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sk lamont Reward Yourself Along the Way Stepping Stones to Your Goals

Reward Yourself Along the Way: Stepping Stones to Your Goals

sk lamont Reward Yourself Along the Way Stepping Stones to Your GoalsThis week’s post is a simple yet effective strategy that I have found extremely beneficial for getting my edits out the door. The last couple of weeks have been a tough road, and there’s nothing I hate worse than doing lots of hard work with no fun involved.

At the end of my first week I really wanted to throw in the towel, walk away, and do something fun like; watch a movie, play a game, have a glass of wine, read. Anything to get away from the task at hand!

The first week went really well, but coming into the second week when the task was taking longer than I expected, I could feel myself starting to flag.

Create stepping stones to support yourself on the way to your goal.

A Simple Strategy

Keeping momentum up for a week when I was really cranking was relatively easy, but the second week I began to slow right down. This simple strategy really helped me out, and I think it’s an important one to talk about, for those of us who are struggling to get to the finish line.

Delayed Gratification Goals

What I discovered, that worked well for me, over the last couple of weeks was delayed gratification; also known as—rewarding yourself for working your butt off, not now, but later. I started working in two or three hour chunks, and put a nice reward in place that I got to indulge in after I put my time in.

It didn’t have to be expensive or elaborate:

  • Like a new book on my kindle.
  • A new app for my phone.
  • A delicious desert.
  • A craft item that I’ve been after for a while.
  • At the end of the night a glass of wine to enjoy—don’t do this one in the morning, or it’ll really mess your day up!

Whatever floats your boat!

The Carrot and the Stick Method

My new reward system worked great when I stared implementing it half way through my mountainous journey. It gave me a new lease of life and made me excited about getting to my reward.

The reward only had to meet two criteria:
1) It was cheap and easy to make happen.
2) That I really really wanted it.

I also find having a bigger final goal reward in place for when you complete the entire piece, like going out to dinner, is a nice incentive, too.

Grand Finale Goal

Having a grand finale goal is always a great idea for when you complete a large project.

Reward Yourself Along the Way Stepping Stones to Your GoalsLike smoking a cigar and downing a bottle of champagne! All joking aside; I have heard of writers that celebrate when they complete a novel, by doing something unique that they always do when they reach their goal.

The Finish Line

I am proud to announce that I am finished at least with this part of the journey. So time to smoke my cigar and have some R&R, before the next leg of the journey begins, who knows what surprises lie ahead!

What are you thoughts?

I’d love to know what you think! What strategies have you used to get yourself to complete tasks? What do you do to hold yourself accountable? Or, have you found yourself walking away because the task at hand was too difficult? What is your special way to celebrate when you achieve your goals?

sk lamont Reward Yourself Along the Way Stepping Stones to Your Goals

Please share your comments in the comment box below, along with any other ideas you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Oh, and don’t forget to enter my giveaway for an excellent writing resource: A Copy of Story Trumps Structure by Steven James

How do you stay on track?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont


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Is Your Emotional State Wrecking Your Goals?

sk lamont Do You Write Organically Story Trumps Structure Giveaway

Do You Write Organically? Story Trumps Structure – Giveaway!

sk lamont Do You Write Organically Story Trumps Structure Giveaway

Do you write organically or do you plot out your novels? I don’t think there is only one way to write. Different writers choose different paths, and the main question to ask is, what works best for you?

We must each find our own path.

I really wanted to be a plotter. I mean really. I bought books and their accompanying workbooks. Downloaded seminars, audio books, and software for my computer. Then tried to get my ideas to behave themselves, and allow me to organize them into the nice tidy outline had planned for them.

Did it work?

In one word … No!

Not for me, which, to be honest was a bit surprising, I can be a scatter brain, but I also like to follow rules a lot. Especially formulaic rules. I like a nice tidy path to follow, with step-by-step instructions, to make sure I’m getting it right.

A side note on rule breaking – I’m also a bit of a rebel. I like to break the rules too, especially if they’re authoritative, and I love to follow my own path. But, the security of a rule book is a nice addition, so that I don’t get lost.

Breaking The Rules

I’m also a bit OCD: I like to line up my pens, coordinate my sticky notes, and color code everything. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that outlining was not the vehicle for me–at all!

No matter how hard I tried to force my wild and crazy ideas into the box of outlining, the more they refused to communicate. In fact my imaginative ideas dried up completely, and sat in the corner like a glowered faced five-year-old with arms folded refusing to communicate.

Reading Books on Writing

Reading books on writing is very important aspect of improving our craft. We should be like sponges, and devourers of information to become masters of our trade. But, book after book I read kept talking about outlining and all its merits, and referred to pantsing as if it were some dirty little secret. Pantsing, if you don’t know, is the idea of writing without an outline, also known as flying by the seat of your pants.

Set Your Imagination Free

Do You Write Organically Story Trumps Structure GiveawayAs much as I didn’t want to be a pantser, I thought I would give it a whirl–never say never, right? And, I was surprised by the results! I was truly astonished as my imagination was set alight. My little storytelling five-year-old loved it, she wouldn’t shut up. It was all I could do to keep up with her, as story after story poured out of me and onto the paper.

I believe it’s worth giving your imagination the freedom to fly. You jump off the cliff and see what happens.

