Stuck in a Writing Rut

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Sometimes, through no fault of our own, we get stuck in a writing rut. We are so focused on a particular project that it becomes repetitive and, in our minds, kinda boring. We end up hating what we’re working on and no matter what anyone else says, we become convinced that it’s terrible and that we’re horrible writers . Because we’re bored. So here’s my tips to get yourself out of that rut, because frankly, it sucks.

  1. Write something else. Sounds simple and it really is. I’m not talking about writing a novel or anything time consuming. Write a short story if you normally write poetry or vice versa. Try writing song lyrics or outlining a novel if you’ve never done so before. The goal is to get your brain thinking outside its normal writing box.
  2. Try something else creative. At one point last year I couldn’t write no matter how much time I had. The words had simply dried up. So my mum suggested painting (she’s a painter so this medium is natural to her). I didn’t paint but what I did do was transform a magazine into a piece of artwork. It isn’t that great of a piece, but it did the trick of freeing up my mind so the words flowed once more.
  3. Try a word/story prompt. Pinterest is full of these, simply type story prompt in the search section and heaps will come up. Also try #storyprompt on Instagram.
  4. Put your project away for a while. Lock it in a draw, hide it somehow and forget about it for a month. Come back to it with fresh eyes and you’ll be amazed that what you had found boring/rubbish before, actually isn’t that bad.
  5. Move. As writers we sit down a lot, but sometimes what we need is to get up and move our bodies, freeing up our minds and getting those words flowing again. Dance, do a gym class, run around with your kids if you have them. Just move somehow.

That’s my top tips and what I personally do when I’m stuck in a writing rut. Please, let me know what you do in the comments and have a happy and creative week πŸ™‚

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My attempt at turning a magazine into artwork. It’s kinda lost in the photo but I was going for a 3-D look.

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Selfish

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Selfish. A word that doesn’t exactly have the best meaning attached to it. However, this week I’ve learnt that in order to reach my goals I’m going to have be at least a little selfish with my time. In my first post for 2018 (which you can readΒ here) I listed a number of points that I am using to help me achieve my goals for the year. One of them was to say no more often and this week I failed to do so. You see, what I hadn’t taken into account, was saying no to myΒ children.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a stay at home mum to four children. They range in age from 8 to 13 and their dad works away (currently on a 12 days on and 2 days off roster, but that changes all the time). The past week has involved 3 sleepovers at my place, one of which was a party, plus numerous activities (macrame anyone?) that have involved dropping off of children, entertaining children and one tired mumma. Things that I wanted to do during the week (exercise, writing and catching up with my friends FYI), got rescheduled or simply cancelled altogether.

I got cranky.

But not at the children. You see, I’ve realised that I’m constantly giving to them and they’ll keep taking because they are children and to be blunt, children are generally selfish. They don’t know to think about others and what they are doing unless we teach them. It’s up to me, as the parent, to set boundaries. If I don’t, they’ll grow up to be people who only think of themselves. So this is for me and for them. If I’ve got an exercise class on then, no Talon, I can not drop you off at your friend’s house at that time. You can come with me and I’ll drop you off afterwards. Alternatively, ride your freaking bike.

I also need to prioritise my time better. Yes, reading is important for a writer, but it shouldn’t cut into my writing time. That’s procrastination.

It’s going to be an interesting time. My kids are use to me putting them first, but it’s time this mum put herself first sometimes. To put a value on my own activities instead of dismissing them. This week has reminded me that if I don’t do some things for myself, I get worn out, cranky and am not the best mum and human I can be. Time to change that.

Let me know what you think in the comments and how you cope with being a parent and putting yourself first in general. Have a happy and creative week everyone πŸ™‚

The Barefoot Investor: Review

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OK, in case you don’t know me, here’s a disclaimer: I’m not going to go into detail about this book. I won’t break it down into tiny sections of why it’s good, not good or anything else you can think of. That’s not my style. But what I will do is tell you why I’m reviewing it and exactly what impact it has had on me and hopefully give you a good incentive to pick up your own copy. Read on dear reader, this is a bloody good book.

