Weekly Inspiration #33

This week I really feel as though I’ve hit the ground running. I’m even sore – although that’s more to do with the 5 sessions of yoga I’ve done this week than any kind of running I may have done :). So far this week I have done three MYOGA sessions at my place with a friend, one killer 1 1/2 hour Iyengar forward bend yoga class yesterday and mini yoga sessions throughout the day on Tuesday, my dedicated writing day – a few rounds of sun salutations when I became stiff from too much sitting, and inversion postures (headstand and supported shoulder-stand) when my brain stopped working :). Although I can feel the yoga in my muscles, I feel strong, balanced and grounded which are the happy side effects of a regular yoga practice!

This week I finished the index card outline of the workbook I’m creating – I’m using Slade Robertson’s Automatic Author as a guide – and it was time to get digital. Thus far, my only tools have been index cards, pencil and rubber – and my ipad that has Automatic Author on it. The next step was to get familiar with Scrivener, a specialised writer’s software. Slade Robertson recommended using it as an improved option over word processing programs which are limited to a linear, start to finish format. With Scrivener, you can work laterally, on any chapter that you like, on any page that you like. It’s a bit like a digital version of having piles of paper laid out on your dining room table. Everything is visible, and you can work wherever takes your fancy or needs your attention.

Of course, I didn’t have the faintest idea of how to use it so I sat down and did the hour long interactive tutorial (halfway through my brain stopped working so I went upside down for 10 minutes. That sorted that problem out 🙂 ). My next job was to put all the information I’ve put on the index cards over the past few months (16 chapters, each with 15 topics, and for each of the 15 topics I have a single sentence synopsis, a question and three keywords) into my newly created document in Scrivener. One chapter down, 15 to go :). The idea behind Automatic Author is that you spend the bulk of your time in planning and structuring the project, so that when you come to the actual writing of it, you know exactly what you’re writing and why. This enables you to write automatically, which is the next important part of the process.

Along with setting goals using the Create Your Shining Year Workbook, this process of being super structured and accountable is new to me. I tell you what though – it’s awesome. I am so loving working within a structure – it takes the pressure off, and actually allows me to be more creative. I know. Who would have thought that more structure can equal more creativity?

How do you use structure in your life to free up your creativity?

Best Short Read

6 Survival Tips for Women Writers by Holly Robinson for The Huffington Post

Why is this article specifically aimed at women writers? Because women have unique obstacles to writing, most of them resulting from being the one who is wired and trained from birth to respond to other people’s needs. The Bear asked me the other night, with genuine curiosity, why I was picking up my daughter’s dirty clothes from the bathroom floor and re-hanging her wet towel on the towel rack. “How will she ever learn to do it herself if you keep doing it?” he asked reasonably. I reply that 9 out of 10 nights I call her in and ask her to pick up her dirty clothes and hang up her towel, but this one night I am doing it for her because doing things for other people is actually in my job description. I serve my family as a mother and wife, I serve my community through my work as a Student Learning Support Officer, being secretary for the P&C and my writers group. I create emails, newsletters and workbooks for my mother’s business as a way of thanking her for looking after mine and my family’s health for all of these years – and I wouldn’t give up these or any other random acts of service I perform each year. I love every one of them, and I wouldn’t do it otherwise. What it does mean however, is that I have to ruthlessly schedule in time to serve myself (hence my sacred writing Tuesdays), or the life that I yearn to lead just keeps being put on the back burner – and I don’t want to wait until the kids leave home to start that part of my life, if you understand my meaning.

6 Survival Tips for Women Writers

Whenever I speak to aspiring writers at libraries or bookstores, I inevitably hear stories like these from women:

“I used to write, but then I had my kids and quit.”

“I just retired from my job, so finally I have a little time to write.”

“I’ve been working on my novel for about 10 years.”

“I would have started my book sooner, but my mom was ill and needed me.”

