I am doing Story-A-Day May this year. It’s Julie’s 10th anniversary year! Go Julie!
I am also challenging myself (once again) to create MAYbe 20 Monsters in May. You can follow me on Instagram to see all of my monsters but here’s the very first one. You can also feel free to join me in drawing monsters. Just use the hashtag #MAYbe20Monsters
I wish you ease and I wish you self-kindness.
PS – If you don’t know where to start, start anywhere. You will figure it out.
Creative activities are self-care all on their own but, in this class, we’ll be taking things up a notch.
Everywhere you turn, someone is reminding you to practice self-care.
You know that it is important but, when you get very stressed, it’s hard to remember what things help you to feel calmer and help you to take positive actions. Sometimes, you even end up feeling guilty for not being able to practice self-care.
In ‘Create a Self-Care Guidebook’ we’ll work together to create a guidebook for your personal self-care. I’ll walk you through examples and we’ll talk about ideas and then we’ll dive into creating your own ‘menu’ of self-care – practices and ideas that let you reduce stress and increase your feeling of well-being.
After the session, you’ll take your guidebook home with you so you can refer to it to remind yourself of the things you need on a daily, weekly, or emergency basis.
This course will NOT include any blaming or shaming. There will be no critique of your planned practices, and your needs will be respected and honoured.
The Create a Self-Care Guidebook course will be held on Saturday, February 22 from 10am-12pm and the cost is $25 (which includes supplies.) Location: The Annex (next to Admiralty House Museum in Mount Pearl)
To join this course, please register by filling out this form and then email/Paypal your course fee to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ChristineComments Off on Everyday Creativity Course
Creative people have more fun.
Creative people are good problem-solvers.
Creative people see the world in a different way.
And, good news, YOU are a creative person.
Whether you make art every day, you wish you were making more art, or even if you don’t feel all that creative but you wish you were, I have some fun planned for us in the weeks ahead.
My Everyday Creativity course is a series of daily suggestions for ways to experience the world in a more creative way, taking tiny steps to have a bit more fun.
These practices won’t be huge and they won’t take you a lot of time. I don’t even expect you to do every practice and I don’t expect you to show up every day.
But, on every day that you practice, you will be creating a little bit of extra space for yourself in your own life.
And, I really hope you can find time for that regularly.
You can do this course in two ways – I can send you daily emails with your prompts or you can join our Everyday Creativity Facebook group and I will post the prompt there.*
Either way, we can chat about what you are doing and I will give you a gold star for every time you try a prompt. (Notice, I didn’t say ‘complete’ a prompt – effort counts more than results with me)
Over the 33 days, you will begin to expand your ideas around creativity and make a habit of noticing interesting things in the world around you.
At the end of this course, you will have lowered your bar for success with creativity and found more fun in the process.
Everyday Creativity will run from February 29-April 1 and the cost is $29 CDN.
If you are interested in working with me to expand your creative practice, please click here to fill out the registration form and you can email or Paypal your course fee to email@example.com.
Can’t wait until February 29?
The course doesn’t officially start until the 29th but I will start adding interesting things and start coaching people in the Facebook group and via email on February 14th, so if you register before the 29th, you can have access to that early material right away!
*The prompts will not be huge artistic challenges. Some days, you will just be asked to note every time to see a certain colour, other times you might have to doodle or perhaps sing along with a song. There will always be an option to try something more comfortable. I am all about expanding comfort zones – I will never push anyone outside of theirs.
ChristineComments Off on Stop Thinking & Write Workshop
Do you wish you could stop THINKING and just get some writing done?
If you’re reading this, you probably want to start writing.
Or maybe you want to get back to some writing you have already started.
Or, perhaps you feel a bit stuck, or you think you have no ideas, or you are afraid your writing won’t be any good.
Maybe your brain is full of thoughts that feature the word SHOULD.*
Would you be surprised to learn that most, if not all, writers feel all of those things sometimes?
Whether you have never written a word or you are stuck on the last chapter of your epic novel, there are a lot of reasons why you might be struggling with your writing.
If you have been struggling and not making any progress, it’s time to take some action.
