Where Are You Now? Natural Writer Podcast Ep. 1

Today is a big day. Today is the first episode of the Natural Writer Podcast, and the topic is prompting you to answer the question, “Where are you as a writer?”

There is a lot I go into, and while this blog post isn’t exactly the transcript of episode, it’s the outline in blog form.

Where Are You as A Writer? Natural Writer Podcast

In this first episode, I ask you to consider where you are as a writer. Where are you leaping off from today? Tomorrow? The next day? This episode explores Where you are as a writer The use of Tarot as a writer The use of Earth, Air, Fire & Water as a writer I mention the Celtic Cross for Writers Workbook, and while during the time of the recording I didn't know if I would have that workbook ready, I can now say that it is ready and available! Get your copy here or by visiting https://naturalwritercoaching.com/2021/08/01/tarot-journaling/ In this workbook I'll walk you through how to use the Celtic Cross to discover yourself as a writer with copious journal prompts and using the Tarot. This workbook has over 50 pages of information, prompts and insight to up-level your writing mindset. You can find me at  http://www.NaturalWriterCoaching.com On Instagram: @NaturalWriterCoaching On Twitter: @WriterNatural On Facebook: NaturalWriterCoaching Or email any questions or thoughts at Nicola@NaturalWriterCoaching.com or through the Contact Me page of my website. Happy writing, friends!

Why Do We Need to Know Where We Are?

Knowing where you are as a writer means that you know the starting point from which you’re jumping off.

You might be just starting your writing journey, or maybe you’re a prolific short story writer, yet just beginning your first novel. Or perhaps you’re a self-published novelist, well into your 11th book, and needing some extra umph to keep you going.

We are all at different points in our writing. And yet, we’re all at the same place: the first day.

I know, this is going to sound cheesy, but it’s true. We are all at the first day of the rest of our writing journey.

The good, and obnoxious news is that tomorrow is also our first day.

So where are we starting from today? Where will we be starting from tomorrow? And the next day? And next week? Next month?

You get where I’m going with this.

Knowing where you are right now can help you pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses, what’s holding you back, and what’s supporting you.

I suggest you have yourself a pen an paper for this blog post or this podcast, because I’m going to be asking you some questions to get you going.

Using Tarot

Throughout this podcast, I’ll be referring to the Tarot. If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you’ll also know that I’m a big fan of using the Tarot in writing.

For this particular episode and post, I’m considering the lens of the first position of the Celtic Cross: The heart of the matter, or where you are as a writer.

In a Celtic Cross reading, this position represents the sum of all the energies working around you and within you to put you in the current position you’re in right now, or the real issue that is prompting the reading at all.

For many writers, it’s writers block. But that’s not just what the main issue is. It’s what’s masking the issue. So let’s take a second a look at writer’s block.

Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is rarely simply not knowing what to write. More often than not, it’s the result of something deeper getting in the way, whether it’s a belief, a fear, or the excuses we tell ourselves (though those are also the result of beliefs and/or fears).

If we take a little bit of a bird walk, I’ll talk a little bit about the ego.

The ego, at least, how I’m defining the ego, is the self, or rather, the protector of the self. It is like the shell of the nut that is what defines us.

The aim of the ego is to protect the self. However, what it means to protect something is to keep it just as it is. Which leads to no growth.

In order to grow, we need to initiate a change. Where there is change, there is the unknown. Where there is the unknown, there is potentially danger to the self, which is what the ego wants to protect the self from. As a result, we have fear.

This is very simplified. I know that. Just keep bird walking with me.

This fear is what is causing our writer’s block, when it does manage to crop up. It’s the voice in the bac of our heads questioning whether our writing will be well received, if we as writers will be well received, or if there’s any point in writing at all. These are just a few fears that I commonly talk to writers about. There are plenty more out there.

As a result, we find excuses for why we can’t write, why we shouldn’t write, and so on. This is why we would rather deep clean the bathroom which suddenly urgently needs doing when we sit down at the computer to get some work done. We may not have our writing done, but damnit, our bathrooms are spotless!

Using the tarot, and looking ourselves as writers through the lens of the tarot or even through this position in the Celtic Cross, can help us identify what might be holding us back in our writing practice. Likewise, it can show us what’s supporting us.

The First Step:
Journal It out

The first thing I’m going to ask you to do is journal out where you are as a writer. What does it mean for you to be a writer? What does your writing practice look like? What are you doing right now to embody the title of writer? What are your goals? Your fears? Who’s your biggest cheerleader, and influence? Who intimidates you?

Write everything you can about where you are right now.

Don’t think about it too much.

The often famed method of Morning Pages, put forth by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way, is about journaling without boundaries. Let your thoughts flow onto the page for at least three whole A4 pages, front and back, without pausing to wonder what to write.

When you find yourself running out of what to write, write “I don’t know what to write, I don’t know what to write, I don’t know what to write…” until your pen begins to know what to write.

Adopt this mentality while you do this exercise. Don’t think. Just journal.

After You’ve Scrawled It All…

After you’ve spent some time journaling, get a highlighter and read through what you’ve written. Pay attention to what stands out to you and mark it. Make notes, highlight, underline, do what you have to do, but mark what you’ve written that stands out as important to you.

Pull these points aside and journal on them further if you need to. Really dig into these tid-bits of information you’ve gleaned from your journaling. Why do they stick out to you?

Getting Back to Tarot

A tool that Tarot utilizes is the categorizing of different aspects of life via the four suits: Coins/Pentacles, Swords, Wands, and Cups. Each suit is represented by an element: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, respectively.

I promise this will relate to writing and where you are as a writer, just bear with me.

