How to write a book on an iPad

“I really want to start writing my book, but first I need to get a new laptop / create the perfect writing room / free up more writing time…”

Writers often tell me they need certain items or setups before they can start writing their books or stories.

Two of the most common ‘essentials’ I hear are the right office space or computer.

And while I’m a huge fan of crafting the creative conditions that most support us – we can start without them.

They may make life easier and the process more enjoyable – but they’re not essential to begin.

We can agree that it would be heavenly to have an idyllic writing room and all the technology and uninterrupted time that we all crave for our writing.

And – even as we create those things, or wait for them to appear – we can choose to begin where we are, with what we’ve got.

We can still hold that lovely, inspiring vision of our Ideal Writing Conditions.

And we can begin writing now, even before they arrive.

So, if the perfect conditions are on your Writer’s Wish List, pursue them by all means – but remember that you don’t need to wait for them. 

If you have a book in you that is calling to be written, you can start now.

And to help you, I’d like to share how you can begin – today –  using whatever mobile device you have to hand…

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Danielle Raine Creativity Coachcreative coach danielle raine l

How to begin writing that book. Today.

Obviously, you could begin writing your book using the barest of essentials; paper and pen.

However, with our busy and highly mobile lives, this isn’t always the most practical solution for the modern writer.

(Carting piles of notebooks with you wherever you go could soon take the shine off your writing dreams…) 

So, for convenience and ease, we can harness our ever-present tech devices as helpful writing allies.

They can help us plan and outline our books, or even write the whole manuscript.

But which device to use? 

It is possible to write an entire book on your smartphone. 

I know one author who wrote her first book single-finger typing on her phone as she fed her baby, and another who wrote her book on her phone during her daily commute.  

I also know an author who never sits down to type a single word for his books – he dictates everything into his phone and has it transcribed.

So, if you have a smartphone, you have all you need to get started on that book.

But whilst it is possible to write your book on your phone, it’s not the ideal tool for extensive typing, crafting or editing.

However, if you have an iPad or tablet, I believe you have the perfect writing partner.

It’s much more ‘typing-friendly’ than a phone, especially if you invest in a keyboard case, yet it’s still portable enough to keep it to hand or carry it with you on your travels.  

Having a user-friendly and portable writing device means you’re more likely to catch those inspired ideas that appear during day-to-day activities, and more likely to collect them in your writing projects. 

It also means you can quickly and easily dip in and out of your book – this regular attention keeps it in your mind and keeps your creative senses tuned into the project. 

And this is how many books evolve – not from formal writing sessions, but from regular attention during the gaps of life.

Your book doesn’t need to be written in a series of official ‘sitting at writing desk’ sessions.

Books can be created from notes, snippets and inspired musings that grow into chapters, outlines and working drafts.

Books can be built from what starts as a jumble of collected thoughts, ideas that are worked and crafted and edited and polished into a finished, coherent work.

And you can do all of these writing stages on an iPad, anywhere and with any time you have available to devote to your writing.

I wrote my first books using a combination of note-taking on my iPod (a first generation iPod touch that I still use) and my desktop computer that I used for work.

These days though, I prefer not to write at a desk – I write in various spots around the house, as well as in cafes and outdoors.

And ever since I bought a keyboard case for my iPad, I write much more often, more quickly, easily and comfortably – wherever I am or choose to go. 

(After much research, I finally chose this one which I love.)

I now find that my iPad, keyboard-case and writing apps are the perfect partners to help me to collect my ideas and to easily keep working on them as I turn them into my next books.

 

wicker garden swing chair

{One of my favourite ipad-writing spots.} 

 

So, if you’re postponing that book project until you have the perfect conditions, laptop, office etc… I hope this post will inspire you to use your current devices as writing allies to get you started now.

Then you can start to enjoy some lovely soul-soothing progress with your writing, even as you wait for that idyllic writing office to appear…

And to help you see precisely how to create a book using an iPad, here are the apps and the processes I’m using to write my next book.

The iPad apps I’m using to write my next book

Notes

I love the Notes app that comes with all apple devices. It’s simple and all I need to jot down those ideas that like to arrive while I’m going about my daily life.

And now that it syncs across my phone and iPad, I use it to both collect and sort my ideas and writing snippets.

I’ve dabbled with other basic note-taking apps but this is the one I always come back to.

 • • • 

Wunderlist

List-making can be very soothing for the brain and a good antidote to creative chaos.

I enjoy more calm and creativity when I get all the ‘brain flies’ out of my head and into some coherent order.

So I use Wunderlist for the many different aspects of my life.

But I also find it helpful in organising my ideas and the many To Dos that crop up during any writing project.

