Why I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year…

…despite lots of ‘good reasons’ why not.

I’ve just signed up to participate in the fun and madness that is NaNoWriMo. (National Novel Writing Month)

…Even though I’m not a novelist.

…Even though the coming weeks could be the busiest and most intense of my whole year. (Featuring a house move and a big family wedding. In Austria.)

…Even though I’ve been on a mission to simplify my life and reduce my commitments.

So, why am I doing this? And why now?

Despite all the ‘good reasons’ for not doing it this year, I also have 8 great reasons to go for it…

 

1. The Call

In the immortal words of one of my heroines, Amelia Earhart…

“I want to do it because I want to do it.”

 

I do have a fair few reservations, but something about it is calling me.

And I’ve learned that magical things happen to me when I answer those calls.

• • •

2.  Productivity

I’ve had a number of book ideas at various stages of progress for the last couple of years.

I’ve been so focussed on the lovely work of helping other writers with their books, that my own have been patiently waiting on the backburner.

It’s time to see at least one of those projects make it out into the world.

I have a dream of writing a book a year for the rest of my life, and this fun/crazy NaNoWriMo challenge will support me in that goal.

• • •

3. Joy

I love writing books!

• • •

4. Expression

I like the idea of putting my writing first for a whole month, and feeling I deserve support and help in prioritising something that matters to me.

• • •

5. Research

This is something of a creativity experiment.

This intense method of creating is new ground for me and I want to explore it.

I’ve been working on a theory about how we create best under certain conditions.

And to test that theory,  I’m experimenting with the opposite – to see how both ways work for me.

• • •

6. The power of focus

Despite the uncertainty…

Which book project to choose?

Will I have time?

Will it be too much?

And most importantly – will I enjoy it?!

(Joy is a major factor in my decision-making.)

Despite these unanswered questions, I know that if I intend to do it, if I choose to focus, if I decide to go for it regardless – something will come out of it.

(If only how to not do it.)

• • •

7. My clients and readers

I believe this experience will benefit my work in supporting other creatives.

I write a lot about the creative process, and I am dedicated to supporting creative people.

And to do both these things well, I like to spend time in the creative trenches, up against the challenges that my clients face.

I’m continually investing time and energy and devotion into being the best creativity coach I can be, and this is one way to explore new solutions and gain new insights.

So, if all I gain from NaNoWriMo is more compassion and understanding for my clients, it will be worth it.

• • •

And finally, and this was the clincher…

 

8. The Nudge

I felt very strongly ‘nudged’ by my inner creative voice, what I call ‘my muse’.

I’ve toyed with the idea of NaNoWriMo before, but this year, I was inexplicably drawn to it.

It felt like a divine mandate.

My muse – my source of inspiration and inner guidance – was very clear;

Do this.

Even though it made no sense – she offers no explanation, she cares little for logic, she just asks that I trust.

And after following my muse’s nudges for the last few years – I know it will lead somewhere surprising and wonderful.

I’ve learned to follow her mysterious ways.

• • •

 

So, I’m in!

 

I’m excited. I’m nervous. And I’m doing it.

I want to see what happens when I just commit, stop questioning, ignore the excuses, and do it anyway.

I’ll keep you posted!

 

PS If you’d like to know more about my studies of ‘the muse’ and how she makes life so easy and fun, you can get the full scoop here.

Or to rekindle your own connection, I’ve created a free series to help you. 

More details below…

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On hiring support

I recently invested in support for a creative project that I dream of bringing to life.

 

Even though I thought the timing wasn’t right…

(Turns out, the timing was perfect.)

 

Even though I thought it was too expensive…

(Turns out to have been worth double or triple my investment.)

 

Even though I thought I didn’t really need it…

(Turns out, there was so much more to learn – we don’t know what we don’t know!)

 

So, was I sure it was the right thing to do?

Not at first. I had lots of doubts and ‘reasons’ to not go for it.

 

Was it worth it?

1000% yes.

 

It wasn’t an easy or convenient commitment of both time and money – but it was an investment in me and my creative dream.

And I’m learning that the returns on that devotion are the surest and most rewarding.

 

• • •

 

So, if you feel called to invest in a vision or project that’s tugging at your soul, here’s my test for whether to invest…

 

Slightly scared + inexplicably drawn to it + feels exciting  = go for it.

 

If it’s calling you, if the idea of it makes you smile, there’s a reason – even if it also makes you nervous.

 

Looking back, it will all make sense.

 

The tricky bit is taking the leap.

(Turns out, it gets easier the more you do it. :-))

 

Good luck!

 

“I want to do it because I want to do it.” 

~ Amelia Earhart

My Writer’s Toolkit: What I use to catch the Muse

Writer’s Toolkit #1: MindMap App for iPad

mindmap app for writers toolkit

I love this app. I use it daily. It’s perfect for brainstorming / braindumping as it has no boundaries. If you get carried away in one direction, you can just keep going. (Unlike on paper where you are limited by the page size.) Thinking without boundaries can lead to some highly creative surprises. (And the calm that rushes in after this mental decluttering is a nice side effect too….)

It’s great for just getting the random thoughts and ideas out of your head and pinned down – where you can actually do something productive with them. Plus, it makes it clear, at a glance, which ideas have legs.

With a mindmap, you don’t need to worry about priorities or orders, as you would with a list. But once I have everything out of my head and down on the ‘page’, it’s then easy (and fun) to comb through for gems or sequences or natural patterns or groups.

At which point I use…..

 

Writer’s Toolkit #2: Evernote

Evernote for writers

There is a popular guide to Evernote which goes into this fabulous programme in more depth. But just quickly, it is an app where  you can store your notes in seperate notebooks (as many as you like). You can then organize your notebooks into ‘stacks’ (groups). I am writing my next book almost entirely with my Evernote notes and stacks.

The webclipper is a useful tool, too. If you are reading anything on the web that relates to one of your projects, you just save it into that notebook to read later or keep for reference. Like a virtual filing assistant – it’s indispensable once you get used to using it. (Being able to file things away quickly and easily means you’ll spend less time getting sucked into all the interesting/distracting stuff online – until you’re ready for it.)