Here’s how the elements represent different aspects of life:

Earth

Earth represents the physical realm, all that is tangible. You can think of the things that we need to physically survive and move around in this world, such as food, shelter, physical health, the earth itself, money, etc.

Earth energy is passive energy. It is slow moving, and it digs deep and holds on. Think of terms like “grounding” or “rooting.” These directly relate to Earth aspects.

Air

Air represents our thoughts and how we communicate. It also represents education, the law, justice, and anything to do with logic. It is part of our inspiration, something I’ll delve more into when we move on to Fire.

Air also represents cycles. When we consider the breath, how it moves in and out of us, like a cycle, or the swirling of wind, we can understand how it can represent the phases we move through.

Air is active energy. Our thoughts are quick, how we speak is usually quite quick as well. Thoughts and tongues can be sharp, which is part of the reason why they are represented by the Swords in the Tarot.

Fire

This is my favorite element, though it could be because I’m a fire sign, and have a lot of fire in my astrological chart.

Fire represents passion and creation. It is our inspiration, our drive, our Will. It’s what motivates us to get up and go and to take action.

I mentioned that Air is also inspiration. The spark is the instant of Need to Do, of Compulsion to express that key part of the Self. It’s that flicker of excitement. Air is what fans that spark and brings it to a flame. It’s what plans and forms the spark into an action.

Fire, too, is active energy. It is far more instantaneous than Air, and far more demanding than air.

Water

Water is a passive energy, like Earth. Though the concept behind Water is the idea of sinking down. As a result, this means that it corresponds to our emotions, to our subconscious, our intuition, and our spirituality. It’s how we connect in our relationships, whether they be friendly, romantic, familial, or otherwise.

It is creativity.

Considering these elements and areas of your life while going over your journaling can help you divide specific areas you might find are supporting you or restricting you. You might find that there are areas that are smothering your spark, or devouring your Air, for example. These things bleed into your creative practice. Getting to know the different areas of life can help you pinpoint where you are right now.

The Second Step:
Some Guiding Questions

The second step is more of a helpful way to get you to consider the elements in your life. Here are some guiding questions you can further use as journal prompts.

Air:
What is your practice?

  1. How are you keeping yourself accountable?
  2. How are you planning for your writing goals?
  3. How are you implementing the steps of your plan?

I want to take a moment to say that it’s okay if you don’t have a plan. You don’t have to have a plan. However, Air is the element of logic, and is great when you start looking at your editing.

However, there are some elements of planning that you’ll need in your writing life. For example, the goals you set for your current WIP, or your writing career. The education you plan to explore when it comes to marketing, to story structure, to publishing also doubly fall under Air, since it’s both education and planning. Knowing copywrite laws are essential when it comes to creating your works (laws fall under Air, as does Justice).

There is a lot here, and the risk of too much Air is over-planning, and smothering your inspiration as a result. Ask yourself where the line is for you regarding too much planning, or needing to plan more.

Fire:
How Do You Feel About Writing in General?

  1. Does writing, as a whole inspire you? Intimidate you? Make you feel free? Constricted?
  2. Consider this and note what you feel in your body. Do you relax? Is there a tightness?
  3. How do you feel about your writing?
    1. Same questions – Does it inspire you? Excite you? Free? Constricted?

Fire can often be that act of creation, but creation must come from something. For example, consider the creation of another being. There are things that must happen:

  • There must be passion, or desire (both Fire)
  • Two elements come together to make that creation happen

So ask yourself what is that passion for you about writing? What is compelling you to write? Or consider writing? Or tell your story?

Examining what smothers that spark is also important, and should be considered.

  • What kills stomps out that potential for you?
  • What stops a piece from coming to fruition?

Water:
Where Does Your Creativity Come From?

  1. Does it hit you from nowhere?
  2. Do you cultivate it?
  3. What relaxes you and puts you in the flow with your art?
  4. What emotions do you tap into when you write?
    1. What do you avoid?

There is no doubt that writing is a creative process, and writing is fluid and flowing, just like Water. Hence, the creativity. Water forms itself to what it must be in order to fit in with what is required.

You might have noticed that I’ve mentioned both creativity and creation separately, and I want to take a moment to distinguish between the two.

  • Creation is the result of action being taken upon a passion
  • Creative, or creativity is the personal flair in which something is created.
  • Creation is fire
  • Creativity is water

In the tarot, there is a card named Temperance, which is often represented by Fire and Water. Marriam-Webster defines Temperance as “Moderation in action, thought, or feeling.”

In Thoth-Based tarot decks, the Temperance card is called Art instead. I love this. The idea that Fire and Water are coming together to create Art. This is creation and creativity coming together in harmony, the internal flow of Water, balanced with the drive of Fire, to create Art.

Earth:
How is Your Writing Showing up in Your Physical World?

  1. By what physical method do you write?
    • Type writer?
    • By hand?
    • Computer?
    • Dictation?
  2. Are you making money from your writing?
  3. How are you nourishing your brain?

I want to take a second to explain the last question.

The things that we put in our body affects our minds. Everyone is different, therefore different minds need different things. I also want to take a second to honor that this can be a privileged thing to consider as well.

I am not going on a kick about what you should or shouldn’t consume. What I am asking is for you to pay attention to how certain things affect how you think and act.

For example: during lockdown last year, I, like so many, began baking. I started to find that when I was eating the delicious things I baked, I was getting cranky. Same with when I had sugar in my coffee. So I stopped with the sugar-rich treats and drastically cut back on the sugar in my coffee.