No matter what kind of writer you are, you should fill yourself up to the brim with great resources. Have a thirst for knowledge. Even if you’re a pantser you should still know how to outline–at least in theory. You gotta know the rules so that you can break them, well. Read books on how to write, listen to audio books, go to seminars, drink it all in.

Fire Up Your Imagination

If you are a storyteller then read great stories that inspire you. Read what you love. Watch copious amounts of movies. If you watch movies then you already know how story works, it’s innate–it’s in you!

I read a great book at the beginning of last year called Story Trumps Structure by Steven James. In his book he talks about a style of writing he calls organic writing. Here are some of his ideas:

I would rather …

  • Write a story than plot one.
  • Tell a story than outline one.
  • Follow the narrative than follow a formula.
  • Pursue a process that allows for surprises.
  • Save time.
  • Live in the joy of discovery rather than fill in the blanks.

I also listened to one of his seminars online, through Writer’s Digest, and I picked out this idea of his:

“Art requires trust – Fear will always drive you back to an outline.” – Steven James

There are lots of arguments for and against writing organically. But, I did enjoy his book immensely, so I thought I would give away a copy to one lucky reader in this week’s post. Please feel free to fill out the rafflecopter below.

To Enter

Use the Rafflecopter widget below!

      • You get an entry for every item you complete in the Rafflecopter widget (up to eight entries!)
      • You can also come back once a day and ‘tweet about the giveaway’ (for extra entries!).
      • You also get two entries, if you leave a comment!
      • If you already follow or friend any of the items listed, please help yourself to free entries in the Rafflecopter! Just click the appropriate checkbox in the widget.
      • You must have a US postal address to enter.
      • The winner will be announced here March 22nd, the winner will also be contacted by email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run till March 21st at midnight (EST).

What are your thoughts?

I would love to know what you think! What have you found to be your best methods for getting a story down on paper? Are you are plotter or a pantser? Or are you still trying to figure out what works for you? Do you believe we are innate storytellers? Or, do we need someone to show us what story looks like?

sk lamont Do You Write Organically Story Trumps Structure Giveaway

Please share your comments in the comment box below, along with any other ideas you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

What kind of writer are you?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont


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Fearless Writing – How I Write with Wild Abandon

sk lamont Focus The Power of Concentrated Effort

Focus – The Power of Concentrated Effort

sk lamont Focus The Power of Concentrated EffortSometimes I just want to get stuff done. Like those edits that have been lingering for far too long or that book I just want to get finished. So I get my head down and don’t lift it till the task is complete.

I know I can achieve anything I put my mind to, but it does require that I give it my all,* in effort and focus for a certain period of time.

*meaning it occupies the bulk of my thinking and gets the lions share of my time.

When you focus on what you want, everything else falls away.

Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m a big believer in having great habits in place and chipping away everyday to make that goal happen.

Sometimes I need push

But, sometimes things get under my skin and drive me crazy, and, I feel like I don’t have the energetic effort required or the moxie to keep chipping away at it. In fact the chipping away is robbing me of joy everyday because the task at hand seems insurmountable. Like I’m going to be working on it FOREVER! That I’m NEVER going to finish.

I know from experience that if I let this feeling of hopelessness continue for too long, then I might end up loosing the project that I had so much passion for in the beginning.

When I get to this place, when I feel like I’m banging my head against a wall, and getting nowhere fast, I do the one thing that always seems to work for me …

I attack!

When I reach threshold I tell myself: I’m not dinging around with this anymore. It’s time to get it done.

Then I dive in.

Doesn’t matter what it is. As long as it’s something I absolutely want to achieve. And, it’s a must. And, it’s important.

But, if I’m not making progress, and I don’t see an end in sight…

Then I take the project and make it the number one priority in my life till it’s done.

I shoot it straight to the top of my list.

I make room for it in my life, I set a timeline, and I make a plan…

You can get a lot done when you decide you’re finished playing around.

sk lamont Focus The Power of Concentrated EffortThe important thing is to take your goal, break it up into manageable chunks, and schedule them in everyday. Then work like a dog till you complete your project. You may enjoy the process or you may not, it’s irrelevant. As long as you’re still connected to your initial vision you had for the project and your still committed, then you walk through fire till you get it done.

Now that imagery may seem a bit strong, but honestly sometimes you just have to commit all the way and do the work. Especially on long projects like writing a book, it’s a lot of work that has you invested for months to years.

What if a project has stalled out?

If a project has stalled out then maybe it’s time to get reconnected to that initial vision you once had:

  • What made you excited about it in the first place?
  • When you complete it what doors does it open up for you?
  • How will you feel when you know you didn’t take the easy path?
  • Just imagine how good you’ll feel with the end in sight, and when you finally cross that finish line!

So set a hard dead for yourself and get it done.

So why am I writing this blog post?

Focus - The Power of Concentrated EffortBecause, I set this task for myself this past Monday to complete all edits on my current manuscript, and to get it out the door to my editor by the end of the month. I have been working my butt of this week. My body hurts. I have assigned household tasks to other members of the family. Pizza has featured largely in this week’s dinner menu. But it doesn’t matter, I’m committed and determined that I will reach that finish line even if it kills me.

Yes, maybe a little extreme but it means I get the thing I want to get done–done!

“You can move mountains when you set your heart and mind to it!”

I take the week, stop all the tasks that are not a priority, like cleaning the house, watching movies, going out to dinner. I pull the plug on all of it, get my head down, and work my butt off till the task’s complete. It’s surprising how much you can get done when you decide too!

