Holiday Overachiever Meets Christmas Disasters

Like most of you, the holidays require time for planning, cooking, baking, shopping and celebrations. I add drawing illustrations to that list. No matter how organized, there’s never enough time and mistakes can be made. Add four birthdays to the Lindau mix and my Type-A, overachiever, perfectionism is really tested. But that doesn’t stop me from setting lofty goals. Nope.

illustrated christmas cards

Looking back on November, I can’t believe I signed up for NaNoWriMo. I knew I wouldn’t write 50,000 words like I did in 2014. I didn’t need to. My new book is almost done, but I signed up for the camaraderie and the word counter. Still, I thought I would write at least 20,000 words to hit my own 50,000 word mark. I was dreaming. I fell 4,500 short of that wimpy goal. I guilted out day-after-day over Thanksgiving for not carving out a little time to write. Then I faced that whiney voice head on and turned it off. I spent time with my family.

After taking my mom and brother to the airport and helping my sister with her paintings for a show, I finally sat down at 7:00 Monday night. The house was quiet. My husband, Danny, watched the Packer game in the other room. I planned to catch up with blogging. It would be nice to sit back and relax for the next few days.

Then it hit me.

IT WAS CYBER MONDAY! December 1st would arrive on Thursday! I scrambled to click on deals until Amazon read, AAmmaazzoonn and my credit card was maxed out. Not really, but I got a lot of shopping done.

The next day, I made a list.

  1. Decorate the house.
  2. Prepare for a holiday party.
  3. Bake cakes and cookies.
  4. Draw the family Christmas card.
  5. Shop for everyone.
  6. Wrap presents before Christmas Eve.
  7. Keep up with writing projects.

At the end of every holiday season, I take pictures of my decorations to make it easier for the next. The following year, I never look at them. I’d rather try something different. Decorating a couple of Christmas trees and evergreen swags which hang on almost every surface, then setting up several tablescapes should be easy. (In other words four solid days of work, at least.)

Fifteen years ago, Danny and I hosted a humongous Christmas party for a few hundred guests. I made ninety-three different delectable dishes, sweets and treats. Ninety-three! I kept the list. I told you I was Type-A, I mean OCD. That stands for Obsessive Christmas Decorator, right? The inside of the house was trimmed from stem to stern. The outdoor decorations made Boulder’s Top Twenty list. I splurged on a velvet Ralph Lauren dress complete with a train. I hired help to pass out appetizers. It would be elegant.

gorgeous dining room christmas

Over-achieving had reached new heights. I planned the perfect holiday party. I hadn’t learned the fact that no matter how you fantasize about an event, it never turns out remotely close to your imagination.

A few flakes floated down adding to the Kincaid Christmas card mood. It kept snowing. The snow blew and drifts rose toward the windows. It didn’t stop until the next day. More than half the guests didn’t make it because of impassible roads. Someone tracked mud through the house from the garage. The kitchen, which is the focal point of my house, was trashed sometime during the second hour of the party. Unwashed dishes and containers littered the streaky counters. I tripped on my train all night and considered cutting it off. Some of the hors d’oevres, which took hours and hours to make, were never served on trays. My heart sunk when I found all of them in the refrigerator the next day. That was the last big Christmas party we hosted.

After that fiasco, I entertained my tennis friends with a ladies sit luncheon. It started with a very small group of five. Over the next few years the guest list grew. The last time I hosted the event, I invited seventy! Only half of them showed up. Key words, “The last time I hosted.”

I had a weak moment in November and we will brave entertaining again, inviting people who have kept in touch through the years along with some new friends. The last two nights,  I woke up in a cold sweat wondering how I’ll pull it off without a caterer. I’m relying on my old mantra: “You got this. You can do it.” I’m trying not to fantasize. Nothing will be served on trays. My new dress won’t have a train. My family is helping with the party. I’ll be “dancing for drought” before the party, just in case.

