Reduce worry and overwhelm; have a Scarlett O Hara Moment…

Flashback to 2010…

Today’s post is inspired by an idea from my early blogging days – when my focus was how to stay serene (or at last sane) if you were an undomestic goddess with a home to keep.

It’s a tip from my first blog, Make Peace With Housework:

The idea of having a ‘Scarlett O’Hara Moment’.

When I originally wrote about this, it was a suggestion to help reduce feelings of frustration and overwhelm for sufferers of housework blues.

I offered it as a psychological trick to help my readers keep calm and carry on. (Even though that’s now an overused cliché, I still believe it’s a powerful strategy for resilience, inner strength and success.)

If you’d like to read the original post, you can find that in the Make Peace With Housework blog archive.

But over the years, I’ve found it such a useful tool, that I’m updating it for general use and sharing it here too…

• • • 

What is a Scarlett O’Hara Moment?

Inspired by one of my favourite fictional heroines, a Scarlett O’Hara Moment is the simple decision to postpone worry.

In the classic film, Gone With The Wind, Scarlett has a habit of scheduling difficult decisions…

“I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy.

I’ll think about it tomorrow.”

~ Scarlett O’Hara

Now, this may seem childish or irresponsible at first, or it might even sound like denial – and it’s true that there are times when it’s not possible or appropriate.

But there are other times, lots of times during everyday dramas, when it could actually be a genius coping mechanism.

Because for all its childish simplicity – it works!

Psychologists now know that when we’re stressed or overwhelmed – we don’t think clearly, we don’t make the best decisions.

So whenever possible, Scarlett’s strategy is a perfect solution.

Those times in the midst of drama – when our emotions are high and our head is spinning – sometimes the best decision is to not make any decisions. Yet.

We can take a deep breath – and choose a Scarlett O’Hara moment:

the simple choice to think about it tomorrow.

And there’s so much relief in this.

(I speak from experience – it’s a strategy I’ve used often since I first wrote about it in 2010.)

This tactic gives you some mental breathing space which can really help you recover your balance and calm.

It takes the pressure off, even if only temporarily.

Intending to worry about it another day is far easier than trying to write it off completely.

Because you’re not trying to deny or suppress your frustration, you’re just filing it for future attention.

You’re scheduling it for a Less-Frazzled Later – a time when you’re better able to manage it with clarity and reason.

• • • 

There’s also a hidden benefit to this tactic…

When we stop pushing so frantically for a solution, many problems have a habit of ‘mysteriously’ sorting themselves out.

So, sometimes, when you’ve regained your calm, you realise that there was no need to worry after all.

By having a Scarlett O’Hara Moment, you saved yourself all that needless anxiety and stress.

But even if the issue does need addressing the next day, you can approach it with more balanced emotions, you can make a clearer assessment and ultimately better decisions.

I’ll admit, there will be times when this isn’t as easy as it sounds – but it does get easier with practice, I promise.

And even if you only manage this trick on every other attempt – you will reduce your angst by half.

As an incentive, remind yourself that it’s a practice that not only helps to soothe you in the moment – it will also bring more peace, calm and serenity to your life and relationships.

Because by postponing decisions and reactions for a Less-frazzled Later, you’ll enjoy the happy ripple effects of better choices, responses and solutions.

So, the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or stuck in a worry-loop, take a tip from Scarlett:

If you can, make the decision to simply not worry about it, for now.

Take a deep breath, and decide to think about it tomorrow.

Danielle Raine Creativity Coach

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5 days to clarity, focus & purpose…

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5 days of simple tasks that create a blueprint of what matters to you and how to stay clear, on track and on purpose.

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The Rudder Board – my remedy for choice overwhelm and decision fatigue

The day we moved house last year, my husband asked me a simple question:

“Which cupboard shall we keep plates in?”

Seems like an easy enough question.

But I couldn’t answer him.

I just couldn’t get my brain to click into decision-making mode.

After the hundreds of choices and decisions I’d made in recent months, packing up our home of 15 years, handling the complex legal issues with the house sale – my brain had had enough of decisions and was refusing to make any more, at least for the time being.

Standing in our new kitchen, surrounded by boxes of pans and piles of plates, my whole family looking to me for answers, all I could do was admit:

“I’ve run out of decision-making juice.

I need to not make any more decisions for a while.”

Luckily my family understand my struggles with decision-making.

