Posts tagged Productivity
TSLS 0042 - #AskStephanie: How can I write more?

I don't know you, but I know that one possible reason you're not writing as much as you'd like is because you're waiting for it to happen on auto pilot.

Somewhere along the line we got caught up in the romantic idea of an idea striking us from the heavens, resulting in a flurry of fingers and a pile of papers to show for it at the end of the day. No stress, no fuss. There are too many movies where writers just yawn, stretch, and mosey over to their computers knowing exactly what to write and getting it all perfect the first time.

You may have lost your initial motivation and passion for your project, but you're praying that someday by some miracle, it'll all come rushing back and you'll get that thing done...finally.

The simple actions we do everyday to live take millions of micro actions in your brain to perform - but they're all on autopilot. The steps we need to take in order to start and finish a piece of writing? Not so much, unfortunately.

Writing always has, and always will require a conscious choice.

This is the reason why we don't actually go and sit down to write immediately when we consider it instead of whinging about it all the time. It's not that simple. We know how to take the first technical step, but not the first courageous step. So what is the first step, exactly?

Find the story that desperately needs to be shared.

That message needs to be stronger and more important than anything else in the moment.

You need to be convinced, wholeheartedly, that what you have to say is the most important thing in the entire world in that moment. That what you have to say will be important and worthwhile to someone, even if that person is just you. 

So today, think about what really, really needs to be said. What is really important and needs to be brought into the world, by you.

That's when it comes easily.

That's when you'll begin.

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TSLS 0037 - We need to talk about the judge (and how she is killing your creativity.)

There are two parts of every writer: you, and the judge.

You are carefree, passionate, and someone who loves the act of turning words into art. You laugh at spelling mistakes and swear in your first drafts. Your grammar is terrible, but you don't care. You paint with your words, make up things that make no sense at all, and when you're in the zone in this way, you love it. 

The Judge is a hard-faced cow who only cares about the outside world, the impact the work will have, and to whom. She's the one that makes you change words, backspace, edit plot points and structure. She is uptight, terrified and of course, judge-y.

The Judge is always over at your house during the first draft, which drains your creative energy. She always asks things like, "Who would read this? Who would even want this? What is the point of this?" which creates two issues: doubt, and unfinished work.

If you have 200 unfinished manuscripts in the "Misc" folder on the computer right now, you know what I'm talking about. The judge has judged.

Now, please note that The Judge isn't a bad person. She does only have your best interests at heart. Like a mother, she stops you from doing stupid stuff or unleashing something completely unfit for purpose into the world. But in the midst of creation, you just can't worry about that. 

You know what you want to express. You have to do it your way, no matter how messy or flawed or ridiculous, while the iron is still hot. Because if you don't, you risk losing the message of the work, and the passion in the message of the work.

Here's how you kick The Judge out of your house.

  • Pick any manuscript and start writing.

  • Go and make a fucking mess, and don't worry about it! Know that you'll probably - no, definitely - have to change it all up later.

  • Embrace your work. Go. Play. Ignore spelling mistakes or grammar and just say what you have to say. 

You are going to hate doing this at first, because it feels mean. The Judge will be outside the door, yelling her concerns through the letterbox. You need to ignore her and write. Anything. Whatever comes to mind. Do it as fast as you can, until you complete something. 

No matter what she says, you'll only truly know whether something is good or not when it's complete.

You'll only truly know if there's a place in this world for your work, or not, if it's complete. 

And if you decide it's not, it wasn't a waste of time. It will be a complete work of art that you can learn from, expand on and feel great about. And thats incredible.

Forget about The Judge entirely until you're done, if you can. She can visit later.

For now though, you know what to do.

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TSLS 0029 - #AskStephanie: How can I get through my half finished writing project?

There's nothing more tempting than giving up a project half-way through...

You don't have to tell me. I have about a million unfinished works that may never see the light of day, ever. I have the ones I'm uncaring about getting finished, but then I have the big ones that I feel gut-wrenchingly guilty about because of how much I believe they would benefit and entertain the world.

I'm guessing the project you're talking about now is one of those projects. Unfortunately, no matter what project it is, it takes the same amount of work to complete - but here's what you need to remember when you've been in a project for so long the magic has faded (and how to get it back).

You’re not in the honeymoon period anymore, and that's okay. 