After brushing off my dusty cookbooks, I listed the dishes to prepare for the party. Cakes, breads, and my favorite cookies will be baked and frozen. I hope they don’t disappear before the holidays. I’ve developed a bigger sweet tooth than Danny!

My Christmas card will be tackled early. The first time I made a popup version, they were so complicated, each one took more than ten minutes to paste together. I missed two holiday parties to finish them. That didn’t stop me from continuing the popup time suck over the last few years.

pieces and parts of card diy

This year, I will create an old-fashioned illustrated card. (See card below from 2008.) No bells. No whistles. No pull outs. Just one fold down the middle. I hope. Okay, so if I do something remotely popup this year, take away my scissors next year. Please!

I still have lots of time before Christmas to shop for presents. Ordering online makes shopping so easy. I had a brilliant idea to wrap gifts as they are delivered or bought. Ha! That would be a Christmas miracle.

illustrated christmas card 06

So how will I balance my writing life through the holidays? I won’t. I wrote a new chapter yesterday and then studied my planner. There’s no way I’ll finish everything on time for the holidays with a 1000 word per day goal. It’s time to cut back, relax, and enjoy a season that only comes around once a year.

The most important thing? No matter how I plan, I’ll remember that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. “Do you hear that right side?” asks the left side of my brain.

illustration of boy and girl fighting

I’ll do my best and will enjoy the holidays like a normal person. What’s that like? I have no idea. I’ll let you know in January.

 

I have a gift for you! I’m hosting The #Blessed Project until December 17th. Blog a #Blessed Project list and I’ll feature your post on December 19th. Check out the details here. No matter how the holidays turn out, I’ve been blessed by having family and friends like you!

What could go wrong if I stick with my plan? Are you a holiday over-achiever?

Join the #Blessed Project!

It’s been a Wild month and the holidays are upon us. How did that happen? It can be hard to switch gears from stressed-out to happy guest or entertainer right before Thanksgiving. Compounded by worry and lack of sleep, our usual energy may be zapped. We may feel far from blessed.

I have a solution for you! Sometime between now and December 18th take a break and make a blessed project list. This will remind you of what makes you happy. We can only think about one thing at a time, so this project should hip-check negative thoughts out of your cranium for a while. Endorphins will fill the space. Can you feel it?

Your post can be as long or short as you like. It’s your Blessed Project.

Time is a commodity and I don’t want to add to your stress level. If you get into it, take as much time as you want. Include photos, videos, artwork. Or keep it simple and only write a list. You can easily jot down the first few things that come to mind. Done.

There is no right or wrong.

Ask your family why they feel blessed. It could be a sparkly distraction if things get tense over Thanksgiving break. Remember, we can only focus one thing at a time.

  1. Write a #Blessed Project article and post it on your blog.
  2. Include a link to this post. Spread the positivity!
  3. Paste your link in the comment section below by Saturday, December 17th.
  4. Stop back anytime to read other posts. You know the drill. Tell them “Susie sent me from the Blessed Project,” and they should click back to your place.

BONUS! On December 19th, I’ll blog the list of #Blessed Projects pasted in the comments, to reach out to more readers.

Here’s the start of my list. I’m sure it will grow with updates throughout the season.

I felt blessed to ski in Breckenridge with family and friends on opening weekend.

skiing Breckenridge on opening weekend with friends and family

I’m blessed to live in Colorado and

breckenridge-10-mile-range

to have found a physical therapist, so I can do this:

There’s nothing like Thanksgiving! #Blessed

I am blessed to be surrounded by friends and family and dogs!

I am blessed for having a partner in adventure

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and for having a sense of humor, which really came in handy this month.

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To walk on moonlit nights. #Blessed

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And I am blessed for all of you!

Think about your own blessings. Make a list, post it and then leave your url in the comments. I’d love to link you up in another post in December.

Happy Thanksgiving!

An Ephemeral Exercise in Balance – Author or Blogger?

