December Blog Break

December Blog Break

December Blog Break

I’m taking a break from blogging in December.

Because it’s like this: You guys are busy with the holidays. Family matters. It’s also the end of a stressful year, right? So we can all let it wind down, relax, take good care of ourselves and make the best of the season.

I’m wishing you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Yule, happy holidays, much family time (and remember, you are your own family, too), and a safe, fun and cheerful New Year!

I’ll be back with a new post on January 11th.

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Conquer NaNoWriMo – It’s over. And now?

Exhausted Author

Exhausted Author

Today is the last day of this year’s NaNoWriMo.

Maybe you’re making a huge push to win today, like I’m doing.

Maybe you already know you won’t make the 50,000 words.

And yes, it does matter in a way, and it doesn’t matter in another.

Why it matters that you win NaNo

Writing those 50k words wasn’t easy. You probably had to push yourself, you had to make yourself write even if you didn’t feel like it, and it probably was a struggle to find enough stuff to even put into the story.

You worked harder than in every other month of this years. And you stuck to your committment. You did this, and you should be proud of it.

What’s even more important – you proved to yourself that you can do that. That you can write every day, that you can create a story, and that you can finish a huge task by tackling a bit of it every day.

Well done!

Why it doesn’t matter that you win NaNo

Even if you didn’t make it all the way to those 50,000 words, even if life intervened and broke your writing back  – chances are, you still wrote more this month than before.

You tackled a lofty goal: To write a novel.

Granted, you didn’t quite get where you wanted, but you still have more than you did before. You have a half-finished novel on your hard drive. You have a project you can still finish, polish and publish. Just not this November.

In my eyes, that still makes you a winner on some level. Well done!

What’s next?

First of all, at the end of this day, you should celebrate.

Now matter how far you got, celebrate what you have, and if you won – celebrate that win! Celebrate hard! Celebrate loudly. Everywhere!

Plaster that sticker on FB, on your blog, and print out that certificate. Make it real.

Do a happy dance. Hug your family. High-five your friends. You did something awesome!

Take a day off!

And then?

This is the biggest question, and it’s a really good one.

You see, you created not just a novel this month. You created a habit or three. You wrote every day. You kept track of your word count. You kept thinking about your story and your characters. You kept developing your story, your characters and your world.

And it was intense, and now you’re exhausted.

But hang on to those habits.

Scale down the work a little. Go for 500 or 1,000 words per day, instead of the 2k that were hard to put down. But keep writing every single day. Even if it’s just a little.

And definitely keep track of your word count. Watch your story grow, and keep an eye on your achievement.

And most of all, finish your story.

I’m betting that your story isn’t done. Mine certainly will be longer, probably another 20-30k. Most novels are, unless you’re writing YA.

Honor your story. Honor what you created.

Finish it. Edit it. Publish it.

And then start the next one.

Because you’re a writer now – if you so choose.

This is the ultimate win of NaNoWriMo.

You probably can’t see it because of the exhaustion. Because right now, all you want to do is forget about the story and play with your cat or dog, and dive into Christmas. You want to forget about that writing crunch every evening. And I totally get that. But it would make me a little sad.

Because if you hang on to a little bit of NaNo, chances are you’ll write more, get better and create more stories. Give yourself that chance.

You can be a true writer.

Here’s the tapping to help you do that.

Tapping phrases

Even though I’m so exhausted after writing my heart out for a month and pushing word count every evening, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I’m open to the idea of writing a little every day to stay in the habit.

Even though I just want to forget about that story, it was sooo hard to create, and it’s not good at all, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to keep working on the story and make it good.

Even though NaNo was incredibly hard, and I can’t sustain that effort for now, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to be a writer and keep my writing habits at a pace that I can sustain.

Asking you:
Did you win NaNoWriMo?
What kind of story did you write?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – will you keep writing?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Conquer NaNoWriMo – Argh, I’m Behind!

Frantic Author

Argh, I’m behind!

If you’re like me, you’re keeping track of your NaNo word count. Maybe you have even diligently entered it into your dashboard at the NaNo website. Maybe you use a spreadsheet to monitor your word count and how you’re doing. (I do. Ahem.)

And you can see you’ve fallen behind.

Maybe a lot behind.

Here’s what you can do. But first, let’s figure out what type of writer you are.

