13 Ways to Get Out of a Writing Funk

13 Ways to Get Out of a Writing Funk

Writer’s Block.

Oh yeah. I’ve been there.

Endless hours spent staring at blinking cursors, or guilting yourself because you should be writing. I once spent an entire day listing everything I needed to do, only to not get myself moving on it because of a writing funk. I had to do something else, to try to get out of that writing funk naturally, so every time I started to feel that fogginess, I tried a couple of different things.

Let’s see how they work for you.

 

Exercise

It’ll clear your mind.

Dance.

Step away from your computer or notebook and do a few push ups, or take in a bit of yoga.

Exercise gets the blood flowing in your body and kicks the fog out of your head, like a great gust of clean air.

If you’re feeling frustrated then stand up and get moving. Pump up the tunes, take a walk or jump on the treadmill.

There are a million different things you can do, but I guarantee you that after you feel your heart racing from that awesome workout, the clarity you’ll have will be amazing.

My Choice: I love yoga, but I’m not afraid to jump on the elliptical for 10 minutes or take a walk outside. It clears my mind and I get some fresh air. Just do it.

Meditate

I stand by this 100%. I saw amazing results – clarity, contentment, awareness, joy, less drama, less worrying about crap that didn’t matter, self-reflection skills, and much more – after 4 months of studying this technique and partaking every day.

My Choice: Insight Timer is a great app that has hundreds of meditations to choose from. Take a 5 minute break and clear your mind. You can also find me on there and we can do this together.

Put your writing away

I always put my writing away once I write the first draft. Stepping away for a few hours, days or even weeks can help. That crappy first version seems like it’s someone else’s work once I take it back out for Round #2 for some major edits.

My Choice: I’ll finish writing something then put it away for 2 weeks. During that time, I’ll step away – only writing in my daily journal – then come back to it and give it another go around. 2 weeks might be too long for you. Try a day and look at your work again.

 

Write outside your normal spot

Especially if it’s your house.

Writing in the same spot isn’t always best. I read advice all the time about how a writing routine is what you need to succeed, but that’s not necessarily true. Everyone is different, but even if your place to write is in your office or outside on your porch, it’s always good to try new things.

Try going to the library, the park, a coffee shop. Change it up and ideas might come to you that you never even knew you had.

My Choice: I love a good coffee shop. Cliche, I know. My favorite places have a variety of coffee, beer or wine, along with food. I have no choice but to stay there and knock out my writing because there’s no excuse to leave.

I can’t stand routine, so my “non-routine” routine helps a bit.

 

Get off the computer/cellphone

Most distracting thing ever.

I write all my outlines plus some basic content by hand before typing them up and adding more information to each part. I don’t want the internet to distract me because I know it’s going to happen. Remove those temptations.

My Choice: Put your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode and set it face down, with the ringer off. You don’t need it when you’re writing. Don’t use your computer unless you have to. I always warm up with writing by hand, and get the unfiltered first thoughts out. You don’t need a computer until you get into the nitty-gritty.

Try a TV/video cleanse

I’ve done this a few times and I love it. The first time was a full 7-Day TV detox, which meant no TV, Netflix, Youtube, Amazon – nothing. For a whole week I was only allowed to listen to music or do things that didn’t involve video. It was BRUTAL, but it made me get shit done.

Pro Tip: Try detoxing on the thing that’s distracting you. I’m serious. Cut it out for 7 days and see how strong your willpower is. For the first few days, TV show scenes from 10 years ago were popping in my head, and I really wanted to watch them. The middle was better and by the end I had everything done. I just wanted to watch TV because I actually wanted to, not because I’d been procrastinating on other things. It wasn’t compulsive anymore.

Give it a shot. Tell me how it goes.

Take a trip – a change of scenery

It doesn’t have to cost a lot or take too much time. I took a road trip an hour away and ended up loving it. A change in your weekly routine can open your mind up to new ideas.

Try a cheap trip or take a weekend somewhere you want to go. It’s not expensive if you do it right. Going to NYC for my birthday in 2016 got me out of my head and opened my mind to new ideas.

I got out of being stuck, and you can, too.

Pro Tip: Make it as awesome as you want it, but don’t let fear hold you back. It’s just money. You can make it again. It’s only a plane ride that’s over pretty quick. Take a leap and let your writing flow from your experiences.

Meet up with writers

I’m not the best when it comes to social situations, but meeting up with other writers can definitely light the spark.

Whether we admit it or not, we like to talk about our ideas and get feedback on them. It’s scary, but we want that response to see if we should even pursue it. When I went to a meetup in Nashville, I met some great writers (and some not so great writers/people). I saw their successes, their ideas, their drive, and it made me want to write more.

Pro Tip: Find a meetup in your area or get together with some creative friends. It doesn’t have to only be writers. I get together with graphic designer friends of mine and their sheer presence gives me energy on my projects. Just be careful that you’re not surrounding yourself with people with negative vibes.

 

Talk about your writing to people

They might inspire you.

It might not be your friends or your family. It could be an old friend or cousin that sparks your flame.

When I went to NYC, I met up with my long-lost aunt, and my mom’s childhood friend. They didn’t know much about me, so talking to them about my writing over drinks was fantastic. It inspired me to take a chance and look at publications in NYC.

Pro Tip: List some old friends that you might want to talk to again. Maybe you have a cousin or aunt that you know you can talk to without judgement. Tell them about your stories and see what they say. They might have ideas of how to get published, continue your story or just words of inspiration.

Try freewriting

I write everyday in a crappy, bright orange, Mead Five Star notebook that sits by my bed. Every night before bed, I just write. Freewriting opens the mind and basically brain dumps any ideas you have. If you feel funky and literally nothing is coming to you, then write that down. Keep your hand moving, and eventually your brain will get with the picture. Your muscles will remember to write, even when your brain is getting in the way.

Pro Tip: Take 5 minutes and write anything that comes into your mind. Put a timer on it if you have to, but just do it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, step away and free write anything on your mind. Maybe something’s bothering you or the idea you have isn’t connecting the way you want. Freewriting can help

Write about something new

Let your curiosity carry you

I have a lot of big novel ideas. Romance stories, mysteries and short story pieces, but sometimes my brain just won’t work and I need some fresh blood.

Are you curious about something? Coffee? Gardening? Aliens?

Write about it.

Even if it’s just research, writing about it can open your mind to new story ideas. Your character can explore that idea in their storyline.

Pro Tip: List 25+ things you’re curious about. Now take one of those and list 10+ questions you have about it. Now write about it. Research if you have to, but don’t get distracted. You can write fiction about that subject, where you describe its origin or a story about how coffee was actually created by the government to control the masses.

Just go with it. Keep all the ideas you have, even if they seem crazy.

 

Learn a new subject

When I wanted to learn about dragons, I took time to research them. I explored literature, legends connected to them, and traits that are commonly found in stories. When I wanted to know how creativity worked, I studied articles, listened to podcasts and brought my own questions to the game.

Pro Tip: What interests you? When your mind gets a workout, it begs for more, just like your body. It might get tired, but that’s just a sign to keep going, while taking care of yourself. List a few things that you want to learn about, but never got a chance to, and take the next two weeks to learn about it.

This interest might spark your writing career or the next novel idea you have.

