Finding My Power

News Flash: Natalie Marie is the winner of Edith’s author apron and cover flat. Congratulations, Natalie – please check your email!

Liz here. About a month ago, I was stuck. In both life and writing. I had about four thousand words written for my Cat Cafe book two, which is due at the end of August. And I had no creative juices flowing whatsoever. No desire to even pick up the computer.

A problem, right? The clock was ticking and the to-do list was piling up. So I did what anyone else would do. I found a new podcast series to listen to.

I wasn’t in the mood to listen to my normal crime podcasts. Instead, I found one called Adventures in Happiness, hosted by Jessica Ortner of The Tapping Solution. It was just what I needed – fun topics and fun guests. One of the people on the show was a Feng Shui expert.

I’d always liked Feng Shui, but another area where I was stuck was with my living space. I hadn’t really made it mine yet, and didn’t quite know how to get there. Which I assumed was contributing to my creativity problems. So I checked out this person’s website and decided to do a consult.

After my first conversation and a few quick-hit adjustments, I was surprised at how much better I was not only feeling, but how things were starting to flow. I added 11K words that first week, and managed to make my place feel a lot more homey by simply moving some things around, changing some colors and adding a few touches like plants and flowers.

But the best part? I started committing to doing positive things for myself every day that not only helped keep me in my creative flow, but actually shifted me into a place of power that I can channel into all areas of my life. Simple things every morning like a workout, a meditation, reading something new, taking a few minutes to nurture relationships, both with myself and others – all these things helped get me out of my funk and into a better place.

Dyer Quote

There’s a whole list of things that I tackle every morning – well, most mornings – but here are my top three that make the most difference:

  1. Journaling – I’ve written about morning pages before. I’m a huge fan. It’s all about getting the garbage out of my head and onto the page so it’s not festering and driving me crazy. With this new process, it’s about taking something that may seem negative, finding the lesson in it, then identifying how to apply it in all areas of life. Really cool.
  2. Meditation – I’ve been working at this for the last year, and I’ve improved a lot. Now I’m making a point of doing it every day, twice when I can. I feel the results.
  3. Workouts – I’d gotten out of the habit of doing a workout most days, and I felt it. I tend to fall into the trap of thinking that if I’m not doing an hour-long, high intensity workout, it doesn’t count. Wrong. Some days, I do a 30-minute on-demand class. Others I do yoga at my studio. Sometimes, I take an extra long walk with Shaggy and it’s my workout. And it all works. I feel energized, and I don’t feel guilty when I have some potato chips 🙂

And the best part? I’m writing every morning before the day job, so I can go into my day feeling accomplished. And if I get back to the computer at night for more, it’s just gravy. If I don’t, well, I already hit my word count for the day. And how cool is that?

I may even make this deadline without the drama this time…

Readers, do you have any habits that help you navigate life in a more positive way? Leave a comment!

35 thoughts on “Finding My Power

  1. I love this post, Liz. As a writer with a full-time day job, it can be easy to fall into a routine that’s counterproductive and zaps the creative juices. I use travel breaks to recharge. I find that spending time outdoors–hiking or at the beach–and writing somewhere with a view of the woods or mountains helps. I’m going to employ some of your techniques for the day-to-day, though. I think being more deliberate about how to spend my morning minutes, and using some of those minutes to do positive things for myself, would be a welcome change. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Write every day at 7:00 o’clock! I also meditate every day. I have also found that a quick, 10-minute guided meditation can reset my head when I am working on multiple projects. Like the morning pages, it clears out the junk. My other for-myself activity is going outdoors for 20 minutes in the sun (if it’s around!) every day for Vitamin D. Great post, Liz. We should all think of ourselves and our needs, and how to make a habit of addressing them, every day.

  3. I no longer have a day job, but still maintain the writing in the morning routine. VERY early. Sometimes three or four AM. Used to be an ad copy writer though, so missing deadlines is out of the question, no matter what!

  4. I’m so glad you found ways to get unstuck and get healthier in the process, dear Liz. My daily walk at around eleven is very important to my well being AND my writing. I’m always writing with Ramona and gang at seven. Accountability helps. But I could use a few general health reboots – will think on that.

  5. I’m not a writer, but I have a must-do routine every morning no matter what. I have daily reading books that start out my day to help me focus on what is really important. They are my emotional, mental, and spiritual grounding that kicks off the day with a positive start. No exceptions! I’ve carried those books on a trek up to 16,000 feet and read them by flashlight in a tent on a cold, dark rainy morning. The day started with a positive mindset and continued from there on.

