Too Many Projects? Six Solutions to Help You Focus and Create

Business woman with arrows and questions sign above isolated onSarah finally has a few hours to herself. She makes a cup of green tea, and heads into the den with her laptop. Finally. Writing time. There’s just one problem–Sarah is working on five different manuscripts at once. Each in a different genre, each at a different stage of completion. Which one to work on?  How to get organized? Will she ever finish anything?

Sometimes it’s just easier to close the laptop and turn on the TV.

I have met so many writers like Sarah, who really want and need to write, but who somehow get stuck when it’s time to focus and actually start writing. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with writing in multiple genres and having many projects on the go. If it’s interfering with your writing flow, however, then you  need some new tools in your writer’s toolbox to help you manage your abundance of words. Consider the six key questions below.

Are you the CEO of Writer, Inc?

Many people go to work every day and operate as part of a large organization, within which they have a fairly well defined role to play. Each worker knows what to do, and who to answer to. In contrast, writers are essentially self-employed. Each of us is the CEO of our own writing business, and we get to make all of the decisions. It’s a wide open playground, and no one is telling us what to do. Such freedom can be unsettling and exhilarating, both.

If this sounds like you, you may have to consciously learn some new work habits as you step into the role of leader of your own creativity. Consider yourself an apprentice—learn from writers who have gone before you, and give yourself permission to experiment as you learn to step up to the leadership of your creative self.

Are you allowing yourself to practice and experiment?

Creativity is not a linear practice. Most writers need the freedom to experiment and play as they create. This means that they may try many different subjects and genres in their writing. And there’s nothing wrong with that! Play time encourages and unlocks our creative genius. Plus, nothing we do is ever wasted. Projects that you start and abandon today may come back in a few months or years and find a home, often in unexpected ways.

Are you planting seeds?

Do you have any manuscripts that are partially or completely finished, and just hanging out inside a folder on your desk or computer? I think every writer does! Many times these projects are like seeds that have been planted, but which have not yet started to grow. Trust that when the time is right, you will come back to these projects and complete them, publish them, or transform them into something new.

It’s been my experience that when I leave a project in the parking lot, so to speak, it’s because the time is just not right for that project to come to completion. There are skills I need to learn, or ways I need to grow, that will be required to take that piece to the next step. It could be as simple as learning to have enough faith in the value of my work to actually send out a confident query letter.

One way to tell if you have a project that needs to percolate for awhile is to notice whether there is any energy in your belly to tackle it. Your mind might say, “Hey, what about this book?” but if you don’t feel any excitement or forward momentum, then it’s just not time.

Are you connected to your own intuition?

Each of us has a guidance system that is more reliable than the one in our minds. I’m talking about your intuition. Intuition lives in the belly brain—the brain that science is beginning to believe is more powerful than the brain in our heads! We tap into that intuition when we suddenly get an idea for a new piece of writing, or when a person we meet immediately makes us feel comfortable and safe—or the opposite.

That inner intuitive voice is a non-logical way of knowing that can really help us make creative decisions. So if there are too many projects facing you, I suggest you put your feet flat on the floor, close your eyes, and pull your intention into the core of your body. Let your mind drift across the projects you are working on. Ask, “Wise self, what should I focus on today?” The answer may surprise you—I just got directions to spend today cleaning my house. If you could see it, you would know why.

Another way to pick one project is to notice where your excitement is. If you could do Project A or Project B, but A leaves you uninspired, while you can’t wait to get to work on B, then the choice is clear. It’s important not to second guess yourself, or say things like “But I’m supposed to finish A first.” Trust yourself, and trust the guidance you are given.

Are you grounded?

Many writers are scattered and fragmented because they are not grounded. When you are grounded, your personal energy is anchored in your body, and your body is connected to the planet. If you are ungrounded, your energy is floating around outside your body, often above your head. Ungrounded people are at the mercy of their minds and their emotions, because they aren’t anchored in to their wise selves.

So, how to ground? This is something I have written about a lot, and I address it in a number of ways in the Creative Flow Toolbox. Until that comes out (it won’t be long), I suggest you listen to my recorded meditations, which you can find at thehealedwriter.com under the category Recorded Meditations. Start with this one.

Are you willing to trust your creative process?

There’s one more reason that you might find yourself juggling too many projects and not making progress on any of them, and that’s a reluctance to trust. You may be reluctant to commit yourself to any one project and follow it through to publication because of fear that you aren’t good enough. You might be unsure that you can really do it, that you have what it takes to succeed and be read. Or you might be reluctant to take the leap and open up your heart to your true creative self. You might be reluctant to commit to your creative self. I understand that fear—our deepest creativity comes from our higher selves, and opening to the genius within can feel scary.

Whichever of these causes resonates with you, be gentle with yourself. Learning to access your creative genius and share your work with the world is a process. Give yourself the time you need to learn, play, and grow.

Which of these solutions resonated for you? Are you still stuck or are you back in the flow?  Leave a comment below this post to share what worked for you or what challenges you are still facing.