An Ephemeral Exercise in Balance - Author or Blogger?Five years ago someone asked me, “Do you want to be an author or a blogger?”

I scratched my head and wondered why I couldn’t be both.

Balance is something I struggle for all the time. I take a few steps on the slackline and feel in control just to plummet face first in the grass. “I can’t do it all.” I said that to my husband, Danny, a few weeks ago and he laughed. He knows how hard I work. Blogging while writing books and screenplays, promoting through social media, pitching, and querying, are all a struggle of priorities. I just love to write.

With requests made for my book, I set aside my new manuscript to polish the old. I wanted The Foreboding to shine brighter before sending it out on a wing and many prayers with hope that an agent or editor would see value in my work and want to represent it. But ideas for my new one have cried out from recesses of my tiny cranium and I had to work on it too. Blogging became a low priority. It threw me off balance.

I can’t imagine life without my blog. I already write in a vacuum alone with my thoughts most of the time. Blogging is where I practice. It’s where I get instant gratification in views and comments and feedback. It’s where I “see” and meet up with my writing friends. It’s my hollow in the woods where I let crazy ideas flow and I share my life adventures.

Therein lies the conundrum, the paradox, the tangled cat’s cradle that trips me up and tosses me off balance.

If blog posts are like paper to the flame, books are the mighty oak. I’m still waiting for the gratification of feeling the weight of my first novel in my hands. It will happen. In the meantime, I stoke the fire with kindling and fan the flames, and breathe life into my words until they crackle and burn. I watch the word count rise up until…. Sorry. I got carried away….

Any writing is like breathing. It’s all good practice and something I have to do.

Last weekend I met someone online who gets thousands of views a day on her blog through social media. Seduced by the thought of going viral, I downloaded her tips and tricks. I assumed she held back. She didn’t, but the list was dang long. It would take a huge time commitment promoting, editing photos, and writing generic or shocking posts to get views and shares. And there is still a ton of luck involved. That’s when I hit a wall.

Slacklining Susie“Nope. Not doing it. It’s not my goal to be a professional blogger.” Don’t get me wrong. I would love to get thousands of views here every day. Most writers want to be read. “Look at me! Look at me!” It’s what we do when sharing posts on Twitter and Facebook. If I didn’t want people to read my work, I’d write in Dear Diary.

But spending even more time blogging is not why I started writing. I have much longer stories to tell. They require many hours and self-discipline.

And so I’ll continue to seek balance on this unstable line between blogger and author, even though it’s an ephemeral, momentary mirage. It will never be perfect. I’ll rise up to the line and I’ll flail. I’ll fail. I’ll fall. I’ll face plant and it will hurt. But I’ll brush myself off. I’ll take a deep breath.

I’ll rise up to the line to try again.

Do you find it hard to balance your time with blogging? Where are you seeking balance?

Click for more of my life adventures!

Demystifying Contests, Winning, and My Results

When I discovered I was a contest finalist in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Colorado Gold Contest (that’s a mouthful), I felt like I already won. I knew many had participated, so I was grateful to be selected. I had noticed the finalist distinction on book covers and in descriptions. Whoa!

I didn’t understand how the prizes would be distributed.

There were six in my category since there was a tie, so would they start with 6th place? I checked out past winners. RMFW listed the first place winner and the rest in alphabetical order underneath. I was mystified, baffled. I held a blank, open-mouthed, “What?” kind of stare while trying to make sense of it. I’ll admit, I’m easily confused. I would find out Saturday night.

Some of the past winners had entered from as far away as Australia, Japan, and United Arab Emirates.

Wow. All they needed to do was join RMFW. I figured they had won a contest and then continued entering others with the same manuscript.