Recently, since I get up at 5 in the morning, I have noticed that I have some pretty gnarly caffeine crashes around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. I realized it was because I was drinking bucket loads of coffee and then hitting my wall. So I stopped and replaced coffee with chicory root for a while, and then with plain old water.

I noticed how what I was consuming was affecting my mind and productivity, and I made the changes I felt I had the capacity and capability to make.

Where Are You As A Writer?

Consider everything you’ve journaled about here. What have you discovered? Are you pleased with it? Do you see areas you want to change?

If you’re open to sharing, post in the comments below! I’ll be you’ll find you’re not alone.

Natural Writer Podcast

Did you like Episode 1 of the Natural Writer Podcast? Be sure to like and subscribe. At the time of writing this, Apple hasn’t quite caught on to how excellent this podcast is, so I need your help! Be sure to subscribe to it on:

And of course, don’t forget to share the love and tell your friends!

Happy Listening and Happy Writing!


Celtic Cross Spread for Writers Workbook

In this podcast, I mention the Celtic Cross Workbook.

At the time of recording, I didn’t know when it would be released. However! I do now!

It is a completely free, 75+ pages of tarot and journal prompts using the Celtic Cross to help you delve into where you are as a writer, what is supporting you, and what is holding you back from becoming what you want to be.

Check it out for Free by completing the form below!

Tarot for Writers: What Does it Mean to Journal on a Tarot Card?

I talk a lot about Tarot. And one of my favorite practices is to tell people to journal. The combination of that often results in telling people to journal on a Tarot card.

What does that mean?

The Importance of Journaling

There are many gurus, teachers, therapists, and writers out there who will tell you that journaling is essential and important to keeping a healthy mind. Yet it’s easy to get hung up on what that means.

For many of us, when we were in school, we would be given writing prompts to get us to think about what we had learned. “What was the significance of living eternally in Tuck Everlasting?” “Would you want to live forever? Why or why not?”

I used to hate them. Truly.

Now I love them. I love the idea of delving into what I think about something. This is essentially what journal prompts serve to do. They invite a person to collect their thoughts and put them onto paper, or into audio.

The Benefits of Journaling

One way that journaling is effective is that it’s like putting your thoughts into a funnel. You have everything floating around in your head, but as soon as you have to put them into words, your brain has to organize them. It’s like untangling a knot into something manageable.

While this is an excellent reason to journal, the best understanding of the importance and therapeutic method of journaling has come from Julia Cameron in her book, The Right to Write.

She writes that journaling is allowing you the space to witness yourself. Often times we need to be witnessed, but so much of what we feel or what we think is shrouded in fear or shame. We’re afraid of what people will think of us if they knew we had x thought, or y belief, or felt a particular way.

When we journal, we are giving ourselves space to express what’s inside of us, and we are bearing our own witness.

I think this is truly beautiful, and essential for everyone to experience.

Journaling on a Tarot Card

So what does it mean to journal on a Tarot card?

This is a great practice when you’re learning to do Tarot or to read an oracle deck, and there are many ways to do this. There is no one right way. However, here are some offerings.

Note: I should mention, these are exercises designed mostly for Rider-Waite-Colman-Smith- and/or Thoth-based decks. While some of these exercises can be used for Tarot de Marseille decks, they don’t translate as easily. Oracle decks can also be used in this manner as well.

1. Describe What You See

Even if you know all the card meanings, describing what you see in a card can help you get to what you need to know about a card. It shows you what’s catching your eye first. Pay attention to that, and examine what that image, color, number, symbol, glyph, etc. might mean to you.

When you write this out, or record it out loud, you’re giving yourself the space to explore a card beyond the keyword meanings you might have memorized.

If you’re new to getting to know the Tarot, this is an opportunity for you to discover more about the picture in front of you.

2. Describe What You Feel

Writing the emotions or thoughts that come up immediately when you look at a card can help you get to the heart and energy behind a card. If you flip over the 3 of Cups and you feel panicked, then there’s a chance that you should pay attention to how you feel about social situations. If you turn over the 10 of Swords and feel relieved, then the chances are you should examine how you can move out of your particular situation and go toward that new dawn on the horizon.

Write out how you feel, and then ask yourself why you feel the way you do. Ask yourself “why?” several times, or “what can I learn from this?” several times before you move on. This is how you get in deep to your psyche.

3. Define the Card

Write out your definition of the card. If you know the card, or even if you don’t know the card, write out what it means to you. What is the image telling you? What story can you get from the picture in front of you?

Now, how does that story or definition relate to the position of the card, and to your life right now? Write it all out. Allow yourself to organize your thoughts in this way, and see what unfolds before you.

Ways to Journal

There is no right way to journal. Whether you’re doing it for a writing project, for school, or to get to know the tarot, there is no one way that is correct. What is correct is what works for you and serves you the best.

There are some things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t judge yourself for what you express through journaling. You are making space for yourself. You are allowing yourself a safe place to explore and examine ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
  • Don’t think too hard. Try to let it flow
  • Have compassion for yourself.

Here are some ways to journal

Longhand

While of course you can type out your journal entries, writing by hand, or by some measure other than pressing buttons, helps you to connect better with your thoughts and with the exercise.

When you write longhand, you can write your journal entry like you’re talking to someone, in pros, in poem form, however you want so long as the pen is moving or the voice keeps speaking, until you’re done.

Audio

Personally, I suffer from a hand injury a few years ago. When I write too much, my wrist and hand ache and it’s useless for a while. This is just one reason why someone might not be able to, or might not want to journal by hand.

Creating an audio recording is a helpful way to get around this. So long as you can find a space to yourself and can access some form of recording perhaps on your phone, on your computer, or into an old Home Alone Voice Recorder, then you’re good.

