From the category archives:

Writing

Whole Living June 2011 Issue

I’m beyond thrilled to have a piece in the June issue of Whole Living magazine! It’s an article about envisioning success in your career and is adapted from my book The Right-Brain Business Plan.

The spread is on pages 129-130 and the image that goes with it is gorgeous. Last month I had a brief mention in article in Whole Living, but it’s pretty darn exciting to see “by Jennifer Lee” on the page!

I must say that the past couple of months I’ve been in the “now what?!” post-book launch dip. I wrote a little bit about my blahs in last month’s newsletter. I’ve just recently started to emerge from the exhaustion and  fogginess. It was good to give myself time and space to be there and now I’m excited to really dive into to some cool projects. I’m heading to Vancouver tomorrow participate in a think tank with my mentor, Andrea J. Lee, and to speak at her Wealthy Thought Leader event. (BTW, if you’re at all interested, there’s a simulcast option so you can watch from the comfort of home.) Anyway, I’m jazzed about getting t0 mastermind some new ideas I’m working on.

And earlier this week, I got so energized visiting with a community of really amazing creative women who gathered at Teahouse Studio in Berkeley. The space is absolutely gorgeous. The photo above just captures one of the many nooks and crannies brimming with colorful inspiration. I love knowing that Teahouse Studio will be a hub for creative souls in the Bay Area and I look forward to taking a workshop there and hopefully to leading one there in the fall. The workshops sound awesome and you can check them out here.

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Right-Brain Business Plan book

OMG! Today I had the best surprise. My publisher New World Library sent me an advanced copy of my book The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success. I can’t tell you how amazing it was to hold the book in my hands for the first time. I was flooded with so much emotion – joy, the feeling of accomplishment, pride in how much work went into this baby and how beautiful it turned out, and excitement that soon the book will be in the hands of many more people who are looking for a more fulfilling way to do business. That just brings tears to my eyes (you can see my used tissue in the background of my photo!).

I showed the book to my hubby and to my fabulous friend and illustrator Kate over FaceTime on my iPhone this afternoon and then tonight I video Skyped with my parents to let them get a glimpse of it, too!

Anyway, I’m thrilled about the things we’ve got planned for the launch next month and I can’t wait to share more very soon. If you want to be in the know, you can sign-up for my newsletter to get the latest deets about what I’m cookin’ up for you creative souls.

I hope I can sleep tonight… I’m just so over the moon!!!

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A Visit to New World Library

by jenn on May 5, 2010

in Books,Writing

New World Library Books

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of visiting the New World Library office to have lunch with my editor and meet the rest of the team. Everyone was so warm and welcoming and I’m very grateful to be partnering with them. I even got to briefly meet the co-founder and president Marc Allen who wrote the book Visionary Business. In it he shares that one of the keys to visionary business is to “write your business plan as a simple, clear visualization.” Well, get this, Marc always carries around his one-page visionary business plan. While we chatted, he reached into his back pocket and unfolded a well-worn, dog-earred sheet of paper that simply listed his goals and plans for the company. Very cool! You know I’m a fan of portable business plans!

Being at the office and talking about pub dates, seeing book cover comps, and hearing more about the production process made this dream of getting a book published feel that much more real. Woohoo! Many of my favorite reads are from New World Library (as you can see from my stack of books), so it’s thrilling to now be part of the family. By the way, one of their new books that I’m currently reading (on my new iPad!) is Hand Wash Cold by Karen Maezen Miller and am loving it (the book and the iPad!).

The following few months will be focused on artwork, photos of Right-Brain Business Plans, and interior design. Then, in the summer we’ll start discussing marketing. And then the book launch will be early next year! I know there will be plenty of steps in between all of that. So I’ll just continue to enjoy the process. Next up, meeting with my friend and illustrator Kate later this week to get started on the fun drawings. Yay!

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How I Get My Writing Groove On – Part 2

by jenn on April 20, 2010

in Writing

MuseCubes

Last week, in my How I Get My Writing Groove On – Part 1, I shared some practical actions that helped me with finishing my manuscript.

In this post, I offer some resources and tools that help me get my writing groove on.