 

I use Evernote for organising my Mindmap ideas and for giving everything structure. But for catching those visits from the Muse that occur when I am out and about, I use….

 

Writer’s Toolkit #3:  iPhone Notes app

iphone notepad for writers toolkit

 

 

 

My phone is always nearby so this is the perfect place to jot those random musings and flashes of inspiration.

And to encourage those visits from the Muse, I use…

 

 

 

 

 

 

yoga mat for writers toolkit

+

walking shoes for writers toolkit

+

bath for writers toolkit

 

(Yoga + walking + R&R = my kind of productivity regime.)

• • •  

NEW-Wannabe-to-writer-ebook-long

If you’ve ever wanted to write a book….

If you’d like to shortcut your learning curve….

If you want to truly believe that it’s possible to go from wannabe to successful writer…

This is for you. 

My rollercoaster ride to becoming a writer : The highs. The lows. The short-cuts.

Click here for details.

” Smart people learn from their own mistakes.
The really smart people learn from the mistakes of others.”

                             ~ Brandon Mull

 

Rhoda Jordan Abundance Challenge – Day 5

Welcome to Day 5 of Rhoda Jordan’s Abundance Challenge

Today we’re going to get creative!

 

For this challenge, we’re going to explore a vital ingredient of a rich and fulfilling life:
creative expression. 
 
Creative expression is your spirit, your true essence, working though you. This flow is one of life’s ultimate experiences.
And we can harness this powerful force to attract abundance of all kinds; emotional, spiritual and financial. 

 

When you’re living the joy of expressing your unique creativity, you are in a powerful state of allowing. 

When you combine that happy state with clarity on your desires and a heightened feeling of abundance – you become magnetic to the good life.

And by breathing life into your creative spirit, you reconnect with the source of your inspiration.  
Becoming more inspired can help in all aspects of your life. 

 

Sometimes the answer to your prayers is just an inspired thought.  

And solutions to financial issues will begin to appear, as you tune in more to your creative genius.

Ever heard of a million dollar idea? Great ideas can create fortunes. 

Tapping into your inspiration and creativity can make life feel so much easier.

So let’s get your muse on!

 

Everyone can be creative, it just shows up in different ways. 
 
It may be writing, painting, dance, song, movement, photography, drawing or crafting, or it may be life-designing, home-making, running a business….or something the world doesn’t even know about yet!
 
Everyone has their unique zone of creative brilliance. If you’ve forgotten yours, get exploring – it’s in there somewhere. 

Whatever your flavour of creativity, when you direct time and energy and attention to what you love to create, life becomes rich with the ultimate luxuries of joy and meaning. 

And inspired living can be a magical, fun, relaxed and abundant way to enjoy your journey on this planet. 
 
All this from just a little creative play? 
 
Yes! 
 
So, are you ready to get started? 

Challenge #5

1. Declare your unique creative gift. 

What is your favourite way to express your unique and brilliant brand of creativity? 
 
Say it out loud!  “I love to ____________”
 
(If you haven’t been in touch with your creative spirit for a while, it may take some time to answer this – so take some time. It matters!)
 

2. : Brainstorm using this I feel abundant! Workbook

DOWNLOAD THIS WORKBOOK (right/option click) and use it to get clear on what thrills you and lights you up. 
 
What kind of abundance is calling you? What does it look like? How does it feel? 
 
Have fun with this and take your time – and revel in the powerful, magnetic feelings of abundance. 

3. Time to get creative!

Use the items from your worksheet and express them using your unique creativity.  
 
You may want to use the gifts you declared in Question 1.
 
Or you might be inspired to try a new way to express these ideas and feelings. 
 
Eg, write a song, create a painting, craft a vision board, buy a symbol of abundant living for your home… 
 
There’s only one rule for this bit: enjoy the process
 
It must excite you and inspire you and fill you with that magnetic feeling of aliveness.
 
If it doesn’t, keep looking for the thing that will. 

4. If you feel inspired to share, join us in the Facebook group and tell us about your creative gifts and/or show us what you created. 

You may meet someone else who is interested in the same thing.

This kind of life-enhancing connection is another a form of abundance, sparking new ideas and motivation. 

 

When you get inspired and in touch with your creative spirit – you open up to the rich flow of abundance that’s heading your way.

 

Have fun, and I can’t wait to see your creations!

 

Danielle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW eCOURSE

FREE RESOURCES

tonics optin square small

• • •

write that book 5 day kick start

• • •

spectrum of creative stuckness

• • •

writers corner free resources for writers
writers corner free resources for writers

• • •

readers corner book reviews

• • •

Getting creative with life’s dramas

Today I have a little story for you – how I got creative and turned a frustrating mini-drama into a very happy ending…

 

Creativity: a tool for life

Now, as you may know, I am obsessed with the creative process – how to find the time, inspiration and energy for more expression, and how to enjoy more flow and ease as we go along.

Because I love creative people. I have so much admiration for the brave-hearted souls who are facing the bumps and challenges that arise when you answer the call of your art and spirit.

And I know the powerful life-enhancing benefits that arise when you do manage to live the creative life you were meant to enjoy.

So, I’m a big advocate of creative expression – whatever that looks like for each of us.

But did you know that honing your creative skills can make for a happier life, even beyond the writing room or studio?

When you actively build your ‘creativity muscle’, it can help you in so many areas of your life. 

twitter aqua

 

It can help you with work challenges.

It can help with relationships.

It can help with health issues.

It can even help you with cooking – transforming basic fuel into a delicious experience.

And cultivating a creative response can also help with the little (or big) dramas of life, that seem to be an integral part of our human journey.

• • • 

For example, yesterday evening, at about 9pm…

My son was packing his cricket kit in preparation for his first match for his new school.

This was the high-school event he’d been waiting for – a chance to finally shine in his favourite sport.

We were chatting happily about his debut in the morning, until…

He discovered that his cricket trousers – optimistically know as ‘whites’ – had somehow been left in his bag at the end of last season.

This might not have been too bad, had the season finale not been quite so wet.

And muddy.

As you can imagine, chaos ensued.

How to turn a pair of brown trousers white in just a few hours….

 

File 28-04-2017, 15 14 11

Time to get creative. Part I.

