Tag Archives: inspiriation

3 Tips to Help Crawl out of the Creative Dumps

creative dumpsThere’s a pile of dishes in the sink. The bed hasn’t been made. There are a stack of bills on my desk that I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to pay. “I need to shower,” is a relevant thought but currently I’m sitting in the middle of the floor, legs crossed, laptop on my lap with a Final Draft document open – completely white except for the blinking white cursor in the top right corner. The cursor refuses to move. There are a million thoughts in my head, scenes that play in regular rotation but can’t seem to make their way from my brain to my fingers and into the document. This is the story of a writer, and how so often the hardest part of being a writer is, well, writing.

My Year of Intent was to finish my first screenplay. My goal is to have a first draft by my 25th birthday (July 4th, if you want to set off an extra set of fireworks for me, that’d be cool). I want so badly to be able to say I wrote my first script by the time I was 25. It’s an over-achiever thing. The problem is that it’s really hard and I’m behaving very much like an under-achiever, which is something really difficult for me to deal with. I’ve had really good training on how to get things done – to make schedules, deadlines, to burn the midnight oil so that it happens – but this is different. This is personal so I want it to be perfect which means I edit myself as the scenes come instead of writing them down. I am convinced that all of them won’t work before they’re even born. The truth is you have to write everything down. If it doesn’t work you can delete it but if you don’t put it down then nothing really exists. The internal struggle has created a bit of a creative depression. Or it’s quite possible that it’s an all around depression at this point. It seems a lot easier to stay in bed than to write. I’ll put those dishes in the dishwasher at some point. Right now, I feel the need to rest in a fetal position and tell myself a few hundred more times how much I suck because this isn’t getting done. I’ve been told this is a thing that happens to a lot of writers.

It’s been my experiences that these pot holes happen to everyone when they’re working towards something big. You get stuck, and the exhaustion from spinning your wheels can put you in a funk. The important thing is that you have to get yourself out of those holes. The dishes are still in the sink, but I did manage to finish the first act of my screen play, so it’s possible. Here are my tips for pulling yourself out of the creative funk.

1. Take That Shower – This sounds like basic information, but it’s important especially if you are working from home. The appeal of rolling out of bed and sitting down at your laptop in your pajamas is so hard to overcome. Next thing you know it’s 7pm and there’s no point in showering because what would you change into? More pajamas. Make yourself get out of bed, take a shower, put on CLEAN clothes (yes, this means you have to do laundry. UGH I know). Eat some breakfast. These basic routines are part of a full robust wake up system. They make you more alert and prepared. They make you feel like a real human instead of a creative zombie on a hamster wheel. I’m not kidding – making yourself wear real pants has an amazing effect on your outlook. It also makes it more likely that people will want to be around you because B.O. is awful.

2. Set Deadlines – The problem with self-appointed goals is just that – they’re self-appointed. That means the goal post can move whenever you decide. Stop that. Set incremental goals and then give yourself a timeline in which it has to be done. My friend and Intent partner in crime MeLissa told me about her brilliant system of asking herself when she thinks she can get something done in a reasonable amount of time, and then she sets a deadline of three days earlier. So if you think it’s going to take two weeks to get something done, tell yourself you really have 10 to make it happen. Set up a penalty if it doesn’t happen. Didn’t get that draft done? Bye bye potato chips. Page count wasn’t met? I guess I’ll be DVR’ing Mad Men this week. Decided not to write at all today/this week? Haha, oh buddy, those plans to see Captain America this weekend just went down the toilet, congrats! When something is at stake you are more willing to keep the ball moving. I’m fortunate enough to have a great screenwriting teacher that’s been coaching me through the process – which brings me to the next thing!