 

Read

Then write your thoughts about specific parts of the book. I mark the sentences or sections in a book that interest me with a tiny post it note so I can refer to it later and write my thoughts on it. This usually happens more in nonfiction, rather than fiction books, but it could work for both.

Any writer you ask will tell you that if you want to find success in writing then you need to read. It’s our fuel. Reading is a pleasurable act for me and a mode of research. Even though I enjoy the fiction and nonfiction books I read – with no expectations placed on them to rock my world – I still take notes. I recommend you do the same.

Pro Tip: Use mini post-it note tabs to mark a sentence or spot you find interesting in the book. Use post-it notes to write your ideas and save that page. Later, go back and explore those thoughts in your journal. I have a business journal for the books that spark ideas for my business or I’ll write the ideas down in my personal journal.

Give it a shot and see what happens.


 

Hopefully these options can pull you out of your writing funk. I know how much it sucks, which is why I’m a big fan of these tricks. I also have another blog post you can read with some of my favorite writing exercises if you’re feeling frustrated.

Try them out, even if your mind is telling you not to, then come back and tell me how it went.

What do you do to get out of a writing funk? Leave me a comment below.

13 Ways to Get Past Writer's Block - Find the Freedom Writing Tips

 

10 Mindful Practices That Can Change Your Outlook on Life

10 Mindful Practices That Can Change Your Outlook on Life

Mindfulness isn’t a fad or practice that doesn’t have evidence to back it up. Actually it’s as old as Buddha, if not older.

We often live too much in the past or the future. Worrying about tomorrow or 5 years from now, and endlessly focusing on what we could’ve done about a situation in the past causes unwanted stress and unhappiness. Long lasting stress isn’t good for us. Our bodies are designed with a stress system to help solve problems that last seconds, not years. Constantly being subjected to stress can cause the brain to shut down and a learned helplessness occur.

Mindfulness has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, improve memory and sleep quality, impact our mood, keep our brains vigilant, improve the immune system, decrease blood pressure, reduce cellular aging, decrease heart rate and increase happiness, and a lot more. A number of mindful practices can be found all over the internet and by following experts in the field like Jon Kabat-Zinn, a scientist who has studied mindfulness for over 30 years.

Remember you are a human being, not a human doing and just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy.

10 Simple Mindfulness Practices

Meditate

It’s not just for monks.

Meditation has a bad rap. Its been fought against for hundreds of years, labeled as a “new age” mechanism or a way to sit in one position chanting “ohm”. The art of meditation is widely misunderstood, whether it’s religious motivations or lack of knowledge. Some believe that meditation means that you have to be Buddhist, but actually the opposite is true. Meditation is by no means new age and in fact has been around longer than Christianity. Meditation is one of the most challenging task I’ve ever participated in, but it’s usually met with hostility or disbelief.

Many people find it hard to meditation for a number of reasons. There isn’t enough time in the day, it’s uncomfortable to sit for that long, the mind won’t stop thinking, there are too many distractions, and even things like it’s not working and we can’t do it right. The truth is, there’s no getting it right.

Meditation is not about stopping the mind from thinking. It’s about labeling the thoughts and noises as distractions and letting them float away before returning to focusing on our breathing. In other words, meditation is not about forcing the mind to be absolutely still, but it’s letting go of resistance. No matter what arises – doubt, worry, uncertainty, feeling inadequacy, the endless dramas of life, fear and desire – every time we find our minds is drifting, refocusing on the single moment we’re living in at that point in time will help keep us balanced. All we need to do is pay attention and be present. Nothing else.

Meditation is also not an end goal, meaning it’s not about trying to get anywhere else, but allowing ourselves to be exactly where we are. Meditation is like any other skill, we have to practice in order to get better at it.

Be present

Yes, I do mean live in the moment.

When a person decides to focus on the current moment, the experience becomes more valuable. By taking part in activities like mindful walking or mindful eating, people come to realize that even the small things can make a big difference. Mindful walking is just like normal walking but with a different mindset. Instead of walking to get some place, it’s a walk to pay attention to the little things.

Mindful eating allows three things to happen when we eat our food. Eating becomes more pleasurable when we experience the tastes and textures rather than stuffing food into our mouths. Also, we’re more likely to eat the right amount at the right time and it saves energy when we give the body rest for digestion.

Be Curious

Don’t even mention the cat.

It seems like a foreign concept to some people, but being curious is a healthy way to live. By having a beginners mind we see all the potentials in oneself, others and all situations instead of seeing the limitations we impose. By having a beginner’s mind we see every aspect of life as if we were seeing it for the first time. Much like children, if we see the world through fresh eyes, we can be openly curious to aspects we never even thought of before. Instead of letting our judgements and fears cloud our ability to try new things, we can use this skill to seek new adventures and revel in the beauty overlooked by passive acceptance of the world we live in.

Curiosity can lead to some of the most amazing experiences of our lives. It can lead to traveling, which brings new experiences, cultures unlike ours, languages to sink our brain into, people who become a part of us and delicious food.

Curiosity in our everyday lives can create non-judging situations, getting rid of those pesky impressions we have of people. Everytime we see a person, even if we’ve known them for years, act as if we were first meeting them. Every experience is a new experience because we will never have it again.

Marcel Proust once said, “A true journey of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having fresh eyes.”

Be positive

When life hands us lemons…

This is definitely the most cliche of the all, but it truly works. Most people say, “I’m a realist or a pessimist because optimists don’t see how the world really is” but honestly, optimists can see how the world really is, but they aren’t hardened by their experiences.

Having a positive outlook on life changes situations in a far greater way. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a doctor of social psychology, has invented what she calls the positivity ratio. 40 percent of our happiness is dependent solely on the intention we set on our lives. This ratio states that 50 percent of happiness is genetics and 10 percent depends on circumstance (job, money, etc…). 40 percent depends on us.

Basically, changing our perspective changes our experience.

Another way to be positive is by showing compassion and kindness. Scientists found that people are happier when they perform kind acts for others. Doing good feels good in other words. Compassion is a form of inner strength and courage.

An ancient Chinese proverb states, “You cannot avoid that the birds of anxiety and worries fly over your head, but you can avoid that they nest in it.” We make way for the positive things when we let go of the negative.

Be patient

It’s a virtue, seriously.

Patience is by far one of the hardest things to teach a person. From the time we are young, patience finds no place in our lives. Babies and children are naturally curious beings who have no time for waiting. Growing up may change some people, but a majority of us find patience a waste of time.

We must first be patient with ourselves before being patient with others. We are constantly irritated with ourselves when we can’t accomplish a goal or when we focus too much on anything other than the present. Whenever we encounter difficulties, we should not fight or run from them. Find the courage to face them with patience. Once we learn to take things slower and let the aspects we aren’t too great at come to us in their own time, we find that accepting other’s need patience as well.

Accept

We can’t change it, don’t try.

Accepting that we’re different takes a lot of willpower. Part of being human means making mistakes. A willingness to accept those mistakes instead of holding onto them forever will save us a lot of wrinkles.

We’re flawed. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong. By accepting our faults we are showing strength and admitting that we can be wrong. We need to make peace with our imperfections. No one is perfect.

Forgive

It’s for the strong.