And I would like to help.
In ‘Stop Thinking and Write,’ I combine a writing class and a creativity coaching session to help kind to yourself while you find some ease around the writing process.
This is not a boot camp, it’s not write-or-else, and it’s not ‘you must get published now.’
Instead, we will talk our way through some common writing challenges and how we can gently ease past them.
We’ll find ways to address the obstacles that end up between us and our writing.
And, we’ll find the easiest, kindest, most straightforward way for you to get your ideas on paper.
I’m not going to tell you to write every day. I’m not going make you read your writing aloud.
(I will invite you to try some writing exercises but I won’t make you do them!)
The writers who attend my Stop Thinking and Write workshops leave energized and hopeful, with a plan about how they can keep writing and keep being kind to themselves.
If that sounds good to you, please join me in the upcoming sessions:
In Person: Sunday, February 23 from 1-4PM – $33 CDN
Online: Saturday, February 29 1-2:30PM, (Newfoundland Time) – $26 CDN
To register, please fill out this form and email/Paypal your registration fee to firstname.lastname@example.org
PS – The shape of this course is very responsive to the needs of the participants so it changes every time. If you took this course ages ago but you need a little writing self-kindness booster shot, I guarantee that you’ll get something new out of it this time.
*Blech! I hate that word!
Writing can be the easiest or the trickiest thing in the world – it all depends on how our brains are approaching the task.
ChristineComments Off on New Habit? Start Small…No, Smaller Than That, Please.
I realized yesterday that I have a bit of a flaw in my approach to something.
I often tell my clients (and myself) to start small when building a habit.
Then, almost invariably, the ‘small’ thing we pick as step one ends up being too large to be sustainable.
I think that’s because we are thinking of the size of the step relative to the goal as opposed to relative to where we are now. So, in comparison to the huge goal, the step might seem small but compared to doing nothing, the step is huge.
Let me give you an example.
Imagine you want to make reading a daily habit and you pick a 250 page book to start.
If you decide to read a page a day, it seems like a very small part of that 250 page book.
However, when you are going from not reading at all to trying to fit some reading into your day, a page might be ambitious. The difference between no reading and reading a whole page might feel HUGE.
And you might try it for a few days, with varying success, and then end up dropping the project.
But, what about if you decided to read one SENTENCE per day?
Sure, that feels impossibly small, ridiculous even, but the point here is to build the habit. You want to put a placeholder in your day where you will, at some point, do a fair bit of reading.
But today is not that ‘fair bit of reading’ day, today is the ‘start to build a habit’ day.
So even though it feels like it will take you FOREVER to read a book at that pace, that’s not the point. The PRACTICE is the point.
Returning, over and over, to reading on a daily basis will help you establish the habit.
But returning to that practice relies on you choosing a small enough first step.
That means looking at a small step from HERE not looking at a relatively small part of the big project.
What’s something that you want to achieve but you haven’t been able to fit into your schedule?
If you are like me, you were probably trying to save a huge space for it to happen instead of creating (and later expanding) a small space for it..
So, instead of looking at a percentage of the big project from the end point, can you see what a small part looks like from the starting line?
Can you identify what is one tiny bit better than doing nothing?
And then, can you make a tiny space for that tiny thing for the next few days?
PS – If you pick a tiny step, you get to cross it off your list fairly quickly for the day. However, some days you will be able to do more than that tiny step and that’s okay, as long as you remember that all you MUST do is that tiny thing. Whether you read a line or a chapter, it counts, so you can go easy on yourself. I do suggest, though, that you start with the tiny step for a few days before letting yourself forge ahead beyond that step – I want you to feel encouraged by your progress!
PPS – This post was inspired by reading an advance review copy of Daphne Gray-Grant’s new book Your Happy First Draft. The book hasn’t been released yet but I will be sharing a review once it is out (short spoiler – it’s fantastically helpful.) She discusses the importance of starting with very small steps, how to pick those steps, and how that helps build a habit. I wanted to share my ideas about *why* I always end up picking such big first steps but I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you how I came to be thinking about the subject right now in the first place.
