What Would You Do If You Were Not Afraid?

What has prevented you from reaching your goals? Is part of it fear? Fear of what? Writing it all down in private, in a journal  (paper or digital) helps to process what’s going on internally. From there, you have a better stance from which to address the issue.

A journal can also help you to understand your patterns of fear as well as the things you continue to say that you want, the goals you continue to claim will be completed. Following the patterns of behavior recorded in your journal can help you  understand what you fear, at what points you tend to fail and why.

Reading my old journals where I would write that I plan to do X, Y or Z, and then seeing how little of that I had accomplished was devastating. I determined to discover where I continue to fail. A lot of it was allowing fear to make my decisions, or just not making a decision at all (which is a decision by omission).

Use your journal to help you understand what you would do if you were not afraid.

Peace,

Deborah

 

What Kind of Writer are You? (and other questions from SARK)

Author Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy (AKA SARK) is someone whose books about writing and personal development are new to me. I’m currently reading her book, Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper: Gifting the World with Your Words and Stories, and Creating the Time and Energy to Actually Do It.

The book is meant to be inspiration for the writer. In it there are interviews of writers with a series of questions. I will answer these questions so that you’ll get a better sense of who runs this website. Also, let me know how you would answer these questions.

What kind of writer are you? What do you love writing?

Non-fiction is the genre. Personal development, online changes, introversion, Scannerism, journaling are all the topic of choice for internet writing.

Journaling is where the seeds for this website’s articles are planted.

I delve into poetry occasionally, but not on this website.

Before writing or creating, what are some of your favorite rituals?

This writer is the type who will use a pre-writing ritual as a means to procrastinate and not actually write anything; it’s best that I not have any more decision points before writing. I just dive right in.

When an idea occurs, I jot it down immediately and, if I have time, expand on it; that’s usually in my journal. Later, I mine the idea to discover how it could be useful for the reader.

I love writing because:

I write in different ways.

Writing for myself – which is how I use journaling – has become something more than just what I love, it has become more of a necessity every year. Journal writing is a means to express all your thoughts, if you wish (“express” in the essential meaning of that term- to press out). It is rare these days not to jot down something in the journal on a daily basis, in the same way that it would be rare not to sweat in the summer heat. It must come out.

Writing for community is how I started writing online. I started a random blog in 2006, which I niched down into a classic movie blog and joined a classic movie association. I love connecting with like-minded individuals.

I also like to inspire people where I can, and remind them how their voice is necessary.

Writing for business purposes is a different beast. Or is it?

Worrying about SEO, making attractive images, wondering whether you should also start a concurrent Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest/Snapchat/Facebook account, whether you should blog on Medium.com or keep that info for your own blog -and that’s just putting out content so that people know that you exist- can be a pain. You haven’t even begun to talk about the goods or services that you offer.

As a certain businessman (whose name rhymes with Vary Gaynerchuk) has said,  these days your business should be a media company that is an expert in X. Meaning, if you sell garlic sausages, you should also be seen as the expert in adjacent things as well – how to cook the sausages, the best food pairings with sausage, etc.

It’s enough to tear out your hair!

Or at least I thought it was until recently when I realized that my original way to communicate online – writing for community- is my thing, is where I’m comfortable. Now I am learning to enjoy writing for business.

Do you ever dislike or feel frustrated by your writing? If so, what kinds of things help you?

Journal writing is only frustrating when I’m not in the position to do it – e.g. when someone is talking to you and you would rather write in your journal, but that’s rude. I patiently wait until I can make a respectful exit, then I go write something.

Writing for other people is frustrating when I don’t know if what I’m doing is useful, or whether it comes across as silly, frivolous or sales-y.

To get feedback, then, is crucial. Opening the comments section has helped. Having an account on Twitter -where people seem more likely to respond- has helped. Straight out asking in Facebook groups, “What is useful to you” also helps.

Do your night or day dreams contribute to your work? How?

Most of the time, I do not recall my nocturnal imaginings.

Day dreams are all about side projects. So, no, they do not seem to contribute to my work, except to indulge my Scanner nature.

Who is a writer?

Anyone who writes is a writer.

What words of support and encouragement can you share with other writers?

I love the word “share” these days, as that was the catalyst to revamp this website and business. If I’m sharing what I know rather than pontificating from on high, I am more likely to contribute. I feel better in that space- the space of sharing. (Your mileage may vary.)

/digression

Fellow writers,

It has usually been my experience that understanding why you write is bedrock for the best writing you will do. The “why” then guides you to timing, platform, content, whether or not to write for others or for yourself, etc.

Then you tweak and fiddle with all of these elements for years until you find something that works for you and your audience. If writing is not fun, then perhaps a different mode of communication is better for you – audio, video, or through one of the other senses. Try it.

What are your answers to SARK’s questions?

All the best,

Deborah

Why You Procrastinate (& What to Do About It)

You have a goal to reach but you often procrastinate. Why?

Let’s look at the three aspects of achievement,  go through the process of elimination and determine where the problem of procrastination might exist so that you can get started again.

There are three aspects to reaching a goal:

1) Where you are

2) Where you want to be

3) The method to get there

Anything within these three spheres can be trip you up, prevent you from reaching the goal , encourage you to procrastinate.

