Time to Surrender

Last week I had a really frustrating day. It was one of those days where long-awaited things fizzled out and died, and things that ought to be quick an easy to complete, took ages, and then still didn’t get done because of an unforeseen hiccup.

It’s days like that when I realise that I am not going with the flow. That I am stubbornly holding on to how I think things should be, how I think things should go, and I’m not listening to the Angels, not noticing the signs, and I am in resistance of my reality.

So, how to get into the flow?

Surrender. Relax. Listen.

Pause for a moment and just breathe.

I have come to realise, that you can plan as much as you want, you can daydream of the outcome as much as you like, but if the Universe has something else in mind for you, then it will happen their way, whether you like it or not!

I find that doing something creative, particularly something physical (not digital) helps me to get into the flow. I’ve recently got back into knitting, and have really got into make jewellery (I made the above necklace when trying to get back into the flow!) and I’ve also been doing more photography. I find that making something gets me out of my head and into my heart, and back into the flow, and I usually end up with something handmade and awesome at the end of it too!

I also like going for a walk, as getting outside in nature, and breathing in fresh air and getting some exercise helps to lessen the resistance, and allow the ideas and opportunities to flow again.

What do you do to get into the flow? Do you notice when you are stuck and in resistance?

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The Art of Procrastination

Obviously, this blog post is inspired by the fact that I have been procrastinating on writing this post today. It’s 11.10pm, and though I have seen a friend, run a few errands and done a few bits of work, I have been avoiding writing my blog. Not for a lack of topics (I still have so much to write about the tour, and a whole host of other random things lined up) but for the lack of flow.

What do I mean by that? I mean that when I write, I need to be in the flow, and allow the words to come through me. When I think too much about what to write or how to word something, it just doesn’t work. It feels like I’m fighting with the white page to put marks on it that make sense.

When I’m in the flow, I can knock out a blog post in less than 20 mins. When I’m in the flow I’ve even been known to write a novel in two weeks. But today, has been a no flow. In fact, this has taken me 20 minutes to write so far, because I have been watching the last but one Harry Potter movie instead of concentrating.

So is it better to force the creativity when it isn’t flowing freely? Or is it better to procrastinate and do something else? There are so many schools of thought on this. Some say that you have to be disciplined, and write, or create, or practice every day, regardless of whether you want to or feel inspired. And there are others that say to only create when you feel the urge, the pull the passionate inspiration to.

I’m more in the latter group, usually, but interestingly, even when I force myself to write something, or make myself stick to a schedule, then sometimes, magic does actually happen, even when I’m not in the mood. The only reason I am writing this, even though I don’t feel like it’s flowing, is because I accepted the challenge of writing a blog post a day for 30 days, and I don’t want to let down my friend, Tiffany, who is doing the challenge with me.

But perhaps, someone will read this ramble and realise that they too, only create when in the flow, and that it’s perfectly fine to be that way. But also, it’s good to push ourselves to do things we wouldn’t normally do, because something magical might become of it.

I’m going to stop there, just in case this really is boring. If it is, I apologise, but this is what happens when I’m not in the flow. Next time, I’ll post a recipe! I posted a few recipes during my last 30 day blog challenge, and madly enough, they were the most popular posts! It’s a funny old world…

I was trying to add words to this image, to illustrate the flowing words versus the forced words, and couldn’t come up with anything, so I have just posted the picture instead… apologies for the lack of inspiration today, hope to be back on form tomorrow!

Is Encouraging Creativity Irresponsible?

After recording an oracle reading yesterday where the question was about how to make a living through being creative, my partner said to me – “Do you think it’s irresponsible to encourage people to be creative? To say that the Universe will help them make a living making art?”

Irresponsible? Yeah, maybe it is. After all, I don’t make much of a living through my creativity, so encouraging others to tread the same path may seem like a bit of a crazy thing to do. But I like to think that even though I may not be rolling in cash, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other creatives out there who can make a decent living through their creativity. And also, at some point, I do hope that I can earn more money through my passion. In the mean time, I do what I need to do to survive, even though some of it is very boring and not at all creative.

(I think maybe the dragonfly was trying to tell me off for encouraging creativity. He was coming right up to my face!)