3. Find a Hero/Coach/Inspiring Person  – This can take a lot of forms. For me, it’s Jon Bernstein. He teaches the classes I’m taking to help get this done (I realized that having grown up an academic nerd, literally making writing this screenplay homework was the best way to get me going). He is the loveliest person and super encouraging and his praise is like dancing in a rainstorm of sunshine and rainbows and candy. I feel like Eve the robot in Wall-E when she boots up in the sun whenever he tells me that I’ve done a good job, or that something I’ve written is funny or makes sense. On the downside, when he gives notes and it turns out I’m not his favorite thing about Earth I don’t know how to handle it. When I first started his class I barely had an outline, but I managed to improv my way through a log line and basic plot points. Then I had to given him a detailed description of my Act I plan and he wasn’t impressed. To be fair, I was still winging it and hadn’t really done the work. He told me he wasn’t compelled by the ending and there was no reason to keep watching the movie if that’s how I was going to do it. Um, what? This was life shattering news to me and the worst part was he was right. Everything he said rang true and that was worse. I could have thrown in the towel then because writers are sensitive and clearly if my rough outline of things I was planning to write was crap then there was no hope for me. But…I need Jon Bernstein to love me, because I respect him and trust his advice. So instead of giving up, I sat down at my desk and I wrote. I changed almost everything I had up until that point. Created new things. Broke up my darlings that were supposed to kiss at the end, made them miserable (because that’s what movies are until the end!) and I felt better for doing so. I felt more creative.

And that’s what a good coach does. Stephen King calls them an “ideal reader” but it’s the person who keeps you on track. They pop your ego balloon when you’re floating too high on praise instead of work. They are the ones that remind you that you are capable and brilliant when you’re down in that hole. Find your Jon Bernsteins. Find the people that are going to push you to that finish line because the most important lesson in all of this is that no one ever really gets there by themselves. (And again, it’s why showers are important).

Plus, I have to imagine that it’s sweeter to have people to celebrate with at the finish line.

Empower Your Intents with These Motivational Social Media Accounts

motivational social mediaBy Elizabeth Eckhart

The holidays are long gone and the rush of the New Year is steadily drifting by, which means that the motivation to accomplish all of our new goals for 2014 might be declining. If the weather hasn’t brought you down, perhaps it’s the stress of work and school, or family concerns that have got you worried. Luckily, social media has become an excellent tool for spreading inspiration left and right, just when you need it most. No matter what your goals are, whether fitness, meditation, scoring that new job or graduating with straight A’s, we’ve found the most popular, and appreciated, motivational social media accounts, as well as the most discussed tools that will encourage you daily. So when you’re feeling down, check out some of the motivational sources we found using social media tool ViralHeat below, and continue paving your way through your good intentions!

Twitter Accounts to Follow

Fitness Motivation (@BeFitMotivation)

fitness motivationWith over a million followers, Fitness Motivation must be doing something right. The account encourages healthy eating, clean living, and constantly shares pictures of success stories. Better yet, they even include quick, on-the-go and at-home workouts for the busy bees out there. Their motivational quotes are also positive messages, no body-shaming allowed there. After a thorough search, it seems that the main message is to aim to be your best self, and that the short-cuts (such as unhealthy fad diets and questionable supplements) are NOT appreciated. Bonus, they have an Instagram account, too: @BeFitPhotos

Daily Motivation (@wisdomsquote)

Screen shot 2014-02-27 at 9.09.09 AM

Daily motivation is exactly what it claims to be — a Twitter account that aggregates as many motivational quotes as it can find. Some are familiar sayings, and some are new, but all of them will integrate themselves into your feed to keep you pushing through your day. The account tweets at least a few pictures a day as well of inspiration role models from Buddha to Albert Einstein and Bruce Lee. Trending topics on the page are mental strength, determination, and courage. Warning: following this account might give you the bravery to achieve everything you put your mind to (as well as a few nifty pictures to pin up by your desk).

Inspirational Book

59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman

If Alfred A. Knopf, who published both Julia Child and John Cheever, once promoted the work, then this book deserves to be called phenomenal. A self-help book to decode all previous self-help books, this inspirational guide is written by an actual psychologist and professor, which sounds much more promising and helpful than someone who found success through their own personal path and hopes others can do the same. Professor Wiseman helps you promote change in minutes, to create habits that will last years, based on knowledge of the human behavior and brain power all of us possess. The best part? It’s a quick read, so convincing yourself to give a try won’t take that much motivation at all. Click here for his book talk. 

Pinterest

These Pinterest accounts will knock out any connotations that this site is primarily used for wedding planning and DIY crafts. In fact, these accounts are all dedicated to achieving goals on a larger scale, with helpful pictures, quotes, and videos to achieve them.

