Reading Vs. Writing Vs. Living

Hildegard reading and writing
Hildegard reading and writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time balancing my love of reading and writing with the art of living well.  I have always loved to read. I prefer reading to writing, though I can’t live without writing either.  Unfortunately, I’m not quite as blessed as Hildegard of Bingen as shown to the right receiving holy guidance as only a saint can.  

To this day, years after beginning my journey as a writer, I feel so lucky that I have found ways to make a living as a writer, and live a life of imagination. At the same time, I have often felt a bit guilty about working with thoughts and ideas as a business. I tend to admire farmers, construction workers, marine biologists, athletes and anyone who spends a lot of time immersed in the “real” world as people doing real work.  I sometimes wonder if it’s indulgent to be a writer when so many people in the world have to do mind-numbingly difficult physical labor.  It almost seems wrong that I can garden for fun and take yearly road trips to beautiful places.

But fortunately, I have been reading some great books lately, that remind of why we need writers in the world.   Through the writing of others, we get to inhabit other worlds and get a sense of what it is/was like to live in other places and other times either through reading or writing. I enjoy reading the blogs of so many of you — all with your unique perspectives on life, and your contribution to making the world a better place.

As I considered how to approach Writing Your Destiny this year, I decided to pick a theme for the year that seems important to so many of us – Integration

To find a way to live a life we love, we must integrate all our disparate parts.

One way I am going to integrate this year is to write more about other authors, and the importance of writing our truth.  There are a few books that I just finished reading that I am eager to share with you in the next few days and weeks.

Here’s to integrating your passions into the most meaningful life you can create this year!

Daily Contemplation:

Are you struggling with integrating the disparate parts of your life?

What needs integration in your life?

How do you integrate reading and writing into your life?

Energy Booster for Writers

writing
writing (Photo credit: found_drama)

This is the final post in my current series of blogs about taking the brakes off of your personal energy and innate goodness.

Today, I am sharing ideas about why it matters for writers to understand our personal energy, and to be aware of the type of energy that we’re putting into our writing.

Nowadays, most of us are bombarded with information and writing that is packed with different kinds of energy.

Some communications are uplifting, funny and inspiring.  Others are angry, demeaning, fearful.  Of course, many pieces of writing are boring because the energy of emotion is not present in them at all!

Your writing has an energy to it that often reflects the kind of day that you’re having.  This doesn’t mean you should only write when your energy is “good”. Sometimes, the “negative” energy is just what a story needs to create drama and interest.  So, it’s not necessary that your energy becomes all sunshine and roses.  However, it’s helpful to track your energy over the course of time to notice how the type of energy you are experiencing and creating affects your writing.

south to north view of chicagoland area
south to north view of chicagoland area (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Energy Boosters for Writers worksheet is something I’m putting together for my 7 Elixirs class for Writers that I’ll going to be offering this fall in the Chicago area.  It’s based on the writing coaching work that I’ve done in the last few years.

I’ve noticed that finishing projects often requires that we manage our energy for the toughest part of writing which is when we are refining our work.  This is the time when we throw out good and sometimes great ideas for the sake of a story or grant application or marketing brochure or memoir.

This worksheet may not make complete sense, because it’s out of context to the rest of the course that I’ll be giving.  Yet, I’m sharing it anyway because it’s rather self-explanatory, and shows you a different way of managing your time and energy in conjunction with your writing.

Energy Booster for Writers Worksheet

Hope you’ve enjoyed this series of blogs!  Tomorrow, we’ll be back to some literary musings.

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Writing as a Form of Healing

A comment to one of my recent blogs inspired me to devote today’s blog about writing as a form of healing. If you’re reading this blog, I suspect you have a gift for writing words that heal. As you probably know, all the problems that healers regularly experience are also challenges for you as a writer, and a few more.

The nature of writing is different from many other forms of healing and requires some different ways of recharging our healing gifts.  One challenge that we have as writers is the inability to have our healing gifts flow through our words.  We generally give this challenge a name — writer’s block.

Most writers experience writing blocks at one time or another. You may experience a block every time you attempt to write.  I find that certain kinds of writing have their own timings and cycles as well, and that some blocks are really incubation times.  You may know of many ways of working through or with your writing blocks.

Writing blocks can also happen because we know that we have a powerful message or story that wants to come through us, and yet we approach our writing as if it were all about our talent to write a good sentence or compelling story. Or we worry about how our writing will be received or our ability to get published.  We treat our writing as if it were a task to be completed rather than a sacred gift that is ours to honor and share.