Forgiving is one of the hardest acts we can ever take part in – for others and ourselves. We’re showing that we can accept the deeds of someone who hurt us and some see that as weakness. Honestly, the ability to forgive is one of the greatest strengths we can have. Holding grudges only leads to bitterness and anger, and no one wants to be around a bitter person. By forgiving, we allow ourselves the opportunity of new experiences.

While forgiving isn’t easy, it is by far one of the best things for us. Not only will it help us in the present moment, but it will help future issues from arising. That’s where trust and commitment issues come from. If we’re hellbent on holding grudges, we may become so wrapped up in the past that we can’t enjoy the present. We may feel helpless. We could jeopardize future relationships not to mention creating health issues.

It’s not reconciling and it’s not forgetting.

It’s great to remember the past to avoid the same mistakes in the future. Forgiving someone for doing something horrible to us doesn’t mean that we want that person in our lives or that we understand why they did what they did. It means what it needs to mean to us for us to move on. If we hold on to problems, we make ourselves a victim and a learned helplessness will take place.

Let go

Holding on only stings more.

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die,” – Buddha

When I first heard this saying, it struck a chord with me. Holding on to harmful thoughts and negative emotions or pain is like putting poison into our bodies. We all seem to be okay with it. Accepting things and forgiving people gives us the opportunity to let go of the past and move onto something greater. People who hold on to past pains often relive the experience over and over again. If we let go of the things that have happened to us, then we have the option to start anew.

Don’t judge

They’re different, not the devil.

Judging is unfortunately a knee-jerk reaction most people have. Everyone is different. Our differences cause people to misjudge each other when we should take a person’s differences as a new learning experience. Judging people because they make different choices isn’t helpful because we were not in that person’s shoes. When we stop judging, interpreting, assuming, labeling and analyzing people, we realize what others truly have to offer. What many people don’t realize is that the things that we judge in others are often things we see in ourselves. Sometimes it’s also what we never want to happen to us.

Be happy

Your face will surely show it.

Contrary to what our society teaches us, another person’s gain is not our loss. Taking delight in other’s virtues, success and good fortune doesn’t mean that we lose anything. Instead of being jealous or envious, we have to learn to rejoice in other’s good circumstances.

People think happiness comes from accomplishments or money, but that’s not true. Happiness is a decision that most people do not realize they have the freedom to make. We decide when we’re happy, and if happiness isn’t the point to life, then what is? By doing some of these small mindful attitudes listed above, which all intertwine with each other, happiness can be the end result if we let it.

Creating Your Perfect Writing Mindset | Guest Post with Laura Pennington

Creating Your Perfect Writing Mindset | Guest Post with Laura Pennington

I’ve been a freelance writer for four years now, but I also write fiction under a pen name, produce loads of content for my two business websites, and am in the midst of preparing my PhD dissertation. Needless to say, I spend quite a bit of time writing. Establishing my daily writing protocol has helped me accomplish much more and stay on top of deadlines. What follows are my best tips for setting up your surroundings to support you and figuring out how to tackle what’s on your plate. During the course of juggling all this writing, and with so much of it being for different audiences, I discovered the power of creating your optimum writing mindset.

Writing Mindset Musts

Do the Heavy Lifting First

The project that has a pending deadline needs to be done first thing in the morning. Let’s be honest, who are we fooling saying “I’ll get to it later”? Usually that means you’re running up against the deadline and stressing yourself out. Eat the frog first thing in the morning and then you’ll feel better. Often, we don’t realize that the project is better than we think.

I like to divide my writing up by intensity because it helps with my writing mindset. The most technical is my academic work, so I know if that’s on tap for the day, it’s happening first. Other days I need to focus on creating blogs for my website. I’ll carve out an hour just for that thing so I can get it done. You’ll go with your mind’s natural course of stamina when the rest of the day is easier than your most complex or most time-intensive writing. 

Structure a Comfortable and Focused Environment

The key is being focused and comfortable. You’re unlikely to get much done if your office is cold or dark. You need a quiet place where you can think and get your tasks done, and you’ll find that it’s really hard to avoid distraction. 

What a focused environment looks like depends a lot on your individual preferences, but I’ve given you some examples of what I use for my setup in my office below:

I use a couple of tools to stay on track, including:

25-50 minute writing bursts Pomodoro style
Proper lighting to keep me from squinting or getting a headache
Music to help me focus (I love Focus@Will) during those timed periods
Essential oils diffusing (I love Doterra’s serenity)
Essential oils on my temples (I use Peppermint)
Plugins like Gmail Inbox Pause or Boomerang to turn off my email inbox while I’m working on a project

Make Yourself Laugh or Boost Your Confidence

There will come a day when you just don’t feel like writing. It’s these times that you have to make the call whether you truly need to cancel (i.e. you have pneumonia or a migraine and anything you write is just low-quality or painful) or whether you’re just hitting a stumbling block.

If you’re at a stumbling block, here are my top tips to fix that:

Give yourself 10 minutes to walk on your treadmill or outside. Exercise is great for your mind and sometimes it takes physically getting out of your office to reset.
Watch a comedy video or your favorite clip of The Office. Your mood increases with laughter.
Pull up a testimonial from a past client or a picture from one of your biggest achievements. If you’re not feeling motivated, reminding yourself of past successes can get you out of your own mental funk.

It sounds silly, but 80% of the battle is really opening up your internal confidence channel and being in the writing mindset. For those who write a lot, how you set up your day-to-day will be extremely beneficial. Use these tips to make sure you’re on top of your game at all times. Your writing mindset sets you up for the day! 

Laura Pennington is a middle school history teacher turned freelance writer. She’s spent the last four years providing content to law firms, small businesses, and corporations. She now teaches other new and emerging freelancers to build sustainable lifestyle businesses from home at Your Way to VA and Six Figure Writing Secrets. You can catch her on Twitter or Pinterest, too. 

TAKE ACTION

What is the perfect writing environment? How do you get into the mindset? Let me know below!

If you’re interested in a guest post, see my Contribute page and send me any ideas you have that you think would be a good fit for Find the Freedom. Can’t wait to hear from you and I love getting more ideas out there.

16 Powerful Ways to Gain Confidence In Your Writing

16 Powerful Ways to Gain Confidence In Your Writing

Hello lovely!

A couple of weeks ago I sat down to figure out the best way I could help young writers like you figure out how to truly dive into their writing and develop a lifestyle around this passion.

As I sat down to write out a list of struggles and things that I could help with, a horrible emotion hit me – Doubt.

I began thinking about all the possible things I couldn’t help you with. I tried to control every part of the process and the voice in my head said, “Taylor, what the hell do you know about helping someone. You started writing more and were happy – so what? That doesn’t mean you’re qualified for this.

Yeah I hate that voice.

But I realized that it came from a place of fear.

Because let’s face it – we all have doubt sometimes no matter how confident we get. That nagging voice that tells us we’re not good enough. Constantly staring at the blinking cursor, the empty page, and wondering if we’ll finally get published – or even something other than a string of jumbled nonsense will come out.

It’s like a rite of passage, but why should it be?

I get that struggle can make someone better – and it definitely made me more humble and grounded – but putting that struggle on writing isn’t good.

That’s why about two years ago I figured out how to gain more confidence in myself without realizing it was happening. I changed things didn’t seem related to my writing at all.