Listening to the job and family responsibilities women are shouldering makes me wonder how any women write books at all. It also makes me recall a time, about 20 years ago, when I was in their shoes — a writer with a toddler and another baby on the way, a husband, a house, and a part-time job — and attending talks by authors who had “made it.” Whenever possible, I asked how they managed to shoehorn writing time into their busy lives. I wasn’t even worrying about publishing at that point; I simply wanted to figure out how to find time to write.

At one talk by a famous male mystery writer, who I shall not name here for fear that you’ll go set his house on fire once you read this, I asked how he managed to write with two small children at home.

He raised an eyebrow. “Easy,” he said. “I have a wife.”

“I have a husband,” I pointed out, confused.

Now he grinned. “That’s not quite the same thing.”

To find out if she slapped him or not, click here.

How do you ruthlessly schedule in time to serve yourself?

Best Watch

You all know Brene Brown, right, and her wonderful work on the power of being vulnerable? If not oh my, you are in for a treat :). This wonderful little animated clip is part of a larger series called RSA Shorts created by the Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts (RSA). Taken from a talk given by Brene Brown at the RSA on the power of vulnerability, this clip is about how we use blame to discharge anger, in often the most unreasonable way.

Animated and directed by Katy Davis (AKA Gobblynne).

“Starting with pencil sketches, I worked up each frame of this animation by drawing ink on paper. I then scanned my illustrations in, and cleaned and coloured each one. There are 1,002 separate illustrations, as well as plenty of layered Photoshop files, incorporated into the animation.”

See more of Gobblynne’s illustration and animation work, or just pop by and say hello at:

Gobblynne website: gobblynne.com
Facebook: facebook.com/GobblynneAnimation
Twitter: twitter.com/Gobblynne
YouTube: youtube.com/GobblynneAnimation
Gobblynne Shop: society6.com/gobblynne/prints

Best Words

This was shared by the Awakening Women Institute:

You are the well-trodden, dusty tracks of habit
and you are a freedom so brilliant it brings
deities to their knees.

You are the hesitation and the mistrust that make us
so desperately cling to the plastic replicas of who we are,
and you are the ache of the real calling us from the other side of risk.
You are that mystical courage
that makes us get up and out of bed each morning, despite it all.

Achingly beautiful, dull, exhilarating,
horrendous, paradoxical, cosmic, dense,
dark matter and radiance beyond measure.
Here is your world.
Here it is.

You have been so busy creating walls,
squeezing your tail and your wings
into this digestible hand-me-down dress,
trying so very hard to compartmentalize the
unfathomable wilderness that you are.

There is no action, no withholding,
no sprouting or rotting,
no lover or predator,
no loser or hero,
no wound nor victory
that is not you.

Here is your world.
Here it is.

:: Chameli Devi

Best Music

I Awake

My new favourite album: Sarah Blasko‘s I Awake. I’ve seen Sarah Blasko live once before at an outdoor festival gig, along with Mumford & Sons and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros…and thought to myself that I would love to see her again, but in an inside venue. There was something about the white heat, dust and flies of Dungog that perhaps wasn’t truly suited to Sarah Blasko’s style :). I’ve been listening to What the Sea Wants the Sea Will Have ever since that concert, but this week I came across I Awake, which is her most recent album, released in 2012 (she has also just released a live version of that album this year). I love it. Have a listen here:

And that’s all from me today my friends – enjoy your weekend, whatever you may have planned <3.

Don’t forget:

Twitter – follow me on Twitter to see all of my other best reads that don’t quite make it on this blog, but are still awesome – I love a chat too, so come visit 🙂.

