If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably read about my latest project – I’m finally writing my book. Yey!
I’ve been meaning to write a book since 2015, when I journeyed to New York for The Hay House Writer’s Workshop, but my BS excuses got in the way.
‘I’m too busy!’ or ‘It’s too hard!’ or ‘I’m not ready: I’ll wait until I have something more juicy to write about.’Or my inner critic would spitefully tease me: ‘Who do you think you are: Enid Blyton?!’ or ‘You’ll never be good enough to write properly.’
The time is now!
When an email from the funny and superbly creative, Leonie Dawson dropped into my inbox inviting me to her eCourse ’40 Days to a Finished Book’ I knew it was my time. I knew that if I was committed, felt supported and I made it my priority, I would get the job done.
I’m a bit all or nothing like that. So every day, I manually logged my target of 1,000 words and stayed on track. I didn’t want to break my streak or get a chasing email from Leonie. As I reach the finishing line, I can honestly say it’s been one of the most inspiring, motivating and fascinating pieces of work I’ve done. Even better, I’ve learnt so much along the way, including to get stuff done and not get beaten by procrastination.
Let’s make it easier on ourselves!
Here are 10 helpful insights I think will make doing the hardest job in the world – parenting, a little easier.
1 Just Start
“Expecting things to change without putting in any action, is like waiting for a ship at the airport.”
There’s never a right time to do anything – the time is now! What is the Mummying equivalent of ‘Shall I self publish?’ or ‘Where can I find an illustrator for the front cover?’ I feel your pain – there’s an endless to do list for parents (there’s an even bigger list if you’re a recovering perfectionist, control freak or busy-aholic – takes one to know one!)
‘How many of those are urgent, important and necessary?’ I thought as I neatly stacked the loo roll into a pretty shape. Even the ironing looked appealing when there was a blank screen on my laptop winking at me.
Be aware of your BS excuses or distractions
Leonie answered every questions with: ‘BUT are you writing the fucking book?! It was a joke that didn’t get old. One lady even saved her work as ‘The F*cking Book’ as she didn’t have a title…another brilliant BS excuse.
Your brain wants to keep you safe
Your brain will see something new as unknown and potentially dangerous. It doesn’t actually care if you’re happy, so it will rock out some corkers to keep you stuck. Thanks brain, we’re not fighting the demons of the Apocalypse; we’d just like to make some small changes to our lives:-)
2 Just keep swimming
Dory would have been impressed with the steam coming off my keyboard. It took me back to my Maternity Nurse training where we learnt: ‘Sleep begets Sleep!’ or in this case: ‘Momentum builds Momentum!’ I was tempted to give it a miss one day because I wasn’t able to write until 8pm, but 500 words later, I was in the zone and feeling better for it.
Repetition over time builds energy
When you focus your energy on where it should be, little by little, you get what you want. Drops add up to buckets. You don’t even need to have a plan – just keep on keeping on! Or as Leonie would say: ‘Write the f*cking book!’
3 Get in your body
I discovered that being in my body stops my inner critic from firing up. When you’re actually getting sh1t done (and not wondering if you ever will), you’re in your body – not in your head. There’s less air time for BS excuses and you’re showing them who’s boss. Opening up my laptop and typing was all the action I needed. Even if I just typed ‘I don’t know what to write today’ and I typed about something I could see from the window, I was writing.
Procrastination starts when you stand still
4 Step by Step
When I have Zumba on a dark and rainy night, and there’s a tub of Ben and Jerry’s in the freezer, I fill up my water bottle and start to lay out my dance wear on the bed. I get dressed. I put my trainers by the door and put my car keys in my hand. With small steps, I make it to class, and save the ice cream for afterwards!
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase!” Martin Luther King, Jr.
As a survivor of childhood trauma, the amount of sensory information I take in and what I need to know before I try something new or outside of my usual routine is immense. If I can spend the day in my PJs and I don’t have to leave the house, I’m happy. My brain is wired for danger.
Think of it this way: I want to know the ending before I begin watching the film. That way I can keep myself safe. It really helps prevent overwhelm to take things moment to moment or one thing, one day at a time.
