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 spent large 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 and focused 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, and preserve 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.

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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Take the quick quiz to discover your current creative blocks.

Then you can signup to receive your tailor-made Mastermind Remedy:

A 30-day email series of quotes and insights, designed specifically for your particular creative challenge.

Like a Creative Mastermind support group

– designed just for you.

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!

Is there a book in you…?

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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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CLICK TO TWEET

 

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

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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

 

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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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 to access the full Muse Diet module from the course, including the workbook that supports this post, you can help yourself to a complimentary copy over in the Muse Spa Free Samples page. 

 

 • • • 

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 Mastermind Remedies email series.

Details below!

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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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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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