Facebook – I have just set up a brand new Practical Mystic Facebook page, where I share inspirational and thought provoking ideas, quotes and art. I would love to see you there 🙂


  1. Those writing guides sound fantastic. Might just need to check them out soon since I’ve been thinking about writing something a bit longer than just blog posts for about forever and a half. 😉 Love the idea that structure could actually promote creativity. Makes sense to me, however counterintuitive, since structure allows for more organization and once you get the technical parts in order, that’s when you have the space to start working on the creative parts. Hope you have a lovely weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Inversions! Of course! to get one’s brain working. I am going to try right now = my adult brain is failing me in relation to learning nepali. OMG, difficult when one’s brain wont quite deliver on the basics. Simple words, I learn them, soak them up and then they drift. and re-learn. The wide open eyes of the beginner! And serving. I too like serving, and love it when my heart is open to the task and the realities of my committements.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brené Brown is the best. And this animation was fantastic! Just the other day I stepped on a disgusting crushed up tomato on our floor, and immediately blamed someone. Yes, the tomato shouldn’t have been there. And Yes, I should’ve been paying attention to where I stepped. I’m always cleaning up after everyone in the house too…


  4. Sara, thanks for the useful and enjoyable post. I always look forward so much to your posts, and I’m never disappointed. I spend so much of my time writing in the old-fashioned way (I hand printed my book Fighting to Win), but I’ll take note of the tools you use. I will look into Scrivener. Is it difficult to master? Although amazingly, I have moved away from writing solely with pen and paper and now am quite good with word processing, technology has never peen my strong point. I don’t practice the yogas you practice but do karma yoga, the yoga of work, since work consumes me so much.


    • Hi David, thank you so much. It makes me happy that you look forward to my posts – so much!
      There’s nothing at all wrong with pen and paper, I always write poetry like that! Scrivener isn’t difficult to use so far, although it’s more complicated than a word processor. I’ve only just started using it though, so I am most definitely not a master, although I am quite competent at these kinds of things…you’re blogging, so you must have some technical capacity! One of the cool things about Scrivener I saw while I was doing the tutorial, was that at the end, it will arrange the whole document into a print ready document in the format that you choose (fiction, non-fiction, screenplay etc). I thought that was pretty cool!


  5. Monday lunch break is becoming my time with The Practical Mystic blog post… over the weekend I scan, take in bits, and digest. Later, comes reading, clicking… and today ooohhh, the blame clip… some recognition, enough to be a little uncomfortbale at that tendency in myself, thankfully less so as I get older and maybe wiser. I also recognise the process Chameli Devi describes…
    The ways by which people follow their passions, talents, art, craft etc fascinates me, so I enjoyed reading 6 Survival Tips for Women Writers, and also how you have created space and structure for yourself.
    Have a great week 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Dale, it pleases me no end that you make reading my inspiration post a weekly thing :).
      I challenge anyone to watch that blame clip and not get a little bit uncomfortable – we all do it, though hopefully less as we get wiser (I’ve learned not to automatically associate age and wisdom omg).
      I’m so glad you’re enjoying it 🙂
      Have a lovely week.


  6. Sara have you seen this book?
    So good. So damn good. Such a good insight into how so many artists that we know and love went about their work. And so many of these people, jeez they didn’t do one other thing besides socialise and write, (the men especially) if I had that much time in the day dedicated to just writing hooley dooley I’d expect prize winning novels flowing out of me as well. Women writers…yes, we definitely need a few survival tips.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love Brene Brown! Great video. The piece about women writers reminds me of the same parallel in photography, at least for me. A few of my favorite local nature photographers are men. They never had to put the kids or grocery shopping before climbing a mountain to get that awesome photo. I remember taking my son with me to take pictures of flowers here and there. I had to time things around his naps and meals, and how long he would last before meltdown (not long enough). I was never so thankful as for the day he started first grade and gave me six whole hours of freedom! Many of my early photo shoots include pictures of my Little Man- was just revising some pictures a few days ago. That would make for a fun blog entry: the picture I was trying for, plus one of Little Man.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh goodness yes, that piece about writers could be about women and creativity in general – in fact anything that’s just for us. I found similar issues with developing a yoga practice. A lot of it’s in our heads though – residual guilt, excuses and blame. No other way but through those sticky ones! I’ve learned that whatever we prioritise comes to be though…thanks so much for coming by, reading and commenting, I really appreciate it xo

      Liked by 1 person

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