I guess I also feel that if you’re a creative person, that it’s impossible to live a life that is devoid of creativity, just in the name of earning an income. I find that when I have a normal job, and a regular income, though it feels good that I can pay my bills and buy things I need, my soul feels as though it is withering, shrinking, and fading away. You could argue that I could just do creative things in the evenings outside of work, but often I find myself so drained or tired, that the creative juices don’t flow in my free time. So the alternative was to do my creative work, and survive with the help of credit cards and some freelance work.

I must admit, there’s been more than a few times where I’ve wondered about the sanity of my choices. Where I’ve wondered why I continue to do the work I do, writing books and doing readings, and spending most of my time on social media, when it doesn’t yield the monetary compensation that fits the number of hours spent on it.

But after having received so many beautiful letters, emails and messages from people who have been helped or touched by my books in some way, I know that I cannot choose to ignore my creativity. That I cannot turn away from the words that flow through me. That I must write, I must share my words, I must publish my books, and I must connect and interact with my readers. It’s the reason why I’m here.

Yes, I could get another job, I could stack shelves, organise activities, do data entry or answer phones, but I choose not to. I choose to follow my soul’s purpose, to do the work I have been called here to do.

I also feel that part of the work I have been called to do is to help to change the collective consciousness that believes that artists and writers shouldn’t make money from their work. Their work is just as valid and valuable as work done by other professions, and it needs to be recognised as so. After all, can you imagine a world without art, books, music, movies or crafts? If it is possible to imagine it, lets me ask you this – is that a world you would like to live in?

As my partner pointed out, the same holds true for spiritual folk, for the healers and alternative therapists. There is this overwhelming feeling that to make money from helping and healing others is wrong. But doctors get paid, so why shouldn’t healers?

There’s a world that James Redfield describes in The Celestine Prophecy, an idea of a world where people are compensated for their knowledge, their wisdom, their energy and creativity. He talks of the playing field being levelled, and spiritual people being recognised for their value and worth. That’s always stayed in my mind, because it is something that I very much hope to see happen in my lifetime.

What do you think? Are you creative? Could you be happy if you weren’t exploring your creativity daily? Do you encourage others to be creative? Let me know!

Have you considered that perhaps none of it is 'real'? That everything that exists is really just a figment of our imagination?

Have you considered that perhaps none of it is ‘real’?
That everything that exists is really just a figment of our imagination?

NB: My partner is a very creative person himself, and is a potter, wood-turner, sculptor and artist. He didn’t ask me the questions above because he thinks that creativity is a bad thing to encourage, he just felt that perhaps people may have a rosy view of making lots of money through their creativity, and that perhaps encouraging that was not a good thing. But as I find with my author clients, there’s a really fine line between giving them a reality check and killing their dream and their spark of enthusiasm and hope. So as I like to say, if you have your head in the clouds, try to at least keep your feet on the ground.

Scapple, the Chronodex and a Breakthrough

It has been a very interesting 10 days indeed! Just wanted to write a little update on a couple of developments that have occurred, that have had quite an impact on me and my life. On the weekend of the 22nd March, I happened to come across a nifty bit of software called Scapple. It was created by the same folks as Scrivener, which as you know is my favourite piece of writing software ever.

Scapple is a mind-mapping tool. No, scrap that. It is THE mind-mapping tool. When trying to organise my thoughts and ideas, I often mind-map on paper. But things are always in the wrong place and other things get deleted and it looks like a mess in the end. Enter Scapple. On Saturday, I was actually attempting to mind-map on paper, and was getting quite frustrated. When I discovered, and then bought and downloaded Scapple, I was totally hooked, and got the mind-map done speedily and efficiently (and it looks way better than my scribbles!) It’s also given me a new way to do my talks and workshops, as I can use them as prompts instead of using notes or a script, which I don’t like to do. If you are even vaguely curious, I would urge you to download the trial version and have a go!

On the same day, through the blog of a lady called Julie who followed my blog, I found the Chronodex. For years, I have bought diaries, used them for a few days into the year, only to lose them until October. Planning my time and recording my time, has been something that I have not been able to do easily, but something that I wanted to be able to do. Well, for the last ten days, I have been using the Chronodex daily, and it is completely changing the way I look at my days, and is enabling me to schedule my time and to see when things are taking up too much time. The Chronodex was created by a guy called Patrick Ng, and he is happy for people to download the Chronodex diaries he posts on his blog, all they cost is a prayer for the good health of his family. I just copied the image from Julie’s blog and printed, cut and paste them into a notebook, so that I could record other things on the page too. But I made sure I sent a prayer to his family too.

chronodex

The Chronodex in action!

