Your Summer Plan

janav Creativity, Productivity, Time Management, Writing Leave a Comment

Many people count Memorial Day the official start of summer; others follow the meteorological calendar (or Summer Solstice) or start of the school summer vacation. It depends on your lifestyle. For me it never really feels like summer until after the MFA residency ends, which this year is July 1. However you count it, this time of year signals a change of routine for many people. For some, it means more free time, for vacation or flex schedules. For others, it’s busier because kids are around more, or other things take precedence. At any change of season, it can be …

Resilience: Recharging or Enduring?

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I recently came across this article in Harvard Business Review online: “Resilience is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure.” I’ve been thinking a lot about resilience lately, and how it’s a skill many of us understand very little about. What does it mean? How do we do it? There are times in all of our lives when we’re overwhelmed by external events (or internal ones, like depression and illness). We can get discouraged, feel like a failure, and wonder how we’ll ever get back to what we intended to do. This has certainly been me the last few …

Rise and Shine!

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I haven’t been posting as much lately because life outside my blog has been a little crazy – in addition to the MFA residency, I’ve been focusing on the new semester starting, and I’m teaching two courses: Intercultural Communication and Grant Writing. I love my students – they are smart, engaged, and really want to learn – so it’s pleasurable work, but it has left less time for other things. Also, I received some sad news: Bev Down, the President of the Creativity Coaching Association, passed away recently. She was also my mentor coach through the certification process. It’s a …

Goal-Setting for the New Year Part II:

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Today we’ll continue talking about the process of effective goal-setting, as we focus on our goals for the New Year. If you’ve come up with your list of 3-4 things you’d like to work on, and refined it until you know what accomplishing that goal really means and the steps it will take to do it, then you are ready for the next step. Here I want to note, however, that ONE goal is perfectly fine. In fact, some research suggests that we do better focusing on one thing at a time, versus multiple things. Research also says that it …

Your True North – Goal-Setting for the New Year

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Many people, myself included, are setting some sort of goals or intentions for this year. As we look at all the things we want to change in our lives, it’s easy, in the rush of enthusiasm and optimism of the New Year, to overdo our ambitions. Or to think that we should. That word, should, is a telling one. When I set goals for myself (or help other people with theirs), I first write down everything I’d like to do differently this year. I usually put them under larger umbrella categories, like “Health” or “Creativity.” I just get it all …

“Brutal” Truths About Creativity?

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I winced a little at the word “brutal” in the title. Creativity, it seems to me, is not best served boot-camp style. But the tone of the article is positive overall, and I agreed with its points. All of us are born creative. Some use our creativity more than others. Some give up at the first hint of “failure” i.e. when the world responds with a yawn or a criticism. And that is what is brutal about creativity, in my mind: that often, we’re just doing it for ourselves, because even what we truly hope will resonate with people doesn’t …

Friday Favorites: No Plot? No Problem!

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From preparation, gaining allies, figuring out your physical space, creating incentives, getting food… and actually getting through the 1,667 words per day, and dealing with the mid-month slog and other challenges (illness, lack of support, sudden time crunches), this book takes you through the entire month of novel-writing drama. I highly recommend reading it before NaNoWriMo, so you can appropriately prepare. You can, of course, just show up on Day 1 and start writing, but knowing about and planning for the inevitable setbacks and challenges will help you keep to your goal. I like the just do it! approach, and …

Prepping For the Big One

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The gist is that in order to hit 50,000 words, you need to write 1667 words per day. This is a lot, to be sure, but a do-able goal, especially if you take advantage of the supports offered by the NaNoWriMo organization – forums, local groups, online inspiration, etc. Confession: I’ve never actually done NaNoWriMo, mainly because I always seem to be in the middle of a book when it comes around, and one of the precepts is that you must be starting something new. I do applaud it, however, in the sense that it keeps you writing for one …

Three Lessons to Keep You Going When You’re Stuck

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]I met with my alumni writer’s group this past weekend. I almost didn’t go. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with other life stuff lately, and had a To Do list a mile long. I didn’t meet my goals of finishing the draft of my novel before our next meeting. My heart wasn’t in it. But then at the last minute I decided to go, and I’m glad I did. Community is incredibly important for writers, and creatives of all kinds. Some of us work collaboratively, but most of us, especially early in our careers, work alone. Since we’re often not making …

Stop the Waiting Game

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“But,” we say, “what’s the point of writing at all, when it won’t be my best because I: get distracted/don’t have time to go deep/am tired/don’t know what to write/etc.” Don’t wait. Find fifteen minutes, somewhere. It may not seem like enough, but it is, in fact, better than nothing. Fifteen minutes per day adds up to almost 2 hours per week. (Why not throw in a half hour, just to round it out to 2?) I often say, it’s better to commit to a tiny amount than just wait and hope you’ll feel inspired to do a bigger chunk …