How people do NaNoWriMo

For just a moment, I want to talk about the four kinds of NaNo participants. They way I see it, there are Racehorses, Steady Writers, Bingers and Dropouts.

Now, the Racehorses just run off and finish NaNo on Day 10, and then go on to accumulate word counts of over 100,000. I know people like that. You’re not one of them. I can say this fairly confidently, because Racehorses don’t bother to read NaNo blogs. They don’t need support since they are doing just fine.

The Steady Writers power up to the NaNo word count (1,667 words per day, plus a little buffer) every day, and they are exactly where they should be, plus buffer. There have been years when I have managed that, and it’s how I prefer to do NaNo. My daily aim is 2k words. One year, I finished NaNo on November 25th…

The Bingers go on writing binges and sprints and sometimes pull an all-nighter, and then they need a day or two to recover. They write their NaNovel in spurts.

And the Dropouts, well, they drop out. You’re not one of them, or you wouldn’t be here hoping to save your NaNovel.

If You’re a Steady Writer

If you’re a Steady Writer and you have fallen behind, you simply need to adjust your daily word count. You can easily figure that out by subtracting your wordcount from 50,000, and dividing the result by the days left in November.

(50,000-word count)/number of days left in November = new daily word count

You’ll get the number of words you have to write every day in order to finish on time. And then you set out to do just that, plus a little buffer because life tends to happen, and today is Thanksgiving.

If you’re a Binger

In that case, you may find it hard to get started every day. You may sit in front of your novel and feel blocked. If you can get over that block and start writing, the words flow. And flow. And flow. Binge, binge, binge.

Your problem is life. Since you love to binge write, you need lots of uninterrupted time, and that’s just not happening when you’re working, raising a family and celebrating Thanksgiving. You may be exhausted by writing late at night, and for much longer than you should…

Solution #1: The Timer

Here’s one trick that totally works for me, and I think it should work for both Steady Writers and Bingers – for different reasons.

Get a simple, old kitchen timer, or an app on your phone, and set it to 30 minutes. That’s the pomodoro method, btw.

And then write. Do nothing else. No Facebook, no Email, no Twitter – nothing. Tell your family that these 30 minutes are yours, and only yours. It’s you and your story for those 30 minutes.

Steady Writers, do this three times a day, and plan those times.

Bingers, set your timer for 60 or 90 minutes. Write your heart out in that time. And then STOP. Save your strength. Save your family. And do it again tomorrow. If you really need to catch up a lot, do it twice a day, and then rest. You can use your word count to check your progress.

Solution #2 Tap away the Stress

NaNo is about stress, obviously. It’s about the pressure to write a lot every day, and that’s part of its appeal.

But the trick is to make it fun, as well as being productive.

And you can only do that if you manage your stress level. As I said in last week’s video, our modern brain can only handle so much stress before actually turning off and handing the immediate management to our old, reptile brain. Which is all about survival and not about creativity.

You can’t write very well in reptile brain. In fact, you might start eating junk food, watch TV, play with your dog and such in order to appease it.

EFT tapping is a very effective way to reduce the sense of stress, and to get our modern brain as well as our creativity back on line. Which is what you need if you want to win NaNo this year.

Tapping phrases

Even though I’m really stressed out about being behind in NaNo, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to let go of the stress and make writing fun again.

Even though I’m so far behind that it’s stressing me out, I have no idea how to catch up, I’m still okay the way I am, and I now choose to calm down and find ways of writing a lot in those last days.

Even though I’m behind in NaNa, and I’m angry and disappointed in myself, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to get focused and write in a way that makes it fun again!

Asking you:
How are you doing on NaNoWriMo?
How far are you behind?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what’s your NaNoWriMo project?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Conquer NaNoWriMo – This is so hard!

struggling author

Struggling Author

NaNoWriMo has been going on for two weeks now.

If you’re like me, you’re more or less on target for the 25,000 words mid-month. If you’re like most of my writing buddies on the NaNo site, you’re behind.

And yet, you have been writing every day. Most likely, you’ve been writing more words in these two weeks than in the last three months together.

And it is HARD.

You may have sacrificed some sleep time for word count – I certainly did – and you may have cancelled meeting friends or other activities. And you’re most likely still behind.

In addition, you’re beyond the initial thrill with the story, and coming up with new plot points and interesting scenes is also getting harder.

Your brain is tired

That’s because your brain is getting tired. It’s been working hard during these two weeks. You’ve written half a novel! Or almost!