On Thursday last week, I had a visit from the fabulous George Hardwick, and his wife and baby girl. He had come to see me so that we could have a session together, working out what I should focus on, where I should go next. For the next few hours, we went through what I had already created, what I needed to do to make that more successful, and also what I really enjoyed doing. To have someone like George speak so passionately and get so excited about my work, made me really look at what I have created in a new light. It’s been a while since I really stepped back and looked at what I have achieved in the last few years, and actually, it’s quite a lot! I sometimes get so wrapped up in worrying about all the things I still need to do, that I forget to celebrate and appreciate what I have already done. After our session, I was talking to my partner about some of the ideas, and a little later, the vision of what I should be doing and how it should work, came into my mind, and I suddenly understood what George had meant when he said that at the moment of breakthrough, you will have tears of joy in your eyes. To have it all make so much sense, and to feel so right, was just amazing. I bounced around for the rest of the evening, and though the last three days have been crazy, that feeling hasn’t gone away. I know what to do now. I know what my next step is, and I know it will all work out perfectly.

So if you find yourself stuck, if you cannot see the next step, and if you want to make a living giving your gift and being the creative soul you truly are, than please get in touch with George!

Keep the Fire Burning

 

Gryffindor Common Room

(The above photo is not of my house, but of the Gryffindor Common Room, taken at the Making of Harry Potter Studios in London. I did have a photo of our fire, but this one looked so much cooler!)

I live in a house where in the winter, our heating and hot water comes from a wood-burning stove. To keep the house warm and the showers hot, it takes a consistent daily effort to light the fire and keep it going throughout the day. And if you can light the fire in the morning with embers from the previous nights’ fire, it takes much less effort to keep it going. If  decided one day that I couldn’t be bothered to light the fire, the house would soon grow really cold. After a few days, there would only be cold showers available and a whole lot of shivering. During really cold winters, it would take three days to properly warm up the house after getting the fire going again.

So what does this have to do with anything? Well, I realised yesterday that writing a book is very similar to keeping the house warm. When in the middle of a novel, if I write something every day, I stay in the flow of the story, I can remember what the characters are up to, and each day I might only need to re-read a few lines to re-orientate myself and keep going. The story then remains consistent, and I can get a novel done in a month. But when there are long periods of time between writing, days, weeks, sometimes even months, the story grows cold. I then have to re-read everything, try to remember what was going on and it may take a few days to pick up the thread and continue the story in a way I’m happy with.

So if I know this, why don’t I write every day? After all, all the great writers did. They had a routine that they stuck to, and they would make writing the most important task on their daily agenda. Truth is, I don’t really know why I don’t write every day. When I wrote my first novel, The Earth Angel Training Academy, it was easy to write every day. Of course, I wasn’t working or in a relationship then, so I had no other major distractions. But also, there were no expectations. No one knew who I was, no one had read my work (other than a few English teachers, of course) so I was free to create without worry. Now, with readers waiting for my next published work, there’s a little more pressure. Some people are motivated by this kind of pressure, but as a writer who never knows if her writing is any good until the first person reads the manuscript, it’s more nerve-wracking than motivating!

But perhaps these are just excuses, or self-sabotage. I mean, I could just as easily say that I just haven’t found the right routine, or the right writing chair or the perfect music. Setting crazy deadlines used to be a fantastic motivator, but once you’ve allowed a few to slip by, they lose their potency. I recently came across the method that Seinfeld uses, where you put a cross on the calendar for every day you do the thing you want to do. And the crosses then form a chain. If you don’t write for a day, you ‘break the chain’. I was planning on giving the method a go, after all I figured it couldn’t hurt, but ultimately, I just need to figure out a way to get some words down every day, to keep the story from going cold, and having to start all over again each time I sit down to write.

How do you motivate yourself? What makes you plug away on a daily basis, keeping the fire going? I don’t think there is a magic, one-size-fits-all answer, but I do find it interesting to hear different people’s ways of working. Comment below if you’d like to share yours.