Or at least they’ve got used to it – ever since I told them about an article I read a few years ago, revealing that scientists had discovered humans only have so much decision-making capacity each day.

This is why!” I’d shared excitedly.

“This is why I sometimes can’t decide what to do!”

I’m always delighted when science backs me up in something I’d known but couldn’t quite explain.

So when I also read about the idea of the ‘mental load of mothers’, I heaved another happy sigh of relief.

(It seems, some lifestyles – CEOs, presidents, mothers of small/multiple children – are particularly taxing on our limited decision-making resources.)

These insights helped me so much.

Because in recent years, I’d noticed that my decision-making powers (or lack of) were getting in the way of the life I wanted to live.

I’d started to think I was just a dithering Libran who was weak-willed, unfocused, indecisive.

But discovering the effects of decision-overload on our human brains helped me to understand and forgive my so-called failings.

It helped me learn to recognise when my brain was simply tired of making decisions.

And it helped to share with my family that Decision Fatigue was a legitimate phenomenon – so they’d understand why some days a question like, Where do you want the plates? was more than I could cope with.

 

 

But even with an understanding family, life calls for many, many decisions, some large, but mostly small and seemingly inconsequential.

Yet all decisions have their effects.

All our daily choices build up over time to create the life we live.

And modern life is only getting more complex – in my Positive Psychology studies, I learned about ‘the anxiety of choice’ and its detrimental effects on our health and happiness.

For me, as a lifelong creative (who has learned to tap into inspiration on a daily basis) – one of the areas where I felt the most angst around choice and indecision was in my creative life.

I noticed that I wasted increasing amounts of precious creative time wondering which project to focus on.

I’d be full of ideas, yet when it came to time to take action on them, I’d flit from one project to another, making little progress with anything.

If I was working on one thing, I’d feel like I should be working on something else.

If I was working on that, I’d wonder if the first thing was right after all.

An acute case of Should I be doing something else? Syndrome – a common problem for many multi-passionate creatives.

I’ve known all my life that Librans have a tendency to struggle with indecision, but it was becoming more than a character trait, it was becoming a major obstacle to my career success.

It was also affecting my self-esteem – nobody wants to see themselves as flaky and indecisive, unable to finish anything.

It reached a point where I feared that my Libran indecisiveness, the mental load of motherhood and natural decision-making limits would block me from achieving anything worthwhile.

How was I going to write the books that were calling me to be written?

How could I create the dream career that my soul was craving?

How could I choose which actions were the ‘right ones’ to create the life I wanted to live, a life that felt meaningful, creative, productive and happy?

Choice overwhelm and decision fatigue left me feeling confused, dejected and lost.

Rudderless.

 

Luckily, I also have a more positive tendency to puzzle over problems until I find or create a solution.

Eventually, an idea began to form in my mind….

“What if I had a clear guide that I could refer to when my decision-making fuel was running low…?”

“What if I had a kind of map, to steer my life by – that I could check in with, whenever I got overwhelmed with decisions or forgot what really mattered…?”

“What if there was a tool I could use daily to remind me of my Bigger Picture goals, values and ambitions, so I don’t get lost and distracted by the minutiae of life…?”

And these What Ifs gradually grew into the kind of touchstone I was craving.

I created a process and one-page check-in tool I call The Rudder Board.

 

Introducing… The Rudder Board

It’s a kind of life map, that helps me tune back into my course and direction – helping me see clearly where I want to go.

A reference tool that helps me reconnect to my goals, making it easier to choose what to focus on and how to spend my time.

A device that preserves my precious decision-making fuel by helping me feel clear, focused and decisive in my life and work on a daily basis.

And I LOVE having this rudder!

It feels like a pocket North Star.

And I found my Rudder Board so helpful that I began sharing the process with my clients, who also loved the new clarity, focus and peace of mind it helped them find.

Our Rudder Boards helped us;

• feel clear on what matters, which makes decision-making easier 

• include our purpose in our agenda, so we feel on track in our daily lives

• prioritise the creative work we love and feel called to offer the world

• be crystal clear on the ‘right actions’, ie what we want to be spending our precious life units on

I used to share The Rudder Board process as part of my larger coaching packages, but I feel this is such a useful tool that I wanted to make it available as a quick-&-easy mini ecourse.

Because I know that I’m not alone in my choice overwhelm or Should I Be Doing Something Else…? Syndrome.

