Why The 8 Hour Work Day Does Not Apply To Writing

Oct 03, 2019

Dear Writerly Woman,

I went to the redwoods last week to take a deep creative inhale.

Have you ever done this?

Here's how it works:

In the middle of a creative process, when you've been writing and putting a lot of yourself onto the page, you stop what you're doing, go outside, and purposefully take in the world around you. You Inhale.

I walked around the redwood trail, letting my thoughts flow freely, instead of focusing on sentences and words.

I said hi to the trees. I drank a cup of hot cacao. I breathed. I let my mind and my heart stretch out.

 

Writing is a focused endeavor, where I put what is within me into the world, ie. I creatively exhale.

I can only write for so long, an hour tops, because after that my writing can feel like I'm trying to exhale twice in a row without inhaling.

It can feel forced and stagnant.

This is when I walk away from my project. I putter around the house or go for a walk. I open my focus.

When I return to my...

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A Mini-Pep Talk For When You Feel Unqualified To Write

Sep 27, 2019

Dear Writerly Woman,

This week's post is a mini-pep talk for when you're scared your writing idea isn't good enough, doesn't qualify as real writing, or is doomed to fail because it doesn't follow expert opinions.

Here is what I want you to know:

When it comes to your authentic self expression, there is no one more qualified than you.

You are the expert on your own voice, your unique point of view, and your writing style.

You are the only one who gets to decide if your writing is right for you.

The next time you're scared to write, say these three sentences to yourself, and begin anyway.

  1. I am the authoritative expert on my own voice, my unique point of view, and my writing style.
  2. I hereby grant myself permission to write exactly what I want to write and how I want to write it.
  3. I've got this.

You can do it. I believe in you.

Love,

Emma

 

 __________________

P.S. I would love for you to join my Facebook Group, Hearth & Pen: A Community For Writerly...

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3 Steps To Stop Procrastinating and Start Writing

Sep 20, 2019

Dear Writerly Woman,

Do you ever find yourself sitting down to write, but instead going to the kitchen to grab something to eat or to the couch to turn on the TV?

Do you ever beat yourself up about this, wishing you could stop procrastinating and start writing?

Today, I want to share my best suggestions for how you can break free from this cycle, because I know how painful it can be.

I hate feeling like a failure because once again I watched an hour of Netflix instead of writing.

I hate the feeling that my writing won't ever get done, because I just can't get myself to sit down and type.

Here are 3 steps I take whenever I find myself avoiding writing. They help me calm my fear, so I can get more words on the page with more ease.

Try them out the next time you sit down to write!

__________________

Step 1: Acknowledge what's really going on

I've beat myself up a lot for procrastinating, wondering why I can't just force myself to write, especially when I get deep into avoiding a...

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How Getting Words On The Page Can Change Your Life

Sep 06, 2019

Dear Writerly Woman,

Writing my first blog post was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.

Up until that point, writing had always been on the periphery for me. 

Yes, I loved literature and was a devoted English major.

Sure, now and again a story would fly through me, get recorded on a Word Doc, and end up lost somewhere on my computer.

And, yeah, my bosses always complimented me on my ability to write a clear and concise email.

But writing, like the kind of writing I dreamed of doing, was something I put off for the future.

I knew I wanted to write someday, but I had no idea when that someday would be.

 

Four years ago, I found myself creating an online business and decided to start things off with a blog.

This was the first truly vulnerable writing I had done, maybe ever.

With all my English majoring and dreaming about writing, I hadn't once considered how terrifying it would feel to put my truth on the page.

I sat in front of the...

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When You Discover You're The Swan

Aug 29, 2019

Dear Imaginative & Writerly Woman,

When I was a kid, I talked a lot. Like, a LOT.

I didn't get great feedback about this.

Mostly there was a lot of sighing and "Emma, please stop talking," and "I'll seriously PAY you if you just PLEASE STOP TALKING!!!"

I couldn't do it. I loved talking way too much!

 

Looking back, I can see what I loved was expressing myself.

There were so many interesting things to think about, to notice, and to see.

It was invariably interesting to me to talk and talk about all the things!

As I got older, however, I started to feel the shame of all the awkward social situations created by my talking.

Whenever I talked about what I had been thinking about or what I was interested in, I always got weird looks from my peers and adults alike.

I remember being a teenager, lying in bed at night, and wishing I could stop saying so many embarrassing things.