I do want to note that while yes, you can absolutely dictate your journaling to the computer, I wouldn’t recommend dictation as your writing practice. The reason I say this is that when you dictate, you need to tell the computer or dictation software to put in commas, periods, line breaks, etc. This can interrupt the flow of thought, and might create a barrier to achieve what you’re looking to achieve through your journaling.

Bullet Journaling

Bullet Journaling is a combination of art and journaling. It allows you to think and mull and gnaw on your thoughts while you doodle and color, and then bullet point your key thoughts.

Furthermore, not everyone can express themselves fully through writing. Words aren’t their medium, and there is nothing wrong with that. Using bullet journaling allows for the journaler to use color, lines, and images to give a broader range of expression.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what any of the images mean to anyone else, only the person expressing themselves. The journal is for you and only you.

Combining Tarot & Journaling

It’s no secret that I see the Tarot as an excellent tool for writers. Learning to journal on a Tarot card is a great way to help a writer sink into the scene in a card and use it to help them write their story.

For example, a two-card reading process I like to use is Situation & Problem. The first card acts as the situation I’m starting from, then the card that crosses it is the Problem. From there, I begin writing.

If I turn over the 5 of Wands, then my situation could be competition. If my second card is the Lovers, then the Problem is either a choice that has to be made, or perhaps a competing love interest, depending on where I want to go with this this card.

When I journal on the situation, and what the card looks like, the colors expressed, what the images mean to me, I’m starting my brain along the path of how I could apply this to a story. This is my jumping off point for my story, whether it’s a piece of flash fiction, a novel, or a short story.

Likewise, when I begin to journal on the Lovers and what it means to me or how I might apply it in terms of the first card, then I’m beginning to develop a plot. I’m exploring how what I know, what I feel, what I see in this prompt can be the thing to interrupt the first card.

This is just one way out of hundreds that I can benefit from journaling around or about a Tarot card.

Celtic Cross Spread for Writers Workbook

If you want to take a truly deep dive into your writing practice and discover more about yourself as a writer, I have something just for you:

The Celtic Cross Spread for Writers Workbook

This workbook has over 65 pages of journaling exercises to help you plunge into the depths of what makes you, you, of what your writing habits are, what is supporting you, and what is holding you back.

Through using the classic Celtic Cross Tarot spread, I walk you through

  • Getting real with your current situation
  • Begin looking at your writing life through the lens of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water
  • What’s getting in your way
  • Uncovering your biases that might be holding you back
  • Looking at what’s supporting or hindering you internally and externally
  • How to develop your actionable steps to make necessary changes
  • And more

The best part about this workbook? It’s completely free.

Fill out the form below to get your workbook and begin learning how Tarot and your journaling practice can serve you as a writer!

Creatable Spaces: An Affirmation Deck for Writers

This is just a quick blog post to share with you a Kickstarter Campaign I came across this morning that I think you might enjoy.

Creatable Spaces is a Mindset Deck for Writers, created by Melissa Long.

This is a 45-card affirmation deck designed to give writers and creatives tools to help them keep their mental wellness intact and stay within a mindset that allows them to complete their project.

When I saw this Kickstarter campaign, I immediately backed it. I am so thrilled to see something like this out in the world, and I really hope that it comes to fruition.

This deck is comprised of five themes to target different aspects:

  • Creatable Confidence
  • Creatable Flow
  • Creatable Imagination
  • Creatable Mindset
  • Creatable Vision

I am not a person who generally goes for oracle decks or for affirmation decks, however as soon as I saw this, I knew it was an instant fit and a tool that so many writers need.

Creatable Spaces is a mindset deck for writers designed to help you navigate the ups and downs of creative life.  Whether you’re diving into your first novel or polishing up your fiftieth screenplay, this 45-card deck of affirmations will help you:

  • Think Better
  • Write Better
  • Be Better

Your Voice Matters. So do the stories you’re longing to tell. That’s why I designed Creatable Spaces.

Do yourself a favor and back this deck. While it’ll take a while before it arrives, it will be the delated winter gift you forgot you gave to yourself, and the writer in you will be thrilled.

Note:

I have zero, none, zip, nadda, no affiliation with this deck or with the creator of this deck, nor with Kickstarter. I am sharing this truly because I feel passionate and excited about what this project is and how it can help writers.

Happy Writing, friends!


Don’t forget! We are still accepting submissions for the Nightmares When I’m Cold writing competition and anthology. You can submit your story here or by clicking the button below. All proceeds from the competition go to supporting the Sentient Squid Scholarship provided by Writing the Other.

Book a Free 30-Minute Session with Me

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Your Inner Writing Seasons

Happy Spring Equinox, Writers. And for those of you in the southern hemisphere, happy Autumn Equinox.

While I acknowledge that there are two beautiful changing of the seasons happening in two different parts of the world, I want to focus on the Spring.

When spring arrives, we are transitioning from the winter into the lighter, warmer months. Things are coming into bloom, and animals are waking up.

I feel the seasons strongly. I certainly am dormant in the winter, and awaken as the days lengthen. The sun and I are good friend in that way.

And yes, this has everything to do with writing.

A really great intimation revolves around the turning of the seasons, stating that nothing blooms all year round, and thus, we shouldn’t be expected to, either.

When it comes to writing, we all find our rhythm and groove. We go through cycles, sometimes in a phase of motivation and productivity, and other times of feeling completely drained. This is all perfectly find and natural. The earth turns through different seasons, and life goes dormant for a while. Likewise, the moon waxes and wanes, sometimes appearing in full darkness, and other times in full dark.

This is the way things are.