I can collect relevant links and articles online and keep them all together in a project list.

I can make a list of all the actions I could take to help with my book ideas.

And I can make a list of chapters, sections and outlines, and then shuffle these around into Idea Buckets and Project Buckets.

This is how my books evolve – not just from dedicated composing, but also from lots of rearranging and developing of threads and ideas.

 • • • 

Evernote

Evernote is useful for longer writing sessions.

If I feel inspired to write an entire section or chapter, I’ll open a new Evernote page. (Wunderlist notes are limited in length)

I also like the ability to create notepad stacks in Evernote, so again I can shuffle and sort my collection of notes into coherent sections and chapters, and ultimately, my first completed draft.

(I’m always amazed how books seem to come together all of a sudden! As though they reach a point when the pieces all start working together and everything falls into place. It’s always a good writing day when that happens. 🙂 )

 • • • 

Dropbox Paper

I’m new to Dropbox paper but I am enjoying how clean and simple it is.

Cloud syncing is essential when you’re an avid note-taker – otherwise, you can become overwhelmed with too many notes and so much chaos that you don’t know where to begin. (So you don’t…)

I speak from experience.

I’m currently using Dropbox paper to collate my polished drafts – so I can clearly see what I’ve got in a good stage of development. 

paper is becoming the place for my completed pieces of writing, and Evernote is where I keep research notes, relevant quotes, initial thoughts and musings etc… –  everything else that supports the writing process.

• • •

Workflowy

I use Workflowy for outlining. 

After years of searching for an outlining tool that worked for me, I was overjoyed when I discovered WorkFlowy – so much so that I wrote a blog post all about it.

What I love is that it is infinitely zoom-in-and-out-able – meaning I can begin with a general idea, then drill down into more specifics.

For example, I can begin with a book idea, which I can then breakdown into an outline, then I can break each of those points into a chapter and so on…

I can even use it to outline paragraphs so I can be clear on the goal of each section.

I’m finding this a fantastic tool for outlining but I am a nonfiction writer – I don’t know if it would work as well in writing fiction.

If you’re a fiction-writing Workflowy user – I’d love to hear from you. 🙂 

• • •

iMindmap

I have been a keen mind mapper for decades.

I used to create paper mindmaps at schools, and then at art college we would do ‘mood boards’ using collage.

These days I mindmap on my iPad using the app from the father of mind mapping – Tony Buzan.

I like to keep it simple – I don’t tend to colour code or use images.

All I use this for is to collect my ideas, brainstorm and get everything out of the spinning loops in my head and onto a virtual page where I can see everything and tease it into some kind of order.

Again, I love that these are infinite and can take off in any direction (like my brain tends to do) and there are no paper edges to limit the flow of ideas.

These mindmaps also serve as useful reference guides when I get lost in the process – I can check back in and see what I was trying to achieve.

Sometimes though, just the act of mind mapping helps to create clarity and spark ideas, even if I never go back to review it.

• • •

Scrivener

And finally, the last stage of my books is to compile all those ideas, all those worked up and edited notes into something that resembles a first draft.

It may seem like my writing goes through a number of processes before it reaches this stage – and sometimes it does, that’s just how I work and how I most enjoy the process.

Of course, it’s entirely possible to write a book using Scrivener alone – I know it includes places for research and supplementary information.

For me though, I like to keep my Scrivener documents clean and clear – the book proper, so to speak.

I like to shape and plot and plan elsewhere, and then when my work makes its way into Scrivener, I am clear on the outline and the premise of the book.

Of course, there’s still the editing to be done and the polishing of future drafts.

But at least by this point, it feels like a book, or a book-in-progress.

• • •

I hope you find the behind-the-scenes process of my book-writing helpful!

And if you’ve felt that to write your books you had to have more than you do now, I hope you’ll begin to rethink how you could begin to start making progress right now.

There are many, many ways a book can evolve from idea to first draft.

I’m sharing my process to show how books can be written without the conventional desk time or traditional linear process. 

And after many years of testing other methods of writing, composing, crafting etc… I’ve found that this method of capturing, exploring, shuffling and then crafting is the most aligned with the way my mind works.

This may not be the fastest way to write a book, but it ensures the journey is easy and enjoyable (which ensures I write!) – and it keeps the projects moving.

It also has some benefits in bypassing resistance, eg avoiding the paralysis that can occur when you ‘sit down to write your book’.

In other words – it works for me.

I invite you to experiment, cherry-pick, tweak and test until you find what works best for you. 

And I hope some of these apps and techniques will spark some new ideas for how you can adapt your writing process so that you can start writing now, and writing more freely and more often.

