surprisingly few podcasts on this important issue!

Another option is to let the guys on The Casual Academic do the reading for you and read along when you can or just learn from them. I really enjoy this podcast when I just want to listen and learn about literary fiction but I’m finding it hard to do as much reading as I would like in the genre. Always interesting and educational, as well as fun, I’m sure having a laugh is important in this type of reading.

comfort reading

Books and reading notes

My reading week

In line with my recent post on reading more productively and the accountability here, I finished David Whyte’s Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity. This was a very special read that will stay with me for a long time. There’s so much richness on work life and our identity as we express it through work and how we can be lost and found there. It’s a book I will continue to revisit and explore.

I’ve started reading Sharon Blackie’s If Women Rose Rooted: The Journey to Authenticity and Belonging in hard copy and also Spitting Blood: The History of Tuberculosis by Helen Bynum as an ebook. Both very different reads, but fascinating in their own way.

I’ve also been really hard at work reading my own ebook ’36 Books that Shaped my Story: Reading as Creative Influence’ as I prepare to send it out into the world to Quiet Writing subscribers!

Book and blog notes on this week’s theme of comfort reading

It was fun to explore what other people have said about comfort reading and their suggestions. But first, my favourite comfort reads.

I love a book that I can just curl up inside, a setting that I love, a love story or psychological engagement, something that takes me into people’s lives as I watch the events and relationships unfold. I like the warmth of people connecting or a narrative that takes me into a place where I can just be or watch, especially engaging with character and place.

So here are my comfort reads and authors:

Maeve Binchy

A long-time love, there’s just something so cosy about curling up with a Maeve Binchy book. They are all wonderful; the ones that come to mind are: Tara Road, Quentins, Circle of Friends, Evening Class and A Week in Winter. I love how the characters often reappear as familiar faces across different novels. They’re grounded in a spirit of realism as well, as Maeve Binchy explains:

I don’t have ugly ducklings turning into swans in my stories. I have ugly ducklings turning into confident ducks. 

Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes has become more famous with Me Before You which came out as a movie. This is fabulous as she is an excellent writer and I love stepping into the world of her books. All her narratives have that sense of comfort in story and love engagements but in various settings and environments. Enjoy any or all of: The Ship of Brides, Silver Bay, Peacock Emporium, Foreign Fruits, Silver Bay, Night Music, The Girl You Left Behind and The Last Letter Your Lover. 

Daphne Du Maurier

I’ve shared my love of Daphne Du Maurier and especially my favourite novel, Rebecca. My Cousin Rachel is a great read too and enjoying attention due to the recent film adaptation. But also really engaging are The House on the Strand, Don’t Look Now and other Stories and The Birds and other Stories. Du Maurier’s short stories are especially good reads when you just want a shorter bite.

comfort reading

Liz Fenwick

Being a great lover of Cornwall, Liz Fenwick’s novels are often my first choice when I’m looking for a holiday read or just want a relaxing chill-out read. I love books that take me to special places and Fenwick’s novels are enjoyable and engaging reads with a mix of love, family history, intrigue and Cornish landscape. I’ve enjoyed: The Cornish House, A Cornish Affair, A Cornish Stranger and Under a Cornish Sky.

Rumer Godden

Rumer Godden is another special author whose books I seek out when I’m needing comfort. My preferred stories seem to be ones like The Black Narcissus and In This House of Brede that involve nuns and the drama and personality of cloistered communities. They are books I reread and enjoy, often at times of illness and bedrest!

comfort reads

 

Blog/Twitter/Instagram posts and interactions:

For thoughts on comfort reading, here are some excellent posts:

Booksellers share their best comfort reads and tips, via Readings a fabulous Aussie bookshop, including fantasy, Agatha Christie, Harry Potter, poetry and Anne of Green Gables (a recurrent recommended comfort read!)

In The appeal of comfort reading, Psychologies Magazine explores what makes a comfort read we return to:

‘I can read it over and over again,’ people said, and perhaps that is the most important thing of all. Like prayers, our comfort reading becomes a ritual. I may find something new in the Anne [of Green Gables] books every time, but the words themselves never change. Our comfort reads are talismans, touchstones, that will never let us down.

In The Irish TImes, The Guyliner postulates on why he reads the same books over and over again:

They’re not cerebral, they’re not impressive, but they wrap themselves around me every moment, even when I’m not reading.

Rebecca is one of the books he returns to, with such a beautiful response to it:

Gloomy and glamorous and beautifully written, I always come back to Rebecca. I never want it to end, and always wish we could find out what happens next. With each reading, I will the second Mrs de Winter to tell Mrs Danvers to sod off, to speak up and be confident, to enjoy her time as the lady of Manderley. But, of course, she never does – she can only be herself.

In Turning Pages: The authors you read when you need a bit of comfort, Jane Sullivan says that comfort reading is a ritual and notes the authors who pop up consistently: Raymond Chandler and L M Montgomery (of Anne of Green Gables fame). Of Raymond Chandler, she says:

It worked because I knew that voice. I’d read the book before, I’d seen the movie, I knew what was going to happen. And the voice took me into a familiar world: guns, hooch, faded glamour, treacherous dames in seamed stockings, telephones on the wall, guys wearing hats and trenchcoats in the warm California rain.

Sarah Bessey shares 10 books she reads over and over. It’s a fabulous list and includes Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead, Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible and Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden.

In Comfort Books. Is this even a thing? The Bloggess queries why her comfort books are “full of murder and angst and bizarreness and are not really what anyone in the world would consider to be a happy or relaxing read.”

It seems we revisit books for all kinds of reasons and different ways of sourcing comfort. Do share your thoughts on your comfort reads in the comments or on Instagram or Facebook – would love to hear!

On Quiet Writing and Tarot Narratives

On Quiet Writing this week, we explored the art of efficient blog post writing in a guest post by Benjamin Brandall, How to write a blog post when you have almost no time. It’s been really well-received, providing practical strategies for being organised with blog posts and getting the actual writing done.

My Tarot Narratives on Instagram have continued to be a rich source of inspiration and insight for my creative journey. Thanks for all the interactions! Twyla Tharp’s reminder today, from The Creative Habit, was around working environments and habit:

In the end, there is no one ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn’t scare you, doesn’t shut you down. It should make you want to be there, and once you find it, stick with it. To get the creative habit, you need a working environment that’s habit forming. (p17)

Have a fabulous creative weekend!

comfort reads

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.

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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 #9 – on the art and love of reading

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

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How to write a blog post when you have almost no time http://www.quietwriting.com/write-blog-post-time/ http://www.quietwriting.com/write-blog-post-time/#comments Mon, 14 Aug 2017 09:08:44 +0000 http://www.quietwriting.com/?p=5034 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. […]

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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

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Creative and Connected #9 – on the art and love of reading http://www.quietwriting.com/creative-connected-art-love-reading/ http://www.quietwriting.com/creative-connected-art-love-reading/#comments Fri, 11 Aug 2017 14:09:32 +0000 http://www.quietwriting.com/?p=5126 Read in order to live. Gustave Flaubert 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 […]

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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)

reading

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

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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

The post Creative and Connected #9 – on the art and love of reading appeared first on Quiet Writing.

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