After some ‘discussion’, we decided that the offending trousers were a write-off.

Instead of staying up all night to get them clean, we agreed on a simpler option: Mum’s Concierge Service would make an early morning trip to the sports shop and then drop off a new pair at school.

Problem solved.

(This seems like an obvious solution in hindsight, but in the heat of bedtime panics, it took quite a long (and noisy) time to find.)

However, this particular Mum Concierge was less than thrilled with the solution, having made other plans for my Friday.

Time to get creative. Part II.

Instead of heading down the (admittedly tempting) path of begrudging frustration, I decided to think about how I could mitigate this annoying drama, maybe even turn it into a good thing.

I got creative.

I took the ‘given’ – a reluctant trip into town – and did all I could to make it a more positive experience.

And I had the best morning!

I walked across the beautiful Harrogate Stray…

I stopped off at my favourite cafe…

 

I spent very happy 20 minutes in the local bookshop, treating myself to a book I’ve been wanting for a while…

I even acquired a new Tiffany Blue notebook. (Tiffany Blue anything makes me so happy…)

I was enjoying my enforced ‘inconvenience’ so much that I almost forgot to buy cricket trousers.

And as I walked back to the school to deliver the all-important debut-standard whites, I wondered…

How many other mini-dramas could I have turned around, with a more creative approach?

But not to worry, given the roller-coaster of family life, I know I’ll get plenty of opportunities to practice my skills. 😉

• • •

So, I share my mini-epiphany in the hope that it inspires you to cast a creative eye over your next mini-drama.

Imagine if we all got creative with our problems and somehow managed to always find the diamonds in the dustheap…

It may not solve every problem, but I’m sure it would make for a happier planet overall.

Creativity as a route to world peace – and we can begin with all the little hiccups at home.

 

Let me know if you give it a go!

 

Wishing you a creative, inspired and drama-free week,

 

Danielle

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EMAIL COACHING FOR CREATIVES

A single, powerful month of creativity coaching by email.

Subscriber Showcase – Meet Sally!

Welcome to a new Subscriber Showcase.

I hope you’re enjoying this series of virtual meet-ups with your creative peers. 🙂

I’ve been enjoying the the diversity of my subscribers! It’s such a joy to discover the many different ways of living a creative life.

And this month we’re exploring a form of creative expression that’s a new one for this series – public speaking.

Allow me to introduce the inspiring and empowering work of…

Sally Koering Zimney

Tell us about yourself, Sally. 

• • • 

SallyAndyHS45Hi! I’m Sally.

I’m a presentation coach and consultant – and I have the awesome privilege of helping speakers (and people who are convinced they’re not speakers) to bring their voice and story to the world with more authenticity, courage and clarity.

After some formal training in the speech world (trained by some of the finest speech coaches in the country), and a decade of being on stage in the theater world, I found myself bringing these worlds together: taking the technical skills of speaking and applying them like an artist, because being a good speaker – like a good artist – requires us to really know ourselves as humans.

Most presentation training applies a kind of formula and aims to short-cut the process.

But the artistry of creating a moving talk takes intuition, creativity, and a willingness to dig a little deeper.

And in my view, speaking is something that is available to – and needed by – any creative leader who wants to make her mark in the world!

So I make it my deal to make speaking both a higher calling – and a lower hurdle to jump over.

• • •

Tell us a little about your creative life, and why it’s important to you.

• • • 

I myself love being on stage!

It has always fed and challenged me creatively. I remember the first time I made people laugh on stage – I was hooked! And for a decade or so – that’s what I thought my life was moving towards.

But life kept offering me opportunities on the other side of things, as a coach. And I quickly realized that maybe even more so I am built to empower and illuminate.

I *see* what’s possible – and have learned how to help you get there. (Only after stumbling at that last part for a bit…)

Now my creativity is nourished as I wrestle with the possibilities that exist in each of my speakers.

One of my most cherished mantras is that We Start with an A – an idea that I had been living out as a coach, but which was given a name and explained in the amazing book by Ben and Rosalind Zander called The Art of Possibility.

art of possibilityThe basic gist is that as a coach (or a teacher, or a boss, or a parent…) my job is to give you an “A” – because the masterpiece is already within.

As the student you just have to believe in it and behave as if this masterpiece is there – and I have to help you chip away the other stuff that is covering it up.

I think, perhaps, this is the most accurate description of the process of creating a talk. It’s a chipping-away – not only at our ideas and our words – but all the things we hold on to that get in the way of really revealing who we are.

Great speaking reveals the masterpiece that is hiding inside.

I am most moved creatively when I can create that moment when a speaker experiences the joy of sharing something real – and having that connect with the audience.

It’s a liberating and empowering experience that I feel privileged to be a part of.

I’ve seen it turn a light on inside people because there’s nothing as powerful as standing in your own truth and having that truth be heard and appreciated.

I want to bring more of it into the world, not just for the empowerment of the speaker, but for the good of the world.

• • •

Tell us more about your current creative adventures…

• • • 

I just launched a new service called Quick Coaching – quick, personalized virtual coaching to help you take your talk to the next level.

TMM Quick Coaching Banner

It’s a great way for speakers to get a little guidance and feedback on what they’re doing without breaking the bank or investing in a long-term coaching partnership.

I have devoted much of my life studying not just what works, but how to communicate to and uplift people in the process of doing what works – and it’s a real passion of mine that I think can be surprisingly helpful.

And, I’m building my way towards an in-person workshop experience called the Movers Lab. Bringing a handful of experts who are building their signature talk together to workshop them, give them support and feedback in the process, and build some powerful connections amongst the group.

It’s a dream of mine – and I hope to bring it to life in the next year! (Along with, like, a billion other ideas! Help! I am drowning in hopes/dreams/wishes/ideas!)

• • • 

Thank you, Sally!

this moved me podcastSo, I hope that you enjoyed meeting Sally and her fascinating world of public speaking. If you’d like to hear more from her, she has a brilliant podcast series over on iTunes – it’s called This Moved Me.

Or if you’d like Sally’s support in telling your own moving story, please head over to her website where you can find more details on how to connect, as well as a free download:

7 Costly Myths of Public Speaking

• • • 

And if you’d like me to feature you and your creative projects in a future Subscriber Showcase – please just let me know.