What are your thoughts?

I’d love to know what you think! Have you ever used concentrated effort to get a task done and been surprised by the results? Or, do you fail miserably in this department and seem to never complete your project, loosing hope with the lack of forward momentum? What measures have you gone to, to complete a task?

sk lamont Focus The Power of Concentrated Effort

Please share your comments in the comment box below, along with any other ideas you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Have you ever just went for it?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont


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sk lamont Do you use all five senses - Do your characters

Do You Use All Five Senses – Do Your Characters?

sk lamont Do you use all five senses - Do your charactersThis week I’m looking into the idea of fully inhabiting our bodies as a way to deepen the experience readers have with our characters. And, maybe in the process this will allow you to inhabit your body, even more fully. So that you too can appreciate the subtleties of life that you may possibly be missing out on.

There is a lot that can delight our senses if we deepen our awareness.

So first ask yourself a few questions:

Do you live fully in your body?
Do you use the full range of your senses?
Do you experience all of your senses on a regular basis, at a conscious level?
Do your characters?

For some this is easier than it is for others.

Some people are a lot more cerebrally driven, than sensory driven. Which means they tend to be pretty focused and get things done, which is great! But at the same time, this may mean that they miss out on a lot of the little pleasures in life that surround us on a daily basis.

Usually what is required to access all this extra information that our brain has managed to delete as unimportant, is an awakening with ourselves—allowing us to be completely grounded and centered in our body. A lot of people walk around not really connected to their body, or some are but only a little.

Others have a heightened body awareness, they are aware of where their limbs are in time and space the majority of the time, they feel the clothes against their skin and sense changes in the environment easily.

So what you might say—what has this got to do with me? For one, the more grounded in your body you are, the more you will experience the fullness of life. And two, if you are a writer, it’s going to help you get inside your characters skin—to breath life into them fully and see the world through their eyes.

sk lamont Do you use all five senses - Do your characters

Make Your Characters Come Alive

If you inhabit your skin well, then it will be much easier to jump into your characters bodies, and experiences life through their eyes and all of their senses. You will breath life into your scenes when you can step into them fully, clothed in your character skin, and experience the world you have created through their eyes.

Connect to Your Characters Environment

Breath in the air and describe it. Marvel at the nuances—the yellow kettle in the corner puffing steam gently into the room. The brilliant greens in a blade of grass at a significant moment. Also pay attention to pain and when the stakes are high, usually our senses sharpen and come into tight focus. We start to notice things that were insignificant moments before—time slows down and we actually start to see and feel what surrounds us in minute detail.

Switch on Your Senses

But this can apply anytime too, we don’t need a trigger like pain to switch us on—to make us come alive. Anytime we want we can step into this moment and feel, taste, smell, hear and see.

The benefits of characters who feel

When your characters fully notice and engage with their surroundings, your readers will too! Thus deepening your reader’s experience. Taste the air, take a deep breath, smell the sweetness or foulness that lingers there. What do you notice?

A Super Power

Do You Use All Five Senses - Do Your Characters

The way to learn this super power, and yes I consider it a super power—I know I’m weird—is to start noticing your environment on a much deeper level. Sound is a miraculous and underutilized sense. An interesting exercise is to open a window and listen to what you hear outside, do you hear birds singing, cars driving past, kids playing, what else do you hear, listen deeply. The same with music, listen to a complex piece of music that you know well—then listen deeper, depending on the music, you might hear a whole other level or layers of instruments that you never noticed before—then press closer.

Pay attention to your skin, what do you feel? Notice the surface you’re resting against, is it rough or soft? Smooth or hard? Where are you clothes touching you? Where do they squeeze or pinch? Where do they feel comfortable? Pick up a drink, feel the weight of the cup in you hand. Is it warm or cold? Touch the cup to you lips, what do you taste? Breath in. When you’re brushing your teeth, really brush them, consciously notice the bristles against you teeth how does it feel, taste the toothpaste, engage and then go deeper.

Now take your new super power and slip into your character’s skin. What does it feel like to be in their body? How do their senses interpret the world you have created around them? What does he/she feel, see, taste, smell or hear? What’s it like to experience your character in this way?

Do you have a favorite sense?

Does one of your senses dominate over another? Do you tend to experience life visually, audibly, through touch? What about in your writing? Do you tend to focus more fully on one sense? Would developing your character’s other senses give your reader a fuller experience?

What are you thoughts?

I’d love to know what you think! Do you inhabit your body? Do your characters? Do you consider yourself pretty well versed in this department, or could you grow? What tips and tricks do you have for living in a body, or for slipping into your character’s bodies?

sk lamont Do you use all five senses - Do your characters

Please share your comments in the comment box below, along with any other ideas you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Who are you?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont


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sk lamont Goals and Planning - When Things Go Wrong

Goals and Planning – When Things Go Wrong

sk lamont Goals and Planning - When Things Go Wrong

Okay, so I thought I would just throw this blog post up because of my ridiculously silly, January 1st, start to the new year!

Spending the last month planning my New Year’s Goals, having everything worked out in minute detail- I know I was already asking for it at this point- somebody get a big soft pillow and hit me over the head with it please. And being completely excited about getting going, my morning got of to a great start. My plan was set in motion with only a few small bumps, but generally I was feeling pretty happy with my progress.