You’re deep inside the dreadful middle of a story where the plot threads spread out and meander and threaten to take turns you never planned.

Keeping track of all that is also a lot of work. (If you’re a plotter, of course, you may not have that problem.) Even so, there should be much happening in your novel, and that keeps your writer brain spinning.

You’re physically tired

You’re probably not used to typing so much, and your body may show some strain. That can present as neck pain, back pain, headaches, and wrist problems.

Make sure to shift your typing position. I use a key board tray that is the only way I can avoid carpal trouble. But especially if you’re on a laptop, get creative. Move around. Shift position. Give your body breaks.

What also works for me is to use a timer. Set it to 20-30 minutes and write. And then – and this is just as important – take a break. Get up. Move around. Play with the dog. Those actions relieve tension in your body and activate your muscles. And it also gives your brain the chance to come up with new ideas while you’re not worried about them.

You’re still doubting yourself

And even if you’re on NaNo quota and writing along with relative ease, you’re probably still doubting yourself.

How can a story be any good if I’m writing it so fast?

How can it work if I hardly ever stop to think it through?

Even if I have my chapter list, the scenes feel rushed and unpolished.

You’re still comparing your draft to edited and polished novels

I caught you there, right?

But you see, what we get as readers is very, very rarely a first draft, even from those notorious self-publishers. What we see as “normal” is the product of several editing passes and feedback from beta-readers or editors. We get the polished, shiny version where problems have been fixed after finishing the first draft.

This is not what you can create during NaNo.

Very simple.

Stop expecting a fully fledged novel to somehow spring from your keyboard in a month of writing.

And now get back to work. *winks*

EFT tapping

As usual, I’m offering you some EFT tapping phrases to make NaNo easier for you. Because it really is about the mindset and of course, about having fun.

Even though keeping up with NaNo is such a strain, and I struggle every evening to get my work count, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to hang in there and keep going!

Even though I really struggle with that word count, and I’m running out of ideas and lost the fun, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to improve my writing routines to make this easier for me.

Even though it is so hard to write every day, and so easy to fall more and more behind, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now give myself permission to drop all worries and expectation and rediscover the simply joy of writing and telling that story.

Asking you:
How are you doing on NaNoWriMo?
What’s your problem in your story?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what’s your NaNoWriMo project?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Conquer NaNoWriMo – Help, I’m Stuck!

I'm so stuck

I’m so stuck!

NaNoWriMo has been going for a week, and you’ve probably run into the bane of writing: You got stuck.

Brain: Empty.

Inspiration: None.

Story: Utterly stuck in a dead corner

And it’s easy to either panic in that moment or to throw up your hands and give up.

And believe that you’re not cut out to be a writer.

Here’s a secret:

It happens to every single one of us. Every writer gets stuck.

Every. Single. One.

It’s normal. It’s part of being a writer.

And one big part of NaNo is to create so much pressure on you to write – doing those 1,667 words per day isn’t necessarily easy – that you suspend your inner critic and just write.

That alone can help you get out of that stuckness, but there are many, time-honored methods. Let me list a few ones.

Leave the Room

This is the first, easy one.

All you have to do is to get up from where you have been writing, and move to a different room in your house.

What this does is to refocus your brain. By moving around physically, you’re sending a signal that you’re no longer stuck. It shifts something in the brain.

Fun story: This is the same effect as forgetting what you wanted to do when entering another room. Familiar with that?

Okay, simply move out of stuckness.

Write a Different Scene

Nobody says you have to write your novel the same way you read it. You can skip a scene, mark it in your manuscript and come back to it later.

Writing doesn’t have to be linear.

I think that’s cool. And skipping difficult or boring scenes has often helped me keep the momentum going – and discover solutions later on when the characters are more rounded and solid, when the plot is clear and you know what has to happen.

So you can write yourself out of being stuck, as well.

Do Something Entirely Different

Writing takes up a certain part of the brain. It’s a creative, intense, energy-consuming activity. (Did you ever think of it that way?)

If you get up and do something different, possibly even something that doesn’t tax your brain at all, like doing the dishes, walking the dogs, folding laundry, this gives your brain a chance to refocus, and to stop being creative for a while.

And under the surface, your writer brain will continue to worry away on your story problem and will create a solution.

This method even has a name: The MacGyver Secret. It was used extensively by Lee Zlotoff, who created the MacGyver series.