Inspiration {Video}: Inspiration video is exactly what it claims to be — a collection of videos from Youtube and other sources that will leave you itching to accomplish your goals. Pin it on your own board, or simply sift through the page and watch them all, it’s up to you! The wildly popular “Move” video, inspiration for any traveler out there, is one of the quickest and best!

Career Inspiration: Hoping to achieve your dream job, or know you need to make moves at your current position and show just how great you really are? This page is for you! Pin it to your Pinterest board, but better yet pin it to your bulletin board, your mirror in the morning, your desktop at the office.. the possibilities are endless! A personal favorite is this quote: Dreams don’t work, unless YOU do!

Ideas: Ideas is the help-all, inspire-all Pinterest page that addresses everything from physical health to soul and spiritual well-being. You never know exactly what you’ll find as you scour the page, but chances are at least one image or video will give you exactly the kick in the butt you need to move forward, move on, and start achieving.

Of course, at the end of the day, one of the most inspiring places to be is right here on Intent.com and Intent Blog! Use these motivational tools to set your own intents and inspire others!

Elizabeth Eckhart is a Chicago born and bred blogger who is passionate about keeping the environment clean. Some of her favorite writing topics include new renewable energy technology and various ways to live a healthy lifestyle. 

The Universe Only Hears the ‘I am’

During a conversation with someone earlier they expressed that they were unhappy in life. They spoke of struggling with judgment. As the conversation progressed and the questions flew I confirmed what I suspected – they resonated with the idea of acceptance and yet were struggling to understand what that meant. And more significantly, to my mind at least, they were not clear about what they wanted – they did not have a vision for themselves, their life.

Dr. James Golden wisely suggests that, "When we are judgemental the universe shines the light…and only hears ‘I am.’" The problem with living in judgement is that we are thinking judgemental thoughts. But what does that mean?

For me central to understanding this meaning is a belief that my thinking creates the effects around me. This is made possible by the Universe having empowered me to create. The way I create stems from how I think. If I am thinking thoughts of judgement, I am focusing my energy of creation on this idea. This becomes a vicious circle, for it is likely that we believe we do not like what we judge and then get caught up seeing more of the effect that we judge, and so on until we are consumed with effects around us that we do not like.

Making judgements about health, money, relationships, or how people express themselves has a lack of acceptance at its core. Acceptance is to me one of the most precious gifts I can give. If I accept you I am honouring my own process of creation by thinking about what is good in you, and hopefully finding ways to see your light.

Let us consider this idea another way – it is not known whether it is a good or bad experience to be poor, or suffer from a terminal disease. How can anyone with a finite mind possibly comprehend an Infinitely big picture? We can never know enough about this big picture. And if this is valid as a statement, how can our judgement of a condition or effect possibly serve us? The person who believes that with one look they can assess a condition of someone, such as how poor they are, and understand the life work on the part of the person they are judging is I would suggest is not being truthful with themselves.

In short, if we cannot know the purpose and reason for the life-work of someone we are judging, then surely judgement is one of the most futile things we can do? Not only am I introducing a thought about an idea (that the Universe inserts "I am" in front of), but I am also trying to do something that is far beyond the capabilities my finite mind!

A part of my reason for writing this blog was an effort on my part to process this conversation. The question of ‘what do you want in life?’ is an important one. I am wondering if judging others is not a distraction from the dissatisfaction in our own lives. If the art of life is partly about looking to our own thinking then surely it’s in my best interests to spend as much energy about thinking about what I want and how I will create it as is practical? And given the time we allow ourselves, do we really want to spend time in thinking about the conditions of others?

Or to put it much more strongly, judgement is quite frankly a waste of time. There is value in discernment. Showing an understanding of something is worthy. Understanding leads to knowledge, which is what wisdom is built upon. However, if you are trying to disguise judgement as discernment but are finding your thinking fixated on an effect I would suggest that you should enquire as to where your thinking is straying, and what you are creating for yourself.

Perhaps the litmus test for this is, if I am struggling to accept something, why? What is there in me to learn from this struggle? I’d like to quote a Wikipedia definition on Psychological Projection:

Psychological projection or projection bias (including Freudian Projection) is the unconscious act of denial of a person’s own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, such as to the weather, the government, a tool, or to other people. Thus, it involves imagining or projecting that others have the same feelings or motives, rather than what they really think.