When I checked into the conference, I received my name tag and a finalist ribbon. It was an honor to wear it and a great icebreaker. Many others wore lots of ribbons – volunteers, authors, presenters, agents, editors…

The conference was amazing. My head is still spinning from all the information and sensory overload. The night of the award ceremony, I sat with a great group of new and old friends: super sweet agent, Rachelle Gardner, me, and old hands at winning, Kim Lajevardi and Judy Rose.

rmfw-conference-2016

I met another contestant from my category, Craig Holt, from Washington and wondered if any others were in attendance. He had already finaled in the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference and one other contest. Since his manuscript was on a roll, he planned to enter in several more. Just like I thought.

The emcee started with action/thriller finalists, so I had to wing it. *gulp*

I walked onstage and waited for the rest of the contestants to join me. After a minute of standing alone, Craig and Val Moses joined me on stage. When they announced Val’s name as “the first finalist,” she didn’t understand what they said. Neither did I. She walked past me to receive her certificate. I was announced as second finalist and for a moment thought that meant 2nd place. I was thrilled until she announced 3rd place, who wasn’t there to receive the award. Oh! That’s when I understood what was going on. Craig took 2nd, then Charles Kowalski, who lives in Japan (the same guy who won in 2013!), took 1st. I figured I took fifth place by the order of announcement.

I talked to my friends who explained there were 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places and the rest remained finalists. Ohhhhhhh! I was glad of that. I’m not 4th, 5th, or 6th. THE FOREBODING is listed in alphabetical order on the list of finalists. If I had called my book FOREBODING, I would have jumped higher on the list. Ha!

One of the prizes in being a finalist was my first pick of an agent or editor to pitch, which can be a nerve-wracking experience.

I’ve had some nightmarish pitching sessions, so I always get a little nervous. Okay. I get reeeeeeally nervous. One time the agent stared at me without blinking and I thought my poor pitch had sent her into a catatonic state. She finally said she didn’t represent my genre. Then, there was the time when I couldn’t complete sentence without the agent interrupting me to tell me how I was pitching all wrong. That pitch became a lecture and our Skype interview ran overtime and cut her off mid-sentence.

This time, I sat down with a lovely editor from a publishing giant. Her interest and questions put me at ease. After requesting pages (YAY!), I told her my plan to have a second draft of another thriller done by the end of November. Then I launched into my Boob Reports and how I want nipple tattoos and plan to publish the book after I hit five years cancer-free . Talk about relaxed. She mentioned it was good to include future projects in a pitch to convey that I am a career writer. Good to know. I’ve got lots of projects lined up.

Another huge bonus of entering in the contest happened on Monday when I opened up the envelope with my certificate and read notes from the judges. They blew my mind and gave me the best advice EVER. I sat down to study the notes at 9:00 AM and tweaked my manuscript until 5:45 PM! Now it’s a cleaner, clearer story. Then I tackled their notes on my synopsis and answered their questions. Now its 925 words. Most agents want a 500-600 word summary. Oh, well. Simplifying it will be tomorrow’s project. Synopsis is the bane of my existence. 

Now that contests no longer mystify me, watch out Japan, Australia and United Arab Emirates. I may enter THE FOREBODING in your local Writer’s Conference.

Do you know anyone who can rewrite a manuscript in Japanese or Arabic?

So I came to the conference a winner and I left a winner.

Celebrating with my finalist certificate!

Do you enter contests? Do you plan to enter contests in the future?

Follow my Wild Ride on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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Friday is the next Drop and Hop blog party to meet bloggers and gain new subscribers. Be ready to drop a link and dance!

Exciting Book News and a Big Leap in the Right Direction

InExciting Book News and a Step in the Right Direction one of my first classes at Wanderlust Yoga Festival, the meditation instructor told us to ask the universe the ultimate question. “Who am I?”

I asked, “Should I be a writer?” I mean, I spend a majority of my time writing blog posts, screenplays and books. My first book took years. What if I’m supposed to be doing something else with my life? Kind of a frightening thought, right?