If you like the idea of writing your next book on your iPad, I hope you’ll play around with these ideas – most of the apps are free, so you can easily try them out to see which ones work best for you and your creative process.

Good luck! And happy writing.

Let me know when you’ve written that book. 🙂

Danielle Raine Creativity Coach

PS If you’d like to follow my book-writing adventures, I’ll be sharing more behind-the-scenes over on Instagram, or you can join my newsletter list by signing up for any of my free gifts & tools for creatives. 

• • • 

PINNABLES…

CREATIVITY  •  INSPIRATION  •  WELLBEING

... because happy creatives are good for the planet. 

Pop Art Bananas – Thanks A Bunch thank you card

12.7 cm x 17.8 cm Thank You Card 

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Kitsch colours and graphics make for a cool bunch of thank you cards.

Inspired by Andy Warhol and the Pop Art movement in the 60s.

(I was slightly obsessed with the music of The Velvet Underground in my youth…) 

And if you feel inspired to create some pop art of your own, there are now adult colouring books where you can channel your Inner Warhol…

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Be Kind & Prosper teal throw cushion (inspired by The Diamond Cutter)

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This design was inspired by the book, The Diamond Cutter; The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Your Life by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally. 

The book explores the principles of an ancient Tibetan text (also called The Diamond Cutter), as well as Geshe Michael Roach’s sparkling career in the diamond industry. 

It’s a rare and fascinating insight into both. 

The core principle of the book is the prosperity law of giving and reciprocity, ie in order to receive anything, we must first give it. 

This is a valuable practice for life and happily it’s also a good basis for a sustainable, soulful business. 

Kindness creates good karma. 

Being compassionate, generous and kind with your customers is always good for business. 

I designed this work as a reminder that Love and Business can go together beautifully. 

And the ever-popular teal / Tiffany Blue brings an uplifting colour pop to any neutral scheme.  

Be kind & prosper! 

Danielle Raine Creativity Coach

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CREATIVITY  •  INSPIRATION  •  WELLBEING

… because happy creatives are good for the planet. 

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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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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Resilience – A Creative Superpower

Resilience – A Creative Superpower

Resilience A Creative Super-power - Danielle Raine Creativity Coaching

#33 in my Tonics for Your Creative Spirit email series: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

• • •

A little (big) magical something for you this week!

I’ve got another dose of soul-soothing creative goodness, and for one lucky winner, I’ve also got a copy of the book where I found it.

And that’s especially good news because this week’s featured read is…

Big Magic Elizabeth GilbertBig Magic

by Elizabeth Gilbert

Now, even though Big Magic promises inspiration and comfort for anyone on the creative path, I actually resisted it for a while, for many of the reasons Liz explores in the book.

(It’s always heartening to learn you’re not alone in your worries…)

For example, I’m currently writing a book about the creative process, and so I was a little nervous in case I found that my ideas had already ‘been done’.

This is apparently a very valid fear, and actually happened to Liz herself, when her book idea was created by another author before she could write it.

Also, since I’m still shaping and forming some of the theories for my book, I worried about being influenced, both consciously and unconsciously.

(We creatives can be unwitting magpies, merrily adopting any shiny gems we discover along our path.)

However, despite my resistance (or maybe because of it…), those book angels were covering all their bases and I actually ended up with 2 copies for my birthday.

Naturally my first reaction was to give the extra copy to one of my lovely blog readers, so, I have a beautiful hardback copy of Big Magic to give away. (Details below.)

But first, this week’s words of wisdom from the creative trenches;

Liz Gilbert creativity quote

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Of the many snippets of wisdom that I jotted down from Big Magic, this is the one I love the most.

In these words, Liz sums up an idea that has been gradually dawning on me over the last few years, particularly this last year as my study of the creative process has deepened.

It’s the idea of resilience. Or, as success coach Lisa Nicholls joyfully calls it; bounce-backability.

Admittedly, it’s not the most glamorous aspect of the creative process.

It doesn’t have the sense of mystery and miracles that accompanies Inspiration.

It doesn’t have the sparkling buzz of Creation, when the work pours forth effortlessly in a rapture of creative bliss.

It doesn’t even have the smart and savvy air of confidence that Productivity delivers.

It’s much more subtle. It’s quiet and unassuming.

It’s barely even noticeable during much of the process, yet it’s the quality that will make a crucial difference when you come up against the inevitable creative challenges.

• • • 

When everything’s going wrong, when it feels too hard, when you’ve had enough and you want to give up – it’s Resilience that whispers, Let’s try again.

• • • 

It’s a tenacity, an imperceptible core of strength, that enables you to redouble your efforts in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

It may be born of resolve or will, or it could be sparked by an innate purpose.