But they changed everything fundamentally.

You see, I struggle from a great sense of self-doubt. One that I thought was far worse than the over confident people I saw around me. The doubt was so bad that it crippled me, hid my writing away from the world. Even after an emotional breakdown, I didn’t fully change.

I wrote lists. Made promises to myself. Said I was going to change.

But I wasn’t any more confident than before and no happier either.

It was like I was so busy being someone else – who I thought the world wanted – that I robbed myself of my true voice, demolished the sliver of confidence I had and stressed my life until my energy disappeared.

I was lost.

Until I stepped outside of everything I knew.

 

Sharing my struggle

A lifetime of doubt & the one decision I made that changed everything.

I don’t know when I lost confidence in my writing.

The exact moment – I can’t pinpoint it.

Day after day tiny bursts of self-doubt morphed into years of little to no writing. I didn’t even realize it was happening to me until I was in college suffering from a small bout of depression and loneliness. I looked around at my life and saw a career path in medicine that didn’t excite me, people I didn’t care to be around and the pressure to make money.

Auto-pilot.

That’s what my life was. A blur.

The more I tried to focus on those things that other people thought were amazing – college, medical career, making money – the more I lost myself. And I wasn’t talking to anyone about it. My parents, best friend – no one knew how unhappy I was because on the outside everything seemed fine.

I remember thinking “You can write on the side. You just need to make money to pay bills and writing won’t get you anywhere.”

But then I’d complain and bitch about how certain things weren’t what I thought.

I beat myself up constantly, thinking:

“You have every opportunity – more than anyone you know – how can you want more? You’re being greedy and ungrateful.”

Somehow I’d convinced myself that I was ungrateful because I wasn’t happy with my life. For some reason people feel the need to settle for mediocrity because that’s what the world tells them what they SHOULD be okay with.

“You’ve got a car, a nice house, and a job. Why’re you complaining?”

“You’re going to college and a lot of people don’t have that. Be grateful.”

“You’re able to eat out all the time and some of the world is starving.”

It’s like there’s a price you must pay because other people have worse lives than you. The truth is we’re all different and we’ve all got it bad in some ways – some worse than others, yes – But that doesn’t mean you should feel guilty for wanting more or better.

In no way am I saying that we should say screw it to everyone else and be completely selfish. Not at all. Help each other, but never destroy yourself by doing so.

I’m incredibly grateful for everything I have and those I love, but that doesn’t mean I should feel bad about wanting what I want.

Still, that doubt is placed in our minds because of the ideas others have and the expectations we place on each other. This constant tug of war between what I wanted and what I SHOULD do obliterated my confidence.

And this leaked into other things too.

A correct way to write.

An age you should put yourself out there.

A struggle that wasn’t deep enough.

Those expectations and shoulds from everyone else made me think that I wasn’t ready, good enough or fit some certain way I was supposed to be before I was a writer.

I have no idea what to call this if there’s some label that needs to be placed on it, but I do know that if you’ve felt this, then there’s no doubt in mind that you are suffering from a lack of confidence, too. If you haven’t felt like this before – being pulled in different directions and weighted by expectations – then you might be wondering how I ever started writing, put up this blog or wrote a book during NaNoWriMo.

Need to gain confidence in your writing? This is what I did.

Confidence goes hand in hand with self-doubt. This one decision taught me 16 powerful things I used that dramatically improved my writing ability. You in? - 16 Powerful Ways to Gain Confidence in Your Writing with Writing Coach, Taylor Rae Davis - Are you

The awareness of how my life veered off my creative course was key to actually making a change. There was a small epiphany when I had that bout of depression and an even larger sense of awareness when I was forced to study abroad, so keep that in mind.

Paying attention to how you’re feeling and not pushing it down will keep you afloat when you feel like drowning in the sea of shoulds.

After many years of doubting myself, this is how I finally found my confidence with writing.

Write the story you want to read

I heard “write the story you want to read” then I thought about everything I wanted to see in a story. I made a list but didn’t give character names or anything like that.

Here are a couple things that I thought of:

  • A man that loves a woman so much he’s willing to any length for her.
  • Time travel.
  • Stargazing.
  • Rain/Storms.
  • Coffee and croissants.
  • Power outages.
  • Heat wave in the New York summer.
  • Reincarnation

And I kept going. They made no sense, but I kept writing anyway.

You see, I ended up incorporating some of these things into my short stories and NaNoWriMo novel when I looked at this list a year later. Those things that I enjoyed, adored, wanted to work through – those things helped me write.

In fact, they were part of the reason I wrote. I needed to work something out in my head, to read something that I wanted instead of waiting for another author to do it for me.

That’s how I started to look at my life too. If I wanted something, I was gonna have to take it.

What’s the story you want to read?

What do you want your story to be?

Think about it and jot down a few ideas on a piece of paper.

 

Keep a notebook with you

Everything goes in there.

Colors, sounds, smells, pictures, stickers, leaves – everything.

All the ideas that I listed in the last point went in there. Things that I didn’t even know I wanted or thought until the moment happened went in that perfect little notebook. I purchased a small black one that could fit in my back pocket and I wrote down anything that spoke to me.

I recommend doing the same. Those tiny thoughts helped me realize future desires and story starters. They helped me build onto my writing in a vulnerable, authentic way – and that built confidence in my writing.

Less than $5 to buy.

A lifetime’s worth of investment.

 

Get sick of waiting

You might already be feeling this.

It’s like an underlying pressure that builds up behind the waitressing jobs and the 9-5.

Don’t get me wrong – the jobs are always horrible, but they’re not what we truly want either. A long time ago I got tired of waiting for the story I wanted to read to come out, and for people to tell me that it was okay for me to write.

I didn’t have to wait to graduate college or to get someone to publish me. Today’s world gives writers so many opportunities to make it, but they’re often kept hidden from us or are pushed to the background because people don’t realize that writing can be more than a hobby.

It takes us digging – maybe for years – before we realize this.

Get tried of waiting for anything to come your way and make it for yourself.

 

Read books for insight

Reading is crucial for any writer, from novels to short stories.

But only reading those types of stories because they’re something you want to write isn’t the only way to go.

I never read “self-help” books. I vehemently stayed away, but when I studied abroad I had to read one about mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn for a course I was taking. It opened me up to the possibilities – as did the course on mindfulness I was taking – but it also showed me that a self-help book was a valuable source of information.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin showed me how challenges can create strength and insight, while happiness comes from many places.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is a valuable resource that helped me stop putting pressure on my writing as a form of income. It helped me create a relationship with my writing that’s balanced and healthy.

I AM THAT GIRL by Alexis Jones offers insight into the habits we have and how our insecurities are silencing our abilities.

The $100 Startup is a valuable tool for business advice that isn’t as dry as the Sahara.

I started devouring every book I could get my hands on – including all the fiction I wanted.

Don’t forget to take notes or mark the parts that speak to you. That’s research for later!

 

Gain confidence in other parts of your life

I didn’t fully believe in my writing until I went to Italy.

There I learned how to go out on my own, make my own plans and jump on trains without someone telling me where I should go and what I should do. There were no shoulds. I was on my own.

Forcing myself to make that leap because I wanted to travel – and didn’t want to wait for others to come with me – provided me with the confidence I needed to become a better creator. I believed in my writing more than ever.