After our last class and an amazing experience over four days in Whistler, BC, I met my daughter, Courtney, at a restaurant. While we chatted over lunch, my phone buzzed. It was noisy and I couldn’t hear the caller. The number was similar to my oncologist’s and I thought someone was calling from the RMCC. Rocky Mountain Cancer Center. I’m three years out and had scheduled a six month checkup for a few days from then. Anything related to cancer makes my heart stop.

“This is Pamela Nowak from RMFW. Your manuscript, THE FOREBODING, has been selected as a finalist in the Colorado Gold Contest.

OH! Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers!!

“Wow. I can’t believe it! Thank you so much!” She gave me the details, we hung up, and I told Courtney.

Shocked and excited, I had to go outside to DANCE!

Exciting Book News and Big Leap in the Right Direction.

Courtney took this shot through the restaurant’s window.

The universe heard me loud and clear. I’m on the right track. This is my debut novel and the result of a huge learning curve. I think of it as my thesis from five years of intensive study through all kinds of classes, including the school of pervasive and incessant rapping on my pointed head.

This coming Saturday night, September 10th, six of us will stand up in the front of the room and the winners will be announced for best action/thriller. Sure I’m nervous, but honestly, I already feel like a winner. Haven’t you heard that overused line a million times on awards shows? It’s the truth. No matter what place it gets, I’ve already won.

THE FOREBODING is a finalist! How cool is that?

6th place or 1st, my husband, Danny, will be there to record another happy dance.

How do you react to good news? Do you think you’re on the right path?

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It’s always a Wild Ride!

 

Wild Rider Magazine – Crush Procrastination, Boost Your Blog and Writing

Life Hacks * Tips * Blogging * SEO * Movies * Links * Inspiration

This is the second issue of Wild Rider Magazine. Bringing you discoveries from around the web and my wild life.

In school or out for good, here are a few tips and life hacks to help you beat procrastination and links to improve your next blog post or writing project. We all want to do that, but a lot of things can get in the way. Procrastination or lack of focus (Wait. What was that sparkly thing over there?), fear of missing out on social media, and the lack of new information can throw our latest WIP (work in progress), into a death spiral. We can only get so much from the internet.

I’ve put together Ten Ways to Help You Reach Your Goals.

Magazine issue explores procrastination, boosting your blog and writing

Fight Procrastination:

We’ve all faced procrastination. It can lurk in the shadowy background of any project. It comes out of hiding as soon as we don’t want to work hard, we lose interest, or can’t solve a problem.

Most of us find it hard to disconnect from the Internet. We plan to get our work done, but with temptation only one click away, it can be super tough. I looked into a few apps and then realized we could do most of this on our own.

Here are some tips on combatting this enemy:

Reset your notifications. Popups used to drive me nuts while writing. I tried shutting down a few of them, but ended up turning all of them off. If there’s a fire somewhere, I’ll get a phone call.

Set a timer for 25 minutes. I’ve done this several times to make myself settle down and start on a writing project. Once the 25 minutes are up, I either quit, reset the timer, or continue writing.

I also have use this method for writing blog posts, limiting myself to 25 minutes. Sometimes I spend hours and days on posts only to get the same amount of views. Nope. I didn’t use a timer on this one.

There’s a timer on your phone or you can use this site to countdown.

Make a list of goals. If I don’t write them down, I space out half of them. I bought a daytimer in January and make a list and check off at least a couple items every day. I have long term goals in the back of it along with contest entry deadlines. I know many people make lists on their phones and that’s great, but there is something about physically crossing them off that gives me an extra special sense of gratification. I’m all about gratification and rewards. Promise me a gold star and I’ll work for it.

#UNPLUG4HOURS.  Announce to your social media friends that you will “peace out” for a few hours. You’re on the honor system and could lurk, but if you comment or Like something, you’ll be busted. I use #unplug4hours on Twitter. It helps me stay on track when I’m having a hard time focusing. For more on unplugging check out my post called Unplug 4 Hours. It works!