Firstly, let me tell you how I came to read this book. It’s not my usual read, being a non-fiction book about finances. I stumbled across it when looking for a Christmas present for my brother Jamie. Ironic, because the man doesn’t read if he can help it. But he wanted to know more about investing and I thought this was a good starting point for him. Plus I love books and always give them as presents if I can. Imagine my surprise when he actually started quoting sections to me.

Then came the realisation that I had spent way too much at Christmas. I was starting to stress over this and was talking to my best friend about it. In the conversation I was also celebrating the fact that Jamie was focused on reading the book I bought. It was then she suggested I might benefit from reading the book as well. The bonus was she had her own copy but had not started reading it. That day she started and I was soon under strict instructions to get myself a copy. I did.

What followed was a realisation that finances do not have to be tricky. The plan Scott outlines in his book is very simple to follow and broken down into manageable steps over a series of weeks (called Barefoot Date nights). There are also real life examples of people who he has helped. The examples are people from different kinds of financial backgrounds, looking to control their money. Don’t go thinking this is not for you. If you’re breathing, it is. If nothing, it might provide confirmation that you’re on the right track.

The book is easy to read and engaging with the way Scott writes, expect a dry finance book. The prelude alone is enough to tell you that you’re going to get more than facts and figures.

Almost a week after buying my copy, Kat (best friend) and I have had our first Barefoot Date night. Jamie has also had his. But let me tell you, the anxiety I had around money is pretty much gone. Why? Because I have taken back control. Yeah, I still have a car loan, a mortgage and bills to pay, but with the help of this book I have stream lined things so I can see where my money needs to go and when. Sounds so simple, but the reality is a lot of people have trouble with this.

Please, do yourself a favour and get this book. Borrow it from your local library, a friend or buy yourself a copy. I got mine from QBD, Jamie’s from Booktopia and I’ve seen Kmart and Big W sell it. Also Amazon if you want it on Kindle.

What I loved: He asks the reader to pay it forward, that if they got anything out of the book, pass it on so others are more financially secure. That speaks to me on so many levels and is the reason for this review. Also 10% of author royalties are donated to Financial Counselling Australia. And he doesn’t receive kickbacks from any of the products/services he recommends.

What I didn’t love so much:Β The fact that there will be a new, updated book every year. I understand why, information changes etc., but I dislike the fact that my copy will eventually be outdated. But that’s life and the core of the book, The Serviette Strategy, won’t change.

 

 

Getting Things Done

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Hi!!

I’m so happy to back here πŸ™‚ Don’t get me wrong, I needed the time away to spend with family and friends over the festive season, but I missed writing. How was your holidays? Hope it was a great one, but now, what’s happening in 2018? Well…

Nothing, unless I get off my arse and actually do things instead of thinking about it. You see, this little break made me realise that I’m fantastic at imagining great things, not so good at the putting it into action phase. So this post is about how I plan to cut that habitΒ  out.

  1. Schedule my day. And stick to it! There are 24 hours in a day or 1,440 minutes. That’s a lot of time and if I plan it out, I’ll actually get everything I want to do done. I have a diary to do this and now that I’m in the habit of checking it, I wonder how I ever managed without.
  2. Be clear on what I want. None of this half hearted dithering I’m a gold medalist at. I have goals I want to achieve this year, I’ve written them down and I’ve placed them somewhere I’ll see them all the time so I’m reminded.
  3. Know that it is ok to say no. This one is a big one for me. I have a hard time saying no to people and have a tendency to overbook myself at certain times of the year. That has to stop. I get stressed, people get upset and all I had to do was explain that I was already busy and there would never have been a situation in the first place.
  4. Have deadlines and work towards them. It’s a simple concept and it works. Make your own deadlines if you need to. Just keep working towards that goal and celebrate the milestones along the way.
  5. Don’t procrastinate! I usually put little tasks off until ‘later’. Well later becomes never and I suddenly realise that I didn’t send that text/email, whatever and once again I’m stressing. Later is going to be taken out of my vocabulary. It’s not that useful when it comes to getting things done. And I am getting things done this year!

So that’s the plan. This year is going to be epic and full of self-discipline. I really don’t want to get to the end of it and realise that it was a nothing year (nothing good, nothing bad). If it’s true that life is what we make it, then I’m aiming for a good one. Have a happy and creative week everyone and let me know your tips to getting things done in the comments πŸ™‚