July 31 2012 Editor Assistance Newsletter
Today is the launch of my ninth medieval novel; the proceeds benefit battered women's shelters. Just a year ago I had not published ANY of these novels. I had been working on these for 20 years. It seemed a hopeless dream to ever get them published. However, many editors here supported me, encouraged me, and told me directly that it WOULD WORK. I launched into it, and my goal is nearly complete!! I want to offer a warm thank-you to every editor who cheered for me along the way. I could not have done it without you.
Often when editors are talking with me about this project, they ask me where I get the energy to do it. I got asked that question several times in the past week alone. So I sat down last night and gave the question serious thought. Here is what I came up with. I hope these tips and ideas help you in your own quest for energy and success!
A key to my energy levels seems to be that I am filled with a constant flow of joyous, calm, serene energy. It feels like a "golden energy". Some people I encounter seem to have a frenetic, "busy" energy where they race around to get things done. That energy seems to involve stress. Some people have high-low energy fueled by caffeine, sugar, or alcohol. Some people have hostile or negative energy, where they view the world through a lens of "the news must be bad". And some people have low to no energy. Golden energy seems to work far more smoothly, and guarantee success more strongly, than the other options.
It's called many things in many books. It's "the zone" that sports stars get into. It's "the flow" that spiritual people tap into. It's about easy, powerful, positive, joyous energy.
How do I achieve my golden energy? Here are some of the components.
Absolutely the fuel you put into your body every few hours is key to how your body behaves. If you give your body high sugars, it will then have a low-sugar crash. If you feed it caffeine, the same thing happens. People get so used to these feelings that they come to think of them as normal - but as just about any nutritionist will tell you, it's just not good for the body. I strive to provide my body with as healthy a stream of nutrition as I can. I am aware of my fiber, my protein, my vitamins, and I eat small, regular meals. I avoid chemicals and preservatives. To me it's not just about calories. It's about the quality of what I take in. After all, my entire body depends on that food - and only that food - for everything it does every day. I also make sure that I love the food I eat. The act of nourishing myself is a delicious, joyful one.
We've all heard how critical hydration is. I strive to keep a large glass of water on my desk at all times. I find, if it's there, that I naturally tend to drink it. Over the years I've become much more aware of my body's water needs. According to the government, the body is 60% water - and the brain is 70% water. That water is critical for quick, intelligent thinking.
JOYFUL PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
I want everything I do to be something I love and that fills me with joy. So my physical activities are all things I adore doing. I kayak. I dance with Wii games. I go hiking through woods. I do yoga. I actively look forward to doing these things. Bodies need physical activity to work properly. The lymphatic system ONLY works if the body has regular motion. It's how your body filters blood and maintains its immune system. If you're not active, you're not healthy. The key is to find something that brings you joy while you do it.
Getting ample sleep is absolutely critical to healthy thinking. Low sleep can cause you to be as impaired as if you were drunk. You often don't realize it - you think you're "coping". This is just like a drunk person thinking they're fine to drive. Luckily, one of the easiest ways to fall asleep quickly is to get ample exercise during the day. So a win-win. I also make sure my bedroom is ideal for sleeping. I have double, heavy shades. I have an air filter with a rumbling noise which provides white noise. I keep the room cool. I journal before I go to sleep, to release any lingering stress. I train myself, if I start to have a troubling thought, to write it down and let it go until tomorrow. I see the thoughts as drifting clouds in my mind, and I let them drift out without keeping my focus on them. I focus just on my breath.
Our minds are trained in childhood to get stuck in certain ruts. These ruts can easily be negative or harmful. We assume that things people say to us are meant to hurt. We assume that we are not worthy of love or success. Every person has the ability to change their brain's tracks. The key is regular practice. This is exactly what meditation and prayer are about. It is not about the "quiet time", although that is nice too. It is about regular brain training, so that the other 23 hours of the day our brain runs as efficiently and cleanly as possible. What's great is that this training can be done anywhere and at any time. If you are laying in bed and not able to fall asleep, you can use that time for your meditation or prayer. If you are in a doctor's office and have a 15 minute wait, that is a perfect time. You can follow your breath in and out. You can recite a phrase that has meaning to you. You can enumerate your blessings and focus with joy on each one. There are millions of ways to meditate or pray, and each of us connects with a different style. The key is finding a style that connects with you, and to practice daily.
JOURNAL / FORWARD-THINKING
Part of what helps the brain move along a track is to visualize it. Basketball players talk about seeing the shot in their mind. It has a real value to how the brain takes a path. This is absolutely true in all areas of life. So each morning, journal and visualize your plans for the day. Then visualize your short term and long term plans. Many people find it helps to have a list to look over, to remind them of what their chosen goals are. The more you see what it is you plan to do, the more likely you are, when side-tracks pop up, that you will remain on path.