5 Let go of any trapped wind
This was my unfortunate analogy of giving my power away to fear. When I sat down to write, there was this uncomfortable feeling in my tummy – like something bad was going to happen. You know that feeling you get before you sit an exam? You don’t know what’s on the paper and you don’t know if you can answer the questions. I didn’t know if and what I was going to write. Would it be any good?
I was afraid to not know the answers, to let go (sorry bad choice of words) and afraid of getting it wrong, or worse still failing. I don’t think that feeling ever goes away for me. So I sit with the fear and do the ONE thing anyway!
Let go of the uncontrollable – you’re not in control of much really. At some point that sneaky little trump is going to slip out! Paarp!
6 Watch your language
I’m not talking about F-bombs, but I’m referring to how you talk to yourself. Remember your brain wants to keep you safe and you might find yourself complaining: ‘It’s so hard! I can’t do it!’
How hard can it be to do ONE thing every day?
Or maybe it is hard. You can do hard things can’t you? Don’t keep feeding your mind unhelpful thoughts. Be encouraging and be on your own team. Your brain believes what you tell it is true and it’s listening.
7 Trust yourself
You’re the captain of your ship and you need to stay with yourself even through choppy waters…without a crystal ball! Life is full of uncertainty and unpredictability. Even with a map, you can lose your way. So, don’t abandon yourself in your hour of need.
Be there for yourself. Make kind, loving choices
Make decisions which are in alignment with your best interests. Trust yourself, you know more than you think you do.
Does your week look like this? Replace the word writer with parent……
8 Get Support
Having a cheerleading Coach and community of like-minded souls by your side is priceless. I took this eCourse with over 500 other budding authors and marinating in that energy was powerful. To see what others were writing about, to read their struggles, celebrate their successes and be in it together made it possible. One lady still managed to write every day as a way to get through her daughter’s thyroid cancer surgery. The group was a cloud of support, an excellent distraction from her fear and it gave her peace. BOOOOOT-I-FUL!
Leonie’s daily videos of made-up songs, comedy one liners and words of wisdom made me laugh and cry. I felt like she really wanted me to ‘Write the f*cking book!’
9 Set Yourself up for Success
BS excuses are sneaky and clever. Especially denial. Your brain wants to be right. So right, in fact, that it will convince you the sky is green or that you don’t need to do it because somehow it will all magically work itself out. Really? Come on now! How old are you? There are no magic fairies and, no knights in shining armour coming to save you. You have to put your big girl pants on and show up for yourself. *wags finger * Are you going to be on your team and believe that you are capable and worthy of succeeding? I jolly well hope so!
As part of the course, Leonie sent us beautiful artwork which I stuck around my writing desk. I could visualise myself finishing the book and I wanted it more than anything.
10 Learn, laugh + have fun
Things often turn out better than expected. It helps if you don’t take yourself or life too seriously. Life is messy, it’s unpredictable and it’s learning on the job. You don’t have to get it right or be perfect, but you do have to show up because you made a promise to yourself and you’re honouring that (see #7). What’s the point in doing anything if you can’t laugh at yourself, enjoy it and learn from it?
Have a go – you can do hard things too
“Just because you’re struggling, you’re not failing!”
I’m sure you say this to your kids a lot ‘You DON’T know if you like it until you try. Just one spoonful for me…..’ as you push broccoli towards their cherub like lips. *sigh* Yes, and now I’m saying it to you!
Now it’s your turn!
I was so inspired by this experience, that I’ve created a similar one for you. And it’s gonna be better than broccoli!
In my practical eBook, ’30 Days to Rediscover the Magic of Parenting’, I coach you to prioritise the important stuff for little pockets of time consistently.
It’s well worth it as you can see from the results here. The Mums who gave it a go were pleasantly surprised.
What would happen if you chose to do it differently?
What if you prioritised the important stuff for 30 days? I’m helping Magical Mamas like you get shit done as a live coaching eCourse starting on 1st May, simply click here for all the details.