It can appear as sheer bloody-minded determination. Or it can simply be a calm refusal of defeat.

(It’s summed up perfectly in the clichéd-yet-profound wisdom of Keep Calm & Carry On.)

But for all its low-key subtlety, there is a quiet fierceness to resilience – and it’s a true creative superpower.

In one of my favourite films, Tristan & Isolde, there’s a scene featuring King Marke, (played by the rather lovely Rufus Sewell).

The scene shows King Marke returning to his medieval village which has been attacked and destroyed in his absence.

His people turn to him, asking him what they should do. He surveys the smouldering remains, sighs sadly and offers one word in response. “Rebuild.”

That’s resilience.

And cultivating that inner steeliness, as Liz Gilbert so beautifully describes in her book, is very often the real work of creativity.

So I hope this idea of resilience will inspire you to hang in there, whenever you’re feeling bruised by the creative process.

Because mastering, instilling, even faking resilience strengthens your creative courage – making you an unstoppable force in the direction of your creative dreams.

And that way, magic lies.

Danielle

PS Also in my birthday book haul was Rising Strong by Brene Brown which also focuses on the superpower of resilience – so stay tuned for more on this important topic.

• • •

: : :  GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED  : : : 

Liz Gilbert Big Magic giveaway cropWin a hardback copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic

To enter:

1  Leave a comment below describing either your Big Creative Dream, or your idea of Creative Heaven.

2  Make sure you’re on my magic list, as I’ll be notifying the winner via email.

3  If you’d like to spread the magic, please share this post with any friends who could a boost to their creative superpowers. (Buttons below.)

I’ll select the winner at random on Monday 14th December.

Good luck! May the Big Magic be with you. 😉

: : :  GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED  : : : 

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Danielle Raine Creativity Coachcreative coach danielle raine l

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CREATIVITY  •  INSPIRATION  •  WELLBEING

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12 ways to nano prep – and actually enjoy NaNoWriMo

12 ways to nano prep – and actually enjoy NaNoWriMo

Hi! I'm Danielle.

Danielle Raine Creativity Coachcreative coach danielle raine l


Like most great challenges, the secret to a successful NaNoWriMo is in the preparation.twitter aqua

A little forward planning and consideration can make an amazing difference to your results and your experience.

So here are some suggestions for a few lifestyle tweaks and preparatory efforts, to help you not only survive NaNoWriMo  – but actually enjoy it…

1. What can wait?

Unless you’re lucky, it’s not every month you spend intensively working on a novel.

So November is going to be an unusually busy month!

If you plan for that, ahead of time, you can create some lovely breathing space in your schedule. (Doesn’t that sound good…)

So, what can wait?

What can you let go, for now? Give some thought to anything that you can put on hold – just for the month.

Are there any things that you normally do, but aren’t essential to the smooth running of your life?

Can any other hobbies be put on hold? Can any responsibilities be temporarily delegated or scaled back?

Are there regular activities that can wait for a few short weeks? For example, dinner parties, shopping, getting lost in a book…. They’ll all still be there in December! And you’ll be free to return to them with a new appreciation, and a sense that you fully deserve to indulge and enjoy them.

The run up to NaNoWriMo is a great time to simplify, but this is actually a great thing to do at any time of year, as you might discover that a number of things you ‘just do’, aren’t actually worthy of your time and attention, and you’re ready to let them go for good.

So cast an enquiring eye over your timetable – without panic or urgency. Just assess. No drastic action. No drama.

Simply review how and where you spend your time – what serves you, and what can be suspended as you devote November to your writing goals and dreams.

• • • 

2. Look after your main asset: you

To simplify is good – but if you have a healthful and supportive daily practice (e.g. exercise, meditation, journalling, inspirational reading etc…) – now is not the time to let that go!

You will need both internal and external strength to help you navigate the challenges of the month ahead.

And if you don’t already have a daily practice?

Since you’re adopting a new regime for this month, you may like to include something small and relatively easy to implement that will support you on a daily basis.

It may seem like another task for a busy month, but it could be a wise investment of your time if it increases your energy and productivity.

• • • 

3. Special measures

Now is a good time to call in any favours.

If you are always the one helping out the other parents, team-mates or workmates, now is the time to ask them for help. They’ll probably be thrilled to have the chance to give back.

“Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.” 

~ Proverb

Besides, people love to help a person who is up to wonderful things. So, if you explain your plan, you may find they’re not only willing to step in and help out, they may be cheering you on from the sidelines, too.

