Thursday, May 14, 2015

Just a Traveling Fool

In the last few weeks I have been doing a lot of traveling. Some travel was business-related, and some was to visit family. But no matter what the reason is for travel, I think there is both bad news and good news about travel when it comes to daily routines.

First, there is the bad news. For me, travel can certainly upset my schedule, disrupt work deadlines, interrupt my sleep pattern, cause me to eat in less than healthy ways, not exercise, and skip writing. On the other hand, traveling can provide a number of possibilities for keeping up with my creative life.

HURRY UP AND WAIT

Have you ever noticed how traveling can be a process of hurry up and wait? Rush to the airport, then sit and wait for your flight to be called. Or, get to your seat quickly and sit down and then wait (and wait, and wait) for the plane to actually leave. Or get in your car and begin your journey and get caught in a massive traffic jam. These scenarios can be less than fun experiences. On the other hand, if you have a book with you and you’re not driving, you can get a fair amount of reading done. Or you can catch up on your daily journaling, brainstorm ideas, or update your contact list. Bottom-line: use your waiting time to be productive.

PLEASANT SURPRISES

If you travel, you will notice occasional unpleasant surprises. For example, the hottest day of the year in London in your non air-conditioned hotel room or your flight change that the airline failed to properly record, considerably delaying your arrival. On the other hand, have you ever arrived at a hotel or car rental desk and been upgraded at no extra charge? Or have you ever gone for a walk in a new town and stopped in your tracks and stared at a stunning profusion of azaleas in full-bloom? Bottom-line: be alert for wonderful surprises to inspire you.

NEW PERSPECTIVE

Have you ever gotten on a train that was crowded and stuffy or sat in front of a little kid kicking the back of your chair on a cross-country flight? On the other hand, has the greenery, a stream, lake, river, or ocean in a new location ever taken your breath away? After returning home from a trip, have you ever allowed a new perspective from your travels to change your point of view or give you new ideas? Has returning from travel ever provided you with greater resolve and focus? Bottom-line: use returning home from travel to provide you with a new perspective.

While traveling can be challenging, wonderful, difficult, and fun (sometimes all at the same time!), don’t be a traveling fool. Use your travel time and experiences to stimulate your creativity and your writing.

Happy traveling!



Susan Borkin


P.S. Remember, if you haven’t done so before, take advantage of our Complimentary Coaching Consultation to increase your creativity and productivity. 

Copyright © 2015 Susan Borkin

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Writing in Cruise Control

While driving on the freeway the other day, I decided to turn on the cruise control in my car. There are lots of good reasons to use cruise control---you’re likely to drive closer to the speed limit, you can relax a little bit at the wheel and give yourself a break from steady pressure on the accelerator.  

But what are the disadvantages to driving in cruise control? Possibly letting your attention stray for a moment? Becoming too relaxed, or maybe even becoming a little lazy? 

Now consider your writing and creative life lately. Has it gone into cruise control? Are you not feeling as excited as you used to about your projects and creative work? Have you lost focus, vision or purpose?

If your writing has gone into cruise control mode, there are several things you can do. Check out the ideas below:

TALK WITH YOUR WRITING
Set up a dialogue on paper with your writing or a creative project and ask it about what it needs and where it wants to go. To do this, write down your name (or a nickname or whatever you want to call yourself). Then begin to “speak” on paper. Be honest. Be sincere. Speak from your heart. Ask your writing or your project what it wants and what it needs from you. Next, let your writing or creative project speak back. On paper, this will look like the script for a play. One person speaks, then the other. It’s a conversation. Feel free to interrupt, get angry, and be silly, just as you would with a conversation with a person. 

CHANGE THE SCENERY
Mix things up a bit.  Take a new route home or try driving or walking down a different street just for fun.  Shop at a new grocery store.  When you change your environment you are likely to pay more attention to what is new around you.  Change your writing environment, too.  Try writing in a different place, at a different time or with a different kind of paper or pen.  Try changing your computer font to give the words you write a new perspective.

TAKE SOME RISKS WITH YOUR WRITING
You can always edit it out or delete it later. Stuck on the plot of your novel? Has it been awhile since you’ve written a poem? Try a whole new genre for a few days (It was a dark and stormy night). Write a story from a different voice.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO DIG DEEPER 
In addition to trying new approaches to your writing, try taking your current writing deeper. Ask yourself what you might be avoiding in your current writing. Or, be willing to experiment with new ideas you’ve been setting aside.  