Ultimately, our writing and other healing work are both different expressions of our personal unique healing energy that flows through us every day. This week, I’d like to offer some ideas on how you might work with your personal energy to help your writing flow more easily so that you can be the total healer you are meant to be in the world.

To get started, here are a few questions for your contemplation.  What would happen if you allowed yourself to wholeheartedly believe that:

  1. Your writing is another aspect of your healing work in the world, and you have a gift for writing?
  2. Your writing eventually is meant to be a healer in its own right that can heal people when you are not physically present?
  3. Your writing is a reflection of your unique personal energy, and your energy heals people?

Do not underestimate your gifts for healing as a writer.

In the next few days, I’ll be offering some ideas on how to play with your writing in a way that not only uplifts others, but uplifts your own energy as well.   Be kind to yourself and your own healing energy today.

Look forward to connecting with you again, soon!

When You’re Bored, Embarassed and Uncomfortable – Write!

Spending  three days at a basketball tournament with a bunch of junior high boys and their parents is not my idea of a great time.  For some people this is a precious time to be treasured forever.  For me, being a sports mom is part of the marathon/sprint that is modern parenting that I probably would avoid if I could.  Yet, this weekend has been one of those occasions where I had unexpected opportunities to open my mind and improve my writing, that at first didn’t feel like moments to be celebrated.

By nature, we all tend to stay in our comfort zones unless we allow ourselves to try new situations.  Of course, as writers, there are times that we need to shake up our view of the world.  

This weekend I was reminded how boring, embarassing, and uncomfortable situations can strengthen our writing.  Here are some ideas that can transform these kinds of situations for you as a writer:

  1. Write down the details of some situation that you hate, and imagine if that situation would never end.  While I was listening to way too many kids running and screaming in a swimming pool that sounded like an echo chamber, I got the idea for adding a situation where people are tortured by never being able to turn off the noise.  I may or may not use this idea in my novel, but it made an annoying situation into a more amusing experience. 
  2. Talk to people you wouldn’t think to talk to and listen to their story.  Today, I met a young woman who is about to graduate college with a degree in Spanish and Political Science.  It turned out that she’s also a lifelong writer and poet.  We ended up sharing the stories of our novels and creative work. As I told her the story of my novel, she suggested that I listen to a Uriah Heep song – Tales.  It was one of those moments that I felt she was telling me something I was meant to hear.  You never know where you will meet a “wizard” who can give you a key to growing your creative work!
  3. Leave behind expectations of which people to connect with and those you can’t.  Sometimes we have to be patient so that we can gain the trust of those around us.  Just showing up counts.  This weekend, I heard stories of struggle and heartbreak that reinforced what I already know but sometimes forget that essentially we are all people just doing our best to live well.  

Sometimes, in today’s polarized world we have so much trouble seeing past politics and even lifestyle to see the common struggles we share.  Take the chance to be one of those writers who can’t be easily labeled. If you’re bored, embarassed or uncomfortable with a situation or experience in your life– congratulations, you have golden material for your writing.

Would you like to be a Writing Coach?

One of the big opportunities for writers in years to come is coaching others on what you know or have learned about writing to others.   If you’re a writer, and you haven’t considered coaching others, you might want to consider the possibility.

It is true that coaching other people to write can have it’s problems.  Coaching takes time away from your own writing, and can be a long, winding journey as you help someone else discover their voice and what they want to say in a book or piece of writing.  Also, coaching is different from teaching, in that it’s not your job to train someone else how to write, unless you’re paid to do that. 

You may ask, how can I become a writing coach?  Do you need an advanced degree or a teaching certificate or years and years of experience?  These help, but I don’t think so. The primary credential you need is that you can show someone else that you are a good writer and that you can help them start and finish a project more quickly and effectively than if they did it themselves.  This is not to be confused with being a ghost writer, where you do the writing.  As a coach, I do edit writing sometimes, but not the bulk of the writing.

In my case, I have experience of working a professional marketing and technical writer for ten years, writing my own books and several years of business coaching experience.   When I began coaching, I worked with people who knew I could help them create and refine the message they wanted to share.  Most importantly, my clients trusted me and knew that I was committed to helping them share their work in as big of a way as possible.

To me, the biggest benefit of being a writing coach, is that my coaching clients are my patrons.  Working as a writing coach allows me to have the lifestyle that I want with time to spend with my children and time to be a writer.  The biggest joy of being a coach is watching my clients write the book they wouldn’t have had the courage or discipline to write on their own.

Have you been a writing coach or found other innovative ways to support your writing lifestyle?