It wasn't always that way, but things change. Sooner or later you have to accept the new circumstances so you can adapt, and start making changes.

The grass isn't greener on the other side; the grass is greener where you water it. 

I don't know who first said that quote, but it's stuck with me since I first heard it. Even if you feel you're struggling, it doesn't mean it's time to look for a new, shinier project and throw all your hard work away. Things can get better if you put the effort into making it happen.

You believed in yourself and the project once, never forget that.

It’s impossible to finish a creative work without belief in yourself, but it's possible to restore it. Just because you're not at the bright-eyed infatuation stage of your creative work doesn't mean that where you are right now isn't okay.

It doesn't mean you can't make it better.

It doesn't mean you're not exactly where you're supposed to be.

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TSLS 0021 - How to tap into your inner #wholewriter in just 15 minutes

What if there was a system you could use immediately, at any time, to help you out of a creative funk?

Amazing, right? Because you're a busy creative, trying to get paid, published and trying to save the world. And technically, there’s nothing stopping you from doing all of that. (Keyword: Technically). 

Mentally and emotionally however, it's a whole different story. So this is something I created and teach in The Authorship Program® called holistic problem management, which will help you pinpoint the not-so-technical issues in your writing life and move past them. 

When it comes to emotional issues, traditional methods don't work because:

  1. They don’t tailor to the emotional side of you; the side that just wants to be motivated, entertained and inspired.

  2. They only give you information about writing that doesn’t inspire you to act.

  3. The advice in traditional writing blogs is usually too generic and impersonal.

This is my response to those failing traditional methods, because HPM changes all of that. This post will be your in-depth guide into holistic problem management (HPM for short), what it does, and how it can help you succeed in your next writing project.

What is HPM and how does it work?

HPM is the practice of using the fifteen guiding principles from The Authorship Program® to analyse your situation, identify the problem, and find the right practice to solve it.

So when you hit a creative block, what you’d need to do then is to ask yourself these simple questions, which have been adapted from the principles:

1. Are you showing up?

2. Are you playing to your strengths?

3. Why aren't you deserving of success? Why not you?

4. Are you taking control of your own destiny?

5. Are you aware of your emotions and how they're affecting the situation?

6. Do you have mental and emotional support systems in place?

7. Do you remember what this will take you closer to?

8. Do you know what your purpose is?

9. Do you have a plan for when you feel unmotivated?

10. Can you motivate yourself in one sentence?

11. Do you know your goal, and do you have a plan for achieving it?

12. Do you know how to abuse your muse?

13. Do you have time limits?

14. Do you know what success will look like for you after you complete this project?

15. Do you know what happiness will look like for you after you complete this project?

The great thing about this process is that everything you need is already within you. Just thinking about these questions will prompt your brain and inspire it to find the answers you truly need to break through your blocks and succeed with your next project.

Once you start integrating HPM into your life, your writing life will change forever.

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TSLS 0003 - Why traditional writing advice doesn't work (and here’s what does)

Most traditional writing blogs today are inane, outdated, and just generally unhelpful. 

You know the ones - they talk about plot points and characterisation, sentence structure and three story arcs. When I'm stuck on a project, I have never gone to a traditional writing craft blog, read an article and been like: "Oh wow! I'm cured now!"

These blogs have their purpose, for a small segment of well adjusted creatives looking to expand their education, but they're next to useless for the issues that way more writers actually need help with - like creative blocks and feelings of worthlessness. 

If knowledge on its own was enough to inspire action and solve writing blocks, everyone and their mothers would have written a book by now - which proves that writing craft blogs just aren’t enough. Never have been, never will be. And I’ll tell you why:

They don’t speak to the part of you that’s scared.

Writing takes so much more than facts and figures and we all know this. And therefore, it’s not craft posts we need — it’s courage.

How often do we trawl through posts online, searching for something different, something new, something more? That’s not because we don't know the mechanics of how to write. It's because we're looking for permission - something to give us the fire to do everything we deeply want to do, the things that are burning inside our souls. It's not just about the technical side, but the emotional side, too. 

Writing advice needs to be practical, but also spiritual, for the times you feel like giving up on it all and need that extra boost of worldly encouragement. 

And THAT is what holistic writing advice is all about.

So let’s end reading craft blogs and feeling productive without having anything to show for it, and let's focus on what really works.

Writing advice with soul beats boring grammar tips, every time.

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