And I know that more and more heart-centred creatives are feeling called to a life of purpose and contribution – if only they could get clear and stay clear on what that is.

So I’ve wrapped up my process into a 5-day ecourse that walks you step-by-simple-step to creating your Rudder Board.

In less than a week, you could have your own clarity-&-focus touchstone that will help you avoid getting lost in dilemmas or wasting your precious decision-making fuel.

Because if, like me, you’re also prone to confusion, indecision, too many ideas or choice overwhelm…

… it feels so good to know that you’re doing what you should be doing. 

 

Your Rudder Board will help you tap back into that clarity and focus more quickly, more easily and more often.

So you can spend more time creating the work you’re here to create – and enjoying the process.

There are more details below if you’d like me to guide you in creating your own Rudder Board clarity tool.

And if you’ve also felt lost and overwhelmed with choices, I hope these insights will help you find clearer, calmer waters in both your creativity and life.

Because happy creatives are good for the planet. 🙂

 

To being clear, focused and productive – and all the lovely life-enhancing ripple effects that follow,

Danielle Raine Creativity Coach

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5 days to clarity, focus & purpose…

Join me for a mini ecourse that walks you, step-by-step, to creating your Rudder Board.

5 days of simple tasks that create a blueprint of what matters to you and how to stay clear, on track and on purpose.

My unusual remedy for creative overwhelm

If you’ve been with me for a while, hopefully I’ve helped you access the source of your inspiration and unleash your innate creativity.

So if you’re now on great terms with your muse, you may be familiar with a new level of creative challenge…

Creative overwhelm.

Also known as:

• Too many ideas

• A struggle to focus or choose projects

• Shiny Object Syndrome

These are real, and often unacknowledged obstacles on the creative path.

And they can sap the joy and fulfilment from the creative life. (The reasons we signed up in the first place.)

I know that for many a blocked creative, Too Many Ideas seems like a nice problem to have.

But still, it can be a problem.

Especially if you get so overwhelmed with ideas and projects that you never finish anything.

Or you don’t know what to focus on and end up wasting your precious creative time spinning in confusion.

Or you flit from project to project and making little progress with anything.

And since I’ve spent the last 5 years learning how to access and tap into inspiration – virtually on demand – it’s a challenge I am very familiar with.

But happily, I have recently found a surprising solution in an ancient philosophy…

 

Introducing… The Magic of Numbers

There’s an ancient art and science that explores the rhythms and cycles at play in our lives linked to the ‘energies’ of numbers.

This school of thought believes that we’re influenced by these energies and cycles depending on our own unique numbers, based on our date of birth.

It’s a little like the realm of astrology and horoscopes, but instead of identifying with star-signs, we discover and align with 9-step cycles.

We can use this cycle-system on a daily, monthly or yearly basis – or even over a whole lifetime.

Welcome to the fascinating world of numerology…

Numerology – the study of numbers and their meanings – is currently enjoying a renaissance, possibly because our Life Path Numbers can offer insights into our purpose and ideal careers.

But what I love about numerology is how it helps me to structure and pace my creative goals and dreams.

Because I have a tendency to have Lots Of Ideas and to want to create them All At Once.

I’ve learned this is not the most practical, productive or effective approach.

This is where my magic numbers come to the rescue…

When we know our numbers, we can identify what mode or energetic ‘season’ we’re in.

It’s little like understanding the rhythms of nature, where the creative process is aligned with natural forces, ie the best time to prepare the soil, when to sow our seeds, how long to wait and when to reap the fruits of our labour.

If, like me, you have lots of ideas or projects at varying stages of development, it can be really helpful to have a similar kind of insight and framework for your creative process.

I find that the 9-step cycle of numerology, with its different phases and ‘vibes’, is a perfect antidote to creative chaos and overwhelm.

It helps me plan and pace my projects, helping me choose what aspect to focus on and how to schedule my efforts effectively.

It provides an essential structural balance to my over-inspired tendencies.

It helps me to harness the energy and flow of my wild creative spirit in a way that leads to productivity, progress and the inner calm and confidence that those vital aspects bring.

Here are some of the benefits I enjoy by adopting numerology principles into my creative process and workflow…

The benefits of aligning my creative flow

with a balanced and productive cycle structure

• I can plan projects and goals in alignment with the right energies or seasonal themes – knowing when it’s time to move forward,  speed up, slow down or reassess.

• I enjoy balance and a manageable pace with opportunities to rest, recharge and recover.