Twitter. Find a posse of writers trying to finish a project and meet up on Twitter or Facebook. Do a writing sprint and meet up again to give your buds virtual high fives.

Check Out These Links for Writers and Bloggers:

Read on to find a list of links to great websites, podcasts and classes. But lets start with a movie. Didn’t you love watching movies in school?

What the movie Blair Witch Project can teach you:

The first Blair Witch movie proved you didn’t need a stellar cast or elaborate sets to make an intense movie. With one view from a movie camera lens it created and executed tension so taught, it was exhausting to watch. Have you been told you need to create tension in a scene? You need to make your reader care what happens to your protagonist? This is the movie for you. The sequel, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, comes out September 16th although this one seems bent in the horror direction.

Links for Writer’s Conferences and Podcasts.

It’s not too late to find a writing conference. Check out the Association of Writers and Writing Programs at AWP.org. I will attend The Colorado Gold Conference in Denver September 9-11. See you there!

The Writer’s Life will link you up with 15 writer podcasts. There are many tips and interviews to explore.

Use iTunes? Then check out The Open University for all kinds of free classes. Don’t have a Mac? Check out The Open University website and search for a variety topics.

Follow this Website. You’ll be glad you did:

I found Donald Maass’s blog, Writer Unboxed, and check it frequently for insightful writing and business tips. I also use their search bar if I’m looking for something in particular. Donald posts once a month and always blows my mind. A new article is posted every day by knowledgeable Writer Unboxed authors.

See How Your Site Ranks.

Ever heard of Alexa? Well there are probably quite a few in the world, but only one ranks your website. With Google constantly changing their logarithms, mine has been on a roller coaster ride for months. I still check once in a while for kicks and giggles.

Content is key, so the aforementioned links could help you.

SEO information from the experts. 

Now that you’ve returned from summer distractions, posting more regularly may also help your rank. Who knows? For SEO information, read MOZ’s Whiteboard Friday. Let me know if something works for you.

So now you should be ready to rock your new projects and learn something new. You can kick procrastination, and take your blog and writing project to another level. You might want to start by making a list.

Click here for last month’s issue of Wild Rider Magazine.

Click for more of the Wild Ride.

Any comments or questions? Maybe you can think of something to add that may help another Wild Rider.

Stop Negative Thoughts and Be Creative!

How think more creatively

Most of us would like to think more creatively. I would. As human beings, we dream every night and play out all kinds of creative scenes. Writing is my thing, so I want my mind to be filled with new thoughts. I love it when new characters, scenes or plot ideas pop into my head, but I wish they would appear more often. With such an over-active mind, how do I do that?

In one of my first meditation classes at Wanderlust Yoga Festival, I learned that up to 90% of our thoughts are old and repetitive.

Wow. I consider myself a creative thinker, so I was horrified that much of my time is wasted.

The instructor explained there are many kinds of old thoughts. The most common are negative. We play out scenes where we have felt loss or have been wounded long ago. They’re on a loop. We replay them over and over again. There is nothing we can do about these scenes. They happened. They’re in our past. Most of the time these loops make us feel bad, guilty, or fill us with regret. Not only do we hold them in our minds, we hold them in our muscles, our gut, our heart, our bones. It’s not healthy.

We think about the people in our lives that don’t understand us.

They can live in the present, but the memories imprint and then we regurgitate our latest conversations. They may be one of our acquaintances, a co-worker, or a neighbor. Their negative impact can hold us back in some way when their unkind words make us doubt ourselves. We don’t need more doubt. We have enough as it is. Everyone is on a path, but these people seem to trip us up. These “viral” loops in our brain make us feel inadequate. For some strange reason, we continue to regurgitate them anyway. We add them to our already heavy load. We are sensitive human beings.

On top of that, we have worries and fear.