When Silliness Strikes:

Sitting down to begin my two hours of slotted work-in-progress edits, I opened up my file to the sound of my daughter shouting from down stairs.

“Mom.”

“What’s up?” I called.

“I think there’s something up with the stove.”

Hmm, putting my computer to sleep I headed downstairs, little did I know at this point that my computer wouldn’t be waking up again till much later that evening.

Walking into the kitchen, my daughter’s two semi-runny unfried eggs stared up at me from the pan with their big sad eyes.

“How long they been in there?”

“20 minutes”

“How about we slide them out of there and we can finish cooking them in the microwave.”

Sliding the gooey mess from the pan and onto a plate, I popped them into the microwave to show off my prowess in the kitchen. I hit the button and watched in horror as the microwave light dimmed like some late 1800’s invention, as the plate slowly turned in the flickering light.

Goals and planning - When things go wrongPulling out the eggs one minute later, it appeared that the eggs may have congealed a little more, but they were definitely not cooking.

Being a determined kind of soul, I put the eggs back in and hit five minutes, staring desperately through the window, I watched them turn, as the lights over head flickered in unison. Being from Scotland I never grew up with an Easy-Bake Oven, but watching that plate turn slowly, I imaged this must be what it’s like hoping that a 40 watt light-bulb will produce beautifully baked delights.

“Go get Dad.”

“Daaaad!”

By this point I pulled out a kitchen chair and watched my intelligent husband play with our new Easy-Bake, as the enormity of the situation hit me, how I was going to have my next cup of tea, I boil a kettle on that stove, I thought. It’s my life blood.

About thirty minutes later, after trying various appliances around the house, and watching the kitchen lights grow dimmer every-time we hit a button, (though the toaster, worked a little too well for some bizarre reason, burning my last piece of rye bread too perfection!), my husband called the power company to discover that the most likely source was a voltage problem.

As we waited for some poor soul to be dragged into work, on his day off as it turned out, to assess the problem. I decided to go back to my computer determined to not let a little thing like loss of power stop me, as I sat down at my desk and hit the keyboard, hopeful since the toaster was apparently still in business, I discovered that my computer was selected as one of the lucky appliances in our house, to get New Year’s day off too, with the rest of the country. Fantastic.

I looked at my perfect writing plan printed out on my desk beside my keyboard and sighed.

So most of January 1st turned into sitting around waiting on a power company crew to turn up on a holiday and dig up our yard, whilst I proceeded to help my little boy build his Legos. Later I lay under the covers in bed reading a book, as it started to get colder and colder in the house, thinking, why didn’t this happen a couple of days ago when it was 70 degrees outside!

Anyway not one to miss an opportunity to learn something, here is what I learned, as far as planning and goal setting goes:

What I learned:

  • I’m not half as smart as I like to think I am.
  • I can easily fall into my old patterns, thinking that they are a great idea!
  • That I don’t need to throw the baby out with the bath water and start all over.
  • I have the ability to be flexible, if I bring lightness to the problem.
  • That having fun and building Legos is sometimes just what I need.
  • That leaving room to be spontaneous has its benefits!
  • That sometimes I just need to be reminded that being with my family, is more important than any silly plans I make.
  • To go with the flow and not let bumps in the road ruin everything, and look for opportunities to embrace the day anyway.

I still plan to forge ahead come Monday, but after having my plans messed up today, I took it as a sign to do some quick edits on my 2016 plan.

sk lamont Goals and Planning - When Things Go WrongSo I grabbed that meticulously printed out plan laying beside my dead keyboard and with a few quick strokes and listening carefully to that small still voice inside, I slashed everything before 10am off my list and everything after 8pm and felt the sweet ease of freedom slide in.

I’m an all or nothing kind of gal, but I also realized today that it’s important to have room to breath. So, these are my ‘no rules, do whatever I want to do’ times. I can work if I want, but I’ve giving myself the permission to be flexible.

I can be a bit slow sometimes! This ain’t the first time I’ve banged my head against this particular wall, hopefully this time it’ll stick!

Have you ever found yourself making great plans only to find them dashed against the rocks moments later? Or have you found a way to plan and follow through on your goals, that offers the flexibility to still get things done when your day goes awry. What is your experience with goal setting or planning?

sk lamont Goals and Planning - When Things Go Wrong

Why don’t you share some of your ideas in the comments box below, along with any other suggestions, or anything else you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

How do you plan?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont


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sk lamont Is Your Emotional State Wrecking Your Goals

Is Your Emotional State Wrecking Your Goals?

Is Your Emotional State Wrecking Your GoalsThis week I have the privilege of hosting guest blogger Franklin Thomas, having worked for Anthony Robbins for five and a half years as a Peak Performance coach, coaching over 1200 people from 36 different countries, he is an expert in helping individuals achieve success.

I have been focusing on goal setting for the past couple of weeks, so I thought it would be great to have Franklin share what it takes to achieve our goals, especially writing goals, that we set for ourselves in 2016. I hope you enjoy this post, please feel free to ask him any questions in the comments box below.

It’s not about setting goals…

Have you ever started something and didn’t make it to the finish line? We all have. When it comes to personal achievement there are several components to reaching success and it’s not always about settings goals. Setting a goal is important, however, if that’s all you do, it won’t be enough. For instance, we all know someone who has tried to lose weight and failed- they get a gym membership, change their eating habits, but fall short of their goal. On the other hand, we know people who followed the exact same strategy and achieved their outcome with great success. Why is that… why does someone fail and another reach success?

