Sunday, July 22, 2007

Design your writing life


For the past couple of days, I’ve been going through Lisa Gates’ "The Architecture of Identity - Scaffolding Your Personal Brand(Workbook 1)."
Lisa was kind enough to send me a copy of the workbook weeks ago, when she first made it available. But at the time I felt overwhelmed with work. I was physically exhausted, my mind was fuzzy and my confidence as a writer felt a little shaky. All stress-related, I suspect.

So I decided on working through that bump before going through the workbook. Little did I realize that was the time I needed the workbook the most. Lisa says in the workbook that the stage I was going through is "when The Troll is running the show."

Once I got started on the workbook though, I realized it could be as personal a guide to help me structure my creative life as I would allow it. If you’re looking for a quick-fix, where someone tells you why your creative projects have stalled and what you need to do to fix it, then Scaffolding Your Personal Brand isn’t it.

…………………………

THE REVIEW

Many of us have dreams that remain unfulfilled. Maybe you’d like to learn to paint, play a guitar or write a book. Or maybe you’d like to quit your job and start a small business selling biltong in George.

But you’re a realist – you “know” it’s impossible to make this dream a reality because you don’t have the time/money/talent/skill/other resources to see it through. So you tuck the dream away, hoping that one day the ideal environment will come along when you can write your book, sell it to a publisher, make a fortune and become famous. Fat chance!

The Scaffolding Your Personal Brand workbook helps you dig deep into your dreams and life and consider what you can do to move from your present circumstances to a future life where you live your authentic creative life.

This is where I state, categorically, that this is not one of those self-help books that promise success if only you would believe in yourself or whatever. No recommendations are made as to what you should do to effect change in your life. The author simply asks a series of questions that makes you think about some of the choices available to you.

A good start for me in the workbook was The Big Questions, where I outlined the accomplishments that must occur for me to consider my life well-lived.

I was however intimidated by the self-contract. Having grown up overweight, self-contracts make me uneasy. I have made too many of them, and not lived up to a single one.

I’ve also mentioned on my blog that I don’t make birthday or New Year resolutions – primarily because for me it seems to be the perfect way not to achieve set goals. My strategy is to live each day fully, and try to take advantage of opportunities that come my way.

Fast forward to a section where the workbook deals with reasons people don’t start or finish projects, and she Lisa quotes Albert Einstein: “We can’t solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Fair enough, but what do I do then? How do I shift my thinking one inch at a time so the change doesn’t feel too overwhelming and the benefits are cumulative? What activities do I need to undertake to make this mind shift physical reality, so in five years I am the writer I dreamt of becoming?

I haven’t finished working through the workbook yet. I estimate it’s going to be some time before I do, primarily because the answers you give and the commitments you make need to be thought-through, plans made and implemented.

"Commitments are not goals,” Lisa says. “Commitments are ongoing quality of life shifts……A commitment is not measurable, but it is transformative.”

Visit Lisa's web site for more information.

1 comment:

Lisa Gates said...

What's most gratifying to me is that you're doing the work. I love it. And thank you for saying, "it's not a quick fix." You're on to something...

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