• I can joyfully go for it with gusto when I know it’s ‘harvest time’!

• I get to experience deeper meaning, clarity, and a sense of purpose in my creative life.

• Understanding my process and rhythms brings peace and inner calm.

• There is a spirit-calming comfort in knowing that certain struggles are short term – that ‘this too shall pass’.

• I find it much easier to have faith in happier times and the inevitable upswing when I can see where I am in the creative cycle.

(And since faith and resilience are creative superpowers – this makes a huge difference to my work, and my quality of life.)

So if you ever struggle with having too many ideas, I highly recommend looking into numerology as a tool to tame any wild and overwhelming creative tendencies.

After all, if there are energies are at play in our lives – and there are undoubtedly some seasonal rhythms at work – wouldn’t you like to know what they are?

Then you can learn to ride the flows, instead of swimming against the current.

Or you could even just use the 9-step cycle as a way of pacing your creative projects and planning a manageable, productive schedule.

If you’d like to know more, I began my discovery of numerology with these books:

 

i see your dream job sue frederick    redesign your life using numerology felicia bender

 

 

Admittedly, it may seem a little complicated at first, but once you get used the language, it’s a fun and fascinating philosophy.

At least, it is for me – but I’ve always enjoyed maths and numbers. (As a teenager, I used to do extra maths exam papers for fun – I just loved numbers!)

But if you don’t share my love of maths and the joy of numbers, there are lots of resources online that can help you work out your own magic numbers.

Or if you’d like it done for you, I’ve created a new offering that reveals your personal numbers and cycles with a creative twist…

It’s a bespoke guide to show how you can best use your numbers to plan and structure your creative life and work.

More details below if you’d like to know more.

• • •

So, there you have it – my unusual remedy to creative overwhelm.

I’d love to know if this strikes a chord with you!

Are you curious about the role of your magic numbers in your creative life?

If so, I hope I’ve given you something to think about and maybe a new solution to explore.

Because there’s more to being a happy, successful creative than just endlessly creating new things.

We need to find a way to work with our energies, rhythms and flows, as well as those of the wider world.

We need some kind of stabilising structure that helps us stay balanced, productive and inspired – not to mention happy and well.

Numerology provides that structure for me – and I love the peace and calm it brings.

So, if it sounds like the kind of balance you’ve been looking for, I hope you’ll explore your own magic numbers…

And let me know how you get on. 🙂

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Discover your magic numbers…

Teaching writers to fish…

“It was as if Danielle was sitting next to me as I tried to write.”

 

These words from one of my lovely clients have given me an idea…

What if I could teach writers how to fish?!

Sort of.

Inspired by the saying: teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

What if I could teach writers a series of self-coaching skills?

Because as wonderful as coaching and 1:1 support can be, I believe the best coaches empower their clients to enjoy a new level of confidence and independence when the coaching is over.

No-one has their coach by their side all day, every day – when they are facing the dilemmas and quandaries and wobbles of life.

One reason I love email coaching is that it addresses this need to a degree – you can email your issues anytime, or as they occur, and sometimes articulating the question is all you need for the time being.

But I’m interested in helping writers coach themselves through the inevitable creative challenges, at all hours of the day or night.

Skills that will support them for many happy writing years ahead.

So I’m planning to distil my studies and training into a series of Self-Coaching Tips for the most common writing issues.

Have you met any of these creativity-zapping gremlins along your writing path…?

   • Procrastination.

   • Lack of time.

   • Self-doubt.

   • Confusion.

   • Inner critic.

   • Fear of others’ opinions.

I have a whole toolkit of magical and powerful techniques to reduce or eliminate these (often unnecessary) creative blocks.

Ways to help writers tap into their own resources and inner support skills when they need them most.

But I first I need your help.

So, if you’re a writer, and these self-coaching skills would be valuable to you – how would you prefer to learn them?

Email series?

Weekly articles?

Video?

Audio?

In-person?

Alongside a coaching programme?

I’d love to know!

If you’d like to help me shape this offering, please email me and/or leave a comment below with your thoughts and any other feedback you’d like to share.

As a thank you, I’ll send you a free copy of my book. Just let me know where to send it.

The creative path can be a bumpy one, yet the rewards are FABULOUS – and good for you!

I also believe that happy creatives are good for the planet.

So thank you for helping me change the world by spreading the creative magic and getting more writers writing.

And enjoying the journey.