Projection is considered one of the most profound and subtle of human psychological processes, and extremely difficult to work with, because by its nature it is hidden. It is the fundamental mechanism by which we keep ourselves uninformed about ourselves.

The line that jumps out at me; “It is the fundamental mechanism by which we keep ourselves uninformed about ourselves.” The next time you see something in the world that you feel called to judge or deny, ask yourself, what exactly does this have to do with yourself?

Copyright (C) 2010, Carmien Owen

Reasons Not to Diet in 2010

You may be making a New Year’s Resolution to diet in 2010.  Let me stop you there.  If you are planning on losing weight in 2010, save your money and time, and instead, resolve NOT to diet.  No, I’m not kidding.

I know, I know…you want to lose weight.  You want to have the body you had 5, 10, maybe even 20 years ago.  Your skinny jeans are folded neatly under piles of clothes, just waiting for you to squeeze into them.  Sound familiar?  Many of us at some point have gone through this.  But I’m going to tell you a secret…dieting doesn’t work. Sure, these diets work in the short term, but after a dieter stops dieting, they most likely put back on some, if not all of the weight.

In 2010, I’d like you to resolve not to diet.  Here’s why they don’t work and what are better solutions for 2010:

  1. Malnutrition: Contrary to popular belief, most diets are not healthy and may actually border on malnutrition.  Many urge us to do extreme things, forgo our favorite foods or cut major food groups in order to lose weight.  Healthy eating requires ALL nutrients (carbs, fats and protein) and a minimum number of calories in order to maintain health and proper body function.  FOR 2010: Eat foods that are nutrient rich and provide balance to keep you feeling satisfied. 
  2. It is Unsustainable: Depriving your body shocks your body into losing weight, but once it gets over that shock, it adapts.  How?  By slowing down your metabolism, going into unhealthy physical states (such as ketosis) or stopping weight loss.  Even if you have the mental willpower to diet forever, your body doesn’t.  FOR 2010: Eat healthy as a lifestyle, not as dieting.  This will help you to lose excess pounds and maintain a healthy weight for a lifetime…not just for bikini season.
  3. The Pendulum Factor: When you deprive yourself to an extreme, you end up craving to an extreme.  The pendulum swings from “being extremely good” to “being extremely bad” to compensate.  You may have heard this called “yo-yo dieting.”  FOR 2010: Indulge in moderation.  Enjoying the foods you love and the treats you crave once in awhile will help you to crave foods less overall.
  4. Life Happens: Diets often require us to change our eating habits in such a way, that normal life gets in the way.  Eating out, going over friends houses for dinner, special occasions all become “problems.”  These things, however, are the very things that make life worth living!  Further, most of us are busy and may not always have the time to shop, cook and calorie-count the way many diets require.  FOR 2010: Fit healthy eating into every day life so that you can enjoy life AND be healthy.  Discover which nutritious foods you love that make healthy eating delicious! (Discover 40 easy and delicious recipes to eat healthy!)
  5. Energy Loss and Metabolism: Dramatically reducing your calorie intake can result in reduced energy levels and fatigue.  Instead, it is important to understand which foods provide you with quality nutrition.  FOR 2010: Eat small meals often which will stimulate weight loss, keep you satisfied and make you feel energetic. 
  6. Quantitative versus Qualitative: Dieting doesn’t really teach you how to eat for the long term.  You may be counting calories while eating foods that actually make you hungrier or cause you to crave more.  FOR 2010: Learn what foods are the most satisfying and most nutritious.  The more nutritious the food you eat, the less hungry you will be.  You’ll make smarter choices and lose weight without focusing on every calorie you ingest.
  7. One Dimensional: In order to truly lose weight, you have to eat well AND be active.  I’m not saying you have to run a marathon, but as we get older, our metabolisms NATURALLY slow down.  The more active you are, the more calories you burn and the higher your metabolism will stay.  FOR 2010: Be active.  Even if it means taking stairs instead of the elevator, walking at lunch hour, walking to work instead of taking the train…just move.
  8.  

Get real in 2010!  Change your life by changing your mentality towards health, nutrition and wellness.  Stop dieting, start eating and start seeing the results that you want…for the long term!

Originally published on Sheer Balance

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