It’s all about emotional drive

In order to get where you want to go, you really need to have the drive to get you there. Drive is the intense emotional fuel that will catapult you to the next level. It will take you to new heights and in those moments where you start to experience resistance, drive will be there to help push you through and continue on. When you have the emotional drive, suddenly what would normally be work for you becomes effortless and easy. We can spot drive a mile away. For instance, when we watch an Olympic athlete, we can see it in their eyes, in their body and the way they move and breathe. We usually can spot the winner before they even cross the finish line – the signs are there! An athlete just didn’t get to the Olympics by accident – all of what you see is by his or her intention, fueled by an intense emotional connection to what they want. Emotional drive is the most important thing for you to cultivate – It will change everything!

So how do I get intense emotional drive?

Ask yourself the question… Is what I want to achieve just a desire, or is it a MUST?

Anyone can have a desire, but desire alone rarely gets us there. For example, I could desire to buy a new car, but if I don’t have enough emotional attachment to getting a new car, then I won’t go to a car dealership, look at cars, take a test drive, fill out the paperwork, and then drive one off the lot. However, if I change one word, from desire to MUST, then what happens? Consider the two statements below:

– I desire to write a book.

– I must write a book.

Which one of these has more energy? MUST of course. When you say must, there is already an expectation of the book getting finished.

So how is drive accomplished and how do I make what I want, a must?

It’s accomplished by three things:

Physiology: How you posture your body, how you breathe, and how you move.

Belief: What you hold to be true – what you focus on.

Language: What you verbally say out loud and your internal dialogue.

sk lamont Is Your Emotional State Wrecking Your GoalsThink about when a martial artist goes to split a stack of boards with his bare hands, how is he standing? His body is erect and grounded. He stands with confidence. His movements are fast and assured with precision. His energy is high. His breathing isn’t shallow or fearful, but it’s deep and strong. His focus is sharp – it’s only him and the stack. His focus is on the other side of the boards, not on the surface. He has fierce courage and if he doesn’t break through the first time, he instantly strikes again so that his mind does not even have the chance to process doubt. He does not let failure enter his mind. He says ‘Kiai’ (Hi-yah!) because to the martial artist, these words are how he expresses victory.

So how is he able to break through the board? He not only has developed the skills to do so, he also has created inside of himself the resourcefulness to achieve his outcome. If he approached breaking the boards with fear, uncertainty, depression, slow body movement, low energy and an internal dialogue that keeps instilling doubt, then we all know what his result would be – failure.

If you want to accomplish great things, then there must be a congruency between you and the thing you want to achieve.

As humans, we are stimulus response beings.

Everything you feel and all the emotions you have are tied to your body responding to the things you think about, what you believe and how you posture, move and breathe. To give you an example, we all know what it’s like to stand in confidence and we can all recognize a confident person when we see one.

There is a part of your brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the brain’s chemical plant. The only way you feel anything is because your brain creates the chemical for you to feel that emotion. For instance, when you stand in a posture of confidence, your brain at the unconscious level picks up on it, and then the hypothalamus starts producing the chemicals so that you start to feel confident. The same thing happens when it comes to belief. Whatever we believe to be true, at the deepest level becomes our reality and our hypothalamus churns the chemicals to support those beliefs. The same thing happens with language. Our unconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between the truth and a lie. It only takes in what we repeat to it over and over and then eventually accepts it as truth. We all know what happens if someone tells a lie long enough? They end up believing it. The reason for this is, when they repeat it over and over again verbally, the unconscious mind picks it up and it becomes internal truth. Like the Proverb says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”.

So what now?

If you want success in the things you want to achieve, then you need to cultivate the emotional resourcefulness to get you there. The great thing about this is, we already know instinctively how to do this. Let’s try the following example. If you wanted to instill confidence in yourself, would you:

  • Stand – erect or slack?
  • Posture your face – would it be down or up?
  • Posture your shoulders – slumped or up?
  • What about your breathing – shallow or deep?
  • How about your movements – slow, or certain & fast?
  • Would you say to yourself – ‘I’m going to fail’ or ‘as long as I don’t give up, I can make anything happen’?
  • Would you create excuses why you can’t or would you need to believe there is always a way?
  • Would you tell yourself – ‘it will never work’, or ‘I can accomplish anything as long as I set my mind to it’?

The answers are pretty clear and the great thing about all of this is that YOU are in charge of it. You can posture your own body, you can replace any belief with a new one, and you can speak out of your mouth what you need to help you achieve success. You are already doing all of these things right now so why not do it so that it supports your outcome. Most of what we believe wasn’t derived from things we consciously considered, it came about as a result of experiences, some of which, we don’t even know their origin. The crazy thing is, we let some of these un-resourceful beliefs rule our lives, but the great news is we can change it in an instant. We just have the make the conscious decision to do so.

So let’s get practical, to start with, write down any dis-empowering beliefs that you have and then write the inverse. The more intense the empowering belief is, the better. You want it to crush the old belief. Also when you do this, you should be standing up and put yourself in a posture of the emotion that you want to create in your body. If you want courage, stand courageously. If you want certainty, stand in a posture of confidence. Then write it down and repeat, then own it!

For example:

Dis-empowering belief:

  • I’ll never write my book, I don’t have time.

Empowering belief:

  • My book is an absolute priority in my life, I will not let anything stand in my way.

