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 3 Journal Prompt: What Do you Write?

Dec 3: What do you write?

I know that writers fall into many different placements. Some are bloggers and have every intention of remaining a blogger. Some writers are academic writers, who chase the thrill of the research and findings. Some writers are literary, some are poetic, and some only know that they want to write, but haven’t started on a project yet.

It doesn’t matter where you fall in this spectrum: you are a writer, and you can answer today’s questions.

The Single-Genre Writer

There are many writers who know exactly what they like to write. They like to write horror or romance or fantasy. They indulge in cozy mystery, paranormal action/adventure, westerns, or thrillers.

For those of you who have a specific genre you like to write, ask  yourself why you like to write it. Is it because it’s the genre you like to read? Why? What do you get out of reading this genre? Is it because you enjoy working within the parameters of the genre? Why? What would happen if you broke those parameters?

The Multi-Genre Writer

Some writers write across the board, choosing more than one genre to write in. Maybe you like to write science fiction, horror and romance. Maybe you’re an erotica writer who also has a flair for comical mobster stories.

For those of you who have more than one genre, ask yourself what is the common thread between the genres? What would it look like if you combined all the genres into one story? Do you like keeping them all separate?

And finally, ask yourself why you write in so many directions. There is no wrong answer here, and there is no judgement for the answer. This is purely for you, for your own understanding of yourself and your writing methods.

The Budding Writer

Some of us are aspiring. We know we want to write, that we enjoy actually physically running a writing utensil along paper and seeing the ink flow on the page, or we love the sound of the keyboard. We love the idea of creating stories, or constructing a meaningful book, or we simply know we have something to teach.

But we haven’t necessarily begun to write. That’s alright. We don’t have to have started writing to know what we want to write.

If you don’t know what you write yet, ask yourself what you want to write. And as always, ask yourself Why. Ask yourself at least three times. Truly know yourself.

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 1 Journal Prompt: Who Are You?

Knowing who you are is a huge thing. This will determine how you write, what you like to write about, where you stand on issues that might come up with your writing, and eventually, how you wan to market yourself.

Getting to know your deeps desires, your core wants, your needs, and what makes you tick is essential to building yourself as an artist.

That beings said, it’s alright not to know. You don’t have to know who you are in order to create. Being an artist, no matter what kind of artist, is how you explore yourself, challenge and express your emotions and ideas.

So while you’re answering this question, you might start by looking at yourself from the outside. Ask yourself these questions:

  • This is how I look to the stranger on the street
  • This is how I look to my neighbor
  • This is how my family/friends see me
  • This is how my boss sees me

Then look at each of these answers and challenge them. Are they right? Are they wrong? What are they missing?

Don’t allow your personal feelings and thoughts about yourself get in the way of answering these questions. Be real with yourself. This is an exercise to look beyond any wounds we have, and try and see what it is that we represent.

When you get clear with yourself on who you are, or at least have a page of “I Don’t Know”, the ask yourself how you feel about the answers you came up with. Is there anything on the page you want to change?

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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My Story: Editing a Bad Page

Editing a Bad Page

You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.

— Jodi Picoult

The Middle Build

What I didn’t know about my badly written page was that it was turning into a chapter, and actually leading to the middle build of the novel of my 20’s.

When I was 27, I found myself on a bad page I’d written. That page was a book out of my life, and I wasn’t quite sure how to edit it. The truth is, I’d been pantsing my way through life, seeing where the plot and characters would take me. Then all of a sudden, I realized my story was redundant.

I’d just been laid off from my coffee house gig, my partner had left me, and I was experiencing anxiety attacks daily while trying my hand at returning to school. The only thing good I had going for me was school (and of course my awesome and supportive friends and family—very lucky in that department).

I knew something had to change. I set my aims high, so high that I wanted to get into the best English department in England. If I was going to study literature, I might as well do it in England. I set my sights on Durham University, which I did manage to get into.

What I didn’t know about my badly written page was that it was turning into a chapter, and actually leading to the middle build of the novel of my 20’s. Let’s skip forward to the climax, in which I was living in a caravan in a field in North Yorkshire, working 15 hours a week supporting my partner and me and our two dogs, freezing because there was a hole in the bathroom floor big enough to fall through, and my anxiety exhausting me into depression which debilitated me, which then spurred more anxiety because I wasn’t getting anything done.

This was what rock bottom looked like for me. At least, it was the lowest I’d ever been. Something had to change.

That was the decision I made. Something had to change.

The Turn

I pinpointed the fear within me, learned to identify it, learned to address it and quell it by reasoning with it. I learned to release it.

I went to the doctor who sent me to stress management classes which lasted for six weeks and did nothing other than make me feel like I was just being pandered to. I was told I could have one on one sessions, but it took a year to set those up. I was desperate for some actual help at that point, and since the NHS was pretty slow (though otherwise is quite brilliant), I had to take matters into my own hands.

I researched, I read, I wrote, I practiced, I listened. I found countless books to read and listen to on my Kindle or via Audible. Some were profound while others were less than helpful. I began my Tarot website and started producing information on the Tarot and writing, all the while selling Tarot readings. The use of Tarot helped me delve into myself, forced me to journal, and helped me remember my spiritual connection.

I realized that was what I had lost along the way. While living my 20’s, I’d forgotten my faith and love in the Universe, my connection to the earth and elements, and had simply been existing in the material world. So much of me was neglected by neglecting my spiritual side.

I pinpointed the fear within me, learned to identify it, learned to address it and quell it by reasoning with it. I learned to release it. Gradually, over a year, my anxiety almost completely disappeared.

This is the simplified version of my practice, of course. So much time daily went into reading, reflecting, meditating, writing, discussing with others going through similar things, and repeating these exercises.

I learned gratitude, and one thing I am absolutely grateful for was that my job was only part time, which allowed me so much time to work on myself and heal.

By the time I did get to the one-on-one practitioner, were Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions, I didn’t really feel that I needed her. I went through the process anyway to see if there was some more information that I missed. But for me, it was just affirming that I was on the right track, that I’d done alright on my own.

The Next Book

We are all writers of our own journeys, of our own projects, of own lives. Why not be #WritersHelpingWriters?

I am of course by no means saying that my way is the way that anyone and everyone should take. This is just my path and what worked for me.

Once I reached a stable point in my life, I realised that it was time to start the book of my 30’s, which is what I’m in now. My story has seeped into the next book, setting myself, and now I’ve had the inciting incident: starting Natural Writer Coaching.

For this novel, I have more of an outline, a structure that I’m aiming for. I don’t think I’ll be panting this one. I know how to correct my course now, at least, I have more tools to do so, and like any writer, I’m still learning my way through the ropes.

Life and writing are a never-ending set of lessons. You won’t be able to master all of it, but you can get pretty good at it.

My goal is to help people with their own projects, their own novels, however they are presented.

Love and Light

Nicola