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I’ve been having some difficulty in sitting down and writing anything of value lately. Despite my ritual of setting myself up with my tea, starting my writing playlist, and open my document to where I left off – I get nothing. This is probably the first time I’ve truly dealt with what is commonly known as “writer’s block” and it’s frustrating to the core.

I complained to a friend about my “problem” (this is in quotations because writer’s block is hardly a problem in the grand scheme of things) and she was sympathetic and encouraging and then asked me to write her a poem. I almost laughed in her face because prose and poems are not something I do. I am fearful of them and just do not understand them.

She called it a creative exercise.

I took the bait.

there once was a zoo made just for you.
there were animals: hairy beasts, sharp teeth, and fuzzy warm noses.
the noises were wild and a little scary too.
But deep inside you found the tiniest of ponds.
exquisite and gleaming.
You.

She praised me and clapped her hands and exclaimed “I love it, you did a thing!”

I beamed and felt my cheeks glowing in pleasure and instantly thought of my children. No matter how grotesque their painting, how dirty their knees and hands, how easy their obstacle – when they show me what they have done I clap my hands, smile with glee and praise them for their effort.

“Darling, you did a thing!” and I mean every ounce of the words coming out of my mouth.

Yet, I cannot conjure up those same feelings for myself. Why is it that we constantly beat ourselves up over the smallest of successes saying they aren’t good enough, yet can easily praise anyone else.

I encourage my children to try again and again till they exhausted all their options, yet I know that as adults if we can’t accomplish what we want perfectly the first time we give up. Or is that just me?

I want to live with a more child-like mindset. To say “I did a thing!” even if it isn’t perfect, all that matters is that I’ve tried and I created something.

How to have a child-like mindset:

  1. Be proud of the small accomplishments and show them off.

    My daughter asked me to make a dragon tail for her to wear the other day, so I brought out all the papers and crayons and went to town. The end result was nothing you would find on Pinterest but she was thrilled. She ran around the house with it saying it was a dragon tail kite.

  2. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and then try again.

    I see this time and time again in my children, they aren’t afraid to make mistakes and if they don’t get it right the first, second, tenth time I’m still there beside them encouraging them to continue or find a different way to their goal. The same goes with anything you’re putting your attention to, be willing to make mistakes and then try again.

  3. Stay curious.

    Continue to be curious as to why, when, how things happen. Children aren’t afraid to ask questions yet at the same time thirst for knowledge in all subjects whether it’s dinosaurs, trains, magical fairies, or how the world turns. Stay curious and let your curiosities go from interest to interest and then pursue each interest as deep and as wide as your curiosity takes you. You’ll leave with more knowledge than you had before, and no one can say that’s bad for you!

Now I encourage you to start right now with a child-like mindset and see what happens. You’ll never know where it will take you!

 

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I thought it might be interesting to let you in behind the scenes of what my world looks like when I’m writing. I unexpectedly had an hour of quiet while the children were napping while at the in-laws so I ran up the stairs powered up google drive and opened a new document. I didn’t have any of my previous writing with me, but I knew what I needed to work on so I got right to it.

I also always have my playlist available on my phone, or saved as a playlist on my computer so that no matter where I am I can allow it to transport me into the world I’m creating in my novel. I write very organically by writing out the scene that is playing before me or any words that I hear in my head. I try not to self edit before the words are on the page because then it becomes a habit of not thinking my writing is good enough, so I just go with the flow and trust that the words and the scene will evolve in front of me.

Anything in brackets is me opening a tab in chrome and dashing off to do the research and then coming back with the information that found.

Below is a snippet of a scene that I’m adding into the novel, which is completely in the raw and could possibly have some spoilers.

Waking up the next morning she pulled the warm furs up towards her chin turning her body towards the canvas wall burying her body deeper into the corn husk mattress [research adequate mattress style for royalty as well as ease of traveling], breathing as deeply as she could to ease the weight that curved around her chest. She had a fit of a sleep, tossing and turning most of the night running through the previous nights event in her head.

Every time she rolled over she would ask herself how she could have been so ignorant of the state of her country, and even worse the state of the Legion Counsel’s anger towards her. Fleeing for her life had unsettled her and she needed to find a way to gain control of herself.