Of course don’t just galavant into dangerous territories in the world. Be careful but not paranoid, and develop common sense in the places you visit. No dark alleys. No following strangers.

It’s true that traveling by yourself shows you how competent you really are.

You learn to rely on yourself, not others.

The only thing that matters is what you want.

Asking questions to strangers isn’t something you shy away from. (Who care if they think you’re stupid for asking?)

You meet new people.

You let go of your expectations and what “should” be happening.

This can happen without traveling though. Try going out for a meetup in your city. Take your notebook to the city next to yours and explore for the day. Take a class like Yoga or meditation. Gaining new experiences will grant you the freedom you’re looking for and help you develop confidence like you’ve never felt before.

 

Get advice

These seems innate, but did you know that a vast majority of writers never get advice from someone other than that teacher in 3rd grade who told them to regale the tales of their summer vacation?

That was me.

I never went to peers or professional writers for advice, and I never ever read my writing aloud. When I got in college that changed a little. I had a poetry class that required us to write a poem a week and read them aloud and we’d all critique that person’s work – but they couldn’t say a word.

Talk about brutal.

The best thing I did was join a school publication when I was in Italy. I submitted poetry to the literary section and wrote articles about local businesses in the weekly Blending Newsletter. The writer in residence, Jessie Chaffee, helped me get over the fear of asking for advice about a novel I was writing.

You see, I was obsessed with getting everything written down – a timeline, how the story will go, what the characters thought – that I never actually wrote it.

She said, “It’s entirely okay to not know how your story will end.”

As simple and obvious as that piece of advice was – when I heard it, a sense of understanding rolled over me.

I had to let go of controlling my story and let the ideas flow. See where it took me.

Just listen. Don’t take everything to heart. Figure out how it works for you and grow from it.

The next time someone gives you bad advice – I mean really bad advice, like telling you to quit – think about it as a learning experience, but don’t give up.

“Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

 

Find other writers

It was easier to talk to professional writers than peers.

I think it comes from the bad social situations we went through growing up.

Afraid of being laughed at.

Scared of people stealing your work.

There’s a definitely lack of trust there, and fear of being exposed.

After I completed NaNoWriMo I gave my best friend the first draft of my book as her birthday present. Thankfully her birthday was in December so I was like “perfect timing!”

The idea of someone reading my writing was nerve wracking, even if it was my best friend. Once I sent it to her though, I felt a weight lift off me as if I was taking a step toward something better. Progress.

Don’t you want to feel the same? 

 

Experience other cultures

You’ll never write anything good and you’ll constantly be questioning your ability, if you only experience your tiny existence.

Other cultures give you the awareness to see your strengths and faults, other ways of life, and how to improve yourself. It shows you what you’re missing and although this can be difficult if you ever return to your previous life, it also pushes you to be more of yourself and less of what you were shaped as.

When I stepped outside of my comfort zone and immersed myself in Italy’s culture, I saw how little the things we care about in America actually matter. When I wasn’t surrounded by angry politicians and corrupted media, I paid attention to other wonderful things. My sense of the world grew and I realized that the ideas of success and all those things that are placed on us from birth don’t mean a damn thing.

If you want something, take it because no one is going to give you permission or hand it over without your sense of self-stive.

My Italian teacher, Valentina Dolara, told me that how we teach in America and live our lives isn’t how they do. We’re structured. We require deadlines, scheduled minutes of everyday and a curriculum that we must follow. Italy is different. They have the starting point and where they want to be at the end, but what happens in between, well, they’ll get there. There’s no rushing, only living your life and sort of a plan to get where you want to go.

Other cultures open you up to different ways of thinking, and that’s crucial to your writing.

And you don’t have to go around the world to do it either. The cities around you have multiple cultures inside of it, you just have to look. Travel to a place inside your country, then expand your borders.

Whatever you need to do, do it.

I wouldn’t be as confident as I am now if I hadn’t gone to Italy, and you want to know the funny thing?

My college required me to study abroad. I’d always thought about it, but thought it was a once in a lifetime thing.

Boy was I wrong.

Now all I want to do is continue that life I led when I was there. Once I was there, I figured out my weak points and my strengths, then I chose to change. I chose to be better than I was before because this person I discovered I was over there was who I originally was before the world told me who I should be.

I was forced to take a chance.

And then I chose to.

 

Participate in a challenge

This happened after I returned from Italy and graduated college. During the month of November in 2015 I decided that I was going to write a novel in one month – or what’s better known as NaNoWriMo. Of course, i had dangerous thoughts of quitting and the subtle hint in my ear from my friends and family that they didn’t believe I would do it.

When November came around, I was committed and I dove right in.

This challenge made me commit to something. It made me try for something I always wanted and opened my eyes ot the possibility of more. After I was done, I was so excited that I couldn’t wait to do another one.

I realized that challenges are a great way to push you past your limits.

Only when you challenge yourself do you realize your limits and even better – what you’re capable of.

Take care and prioritize happiness

There’s this weird, outdated idea that writing has to involve struggle.

The story, yes. The writer, no.

You don’t have to beat yourself up for days or weeks at a time to get the words out. All you have to do is really think about what you want to say. Scratch that – not think, feel. Those feelings you have about something are the things that you need to write.

We don’t have to struggle.

And spending hours, weeks or years doing it sucks.

So, why not try something else to foster a better atmosphere for creativity?

I took part in meditation.

Read books about subjects that you’re interested in.

Try a physical activity like yoga (and meditation) to help you with a well-rounded practice that inspires your creativity.

Struggle doesn’t equal success.

Happiness and success come from knowing who you are, what you want and the perseverance to keep trying. And it all depends on you.

Scary, right?

 

Try different paths

I went to college and it still didn’t help me figure it out.

Listening to the best ways to be successful spiel that everyone gave me in high school and college did nothing for me either.

Today’s society puts it in the minds of the young that they’ll graduate college, get a job and everything will be all good.

Bubble bursting time.

It’s not all hunky dory when you take the path laid out for you. In fact, a lot of people with a predetermined path – usually laid out by their parents – end up having mid-life crisis issues when we’re older. The pressure amounts to undisclosed desires and regret.  

For example, my dad was always told to get a job and pay bills. He loved his career working with cars as a mechanic, but later in life he began to realize how his father’s insistence to go that path probably wasn’t the most successful one.

I’m the same. My parents – love them to death – told me that I could be whatever I wanted, yet when I said I was a writer, their response was that it wasn’t something that made money.

But it does. We’ve all seen it.

The problem is that those people telling you these things don’t know enough about the subject to have an opinion on it, so you have to try it for yourself.

Try different things.

Make mistakes.

Take risks.

You won’t gain that confidence you want in your writing until you can say that you’ve tried things.

 

Look beyond the 9-5

Contrary to what most people think, the 9-5 office life isn’t the only way to go.

In fact, those times are going quite fast nowadays.

15.5 million people in the U.S. were self-employed as of May 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s about 1 million more since May of 2014.

One year, one million new independent workers.

Can you say, holy crap.

Another study estimates that by 2020 more than 40% of American workers – about 60 MILLION people – will be riding that gravy train, too.