 

 

• • •

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Subscriber Showcase – Meet Elaine!

Welcome to a new Subscriber Showcase – where I share what your creative peers are up to in the world.

And this next showcase features a creative powerhouse from Ireland who is an inspiring whirl of productivity, creativity and force-to-be-reckoned-with.

Allow me to introduce…

Elaine Nolan  

 

Tell us about yourself, Elaine. 

Like, OMG… where do you start without either sounding like a shrinking violet (which I am, by the way), or an aggrandizing diva (okay… so I have my moments there too)

So, here’s the short answer:

I’m a creative where exotic and imaginative parallel universes sometimes overlap with this thing called reality.

And the long one?

For work, I recently did the personality-type tests and it came out as equally INTJ and INFJ.

Why tell you this?

Well… as with most creative types, I’m an introvert (see shrinking violet above), and intuitive, but all this science-y bit appeals to my Virgoan logical thinking and sense of achievement, (that’s probably the diva bit!!)???????

So what else is there to say…?

I’m an author, composer, cellist, pianist, awesome manager (I’m only quoting the results of my work test assessment here!!).

On the more mundane details, I’m the sole slave and door-person to three rescue cats who all have very strong distinctive personalities.

They all hate my singing (honestly, it’s not that bad), one’s terrified of the cello, and another insists on playing the piano while I’m trying to practice it. It’s never boring in my house.

 

• • •
• • •

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

 

My creative life is a bit like juggling, and yes, sometimes there’s too many balls, or all different sizes, thus distorting the balance a little.

And recently I’ve discovered that it’s also perfectly acceptable to let them drop every once in a while, to let them all drop, and without guilt.

Mostly, I write novels, and I compose mostly classical music with a celtic and techno twist.

I write soundtracks to go with the books to give a unique reading experience.

The books usually get written in a myriad of coffee shops, in various locations (purely for inspiration -honest, nothing to do with the pavlovas in one, scrambled eggs in another….), the music is exclusively composed in my dinky little studio at home.

 

 

Why is it important?

I’ve always said that writing was cheaper than therapy.

It is a way to play out the ‘what-if’ scenarios, (especially the ones where I ‘wish I’d said…’).

It’s a way of delving into deep emotions, experience them, release them.

As a child, I used books to escape from the world, and much later, in my final year at school, an essay I wrote was read out.

It was deeply personal and referred to a class bully, sitting four desks away from me.

Unfortunately she recognised herself even though she wasn’t named.

Well, all hell broke loose and I was subsequently shunned and isolated at school, but at that point I realised just how powerful words were.

But as to why it’s important: We all live epic lives in our own ways.

It shapes us, moulds us, but the experiences do not have to define us.

They are our teachers, as much as the person standing at the head of a classroom, trying their best to impart their knowledge and own experiences…

And so I write…

I write to purge…

I write to grieve for losses I can and will never speak of…

I also write for the joy of it…

I write to be brave…

I write to experience love…

I write to set my soul free…

And so I write…xx

• • •

Tell us more about your current creative adventure…

Currently, well…. There are a few projects on….

First up is the release of the 5th book entitled Crossing Lives, and its accompanying soundtrack. It’s a thriller about an Irish cop trying to catch a human trafficker who almost killed her in the line of duty.

Then, in March 2018, for International Piano Day, I’ll premiere the next album entitled Emergence, a 9 movement piano work of the journey and struggle to overcome the limitations imposed on a young musician to finally breaking free, and allowing the creative spirit to emerge.

The premiere concert will also be performed in aid of a mental health service in Waterford. (So practicing a lot on the piano!!)

In between those, I’m writing the first draft of the sequel for Red Hot Summer.

 

• • • 

 

Thank you, Elaine!

I hope that you enjoyed meeting Elaine and her (many!) creative projects. If you’d like to find out more about her, head over to her website or Instagram where you can find more details on how to connect, as well as a more info on her books and music (and cats!)

• • •

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 you and all the inspiring creatives up to great work in the world.

Have a lovely week!

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Join me for a free mini ecourse designed to help you #writethatbook.

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My Ode to Workflowy + 5 Tips for the Over-Inspired Creative

A few years ago I began exploring one of my favourite topics:

the nature of inspiration, creativity and ideas.

And since energy flows where attention goes, the more I delved deeply into this topic, the more I learned – and happily, the more I began to experience more inspiration, creativity and wonderful new ideas.