It sounds a bit crazy and outrageous, but maybe crazy and outrageous is what you need right now. So try it on and then notice what works. Once you have practiced this several times, and you feel the shift, then it’s time to create strategies, goals and plans. How much better would it be, to be writing all of your goal setting from a emotionally resourceful place. How much more likely are you to continue towards your outcome if you practice this everyday?

What are some ways that you have fallen short in the past, how will you change that now? Or what are some great strategies that you have used in the past that worked great? Share them in the comments box below, I would love to hear from you!

sk lamont Is Your Emotional State Wrecking Your Goals

What’s on you goal list?

 


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Gathering my Writing Goals- Getting Ready for the New Year

sk lamont Gathering my Goals - Getting Ready for the New Year

Gathering my Writing Goals– Getting Ready for the New Year

sk lamont Gathering my Writing Goals - Getting Ready for the New Year Gathering my Writing Goals – Getting Ready for the New Year!

Being a former life coach has its advantages, it means I have the tools and strategies at hand to help me plan out my writing life and get it done! This week I’m sharing how I get ready to make the best use of my time in 2016, but gently does it now, the next two weeks are a time of preparation, or as I like to call it Goal Gathering Time.

Over the next two weeks I tune in to my inner life and listen closely.

Questioning my life

I like to ask the following questions:
What do I truly want?
Am I being congruent?
Is this the life I truly want to live?
How would I like to spend my days?
How can I live out my true authentic self?

Just because I’ve set a goal at some point in the past, does not mean it is still in alignment with what I truly desire today. So I like to take this time, to check in with myself and make sure I’m headed in the right direction. It’s easy to get off track and start pursuing something that once fulfilled you and no longer does. Or maybe you come to the realization that thing you thought you wanted no longer fulfills you, but it helped reveal a deeper part of yourself and now you know more of what you desire.

Hone your desire

What do I truly desire now?

When am I most at peace, most relaxed, most excited?
When do I feel truly alive?
Am I living my passion?
How can I bring more of that into my life?
What would it look like, sound like, taste like?

What do I want my life to look like?

I close my eyes and I imagine the perfect day

What would I be doing?
What is most important to me?
Am I spending time on what I say is more important, or do I let other tasks, get in the way?

Then I start gathering ideas and goals over the coming weeks, as I reflect on that vision, of living my life on purpose.

While most people are winding down for the holidays, I like to gather ideas and goals for the new year.

sk lamont Gathering my Writing Goals - Getting Ready for the New YearWhat new things would I like to see in my life or what I would like to maintain? I also reflect on my life currently- what could I have done better, how am I missing the mark? I start thinking of ways that can improve. I begin three lists, I put them in my phone or journal and start adding to them in the coming weeks.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

~ Benjamin Franklin

Between now and Christmas I gently start to collect thoughts and ideas for the new year. What I would like to see, or be, or continue, or bring in new?

 I add these goals and ideas to the following lists:

  • Add new
  • Maintain
  • Improve

My Writing Life

When it comes to my writing life specifically, I ask, what could I add to my life to make me a better writer?

Before getting into this, I would like to add a side note on the life wheel, this is a tool that is used in coaching to create a balanced life. I may in the coming weeks explore this a little deeper in a more holistic way, but for now suffice to say, that if the wheel is not balanced your life will feel ‘out of whack’ in some way or other. So even though I am focusing on writing, it is important to remember that writing may feel like our all, but we can’t make it our all, or in the end our writing will actually suffer, if our life is not more balanced.

It’s important for a writer to get out and live~

The following quote I think, sums up what I’m trying to say beautifully:

“In order to write about life first you must live it.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

Gathering my Writing Goals Getting Ready for the New YearThe Writer’s Life Wheel

Big Picture vs Little Picture

Big Picture

Contributes globally to my life, but at the same time enhances my writing, giving me more energy and inspiration to bring to my writing.

Here’s a glimpse of some things on my list:

Get on my pottery wheel and throw pots
Dance
Exercise
Spend more time hugging and playing with my kids.
Research inspirational trips, where do I want to go this year-
– Maine
– Biltmore Estate
– Castles
– Turquoise Oceans

Little Picture

Enhances my writing life directly and obviously.

What do I want to learn?
How to write a series
Deepen characters
Books I want to read

I start collecting like a little squirrel for the bigger work that comes the week after Christmas. This is when I like to plan my next year in full, for now I like to keep this stage of gathering light and have fun with it. I have done this process since I became a coach back in 2000, this will be my 15th year of gathering. I love this time of year, so exciting, so full of promise. In the coming weeks I will be collecting and hiding away ideas, for ‘goal-setting’ week, where I’ll start setting down some hard deadlines.

Please share your comments in the comment box below, along with any other ideas you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

What are some of the things you hope to achieve in 2016? How do you hold yourself accountable? What fun ways to do you add another layer of learning into your life? Or what areas do you know you need to improve in? I’d love to know, please share in the comments box below.

What are your goals?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont

 


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sk lamont All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy - What Do You Do to Relax?

All Work and No Play – What Do You Do to Relax?

All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy – What Do You Do to Relax?

sk lamont All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy - What Do You Do to Relax?I felt myself turning into to Jack Nicholson from The Shining this week. As a dark cloud of insanity engulfed me, I had visions of Jack sitting behind his typewriter in that huge great room typing “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” over and over again. I knew then it was time to pull the plug.