The flap of the tent jarred her from her anguished thoughts and Sarah popped her head around the opening, concern eased into the creases of of her forehead.

“I didn’t want to disturb you, I just wanted to bring you some warm breakfast” her breath floated into a silver cloud in front of her nose as she stepped in with a tray of  hot porridge with honey.

[suddenly hungry and run downstairs to grab a snack, all the while thinking of Sophia and Sarah’s exchange.]

“You delivered me from my troubled thoughts more more than anything” Sophia tried to smile as she forced her warm body to meet the frigid air. Sarah quickly placed the tray on the wooden table before bringing a blanket to wrap around Sophia’s shoulders. Holding Sophia’s hand she lead her towards the waiting table surrounded with candles.

“Doesn’t seem like sleep helped you much” Sarah left Sophia to find [research when matches were invented] her flint box and then proceeded to light the candles around Sophia to keep her warm. Sophia dipped her spoon into the thick amber honey then her porridge and enjoyed the sweetness on her tongue and the warmth that enveloped her body as it settled in her stomach.

“No, I think it might have made it worse actually. I felt completely useless the entire night feeling that if only I knew more or wasn’t lied to I could have given a better answer. Oh Sarah, it was terrifying to see the anger they had towards me as well as running through that dark cave following some man I had never met before!”

“I’m sorry I wasn’t there to help you through it.”

“I would have felt worse if you were! Thankfully Thane was there, or I…” stirring her honey into her porridge, “I don’t want to think of what would have happened.”

Sarah patted her hand and then went to her trunk to pull out her dress for the day, the green traveling suit and a large brimmed hat with emerald velvet ribbon.

“You’ll have plenty of time to think of what you’ll do next, we’re packing up today and moving.”
“I had forgotten all about it: Sophia’s brown eyes fell upon her breakfast, pushing the bowl away from her.”

So there you have it, that free hour of time turned out 500 words (which is roughly about a half hour of writing time) plus research and a bit of a snack.

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Today I went out for lunch with a woman who I haven’t seen since before I left for Europe, and in that hour we quickly caught up, shared stories, and let vulnerability seep in. I walked away feeling like I was seen. I found a comrade.

That despite the weight and responsibility of motherhood I don’t want to lose myself amongst wiping sticking fingers before they touched the couch, cleaning up toys scattered around the house, and packing bags for daycare while planning the dinner menu.

I need to have my creative endeavors.

I want my creative pursuits to keep me alight, energized and feeding my soul.

I’ve tried giving up my art in the name of motherhood. I would watch my other mama friends thrive in their roles of sole caregiver, playing, napping, cuddling, teaching with a sense of contentment around them. They had hard days, for sure, but they always appeared to be thriving and loving it even in the bad times. So I would return home telling myself I would put aside my creative pursuits to play on the floor, cuddle and hold them until no end, make another meal, clean another sticky chair, take them to another play group with the hope of finding the same contentment.

But it would never come.

I would always feel this tugging at my heart, a longing to be somewhere else feeding my own soul instead of the belly of my child. It felt selfish and I feared that my nightmare had come true – I was the worst mother in the world. But no matter how hard I tried to be a mother and nothing else, that longing would become louder and louder and I would become more and more unhappy.

I could never be the mother who could focus solely on my children.

I struggle to manage it all, and sometimes wonder if it would all be better if I waited till my children were of school age to pursue my art but I know that inside that wouldn’t make me happy at all. I have to believe that following my curiosity is exactly how I’m supposed to live my life, and that having a happy, creative filled mama is exactly what my children need more than me being at home with them while my art collects dust.

need vs want, spending detox, financial success

If you’d like to start at the very first spending detox post, you can find Part 1 here.

At the end of part 1, I mentioned I would share my process of how I created my Need vs. Want list so that I continued to have success with my spending detox. And here you are! I created this list perhaps 2 – 3 weeks into my detox after realizing that going on a spending detox for 6 months would mean I would have to spend money at sometime and needed to know how to do it properly.

Before I show you my need vs want list I need to share that I am doing this on my own. My husband fully supports me but the spending detox is purely my own. I’ve invited him to join me but I’ve completely left it up to him how he wants to play according to his own needs and wants.