We live in a time where constant productivity is valued, encouraged, and even shamed if we’re not allowed to achieve that. As a result, we have people burning themselves out, and unable to focus on their passion and art, even though that might be the thing that lights them up.

Giving yourself permission to determine what your seasons are, what your internal cycle are, and when you’re at you’re brightest and when you need to rest can make or break your writing rhythm.

Some of you might be sensing a bit of a contradiction. After all, have I not been one to encourage practicing writing every single day?

And I still do.

Writing does not have to be perfection, nor does it have to be quality. It doesn’t even have to be on one project. It just has to be writing, the act of putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard every day. This is also why I encourage journaling. It is still writing, which is still exercising that muscle. Even if it’s just a couple sentences a day that you plan to delete the following day, or throw away, it’s still something.

However, the key is that you learn to attune your writing habits to your own personal seasons. And your own personal season do not need to match the Earth’s seasons in your area. You find what work for you. Again, though, for the purposes of this post, I’m going to return to spring.

For those of you who are like me who rise and fall with the seasons and the sun, spring can be nourishing. Astrologically, we’ve just passed into Aries, which is the first sign of the Zodiac. It’s a sign of being present and being seen. It’s often compared to a newborn. A baby comes into this world and makes no apology for the space it takes up, or for the attention it demands or the needs that it has.

And this is the energy of Aries.

Aries and spring are new to the year, and flowers blossom and unapologetically take up space. Consider the weed that begin popping up everywhere, for example (I love weeds,  by the way). They know when it’s their time and they go for it.

As the earth rotates and orbit, the spring can bring fresh ideas, fresh energy, and new eyes. Use this time if you resonate with it. Spend time asking yourself if you need to move on to a new project, or if you need to look at an old or continued project with fresh, new eyes.

What doe you need to bring this energy into your creativity?

Your Homework

Spend some times evaluating your own personal seasons. Look back over the last year, or last few years (since we all know 2020 was like no other year), and ask yourself when you’ve been most energetic, or felt more challenge to keep up the pace you were on. What does that tell you about that time of year?

If you don’t know, I encourage you to get a planner or even your journal, and begin paying attention to your energy levels. You can look at it in terms of weather (are you more or less energetic when it’s cloudy out? Are you more introverted or extroverted? Etc.), the moon phase, the season, or even go so far as the planetary positions.

The other thing I want you to try to do is challenge yourself to start something new this week. It doesn’t have to be a big project, but start a short story, or a piece of flash fiction, or challenge yourself to write something you don’t normally write, which could be poetry or a YA piece. But do something new.

As you look over your new piece, be unapologetic about it. That means that you respect that it is something you created and can build from. It is neither good nor bad, it simply is, and it has potential, even if it’s just something you used as a tool to learn from. It is the foundation of something from which you can build.

Happy Writing, happy Spring, and happy New Beginnings!

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Book a Free 30-Minute Session with Me

Are you thinking about working with me, but just aren’t entirely sure? Fill out the form, schedule a call, let’s talk. This is a no-pressure, non-sales-pitch call, where we talk about you and your writing, and whether or not you want to work with me. Let’s chat!

December 12 Journal Prompt: What to Write Next Year

What is your writing goal for the whole of 2020?

We’ve spent some time delving into the habits we can create to make our year successful, but now I’m going to switch gears a little bit. Knowing what you now know about yourself, we are going to look at what goals you can set for the whole of 2020.

Writing goals mean different things to different people. For those who write non-fiction, this might be querying a publisher with a book idea. For those who have an idea for a book but haven’t put any time into developing it, it might just be to outline it and get the first chapter done. For some it’s to write a book a month, and for others it might be to write a million words during the year.

All of these goals are set with the idea of what they want to develop in the long run.

Journal Prompt

This is going to be a two-part prompt. We’re going to look at the big picture and then shrink it right on down to the smaller picture.

Step 1: What Do You Want?

Fun Fact: If you want to write 1,000,000 words in 2020

You only need to develop the

right writing habit.

It only take 2,740 words each

day to write 1,000,000 words

in 356 days.

If boundaries were not a thing and wishes were fulfilled as easily as taken a breath, what would you want for your writing?

Do you want to build a career? Do you want to publish? Do you want to create stories for  those who are close to you? Do you have a message to share?

Over the span of the next decade, what do you want to happen with your writing?

Spent ten minutes or more writing everything you want for your writing. Think big, think about a world without limits, and consider everything you would want. Again, give yourself at least ten minutes of constant writing. That means no pausing once you’ve stopped. Let that pen flow, even if it means writing “I don’t know” 14 times before you finally figure out what you do know.

Don’t think about what is practical, don’t think about what is feasible. Think only about what you want.

Step 2: Your Writing Goal

Now you’re going to make your writing goal for 2020. Look at everything you’ve just written. It is possible. You just have to make the right steps.

List out the steps you would need to take in order to get to where you want. Write them out in detail, break them down. If your first step is to write your first book, then what steps do you have to take to make that happen? Break everything down as much as you can.

Now, that you have this list, ask yourself what you think you can get done in the first year. This is the time to be practical. But, at the same time, you want to challenge yourself.

Running with the example of writing your first book, maybe you not only want to write it, but have it completely squeaky polished and ready to send off to publication, or ready for beta readers, or ready to self-publish by the end of 2020.

Or maybe you want to write a million words in 2020. You could write a million words, or, you could really challenge yourself and aim for two million (5480 words a day!).

Bonus Step

When you have fun, you’re promoting joy, and that is what’s going to carry you to your goals.  

When you have yourself a writing goal, break it down, step by step. What do you need to do to write your first book? What do you need to do to write a million words? For each of these steps, create a reward system.

