A Cure For Writer’s Block: Channelling Your Mystic Muse

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Recently I’ve been reading a wonderful book called Mothers of the Village: Why All Moms Need the Support of a Motherhood Community and How to Find It for Yourself. The author C.J Schneider talks about having post-natal depression after her third baby, and the importance of having a village of other mothers around us who can support each other.

Part of the way she lifted herself out of her depression, was to build a meaningful life for herself, which involved supporting herself and other mothers with childcare swaps, and regular time for her writing.

One of the most interesting chapters of the book was entitled, ‘Develop Your Inner Mystic.’ In it Schneider writes about how mothers after often very conflicted between choosing work or family, or trying to juggle the two. She talks about how Martha Beck, an American sociologist and life coach who describes a different kind of woman – a ‘mystic,’ who, ‘knows her path – they know it from some deep, sacred place inside them, and because their decisions come from this strong place they are able to walk their path with clarity and confidence.’

So much of what it means to be mystic can be applied to writing too.

For example just the other day I was really trying to wrestle with an article I wanted to write about when my grandmother died. Through my parenting work I’d learnt that tears are a healing process for emotional recovery and this helped me so much to recover from the grief. I could dive deep into my emotions, and even in the midst of my sadness, a little part of me knew things would be better after I’d cried.

However the article just wasn’t coming together. I could of dismissed it as writer’s block, as a bad writing day, and just shut my computer and done something else. This might be okay if you are young and carefree with plenty of free time to dedicate to writing. But who really has infinite time??

I’m a busy mum, and I only had those two hours while my daughter was playgroup. I knew that I had to get some writing done there and then. I also believe that writer’s block doesn’t actually exist.

What actually happens I think is that our subconscious has a story to tell, and when we ignore our subconscious voice, and try to consciously choose what to write we get stuck.

As I was struggling with that article, I asked myself what is it I really need to write today>? Now my subconscious wasn’t having a very profound day and it didn’t actually want to reflect on grief and healing. It wanted me to write up these 5 tips for the writing career of your dreams for Britmums The article flowed, once I let go of what ‘I’ wanted to write.

And that’s been the secret of my writing ‘success’ so far. If ‘I’ had any choice I’d be writing novels. But instead, I’m finding my writing is coming from a subconscious urge to help others, and share the important information that has helped me. For now, at least!

A couple weeks later I got an email from the editor of Kindred Spirit Magazine, to tell me they really liked my pitch on an article about the healing power of tears. I had completely forgotten that I had sent in the pitch, and I had said I would write about my grandmother’s death. Now I had a specific magazine in mind, I knew the best thing was to start that article from scratch after reading a few copies of the magazine and getting an idea of their style.So listening to my ‘mystic muse’ was actually the best idea!

What does your mystic muse want to write today? Sometimes spending 10-15 minutes journalling can help us get through our blocks and decide what to write. 

What helps you navigate your writing blocks? I’d love to hear from you! 

 

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Writers Getting Out There – 5 Tips For Self-Promotion

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I’ve left this blog abandoned for the past three years as I trained to be a Hand in Hand parenting instructor, and wrote a book Tears Heal: How to listen to our childrenSo I appreciate you reading this whether you are one of my original subscribers or have just discovered it!

Recently I’ve been feeling the call to focus more on the writers process, and the world of reading and writing. So I hope I will be blogging more recently (although I never know where my muse is going to take me).

As a parent the only way I could write a book was to hibernate at evenings, and weekends. But now it’s finished I’ve returned to my old writer’s group, and I’m looking forward to connecting in person with other writers, as I develop my own writing. Maybe I’ll even return to one of my novels that have been also lying abandoned on my computer!

That’s my dream, but instead I find myself focused more on the outside world. There’s a scary statistic about published writers that 1/4 of them don’t make back their original advance. I love writing and I would love to make a living out of it, and I know that takes a lot of work.

I read a wonderful book called Create Your Writer Platform Create Your Writer Platform, by Chuck Sambuchino, which is all about how in the modern age writers need to be their own publicist. Following Chuck’s wonderful advice I’ve been able to see how the internet can be a way to make real human connections, and that we can enjoy the process of getting out there on Facebook and Twitter, without sounding like a salesperson.

And it’s working. Now I get messages every week from people telling me how much they love my parenting blog, Listening To Tears and how they can’t wait for my book to come out. Now these online connections are even going offline, as I’m meeting a fellow parenting instructor in Zurich, and another writer who’s coming to Basel.

Here’s five tips about self-promotion that I’ve learnt so far.

  1. Be a friend. It’s quite simple. When I uploaded the cover of my book to Facebook, I was thrilled by all the positive comments, and the people who spontaneously decided to share it with all their friends. What I noticed is was that it was my closest, best friends, that shared it. Or the people who shared a passion for parenting in the same way I do. Or my writing friends who know how important it is to support each other. Social media is a great way to reach out to people, but in an age where there is less real face-face human connection, it is still the most powerful tool. What a great excuse to get out there, and meet some writing friends for a bit of face-face writing therapy!
  2. Make Real Human Connections I must admit that I was pretty negative about social media until I read Create Your Writer Platform. I think sometimes our assumption is that these interactions are not real, means that we don’t use social media to it’s full potential. We forget there is a real live human through sitting at another computer. So when people tweet or Facebook you, or leave a comment about your blog, be sure to message them back, listen to them, thank them, and remember they are a real human being.
  3. Don’t be a walking advert. This is something Sambuchino really emphasises in his book. If we are on Facebook or Twitter constantly broadcasting about our book, people are going to quickly get bored with us, and mute us out and unfollow.
  4. Take an interest in others. A better tactic is to be interested in other people. So if you are on Twitter or Facebook, don’t just broadcast your own stuff. Be sure to retweet others. Pick people who you are genuinely interested in, perhaps writers who are similar to you. Regularly commenting and interacting with people you like, won’t feel like self-promotion, because it’s also about simply building relationships. You might even make an offline friend!
  5. Show Some Of Your Personality If you share someone else’s post on Facebook, or twitter, be sure to write a comment that reflects who you are as a person. Then you’re not just someone silently reposting or retweeting, but a real person that people can get to know.

I hope these tips are helpful. If you’re a writer or blogger, and would like to share what works for you, I’d love to hear from you!

Check out Create Your Writer Platform for more tips