Take a Shower or Curl up in Bed

This is part of doing something entirely different, except it works on relaxing your body with warmth and comfort.

This sends a signal to your brain that you’re safe. And when you’re safe, your brain is in fully active mode and able to be creative.

You see, when we’re stressed or afraid, the creative and highly inventive part of our brain, the neocortex, tends to shut down, and leave the running of the body and our thinking to older, less creative, but much faster parts.

This is a safety mechanism, and it’s good for us as living beings.

It’s bad for writers, however.

So that hot shower or comfy bed sends a clear signal that we’re not in any danger and we can turn that creative writer brain back on.

Use EFT Tapping

Now, I have to admit a secret: I love that curling up in bed part for solving plot problems. I create a lot of my stories while daydreaming in bed.

But when I get really, really, really stuck, I tap. After all, I use EFT for practically everything in life.

And all you have to do is tap a few rounds on how bad you feel about being stuck – the actual language matters less than staying focused on your emotions – and your brain can let go of worrying and move back into being creative.

And that’s what all these things are about. Every situation in a story can be fixed in many, many ways. All you have to do is to allow your creativity do that work.

And believe me – I have found amazing solutions. (And I loved MacGyver. Ahem.)

Tapping phrases

So here are some tapping sentences to get you started on EFT.

Even though I’m so horribly stuck in my story, I can’t even think, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to let my brain come up with a cool solution.

Even though I’m so stuck, and I feel horrible about it, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to get myself out of the way and let my writer brain sort this out.

Even though I’m so stuck that I’m thinking I’m not good enough as a writer, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to let go of all that anger and fear, and to let my writer brain do the work.

Asking you:
How are you doing on NaNoWriMo?
What’s your biggest fear as a writer?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what’s your NaNoWriMo project?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Conquer NaNoWriMo – Can I even do this?

Can I even do this?

Can I even do this?

Today is day 2 of NaNoWriMo.

Maybe you struggled getting the necessary word count yesterday (1,667 words, btw.). Maybe, like me, you didn’t even make it that far. Maybe you already doubt you can do it again because it was so hard.

Maybe you think that what you wrote is all terrible.

Maybe you are already doubting that you’re a writer.

This is how you fail NaNoWriMo on day 2.

And it’s totally unnecessary.

You see, the truth is, one day isn’t enough to find out if you’re a writer or not, especially during NaNoWriMo.

One day isn’t enough to know that what you wrote is bad.

So I’m asking you to step back for a moment and stop worrying about word count and plot and characters.

Take a deep breath.

Let it all go.

Breathe.

And breathe some more.

And then remember… what made you join NaNoWriMo?

If you’re at least a bit like me, it was the thrill. The excitement of creating a new story. The knowledge that you are doing this together with millions of people all over the world.

Telling a story.

That urge is probably deep inside you.

Problem is, maybe you think you know very little about story telling. Or you believe you do.

And that isn’t true.

You know stories.

You have been listening to stories since you were a little kid. You watched them on TV every day. You read books. You inhaled stories every day of your life, one way or the other.

That means that deep inside, you know how stories work. You have a sense for them.

Allow that sense to fill you. That deep knowledge.

Add that urge to tell stories. To paint tales with words. That writer part of yourself.

And there you go. Now you can write.

You have permission to write, and to be a writer.

And if you still don’t believe it, here’s some tapping to help you.

Tapping phrases

Even though I fear I can’t do this NaNoWriMo thing, after trying so hard on Day 1, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I choose to remember that NaNoWriMo has 30 days to do this thing.

Even though I feel that I can’t be a writer after all, if I fail on Day 1, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now forgive myself, pick myself up and get back to writing.

Even though this whole thing feels terrible, and I think I can never be a writer, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to know that this is something to practice by doing it again and again and again.

Asking you:
How are you doing on NaNoWriMo?
What’s your biggest fear as a writer?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what’s your NaNoWriMo project?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Family System Dynamics – Final Thoughts

Family

Family

Family System Dynamics affect every single one of us – and of course, every character in your stories. I’ve been working with that kind of energy for years, and I hope I have been able to show some of what goes on in families to you.

This is very much a case where knowledge helps. Because you can only see what you know.

Visualizing a family system

Imagine a family like mobile, everyone tied together by that invisible energy of the family system. Everyone connected with the others.

That’s what you live in. That’s what I live in. What everyone lives in.