And a little social accountability can also be a motivating force. For those days when you’re tempted to let things slide, the prospect of facing a supportive friend or colleague may give you the nudge you need to get over the resistance hump.

• • •

4. Stock up

Stock up on supplies. Unless you find cooking therapeutic, relaxing or ideal for pondering tricky plot puzzles, plan ahead for your basic maintenance.

Stock your freezer and cupboards for the month, so that you’re not drawn away from vital book-pondering to spend precious concentration units on; What’s for tea?

(By the way, if you’re a snacker – blueberries are supposed to be good for creativity.)

• • • 

5. Join a support group

Being in a group of like-minded people with a similar goal is a proven tactic for staying the course.

In-person weekly meet-ups can be an inspiring boost. Or daily check-ins online can also help you feel less alone in your challenge.

Do whatever works for you, but notice the effect of the groups or networks you belong to. How do they make you feel?

If they leave you feeling energised, motivated, inspired and confident – check in with them on a regular basis.

But if you feel drained or prone to Compare & Despair – give them a miss for a while.

• • • 

6. Get to know your muse

In the weeks before NaNoWriMo, spend a little time monitoring when and where you get your best ideas.

These are your Muse Magnets.

If you always come back from a run full of new character ideas, you know what to do when you’re stuck with character problems.

Or it may be that driving, gardening or showering work for you. Any mundane chores you do on autopilot can give your subconscious mind the rhythm and quiet to suggest some new plot twists or solutions.

Get to know which activities calm your busy mind and enable your muse to make contact.

This is priceless info for any creative and will really help you stay inspired during the demanding weeks ahead.

• • • 

7. Keep notepads everywhere

Whenever you lean into a creative project, it begins to grow and take over more of your thoughts and attention.

So when you dive in head first during NaNoWriMo, it’s an almost total immersion. You flood your conscious mind with your story, and as a result your subconscious mind will very helpfully keep working on your story even when you’ve had enough.

So keep notebooks handy to catch all the new ideas and insights and solutions that will keep floating up to your consciousness as you go about the rest of your day.

• • • 

8. Get sleep

It’s tempting to think that coping with less sleep will give you more time.

But what you need for this month is quality energy; not just time at the page, but quality time where you can concentrate, plot, imagine and string a half-decent sentence together.

So skimping on sleep is counter-productive. (<<< and I don’t use bold lightly!)

Ensure you maintain good quality sleep, and you will reap the benefits in terms of energy, focus and concentration.

If you want the best version of you – fit, well and ready to write – getting enough sleep is essential.

And your loved ones will appreciate this one – a cranky, stressed, overtired writer-under-pressure is not often a joy to be around.

Besides, if you’re clever, your sleeping time need not be unproductive downtime….

• • • 

9. Utilise your sleeping hours

With a little forward planning and intention, you can actually make productive use of your restorative sleeping hours.

By reviewing any daily quandaries just before you go to sleep – posing a clear question to your subconscious mind – you can hand over the puzzle to your mind as you sleep, very often being rewarded with the solution as you wake up, or during the course of the following day.

It takes a little practice to harness this powerful creative source, but if you’re planning to sleep every night anyway, why not begin to practice?

• • • 

10. Balance input with output

NaNoWriMo will call for a considerable amount of creative output.

To keep your creative spirit balanced and happy (rather than drained, spent and exhausted) don’t forget to do the things that inspire you.

Remember to play, have fun, relax, spend time with people (real ones) – do the things that fill you up.

These simple daily pleasures may seem superficial, and candidates for stripping back from your timetable, but these are the valuable sources of life that feed your creative spirit – and it’s going to be hungry over the coming weeks!

So you may even need to replenish these vital stores more than ever.

• • • 

11. Visual aides

Before you begin NaNoWriMo, spend some time getting clear on why you are doing this.

It’s not an easy thing to do!

It will challenge you. It will take over your heart and mind for the coming weeks. You’re planning to devote large amounts precious time and energy to this project.

So why do it?

You may not know why exactly, just a sense that you want to do it – and that’s more than enough.

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

~ Amelia Earhart

But if you can imagine the benefits, the fuel behind the desire, it can be a powerful tool to keep you going through the inevitable wobbles.

And if you can create a visual representation of your Why, and keep it somewhere you’ll see it daily, it can really help you to stay clear, focus, grounded and on track.

So, what’s your Why? And how can you represent it?

Maybe mock up your favourite bestseller list to see your name on the top. Or a picture of the TV show you’d love to be featured on with your new book. Or maybe it’s in honour of a loved one, or a long-held dream.

Whatever the reason, find or create and image that you can glance at and know instantly why you’re doing this.