Lots of ideas.

Dozens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of new ideas – many of which I thought were interesting or at least original / had potential.

New insights, ahas and flashes of inspiration became a daily, sometimes even hourly occurrence.

 

Inspiration often strikes during yoga…

 

I called the source of these ideas My Muse – and we became really good friends.

Which was nice!

Because many of those inspired nudges or gems of creative insight helped me in all aspects of my life – my work, my home life, relationships, health, finances, spiritual practice, they even improved my cooking. (Being a foodie – I loved that result.)

But after a few years of this ready-access to inspiration, a pattern formed that had an uncomfortable side-effect…

Idea overwhelm.

I’ve always been a note-taker, so I’m in the habit of jotting down all my ideas before they evaporate or move on or do whatever it is ideas do if they are ignored or neglected.

This habit has meant I have a mountain of notes; both physical papers and notebooks, as well as digital notes and files.

As a writer, this is great!

I have a wealth of prompts and half-formed ideas to work with.

I am never, ever faced with a blank page.

 

 

But as someone who loves and craves order, my ever-growing Notes Mountain started to become a source of angst.

Every month, I’d include ‘Notes Org’ on my To Do list – and I would manage to corral some of my flights of fancy into a productive format, but so many still remained as the raw, unedited scribblings that I’d captured in the white-heat of inspiration.

And these multiplying notes kept calling for my attention – so much so that when asked what I’d do if I had all the money in the world, my answer would be:

retreat somewhere beautiful
to sort out my gazillion notes!

 

{Somewhere like this would do…}

 

Because I know there are some good ideas in there. (My muse has excellent quality control.)

I know there are several books and courses that I could share with the world… if only I could get my notes into some kind of manageable order.

So I recently decided that it was time to get to grips with my Notes Mountain.

I affirmed that I was going to devote a block of time, every day, just to make a start, just to begin to sort and organise and shape and see what I’ve got.

After all, what use is a ever-ready access to inspiration and a wealth of great ideas if we don’t do anything with them?

And so I began…

 

 

But it wasn’t long before I was stopped in my tracks by the spirit-sapping prospect of;

• 3966 Evernotes
• 533 mind maps
• 540 Scrivener documents
• 226 Wunderlists

And that was just the digital collection. I had yet to unpack my boxes of notebooks and papers.

This is what happens when you learn to woo your muse!

So, faced with the overwhelming prospect of too many notes to know where to begin, I called for reinforcements.

I eventually remembered that I could call out for inspiration on how to tackle my overload of inspiration!

And magically – it worked.

As it always seems to when you’re on good terms with your muse.

(One of the benefits of having your muse virtually on demand is that you can get help with pretty much anything you need. It’s a nice way to live. 🙂 )

My prayer was answered within a matter of minutes as I ’stumbled across’ a new app called…

Workflowy – an organisational tool to ‘organise your brain’.

My Inner Organiser heaved a sigh of relief as I discovered what Workflowy can do, and how it works.

Its main feature is that it works the way your brain works.

Genius!

But the feature that soothed my over-inspired heart was this one:

Infinitely zoom-in-and-outable.

I could finally see how to get all my scraps of notes into ‘project buckets’, and then oversee them in a way that I could shuffle and organise to my heart’s content.

At the same time, my notes would build up in such an ordered way that they would naturally combine into coherent collections that I can manage and turn into finished projects.

Oh, the sweet relief!

I felt like the creative cavalry had arrived.

And so now, armed with my new friend Workflowy, I am on a mission to take all those gems of insights so generously presented to me by my marvellous muse – and turn them into something useful.

 

 

I’m going to transform my Notes Mountain into…

Books.

eCourses.

Blog posts.

Client workbooks.

Inspiring social media posts.

Maybe even a range of gifts, clothing and stationery for creatives.

All of these are now possible, and I believe, effortlessly inevitable, thanks to the simple genius of Workflowy.

(Thanks also due of course to my lovely muse who helped me find it.)

So, if you too are blessed with an overabundance of creative ideas,

I highly recommend taking a look at Workflowy

to see if it can help you marshall your many musings

into a more productive and happy format.

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Who knows what great works could come out of those neglected scribblings!

And since I know that I’m not alone in being inundated with more ideas than I know what to do with, I’ve also developed a few more supportive strategies that I’d love to share.

(Like any new convert, I want to share the sheer joy and soul-soothing relief of getting a mountain of treasured ideas into a manageable and productive order.)