Here’s to the power of telling our stories. 🙂

Have an inspiring and wonderful week!

Danielle

 

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Creativity &…food? Introducing: The Muse Diet


We are what we eat.

Literally. Our cells our made up of whatever we put into our bodies.

We all know that our food choices affect us physically.

But what’s less obvious is how food can affect the invisible aspects of our selves and our lives; 

• our energy levels,

• our emotions

• our powers of concentration

• our access to inspiration.

And these invisible aspects greatly impact our creative output, not to mention our lives in general.

So, is there a way to eat that can support our creative dreams?

Are there foods that can help us be more inspired?

Is there… a Muse-friendly diet? 

Yes, yes and yes!

But here in The Muse Spa, there are no recipes, shopping lists or food plans.

Here, we focus on just two ingredients:

Intention and awareness.

Intention

Making positive changes to what you eat can change your life.

Eating well is undoubtedly a vital ingredient of living well.

So one powerful way to improve the quality of your diet is simply to declare an intention to eat well.

Make a decision, or rather develop the habit of remaking this decision, as the habits of a lifetime may take a while to replace.

Of course, this is quite a challenge. But fortunately, there is help available in the shape of…. Your muse.

Your muse is cheering for the healthy, vital and beautifully nourished version of you.

It’s the You she most wants to work and play with, so she’s ready and willing to be your internal support system.

Once you decide to set this course – just this simple intention to eat well – your intuition and subconscious mind will be on the look out for the perfect resources.

• The books you need will find you.

• The perfect expert will ‘just happen’ to be on TV when you’re watching.

• Relevant emails will just pop up in your inbox.

• Chance comments with friends will lead you new cooking ideas, places to eat and foods to try.

In declaring your intention, your radar will shift to notice the things that support it.

This is your muse in action.

No willpower required.

Expect inspired new attitudes towards what and how you eat.

Don’t be surprised if your tastes begin to change, as you naturally begin to prefer quality food and purer, more natural ingredients.

You may become fired up with enthusiasm for a new eating regime, or changes may be more subtle; gradual improvements to daily choices.

Of course, there may be lapses – allow for them, forgive them and then begin afresh.

Remind yourself of the benefits of looking after your body:

• vibrant life energy

• glowing skin

• formidable powers of concentration, memory and focus,

• quality sleep

If possible, surround yourself with visual reminders of the glorious side-effects of a nurturing diet.

Choosing to eat well is a lifelong affair.

Even though rapid change can feel like a breakthrough, a more gentle pace could prove to be the most sustainable.

Either way, be kind to yourself and stay calmly focused on your intention.

And, as always, stay tuned into the messages from your body.

Which brings us nicely onto our second Muse Diet ingredient…

Awareness

The feast of dietary advice available today is bewildering.

So many systems and regimes.

So much conflicting advice or outdated information.

So many experts and celebrity endorsements and scientific discoveries.

How on earth are we supposed to know which one is right for us?

Luckily, there is one source which has your optimum health at heart, knows you intimately and is available for consultation 24 hours a day.

Your body.

Your body knows.

Your body has an intelligence and it communicates its needs to you – or at least it tries.

In modern life, many of us have lost touch with this inner source of dietary wisdom, but we can tune back in.

And not only will listening to your body’s signals help you find the right eating regime for you, it is also good practice at tuning inward.

The source of your body’s wisdom is also where your Muse lives.

Further in the course, we’ll explore how the Muse may be speaking to you via your physical body, so any steps you take to listen more closely will help you strengthen that line of communication.

• • •

So, how to begin?

Easy; just watch, listen, notice.

No need to make any changes at first, this is just an observational exercise.

Become conscious of your eating habits.

Be more aware of any cravings or unusual appetites.

Ask questions.

After a meal, assess how you feel.

Play food detective; if you notice a stomach ache or bloating, ask yourself what you ate recently; how you ate it – rushed, standing up, angry?

Monitor your bodily functions. Is there any pattern to certain problems?

Do you have energy dips at certain times of the day?

Do certain foods effect your concentration?

Are you more focussed before you eat?

Do you eat because you’re hungry? Emotional? Stressed? Bored?

Are you actually enjoying each mouthful?

Do you notice when you’re full?

orange chocolate fruit face

If you’re going to indulge in a ‘guilty pleasure’ – try to taste every mouthful and either savour the experience or learn exactly what need it fulfils. (Or doesn’t).

In Ayurveda, the ancient science of holistic health, the theory is that all health – or ill-health – can be traced back to the quality of digestion.

So it can help to also be mindful of how and when you eat, as these factors can have a bearing on digestion and, as a result nutrition and the after effects of food.

For example, eating when stressed compromises digestion.

As does eating while walking. Or jumping straight into another activity immediately after a meal.

Eating late at night or just before exercise can also cause problems.

See if you can pin-point any eating habits that are causing you unnecessary issues.

Keeping a food diary can be enlightening.

It may be a time-consuming practice but if this is a potent issue for you, the results can be surprising and may help to make simple changes that will last a lifetime.

Even doing this for a short time can train you to notice what you eat, and its effects.

A habit of awareness will recalibrate your relationship with your food and your body. 

It will also move you closer to your intuition and internal wisdom, aka; your muse.

This attention to what you eat is less about fitting a certain dress size and more about how you feel in your body.

It’s a journey towards increased health and wellbeing and the myriad life-enhancing results that naturally follow.

The Secret Ingredient

There are actually 3 ingredients to the Muse Diet…

Whilst the above information is vital if we are to stay healthy and live a life where we are poised to reach our potential, there is one vital element that will not only keep your dining habits muse-friendly, it will also ensure that your life retains an essential pleasure that’s meant to be a part of the human diet:

Joy.

The joy of food.

The sensual indulgence of good food – food that nourishes us, body and soul.

The pleasure of eating, and eating well.

What’s the point of losing weight and looking great if we have to remove all the things from our life that give us pleasure?

Could stressing about your diet actually be worse for you than poor nutrition?

And how good can we look or feel when living a life of deprivation?

