Try This: A Week Without Technology

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In Week 4: Recovering a Sense of Integrity in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, she asks people to refrain from reading for one week. It is difficult, perhaps impossible, and I find most people who come to that task of that chapter don’t try very hard, or at all, to do it. However, reading this article in The Guardian: “‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia,” made me think again about the power of technology and social media in our lives, and how ubiquitous – and addictive – it is. When Julia Cameron originally …

Life Happens: Keeping Your Creative Spark in a World of Distraction

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Last time, I talked about the dangers of distraction, and how being constantly busy and distracted can actually alter our brain function. It is good to be aware of the distractions in our lives, and the ways we can unintentionally sabotage our ability to work deeply. But what can we do about inevitable distractions that life hands us? Like it or not, most of us can’t opt out of our families, jobs, and other commitments (although we can think about limiting those other commitments, learning to say No in order to protect our time to create). Retreats and residencies are …

Your Summer Plan

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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 …

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 …

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 …

7 Ways to Get More Energy Now

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When you ask most writers what they’d like more of (besides money) they’ll say: time. “If I only had more time, I could write more.” But more time isn’t always the answer. Let’s face it, we all have 24 hours in a day. And we all have plenty of “stuff” to fill those hours. It’s important to be mindful of how we spend the time we have: do we spend a lot of time on Facebook or other social media? Do we suddenly get the urge to clean the house just at the moment we’ve promised ourselves we’d write? It …

Mid-Summer Check-In

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Now that August is here, it’s time to do a check-in of your writing plan: what is working? What isn’t? This isn’t a time to beat yourself up. If you’ve let things slide up to now, you still have time to do some writing before the fall hits. If you’ve been grooving along, getting the work done, great! Keep going! If you’ve bit a bit of a wall, and need a little oomph of motivation (aka a kick in the ass) well, that’s fine too. No judgment here. Judging sets you back, gets you in a self-doubting mental loop that …

Your Summer Writing Plan

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Last weekend, as we wrapped up our day-long writing workshop, my writer’s group went around and stated what we planned to work on over the summer. We’re meeting again in September, so it was good to state our goals, especially after having received feedback on our work. Hearing others’ enthusiasm for their work and mine got me jazzed up to get back to working on a project I’d set aside as having too many thorny story problems that needed sorting. Summer is often the odd season out. Vacations, the lure of weekends spent outdoors, kids off school, and all the …

No Zero Days

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Recently, I was at my mother’s for her 8oth birthday. We had a lovely dinner out for her (despite the snow) and I stayed an extra few days to spend time with her and also get some stuff done there. I enjoy spending time with her, and our time is more precious because of her advancing years and failing health. However, when I go there, it often means everything else come to a screeching halt. It’s really hard to focus on anything else, especially writing. This time, I came committed to the concept of No Zero Days. I didn’t get …