In Chip and Dan Heath’s The Power of Moments, I love the concept of “tripping over the truth.” There are some truths in our lives we choose to not see. Then we trip over them and the pain of the stumble brings us insight we’d rather not acknowledge. But there it is. You didn’t see it coming but now that you’ve stumbled over it you recognize it as a truth that’s probably part of a larger pattern. Continue reading
I run the adult programs at our town library, and one of my favorites is a new Songwriting Workshop. The leader, Jud Caswell, has mad skills at being able to hear what someone plays and sings, then offering bits of advice that seem small but that help immensely.
Last week, Jud offered this advice to stop procrastination in its tracks:
(1) Make a shorter deadline
Jud told a great story about a friend he was coaching who just couldn’t make time to write, so Jud asked him to turn in a song by the end of the week. The guy said there was no way he could write a song in a week, so Jud said fine, then get it to me tomorrow.
“Write a song in a day? No way!”
“Fine then, write a song now. What’s knocking around in your head?”
The guy sat down and wrote his first song.
(2) Lower your standards
We all want to do wonderful, terrific work, but if your goal is to only do wonderful, terrific work you may never get started. Taking action gets you moving – and it almost doesn’t matter what direction you move in. Once you start, you get in the flow and can edit later. Mark Twain famously wrote, “Write drunk. Edit sober.” In his case, it was probably literal, but I love the concept of writing, or painting, or learning anything new with great abandon. We’re generally our greatest critic. The thought here is to get started and trust that you’ll clean up the mess later.
Jud also mentioned a writer who was asked if he wrote on a schedule or only if he was inspired. The guy replied, “Only when I’m inspired! So it’s a good thing I’m always inspired at about 9:00 every morning.”
I sincerely hope you’re inspired to try something new this spring. Doing work that comes from your heart makes all the stuff you have to get done so much more interesting.
Here’s a shot from a local Pub where I meet with other writers to talk about writing show tunes. As we build our tribe, we’ll take tips anywhere we can find them 🙂
Is it too mysterious to think that for every major choice in your life where you headed off in a new direction that you also continued in the original direction?
That you simultaneously went to more than one college.
That you have your current friends and you have friends from that other life, the one you’re not living.
That you got divorced and you stayed with your ex. Continue reading
Do you ever have one of those days, or weeks, or months, where everything seems out of control? People tell you not to worry, that, “Mercury’s in retrograde.” And you’re like, “My life is in retrograde!”
When you’re faced with the overwhelming, it helps to picture your mind as a big sky – vast, and limitless. And this “thing” that’s happening? It’s such a small thing in that vast sky. The “thing” isn’t everything. It’s a tiny piece of a big sky. That’s everything.
And that immovable block? What can you build on it? Continue reading
“Some trees spread root systems underground that interconnect individual trunks and weave individual trees into a more stable whole that can’t so easily be blown down in the wind. Stories and conversations are like those roots.”
~ Rebecca Solnit, from The Mother of All Questions
So here’s the thing. If you’re facing a fear or a dilemma, and you think your options are “fight or flight,” consider a third option: “Gather.” Gather for solidarity. Gather for advice. Gather for support. Continue reading
In case you were wondering, I have to say something about my last post that started with the mysterious “444444444.” Does anyone else work on a computer where your cat stretches out between the monitor and the keyboard? And MOST of the time it’s okay? Yeah, well right as I hit “publish” last week, Flynn stretched out and added his little signature line, which is apparently, “444444444.” And once you hit “publish” in a blog post, there’s no going back. So from Flynn to you, I wish you a very happy “444444444.” And now on to to my current post 🙂
A common regret you hear about from people near the end of their lives is that they didn’t live a life that was true to who they were, and instead lived a life others expected of them.
You don’t want that! You want to go out a big smile on your face because you’ve done the things you’ve dreamed about. You want to think back on the opportunities you created. The people’s lives you touched. The energy you brought to the earth. Continue reading
I’m reading The Element by Ken Robinson and am finding all sorts of deliciousness. Here’s a point I was pondering today.
- Recognizing where you feel most yourself is a clue to figuring out what your “element” is.
If you feel most at home in a library, then loving books and loving to read may be your “element,” and your soul may want to be a writer, editor, or publisher. Continue reading