Sometimes it’s just fine to drive in cruise control for a little while.  But if you find yourself stuck in a rut or just skimming the surface, take your writing out of cruise control!
 



P.S. Remember, if you haven’t done so before, take advantage of our Complimentary Coaching Consultation and we'll talk about what you need to stay out of 'cruise control' with your writing. Phone (800) 552-WRITE, that's (800) 552-9748 or write to me at susan@susanborkin.com to find out more.

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Copyright © 2015 Susan Borkin

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Finding Your Inner Leprechaun

This month, with spring just around the corner and St. Patrick’s Day coming up in a few days, I thought it would be fun to connect with our inner leprechauns and play with a metaphorical pot o’ gold. 

There is an old film I have always loved called Finian’s Rainbow (circa 1968). The plot of the film weaves together a charming tale that is comedic, romantic and magical. The story revolves around a loveable schemer and a leprechaun fighting over a pot of gold. My favorite song from the film is called “Look to the Rainbow.” Here are the lyrics of the song: 

…I’ve got an elegant legacy
 Waitin’ for ye,
‘Tis a rhyme for your lips
And a song for your heart,
To sing it whenever the world falls apart.
Look, look
Look to the rainbow.
Follow it over the hill
And the stream.
Look, look
Look to the rainbow.
Follow the fellow
Who follows a dream.

It reminded me that whatever is happening in your life, especially on those days when it feels as if your world is falling apart, keep following the rainbow and searching for that pot of gold at rainbow’s end. 

Here are some practical tips to keep you inspired on your journey:

KNOW THAT EVERYONE HAS DAYS WHEN IT FEELS LIKE THE WORLD IS FALLING APART.

No matter how successful someone looks to you on the outside, you don’t necessarily have access to how they feel on the inside.  As a friend of mine says, “Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.”

SHARE YOUR DREAMS WITH OTHERS WHO WILL SUPPORT YOU.

You’ve undoubtedly had the experience of being very excited about something and sharing it with someone who didn’t return your enthusiasm.  Try to weed out those people in your life and be around positive folks who will cheer you on.

LEARN TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF MORE.

Laughter not only raises your beta endorphin level and simply makes you feel better, but being able to step back and laugh at yourself in a loving and gentle way will automatically change your perspective and get you thinking more positively.  Challenge yourself to find something amusing about even the most challenging of situations.  

KEEP YOUR DREAM ALIVE.

Let your environment support you. Have pictures, a vision board, a collage or small objects around your workspace, representing where you want to be or what you want to do. Dream big. Play the “what if” game. “What if I could have whatever I wanted?”

USE PENVISIONING.

I once invented for myself a method I now call “Penvisioning.” It means visualizing exactly what you want, jotting it down quickly, and then dropping back into the visualization and again jotting down your vision. 

Keep dreaming. Keep visualizing what it is you want to have. Consider having your inner leprechaun help you grant your very own wishes! 

Take good care,

 



P.S. Remember, if you haven’t done so before, take advantage of our Complimentary Coaching Consultation and we'll talk about what you need to get more deeply connected to your writing. Phone (800) 552-WRITE, that's (800) 552-9748 or write to me at susan@susanborkin.com to find out more.

Please jump in and respond on this blog, by clicking the green 'Comments' link just below.


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Copyright © 2015 Susan Borkin

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Stormy Weather & Winter Writing

If you have picked up a newspaper or listened to a newscast within the last month, you have certainly heard enough about winter storms!  Why not take advantage of the cold, snow or rain outside and curl up with your journal inside? 

Here is a great technique for doing some in-depth winter writing. 

DIG DEEPLY

Winter can make you feel like hibernating.  Take advantage of the season and go deeply into an area you have been ignoring or avoiding.  Perhaps it is a relationship you have been struggling with, a decision you are having trouble with or a project you have been procrastinating.  Whatever the issue, commit to writing about it for seven days in a row.  That’s right.  Take a week and in as little as ten minutes a day (of course you can write more if you want to!), write about this subject.  

Go ahead and complain, whine and dump.  Get it out of your system.  Continue writing for seven days, even if it feels like you aren’t going anyway.  Continue to get it all out.

INTERVIEW YOURSELF

Now pretend you are an interviewer and set up a dialogue with yourself.  Ask yourself questions like:
  • What is this all about?
  • What is really going on here?
  • Why have I been avoiding this issue?
During your “interview,” answer the questions honestly.  Write quickly without editing.  Allow feelings to come up.  Don’t think about it.  Just write.