Yes, nutrition matters but stress can make us gain weight, whereas happiness can help us lose it.

The key is balance, to follow a nutritious diet we can enjoy, without stress.

How we feel about what we eat – our thoughts and emotions – these are important for our enjoyment of life.

But did you know that they can also effect us on a deeper level – even on a cellular level?

(I was blown away by this idea – that what we think and feel about the food we eat, can influence its cellular breakdown in our bodies. See The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton if you’re interested in how this works).

So don’t forget that as much as your body craves good health, it also thrives on joy and pleasure.

Aim for a healthy balance of quality nutrition, mindful awareness and the delicious enjoyment of eating well.

You may find that the more you pursue foods that support you, and the more you tune into what you actually want and need, you’ll begin to savour and relish your food more.

This level of mindfulness usually results in getting more satisfaction from less food, as opposed to what popular health coach Brook Castillo calls ‘fog eating’.

And waking up from the fog of unconscious living is a powerful step on the road to inspired living – the route to your muse.

The Muse Diet

So with a starter of intention, a main course of awareness and a sweet serving of pleasure to finish – et voila! 

A recipe for a healthy, balanced, emotionally-satisfied you.

Which just happens to be the version your muse most likes to visit.

And when you’re working with your body, rather than against it, you’ll need less time for ill-health, excessive exercise or time-consuming food plans.

Which just might open up a little breathing space in your timetable to focus on the new creative ideas that are beginning to flow…

• • • 

Obligatory Disclaimer

Though I can’t imagine there is a doctor in the world that would advise against eating well, it may be the case that you need medical advice on exactly what that means for you.

If you have any health concerns that require a professional to supervise any dietary changes, make sure you seek the support and guidance you need.

However important your creative goals, your basic health and wellbeing always take top priority.

 

• • •  

The Muse Spa Recommendation: Eat well.

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This post is an extract from The Muse Spa – a 6-week ecourse for creatives with a focus on health & wellbeing.

The Muse Diet is just one of a series of digital ‘treatments’ – articles, workbooks and exercises designed to help you rediscover to your innate wellness and reconnect to your creative spark.

If you’d like the workbook that supports this post, just let me know – I’d be happy to email it to you. 🙂

 

 • • • 

Discover the life-enhancing connection between creativity and wellness…

Creativity & writing tips for bloggers

Writing does look easy!

But ask any writer – however much they love to write, it can be a bumpy journey.

And if you’re a blogger with a post (or 10) to write, the struggles can sometimes make you forget the Joy of Blogging.

So, in my role as Ambassador for Joy, Flow & Ease in the creative process, I’ve collated a few of my favourite creativity coaching techniques – especially for my fellow bloggers.

Enjoy!

MAKE-IT-EASY PREP WORK

Make notes

Keep a notebook or file of ideas.

Whenever ideas occur to you, write them down as soon as possible,

Inspiration often strikes at unusual times, so to make sure you don’t lose these gems, acquire the habit of making notes.

Use whatever you have to! (Napkins are a notorious favourite of millionaires… ;-))

If it’s inconvenient or feels like a chore, be motivated by how easy it will make your writing process.

I find the Notes app on my phone is usually the most convenient and close-to-hand, as well as a physical notebook and pencil at home. I then transfer my notes to the relevant homes in Evernote.

• • • 

Sow the seed
Give your blog post some calm, relaxed attention, as early as possible.

Just begin pondering it a few days before you plan to begin writing.

Jot the title or a few words down on the blank page a few days before you need to start, and pin it to your board or wall.

In the days before you plan to begin, write the blog title or idea on a sticky note and put it where you’ll see it before you go to sleep.

You could also keep a note on the dashboard of your car – driving is a great time to ponder new ideas.

(Just make sure you pull over safely if you need to write things down!)

If you’re heading out for a run/walk/workout etc – write down the blog title and keep it in your pocket.

Physical exercise can be very inspiring, so make you have your notebook ready for the downloads.

• • • 

GETTING STARTED

When you’re ready to sit down and begin writing…

Explore your notes

Hopefully, you’ve already got some notes and ideas to begin with. Just explore these to see which ones naturally grow and evolve. If any feel difficult or confusing, move onto the next.

Build on your notes, adding any new thoughts and developing your favourite ideas.

• • • 

Create a mind map

Mapping out key points or the intended structure of the blog can help you stay on track and keep your writing clear.

However, if you feel inspired to go off in another direction, go with it. If ever the words come pouring – don’t stop them!

Then afterwards, you can assess whether the new material is relevant, or perhaps for a different post.

Use your mind map to check back in to see if the new ideas fit with the original intention.

If they don’t add to the clarity or flow of the blog you’re working on, file them for later use. (You may have just written the next blog post instead!)

• • • 

First draft first

To get words onto a blank page – just focus on producing a first draft.

Aim to simply get the words out of your head onto the page – in any order.

Don’t worry about structure – that will emerge as you review your notes and ideas.

You can polish and edit and refine once the core material is in place.

• • • 

WRITER TIP:

Writing is essentially a two-part process of downloading ideas, then refining them.

It can feel like a struggle to do both tasks at once, but there are different techniques of switching between the two modes.

Writers vary – some like to do nothing but composition for a long time, then edit days later.

Others like to switch back and forth between the two modes as they go along.

Experiment with which method feels right for you.

• • • 

KEEP GOING

If you feel stuck or run out of ideas…

Use prompts

You can often bypass your resistance by using sentence prompts such as:

I want to write about…

Or:

If I knew what to write, I’d write about…

• • •

Move

Try changing your location, working in a different environment. If possible, choose somewhere inspiring, beautiful of refreshing.

Moving your body also helps to boost your creativity.

Can you take a break for a short walk or a few yoga poses?

• • •

Lights & sounds

To stay calm and inspired as you write, play some music designed to enhance the creative process. (Spotify is great for these kind of playlists.)

If you love candles, keep one on your desk and light it as a symbolic gesture that you are ready for some focused creative work.

It can also serve as a meditative focal point when you need to think through an idea or phrase. (Gazing out of the window is also great for this.)

 

Take a breath

If you feel yourself getting frustrated with your writing, just take a few moments to close your eyes and breathe deeply.