Staring at my screen in my own Overlook Hotel, getting angrier and angrier, I knew I had to stop.

Working Hard This Year

I’ve been working hard this year, probably harder than I have any year, and just like Jack Torrance who thought it would be great to go to the Overlook Hotel and write his book, as I sat and began my sixth 1st draft manuscript this year, rolling that first sheet of paper into my virtual typewriter, I felt the big black crow of insanity alight on my shoulder.

After a couple of days of typing away on my latest draft, the kids playing in the next room. the Christmas tree was running into its own problems of being erected. I just knew I had to slam on the breaks and do something radical, which wasn’t easy. You see, I’m an all or nothing kinda gal. I’m either all in or all out, I don’t really do the grey area in the middle. It’s hard for me, I loose focus all too easy if don’t commit fully and give it all I’ve got. It has its advantages. If I set my mind to something I can usually make it happen, but it comes at a price, and that is that I shut everything else out of my world till I complete my task. But if I don’t stop and have fun and schedule in play dates for myself, my once fun work can get the better of me and I start becoming dull. And I know with my writing if I don’t take a break in-between projects I end up looking like this:

sk lamont All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy - What Do You Do to Relax?So I pried my gnarled fingers away from my iMac, iPad and iPhone, I had to shut it all off at least for one whole day and sever the cord that kept dragging my back to do the next writing related task.

Writing Related Tasks:

Writing my 2,000 words a day
Editing a manuscript
Reading the next book on writing
SEOing my site
Coming up with the next blog post
Checking social media

As much as I love this stuff normally, I knew I had to take a break and have some fun. I told my husband how I was feeling and he asked me when was the last time I danced? Hmmmm probably over a week ago, I thought. Then thoughts of Christmas loomed over me knowing that I have a lot of work ahead of me in the coming weeks, so that Santa can show up for our five kids! I was starting to crumble under the pressure of it all.

Time to Relax

Not wanting to just swap one task for another, I decided to set up my pottery wheel in the garage that’s been collecting dust for months, and at least set down my writing for four days to give my creative self a different outlet!

sk lamont All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy - What Do You Do to Relax?As I sat behind my potter’s wheel and felt the clay begin to mold beneath my fingers, I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy at first. As I wrangled with that mud, trying to center it, doubt started to creep in around the edges. As I wrestled with the clay in front of me and the idea of getting back to my real work. I kept coming back to it day after day, and eventually I started to sneak glimpses of the peace I was seeking. When the clay finally complied and slipped through my fingers effortlessly, I let out a long low sigh as my wheel began to sing to me. Relaxation seeped in and the pressure began to ease.

I have decided to take my foot of the gas a little, to allow space for my other creative pursuits that feed my soul in different ways. This ultimately can only help my writing, so that I can bring a more playful and creative spirit back to the page. And I definitely know I have to take breaks between drafts. I already had this as one of my writing rules knowing that I need a break between projects, but I broke it anyway, knowing I had one more draft to complete by December 31st. That was a mistake, because instead of lessening the pressure I was feeling, it was only increasing. I still plan to ‘do my best’ and finish my manuscript, trusting that by taking a few days off, I will bring back my old fun-loving playful self and the work will be easier!

My goals for 2016 are going to look a little different, I plan to make sure there is more play and less work!

I would really love to hear from you this week, seriously, I need to! What do you do for fun? How do you change things up? What do you do to kick back and relax? What’s your work / play balance like?

I’d love to know, please share your stories, suggestions and ideas in the comment box below!

Oh and don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a copy of Serafina and the Black Cloak

What Do You Do to Relax?

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SK Lamont interview with Robert Beatty Serafina and the Black Cloak

Giveaway! Win a copy of Serafina and the Black Cloak

In this week’s blog post I’m running a giveaway for a hardcover copy of, Serafina and the Black Cloak!

Robert Beatty Interview on Writer’s Digest

Recently I had the of honor interviewing local author Robert Beatty, the interview was featured on Writer’s Digest, you can read all about it here!

Writer’s Digest interview with best-selling author Robert Beatty.

To celebrate I’m giving away a hardcover copy of his best-selling novel Serafina and the Black Cloak. After the interview was released, I heard from a few folks that they would like to read the book, so I thought it would be great to give a copy away to one lucky reader!  The giveaway will run till December 14th at midnight (EST), so you should receive your prize in time for Christmas! (Click here to enter the giveaway or scroll down the page.) You can read it yourself or give it as a gift. My children and I have enjoyed the novel immensely, though it may be a little frightening for younger readers, you can read the first chapter below.

About Serafina and the Black Cloak:

SK Lamont author interview with Robert Beatty - Serafina and the Black CloakSerafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of Biltmore Estate. There’s plenty to explore in Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt’s vast and oppulent home, but she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate’s maintenance man, have lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember. She has learned to prowl through the darkened corridors at night, to sneak and hide, using the mansion’s hidden doors and secret passageways.

But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows the clues to follow. A terrifying man in a black cloak stalks Biltmore’s corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of Biltmore’s owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak’s true identity before all of the children vanish one by one.Serafina’s hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear, where she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must not only face her darkest enemy, but delve into the strange mystery of her own identity.

Here is the first chapter: Chapter 1 Excerpt

About Robert Beatty:

SK Lamont author interview with Robert BeattyRobert Beatty writes imaginative fiction for middle grade and young adult readers from his home in Asheville, NC.

