Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Getting ready for Round 3

Image courtesy of mrmac04 at morguefile.com
I went missing mid-May in the last round. Life happened. Perhaps it's better to say, "Life showed up with a teaching for me." And it took the best part of six weeks to absorb the lesson.

In the post "Writing Scared" (which I wrote just prior to going MIA), I wrote about the fear of not being able to write. About showing up, but nothing flowing from my pen. Of the fear of not reaching my target of 4 pages per session.

The Heart Centre and the Thinking Centre

Since mid-May, I have learned that we have two centres: our heart centre, and our thinking/reasoning/rational centre. In the western world, we have been taught that our thinking/reasoning centre is the one that is supposed to be our CEO in life. It's supposed to be in the driving seat and it's supposed to take us towards our destiny, towards success, towards [insert whatever goal you'd like here].

We're told, especially in matters of love, "Don't let your heart rule your head!".

And that, apparently, is why we've all fallen off the rails and gotten lost and separated from each other. And not only separated from each other, but separated from ourselves, too.

The CEO and the Admin Assistant

Our hearts are supposed to be the CEO of our lives, and the thinking centre is supposed to be the Admin Assistant. Our hearts guide us, and our reason/thinking mind plots out the steps we need to take to get from where we are to where our hearts are guiding us to go. Our reason does not have the tools required to guide our lives. It is always motivated by fear. It is designed to help us avoid loss or to help us gain something in order to avoid loss. Either way, fear is its motivation.

The reason I went MIA is because of my rational thinking mind. I was scared of not reaching the goals I'd set. I was scared because I couldn't find the folder with all my notes in it for the language I'd created for the story world. I lost my writing mojo. It wasn't sustainable, given the place I was trying to control my writing from (fear).


This round, I would like to put some strategies in place to help me write and finish my first draft. (A first draft in three months is a reasonable goal, isn't it?)

So far, this is what I've come up with:

1) Ask the right questions.

When I couldn't find my language notes folder, for instance, my reaction was "I can't go any further till I have those notes sitting in front of me on my desk!"

A better way to have handled that situation was to ask "How can I keep writing this first draft even though I don't have the folder just yet?"

'How' or 'What' questions are open and make our rational minds work for answers.

2) Write in a different location

It's Winter here now in Western Australia and my writing room is cold, so it's not exactly an inviting, cosy nook. The question "Where can I go that's comfortable to write in?" offers solutions such as the local library and the Dome cafe ten minutes away where I can also enjoy an open fire and a chamomile tea as I write.

3) Let my heart centre lead the way

This is a tricky one.

All my life I've been using my rational mind to try to understand the world around me and how it works. I've used my reason to achieve goals and to set high standards, and I know now that I've run myself into the ground health-wise because of it. I really WANT to let my heart lead the way, but - and I almost wrote 'I have to *think* on this some more' (hah!) - yeah. Difficult one this. Meditation could be a good way to start; maybe some guided meditations and visualisations and listening to music...

4) Brandon Sanderson's 2013 writing lectures

I'll be following the weekly lectures starting on July 1st and submitting homework each week for critique, so this is definitely a motivation to write. And I'll be learning as I go along.

Round 3 Goals

Because this is such a huge change from how I normally do things, I've got just one main goal: a heart-centred writing practice.

Other goals I'd like to achieve during Round 3 are writing 25K a month, and doing my homework each week for the writing workshop with Brandon Sanderson. Also a weekly checkin with my fellow ROWers every Sunday. These goals are easy enough to quantify. I either reach them or I don't.

However, in order to identify whether or not I've achieved a heart-centred writing practice by the end of Round 3, I need to break it down in a SMART way. Given my uncertainty about how to do something I haven't really done before, I could do with some help.

A Question for You

Fellow writers and ROWers, have you any advice on what I could try doing in order to put my logical, reasoning, thinking mind on hold during a writing session and allow myself to flow from my Heart Centre instead?

Thank you in advance.


  1. Hi there!

    My first thought (ugh, now there *I* go thinking right off the bat!) - errr, FEELING is that you could, as much as possible, fill your life with things that fire your passions or bring you joy.

    I see you are a mama at home. Me too. Hanging out with my kids, going places and doing things with them, tends to get me out of my too-rational mind.

    Being present in every moment you can (the feel of the floor beneath your feet, the air outside, the suds of the bathtub, or the smell of a small head).

    I take hot showers (even now, when, here in the US, summer has brought us 3 straight days of over 90 degree F temperatures!) because the water cascading over my head tends to put me right in the middle of a scene, living it with my characters, and then I am compelled to write it...

    I don't know if you've found you language folder, but, recently, I wanted a stardate for my Star Trek fan fiction. I know there is roughly a way to "calculate" these, but I didn't want to bother to find out when the words were flowing.

    I could have left a line or a note, or made one up and checked later.

    Instead, in one place, I have a "Stardate: blah de blah" and, in another, "Stardate Bloop de Bloop", which I think is pretty jaunty.

    I won't forget to fix them later, because they so obviously don't fit. But I got a chuckle, writing them, and kept going.

    I don't think three months is unreasonable for a draft. It seems lie your goals are attainable...

    But, here's maybe the best advice. if one or more of your original goals aren't working -change them. They ought to be a tool to help you, not something that induces guilt and obligation.

    Personally, I aim for goals that make my spirit sing, and then I treat them like a buffet I am free to sample from. As I go along, I get a better idea of which goals suit me, and which need to go, or have the recipe adapted to suit my tastes.

    Remember, this challenge is about you. You are free to choose to make it whatever you want!

    I'll see you in Round 3, where I will be Delving Passion! =)

  2. Shanjeniah, thank you so much for dropping by and for your beautiful words and suggestions. It means a lot to me. :)

    Taking the time to be in the moment - the feel of the floor, as you say, or the smell of a small head, or how he feels in my arms. Oh. WONDERFUL!

    No, I haven't found my language folder yet. It's buried somewhere in a box from our last move just over three years ago. (Yep, that's how long it has taken me to come back to my WIP...) But your idea of just forgetting about it and making a note in my ms which I can edit later is a good one. I don't have to let it stop me from writing. GREAT idea. :)

    And your reminder that I can CHANGE MY GOALS if they're not working for me - that has given me the greatest sense of relief! Up until now I've always slogged and struggled to reach whatever goal/standard I've set myself. It has never occurred to me that I can actually change them if they're creating stress for me. Thank you so much. Sometimes it's hard to see the solution, and that's where connecting with others (who understand) is so valuable.

    See you in Round 3! And thank you again! :)


Hi! I love reading new comments so thank you for sharing. I'll be sure to get back to you to continue the conversation. :)