Think of your goal as the far side of a lake. You are standing on this side of the lake. The lake itself is part of the journey to your goal.

Some people seem to jet ski right over to their destination quite easily. But you have barely dipped your toe into the lake, you have procrastinated.

So let’s look at where your biggest issue might be in the process of achievement.

WHERE YOU WANT TO BE/ YOUR GOAL/ THE FAR SIDE OF THE LAKE

One aspect of goal-setting and ridding yourself of procrastination is making sure that the goal is something you want. That might sound too simple, but -honestly- we’ve all been trained to believe that we should want this, we should pursue that. But do we really want those things?

Have you checked in with yourself to determine whether the goal is yours and not simply something others have told you that you should want? At times, we procrastinate because we do not want to achieve that goal and are in denial.

At other times, the problem is that what we wanted before isn’t exactly what we want now, but we haven’t noticed the change in desire.

Circumstances change. You change. The goal changes. Your attention, what’s valuable to you, changes. You should adjust as the variables shift.

Example – Let’s say you’re a bachelor who wants to climb the corporate ladder, so you work late on weekends and it’s no big deal. Suddenly you are engaged to be married.  Is working on Saturday still interesting to you or would you rather use that time to become better acquainted with your future spouse?

If circumstances have changed, account for what it means and how it affects your perspective of your goals.

Write down not only the goal but the purpose for it. Review the purpose regularly to determine whether it still fits.

WHERE YOU ARE/ THIS SIDE OF THE LAKE

You have determined that the goal you are pursuing is the right one for you. Great! Then, your procrastination might be induced by a second aspect of achievement – your current environment.

Your physical space and surrounding area might be uninspiring. (Alter it to be a place where you want to live. Or perhaps it’s time to move.)

How you arrange your physical space or items can help or hinder you in your goal,  they can induce procrastination.

Example – You have the goal of jogging more often. Arrange your life to make that more likely to happen. You might choose the CUE-ROUTINE-REWARD Method for this. You create a CUE  or signal which reminds you to work on your goal. That signal might be to see your jogging shoes next to the bed or next to the door. Then you engage in the desired ROUTINE – jogging. Then you REWARD yourself with something that you enjoy very much – perhaps finally finishing that novel you have not made time to read. Whatever works for you.  Eventually your mind and body anticipate the Reward just by interacting with the Cue. Voila! You have a habit and environment that helps you achieve your goal.

However, environment means not only the physical space.

That which you ingest mentally can be discouraging. ( Be careful of what music, movies, books and concepts you absorb. They could create self-defeating attitudes.)

That which you ingest physically can be energy-draining. (Eat the most health-giving food that you can afford.)

Those with whom you spend time can be knee-jerk negative people in general or those who find nothing beneficial in your goals. (Spend time with others who are more encouraging. You must counter-act the negativity with truth, of course, but also with the will and the team to help you see it through.)

Everything around you or in you is your environment.

You can use the CUE-ROUTINE-REWARD method on each aspect of your environment to help you create the habits you need to conquer procrastination.

THE METHOD TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOAL/ THE BOAT ON THE LAKE

You’ve decided that the goal you have set is the one you really want to reach. You have found ways to create an environment that will help launch you towards your goal.

But procrastination still has you on the wrong side of the lake.

Now let us consider the third aspect of achievement – the method to reach your goal, the boat that gets you to the other side of the lake. The method might trip you up.

Example – If you wish to rid your diet of all sugar, you might decide to toss out all sugar and anything else sweet from your house right now.  In two weeks, you’re still craving sweets and you sneak out to a store late at night to buy a forbidden Snickers bar.

The “no sweets” method doesn’t seem to work for you, at least not at this stage. But you don’t give up.

You try a different method.

You decide that you will keep something sweet in your life, as long as it’s not sugar or chemical sweetener substitutes.  You begin using exclusively Stevia Reboudiana – a naturally sweet plant with fewer calories than sugar. You hire a nutritionist to be your accountability partner.

You must continually tweak the variables that do not work for you  by using different methods.

Procrastination doesn’t necessarily mean you are a broken human; it simply means that the procrastination brings you something that you want. Do you want more time with your family, so you go home early, and that’s why you haven’t put in the time to turn in your TPS reports at work? Do you want not to smash your fingers again while hammering a nail and that’s why you’ve procrastinated on nailing those frames to the wall? Do you want to avoid a person at the party and that’s why you haven’t bothered to dress yet when it’s time to leave? Determine what procrastination gives to you and find another method to gain it.

——

Ridding yourself of procrastination and achieving your goal is like crossing a lake. How is the launching pad? Do you really want to get to the other side?  What about your method to travel across the lake? Would you rather take a jet ski?  A dingy? A paddle boat? Would you rather swim and test your mettle? Would you rather stay on this side of the lake –a familiar side- and make the best of it?

Understand that any one of these variables could be your stumbling block. Consider each of the three aspects of achievement, determine where the issues lie to get started again.

Above all, have patience with yourself and do not give up.

Sincerely,

Deborah

Further resources for stopping the habit of procrastination