Asking My Mentor About… Writing Habits

Exploring Peer-to-Peer Mentoring

This is the sixth installment of Christine and my Peer-to-Peer Mentoring series.

On her blog, I answered her question:

As a consultant I’m always creating fun methods for my clients to reach their target markets. I think I have a knack for anticipating needs and have been able to develop and design tangible solutions to connect my clients’ philosophies, products and services to their desired consumers. I’m considering courting a company in Los Angeles to hire me as a patchworker (coined by Dr. Kristin Cardinale) to fulfill several areas they’re looking to enhance. I’d like to create a proposal that presents the idea: instead of hiring two separate people for two separate positions, that they hire me as a consultant to fill and bridge the gap between the two positions. Currently they’re listing two positions traditionally. I’d like to create a mind-blowing presentation that convinces them that my experience as a business developer, owner, health care specialist in private practice and journalist will offer them far more versatility than hiring two separate people could… I’ve already considered your advice from last month about preparing an interactive CV/resume, but what else can you suggest for this specific task? I’m open to any tools you might have in mind

My Question to My Mentor:

“My big focus of 2012 is to shift the adversarial relationship I have with writing. I want to ease the conflict within myself — I completely resist doing ‘it’, despite the deep love I feel when I actually do ‘it’. To give myself a chance of outsmarting my resistance, my solution is to further develop and entrench my writing practice/method in my daily life. It would be inspiring to me to learn of your current writing method/practice. Can you share it? What did you need to work through to get it to where it is now? And, how do you desire for your practice to evolve?”

Christine’s Answer:

I can relate to your “dilemma” that other tasks might need to take the place of writing or take precedence over it, yet once I immerse myself into the process I literally don’t want to stop either! Sometimes we convince ourselves that other things are more important. And this convincing, this hierarchy of importance we assign to tasks is likely ten percent substantiated by survival needs along with our integrity to fulfill needs of clients.

Finances: Beliefs & Behaviors

A thought to consider that many of us have had to at one time or another- how finances influence our decision making. Many of us believe that the work we’re getting paid for- at least the work we’re performing in the moment, week or upcoming month is more important than the un-known potential reward (financial or otherwise) of self-developed projects such as writing! If this is the case, ask yourself, if a publisher paid me an advance on my book would that inspire me to re-prioritize my schedule to fit writing in as much as possible? It’s a really fair question to ask ourselves to set the perspective for self-reflecting on finances.

If our behaviors are manifestations of our belief systems, it’s only fair to look at how the “anatomy” of our beliefs* surrounding money shapes and influences our decisions.

But hey, perhaps you’re independently wealthy and finances aren’t a concern at all! You asked what I had to work through- that was part of the process for me for a long time. I dissected the anatomy of my beliefs surrounding finances and discovered that I had the power to develop my own reward system.

I asked myself two simple questions:

  1. What happens when I write more?
  2. What happens when I write less?

Funny enough, I discovered that not only did “I’m happier in general” hit the top of the list of … when I write more, but so did, “my finances are improved” – there was a positive direct correlation between output of writing to in-flow of finances.

If you read my bio it literally says, “I’ve dedicated my career to the science of happiness” – I’m big on emotional gratification! Understanding how happy, relaxed and enriched I was during the times I was writing more was enough evidence for me that it was necessary to make it a priority in the hierarchy.

All throughout the week I engage in different types of journaling activities. Each of these is a little bit different, yet all mutually accentuate one another in some way. While the day of the week tends to be different based on my schedule, I’m always sure to allocate one or two “big” writing days to bring all of these writing experiences together. I use some for my blog, some for interviews I’m preparing for and the majority for my book projects. By constantly being engaged in the writing process, theoretically I’m always in the flow… so I have little trouble “making” myself do it. And, as I mentioned, the more I write, the happier I am, so this positive “side affect” makes it completely worth the devotion.

Here’s my system for keeping myself in the writing flow.

  1. Embracing on-the-go spontaneity. Being the natural social observer that I am, I keep a little journal to jot down notes on the go and get snap-happy with my camera as I’m tooling around town. I also like to use the notes app on my iphone- type up a note, email it to myself and presto, it’s in my database to add into greater bodies of work at any time. Sometimes I come up with title ideas, other times concepts and always strings that tie ideas together as I generate more and more throughout the week.
  2. End of week reflection. At the “end” of each week I either voice record or jot down a journal entry to reflect about my week. I include what I’ve observed, learned, read, overheard, talked about.. from there I infer how all of this relates socio-culturally. Because my greater work involves how people evolve through health, lifestyle, mindfulness and self-realization, I find this reflective time creates a rejuvenated sense for all I do. I can see that what I’m creating has purpose personally and professionally.
  3. Meditate intentionally and the words will follow. I do a lot of self-guided meditation to enhance awareness in all areas of my life, personal and professional. I know that self-cultivation leads to my ability to share ideas and help others grow which is the intention of my writing.
  4. Once a week “field-trip” writing. At least once a week I get out of the house, head down to one of my favorite coffee shops or the beach and write away. I try to bring together all of the pieces I’ve been working on throughout the week. This is where I blend the ideas I generate during my self-reflection time. I also look at the photos I’ve taken and mini-journals I jotted down while I was about and about during the week. This synthesis of the smaller pieces is a fun motivating force!

Maybe at this point you’re thinking, “hey, great ideas, but still, how do I make myself do it?” Try this meditation if so…

Refer to number two for the end of the week reflection. I said, “I can see that what I’m creating has purpose personally and professionally.” Get yourself a really good visual that represents the purpose of your creations. See it, feel it, believe it, live it. Repeat. Try it, it works!

How do I desire for my practice to evolve you ask? I want to become a better copy editor! I read your writing and it inspires me to create beautiful copy!

Asking My Mentor About… Writing Habits

By Tara Joyce Time to Read: 5 min