I already had this feeling by the sheer number of companies that are outsourcing their tasks to freelancers and contract workers. The record label I interned for in college uses freelance video/audio workers, production assistants and a lot of others.

The idea of creating your own schedule – even partially – working anytime you want and when you’re motivated, not forming your life around work – rather your work around life – and traveling while working is too seductive for anyone to pass up.

The normal 9-5, 40 hour work week is a thing of the past, and the companies that still use it are going to fade with time or get left behind.

It’s not a fantasy that is something you have to work for after 10 years studying under someone else. In fact, I wish I’d started sooner in college.

What is your ideal work schedule? How can you use your writing ability to create that?

 

Pay attention to people creating the life you want

Despite the warnings from the critics, people are doing exactly what you want for your life – successfully. I saw the million dollar bloggers and authors who never went to college and made writing a prominent part of their life. They were free, happy and full of ideas.

Yes, I was told that wasn’t possible.

Curious, isn’t it?

How it’s impossible until it’s done. Did you ever notice how the critics to this lifestyle end up eating their words later?

That’s the best part is not meeting people’s expectations of you. Showing how you did it despite their best efforts to keep you away and you’re happy now.

People all around us are doing the “impossible” as the critics put it.

I decided to do want I wanted despite the misconceptions that it can’t be done, and you know what? My writing improved because I was ready for something better. I opened myself up to the life I really wanted and not the one that others wanted.

Too many people I know and meet on social say that their parents or their friends or the media say they can’t do it for some stupid reason they’ve pulled out of nowhere.

Why would you listen to those people if they’re making you feel bad about yourself?

Why not work with the people who are doing what you want instead?

Those are the people who can help you thrive.

Find your coach.

Find your tribe.

 

Pay attention to people doing nothing

Yeah, they’re important too.

And usually they’re the ones that say you can’t do something. These people are more prevalent than they should be. The world of critics and people who don’t do anything with their life except the miserable life they think they need to lead has a higher stature in society than the doers – not because they’re better but because there are more of them.

I know people who want nothing better for their life than to go out to the bar every night and work at a fast food restaurant with no aspirations for the future. That’s fine. If that’s what they want to do then let them do it, but don’t mimic that.

Write your novel.

Work at a magazine.

Travel the world.

Do whatever the hell you want to do because what you accomplish just by trying if far more then they will by doing nothing.

The choice is yours, but I like to think that there isn’t really a choice for me to write or not. To try or not. I do it because I love to write, regardless of what others are doing or not doing.

There’s no choice for me because as a writer, there was never any question in the first place.

 

Shift your perspective

You have to be open to it.

I mean like a blank canvas.

Or at least one with washable paint.

What if I told you that everything you know – no matter how old you are – is 1/1000th of a percent of what’s out there?

Before I left for Italy, I thought it was a once in a lifetime trip – I’d never have this again. Since I lived over there, I’ve never thought that again because it’s so much easier than people think.

My perspective shifted.

Instead of thinking of meditation as some woo woo nonsense – I took a class on the application of mindfulness. I understood it and in my challenge to understand that, I developed a deeper awareness of myself and others.

My writing improved.

Exploring your curiosities – even things you don’t agree with – can cause your perspective to shift. You can change everything by taking a chance and not asking anyone for permission. That gets you nowhere.

You think if I asked my parents permission for living in a foreign country – not knowing anyone I was going with, living with four strangers and traveling around by myself – that they’d say yes? Pssh… Yeah right.

I was over 18 and independent though. They could only express their fear.

And that wasn’t mine.

I did it anyway and developed a deeper set of beliefs than I had in 20 years of life. The experience helped me to look at the world with a sense of wonder and happiness, like I was seeing it for the first time.

Imagine seeing the world through a child’s eyes. They don’t judge, fear or stop messing with things because they might get in trouble. They just do it.

It’s better to ask for forgiveness than to beg for permission.

And I’m not one to beg.

Hopefully you’ll look at your writing now as if you’re asking for permission or validation from someone other than yourself. That won’t get you anywhere, except years wasted and maybe a bit of depression.

Some key things to remember –

  • If you don’t know something, don’t say you do. Listen, ask and learn.
  • Uncomfortable with the idea? Good, explore that. Dive right in.
  • Your way isn’t always the right way no matter how much your parents beat that into your head or if you think it’s true.
  • Disagree with someone’s opinion? That’s okay, but don’t fight or argue.
  • The people we see as “professionals” and “authority” are people just like us. They can’t make everything better or fix the world to be perfect. Explore your own life. Don’t focus on theirs.

 

Decide you’re worth it

The most difficult part.

Self-esteem is at an all-time low right now, but it doesn’t have to be.

An epidemic of negative thoughts and bad blood between creatives has swept over generations leading to us. We see other people with success and either want it for ourselves, or don’t want others to have it. Instead of congratulating them or trying to do something we want, we develop a deep sense of insecurity.

As if you’re not good enough.

That all depends on you, hun.

I wasted so much of my life seeking permission, wondering if I was doing things right, and selflessly putting what I wanted on hold for others. Then I realized that I needed to take care of myself first before I could help anyone else.

Ever heard of that saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup…”

What about when you’re on an airplane and they tell you to put on the oxygen mask for yourself first before helping anyone else.

You HAVE to take care of what you want otherwise you’ll become bitter and broken, wasting a life that’s yours. This life belongs to you, so when are you going to realize that you’re full of great ideas and amazing thoughts that can change the world?

There’s a reason why it’s called self-esteem. It depends on the self, on you. How do you look at yourself? Are you worth it?

If the answer isn’t yes, we need to talk babe


Take Action

I want you to go back and answer all the questions I asked throughout the super long blog post. (So proud of myself for writing this much, you have no idea).

If you’re thinking right now, “Ugh Taylor, but it was so long, how am I supposed to find all those questions?” Use your search tool – Cmmd + F on Mac and Cntrl + F on PC – and type the ? symbol.

Don’t forget to sign up for my email list and grab the freebies to help your writing in my FREE Resource Library!

Give me a comment. I’ll be checking back for your answers and popping in if you have questions.

Let’s hear about what holds you back.

Why You Need to Find a Creative Haven

Why You Need to Find a Creative Haven

Creative havens are one of the best tools writers can have.

Because let’s face it, sometimes it’s hard to get that creative flow. 

Your thoughts get stuck and eventually the mind gets bored with its surroundings – much like when were in school at a young age. Sitting for too long makes us antsy.

Stress and what if’s make it even more difficult. But they don’t have to if you have the right atmosphere to keep them in check.

That’s why I tell my clients to find a place that’s theirs – preferably out of the house. Now, I want you to do the same.

You see, I found this amazing little cafe tucked away off a side city street when I lived in Florence Italy. Just around the corner from my Piazza apartment, La Cite Libreria was a golden nugget of Italian culture with a bar that served pastries, coffee and alcohol.

Also known as Every Writer’s Dream.

Filled with music, shelves of books and a second floor that allowed you to look below and through the window to the street, it became my safe haven for writing. Even though now I’m nowhere near it, I look back and realize that it was a perfect place to observe people and let creative ideas flow.

Not only that – it also taught me a few things about creativity and why every writer should move from their comfort zone. It has amazing benefits if you find one that works for you.

Here are three things my writing haven did for me and what yours can do for you.