  • MuseCubes: My pal Gretchen Wegner created these nifty dice called MuseCubes. One cube has a movement and the other has a sound. Nothing like a howl and a bounce or a whoop and a dance to get out of your head and into your body; a great cure for writer’s block.
  • Levenger’s Circa notebooks: I love Circa notebooks. They’re a cross between a spiral notebook and a 3-ring binder, which makes it easy to move pages around. When I gathered all of my existing material, I organized everything in a Circa notebook with a tab for each chapter. Seeing it in “book” form helped me to realize I had a lot more than I thought I did, and it helped me play with the flow of the content.
  • Concentrate: The Mac application Concentrate worked miracles for helping me focus on writing. I set it for one hour and had it block e-mail, social networking sites, Google, etc. The two sites I would allow myself to reference regularly, though, included Dictionary.com and this great phrase thesaurus.
  • Micromovements: I got a lot of inspiration and forward momentum from taking SARK’s Juicy Pens Thirsty Paper workshop. My micromovements wheel helped me get into action again quickly after feeling stuck. If you can’t take her workshop, her book is great, too!
  • Playlists: Listening to music helps put me in a writing zone. But since I get distracted by lyrics when I’m writing, I created a 30-min, 60-min, and a 6-hour playlist of musical scores and groovy instrumental tunes. Some highlights include:
    • The Shopgirl soundtrack
    • El Michels Affair – Enter the 37th Chamber and Sounding Out the City
    • Beastie Boys – The In Sound From Way Out! and The Mix-Up
    • Thievery Corporation – Radio Retaliation

I now have a Pavlovian thing going so anytime I hear those songs, I’m conditioned to get my writing groove on. BTW, if you have some music to recommend, please let me know!

  • Visual cues: For months and months, the wallpaper on my iPhone was my “Keep on writing, and writing, and writing” sketch! I also had a “I am a published author” vision board on my iPhone. These visual reminders inspired me and kept me focused on my goal.
  • Post-it Note Project Plan: I created a flexible timeline using Post-its to map out my key milestones. While I knew I had a big-picture view of all the things that needed to happen, I usually focused in on just the tasks for that week so that I wouldn’t get overwhelmed. It helped me pace out my chapters and revisions and helped me reach the finish line.

For a few more tips, last year I did a video interview on BlogHer about tips for curing writer’s block.

Also, fellow coach Cynthia Morris is offering an online writing course called Make Writing a Happy Habit that sounds fantastic. Participating in a structured group activity like this is a great way to get support and accountability for your writing. I used a book coach and I went on a weekend writer’s retreat for structure and accountability.

And really, all of the tools and tips don’t mean a thing if they give you one more thing to do besides write/create. Which means, you guessed it… the best advice to get your writing groove on is to just sit your butt down and write! So go write, right now!

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How I Get My Writing Groove On – Part 1

by jenn on April 13, 2010

in Writing

Keep on writing, writing, writing

At the beginning of the month, I turned in the manuscript for my book The Right-Brain Business Plan. I’ve had some people ask me how I got through all that writing. Mostly, it was a little bit at a time.

And even though everyone’s writing process is different, I thought I’d share some of the simple ways I got my writing groove on during the past six months, in case it helps spark some ideas for you.

Part 1 includes some practical actions and Part 2 will offer some suggested tools and resources.

