The only resolution I made for 2018 was to distinguish between the work I do for love – my own writing, and the work I do for money – word-smithing for businesses.
Distinctions bring clarity. And clarity enables us to be creative, productive and to attract opportunities effortlessly.
One of my most favourite books is A Room with A View by E M Forster in which he champions love and truth over social niceties. Without the honest appraisal of what we truly love we will forever be “in a muddle” – and therefore less effective in our efforts.
Giving more focus to the things we love rather than the things we do out of obligation imbues us with clarity and power.
So it’s worth being honest with ourselves and making the distinction.
As a result my writing spark is back with a vengeance. I’m having fun writing my blog and new business enquiries are arriving at my door. Before I was muddled in my thinking about writing – so my focus and energy were confused and dissipated. I was perhaps falling for the assumption that having more things to focus on would rob me of time.
Rather having sharper focus on more distinct things feels like I have generated more time, and infinitely more ideas. Inspiration and words are flowing; and my skills are in demand.
The Journal Writer’s Handbook contains an exercise called Lists of Distinction, encouraging you to distinguish between your talents, gifts, skills and interests. Sharpening your focus on each throws up more clarity, more possibility and more choice about the things that lead you to a greater sense of creativity, fulfillment and joy.
Don’t be muddled. Be distinctive. Make your own distinctions.
First my announcement.
After months of prevaricating The Journal Writer’s Handbook is now available on Kindle. Click on the cover image to go right ahead and buy it!
I don’t know exactly why I was prevaricating. Partly fear of getting the formatting right for electronic publication; partly loyalty towards ‘real’ books. In the end I realised that the Handbook would work well electronically, as all the indices could be neatly hyper-linked and navigation would be easier. Hurrah for giving myself a rational talking to.
So there it is. And the reason why this is linked to my recent birthday is because getting it done became my gift to myself. Completing it on time felt brilliant, and now I am resolved to set a target to achieve for each of my future birthdays.
Birthdays are times of new commitments to ourselves. They mark the anniversary of our first involuntary breath, and we can honour that every year with a special voluntary act of our own.
US based journal coach Nathan Ohren interviewed me a little while ago for his excellent Journal Talk series, and it will be available to hear on 29 April, this coming Monday. Do click on the link above to pick it up and listen in.
We had a fabulous conversation about journaling and reflective writing – and he managed to wheedle out of me my favourite journaling techniques and exercises. We also discussed the thorny question of digital versus manual journaling, and how journal writing is far from the solipsistic, introspective past time some would have it.
Nathan is an awesome broadcaster with such an easy-going and curious style. We had a few technical challenges making the interview but he was super patient and did an amazing editing job. He may well have a new vocation in sound production!
Like me, Nathan has over 25 years’ journal writing experience and he is absolutely convinced of its benefits. His on-line journal coaching programme runs a couple of times each year and I know he has an intriguing dream journaling programme too which kicks off this summer.
So do go and check out what he’s up to. On his podcasts page you’ll find interviews with US journaling experts Jessica Jensen and Mari McCarthy, both offering different perspectives on journal writing, as well as a neat conversation Nathan had over his birthday dinner with Kathy Lynch about the scientific evidence to prove the effectiveness of journal writing for mental and physical health.
And from Monday 29 April you’ll be able to hear what he has to say about The Journal Writer’s Handbook! Click here to go straight there.