• • • 

12. Pre-empt The Wobbles

The Wobbles – those thoughts and moods that make you doubt your dreams and goals, and your power to achieve them.

We all face them, they’re part of the creative journey.

They may be unavoidable, but it’s possible to limit their power to throw you off track by pre-empting them.

Anticipate the usual suspects; e.g. thoughts like; what’s the point?… I’m no good at thisIt’s a waste of time…. (add any more that regularly come up for you.)

Then, when you are feeling calm and confident and capable: Go through each one and argue the opposite.

You can do this.

The human brain loves questions, so ask things like: Why is this a good use of my time? …Why am I good at this? … What are some really good reasons to do this?

Tap into your Why (see above) and the reasons you’re taking on this incredible challenge.

Get all your ‘arguments for’ in writing, where you can refer to them during the upcoming weeks.

So whenever a doubt pops up during NaNoWriMo, you can calmly say; Hello, I’ve been expecting you – and I know just how to deal with you…

• • • 

So there you are! I hope you find these tips helpful.

If you have time before November, play around with these suggestions to see which ones work for you.

And if you’d benefit from more comprehensive support, please do get in touch. I’d love to help you get your book into the world.

Enjoy NaNoWriMo!

I look forward to hearing about your new novel.

May the muse be with you. <3

PS. If you’d like more goodies for lovely writer types – sign up for the free Writers’ Corner email series. Or join me for a free mini-ecourse designed to help you #writethatbook.  Details below!

• • • 

If you’re a writer… life is better when you write. 

Get free resources to help you write, publish and enjoy the process.

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On yoga, chakras & creative flow

On yoga chakras and creative flow Danielle Raine Creativity Coaching blog

#28 in my Tonics for Your Creative Spirit email series: Maya Fiennes

• • •

Welcome to another dose of wordy wisdom to keep your creative spirits up. 

I’m always on the lookout for inspiring ideas to ease the bumpy creative journey and quite often these appear from outside of the creative industry. 

This week’s gem comes from the beautiful world of yoga, in particular from the multi-talented yogini extraordinaire, Maya Fiennes; 

Maya Fiennes Creativity Quote

 

I find this idea such a soul-soothing reminder that being creative is our natural state. 
 
As humans, we are innately creative, we are born with more creative potential than we could ever use. 
 
So why don’t we always feel creative? Why do we sometimes find it hard to express our creative self, or to ‘get in the zone’? 
 
It’s not because of what’s missing – not a single one of us lacks creative ability. 
 
It’s because of what we’ve allowed to get in the way. 
 
Blocks, in other words. (Ever experienced those…?) 
 
So to enjoy a happier creative flow, maybe we just need to get curious about what’s stopping our natural genius from shining through. Maybe we just need to explore and discover what’s getting in the way. 
 
Admittedly this is not always easy! (Which is why I’m an advocate for getting support 🙂 ) 
 
But I find this idea much more encouraging than the prospect of not being creative enough, or being no good at creativity. (Which is never the most productive or enjoyable mindset.) 
 

 

yoga for real life by maya fiennesMaya’s wise words in this week’s quote come from her book on Kundalini Yoga;  

Yoga for Real Life

In the book, she explores the link between creativity and our chakras, in particular the second chakra, the Sacral Chakra. 

And if you’re intrigued by the idea of working with your chakras to find more creative flow, I’ve written a more in-depth review of Maya’s book here

It’s a gorgeous read – all beautiful pictures, inspiring stories, smoothie recipes and yoga poses to encourage even the weariest soul onto the mat.

And if you’d like to see Maya in action, she demonstrates how yoga can unblock and balance your chakras in her Journey Through The Chakras DVD series – which I’ve also reviewed here. (Can you tell I’m a fan?) 

In fact, the design of this week’s graphic is my homage to the minimalist beauty of Maya’s DVDs. And the orange is a a reflection of the Sacral Chaka – the seat of our creativity. 

 

So I hope you find this helpful, and that you’ll consider yoga as a tool to enhance your creative flow. 

(It also has the bonus side effect of building the physical health, stamina and mental strength you’ll need to bring your beautiful creative dreams to fruition.)

 

Wishing you a peaceful and creative week,  

Namaste,

Danielle

 

 • • •

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What is creativity? (& How to make it easier.)

#24 in my Tonics for Your Creative Spirit email series: Eric Maisel

 

It’s time for another dose of creative wisdom to inspire you in your adventures.

And here’s this week’s offering…

Eric Maisel creativity quote

I truly believe that every human being on the planet is creative – or at least has the potential to be.