You know how sometimes people ask what problems keep you up at night?

Well, figuring out how to...

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The Conversation I REALLY Want To Be Having

Aug 15, 2019

Dear Imaginative Woman,

I went to the woods last week. It was luscious and beautiful. I filled my creative well. All was good.

The week before going to the woods, however, was a particularly rough one. I found myself feeling tired, like deep in my bones tired.

I didn’t have the energy or the motivation to do the things I normally do. I tried hard to get myself to accomplish stuff, but it didn't work. 

I had no idea what was wrong.

I thought my auto-immune system issues were acting up again, which they were, but there was something deeper happening as well.

 

Along with the fatigue and lack of motivation, I had an ache in my heart. 

It was a soul ache, the feeling that something is missing from your life but you don't know what. You know only that life hurts like hell, even if everything looks right on the outside.

I hate this feeling. It's confusing, frustrating, and very uncomfortable.

I spent YEARS in this kind of existential pain, and...

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What You Need To Make Your Dream Career Happen

Aug 08, 2019

Dear Imaginative Woman,

The women I work with are stuck in careers which are killing their souls.

They daydream about getting windfalls of cash that would allow them to leave their Dull Gray Cubicle (DGC) jobs and pursue their dream careers.

They want to win the lottery. They want a rich spouse or a philanthropist to give them money. They fantasize about an unknown rich aunt leaving them money in her will.

I had all these fantasies, and more, when I was working in my DGC job. I wanted something or someone to swoop into my life and save me, because I couldn't see a way out on my own.

I didn't want to look for a new job on career websites. That was way too boring and stressful. Plus, I didn't want another job that would just recreate the same pain I was in.

But I didn't know what else to do. If a windfall of cash wasn't coming my way, I believed I was totally stuck.

 

What I know now is that there was a way out, but it didn't...

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You Deserve To Come Alive

Aug 01, 2019

Dear Imaginative Woman,  

Sometimes, we end up in places in life, like in Dull Gray Cubicle jobs, where it feels like our souls are dying.

Whenever this happens, it's time to come alive again, even if your culture has told you differently.

"Oh well, that's life" might be the refrain you hear whenever you complain about your work misery, but that isn't life.

Life is connection to the beating pulse inside of you, and it comes with the feeling of aliveness.

If you don't feel alive, it is time to make a change.

 

You don't need to be stuck in one way of being forever.

This is one of the gifts of being alive.

Each one of us gets to transform.

This is true, even if people don't want you to change.

Even if people think the pursuit of finding yourself is frivolous.

You get to change your mind, change your beliefs, and become a new person.

 

What can you do to come alive?

Often times we wait to do things we enjoy until we feel...

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Is Self-Care Selfish?

Jul 25, 2019

Dear Imaginative Woman,

I'm watching season 4 of Queer Eye this week, and I've been a blubbering mess through each episode. They get me every time!!

I was particularly struck by the first episode, where the Fab 5 made over a high school teacher.

This teacher had devoted her life to the service of others for over 30 years.

She worked late into the night, every night, never taking time for vacations, deep rest, or self-care.

In the episode she said she believed any time spent thinking about herself was selfish.

She was taught in her family and culture of origin that the only way to be not selfish was to be of service to others 100% of the time.

  

This comment struck me deeply, because I love teaching my clients how to nourish their own souls so they can live the lives they're meant to live.

My clients often have the same worries as the school teacher on Queer Eye.

When I ask them to set aside small amounts of time to take care of...

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The Unexpected Solution To Your Misery & Ennui

Jul 19, 2019

Dear Imaginative Woman,

The first big loss of my True Self happened when I was 10.

I remember being on the playground at recess and talking to some girls.

They asked what I had done over the weekend, and I told them.

I had watched Saturday Morning Cartoons: Gummy Bears, Bugs Bunny, Inspector Gadget. You know, the usual.

I was shocked when they all looked at me with derision. Somehow, over the course of a weekend, cartoons become little kid stuff. They were no longer cool, at all.

I was embarrassed and ashamed. After that I started hiding my True Self at school.

I didn't mention watching cartoons again or playing house or doing any of the little kid stuff I loved to do at home.

 

Decades later, when I hit a bottom at my Dull Gray Cubicle job, feeling miserable, bored, and freaking out about my life's purpose, I made my first true concerted effort to find myself again.

As I slowly began to recover, the first sensation I had was I felt like I was becoming who I was...

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