LET IT REST

After you are done with the dialogue between you and your “interviewer,” let the writing sit for a day or two.  When you go back to it, you may have a new perspective, insight or direction.

In the next few days, find another topic and start the process again.  Pick something that’s bothering you, feels unfinished or needs to be taken care of.  

It may be cold, rainy or snowy outside, but your winter writing can generate plenty of heat!

Take good care,

 



P.S. Remember, if you haven’t done so before, take advantage of our Complimentary Coaching Consultation and we'll talk about what you need to get more deeply connected to your writing. Phone (800) 552-WRITE, that's (800) 552-9748 or write to me at susan@susanborkin.com to find out more.

Please jump in and respond on this blog, by clicking the green 'Comments' link just below.


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Copyright © 2015 Susan Borkin

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Looking Backward, Aiming Forward

Happy New Year!  This month rather than resolutions, I want to discuss setting goals. What’s the difference? Generally, when we make New Year’s resolutions, it’s more of a wish list. I am resolving to do something, but I have no specific plan to do so. To give your goals more “oomph” here are some ideas.

LOOKING BACKWARD

It’s easy to be hard on yourself when you look back at last year and think about what you didn’t accomplish.  Try this instead.  On a piece of paper write down everything you did accomplish, no matter how small you judge the accomplishment to be. Did you clean out a closet or get caught up on your filing?  Did you try any new recipes or finally start writing in your new journal? Was this the year you actually used your gym membership? Try this method of giving yourself credit for what you have done before you start with new goals. 

THE WHEEL OF LIFE

Here’s a way to organize your list of goals. Start by drawing a circle in the middle of a piece of paper.  Now, divide the circle into eight different sections, just like you would if you were cutting up a pie.  Label the sections with titles such as friends & family, finances, work and career, health, personal and spiritual growth, partner or romance, and physical environment. These are only suggestions; create section titles that work best for you. 
Taking one area at a time, write down what you really want to accomplish in this area of your life.  What is it that you really want to happen?  Be as specific as possible.

THE GOOD…

With each goal you have written, write down how you will feel when you accomplish it.  Take your time, close your eyes and really see what your life will be like when you accomplish this goal. If you would like, create a collage or symbol to represent this goal.

THE BAD…

This part isn’t as much fun, but it is equally as important to do.  Again, taking your time and closing your eyes, imagine how you will feel if you don’t accomplish these goals.  Take them one at a time, and without dwelling on it for too long, get a sense of what it will be like if you don’t accomplish these goals.  Write down what you see.  

THE CHALLENGE

Based on what you’ve written, select one or two goals to begin. Don’t worry about the goals that you haven’t selected at this time. Everything you really want to get done will get done; but you can’t do everything at once. The challenge here is prioritize what is most important to start. Perhaps you have had this experience in the past---doing too many things at once only results in getting nothing done. 

STEP-BY-STEP

Finally, for the one or two goals you will be working with, make a list of action steps you will need to complete to accomplish this goal. One way of doing this is to begin with the end result you are trying to accomplish. Work backwards, and then reverse your list of steps. Pick up your paper or electronic planner and note deadlines for these steps. Remember that breaking each step down into tiny action steps will move the process along. 

OBSTACLES AND SUPPORT 

You may also choose to write down any obstacles you can anticipate or might run into along the way. Anticipating obstacles will help keep you focused and on top of your action steps. Don’t forget to also note what you will be doing to make sure you have accountability and support.

Good luck and let me know if I can help!

Happy New Year,


 



P.S. Remember, if you haven’t done so before, take advantage of our Complimentary Coaching Consultation and we'll talk about what you need to get those goals accomplished. Phone (800) 552-WRITE, that's (800) 552-9748 or write to me at susan@susanborkin.com to find out more.

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Copyright © 2015 Susan Borkin

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Monday, December 1, 2014

'Twas The Night Before Writing

'Twas the week before deadline and all through the house,
An author was disgruntled and could only grouse.
Words were not flowing from her fingertips,
And after awhile, angry words flew from her lips.

“What was I thinking when I thought I wanted to write?
Each word that I scribble is so boring and trite.”
Where is the inspiration I dreamed I would hear?
My Muse is in hiding: she’s nowhere near!

“What to do? What to do?” she cried out.
With no one else home, the walls echoed her shout.
Perhaps there was an answer, some magic pill,
Or a wand to wave to conjure words at her will.