  6. Great post, Liz—and glad you’re hitting your stride with the new book! I agree totally about doing positive things and keeping positive attitude and looking out for yourself. I find that it’s too easy to put myself last and everyone else first—coworkers’ needs, students’ needs, etc.—and occasionally shifting focus to what I need to get done for myself is key. As I said in my guest post here a while back (and thanks again for hosting me!) I’m not able to write every day (see above, putting everyone else first) but when I do carve out time to write for myself, I feel better, and a little bit of reading for myself or a walk or whatever helps too. Thanks for the inspiring post!

    • Thanks, Art! It was important for me to learn that doing some of these things for myself first isn’t being selfish – it’s actually allowed me to be better about doing things for others because I don’t feel as drained or pressed for time thinking about my own list.

  7. Inspiring post! Lately I’ve picked up a hobby I let slide for far too long – counted cross stitch and each morning I spend about 15 minutes stitching. I think what I get out of it (besides a sampler) is that the time spent is totally focused on the stitching because I have to pay attention to what I’m doing and my mind can’t wander. It’s helped settled my mind. There’s a lot of dialogue and ideas racing through there. LOL. Glad that you’ve found something to help and it would be nice not to be so stressed at deadline time.

  8. Love this post, and I’m so happy for you that things are looking up. Your progress is inspiring. Prayer is the biggest part of my routine, along with daily spiritual readings, walks, and meditation. Oh, and dancing and podcasts propel me through the day, too! (It would be fun to see a Wicked Cozy Authors post on everyone’s favorite podcasts — not necessarily writing related — if you haven’t already done that.)

  9. Liz, your post is timely for me because I’ve always had the idea in the back of my head to be better about self-care (and, of course, never got around to it). I’m grateful you shared your tips because I know, after this past year, that I can’t let reducing anxiety and self-care stay just an idea – I have to implement it.

    I tried to take up crocheting. With The Girl heading off to college in two years I wanted to be able to make a few things for her to take with her but, alas, (outside of writing) I’m not really good with my hands.

    I suppose the only real piece of advice I have to give is something I’ve been doing for a few weeks to help reduce my anxiety that morphed from Liz Gilbert’s Big Magic.

    “You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice. But you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps, or suggest detours. You’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.”

    So when anxiety hits and I start to spiral into ever worse scenarios I just tell myself, “Fear is lying to you, Anxiety. It is a big, fat liar and that is why we don’t let Fear be in charge. So we’re taking the keys back and Love gets to drive.” (That stems from a wonderful piece of advice Quincy Jones gave his daughter to “Always make decisions from Love and never Fear.”)

    It’s not one and done and I may have to do it forever but it does seem to be helping. 🙂

    • Aimee, that’s so important and a lesson I’ve been trying to beat into my own head. Gabby Bernstein does a lot of work on this too and I’ve been reading The Universe Has Your Back – awesome book with a lot of tips to help conquer this!

  10. Wonderful post, Liz, and so timely for me. A couple of months ago, I was in the same place, stuck in every way, and not feeling well besides. Then Malice happened, and I was renewed professionally, connected with old and new friends, made plans to shift work around a bit to give me more flexibility for writing. That same week, I met with my homeopathic doc (I’m big into that) who set me on a better path physically. I arrived back home and vowed to put gardening back into every day in some way, an activity that restores peace to my soul through exercise plus meditation in a lovely setting. A 10,000 step goal every day rounds out the wellness plan. I feel more energized and can purposefully move through the day rather than drifting. Oh, and I recently chose new paint colors for two rooms. I’m hitting the writing targets and feel so much better about all of it. Friends, gardening, peace, and wellness, all help us reach whatever goals we have for ourselves.

  11. I love this post! Thanks for the podcast suggestion–will add it to my list. I also like your 3 items in the AM. I am rebooting this week, and will add that routine. LOVE that your morning pages have extra meaning. So cool!

    RE the deadline, you’ve got this!

  12. So happy to hear you are doing so well. And wow with the work counts. The only thing I try to live by is this – always love with all your heart, live with happiness, spend time with those you love and let them know how you feel every day.
    Also be kind to everyone as you do not know what they are going through.
    My life has been happy since I took this way of living a long time ago, even in the face of chronic illness, losing my home and everything and gaining my family and friends and the love I receive every day. Tyler (my dog) helps with that as well.

  13. Liz, what a great post! I love that you are so clear about making changes when you see the need for them! I have a habit of reviewign my yearly goals and then planning my quarter, month and days down from there each Sunday morning. My husband and I do this together whenever he is home on Sundays and it has made a tremendous difference in my life and our life together.

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