It’s the beginning of a new year – a new DECADE – a time to venture forth with your dream, to take action, to follow through on a plan for a great achievement.
I love it when a plan comes together. I’m a meticulous detail-oriented person who thrives on schedules and checking off the boxes. My new book about healing the heart of the planet, however, is moving ever so slowly. Not exactly the schedule I had in mind. The snail’s pace feels extremely frustrating and I so want the ideas and words to flow forth like a magic fountain.
So what’s my plan? I have 3 steps in mind:
1. Write down my thoughts. Thoughts fly through the mind to the tune of about 70,000 per day. That’s a lot of thoughts. Most of them are probably not noteworthy. But occasionally wonderful ones come through, and if they’re not caught and nurtured nothing will come of them. I can’t tell you how many times I think of something important, say remember this, then promptly forget, only to think of it again the next day. So I’m training myself to write them down and put them in a file where I can find them later.
2. Stop criticizing and encourage. Are you your own worst enemy when it comes to criticizing yourself? I am. For example, I had an author interview scheduled recently and every day leading up to it the voice in my head would say, Why did I sign up for this? I shouldn’t have done it. It’ll be bad. Awful. I’ll never do this again. Just so you know, the interview was amazing. Once it began, I was fine. But before that I was a nervous wreck.
Worry and criticism get you absolutely nowhere. In interviews and in writing. Writing takes perseverance and determination, and if you don’t have encouragement and support you might as well give up. So bring on the encouragement. Instead of all that negativity, pat yourself on the back, dance around the room, shout at the top of the lungs about how you just wrote a paragraph or a page or a whole chapter. Keep a spreadsheet of your word count so you can have a visual representation of your accomplishment. It’s so exciting to reach another 1000 marker!
3. Be open to opportunities. Writing is a creative movement. Good writing (expression) doesn’t just come from the head. It also comes from the heart. And in order for the heart to be involved, the head needs to step aside from time to time. Less fixation and more openness. Less worry about when and how the words and ideas will come and more surrender, more being in the moment.
The new book about healing the heart of the planet is an enormous exercise in trust and surrender and embracing new subjects: sacred geometry, Hebrew language and traditions, exploring the ocean. Impatience often strikes and wants to start writing NOW! And when inspiration calls, I do write. But I’m also trusting the journey of exploring exciting new connections with people and books, gathering information, letting new concepts settle into my brain and heart so that I can play with them and digest them and let them become part of me in order to weave them into the story. My latest venture led me to a photo of the Star of David, a conversation with a stranger, and the power of hexagrams and another book on sacred geometry. I could have said, “I don’t need another book,” or “What can a complete stranger do for me?” but following the lead gave me a glimpse into another layer.
If you’re writing nonfiction, Understanding Your Story can help you lay out the elements in an easy-to-follow manner. Or for fiction, the GMC Chart will give you great insight into your characters’ motivations. After that, be OPEN, allow your muse to guide you, trust your heart to show you the way. The journey may take a little longer than expected, but your writing will be all the richer for it.