When you focus back on your work, you’ll have a clearer head and feel less of that creativity-sapping frustration.

• • •

Tidy up

Whenever you hit a block or feel confused about what you’re writing, a great trick is to stop for a few minutes and have a short tidy-up.

Clear the papers on your desk or tidy your workspace.

Doing a mundane task that you can do on auto-pilot gives your mind a chance to rest and percolate ideas.

And creating physical order can lead to clarity, helping you find more order in your writing.

• • •

Use your sleeping mind

If you can, review your notes/draft before you go to sleep, with the intention that your subconscious mind will take over and work on it.

You’ll be amazed by the new ideas that ‘mysteriously’ pop into your head the next day.

You may even wake up with the perfect phrase or structure – so make sure you have a notebook by your bed.

• • •

GETTING FINISHED

You’ve written your first draft, you’ve edited and polished – but it’s still not quite finished.

Here’s what to do to get that blog post ready for the world…

Leave & return

When you leave a piece of writing and return to it later, it’s much easier to see any muddled sections or clunky passages.

After working so closely and intently, we get word blind and don’t see inconsistencies or glaring errors.

So, your writing will always be better for a rest.

When possible, plan to finish at least the day before the deadline so you can sleep on it.

(This also trains you to not leave things to last-minute which is stressful and saps the joy from the creative process.

• • • 

Know when to stop

This is tricky! We naturally want to keep tinkering.

But there comes a point when we need to let the work go and do its work in the world.

Practice tuning into your intuition for help with this. Is that inner voice urging you to make some vital improvements? Or are you just resisting the decision to stop?

This is a difficult skill for all creatives, so go easy on yourself and be prepared to practice and gradually get to used to knowing what’s right for you.

• • • 

Get a second opinion

Ask someone else to take a look at your writing. They’ll spot things you’ve missed.

They may also have some suggestions that inspire you to make the post even better.

• • • 

Rescue your darlings

As you edit your posts, get in the habit of keeping any of the good writing that you cut.

It may not have been right for that particular blog post, but it could find a home elsewhere.

It may even spark a whole new post of its own. (I’ve written a blog post about this idea if you’d like to explore more.)

• • • 

Hopefully these tips will support and inspire you with your next blog post, as well as make it ever-easier to create further posts in future.

(Because relaxed, calm and happy bloggers make for better blogs. 😉 )

 

Happy blogging!

Danielle

 

PS I’ve got a whole series of these Make-It-Easy tips for the many aspects of the creative process.

So, if you’d like to find more joy, flow and ease in your creative adventures, sign up for my Tonics For the Creative Spirit email series.

Details below!

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Subscriber Showcase – Meet Dana!

Welcome to a new Subscriber Showcase!

And to align with all the New Year New You energy, I’d like to introduce you to a beautiful soul who is pouring her heart and creativity into an inspiring message of health and wellness.

Introducing…

Dana Dinnawi  

 

Tell us about yourself, Dana. 

 

dana-dinnawiHi, I’m Dana Dinnawi.

As a Health Coach certified by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, I’m in the business of showing strong, smart, independent women how to take back control of their lives from what they eat and how they look, to what they do and how they feel.

I help them break out of the cycle of yo-yo dieting so they can shed the last stubborn kilos, and learn how to eat for life so they can regain their energy and self-confidence to refocus on themselves and create a guilt-free lifestyle that fills them up daily.

As the founder of Empowered Wellness and Living, I’m passionate about helping women discover what serves, energizes and fuels them.

Because once they realize that it’s the choices they make that hold them back or fuel them forward, the possibilities are limitless.

I am half-Egyptian, half Lebanese. I have lived in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, England, Canada and now Egypt. I’ve been happily married for 22 years and have 3 kids; Malak, 20; Nour 18 and Youssef 9.

I love good food; eating out; shopping and travelling whenever I can?)

• • •
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Tell us a little about your creative life, and why it’s important to you.

Growing up, creativity was a part of my life in a very big and natural way. I played piano and flute and was on the school band; I loved acting and was in every play through university; I did tap and jazz dance and drew and painted for fun constantly.

Life, however, as it does, got in the way and since university, I haven’t nurtured a single one of those creative outlets at all as I got married and had my children and then went back to do my MA and then went to work and so on.

It was only in the past few years, when I discovered my passion for health coaching and really re-tapping into my true self, that a need for self-expression and creativity made itself abundantly clear to me, although I had no idea how.

Last year, I launched my online Empowered Wellness and Living Magazine as a way to infuse my business with creativity and give myself something work-related that wasn’t monetized and wasn’t about getting clients, but simply a beautiful way of communication. And I have loved it.

 

• • •

Tell us more about your current creative adventure…

And so my big creative dream NOW is re-launching, rebranding and creating the best version of this magazine that I can.

Although I loved creating it this past year, intuitively I knew that it needed to grow and evolve. My vision for it is an online global wellness magazine for the strong, smart, independent woman who wants to create a guilt-free, vibrant life that fills her up daily.

empowered-wellness-magazine

And in order to do that, I am creating a team of international women to create this vision with me—women who are just as passionate about holistic health as I am, and who are on a fierce mission to transform women’s lives.

If you’d love to get the magazine – please sign up here.

• • • 

Thank you, Dana!

And I am honoured to be a part of Dana’s new labour of love as the magazine’s Creativity Editor.

I’ll be sharing monthly tips for enjoying more creativity, inspiration and wellbeing – you can catch my first post here; A Creative Route To Wellness.

My obsession with the the creative power of self care feels very at home in an Empowered Wellness movement.

And since health and wellness are always high on my agenda, I look forward to following Dana’s inspiring journey over the year ahead. 🙂

• • •

So I hope you enjoyed meeting Dana and learning more about her creative dream and empowering message. You can find more about her here.

And if you’d like me to feature you and your creative projects in a future Subscriber Showcase – please just let me know.

Here’s to health, happiness and a wonderfully creative 2017.

 

Danielle

Subscriber Showcase: Meet Rhoda…

Welcome to a new Subscriber Showcase!

And this month’s featured lovely is a fellow mother of two boys, balancing the busy family years with an unstoppable yearning to create.