Oh, my God. They are the worst. We all have them. They live in our future. We make plans and try to control what happens. A certain amount of planning is important, but what if the expectations become huge? It can paralyze us. I have held off sending emails that could further my career in writing because of the fear of a typo, an awkward sentence or a rejection. Instead, I hesitated and had to build up my confidence before pressing send.

There is also the fear of choosing the right path. What if we made a wrong turn somewhere? We may have faltered, twisted and turned around, or may have been seduced by sparkly things along the way. How do we know?

resolutions illustrationAll of these thoughts weigh us down. They take up the majority of our time. In order to free up space for creativity, we shouldn’t think about something that happened last month or ten years ago. The negative people in your life? They aren’t worth your time either. Obsessing about the future doesn’t help since it’s more out of our control than we think and it never turns out exactly how we plan, anyway. So make your plan and move along.

Sound easy? It is.

I say this because I stumbled upon part of this technique before the yoga adventure.

When I received a request for my full manuscript, I was so excited! Then I panicked. Over the previous two weeks, a few new ideas had popped into my head. There were a couple inconsistencies that needed to be fixed. Since they had bubbled up at weird times during the day, I hadn’t written them down. I couldn’t remember what they were. I was leaving town! I had a doctor’s appointment at 2:00! It was noon! I had two hours!

What would I do?

My stomach knotted while all kinds of negative thoughts popped into my head. I didn’t have time to sit and read through 370 pages, but I wanted to send it as soon as possible. Timing is everything.

I stared at my laptop on the kitchen counter and then I looked down at the rug. It was worth a try. After getting comfortable on the floor, I took a deep breath and tried to clear my frantic mind. I concentrated on my breath (this may sound weird), and stared at the insides of my eyelids. I took several deep breaths and thought about my main character. Then I drifted over (and I mean barely thought about), a few plot points and BAM! Those five corrections popped into my head.

Instead of thinking, I freed my mind and listened.

This happened because I calmed myself and stepped away from the source of stress. Breathing does that. In two three, out two three. Over and over until the heart rate slows and our brains fill with oxygen.

In the case above, I had thought about these corrections before, but only momentarily. I had been in that creative space when they were formed, so I had to get back into that level of calm and relaxed thinking in order to bring them back.

If you’re facing a brain block, sometimes it gets worse if you try to force it. That’s when we are using the wrong part of the brain. I don’t believe good books get written with the cerebral cortex. It’s too logical. Creative thinking has to come from that dreamlike state where the book flows like a movie. I write what I see in my mind’s eye.

I set aside time to write creatively and try to hit between 1000-2000 words. If I’m having a problem settling down, I do what I did when I panicked. I slow my breathing. I think about my last scene and the characters. I try to come up with the most interesting event that could happen, the worst-case scenario, or a way to reveal something new. Then I start writing.

At the festival, I learned another way to become more creative. By letting go of all those negative, unwanted, or unneeded thoughts, the brain can flow to new ideas . The process of letting go makes room for them.

Imagine them as black smoke deep inside your bones, your muscles, your gut. Breathe them out. Get rid of them. You don’t have the time for old negativity.

It’s funny, how it feels weird to let them go. It’s as if we’ve clung to them for protection, but they don’t protect us. They hurt us. They keep our wounds open, so they don’t heal.

The first three days of the festival, all of my old wounds broke wide open. It was scary, at first to be so vulnerable. I had to think about them, so I could finally release them.

Negative memories and thoughts hold us back. They undermine our confidence. We’ve learned our lessons. We don’t need reminders of misunderstandings or mistakes. They need to go back to where they belong. In our past.

resolution illustrationI thought I had to go out and fix everything by doing, but I was wrong. I needed to accept who I am and chill. Everything will ebb and flow the way it’s supposed to if we trust we are on the right path and keep working hard toward our goals. We need to quiet our minds, so we can listen to our sub-conscious thoughts, stop forcing everything to solve problems, and be.

We are human beings after all.

Are you able to let go of negative thinking? How does the creative process flow for you?

 

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