The brain likes questions. It tinkers with them, explores them, takes them apart, puts them back together again. Questions are intriguing. When things close in and you feel trapped with no way out, when all you want is some space, or when everything is either imploding or exploding, here’s how can use them to create pockets of calm.
Choose at least 3 of the following questions. Read the question, set a timer for at least 60 seconds, and then follow the instructions for that question.
Rejection is part of living and working, and especially for writers. Since we can’t avoid it, we need a way of recovering quickly and moving on without it hindering us from going forward.
I’m not a fussy person and find fussy people to be irritating. I was educated by nuns who considered fidgeting and whispering to be mortal offenses. As a child, I chaffed against what I believed were unnecessary and mean restrictions on my freedom. Lately, however, I have found comfort when I allow for pockets of quiet and stillness — when the frenetic pace of modern life and technology are silenced — so I build these micro-moments into my life.
Do nothing. Turn off all notifications and electronic devices. Place your hands on your lap and resist the temptation to fidget…
I’ve become a lover of short-form articles and have contributed many of them to several publications, especially The Short Form publication, edited by two top writers Tom Fenske and Burk. As a long-haul freelance writer and editor who’s written a fair share of executive summaries and abstracts, I’ve always known that writing short pieces was harder than longer pieces. But when the limit is a mere 150 words, harder becomes hardest, yet I also have found that writing within constraints can improve writing skills overall.
We often view constraints as something bad, something that restricts our freedom. Yet when it…
I’m not much of a napper, even as a kid, I hated nap time. However, there is one situation where I have found a short nap to be helpful: when I’m stressed, overwhelmed, or don’t know how to handle something challenging. My logical, analytical abilities have escaped me, and the harder I poke at the situation, the more I flounder around, adding to my misery. Sound familiar?
Instead of trying to force a remedy, we need to step back and let it go, especially if our brain insists on wrestling with it. The only solution is to take a nap…
Freelance success relies on our ability to regularly create quality articles, but for some of us, coming up with new ideas to write about is challenging. Even if we’re an idea machine, there are times when our creativity dries up. Those days we need a ready-to-use reservoir of topics we can draw from, but having just a shopping list of ideas often doesn’t provide me with enough motivation to get started.
I created a template I can use as a foundation. This lets me pull up the template and dive in without too much thinking and procrastinating. I find that…
Comparing yourself to other writers is a valid tool for improvement; you can learn a lot by reading and following writers who know how to write.
When you discover a good writer, don’t compare your work to theirs. Instead, study how they handle words, sentence structures, the turn of a phrase, and more. Dissect what makes the writing good to learn how to improve your own work. Avoid mimicking them; always let your uniqueness come through your writing.
Never use comparisons to tear yourself down; instead, use them to build yourself up, and don’t be led astray by bright, shiny stuff like stats and earnings. They may be higher than yours, but they also may be less a reflection of quality writing than of the writer’s ability to market themselves and their work. Numbers don’t always equate to quality.
“Moral: There are no substitutes for the best.” — William Zinsser
“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” — Virginia Satir
Shortly after my sister and best friend died, I ran into a neighbor in the lobby of my building. She never said a word; she just hugged me tightly. I’ll never forget that silent gesture of caring, and when I feel sad, I remember the feeling of being held by her. Just held.
Many of us were raised to be independent thinkers, solve our own problems, and keep up the American version of a stiff upper lip. We have a “just-get-on-with-it” attitude. Take action. Any action. It makes no sense and does no good to wallow in misery or confusion. Or does it?
Sometimes wallowing is the right thing to do. Maybe not in the literal sense of lying or rolling around slowly in sand, mud, or hay, so I’m not encouraging you to find a mudhole and get down with it. But as a metaphor, wallowing may be good for us. Instead of trying to “address, fix, solve, or force something,” our best action may be to lean into it and take no action. More than one problem has been solved after a spa day or trip to the beach.
When in doubt, wallow.