On of my favorite podcast hosts, Sara Werner of the Write Now Podcast, likes to reward herself when she reached word-count goals during her writing sessions with an M&M.

I’ve rewarded myself with cups of coffee. When I’m really struggling to put words on the page, I’ve told myself that when I get to x point, then I can have another cup of coffee (though I do have the fine print that I have to have a pint of water before I have my coffee as well).

Your reward systems should line up with your goal. If it’s something small, have a little—but joyful—reward for yourself. If it’s something bigger, then have a bigger reward. For example, if one of your steps is to read three books on writing, then celebrate each book by purchasing a song download, and when you finish all three, purchase a full album. Or if you want to need to finish your outline, then celebrate by spending a day out doing something you love but rarely get to do.

When you have things to look forward to, then it makes achieving the steps along the way that much more fun. When you have fun, you’re promoting joy, and that is what’s going to carry you to your goals.  

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package. This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four.

This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Book Your Free 30-Minute Call

Fill out the form below to talk to me about your piece. This is about getting to know you and your work, and deciding if we make a good pair to get you through your project.

Sign up to my mailing list to receive a FREE 3-day mini course on planning and outlining tips to start your novel!

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December 11 Journal Prompt: First Quarter Season

What is your writing goal for the first quarter of 2020?

Yesterday we spent some time looking at what habits we can form during the first month of the year. Today we are going to look at how those habits can be implemented over the first quarter of 2020.

But we’re going to look at this a little bit differently than we did yesterday. Today, we’re going to look at the seasons, and we’re going to consider our personal seasons.

Learning Your Seasons

Rebecca Campbell, author of Rise Sister Rise and Light is the New Black, talks about personal seasons. Just like the planet, we experience times of fruitfulness and times of rest. There are times when we are productive and times when we just can’t begin to look at what to tackle.

And that’s okay.

Knowing how you function best is going to help you to be your best. Knowing yourself is going to be the key to the optimal you. Everyone needs to rest, and it’s good to know when your resting times are. These can happen monthly, daily, and annually.

For example, I, living in the northern hemisphere, discovered that I can get next to zero work done in the summer. I am highly productive in the winter and in the spring, but summer I go into my personal winter of work hibernation.

Does that mean I stop working altogether? Not at all. What it does mean is that I adjust my workload to accommodate my resting time.

Not all of us have this luxury—it’s one I have worked hard to cultivate, and I know that nothing is permanent. However, in terms of our goals for on-coming years, we can take these “winter” periods and adjust our goals to work around them. Likewise, we can adjust our goals to work around our energetic, “summer” periods.

Journal Prompt

Reflecting on Winter and Summer

Reflect over the last year and compare it to the year before, and the year before that. Do you recall when you were at the height of your energy each year? Do you remember when you struggled with your energy?

Spend some time journaling about the most productive times that you recall, and see if you can narrow it down to a time of the year, time of month, time of week, time of day. If you can’t pinpoint it, that’s alright. Perhaps you might want to make it a goal to pay attention this year to when your energy waxes and wanes.

If you’ve managed to do this, then we’re going to move on to the second part of the prompt: developing a first quarter goal.

Quarterly Goals

If you have an idea of how well you work during certain times or periods, then you can more readily make goals for the first quarter of the year.

If you find that your seasons line up nicely with the year, then you can consider spending the first part of the year gearing up for your more fruitful times. The first quarter should be a time of preparation, gathering momentum, and building to the “climax” of your year.

If you find that you’re more productive in the winter, or find that you have to be more productive in the winter (shout out to my SAD people!), then acknowledge that the first three months of 2020 will be preparing to take a little bit of a break during the summer to recharge your batteries.

Now look at how you function on a month. Campbell also mentions that she finds, as a women, she is more spiritually tuned in during her period, and thus will adjust her work schedule so that she can allow for lower-key days and meditation during that time. Some folks might find that they are more productive or less productive around a full or a new moon.

At the end of the day we are writers. As writers, we tap into out creative side which depending on who you talk to, is linked to our subconscious. Our subconscious is that deeper part of us that we allow to be expressed through our dreams and through our creative works. Thus, we may not know what rhythms our subconscious and our creative side might be aligned with, so we should explore every possibility.

Once you’ve spent some time considering how and when you work best, then you can begin setting your first quarterly goal. Consider the habits you want to form during the first month, and look at how they can contribute to a bigger goal for the first quarter.

Learning your own personal rhythms is going to be what sets you up for a successful year, and hopefully, a successful decade.

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package.

This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four. This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.

Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Book Your Free 30-Minute Call

Fill out the form below to talk to me about your piece. This is about getting to know you and your work, and deciding if we make a good pair to get you through your project.

December 10 Journal Prompt: What Is Your January Goal?

What Is Your Writing Goal for January?

For some of us, we have monthly goals. We want to start a novel, or participate in (Camp) NaNoWriMo, begin editing, or even start getting the garden ready or planning or saving for a trip at the beginning of the month.

But January isn’t just another month. It’s a whole new year. As a result, there is a lot of pressure to have bigger goals, goals that will follow you through the whole year.

Knowing yourself is the first step
in creating attainable goals
forthe upcoming year.

It doesn’t help that January 2020 is the beginning of a whole new decade as well. Which is why we’re starting our planning now.

Yesterday I asked you to review your journal prompts so far. What did you learn about yourself that you didn’t know before? What did you already know, but now you know that you have to incorporate that knowledge in your next steps?

We’re going to start out simple and just make a goal for January, then we’ll move on to the full year, and then the decade.