Introducing the beautiful and inspiring…

Rhoda Jordan.  

 

Tell us about yourself, Rhoda. 

 

Rhoda 1Hi there!

I’m Rhoda, and I’m a writer, filmmaker, and tantric meditation teacher. I work with my husband here in California, writing and making films.

Our most recent film Living Things is centered around the topic of animal rights, and was endorsed by PETA.

I’ve also helped my husband run his ghostwriting business for the past 12 years; we write books, scripts, speeches, and articles for clients all over the world.

We meet so many fascinating people who blow our minds every day with their stories.

I also teach online tantric meditation courses.

I show people how to wake up to who they are, to transcend the ego and plug in to more fulfilling and authentic ways of being.

• • •

Tell us a little about your creative life, and why it’s important to you.

My creative life is everything to me. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to breathe.

If a day goes by without me having a chance to create, I feel stale inside. Creativity is the stuff that our life force energy is made up of.

As human beings, we need to create. Creating helps us to connect, to express, to liberate what is within.

Living-ThingsIt’s a divine merging of emotions, energy, passion, presence, and aliveness.

Creativity is a bridge that not only connects us to the deep, primal parts of ourselves, but it connects us to others, as well.

And when I say I need to do something creative every day, I don’t mean that I have to write a chapter of a novel or be shooting a movie constantly…

There are so many little ways to be creative.

When I redecorate my room, or paint with my kids, or shoot a YouTube video, or dance, or spontaneously come up with a new recipe, I’m being creative…

The opportunities for daily creativity are endless!

 

• • •

Tell us more about your current creative adventure…

 

One of the most recent things I created is a Tantric Training Series!

It’s a 3-part video series where I share a bit about starting a tantric practice.

I share ways how you can use the breath to feel more orgasmic in every aspect of your life — in your work, your creativity, your sex life, your relationships.

It’s about waking up the body’s innate energy and bliss.

The breaths I share are intense, and they will spark your creativity very deeply.

If you want to sign up, it’s free and it starts on Monday, September 5th.

 

Rhoda beach 1

 

Thank you so much Danielle for featuring me in your Subscriber Showcase!

You have inspired me so much, and my creative journey has been deeply enhanced by working with you!

 

• • • 

 

Thank you, Rhoda!

Rhoda was one of the first brave souls to trust me with their creative dreams when I began my coaching service, and I have been inspired by her energy and passion ever since.

So I hope you enjoyed meeting her and discovering her important and powerful work. You can find more about Rhoda here: rhodajordan.com

And if you’d like me to feature you and your creative projects in a future Subscriber Showcase – please just let me know.

Wishing you a wonderful, inspired and creative September!

 

Danielle

 

• • •

Subscriber Showcase! Meet April…

Welcome to another Subscriber Showcase!

If you enjoy adventure, courage and beautiful Italian architecture – you’re in for a treat.

Because this month’s inspiring creative is…

April Lee.  

 

Tell us about yourself, April. 

 

me. 7. 16. filter.Hello!

As a holistic life and wellness coach, I’m passionate about helping women rediscover their essence as they follow the path to their dreams.

I realize that may sound like a slick piece of marketing, but I mean it sincerely.

I recently changed the whole focus of my business to highlight the importance of dream-chasing-and-catching, because I myself am currently in the midst of fulfilling a long-held dream of my own. (More on this below.)

Previously, for some 20+ years, I’d counseled women with eating issues ranging from full-blown eating disorders to yo-yo dieting struggles and everywhere in between on the continuum.

My husband and I will soon celebrate 28 years of marriage. We have 2 fabulous sons (who are now 23 and 18).

One thing that has kept our union lively and healthy is our determination to avoid stagnation. In fact, we are getting ready to embark very soon on our biggest adventure yet.

• • •

Tell us a little about your creative life, and why it’s important to you.

My creative life primarily revolves around my writing. I simply cannot process the world without pen and paper.

I keep a daily journal and a weekly blog, and I write a lot of poetry. I’ve also begun the process of writing my first book (about the dream mentioned above).

THE-ARRIVAL-August-1-e1467156429627My latest creative undertaking has been my signature e-course, THE ARRIVAL: the quintessential essence7 journey to making your dreams come true, which I am offering again on August 1.

My all-encompassing goal as an adult has been to understand, to connect to, and to embody my essence. My company, essence7 wellness, arose from this endeavor.

This course introduces and explores the 7 essential elements that make up my personal philosophy, my driving force.

I think existing in a curious, adventure-filled, dream-seeking manner is creative living at its finest; continuously coming up with creative solutions to whatever life presents.

I’ve applied this theory in many different ways throughout the years, such as: decorating different homes we’ve lived in, homeschooling my sons, handling situations involving conflict, traveling nomadically throughout the world, designing and running my own business, taking risks.

I enjoy leading a novel and vibrant creative life in whatever I do.

• • •

Tell us more about your current creative adventure…

My husband and I are moving to Italy in September and refurbishing a 1920s Tuscan villa, which will serve as both our primary residence and also a retreat destination for my clients.

villa magnolia

 

We have been loosely planning this move since 2012, and are finally getting close to seeing the dream become reality.

It will actually be a combination of several different dreams coming together – living in Europe, opening up my home for retreats (which I call ARRIVALS), and renovating a large older house.

When I was a young girl, my mom and I would drive by stately homes that had been abandoned or neglected.

We’d gaze admiringly at the crumbling facades and imagine what once took place inside those walls.

I would often proclaim that when I grew up, I would “buy a big old house and fix it up.” I dreamed about lovingly restoring it to its former grandeur.

It became a theme in later years, and my husband even labeled our boxes “big house” the last time we stored our belongings.

Fast forward many years to 2015 . . . and house hunting in Europe!

After looking at hundreds of options (in several different countries, online and in person), we put an offer on a house in Portugal.

But after four long frustrating months, the deal fell through. It was extremely disappointing.

Then last August, the night before our 27th wedding anniversary, my husband found a house in Italy online – in our price range and in the architectural style we both love.

Italy had always been our first choice (and it is the country of my roots).

Up to this point, however, we hadn’t been able to find anything we liked that we could afford.

