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Archive for the ‘valuing you’ Category

I’m on a mission… to park the Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV). Why don’t I have time to write? Because I don’t make it a priority.

In fact, I don’t make anything about me a priority. Writing, eating well, exercising, downtime, time with people I love, FUN. Oh yes, I do all that, in between the other bits. Jammed in between.

But mostly I’m tearing down life’s highway, sirens blaring, to fix a real or imagined emergency. I don’t actually stop to question if it is an emergency, I just jump right in the ERV and go…

Which leaves me existing in the future – the “one day” when life will be calm and rational, and I’ll have the time to do all those things I’ve been putting off (or stuffing, half finished, in the bottom drawer).

So the brakes are on. I’ve already started encouraging my kids to start solving their own problems – or at least, not make mama the first call before they’ve put their own brains in gear.

And I’m taking lunch breaks. Yes, in this mad crazy year, when I’m grateful to be so busy in my business, I still need to breath – and eat – and occasionally do yoga.

I’m also stopping the multi-tasking. Being present and focused is actually working – and it’s reducing my anxiety levels. So is not always being connected.

The secret is to check in with yourself regularly – or so I’ve discovered. Who would’ve thought you’d have to remind yourself to breath, or walk, or listen, or think.

Or to remind yourself of something so obvious: who’s going to make your life happen – and when – if you don’t?

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celebrate your achievements... even the little ones

It’s Friday – so we’re celebrating. We’ve decided to STOP beating ourselves up about all the things we don’t achieve, and start celebrating the things we do.

Even the little things. Like getting through a week that’s left us feeling more like an Emergency Response Team than a couple of writers…

So in the spirit of kindness (to ourselves), here’s some of the things we’ve achieved lately:

  • We’ve written three blog posts… (a new world record for us!)
  • We’ve (almost) finished the ‘Bible’ for our children’s TV series. Just a couple of tweaks and we’re done
  • Louise is midway through a complete re-write of that dusty old manuscript (and it’s come full circle, back to the original story after a detour…of about two years)
  • Sandra has finished an early reader manuscript and it’s ‘incubating’ – along with lots of new ideas
  • We’ve been madly tech-editing a huge pre-feasibility study – we call it therapy (so does our Bank Manager. He’s feeling much better.)
  • We’ve both been working on our family businesses (instead of avoiding them)
  • We’ve both got a clearer picture of our goals
  • We’ve taken time to hang out with our blokes and our kids
  • We’ve fitted in some ‘me time’ (surprisingly) and even booked ourselves some indulgent moments (mine was the most delicious Thai foot massage yesterday, mmmmm).

I think that’s pretty good for one mad week. What have you achieved this week? Written 500 words or more, started working on that website you’ve been thinking about, gone for a run or to the gym, written a blog post? Whatever it is – big or small – it’s a celebration.

cheers

Louise and Sandra

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This cartoon is by Dave Walker.

Thanks to Naomi Dunford at Ittybiz, and her insightful newsletter, I’ve been motivated to get my act together. As usual, my paid work is all filed and prioritised but my personal work is a mess.

So I went through all the dark and dusty cupboards on my hard drive and discovered a far more significant body of work than I ever imagined I had. And most of it was, you guessed it, unfinished. But most of it was almost finished. What a waste.

I made up a new folder on my desktop (so it couldn’t escape my eye) and put everything in there. Then I went through it all and chose the smallest (word count wise) project I had and I finished it.

Now I have an early reader manuscript sitting on my desktop. I’m going to let it brew for a week before I look at it again and get it ready to submit.

The amazing thing was – it was so easy. And now I’m feeling great about my writing, instead of feeling like I’m failing.

If you want to feel great about your own writing, go finish that short story, essay idea, whatever it is. Choose the one you know is going to be easiest and stick with it until it’s done. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do it in a day. It might take a week, it might take a month. But make that project your priority whenever you do have some time to spare. If you have other ideas, jot them down and stick them in an idea file for later.

They’ll still be waiting there in that dusty cupboard when you’re done. But in front of you, you just might have a shiny new manuscript as well.

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Start. Do anything. Do something. Act.

If you can do one small thing today, you are one step closer to your goal.

Do you have a goal?

Perhaps today is the day you work out what your goal is. Because that is enough to take you one step ahead and how to make progress. (Well don’t just sit there. Get a piece of paper and do it now.)

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What happens when you put yourself out there – and your ‘baby’ (non-fiction book idea, fiction manuscript, idea for a tv series or screenplay, whatever it is) – and not only does your pitch fail, but you get the distinct impression you should really crawl back in your hole and stay there? It happened to me this week – and, not surprisingly for a sensitive creative type (read neurotic!), it really knocked me around.

All the crappy things in your head come up – things about self-worth, past failures (somehow your successes diminish at a rapid rate) and whether you should give up now, because rejection really hurts (ouch!).

So, after a quiet meltdown, I realised some ‘deconstruction’ was needed! I’d written a blog recently: The Upside of Failure, so I decided to take my own advice. And I know my writerly readers out there will relate to this, because we have to risk exposure and rejection in order to reach for that elusive publication dream. Here’s the lessons I took out of my failure:

  1. Hold things lightly. Don’t wrap up your entire self worth with the outcome. Because it may just be that you don’t appeal to that person’s area of interest or taste.
  2. Take risks – but take the risks that involve reaching for your dream, not the risks that are about things you don’t care enough about, don’t really want to do, and aren’t worth wasting your precious energy on (like thinking you need to go for a particular job to be seen as successful, even if you know you’d absolutely hate it!)
  3. Before you give up – work out whether you’re just going through a dip (so it’s worth sticking at it) or whether you’re actually on the wrong track and headed for a dead end (Seth Godin’s The Dip is a must read…)
  4. Work on the things you can change, but hang onto the things that are essential to who you are (aka authentically you). Don’t change you to fit anyone’s mould or idea of success.
  5. Take lessons from failures, then let them go (the failures, not the lessons)
  6. Last but not least: stop doing what what you do (paint, write, create) just to get a result (like publication or money). Create from the heart. Do it because you love to do it and it’s vital to your wellbeing. Love the process, and you are already a success… the money and recognition will be a (nice) bonus.

And remember, some people are just plain rude. Their ignorance is a reflection on them, not you. If all else fails, crank up a Alanis Morrissette’s I see right through you and sing your heart out. You’re not the first one to feel these things, and you won’t be the last. It’s what you do with how you feel that matters.

So power up your dreams and go for it… I know I am.

Lou x

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When you look back at the year that’s just flown past, what do you remember?

The birth of a child or a grandchild, getting a new job, going to a rock concert or a festival, buying a house or car, getting married – or divorced, losing someone you love, getting a new dog or cat, losing weight, getting published…

Big moments and big changes might get all the attention, but it’s those trillions of little moments that really make up your year — and your life. So as Christmas approaches and everything’s a little bit manic, stop and breathe. And be in every moment.

This second. This place. This body. This… is your life.

And we’ll leave you with this: Rob Thomas – Little Wonders. Have a wonderful silly season… talk to you soon.

Louise & Sandra x

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Today – we set goals, we set deadlines to achieve them, we made them realistic.

Today – we took our own advice, we got organised, we put down on paper what is possible.

Today – we stopped shuffling all the half thought out ideas, half written concepts, and we set them on a path to completion.

What are you going to do today? What are the possibilities you’re ignoring? What are the things you can set goals for? Complete? Finish?

Potential’s not enough. Ideas are not enough. You need a plan. You need to write it down.

So, what are you still doing here? Go plan!

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