Setting Up the Goal

The purpose of looking at your goal just for January is that you can start your year off right. Many of us make goals for the whole year and fail to neglect the smaller steps it’s going to take to create the habits to make the resolution pan out.

For example, a common one is to loose weight. How? How are you going to do this? Go to the gym? Eat better? Go for more walks? A whole 356 days can be daunting, but if you make it a goal to just go to the gym every day for January, the finish line is more reachable. Once you have one month down, you can up the ante for the next month.

Feel Your Goal

The most important thing you can do is to look at yourself and know what goal is truly in alignment with you. What jives well with you, what gets you excited? While the rest of the world is trying to loose weight for the New Year, it doesn’t mean that you need to fall into that category as well. You might be comfortable in your skin and feel no need to improve upon your health. Yet you might still feel urged to join in on the weight-loss frenzy.

You don’t have to, though.

When you look at your goals, look at what lights you up.
What is going to make you feel the best when you achieve it?
And, as always, why?

When you follow what feels good because it actually feels good to you, not because everyone else thinks it will feel good, you’ll be more likely to follow through and reach the goal.

Journal Prompt

January is a month of developing good habits. Because of the pressure of the New Year, we’re more likely to stick to the habits at least until the end of the month.

So today you are going to make a list of habits you want to try just for January.

Go crazy with them. Make a list of things you think you might want to try, things you think you should try,  and things you’re told you need to do that just don’t make you happy.

Keep in mind, all of these things are just for January. Try not to look too much further past that.

Once you’re done with your list, make three columns. They don’t have to be big, you’re only going to write numbers in each of them.

What makes me feel goodWhat I feel is importantWhat is important to others

Your first column is going to be what makes you feel good. The second column is going to be what you feel is important, regardless of how you feel, and the third column is importance to other people.

Go through your list and number each item 0-10. 10 is going to represent the most important/best feeling/most important to other people.

By “important to other people,” I mean what other people think you should do/expect you to do. This might be being on time to pick your kids up from school, eating salad instead of pasta, make more money, etc. The idea is that as you get to this column, you really think about the item on your list and examine if it’s something that you think is important, or if it’s something that other people think is important.

Go through and number your items. Spend time really thinking about each item.

After you’ve numbered them, write about what you discovered regarding your list of January goals.
Were you surprised at how much you were doing for other people?
Were you surprised at how focused you were?
What will these habits do for you in the long run?
Which will bring you the most joy?

As the month goes on, you can alter this list however you want. As you set your goals for the year and the decade later on, you might realize that there are some other good habits to develop during the first month of the year.

Keep in mind what you’ve learned about yourself over the last nine days, as well. Stay in alignment with who you are. When you feel good about what you’re doing, then you’re more likely to succeed in your goals.

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package.

This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four. This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Book Your Free 30-Minute Call

Fill out the form below to talk to me about your piece. This is about getting to know you and your work, and deciding if we make a good pair to get you through your project.

December 9: How Your Beliefs Shape Your Writing

How Do Your Beliefs Affect Your Writing?

Yesterday we delved into what it is we believe. This isn’t just about what we spiritually believe, though that can play a role, but what is that we believe about ourselves.

Story-telling is a method of
explain the world around us.

Story-telling is about showing and sharing our experiences in life and examining the human condition. Historically, it would be a means to explain the changing seasons, the migrating animals, the truly amazing and horrifying occurrences in the past. It was a way of depicting the world our ancestors lived in, and we do the same thing today.

As writers, we are story-tellers. Even if your medium is non-fiction, you are putting your own flavor and perspective into your writing, You shine through with the words you choose.

The downside of this is that we also tell ourselves stories. All the time. Every minute of every day. This isn’t just writers who do this, but every single one of us. When we look at how we perceive the person who cut us off in traffic, we’re telling a story. That story could either be that they just didn’t see us when they changed lanes, or that they’re personally attacking us, or that they’re just arrogant enough to believe that you should yield to them.

How we tell our stories in our lives shapes how we see the world. The drive for the stories we tell is anchored in our beliefs.

Journal Prompt

Today’s journal prompt looks at the beliefs you analyzed yesterday and consider how they affect your writing.

Pull out your list of beliefs, and ask yourself what they do regarding your writing. Do they inspire? Do they hinder? Do they influence the genre you write? What kind of endings on your stories do you have? Why?

Take the time to consider what you generally like to write, and how they correspond to your beliefs.

Once you have done that, spend some time asking yourself what you can do to alter the beliefs that are negatively influencing your writing practices or habits. Ask yourself what your writing or life might look like if you changed these beliefs. Spend some time journaling about this. Really challenge yourself to look into these questions and the correspondences. You’ll be surprised by what you find.

Tomorrow

Today is the last day that we focus on you, the writer. Tomorrow we begin to look more specifically at your 2020 goals. However, the last 9 prompts have been to help you get to know yourself so that you can make effective goals in 2020 that are in alignment with you.

By knowing yourself, you can know that sure, you want to sell 100,000 books next year, but because you know that you detest marketing, you’ll have to hire someone to do the marketing for you, or develop a marketing strategy that you can abide by. Knowing yourself means you can create plans that you are more likely to follow.

Knowing what brings you Joy can also mean using that as the inspiration to propel you toward achieving your goals.

Using a personal example, I adore working with writers. It lights me the f up. This is why I became a writing coach. For 2020, I of course am going to have goals for my business. But, I hate marketing, if you recall. But, by keeping in mind my love for working with writers, I can create a goal that involves working with writers and knowing that every step I take toward that goal will keep lighting me up. This might mean finding writing groups to just exchange stories with outside of being a coach, or beta reading. Both of these allow me to interact with writers and it can also be a way that I can network and market at the same time. Finding a path that lights me up is how I will succeed in my 2020 coaching-related goals.