Until now.

 

villa magnolia entrance hall in the sunshine

No one has lived in Villa Magnolia for four years.

And this inkling of an idea began four years ago.

I like to think we started making our way towards one another at the same time.

Synchronicity.

In my most overwhelmed moments, as I prepare for this monumental move from the United States to Italy, I imagine my strong beautiful villa waiting for me.

 

villa magnolia portico

 

Only two more months until we are finally together. (I just wish my beloved mom could see it too. She passed away in 2002.)

There are so many other parts to this story, but I’ve taken up enough of your space and time.

I definitely need to finish that book . . .

• • •

Thank you, Danielle, for this opportunity to share my creative life.

And as I step into the vast unknown territory of my Italian adventure, I embrace these wise words of yours:

“But what if we can’t see a sure way, or we have no guarantee that things will work out as expected and make our precious efforts worthwhile?

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Faith is the powerful force that leads us to act in spite of uncertainty.

It’s the key difference between those who keep striving toward their goals and dreams, and those who give up – or never even begin.

Many of the world’s great creations, achievements, advances, and successes only occurred because someone took a leap of faith.”

Here’s to my leap!

 

april hugging villa magnolia

• • • 

 

Thank you, April!

I hope you enjoyed discovering April’s work, and please do check out her new ecourse.

She also has a blog post here with more on her exciting (and brave!) Villa Magnolia story.

(I’ll let you know when her book is ready!)

And if you’d like me to feature you and your creative projects in a future Subscriber Showcase – please just let me know.

Wishing you a wonderful, inspired and creative week,

Danielle

 

• • •
The All-Year Resolution: Intention vs Force

The All-Year Resolution: Intention vs Force

All Year resolution

 

It’s New Year time again.

I love the energy and optimism of this time of year. We’re so hopeful for the future, we’re determined to improve things, to live better, to be better, to finally do those things we’ve been saying we will do.

It’s the perfect time to resolve to actually make it happen this year.

And yet…

New Year Resolutions don’t have a great success rate.

Instead of an inspiring opportunity to harness the wonderful New Year energy, they’re more often associated with forced denial, failed attempts and fractured self-esteem.

But I don’t believe the New Year resolve is to blame for the high incidence of abandoned hopes and dreams. I believe there’s another culprit that can be an insidious saboteur of the human spirit:

The All-Or-Nothing mindset.

When our New Year Resolutions fail, often it’s not because we’re weak-willed, or ‘just not meant to do it’, but simply because we’re humans, not machines – when making powerful changes, it may take many, many attempts and re-attempts before these new practices become established.

What would happen to our success rate, if we removed the pressure to enforce our New Year changes without fail every day, from January 1st?

 

What if we accepted that it may take time to adjust to these changes, it may take weeks, perhaps months for new habits to form?

After all, humans have limited supplies of will-power, we have finite reserves of discipline. There’s only so much force and steely-willed determination we can summon before we become exhausted, disillusioned or unpleasant to be around.

Is this really the best way to craft our dream life?

If our New Year changes are meant to increase our success and happiness, how does being miserable and set up for failure support that goal?

And isn’t the quality of life en route to our goals just as precious and important as the (fleeting) moments at the Finish Line?

Whilst it’s true that 100% commitment can work brilliantly for some, (at least for a while), for the rest of us, there’s a more spirit-friendly alternative to the strait-jacket of All-or-Nothing Resolutions…

 

Christmas candles

The Power of Intention.

Intention is powerful.

Intention is a fuel that will never run out. No matter how many times we may lose our way, if we hold fast to our intention to get to where we want to be, the odds are good that we will get there. Eventually.

There may be detours, but if our intention is strong, we will soon recover our path.

There may be failures, but if we ditch the pesky and unhelpful All-Or-Nothing Mindset, we’ll find it so much easier to simply try again.

Intentions don’t require deadlines; they allow you time to just begin playing with these ideas, they allow you space to gradually incorporate these changes into your life.

Intentions are lighter and less demanding than the Must Do mentality, meaning you’re far more likely to shrug off any slips or blips and have another go.

So if a day or two or more goes by, and you’ve missed or forgotten your new practices – your intention is still there, as strong as ever, ready to shore up your resolve.

You can tap back into your intention, revisit your reasons for making these changes, and begin again.

This approach to creating anything will carry you much further toward your vision than any number of failed All-or-Nothing attempts.

New Year ‘Intentions’ are undoubtedly a less dramatic, less aggressive route to ‘getting results’, but for many of us, they can be so much more enjoyable, not to mention easier to stick with. And when the journey is easy and fun, that way success lies.


So this New Year, instead of giving up on resolutions altogether, perhaps try the gentler, subtler tactic of The All Year Resolution.

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CLICK TO TWEET

 

Simply intend to create the fabulous New You that’s calling you.

No unrealistic deadlines. No forcing of will. Just an intention to devote this new year to working towards your vision.

And when you’re not chasing a fixed result by fixed time, there’s no failure. You’re just making changes, gathering feedback, adjusting and re-adjusting.

Less urgency = Less stress. (A significant health bonus even before you start.)

Even if it takes all year, you’ll still be closer to your vision than if you go all-out for a few miserable weeks in January, then abandon it for another year – or even worse, never attempt those life-enhancing changes at all.

And imagine how lovely life could be this time next year, if you make your resolutions an all-year focus.

 

Cambridge tree

 

So this year, why not play with the idea of The All-Year Resolution. It’s a kinder, more sustainable route to the improvement, success and happiness that you’d love to create in the year ahead.

As an added incentive, the more your reaffirm your intention to do something, the more you’ll find it ‘mysteriously’ popping into your head, or occurring at the perfect place or time. (This is the muse’s handiwork. 😉 )

It becomes ever-easier to live and act in line with your intended goals.

So I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the promise and potential of a fresh and sparkling New Year, with a yearlong intention to make the most of it.

No struggle. No force. Just a resolve to evolve.

Allow the phenomenal power of intention to fuel your hopes and dreams, and make this new year the magical success it’s waiting to be.

 

Wishing you health, wealth, peace and joy – in the New Year and beyond,

Danielle

 

 

• • • 

 

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