I truly believe creating a need and want list will help you in your spending detox success. The beauty of them is that it is completely unique to you and your experience, and how you decide you want to live your life.

Now onto creating your Need vs Want list! Take your bills/transactions from the past couple of months (2-3 months worth) and categorize them into categories that make sense to you. There might be a few that you can’t categorize because they were a one time purchase, just put those under misc. With all your spending out and the open you can see where your money is going, what habits you’ve formed, and what shops you frequent the most.

Now ask yourself, are you serious about doing a spending detox? If the answer is yes, then it’s time to get cut-throat with your spending.

Start really analyzing your spending and asking yourself what is a need. Definition of need is “require (something) because it is essential or very important”. These are your basics, what you need to truly get by in life to help you feel human. Move the categories that you require so that you have a roof over your head, food in your belly, a way to get to work, a way to contact your loved ones, and perhaps a little icing on the cake like coffee once a week or whatever you need to still feel you.

Once you have your need list, everything else goes under want. Definition of want is “have a desire to possess or do (something); wish for.” Essentially it’s the trendy clothes and accessories, the new shoes for the night out, the treat on a bad day, new pjs for the children because “they were on sale!”. Absolutely everything that isn’t on your need list goes under want.

Here is mine:

Need vs Want List

NEEDS:

  • mortgage
  • strata fees
  • property taxes
  • electrical bill
  • health insurance
  • car payments
  • gas
  • toll fees
  • mobile phone
  • daycare
  • groceries
  • internet
  • coffee
  • clothes for children
  • massages
  • professional haircuts
  • date nights (2/month)
  • dinner/lunch dates with friend (2/month)

WANTS:

  • fast fashion
  • clothes for children
  • toys for children
  • unscheduled lunches/dinners/coffee out with friends outside of 2/month
  • clothes for myself
  • makeup
  • knowledge based products
  • home decor
  • kindle/books
  • home accessories for the kitchen
  • nail polish
  • essential oils
  • stationary
  • kitchen towels

Make sure your need vs want list is always ready and available for you. Mine is on the note app on my phone, because I always have my phone with me. So no matter where I am I can easily turn to it when I’m feeling the urge to buy.

As I mentioned, each person will have their own unique needs vs want list. If Adam were to write one up I guarantee that his would look different than mine, even though we share the same house and bank account. And I’m perfectly okay with that. This is my list and I’m completely happy with mine. There is a sense of freedom that I feel when I look at it, I feel like I can breathe when it comes to my finances, which I don’t think I’ve ever been able to do.

With my needs vs want list I have the power to have a spending detox success. Now your turn!

I have this thought that goes on repeat multiple times a month and I always laugh it off. “I want to be a lawyer”. I’ve had that thought since sixth grade, this weird inclining that being a lawyer would be the best thing ever. Silly me, I always think, you know that would be the worst job for you!

It all started when we had to do a job shadowing for the day, and I was paired up at a law office. I spent the day wandering around a bleak office with beige walls, windows at the front and old dated paintings on the wall. It smelled musty too, all that paper that was piled up along the hallways in on the lawyers desk couldn’t keep that smell away. But while I was tucked away in the back office filing papers I thought that they had the best job!

This idea that being a lawyer would be the best thing has stayed with me since.

But the reason why I laugh at it is because since then I have worked in many law firms. Beautiful downtown offices with a view of the ocean and mountain skyline sending off trademark applications, bleak offices in the suburbs where I’m folding and stamping Wills and Trusts away, holding court documents and running massive binders with my heels clacking along the courtroom floors, my head bowed low flipping through boxes and boxes of documents looking for that one particular line that might show a client’s innocence.

I’ve seen the stress and the long hours that lawyers put in while I was the assistant typing up letters and bringing them coffee. I know without a doubt that a lawyer’s life isn’t glamorous by any means, it is essentially the opposite of anything I gravitate towards.

I know I’m a creative and I need that outlet to feel a sense of freedom in my life. Yet I also know I desperately enjoy helping people and this is where this returning thought comes from.

It always sneaks up on me, I want to be a lawyer. And I always have to step back and ask myself, is that what I truly want? Or am I just bored.

I’m usually bored.