To prepare for the next few journal prompts, look back at the journaling you have done so far. Look at how what you’ve learned about yourself can potentially work toward enhancing and empowering your 2020 goals, even if you don’t have them developed yet.

Designing your 2020 goals begins tomorrow.

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package.

This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four. This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Sign up to my mailing list to receive a FREE 3-day mini course on planning and outlining tips to start your novel!

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December 8 Journal Prompt: What Do You Believe?

What do you believe?

Asking yourself what you believe is a multi-faceted question. You might know what you believe in spiritually, but we all have beliefs that we don’t realize we carry with us.

This is an important thing to realize about yourself. This can be one of the things that is blocking you from getting what you really want. This can manifest in writers block, in bad relationships, in a career you hate, in anger or depressive issues, and so on.

Today’s journal prompt is going to ask you to get really deep into what it is that you believe about yourself. This might not come easily to you, as often the beliefs we have will be subconscious. However, if you look at a particular issue that you might be having, especially around writing, you can start asking yourself questions from there.

This is how it’s going to look:

The Journal Prompt

Pick a recurring issue in your life. Since I am a writing coach and I assume you are a writer, I’ll use a writing-related example.

I can’t ever finish a writing project.

Many writers suffer with this. They have an idea, start on it, but might never get further than the first chapter. Or they have an idea and they don’t start it at all. Or they have an idea and while they’re starting that idea, three more come rushing at the writer—and they’re so much shinier and more exciting that the writer gets distracted by them.

Does this sound familiar?

Perhaps you might find that you finish plenty of projects, but haven’t done anything with them. You won’t let anyone read them. Or you do let people read them, but you don’t respond well to their constructive criticism.

Once you have your common recurring setback or block, play the Why game with yourself, like you did for Day 2.

Ask yourself why until you get yourself to the belief behind your issue.

It might look something like this:

I can’t finish a writing project.
Why?
Because I get stuck and don’t know where to go.
Why?
Because I haven’t put the time into researching and plotting.
Why?
Because I was too excited to start this and didn’t want to lose momentum.
Why?
Because I struggle to hold on to inspiration.

And we arrive at the belief: Inspiration is fleeting. This, then, is a mindset problem, and can be resolved.

We’ll talk about what to do with the beliefs in tomorrow’s Journal Prompt, but for now, make a list of as many beliefs that you might have, and interrogate them. See what you come up with.

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package.

This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four. This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.

Sign up to my mailing list to receive a FREE 3-day mini course on planning and outlining tips to start your novel!

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December 7 Journal Prompt: What is Revolting?

What in life revolts you?

This exercise can be fun, or it can be dark. I’ll let you decide where you want to put it.

While getting to know yourself and your writing, you’ll come across practices that might pertain to your goal that just make you feel gross. For example, many writers detest the idea of marketing (I’m one of them!). There’s good ways of marketing which don’t feel slimy, and then there’s disgusting methods of marketing that make my skin crawl. Everyone’s different, so I won’t list anything here.

Why You Should Know This

So far we’ve looked at what inspires you, what scares you, and what brings you joy. All of these have been aimed at personal development as well as potential prompts or things to consider while you’re developing your character.

Today’s journal prompt is purely for inspiration.

Often when we develop a character, we might think about what the character likes and dislikes, but going so far as knowing what revolts them is the opportunity to give that character just a little bit more depth.

Furthermore, in knowing what revolts you, you gain some insight as to what might revolt a reader. Depending on the genre you’re writing in, this has the potential to create a more gripping effect in your writing.

For example, a client of mine who wrote a beautiful short piece for a competition (and was successful!) had a character lift a lock of hair to his noseless face, where a nose used to be, and sniff it. That image made my skin crawl and I loved it. I was invested in the story completely with that detail.

However, there is definitely a fine line here.

While it can be affective in creating a capturing piece, it can also have the opposite effect. If it’s too revolting, it might make your reader close the book and be done with it.

Chuck Palahniuk certainly walks this line, and for many readers, crosses it. His short stories can be absolutely horrific to read, though are of outstanding quality. I won’t go too into it, but let’s just say that Fight Club is easily the tamest thing he’s ever written.

The Journal Prompt

Your prompt is to look at what revolts you. Make a list of things that just creep you out, that you can’t stand the idea of, or that will make you close a book instantly and never look back.

Once you’ve made your list, ask  yourself what about it gives you this reaction. Some will be obvious, while some will really make you think. Try to avoid answers like “It’s just too much,” or “It just creeps me out,” or anything that fails to give an actual reason for why it revolts you.

Ask yourself why and interrogate this list as much as you can within comfort. If you feel up for it, push past your comfort level, though I do acknowledge there are somethings on the list that might be triggering. If you feel that it’s going to be problematic to your mental or emotional health, please don’t push yourself.

After you’ve completed this list and asked each item “why?” a few times, spend sometime freewriting about what you discovered. What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about writing? What can you use from this exercise to your advantage in your writing?

December Offer

January is a time of starting fresh, of setting up good habits to begin the new you.

Through December, to get excited and ready for January, I’m offering a Free 1-hour session in addition to any monthly package or the 6-month package.

This means that if you sign up for either of the monthly packages, you’ll get 5 sessions instead of four. This includes any of the additional bonuses included in the package. For example, if you sign up for the 6-month package, you will get an additional week of partial manuscript reading and critique.

This offer is only if you sign up for my packages through the month of December.

Don’t miss out starting your 2020 new year write.