And I love how this quote makes becoming ‘a creative’ as simple as a decision to do something meaningful.

become a creativity coach now eric maisel book coverThis quote is from a book I’m reading called;

Become a Creativity Coach Now!

by Eric Maisel

 

It’s available to everyone on Amazon but it’s actually part of a course I’m taking with Eric Maisel – the undoubted pioneer of creativity coaching.

Eric is an absolute fount of knowledge on the creative process (my pet topic), and I’m training with him to tap into his many years of doing this work.

I want to improve my skills in helping lovely creatives and the inevitable struggles we face, because I’ve recently decided to do more one-to-one work.

This has lead to my brand-spanking-sparkly-new service called 1-2-3 Go!

It’s a 1:1 email coaching programme where I share all my hard-won wisdom, and guide clients to finding more joy, fun and ease with their creative work – there are more details below if this sounds like the kind of support and inspiration you could use.

Back to Eric’s book!

Even though the book is aimed at people training to become creativity coaches, it’s packed with insightful tips and solutions for anyone brave enough to play in the realm of creative endeavours.

So it can be used as a manual for self-coaching – i.e. learning how to support yourself through the inevitable doubts and creative wobbles. And I’m certainly learning a huge amount to help with my own creative projects.

The struggles of finding time, space, clarity, confidence, perseverance and support are common to all of us on a creative journey – whatever the discipline. (Including coaches!)

And the tips that Eric shares in reducing or even eliminating these obstacles can make the whole process easier, more enjoyable and more successful.

(Can you see why I’m a fan!)

So, I heartily recommend Eric’s book, even if you have no interest in becoming a creativity coach.

And of course, if you ever feel the need for a virtual cheerleader / mentor / sounding board, I’d love to support you more individually on the bumpy road to your creative dreams.

Wishing you a smooth and creative week,

Danielle Raine Creativity Coach

Hi! I'm Danielle.

Danielle Raine Creativity Coachcreative coach danielle raine l

A single, powerful month of creativity coaching by email.

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Why expressing our creativity feels so good!

#23 in my Creativity Quotes email series: Brendon Burchard

 

It’s Creativity Quote time again and this week’s gem is from the inspiring and irrepressible champion of creative mavericks, Brendon Burchard.

Brendon Burchard Creative expression quote

I love this idea, and I wholeheartedly agree with Brendon on the link between expression and life satisfaction.

In fact, I’m convinced that the expression of our creative spirit is vital to feeling whole, fulfilled and happy.

Because I believe it’s one of the reasons we’re here, an essential part of our life purpose.

We all have something unique to offer – a rare and valuable blend of our gifts and talents, our history and our desires.

And when we are expressing what we’re here to do, what we’re born to do, it feels like we’re in the zone, in that wonderful flow state.

We feel aligned with life – and that’s a nice feeling.

So, I believe that the incentive for expressing our unique creative gift is that it feels so good!

Most of the time. 😉

Admittedly, the creative path can be a bumpy one, which is why I’m so passionate about offering support.

But despite the wobbles, those of us on the creative path are drawn by that ‘something’ within us, that’s calling to be shared with the world through the unique filter of us.

We know or sense on some level that this expression is essential for us to feel fully alive and aligned.

And the payoffs for facing the challenges are those lovely, life-enhancing feelings of fulfilment and satisfaction.

The sheer delight of expression for its own sake.

The pleasure of creating what we feel inexplicably called to offer the world.

The magical difference it makes to our lives when we give the gifts we’re here to give.

Or as Brendon puts it, “the grand amplifier of satisfaction.”

• • • 

These musings and the quote above were inspired by Brendon’s thoughts on creativity in his insightful book;

Brendon Burchard The Charge book The Charge 

Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive 

He also cites creativity as one of the essential ingredients of a rich and fulfilling life, and makes a passionate case for being more creative in both your work and personal life.

There’s a whole chapter devoted to the vital role creativity plays in human flourishing.

And some of the other drives he explores are also useful in helping us find more ease and fulfilment in the creative process, e.g., change, challenge and contribution.

It’s a great read and an inspiring manifesto for Brendon’s High Performance living philosophy. You can catch more from Brendon here to see his enthusiasm and energy in action.

(I’ve been a huge fan of Brendon’s ever since I read The Millionaire Messenger a few years ago.)

So, if you’re ever in any doubt that what you have is unique and valuable and worth sharing with the world, take a look at any of Brendon’s books – his enthusiasm for life and for sharing our stories is infectious.

Here’s to that powerful, life-enhancing creative drive and even more satisfying expression,

Danielle Raine Creativity Coach

Hi! I'm Danielle.

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Why housework is good for creativity

#21 in my Tonics for Your Creative Spirit email series: Agatha Christie & …. me!