ChristineComments Off on Put It Aside – keeping a pop-up thought from distracting you from your work
Do you find that, when you sit down to work, your brain ‘helpfully’ churns up all kinds of other things you could (or should) be working on?
Or gives you answers to problems you were trying to solve earlier?
Or maybe it sends new ideas for projects? Reminders of things to do later? Cool things to investigate?
I’m sure there is a very good reason why brains do this.
Maybe they are protecting us from the intensity of the work we are about to do.
Or, perhaps it is afraid that the project won’t turn out the way you hope.
Or maybe your brain is just bored with having to focus at the moment.
No matter *why* it is happening, I want to make sure that you don’t tell yourself a negative story about it.
Let’s just take the facts of the matter.
When we sit down to work, our minds fill up with distracting thoughts.
We need a way to stay on task.
We *could* expend a lot of energy fighting off the churning thoughts or we could surrender a little bit.
Oddly, I was setting this up just to take a photo but, in the process, a distracting thought occurred to me so I flipped the card and wrote it down.
I’m not advising letting your brain lead you off into the various rabbit holes of the internet, I’m suggesting a way for you to get the thought out of your brain and quickly return to the task at hand.
WRITE IT DOWN.
Yep, that’s it.
Keep a little notebook, a piece of paper, or an index card, next to your work and whenever a distracting thought pops up, write it down and promise your brain you will return to it later.
You could even set a reminder to check the paper later – just so your brain really trusts that you will return to the list of ideas.
Taking this approach means that you can learn to focus on your work while during your work time. That focus will keep your work from spilling over into your play time and your rest time – and more rest and play is VERY good for you.
Be Kind to Yourself
Yes, it will take some practice to get used writing things down like this.
You will be better at it on some days than on others.
Sometimes you will be annoyed when you emerge out of the rabbit hole and you’ll ask yourself why the hell you didn’t write things down instead.
Those things are all okay. They don’t MEAN anything about who you are or what you are capable of – they just give you information about where you are at the moment, the struggles you are facing, or (maybe) changes you may need to make. That’s totally fine – that’s just information, not a reason to be hard on yourself.
NOTE: Being hard on yourself never works. It seems like it is going to but it just ends up making you feel bad. You don’t need that.
You don’t have to be ‘disciplined’, you don’t have to beat yourself up about it, you don’t need to tell yourself a story about why it happens and what it means, you just need to work on a solution.
Even if it takes lots of practice, it’s worth finding a way to focus on your work.
You have important things to say and to do in this world and a little bit of notepaper might just help you get to it.
By the way, this ‘Put It Aside’ approach also helps you keep your inner editor quiet when you’re writing. When a ‘fix this’ thought or a ‘you shouldn’t be writing that’ thought pops up – write it down and come back to it later.
I am definitely not one of those people who is all caught up in ‘Just think POSITIVELY, it will all work out.”
I do think that finding the positives in almost any situation will help…eventually. But I think it is a terrible idea to tell someone in pain or in crisis to just look on the bright side!
However, there often reaches a point in a stressful situation where a perspective shift, or a useful action to complete, can help you to feel a bit better about the whole thing.
An Small Example, with rain
Even though I didn’t have any stressful feelings about this, I did notice a distinct perspective shift on my feelings towards the rain when it woke me up at 5:50am today.
My friend G absolutely LOVES the rain and her love for it has changed my view on it a bit. I’m not a rain-hater but until I heard about her love for it, it didn’t occur to me that you could really ENJOY it. Because of her, when it rains, I take an extra minute to think about how it might be GOOD.
When the intense rain jolted me out of sleep yesterday morning, at first I was annoyed and then I thought ‘G would be so happy to hear this.’ Imagining her lovely smile brought a smile to my face, and I immediately grabbed my phone to capture the video below so I could share it with her.
Taking the video make the rain seem less annoying, and thinking of sharing it with G actually made it feel a bit positive.
Take from that what you will but I like having found a way to enjoy the rain a bit more.
I’m going to try to apply the lesson of the rain in other contexts, too. (I know, I know, I can hear you saying, “Of COURSE, you will, Christine.”)