His novel, Serafina and the Black Cloak (Disney Hyperion, July 2015), is a spooky mystery-thriller about a brave and unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the Biltmore Estate during the late 1890s. It’s an idea that grew from the author’s love of writing stories for his three daughters and from the rich history and beauty of Western North Carolina, particularly the forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Biltmore.

A former software entrepreneur, Beatty writes full-time now, but previously was one of the early pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, and the chairman/CTO of Narrative Magazine. In 2007, he was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. He’s co-founder of Beatty Robotics, an enterprise with his two oldest school-age daughters that designs and builds custom robots for science centers and museums around the world.

Recently, publisher Disney Hyperion gave the go-ahead for two more Serafina books. Look for Book 2 in the series, Serafina and the Twisted Staff, in August 2016.

To Enter

Use the Rafflecopter widget below! You get an entry for every item you complete in the Rafflecopter widget (up to seven entries! – you can also come back once a day and ‘tweet about the giveaway’, for extra entries!). You also get one if you leave a comment on the Writer’s Digest article, that is relevant to the interview posted. (If you already commented on the Writer’s Digest interview page last week, just hit I entered, and I will take that as an indication that you wish to take part in this give away!) You must have a US postal address to enter. The winner will be announced here December 15th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The giveaway will run till December 14th at midnight (EST), so you should receive your prize in time for Christmas!

Please share your comments in the comment box below, along with any other ideas you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

What book or books have influenced you the most as a writer or reader?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont

 


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sk lamont Fearless Writing

Fearless Writing – How I Write with Wild Abandon

Fearless writing – How I Write with Wild Abandon

sk lamont Fearless Writing - How I Write with Wild AbandonOut of all the people that I’ve talk to about writing their book, finishing their book or even starting their book, the root cause that has slowed them down or even stopped them in their tracks completely, is fear. What will people think? What will my family think, my friends, an agent- fill in the blank.

The thing that stops them is worrying about what other people will think, or perfectionism which is just another form of fear- of not being good enough.

But the good news is, if you’re contemplating your first draft, you are a long way away from showing your work to another soul. But there are some important factors to consider, if you want to write fearless. The main thing to take into consideration is that this is your story, your property, and as such you need to protect it. Think of it as a tiny little sapling just starting to push its way out of the ground, at this stage in the game, you have three roles, protection, space to grow and sunlight.

1) Protection

Don’t talk about your Book

I am a firm believer in never talking about my work-in-progress, I keep it hidden away, JK Rowling has a great quote that I believe in 100%.

“I find that discussing an idea out loud is often the way to kill it stone dead.”

~ J.K. Rowling

I have seen this so many times, where people talk about their work, share it with others and in the process squeeze the life out of it!

You’re not supposed to talk ‘about it’, you’re supposed to ‘write it’! By sharing it too early you’re allowing others to steal your books power and energy, and your passion to write it. It dissipates all the energy surrounding it. Give it only one outlet through your fingers. You want it bursting forth birthing on the page. Not giving it out to the world whilst it’s not even a newborn, so that people can prod and poke. “Eww, I don’t like its eyes, it’s legs are too short, I think it’d look better with blonde hair.” What are you doing? STOP, this is your precious little baby, its fragile and needs to be protected. Wait until it becomes strong, when you ‘know’ your story, then you can open the door to respectful criticism, until then don’t let anyone else steel your baby and run with it.

2) Space to grow

The secret place

This is also your time to get to know your little sacred baby, to coddle and coax it into existence. You’re dealing with something ethereal here, gossamer like an angels wing, so hold it delicately. Don’t show it to anyone until you know what that thing in you cupped protective hands is. There will come a day when it’s ready to fly out into the world and defend itself, until then you get to decide.

Here is the key to writing fearless, to writing with wild abandon. You write the truth that is whispered in your ear and nothing but the truth. You leave nothing off the page. You do not judge it, that comes after, right now this is a safe place. A place to pour blood, guts, sweat and tears onto the page. Hold back nothing, let everything out, knowing that this secret is safe with you. You are the gatekeeper of your work, when it comes time to review your work you decide what stays and what goes. But remember, if you are in your first draft, you’re a million miles away from showing your work, if you’re protecting it. So kick back, enjoy the journey and dive in, there is nothing more exciting than the thrill of letting it all out, there will come a time later when you judge, but now is not that time.

3) Let it see the light of day

Ship it!

Finally, and don’t let this scare you, but there will come a day when you have to decide if you want this work to enter the world. If and when you decide it’s time, then and only then, you must share your work. The No. 1 success factor is shipping, in other words getting it out the door, even if it’s imperfect. The chances of being published are a million times higher than the person with the near perfect manuscript sitting in their drawer, tweaking it to death, afraid to ever let it see the light of day.

sk lamont Fearless Writing - How I Write with Wild AbandonSo cherish your work whilst it’s all yours in the secret place, decide if you want it to leave the nest, then you can sit back and see if your baby can fly.

Until that day relax, you’re not there yet.

Enjoy this special secret time, one day it will be gone.

 

What are your thoughts? These thoughts, skills and techniques are my own, they are what work for me. So if you have strategies that work great for you, then awesome! Why don’t you share them in the comments box below, along with any other ideas or suggestions, or anything else you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

What are your thoughts?

Follow me on twitter @sk_lamont

 


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