 

It’s Creativity Quote time again and this topic is one very close to my heart, so I’ve got a double-dose for you.

This week’s source may seem a strange choice for a series on creativity, but I’m guessing that most creatives have homes, many have housemates and a fair proportion may feel (as I did) that they were put on the planet for more important work than dusting and laundry.

Also, you may recognise the author… 😉

housework blues creativity quotes

The above words are my own, taken from my first foray into the publishing world;

Housework Blues – A Survival Guidehousework blues danielle raine

Although I’ve moved on from my days of domestic overload, there are still a good many ideas from the book that I employ on a regular basis, including the idea above.

One of the aims of the book was to highlight the potential benefits to be found in the domestic realm, (it’s true – there are some!)

And I’m sharing this here because many of these benefits are particularly valuable to creative types.

For example;

• the link between boredom and creative genius.

• the effect of repetitive, rhythmical actions on your brain waves.

• the monotonous daily tasks that can act as magnets to the elusive muse

There’s even a whole section on creativity. (You can read that section in full here.)

So, if you ever use domestic overload as an excuse reason for not getting round to your creative dreams, I think you’ll find some useful tips and insights to dispel that particular demon.

And to back-up my claim that the mundane and domestic can be good for your creative life, I offer you these famous words from a writer who knew a thing or two about getting her great work done and out into the world:

agatha christie doing the dishes quote

 

So, if you’re a creative with a home to keep, I hope you find this week’s words of wisdom helpful.

And since the feng shui of clean and tidy spaces will uplift your creative spirits, I’ll leave you with a few more words from Housework Blues, in the hope that it inspires you to show your creative temple a little TLC… 

 

“Rhythmical, repetitive actions, especially if carried out on auto-pilot, lull your brain into a meditative state.

This alpha rhythm is highly conducive to creativity – when you are most likely to be struck by inspired thought, right-brain insights, brilliant ideas and intuitive prompts.

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of your chores and the solution to a recent quandary ‘mysteriously’ popped into your head?

When your brain is in housework mode, it quietly deals with complex problems without you even noticing.

So you’re not just vacuuming, you’re channelling your creative genius.”

Till next week! 

 

Danielle Raine Creativity Coach

 

PS. If you have a particular book project that’s calling you – and you want to make some lovely soul-soothing progress with it – I’ve got a free mini-course to help you. 🙂

5 days, 5 emails, 5 questions – to help you #writethatbook. (You know the one…)

More details here – good luck!

• • •

 

Hi! I'm Danielle.

Danielle Raine Creativity Coachcreative coach danielle raine l

CREATIVITY  •  INSPIRATION  •  WELLBEING

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Constraint vs abundance: which is better for creativity?

#20 in my Tonics for Your Creative Spirit email series: Jonathan Fields

 

How are you this week? Hope life is treating you kindly.

I have another dose of creative wisdom for you, this time from author Jonathan Fields, though I actually found the following gem on his blog.

The blog post was called: Can abundance kill creativity? and it explored the idea that….

Jonathan Fields creativity quote

Jonathan goes on to say; 

“…constraint in one area of work or life makes you more creative in all areas.”

It’s an interesting idea and one that may bring some comfort to any creative who is up against constraints of time, money, support, etc… (Ie., most of us.) 

In addition to his blog, Jonathan also has a fabulous resource called Good Life Project where he interviews Change-Makers and asks them all One Simple Question:

 What does it mean to you to live a good life?  

He has an impressive array of guests, including last week’s featured author Pam Slim, as well as the likes of Seth Godin, Danielle LaPorte, Kate Northrup, Kris Carr, Dan Pink, Marie Forleo, Brene Brown and Chris Guillebeau.

It’s a great place to go when you need to procrastinate be uplifted, inspired and informed. The interviews are also available as free podcasts on iTunes. 

Jonathan Fields Uncertainty book

Jonathan has also written two books; Uncertainty which I have read and loved. (It may well be featured later in this series with a quote from the book). And Career Renegade which I haven’t read yet but I think I’d enjoy, given the subtitle; How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love. (This is my recipe for a Good Life.)

So I hope this week’s quote inspires you to shift the focus away from whatever’s lacking and use any enforced boundaries to strengthen your creative muscles. 

Besides, there are so many decisions to be made during the creative process that a degree of limitation may actually be a good thing. (Starting with a brief can often be so much easier than a blank canvas…)

Wishing you a fun and creative week!

Danielle Raine Creativity Coach

Hi! I'm Danielle.

Danielle Raine Creativity Coachcreative coach danielle raine l

CREATIVITY  •  INSPIRATION  •  WELLBEING

... because happy creatives are good for the planet. 

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