Namaste,

Alix

Baby Indie: In the Joyful Moment

What’s the Real Problem?

Lily eats a delicious breakfast

Lily eats a delicious breakfast

Lily the cow has a new problem.

As you may remember, Lily had a difficult delivery and then a number of complications after the birth of her first calf, Indie.

About a week after his birth, I found her with listless, with a fever of 107°—diagnosis, mastitis.

Because her milk was filled with bacteria, the calf couldn’t drink it. Because he couldn’t be allowed to nurse, he had to be separated from her except for brief supervised periods.

When they were finally reunited, Lily loved him literally almost to death: her great cow tongue opened huge wounds on his back. Oh, no! Another problem!

On the surface of things, Lily had an obsessive fixation with licking her calf. The vet suggested Bitter Apple, but the deterrent just didn’t work. Her need to lick was great than the aversive taste of the bitter spray. What could we do to help her?

I can hear you now, sympathizing with the poor beleaguered baby and his mom. And you might be wondering, how can Alix stop this cow from licking her calf? I wondered that, too, for a few days.

But it was the wrong question. Continue reading

What Is It You Don’t Want?

Our stalwart rooster surveys his kingdom

Our stalwart rooster surveys his kingdom

It’s a funny thing about personal growth and success in life: often you have to experience what it is you don’t want before you can figure out what you do want. Continue reading

Surrender and the Story of Indie Firecracker

Indie and Mama Lily

Indie on the night he was born

Baby Indie Rests

Day Two, Indie rests

Well, I’ll start right off by telling you that the story has a happy ending, as you can see. But we didn’t know that at first, and really, the ending isn’t the point of this anecdote.

Our white cow, Sweet Lily Rose, finally went into labor on July 6th, about 4 days late.  After several hours of pushing, nothing was happening. It soon became clear that the baby was presented wrong, and that the cow could not deliver without help. That help was our wonderful vet, who lived an hour away.

So for an hour we waited, with the baby’s two front feet poking out into the world, and everything else stuck. Continue reading

Free Help for Teachers: Mindful Class Management Telesummit

Ready for the classroom of your dreams?

Check out Linda Cordes and the Mindful Class Management Telesummit!

I found out about this free event at the last minute, but Linda still took time to squeeze in an interview with me. Just click on the link above to register for the telesummit to get my interview and the archives of all of the past speakers.  You can access them until the end of July.

Here’s to a peaceful, joyful teaching experience in the fall!

Namaste,

Alix

PS Each interview comes with a free goodie bag. I’m offering a mini-book called The Gift of Struggle: Revisioning Your Challenging Students.

Are You Ready for Joy?

fullmoonnewearthfor web

To walk as Spirit fully integrated into a human body is a wondrous and scary experience. Wondrous, because all of a sudden we understand that we are divine, that there is nothing about us that needs to be fixed, that we already shine. Scary, because, in the past, fully enlightened humans were persecuted and often died, and we all carry those collective memories.

This is the lifetime when we move past that fear, when we no longer need anger, shame, or pain to teach us that we are human, but also divine. And what joy flows from that understanding! The world is a safe place, our needs will be met, and we ourselves are enough: complete, and entirely loved.

Full Moon, New Earth is a collection of teaching poems that record, elicit, and illuminate the road to New Earth and the joy of living as an awakened soul.

Coming soon to an e-book store near you.  Stay tuned for details.

 

Writer’s Block: All About Growth

Is writer’s block a myth?

Some writers will try to convince you that it is, that truly professional writers don’t indulge in writer’s block.

Singer-songwriter Sting talks about his long dry spell–a time when the Muse failed to come and nothing got written. Watch the amazing TED talk below, and see if you don’t agree with me: writer’s block is all about personal growth. When Sting finally faced the pain of the songs he was refusing to write, the music flowed once more.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you are lazy or undisciplined when you find the well of words running dry! Instead, give yourself a big hug, and look within for the words you are scared to receive.

With courage and a little time, you will find yourself back on the road to healing and creative flow.

 

The Wisdom of Vulture

As I walk the woods each day, messages arrive and I record them. Today’s message was of the wisdom of Vulture. Her message is “clear out the old to make room for the new,” and she’s right.

Please excuse the occasional sounds of nature: leaves crunching, dog barking, birds singing. These words come when they come, and I merely stop and record them. However, I will start standing still when I do!

Sometimes Life is Just So Simple!

HiRes (4)Ok, I admit it–it took me a very long time to have a one-second brainwave.

You see, I have been trying to figure out how to find the time to get back to blogging on my, not one, not two, but three word press blogs. And that’s not even counting this website you are reading.

Three blogs and one website that needs to incorporate new material frequently.

Finally, I got it!  I am just going to let those wonderful old blogs be what they are–an archive of my growth–and from now on, all of my blogging will be here, in one place.

The sense of relief is indescribable.  I can do this.

So stay tuned!