Allow me to introduce;

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5 Overwhelm-blasting Tips for the Over-Inspired Creative

Adopt Tidy Habits

Admittedly, this one wasn’t always easy for me, not being naturally tidy.

Like many creatives, the rush of inspiration and the flash-floods of creativity don’t always lend themselves to tidiness and order.

But please benefit from my cautionary tale; without adopting a habit of tidiness in your creations, you may not complete as many, if any, of the finished pieces that you’re capable of.

You may also enter the realm of overwhelm, which is neither productive not fun.

So, the next time you’re tempted to ‘sort it later’ (i.e. never), I hope I can tempt you towards tidy habits with the prospect of a calm, happy life and a body of work to be proud of.

 

• • •

Tidy Tortoise Time

The creative process can often be likened to a fiery furnace of activity or a torrent of inspired ideas – fast-paced action, a frenzied capturing of genius insights before they escape.

And this lovely flow-state is one of the delights and joys of a creative life. (It’s also good for our health!)

But I’ve learned that alongside the rapture of channelling our inner genius, there’s a place for a slower, more mundane and orderly focus.

A time to calmly, quietly and steadily plough through the results of any creative mania and put things in their place.

And because I have a habit of giving names to things, I like to call this Tidy Tortoise Time.

It may be tempting to neglect this less glamorous aspect of the creative process, but it has charms all of its own.

Benefits like…

• the peace of things being in order

• the clarity that comes from knowing what you’ve got to work with

• the confidence-boosting feeling of being on top of everything, in charge and in control

• the satisfaction of seeing your flights of fancy make their steady progress towards that creative Holy Grail: finished work.

So, if these benefits appeal to you – I invite you to play with the idea of introducing some Tidy Tortoise Time into your creative schedule.

Your Inner Organiser will thank you.

• • •

Ask Your Muse

We can ask for inspiration for dealing with our deluge of inspiration!

Your muse – the source of your creative ideas and genius insights – is ever-present, happy to help and full of ideas that can assist you with the actual creative process itself.

Just ask!

Then be on the lookout for any new ideas or resources that ‘mysteriously’ catch your eye or your attention.

And if you’d like to ensure a steady stream of assistance in the future – don’t forget to thank your muse when the helpful blessings appear.

• • •

Upgrade Your Tools

If your current tools, apps, devices, etc aren’t inspiring you to keep on top of your output or devote time to some all-important order – maybe it’s time for some new ones.

For the sake of your creative work – and your peace of mind – schedule some time to explore what new tools are available.

Brilliant, inspiring and innovative resources and solutions are added to the world on a daily basis.

So, have a look around to see if there’s anything that would be an answered prayer for you.

And don’t forget – you can ask your muse to guide you.

Or if she’s resting, you can always ask google…

• • •

Envision Your Dream Remedy

As a creative, you’re well-placed to harness the considerable power of your imagination.

So, ask yourself – what could possibly help?

What tools would be the perfect remedy for you and your mountain of ideas?

And feel free to get creative!

Imagine what kind of resources would make it easy and fun for you to take some of those projects to fruition?

Einstein said that imagination is the preview of life’s coming attractions. He also said that it’s more powerful than knowledge.

So, why not make use of this creative power tool to support you in your creative work?

After all, solutions like Workflowy are born when people say things like,”Imagine a task management app that works like the human brain…”

Envision the kind of solution that would make light work of your version of my Notes Mountain.

Then enjoy the magic of seeing your imagined solution finding its way into your life…

(Don’t you just love how the creative process works?!)

• • •

So, there you have it; my own contribution for the over-inspired creative.

I hope you find it helpful.

And a HUGE thank you to the wonderful team at Workflowy who have brought peace, joy and order to my creative heart.

And, as always, here’s to the Marvellous Muse – as well as the Tidy Tortoise, and all the other wonderful characters who support our creative lives.

Wishing you a creative, inspired and orderly week,

 

 

PS If you’d like to discover or strengthen your relationship with your own muse – I share everything I’ve learned about that here.

• • • 

Is it time to discover your muse?

(Because life gets truly magical when you do…)

 

 

>>> CLICK FOR DETAILS

A tailor-made remedy for your current creative challenge.

Take the quick quiz to identify your current creative block & signup to receive your free tailor-made Mastermind Remedy series.

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 daily email 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!

 

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

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• • •

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. 

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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….

 

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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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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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