My New Workshop at Savvy Authors is Coming Right Up

7 habits of highly committed wirtersHi there all,

My workshop on The Seven Habits of Highly Committed Writers will be held from April 22nd to May 19th, 2014 at Savvy Authors.

To register for this wonderfully informative workshop and receive this E-book for free, please click on the link below to register.

http://ce.savvyauthors.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Calendar.eventDetail&eventId=2181 here is the URL for The Seven Habits of Highly Committed Writers.

I look forward to informing you more about these all-important habits for writers.

Irene Roth

Writing on the Computer

Hi fellow writers!

Lately, I’ve been doing some reflecting on the difference of writing by hand on a pad with pen in hand and writing  and composing on the keyboard.

I have discovered that there is a marked difference between writing on paper at your desk and writing on the keyboard.  Most notably, the difference is as follows as I have seen after reflecting on this for about a year or so while writing both ways:

When I write on the keyboard, I could write a lot quicker. For instance, I could write a few books a month or 150 pages each. So, when I write by hand it is much slower.

However, what bothers me about writing on the keyboard as opposed to writing by hand is the quality of writing. I am worried that the quicker my writing becomes, the less precise and concise it will be.

Now, there are certain kinds of writing that I still to by hand, such as when I do philosophical writing. However, despite that, I still write my nonfiction books for teens and tweens on the keyboard. I have an outline of all the chapters and an outline of each chapter, but beyond that, I have nothing written down on paper.

There is something perplexing about writing completely on the keyboard. So, I will definitely make sure that I find out why I am so perplexed about it over the next while and whether I could determine whether there are certain books that could and perhaps even should be written on a keyboard.

As some of you know, I also write novels. Now novel-writing is one type of writing that it is BEST, in my opinion, to write first drafts on the keyboard. After you have your overall outline and chapter outlines, and character sketches, and plot points, it is time to sit down and write it quickly.

However, the jury is still out for nonfictional kinds of writing.  So, I will keep exploring and let you know what my findings are in the future.

To your productivity this spring!

Irene S. Roth

Inspiration versus Self-Discipline

It’s not easy to become committed to writing projects by developing self-discipline and to move past the initial inspiration that motivated them to start a project. It requires more than being excited about pursuing a project. It involves making a decision to see a project through to completion, regardless of the obstacles that get in the way.

Commitment and self-discipline are crucial to reaching your writing goals and becoming a self-discipline writer. Commitments become apparent when something is gut-level important. Our commitments can pave a path to success as time goes on. Ideally, commitment involves a decision to start and complete a writing project.

In addition, commitment is a self-disciplined decision or choice to pursue a particular writing project. Writers need more than motivation to be successful with their writing projects. Here are a few steps to commit to writing goals. None of them merely require motivation to write.

1. View writing commitments as important and not just a nice thing to do. Writing commitments should advance our writing careers. If they don’t we shouldn’t commit to them.

2. Carefully reflect before committing to a writing project. Many writers commit to the wrong things. This can be frustrating and result in a lack of success. The writing goals we commit to must be instrumental to our long-term success. Don’t just set goals and then hope for the best. Assess the goals before committing to them.

3. Always try to keep learning and researching as much as we can about the topic to be written about. It takes a lot of research to write a good quality book or article. Researching can also help commit to a project.

4. Plan for success. Success doesn’t just happen. It takes a lot of hard work. Each step taken can lead to success, one small step at a time. We just have to plan our steps and bring them about one day at a time.

Below, I will clarify the distinction between mere motivation and self-discipline. Take a look.
______________________________________________________
Inspiration                                                       Self-Discipline
______________________________________________________
Something we think                                 Something we decided will
will help make a big difference              will help make a big difference
______________________________________________________
Something we like                                     Something that’s beyond like
______________________________________________________
Something we’re                                        Usually has to do with
momentarily passionate                         a long-term writing goal
about
______________________________________________________
Usually short-term                                   Something that lasts long
______________________________________________________
Tends to fluctuate                                       Tends not to fluctuate
______________________________________________________
Based on emotions                                     Based on a decision
______________________________________________________
Based on short-bursts                              Based on long-term
of energy perseverance

 

As we can see, self-discipline ensures the completion of writing goals from the most important to the least important. Self-discipline stops short-term projects from taking top priority in our writing lives. We must focus on longer projects to be successful writers.