Why You Need to Find a Creative Haven | Writing in the same place can drain you of creative energy. That’s why I tell my clients to get out once in awhile, and I want you to do the same... Click here to read more and get some epic writing resources!

Forces you to leave the house

Instead of sitting in the same place staring at the blank page, I surrounded myself by culture, music and a constant supply of coffee and alcohol. I know that might sound bad, but this particular coffee shop also moonlighted as a bar. It had poetry and music nights, was a part-time bookstore and held a balcony with two separate sides so you could look below.

Not only did the cafe allow me to physically leave my apartment, but it also transported me to a different atmosphere in a culture unlike my own. There are plenty of cafe’s where I live in the States, but this hidden gem was unique in every way possible. 

To put it another way – my brain had to expand to fit it in.

This beautiful cafe - La Cite Libreria Cafe - was my writing haven. The perfect workspace for any creative in my book. - Taylor Rae

La Cite Liberia Cafe in Florence, Italy – Photo by Taylor Rae

Creates a non-routine, routine

I hate monotony. They say having a routine is good – it keeps you in check – but after a while the routine turns into a prison sentence – at least for me it did.

Going to this cafe allowed me to break up the time I spent in my classes, hanging out with my roommates and spending a quiet night at home.

Another great thing about it was that the cafe was constantly filled with different people, new musicians and people milling about. I could people watch for hours from the balcony above – and even get a nice piano show once in awhile.

Teaches you not to waste time

I didn’t have that luxury. I lived in Europe for 4 months, which meant that time was limited. 

That’s a lot of time to some people, but it never felt like enough.

When I went to this cafe, I forced myself to sit my butt down and write. I sipped my cappuccino – Italian’s make the best, by the way – and got to work. I stopped to notice my surroundings once in a while, then got right back to it.

It was a place where I didn’t waste time once my fingers flew across the page. Inspiration was my companion who I had many coffee dates with. It allowed me to take stock with what I had, to slow down and enjoy the atmosphere around me.


What does this mean for you?

I invite you to find a place of your own, out of the house, that you can enjoy in your creative process. It doesn’t have to cost anything. Maybe a cup of coffee or something every once in a while, but a break from your routine is worth it.

Sitting at the house – or the office – can drain your creativity. I lost that amazing place where my creativity flowed naturally ever since I’ve been back in the States, but I didn’t have to. I decided to create the life I had in Europe here, and find the things that made me happy.

Now make it a weekly appointment. One day after work, go there. Or even on the weekends. Take some time for yourself, pack up your bag and enjoy the atmosphere around you. Your space directly affects how creative you are, so don’t think of it as something you can ignore.

Where do you like to write or create? Do you have a place you like to go?


Take Action

Send me a photo on social – #PenYourFreedom – or email of a place you’ve chosen to write. Tag me on Twitter (@PenYourFreedom), Facebook or Instagram (@FindtheFreedomOfficial) and tell me all about your place!

Why does it inspire you? What’ve you learned or wrote about? What have you seen there?

Understanding A Writer’s Energy (or Lack Of)

Understanding A Writer’s Energy (or Lack Of)

Welcome to my #30DaysOfCuriosity writing challenge. Everyday I’m writing 1,667 words or more about a subject I’m curious about that affect young writers like you. Check in every few days, follow me on social or sign up for my email list to stay with me through this unedited challenge and maybe figure out how to get over those roadblocks when it comes to your creativity and writing.

Onward to energy…

You know, that stuff that makes up things and affects your writing flow.

Psst… I’m also giving you this Curiosity worksheet, which you can get here: 

Get Your Curiosity Worksheet


 

Understanding a Writer's Energy (Or Lack Of) | How do you spend your energy? Think about your writing. Do you have faith in yourself? Are you willing to become vulnerable with your thoughts? If not, your energy is your struggle. Click through to read more. #30DaysofCuriosity

Energy is a thing.

As wishy washy as it sounds, the idea of a person’s energy is very real. Have you ever met someone who you instantly knew you would be friends with? Or been around a coworker who you couldn’t stand because they gave off this aura of bitterness and anger? Read a book and the writing brought you tears?

That’s energy.

It’s the way you move.

Handle yourself.

Laugh.

Think.

Energy is everywhere and it’s a part of life whether we want to admit it or not.

What is energy?

Physics defines energy as a property of objects, which can transfer to other objects or convert into different forms. Although we as human beings aren’t technically objects, the same rules apply.

Yoga converts energy from emotions into bodily movements, resulting in a healthier lifestyle.

Writing converts feelings and thoughts – which are you and you are made of energy – into the written word.

Exercise turns washes away negative emotions with a rush of endorphins.

Conflict and turbulent emotions occur when there’s an energy block. We’re not allowing a cleanse or release of energy through whatever means we prefer – writing, yoga, drawing, social events – and the blockage causes carnage on our lives.

Sickness.

Failed relationships.

Violence.

Terrorism.

Instead of expressing the energy in constructive ways, those that commit heinous acts feel blocked, releasing negative energy to the world instead or self-destruction. They’ve held onto this energy, converting it from pain that could be dealt with constructively but made it into destructive actions – gossip, acts of terrorism, murder, lashing out, addiction.

Blocks in energy also make writers and creatives run into problems like writer’s block and procrastination.

There’s something inside us that wants to get out – something we need to work through, that our gut is telling us – but our logical mind doesn’t want that to happen. It rationalizes, beats down, and straight up kicks our ass because the feelings and the logic aren’t coming together.

Plainly put, our mind is in full-on survival mode, trying to protect us from harm and create a sense of comfort, while making sense of it all.

 

Emotions, Logic and Energy with Writing

I’m one of the most logical people in the world.

Or at least I thought I was.

The truth is, we don’t work that way. We’re not full-on Vulcan. We’re all driven by feelings.

Some of us (like me and maybe you) can rationalize acts or see a path separate from emotions. But we still have them.

They’re there… waiting.

Scratching at the walls.

Ringing the doorbell.

Hitting us right in the atrium.

They make their presence known, but our minds try to push them away because we aren’t ready to admit our emotions or deal with them.

Those emotions though – they can’t be rationalized.

Until you deal with them, they will continue to poke you day in and day out. They’ll whisper in the back of your head, stand next to you at social events and laugh, sit on your chest and suffocate you as you try to write your great novel, and even shut you down completely.

Our emotions are there.

And they won’t be ignored.

Emotions are Energy

If you ignore emotions, they fester. Why not try to morph them into something better?

As you sit down to write, think about something weighing on you. Ignore that voice telling you now, “but I can’t think of anything,” because it’s lying to you.

Really, it’s a big fat liar that doesn’t want you to look behind the mirror.

It’s Oz the great and powerful, hiding behind a curtain and trying to make you pay attention to other things that don’t matter.

Here are a few examples:

Turning the TV on instead to avoid writing.

Thinking, “aww I have so much on my to-do list, I better start laundry and put the dishes away.”

Going to sleep.

Going on social media, emailing or texting a friend.

When you question something emotional, your brain goes into full logic mode thinking, “Why are you asking about this? Don’t ask about this. You’re not ready yet. There’s nothing there. Wait until tomorrow, you can deal with it then.”

Don’t listen.

Or it gets defensive. Your brain tells you the idea is stupid, like a dog growling when it feels threatened.