We can all get into relationships which are not supportive, and be genetically linked to family members who are not supportive. I have certainly experienced all of those things. Yes, it's hard to get divorced. It's hard to say no to family demands. But it can be done. It might be challenging in the short term - but it is absolutely necessary long term. I have now been with a quite supportive man for 16 years and it makes all the difference in the world. I limit family contact with non-supportive family members. You absolutely can ensure that the family you DO let in your life is healthy for you. Certainly you could ask "but how can I pay the bills if I leave?" That is a valid question. Then find an answer. Find people who can help you with that answer. There is always a way.
Build a network of mentors and cheerleaders who believe in what you are doing. There are more than enough nay-sayers in the world. You need the yea-sayers. The people who believe your crafts can find a market. The people whose energy will buoy you up when you are hitting a challenge. Your team can all have different skill sets. Some can be experts in areas, to help you improve your skills. Some can be able to give you constructive criticism, to improve your efforts. And some can simply be rah-rah people to keep your spirits up.
TASKS YOU THRIVE IN DOING
For a week, write down what you do each day. Are the things you do things you adore? Do they fill you with joy? It might be hard to think of washing dishes as a joy-filled activity - but it is supporting your healthy nutrition. Think of your health while you do them. Remember why it is you're doing them. If there is something you're doing that is NOT in service of one of your priorities, then consider why you are doing it. Is it out of habit? Find a way to ease out of that responsibility. In my life, from when I wake up to when I fall asleep, I'm doing things in service of my loves. Yes, backing up database files might not scream "joy" - but it is keeping my websites safe. So I am happy to do it. Taking a grumpy kitty to the vet might not seem like a happy task, but it is in service of keeping the kitty healthy. So I do it gladly.
EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS
The brain can get stuck in a rut if it gets too comfortable. It can lose its ability to think innovatively. So find regular ways to go out of your comfort zone. Eat at an unusual restaurant. Listen to new types of music on YouTube. Go somewhere you haven't been before. It's OK if you don't like the food or find the music odd. The mere act of trying it out will help you be more creative in all aspects of life.
PRESERVE QUIET TIME
Yes, meditation and prayer are quiet - but they are a focused quiet. They are training your brain to be strong. You also need time that is simply complete down-time. For me, I'm fortunate that two of my favorite motion-based activities are also quiet-based activities. When I am kayaking, I completely clear my mind with the peacefulness of the water. It is absolute bliss. When I walk in the woods, it is incredibly introspective. I lose myself in the moss and the nestle of trees. It is spellbindingly beautiful. We all have different types of quiet atmospheres we enjoy. Find what appeals to you, and dose yourself with it regularly. It's as important as any medicine.
MAKE YOUR HOME YOUR SANCTUARY
This is critical. You spend oodles of time in your home. It needs to nourish you, to enrich you, and inspire you. Tweak each aspect of your home to resonate with love. It doesn't have to be about fancy make-overs. I have origami cranes and a simple water fountain in my office, and they bring me great joy. When I work I hear the burbling of the fountain, the warbling of my parakeet, and the purrs of my cat. I see delightful hummingbirds flitting outside my window. There's the saying that one should always smile when talking on the phone, because a listener can hear the vocal sounds created by the smiling mouth. It's true. So, for the same reason, I strive to be content and joyful when I answer email and post web content. The reader can often hear my positive intentions in the way I write things.
APPROACH CHALLENGES WITH LOVE
It is normal to routinely encounter people who cause challenges. Some billow with negative energy and think it is normal. Some are so busy with what they are racing to do that they aren't aware of the harm they cause others. Some feel they are helpful but are "helping" in a challenging way. Some are feeling unhappy and it makes them feel better to see someone else is unhappy too, to "share in the misery". There are a myriad of reasons that people can end up impacting your joyful, golden energy.
If I have to write a challenging email, I first gaze at the joy of my sanctuary and fill my heart with love for some aspect of the situation. For example, imagine I am talking with an editor who repeatedly plagiarizes content. I keep in my focus all of the many editors at BellaOnline who depend on me to keep our site's reputation strong. I also consider that maybe the editor was completely baffled by our training. Did they think that rewriting another person's content was normal and OK? Maybe their previous writing instructors were unethical and taught them to do that as the "normal" way to write. Maybe they had no idea at all that doing this was illegal. I start from that stance.
If I get a cranky email from a visitor, I build sympathy for their lifestyle that allows such negative energy to billow. It cannot be a happy feeling to hold that type of hostility in one's heart. I then answer the email as gently as possible. If it is a repeat emailer, I do also guide them with the idea that, as I am treating them with respect, I feel I deserve, as all humans do, a respectful treatment in return.
The key is to realize that, in the end, life is about these challenges. Life isn't what happens when there are no challenges. Life is about a series of challenges. Everything else I described is the way one builds up their strength, stamina, and energy so that as each situation comes up, it can be examined, planned for, and then surmounted. Life is the challenges. The more we can embrace that, appreciate that, and approach each one with our full, positive energy, the more we can lead a life that brings us all we hope and dream for.
I have set up a thread here for us to discuss our skills we want to polish -
Chime in and we'll help out!
Lisa Shea, owner
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