Irene S. Roth

Lack of Energy Rescue

Do you experience low energy levels when you’re working on your writing projects? Do you feel that no matter how inspired you are at the beginning of a writing project, you lose momentum in the long run?

If you answered these questions in the affirmative, believe me, you’re not alone. Our energy levels may dwindle a lot. But we can all kick start our ambition if it gets low. You don’t need to have high-energy all the time to follow through and see your project through to the end. Completing your writing projects need not be like a race that you complete. All you have to do is to keep running to the finish line!

Every action creates a reaction. So, if you do something, something else will happen. Doing more is obviously preferable to doing less or nothing at all. But if you can’t, do whatever is possible. Don’t push yourself. As you do little things, your enthusiasm to continue on will increase. One micro-action leads to another. Even the smallest action generates energy. In other words, energy creates energy and momentum builds to the point where we can gain a lot of energy and be able to continue and see our project to completion.

You may also try a visualization exercise. This is the secret to getting over an energy slump for many writers. Look at where you want to go in the future and then you may be able to get there. More specifically, to visualize, use the following scheme.

• Define what you want;
• See it in your mind’s eye;
• Believe that it is yours; and
• Your creative mind will inspire you to action to get it.

The important thing to remember is that you don’t need a lot of energy all at once to follow through and see your project to completion. However, consistence, persistence, and patience can usually help complete projects more than anything.

Try it!

Irene S. Roth

Dealing With Distraction

It’s easy to become distracted when you start your writing career. Anything can distract you, if you allow it to. It is can take a long time to learn how to focus on your writing in such a way that distractions will be minimized, if not avoided altogether.

Distractions can take many different forms. We could be distracted by our children, spouses, family members or phone and email. Limiting these distractions can be easy, if you take a few steps. Here are a few to consider.

1. Set an egg-timer

I find that setting a timer helps a lot. I set it for, say, one or two hours, and during that time, I don’t do anything but think about what I am doing. The timer gives me the structure I need to keep my eyes and mind on the manuscript that I am working on.

2. Do nothing but write during your allotted time

Nothing, except an emergency, should move you to do anything else than write during my allotted time. If you are serious about writing, make sure that you actually write during your devoted time.

3. Shut off all outside distractions before sitting down to write

It is important for writers to shut off the ringer on the phone and don’t answer the door if the doorbell rings during your allotted writing session. Do nothing but write.

4. Tell Family about your Writing Time

It is important for you to tell your family ahead of time what your writing schedule will be for the week. Then when you’re writing time comes, honour it so that your family can honor it too. Don’t be persuaded to do anything but write during those times.

5. Work on one project at a time

Seasoned writers usually finish up all their writing projects. They work diligently through discouragement and rejection. They also find a way to work consistently on a project until it is complete.

Writers will usually hit a lot of distractions when they set out to write. This is to be expected and is very much a part of writing practise. Amateur writers, on the other hand, tend to quit when the going gets tough. Many amateur writers may end up with having one or two filing cabinets of incomplete manuscripts if they are not careful.

And many of them don’t have any inclination to work on them again. Try taking one of these manuscripts out and work on it until it is completed. Then take out the next one and do the same. This practise, in itself, could be a confidence booster. But more than that, it will definitely help you be much more successful.

By taking these steps, you will be eliminating distractions as much as possible. And you’ll feel less frustrated as a writer.

Irene S. Roth

Guest Blog: “Creative Work/Life Balance” By Pamela Thompson

CREATIVE WORK/LIFE BALANCE
by Pamela Thompson,
President & CEO, Creative Life Coaching Inc.

Work/Life Balance is an elusive and personal concept. Elusive, because so many people talk about and strive for it, yet few are able to attain and/or maintain it. Personal, because what work/life balance looks and feels like for you is different from what work/life balance looks and feels like for me.

I would like to share with you three keys to Creative Living (1) and a tool associated with each key.