Alas and alack, no right words could she find!
She knew soon that she would lose her mind
And if she continued her angst with such worry and fret,
Her writing goals would never be met!

But then she remembered what she already knew––
The only way to the end was to work it through.
Like a whisper she heard “Put your butt in the chair,
And not only that, you must keep it there!”

“For the designated time you promised for today,
Put your fingers on the keyboard; it’s the only way.
There is no magic here; it is just doing the work.”
(Did she just hear her Muse chortle and smirk?)

So she set the timer on her desk clock,
And then, her phone ringer she set to block.
Any distraction or malingering tasks
Were now banned---need you ask…

What happened next to this sad author’s plight?
Oh how she hated when her Muse was so right!
Butt in the chair, fingers to the keys, clock set,
It all seemed perfect to produce and yet…

Something still was missing from this situation,
For she needed to pull words from her imagination.
She ruminated, thought, and these wild thoughts ran.
But nothing really happened until she began.

For all of her studying and planning and care,
She had forgotten the most important ingredient there,
She was no dummy; she might be considered smart,
But rule number one––she did have to start!

Take good care,

 


If you find yourself in a funk, contact me for an informative discovery session via phone or in person. Phone (800) 552-WRITE, that's (800) 552-9748 or write to me at susan@susanborkin.com to find out more. 

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Copyright © 2014 Susan Borkin

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Writing In Your Sleep & Creative Napping

Having occasional bouts of insomnia, I have found the art of napping to be a true blessing.  In this article we’ll explore how to use naps and a good night’s sleep as a writing and creativity enhancer.

ASK A GOOD QUESTION BEFORE YOU NOD OFF 

Just before you close your eyes before bed or a nap, ask a question about a current project.  You might ask “What’s bothering me about the character in chapter 4 of my novel?”  Or, “Where am I stuck with the copy for my website?”  You might be wondering,  “What would be the best market for the article I want to write about my recent trip?”  

You need not limit yourself to asking questions about your writing or creative life.  You may have relationship or career choice questions.  You may have questions about your spiritual life or larger questions about your life purpose. This technique will work in any area of your life.  

Your brain is like a search engine, just waiting to begin scanning for an answer to your question.

Try to let go and trust that whatever information you do get is meant to be helpful or guide you in some way. 

PAY ATTENTION TO THE LANGUAGE OF YOUR DREAMS

Once you ask the question, know that the creative process is already underway.  But because it is a creative process, you don’t necessarily know the format in which your answer will come.  

Information may come in the form of a dream.  You may see yourself on a stage performing, with the words you were searching for coming in the lyrics of a song. Or, your dream may be more of a treasure hunt.  Perhaps you see yourself walking along a path, picking up objects as clues to a new direction.

Your answer may be quite concrete and obvious or it may need some interpretation. Sometimes the answer to your question will be more subtle than you expect. For example, if I am stuck with writing copy for my website, I may get an image of tangled string or of something trapped in a maze.  Perhaps I’ve become tangled in my words or trapped myself by making the project too complex. 

The more open you are to the information you receive, whatever the format, the more useful it will be.

BE PREPARED FOR ANSWERS TO COME IN UNEXPECTED WAYS

While dreams and images are the most common ways to receive information from sleep writing questions, be prepared for answers to come at other times.  

There may be times when you don’t remember a dream at all.  Or, you may get no images at all upon awakening.  

However, thoughts or ideas may come to you in the shower, later in the day or while out on a walk.  It will seem as though the ideas came “out of the blue.” 

Keep experimenting and notice what happens.  Try both sleep writing before going to bed at night or prior to a catnap during the day.  

SLEEP WRITING HAS A CUMULATIVE EFFECT

Quite simply, the more often you ask questions and write down the answers you receive, the more information you will get.  If you use this technique on a regular basis you will find yourself getting increasingly better results. 

Over time, sleep writing will give you a new perspective on issues that have challenged you.  It will help you develop a sense of curiosity and wonder.  Keep track of your questions and the answers you receive over time.  You will be surprised at the profound impact sleep writing can have.

By the way, guess where I got the idea for this article?  Following a nap, of course!

Take good care,

 


If you find you could use some help integrating your writing and creative projects this fall, schedule a GRATIS SAMPLE COACHING SESSION via phone or in person to find out if writing & creativity coaching is for you. Phone (800) 552-WRITE, that's (800) 552-9748 or write to me at susan@susanborkin.com to find out more.

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