FreshStart '09? Sounds great. But how to get there?
Give me 10 minutes of your time, and I'll show you a fun exercise to trick yourself into articulating what you really want, more clearly than ever before. Michael Losier calls this exercise "Clarity Through Contrast."
Here's how it works.
1. Take a sheet of clean paper and draw a vertical line down the middle to create two columns.
2. Label the sheet, "My Writer's Life."
3. Fold the page in half.
4. Set a timer for 10 minutes. On the left-hand side, as quickly as you can, list exactly what you want your writing life not to look like in the coming year.
I don't want...
- "to not have a place to write"
- "to keep justifying my writing to others"
- "to struggle to find time for my writing"
- "to be so isolated"
- "to not send work out"
5. Keep going until the timer chimes or you've completely exhausted all possibilities. (Note: This exercise isn't meant to depress you! Tony Robbins and others stress the importance of emotionally connecting to our goals. The more you can allow yourself to really feel, see and experience what you don't want, the easier you'll find it to connect with what you do want.)
6. Unfold the page. Use each bullet point in the left-hand column to help you write a specific, clear intention for yourself.
- "to have a dedicated space to write"
- "to believe in my writing so that I never justify it to others"
- "to create and adhere to a workable writing schedule"
- "to connect with other writers"
- "to send my work out regularly"
7. Get an even clearer perspective by repeating the exercise with a new sheet of paper titled "My Writing."
Now that you've got a clear picture of what you want, it's time to transmute your desires into goals. Check tomorrow's The Relaxed Writer for more tips and ideas for your very own "FreshStart '09."