Key #1 – Listen to and Trust in Your Body’s Wisdom – How many of you have made decisions based on doing the ‘pros and cons’ list (using only the left brain) and found that they haven’t always been the right decisions for you? How many of you have found that all decisions based on going into your body and listening to your heart and/or gut have always been the right ones? That certainly has been my experience. All the decisions I have made by “going inside” and listening for the answer have always been the right decisions for me; whereas those made solely from making the ‘pros and cons’ list and only using left brain logic have not always been the right ones. Our bodies always have the answers and know what’s right for us. Unfortunately in our sped up culture that places a lot of value on the brain and information, many of us have “lost touch” with our intuition and have forgotten how to consult with and listen to our body’s wisdom.

Tool: Mindfulness (2) Meditation. – A tool from Easter psychology that I have found extremely useful for getting “out of my head” and into my body is Mindfulness walking meditation. Mindfulness practices focus on the senses and feeling sensations and emotions in our bodies. When we do a mindfulness* walking meditation we feel the ground beneath our feet, we feel the breeze against our face, we feel the cool air going from our nostrils down into our lungs. We smell the scent of salt or the aroma of lavender in the air and observe the scenery in front of us. We try to stay out of our minds and experience our senses. Rather than spend a walk in nature constantly thinking and processing all the things we have to do, instead we stay present and experience nature and all of its beautiful sights, smells, sounds and sensations.

Key #2 – Tap into and express your creative side – Many of us when we were children had an artistic or creative pursuit we enjoyed. It could have been drawing, painting, dancing, writing … . A number of us when we were about 10 years old were told by someone close to us that “we would never make any money” doing that artistic pursuit and shortly thereafter stopped doing it. Doing an artistic or creative pursuit enables us to connect with our inner child, express deep-seated emotions, focus and get into the flow, forgetting about anything else except the creative activity we’re involved in.

Tool: Reconnect with an artistic or creative pursuit you did as a child and notice how you feel when you do it. There may also be something creative you’ve always wanted to do such as play the piano, do salsa dancing, paint. I encourage you to take up a new creative pursuit and truly experience it.

Key #3 – Consciously create right and left brain/body balance -
The Eastern cultures of China and India for more than 2,000 years have recognized the importance of balance in our lives. The hot and cold theories of health and illness exist in these cultures (e.g. we eat certain ‘hot’ foods when our bodies have a ‘cold’ condition to bring them back into balance). Traditional Chinese medicine is based on the belief that all dis-ease is caused by energy blockages in our bodies. Having therapeutic massage or acupuncture or doing regular qui gong or tai chi helps keep the energy moving and our bodies healthy.

Daniel Pink in “A Whole Brain Mind” provides evidence that to be healthy, happy and successful in today’s world we need to use both sides of our brains. Many of us have focused on our left brains (logical, rational, structured) without consciously using our right brains (our creative, unstructured, emotional sides). By creating balance in our bodies and our minds there is much evidence to show that we become healthier in mind, body and spirit.

Tool: Grounding – A technique I have found extremely useful in helping me stay balanced is grounding. I do this exercise at the start of every day and before I head into an important meeting or go “on stage” for a speaking event. I go somewhere quiet (depending on the venue it may be a washroom stall), then I close my eyes and take several deep breaths to get into my body. I imagine I have roots growing out of the bottom of my feet going deep down into the earth. Then I imagine drawing the earth’s energy coming up through my feet, legs and into my heart. I then imagine I have branches reaching up to the sky to access the universal or source energy (or whatever you wish to call it) and feel that energy coming down through my head and neck and into my heart. I imagine that I am grounded to the earth and to the sky or the heavens. This enables me to be much more powerful in the work I do and to be less reactive and more responsive in my interactions with others at work or at home.

In summary: I encourage you to create your own personal vision of what creative work/life balance looks like for you and to also write down how you will feel when you have attained such balance. I invite you to begin to integrate at least one tool from each of the three keys into your life everyday for 21 days to start (as it takes about three weeks to form a habit). Notice how you feel when you do this. Enlist a friend, family member or a coach to support you to integrate these new behaviours. It is important when making any life changes to have the knowledge of why they’re important, the skills or tools to integrate them and the support to do them. ENJOY!

[1] From my book currently being written entitled: Creative Living: Learning to Dance with Life

[2] Several useful books on mindfulness are: The Wise Heart by Jack Kornfield and True Refuge by Tara Brach. Check out www.nicabm.com for teleseminars on mindfulness.

Copyright 2013 – Creative Life Coaching Inc. – www.creativelivingcommunity.com