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Being Out of Balance Stifles Creativity

January 12, 2022 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as , , ,

Do you ever feel out of balance in your life? Where you find your days lopsided in your to-do’s, and you aren’t able to dig into your well to do what you really want to do? Have you found yourself with the desire to create stuffed inside but no way to come out? Am I the only one who needed a mental and creative break at the end of last year?

Blog header with rocks stacked on top of each other and words Being Out of Balance Stifles Creativity by Denise M. Colby

When I say creative break, what I really mean is giving my brain a chance to catch up with itself. Taking the time to organize thoughts, goals, wins, and losses, and get out of the funk I found myself in.

Time to conduct a Sacred Rest Assessment

Susan May Warren added the Sacred Rest assessment in her 2022 Brilliant Writer Planner (that I love!). It’s a way to determine the rest you are lacking (and what you are not). It’s all about balance. And she organizes our needs into these buckets:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Creative
  • Spirutal
  • Social
  • Sensory
  • Mental.

When you find your life is out of harmony

For me, my mental and creative areas are sorely lacking. And taking time over the last two weeks to purge through some to-do piles, evaulate my year, and write out thoughts, made me realize I don’t schedule this type of downtime for my brain enough. 

And that’s exactly what the assesment is supposed to do. 

Help you figure out areas you should focus on this year.

For me, I like time to let my mind catch up with my inputs. Let my mind wander. With my scheduled life, I don’t get a lot of time to do that. Yet when I did recently, I found the creative juice I’ve been missing.

Ideas began to pop into my thoughts. Energy to dive in and get to work.

Finding Symmetry

And that what was so exciting, because WORK is my word for 2022. Something I chose because God isn’t finished with me yet. And I am not finished with this writing journey. 

He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. Philippians 1:6.  

Noun: exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something

Dreams don’t work, unless you do.

My manuscript is a work in progress

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart….Colossions 3:24-25

Which is exactly what I plan to do for 2022.

I process my thoughts by writing. I explore what’s in my brain by writing. And what I found myself not doing at the end of 2021 was writing.

It takes work to write. And I’m now ready to get to work.

Figuring Out Balance

In her Sacred Rest Assessment, Susie May asks three questions at the end 

1. What areas do you need to focus more on this year?

2. Why do you feel you are depleted in those particular areas?

3. What activities can you pursue to refresh your life with Sacred Rest?

And just like that I figured out how and what to schedule (what I need to bring balance back to my life) into my week.

How about you? Are you in balance with your Sacred Rest?

You may want to schedule some time to assess to help you bring yourself back into balance this year and together, maybe we can help each other do just that!

Denise M. Colby loves to write words that encourage, enrich, & engage. Every year, she chooses a word to focus on. Her word in 2021 was Wisdom. If you’d like to see more of Denise’s posts on this blog, you can check out her archives.

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Easy Goal Setting for Everyone by Kitty Bucholtz

January 18, 2017 by in category It's Worth It by Kitty Bucholtz, Writing: It's a Business tagged as , , , , ,
Welcome to 2017! 
It’s January, and you know what that means: time to plan your goals for the year. Right?
Don’t Be Discouraged!
Depending on how well last year’s goal setting went, this might be easier said than done. Maybe you’ve tried a lot of ways to plan and they haven’t turned out very well. The biggest thing to remember is to find a method that works for you.
I’ve been teaching a time management and goal setting class for the last eight or nine years (not this January, as I’m busy living and writing books in New Zealand!), and there are a couple of things I’ve found that seem to work for most people.
Write It Down
The first thing you need is a list. Write down every single goal you have for your life this year . . . personal, financial, spiritual, career or writing-related . . . anything at all, write it down. This is your Goals Master List.
It may take you a day or a week to get everything written down, but once you think you’ve got it all, go through and circle the five most important goals. These will be your Primary Goals for the year.
Now go through and underline the next five most important goals. These will be your Secondary Goals for the year.
Move Some Goals to Next Year
Look at the rest of the items on your Goals Master List. Does it seem like there is more than you can do this year? Let me give you a hint: the answer is almost always yes. If there is anything that you are willing to put off until next year, get another piece of paper and move these onto your 2018 Goals Master List.
Now you have your primary goals, your secondary goals, and your extra goals. The idea is that you will work on your five primary goals first, and when they are accomplished you will work on your secondary goals. Then, if you get all of your primary and secondary goals accomplished this year, you’ll work on your extra goals.
Rearrange Some Goals
If, when looking at your lists, you feel like this won’t work for you, then you probably need to move some of your goals around. That doesn’t mean adding more than five to the primary or secondary lists but simply exchanging one goal for another more important one.
Congratulations! You have your 2017 goals list!
Fewer Goals, Better Chance You’ll Achieve Them
Another way to do this, which arguably might be more achievable, is to look at your goals master list and choose no more than 7 to 10 goals for the whole year. That’s it. You can work at each of them a little at a time or work at one all the way through, it’s up to you. If you want, you can choose two or three extras that you will begin working on only when you finish the most important 7 to 10 goals.
Go back to your original goals master list and try the second method. Now, look at both final lists. Which one speaks to you more? Which one excites you more? That’s the one you should type up and print out.
Or if you’re feeling artistic, rewrite it with colored pencils and pens and stickers and make it beautiful.
A Daily Reminder to Keep You on Track
Post it on your wall, someplace where you’ll see it often, and make sure to look at it every day.
If you haven’t started your goal setting for this year, or if you feel overwhelmed by the thought of it or the thought of failing to achieve your goals, give this a try.
Then post a comment below or write me an email and let me know how it went. I know you can do this!