Don’t smack it down.

And we can channel it into something stunning.

What happens if we don’t?

Well, we’ve seen the bad shit that happens to people.

Drug addiction. Failed relationships. Unhappiness.

Why put yourself through that?

Turn your energy into something better, creative even.

What now?

It’s time to take care of your own shit.

Harsh, but true.

You want to write?

Channel your energy into writing freely. Write honestly. Don’t stop until you cry or you can breathe again.

Ernest Hemingway once said,

“Write hard and clear about what hurts.”

Let it the fuck out because guess what? You can’t keep it in. Your emotions are stronger than you and they will come out eventually.

Don’t search for the right words, just put your pen to the page and go.

Let your emotions bleed out into beautiful, raw words.

I guarantee someone will be bleeding along with you when they read it because they too know that feeling, too.

Hemingway also said,

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

(And I swear I’m not even a Hemingway fan, but damn he’s got it right there).

I struggle with this, too. I know how hard it is. No one wants to feel pain – okay some people but let’s not go there. Some things we’d rather avoid or aren’t ready to work through – I get it. Instead of forcing yourself to bleed all over your writing, why not just write without thinking? It might work itself out without you even realizing it.

What do you have to lose? Maybe a little weight off your chest and less of a headache from all the rationalizing.

Energy Blocks

There are a lot of things that can block us. They all stem from the mind, like I talked about earlier.

The mind fights the emotion = Energy getting stuck.

Understandably, our energy blocks mostly come from childhood. I know, a lot of psychology takes things back to childhood, but there’s a reason for that. Childhood is when we figured out how to react and cope with things. If we didn’t learn a constructive way to do that, that feeling and reaction usually manifests itself later in life.

For example, when I was younger my parents always encouraged me to follow my dreams and be anything I wanted. I loved them for it, but when I said “I want to be a writer,” my dad’s automatic response was, “that doesn’t make any money. You need to pay your bills, Taylor.”

I get that. It’s logical and with how he grew up, that was what people did. They got a job, paid the bills and died.

Umm… no. Just no.

I didn’t get that though when I was younger. All I felt as a little girl was that what I wanted was wrong, so I pushed it down. I neglected who I was because that’s what the world instilled in me and repressed feelings of inadequacy reared their ugly head later when I actually started writing again.

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Figuring out your blocks

This article on Goop states, “Many people will more often describe their energy as feeling blocked, stagnant, or stuck. Their thinking is fixed and narrow. Their breath is held, shallow, or uneven and certain muscles feel tight or weak…They find it difficult to hold a healthy balance between doing and being, giving and receiving. They are aggressive or submissive. They are either overly reasonable, overly emotional, or overly willful. They struggle with stubbornness, procrastination, perfectionism, obsessive thinking, exaggerated individualism, or conformity.

It goes on to say that an example of a cognitive block is when our belief system is fixed. When we lack faith in the process or in ourselves, we have a block in energy.

I feel that this is true.

Think about your own energy when you’re writing.

Do you have faith in yourself?

If you did, then this writer’s block or comparison trap wouldn’t be happening.

Maybe we have a cognitive block because our belief system is fixed. Well, that may come from being rigid in a way of thinking or doing something. When I started this blog, I read all this information about how you had to write everyday, or post twice a week, set up a schedule, write for your audience, and a lot more.

I psyched myself out.

Put myself in a fixed set of thinking that others created because that works for them. That’s cool if it does, but that doesn’t mean it works for me.

I was left in that box with no air and no way out.

Because my fixed thinking came from their opinion and advice.

I’m not saying they were wrong, in fact a lot of their advice has and will help me along the way, but I wasn’t going to constrict myself to that one way of thinking. I had to open my mind otherwise I would keep feeling the negative effects of my energy turning on me.

Negative energy manifests

Now, this can go two ways.

The energy goes in or expels itself, mostly negatively. Basically the energy gets frustrated from being pent-up and tries to force itself out one way or another.

What does this look like?

Inward – The energy turns on you.

Tired/Lethargic
Stuck or restricted
Negative thinking
Overthinking
Lack of direction
No motivation
Stress
Anxiety
Indecisiveness
Illness
Physical pain, aches or tension
Procrastination

 

Outward – The energy turns on others.

Anger
Gossip/Bad Mouthing
Lashing out
Violence
Paranoia
Irritability or quick reactions
Snide comments

Everyone manifests energy blocks differently.

These blocks push you farther and farther from where you want. Mine went inside, although I had a lot of irritability and anger. These blocks can creep up without you knowing it and even if you get rid of it at one point in your life, they can come back if you aren’t careful.

Mine did.

But I see that little bastard now.

And once you open your perception, it can never return to the way it was.

 

Energy and Writing

Energy can never be created or destroyed, only transformed or transferred into something else. That’s basic physics, so wouldn’t it be safe to say that a person or writer can exude energy in a way that attracts or detracts through their writing.

Let me put it to you this way –

Have you ever read an article or blog post and you can tell the author was angry about the subject?

What about when you read a nonfiction book and you draw your own connection from the author’s words?

I read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and more than once I visualized my situation based on her words, yet she wasn’t speaking about me. Her specific story is different from mine. That’s energy that’s transferred from the author to the reader, eliciting a strong reaction.

Your words are formidable.

Don’t put too much thought into it.

Get it out there.

Write it and your energy will flow with it. The blocks will disappear and suddenly you’ll feel like you can breathe again.

It’s not just about the energy you put into making something. It’s also the energy you send out into the world through your writing.

This is why it’s so difficult to write sometimes. Because you’re not putting real energy – your thoughts and emotions into something – and are instead trying to write what others want to hear.

Bloggers tell us this all the time – write for your audience.

I get it, but that statement screwed me up royally.

If you’re writing for someone similar to you – young marketers and you’re a marketer, or other foodies and travelers – then write to yourself. Write to figure out something and help yourself understand. Don’t help them – they’ll feel helped by connecting with you.

One of the hardest things is trying to help someone when you don’t understand them.

You can’t.

Obviously if you write white papers or marketing things for healthcare professionals and you’re not one, then that’s different. That’s research and a specific end goal for a company that you provide content for.

Your writing is different.

If you ever find yourself staring at a blank page – constantly second guessing what you’re writing – stop for a second and think if you’re trying to use someone else’s words.


#30DaysofCuriosity Note

Thanks for reading my first post for the #30DaysofCuriosity challenge. Like you, I’ve been in a place where I’m blocked and the way I deal with that is by challenging myself to get my thoughts on paper without actually overthinking them.

That’s what this challenge is about. You’re reading my raw, unedited thoughts – minus the red squiggly lines. Figuring out our thoughts is difficult if we’re overstimulated, so to fix this I decided to take subjects I’m curious about and write for 30 days straight, minimum 1,667 words per day.

I’m going to post these every few days even though I’m writing everyday, but I want to hear from you. These subjects are something I’m curious about, but what is it for you? I challenge you to do the same as you struggle with writing.

Don’t forget to pin this and share with your writing friends.

Oh! And here’s a free worksheet to list some of your curiosities!

Get Your Curiosity Worksheet


How does your negative energy manifest?

What’re you curious about?

Leave me a comment or hit me up on social.

Stay free…

Taylor Rae

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