  • Schedule time: I blocked off entire days to write. I stacked all of my coaching calls and meetings on Mondays and Thursdays and left the rest of the week open for writing. It was easier for me to have focused “book” time than to juggle between different activities. I’ll continue blocking off some writing time because it really worked for me.
  • Say No to say YES: I scaled back big-time during October through March. I stopped taking new coaching clients. I said no to pretty much any social activities. I drew strong boundaries and fiercely protected my energy. It was tough, but I knew it was temporary. While my boundaries won’t be as extreme as they were during that period, I did learn a lot about what I want to yes to and no to going forward.
  • Set accountability: I always get more done when I have a call scheduled with my book coach. Even if it means writing until 1 in the morning right before, at least I send something in!
  • Brain dump: I find it helpful to get all my random thoughts out of my head and on to paper. Sometimes I opened up a Word doc and rambled away mostly just making notes to myself. Other times I busted out Post-it Notes and wrote different concepts on each one and moved them around until I found the flow for a chapter. I mind mapped. I scribbled in a small notebook in my purse when I was on the go. I captured fleeting ideas in the journal on my nightstand during the wee hours. I e-mailed messages to myself. All this became fodder for my next action: repurpose.
  • Repurpose: Rather than suffer writer’s block from staring at a blank page, I would first scour through my existing material for things I could possibly build off of. I pulled stuff from my blog posts, workshop outlines and handouts, old e-mails, my journals and notebooks, podcasts, and scribbles on scraps of paper. Even if it was just a few sentences from here and there, once I consolidated everything together, I was surprised and relieved by how much I already had to work with. I bet you would be, too!
  • Put placeholders: There were many times when I sort of knew what I wanted to say, but I didn’t quite know how to say it or I didn’t have enough information yet to detail it out. So instead of getting frustrated or stopping I would just write something like “Here is where I’ll write an example about how someone used this exercise successfully” or “Say something here about creativity and why it’s important in business” or I’d just list out a bunch of words in no particular order. Even though I’d feel silly making those notes to myself right smack in the middle of my manuscript, it was a way for me to just keep moving forward and they served as prompts for me to respond to when I would circle back later.
  • Go where there’s flow: I worked on whatever section I felt called to do at that moment. By first knocking out the things that felt easier, my word count increased little by little and I slowly gained confidence to tackle the parts that felt more difficult. And when I wasn’t feeling the flow of a chapter, I found other ways to just exercise my writing muscle: I made notes about other book-related things like artwork, resources, etc., I worked on my newsletter, whipped up a post for my e-course, tweeted, journaled. Just the act of typing or moving my pen helped me find the flow again to return to writing the book.
  • Trust: In the end, it comes down to simply trusting. Trusting that I have something to say. Trusting that I can say it. Trusting that what I have to say will have a positive impact (even if just on me).  In fact the first line of my writer wo-manifesto that I created in SARK’s Juicy Pens Thirsty Paper workshop reads, “May I trust in my own voice – that I have something to share and say that needs to be read/heard/experienced by myself and others.” How will you remember to trust your own voice and creative process?

These practical actions can be applied to any creative project you’re working on, writing or otherwise. It’s a matter of making time and making things real.

What do you do to get your writing/creative groove on? I’d love to hear! And stay tuned for Part 2 coming next week.

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6 Months and 50,000 Words Later…

April 10, 2010
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Last week I turned in my Right-Brain Business Plan manuscript to my editor at New World Library! Woohoo!!! After being heads down for an intense six months of writing, it’s hard to believe that this huge achievement is finally behind me. Of course, I promptly proceeded to get sick for the next week. My body […]

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A Light at the End of the Tunnel

February 18, 2010
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I’m ever so slowly emerging from my writer-hermit-mode. At least to catch my breath before the home stretch next month. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It sure helps that the cherry blossoms are blooming, daffodils have sprung up, and cala lilies are unfurling. My winter hibernation is making way […]

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Keeping the Gremlins at Bay

January 30, 2010
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Isn’t it funny how the gremlins get louder the closer we move toward our big dreams? For weeks and weeks, I’ve been diligently plugging away at my manuscript, but now that I’m preparing to have colleagues review it and give feedback, the Inner Critic kicked into overdrive. Productivity came to a halt. I dug my […]

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I’m Gonna be a Published Author! Hooray!

December 15, 2009

Just like there was a time when I didn’t think of myself as an artist, an entrepreneur, a good coach, or a leader, I had blocks around calling myself a writer or, dare I say it … an author. Over the years, I’ve stepped more fully and confidently into each of these roles and own […]

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On BlogHer: Curing Writer’s Block

August 25, 2009

BlogHer’s inspiring Jory Des Jardins interviewed me about curing writer’s block on this week’s The Juice.  In addition to Gretchen Wegner’s fun MuseCubes that I mention in the video, a couple of other great writing resources are SARK’s Juicy Pens Thirsty Paper and Write or Die: Dr. Wicked’s Writing Lab. I’d love to hear some […]

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