I’m super excited about 2017. It’s going to be a great year!

[Follow my post next week on Planning Your 2017 Calendar on Writer Entrepreneur Guides!]

Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her novels, Little Miss Lovesick, A Very Merry Superhero Wedding, and Unexpected Superhero are currently available on Amazon . The free short story Superhero in Disguise  and the new short story Welcome to Loon Lake are available wherever ebooks are sold. You can find out about her courses on self-publishing, marketing, and time management for writers at her website Writer Entrepreneur Guides.

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May 25, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as , , ,

Recently I was musing about my writing career. I’ve been fortunate to have published almost 60 books. While I’m not likely to make the New York Time Best Seller List with my Love Inspired romances, I’m pleased with my ‘body of work.’ (My actual ‘body’ needs considerably more work. )
How have I succeeded? Determination.
When I was as yet unpublished, my first agent called to tell me my latest submission had been rejected. That rejection was not my first nor my last. She went on to say, “Older women can’t write love scenes.”
Huh? I wasn’t that old; at least my long-term memory was excellent, and I have always been blessed with a really good imagination.
I remained polite until we hung up. Then I said aloud, “Watch me!”
Subsequently, I managed to author more than 40 books for various Harlequin secular lines – most included a love scene or two.
I come by my determination naturally. Or perhaps it comes from my mother, who when told in business school that she didn’t type fast enough to get a job, she simply went out and got a job.
When I was about four-years-old, my older brother and his friend were playing with their toy soldiers. Digging trenches. Leading tank attacks. Shouting ‘bang’ you’re dead.
Naturally, I wanted to play too. I had my own collection of lead soldiers. My brother was used to having me tag along; not so his friend Skipper. To get rid of me, Skipper offered to buy me a lead soldier (the plastic ones were boring) if I would dig a hole to China.
That sounded like a good idea to me. But I hadn’t been born yesterday. I asked Skipper to be more specific about the depth of the hole I was to dig. He found a stick that was maybe two or three feet long to use as a measure. So off I went to dig the prescribed hole.
In a matter of an hour or two I was back to play with my brother and Skipper. Poor Skipper procrastinated about getting me the promised soldier until finally my mother intervened.
That’s what DETERMINATION gets you – your goal.
What are you Determined to achieve?
Books that leave you smiling…
Montana Love Letter, Love Inspired, 10/2012
Montana Home Coming, Love Inspired, Spring 2013

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The All-Year’s Resolution

December 28, 2009 by in category Archives tagged as

Every January 1, people make a New Year’s resolution. They’re going to lose weight or quit smoking or finish that book. New gym memberships soar at the beginning of the year, as do registrations for weight loss programs and courses to walk away from those cigarettes for good. But there is no such animal for finishing a book that stretches over the long term.

I should mention that there are some tools out there for completing a book in a short amount of time, such as NANOWRIMO (http://www.nanowrimo.org), which is National Novel Writing Month. It occurs every November and encourages writers to complete their book over the course of that month. There is also Book In A Week by author April Kihlstrom (http://www.sff.net/people/april.kihlstrom/), which teaches a method of planning out a book over the course of four or five weeks and then actually writing the first draft in a week’s time. (I’m considering using this method myself for my February deadline.) These are excellent programs, which can encourage a writer to put themselves into the chair and make writing a priority, even if just for a short period of time.

But what about the rest of the year?

Very often, more than half the people who sign up for those gym memberships and weight loss plans and kick-the-smoking courses will drop out before Valentine’s Day, even if the change still needs to be made. Everyone knows their list of “shoulds.” I should lose weight, I should get more exercise, I should quit smoking.

I should work on my book.

The truth of the matter is that all of these changes—weight loss, exercise, quitting smoking, finishing that book—can only happen when you’re ready for it to happen. It requires dedication and a desire to want that change more than anything. To want it so much that you are willing to throw away that last opened pack of cigarettes or walk away from those home-made chocolate chip cookies or get on that treadmill.

That you are willing to do things like get up an hour earlier or miss your favorite TV program to make time for your writing. That you are willing to join a critique group and put your writing out there for evaluation, or drive over an hour to your writers’ meeting.

If you want something badly enough, you know you will do what it takes to get it. How many of us have stood in line for an hour to get on a ride at an amusement park or for tickets to a movie or concert we really wanted to see? How many of us have braved the airport or the highways during the holidays, dealing with airline delays and bad weather and congested traffic because we wanted to be with loved ones on that special day?

Why not put your writing at the top of your list of things you will make a priority from now on?

It’s not such a lofty goal. The average mass market paperback is about 365 pages long. That means if you write one page a day for one year, at the end of that year you will have a book.

That doesn’t sound like much, does it? The average word count for one page of a manuscript is 250 words. You probably write emails longer than that. But if you manage one page a day for a year, you will have a completed first draft of a book before the ball drops in Times Square the following year.

Now it’s hard to make long term change without accountability. Get your writer friends and your critique partners involved. All of you can set goals and check in with each other. Get together after the writers’ meeting or start a Facebook group or, for those of you on Twitter, follow trending topic #writegoal, where you can post your writing goals for the day and then later post again when you have completed that goal. (I find this very useful for keeping up with my own deadlines.)

Forget the New Year’s resolution. Let’s go for the All-Year’s resolution and keep that dedication going long after the confetti has been cleaned up and the champagne bottles have been recycled.

The power is in your hands to make it happen.

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