Even if we dislike our family.

This is unescapable. And real.

And yes, it can feel as if you’re caught in a web.

But this knowledge can arm you, and give you ways of working with this web that make life better for you – and often enough for the rest of the family.

Chosing love

The biggest thing about family system is that they are driven by underlying love.

I know this may sound horrible if you’re living or grew up in an abusive family. And I’ll say right here that my own family wasn’t exactly very loving, either.

That’s why I said “underlying”. That love can show on the surface, but often it doesn’t. And yet it drives a lot of action in a family.

This Burden thing I spoke of earlier? Driven by love.

Why we obey family laws and rules? Driven by love.

Changing family systems

And the best way to change a family system that’s detrimental is by doing it with love. You can effect changes through EFT tapping, but they work best if infused with love. If you care about everyone when you shift that energy, when you include everyone when you change family rules or giving back energy or stepping out of a family job that’s not yours.

Because everyone is connected in those family systems.

Because they will have to shift a little to restore balance if you shift your energy.

Because those changes will affect them – and if you do them with love and caring, they might easily profit from them as well.

Choose wisely

So if you choose to look at your family system and change something that’s holding you back or siphoning up your energy or giving you a hard time – do it with love and gentleness.

This family system energy always affects you, as well. Treat it with respect.

And know that I’m there to help you if this feels too big or too scary or too complicated. A few sessions can make a huge difference.

Tapping phrases

And because this is such a huge topic and yet something very foreign for most of you, I’ll offer you some more tapping to get comfortable with the whole idea of that web of energy surrounding and affecting you.

It isn’t bad. It isn’t actively working against you. It is – fundamentally – a web of love. With occasional twists.

Even though these family systems sound scary and I really dislike the thought of being caught in one, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I know choose to know they are made of love.

Even though this whole series was scary to read, because so many bad things can happen, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I know choose to see the underlying love.

Even though I still don’t get family systems, and they scare me, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to let this all sink in and allow the love in the system to show.

Asking you:
What do you think about family system dynamics?
Do you have questions?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: My newsletter contains a full tapping round to go with my blog posts, so it’ll be easier for you to get results. Sign up through the form on the upper right hand corner, and receive an introduction to EFT as a gift, find that specific tapping round plus occasional special offers. If you’re on a mobile and can’t see the sidebar, you can sign up through this link: Newsletter Sign-up.

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Family System Dynamics – The Burden

The Burden

The Burden

This is another concept practically unknown outside of family systems work: The Burden.

Here’s how it works:

When we are born into a family, we quickly become aware of all the emotions around us. All the energy swirling and engulfing us. It is our family, after all.

And being loving and caring children, we choose to help other family members, out of pure, innocent love.

So if one of our family members carries a negative energy – whatever it is – we take on parts of it. Sometimes a little part, sometimes a big part. We take on this burden in order to make their lives easier.

This can be anything. It can even be something handed down this way through generations.

Anger. Shame. Guilt. Grief. Loneliness…

We carry this Burden Continue reading

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Family System Dynamics – The Void

The Void

The Void

Going back to the Law #1 which states that everyone born into a family actually belongs to it (and adoption counts, as well), bad things happen when a family member is denied their space by other family members.

An empty space in the family system invites trouble.

I like to call this The Void.

The family system doesn’t “forget” a member. And if someone is ousted from their place, the family system keeps that space “empty”.

At the same time, just like nature, a family system abhors a vacuum.

So the system tries to fill that empty space.

And someone always volunteers.

Which is a bad thing.

Filling someone else’s space is hard.

There are several reasons why filling the void is bad for the entire system – but better than leaving it empty – and bad for the individual filling the position. Continue reading

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Family System Dynamics – Ancestral Energy

Ancestral Line

Ancestral Line

Family systems encompass more than just your immediate family, ie. the one you grew up in or the one you live in now.

In fact, those systems stretch back for generations, from grandparents to great-greats and beyond. Usually, however, the influence from way back is small.

Usually.

There is one area where the influence remains strong through the ancestral lines:

Ancestral energy

Obviously, there are two different lines of energy through the generations, maternal and paternal. And they hand down different types of energy.

The maternal line tends to carry love while the paternal line carries strength and power.

Did I mention that family systems are conservative?

Fortunately, every one of us has access to both lines, no matter what our genes say or our gender is. We can connect to them and receive both love as well as strength and power. Continue reading

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