Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Disconnecting to Re-Set Intentions

Over the last few weeks, I’ve taken the opportunity to disconnect more frequently than I had in the past. I don’t know if it’s a need for more solitude, or simply a desire to focus more on my writing and less on outside distractions like social media, text messages, and TV. For all my talk, I hadn’t taken advantage of the DND function on my phone as frequently as I might, nor avoided being passively entertained for long periods of time.

I re-visited something I’d temporarily forgotten: the more I have on my plate, the more focused I become on tackling the tasks before me. More importantly, I reduced the amount of time spent interacting with people frivolously, and turned interactions into something which were more likely to benefit me both personally and professionally. To me, that part is huge.

It’s not that I don’t jump on Facebook and share inspirational quotes and posts, or the occasional pun or joke any more. I’ve started focusing my time more so it’s not an all-day affair, and instead, open a blog page and start typing even if I have nothing to say.

Constantly Improving Habits

In a conversation with a fellow writer who assumed I was having trouble writing, I explained my issue isn’t finding something to say. It’s sitting down in front of the computer with my fingers on the keys. If I sit here long enough, and pound out enough words from deep in the bowels of my subconscious, a topic will always form itself, and in so doing, will dump a thousand words or more onto the screen before I know it. Which makes the last couple of years without another NaNoWriMo pretty disturbing. It wasn’t that I lacked the ability or even the tenacity to see the project through. I lacked enough on my plate to motivate me to do more.

In the last year or two, I’ve made significant changes which proved to myself I could stay as busy as I wanted to. I only needed to set an intention for more ideas, motivation, and client work, and it would all manifest.

I know that sounds oversimplified, but I’ve proven it time and again on little things. When I start ignoring my alarm and sleeping too late, I re-set my intention to wake up by 8. The intention is enough so I don’t even need the alarm screaming in my ear. I wake up when I want to, ready to get up and start my day. When I want to write more and screw around less, I set an intention, and revisit my Trello board.

Is It Time for Time Blocks?

Granted, I’m still having trouble working in time blocks like some people do. My mind has trouble wrapping itself around the idea of doing X from 9 to 10, Y from 10:15 to 12:15, and so on. Yet I’m toying with the idea now. Putting myself on a tighter schedule will ultimately make it easier to:

  • Finish the re-write of  Rebuilding After Suicide
  • Thoroughly research publishing options
  • Finish editing and uploading Sasha’s Journey to ChapterBuzz
  • Finish and implement the lessons from LeadsLab
  • Map out my work schedule for the next 12 months to include blocks for client work, research, and personal projects.
  • Spend time reading and commenting on authors I’m following

I find if I start listing things out like what you see above, it gets me into the right frame of mind to start making time for the projects that somehow keep getting pushed to the back burner under “stuff I want to do regularly at some point”. Have you noticed when you do it that way that “some point” never quite comes into view? It is truly the albatross of procrastinators.

Progress Has Been Slow, But Steady

I had a boss years ago whose favorite phrase was “shit or get off the pot”. As I look at the progress I’ve made since I quit my day job 6 years ago, there’s a very definite pattern. The first couple of years, I futzed around, trying this course and that, but giving up, probably too soon in some cases. All of those courses are languishing in my DropBox account, some of them, still unopened.

I spent another year lackadaisically working on the 3 NaNo’s I managed to finish. One of them actually got to the re-write stage a couple of times. In the meantime, I joined a writers’ critique group, but ultimately realized it wasn’t the right one for me. I’ve yet to find another. To be honest, I haven’t even tried.

The last couple of years have seen the greatest changes; mentally, physically, and emotionally. I’ve written a great deal more, and with a higher degree of consistency. I’ve completed a couple of projects and gone on to re-write them. I’ve also attended a writer’s conference, and had my first dubiously helpful experience with an editor. And I’ve learned not to take my meat suit for granted.

Stronger in Mind, Body, Spirit, and Productivity

Overall, I’ve seen huge progress. Physically, I’m stronger and healthier. Mentally, I’m more focused. My writing is starting to gain more traction. I attribute a lot of that to publishing on Medium, and ultimately being invited to write for a publication called “The Startup”. I’ve connected with other writers and found not only great information for making changes myself, but an audience that’s beginning to expand as well. Writers do support other writers, but you have to show you’re willing to give as well as take.

Which is the primary reason I’m setting an intention to establish regular blocks of time to read and comment on the work of others. Not only is it a great way to learn from the successes and failures of others and avoid making the same ones (heaven knows there are plenty of others I can make), but it’s a way to connect with a community of like-minded folks who can and will help me wade through reams of material when I’m trying to figure out the best way to jump into the publishing pool.

Recognizing What’s Most Important

As I reflect back upon the lessons I’ve already learned since I left Corporate America to become a full-time writer, I’d boil it down to three main ones:

  1. Write every single day whether you want to or not; whether you think you have anything to say or not.
  2. Build a community and interact with them regularly and consistently.
  3. Make time for self-care. If mind or body fail, making the first two work will be nearly impossible.

Everything else follows from these three. Everything I’ve accomplished in the last couple of years is related in some way. I’ve managed a certain level of consistency with #1, if only by writing my morning pages almost every day. #3 has been, to my surprise, the easiest to manage, though every so often I have a week where I let myself slide. Nevertheless, I am always back to full throttle the following week.

The hardest thing for me has been consistency in building and maintaining a community, but like the others, the more I exercise that muscle, the easier it gets. As it gets easier, consistency will become automatic as well. With improved consistency, I expect to see another upsurge in my successes as well. It is the natural progression I’ve seen in everything I do.

Always Finding Things To Be Grateful For, No Matter What

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned in the last 6 years, and look forward to many more.
  2. I am grateful for friendships I’ve made both on- and off-line.
  3. I am grateful for the love, kindness, and compassion which are constantly building in my life, and for the lessons I’ve learned in both giving and receiving.
  4. I am grateful for personal evolution. I am not the woman I was 5 years ago, much less, 10 or 20. She served her purpose, but she’s gone now.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, joy, inspiration, motivation, new skills, stronger old skills, mentors and mentees, healthy mind, body, and spirit, compassion, peace, balance, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

I look forward to your comments.

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