Holiday Blues of A Writer – Why you need to take an inspirational rest once in a while

I have been irritated with myself for not working more over the holidays.  I was disappointed that I did not write more and that I slept, ate and watched movies most of the time. Today is the first official working day of the New Year and I have started by reading and writing. I feel pressure on my shoulders as I enter January and similar to last year I feel that there is too much to do and not sure where to start. Do you know this feeling?
I am eager to get back into a routine but also weary of all the work that looks at me and needs to be tackled today. Why is it that we procrastinate until we have too much to do? Why can we not work in moderation? I wish I had an answer to these questions. I assume that the year end calls for a break and especially since no one is productive I felt entitled to being slack as well. I know though that the only one who will suffer is myself because my bad conscience increases.
I thought I would give myself some time to think and hoped the creative juices would flow again after the holidays but I am not sure I am there yet. I have a strong sense that something needs to emerge in 2016, that I need to let out an inner flame and that I have not been running on full steam yet even though I had been productive and busy, I feel like I did not give my best at all times. I feel like I have been cheating myself but I am not sure why I feel this way.

Like in the past, I m waiting for a miracle while I know that the miracle is inside me.

I could be more effective and reach my goals if I just let go of my fears and went ahead with passion. The thing is that this is the hard part about being your own boss. It’s the daily challenge to show up and be your best. When you are employed you can give 70% and it is still acceptable. When you are self-employed you want to give at least 95% or more. You need to be fresh, energetic, focused and emotionally stable. You need to create and find the atmosphere for creativity whether you are in your office or in a dodgy hotel room. You need to be up for networking with prospects and clients even if you are drained and tired.
And that’s why you need a break once in a while. A real break where you can just be yourself and relax. I thought I would read more during the holidays  and I can tell I am really eager to tackle a few books I bought last year. I am also ready to finish a manuscript I have been dragging along for the last two years. So that’s great news.
6 January marks the last day of the holiday season in Germany and Switzerland. In some parts of Europe it is the most important day of the holiday season. For us it means that the next day we really need to throw out the Christmas tree and all the decorations. It’s a nice ritual and the cleaning up exercise means that I can get back into full steam.
What are you struggling with and how did you get out of your holiday blues? Let me know in the comments.

Do women still bond in the bathroom?

a white and a beige stone (they are in love!)

a white and a beige stone (they are in love!)

As a business woman it is not always easy to get from one meeting to another when you do not have access to a bathroom, WIFI and electricity on a regular basis. Last week I was getting a bit stressed about not finding a bathroom when I needed one. At the same time I did not want to run late for the next meeting.

As soon as I had entered the corporate building I found the bathroom and it seemed like a heavenly relief to me.  When I came out a woman stood at the basin washing her hands. It is not the norm in this country to acknowledge another person’s existence in the bathroom but I felt like smiling at her. I was a bit nervous and she smiled as well. This day was different in a good way.

Then I entered the floor of the company and found her sitting at the reception desk. She now acknowledged that we knew each other already and was very kind. Not only did she offer me a coffee. I asked her politely if I could charge my phone. She took it with her to her desk while I was introducing myself to her boss. I probably get a consulting job there. I am sure the receptionist will always remember me now. I do not even know her name but I will ask her next time or bring her some chocolates.

The other day I randomly ran into Judy, my editor when I walked to a bathroom. She had tried to call me and in those few minutes of meeting she helped me get a new client. Her husband came to say hello and introduce himself.

Maybe this just happens because Zurich after all is a village but I do believe that there is a need in our societies for human interaction now. We have grown so distant from other people that a smile can change a person’s mood for a whole day.

Try it once and let me know what happened.

VMS

 

The everlasting energy of the spices your ex bought.

It’s Sunday. You want to cook a meal as your friends will come by tonight after a day on the skiing slopes and then you notice this collection of spices from the last ten years of your life. You find the spices your ex brought to the family. You find the everlasting energy that is still at home in this small flacon. This spice is a symbol for a love that expired. He left and moved out with only his bare essentials about 10 years ago.

So, I have started cleaning out those spices today. I thought I had done that with my last move but there were a few items I found where the official expiry date was before 2005. These herbs were as expired as the relationship they belonged too. I felt the urge to get rid of the content and the little glass that they came in. I remembered discussions with all of my ex-partners. Why do they love to buy herbs and spices?

I do like their smell but I do not know where to use them. I mainly cook with pepper and salt. Adding spices is already a stretch for me. I sit there and clean out the energy of my last two relationships. It feels good to let the old spices go. I keep the good ones and taste them on my tongue. I want to use them, integrate them in my dishes. I want to celebrate the energy my relationships brought to my life. I hang on to them while I accept that the expiry dates shows to let go.

Writing is Life – Four lessons learnt from writing 500 words a day

Successful writers will tell you that you need to practice writing regularly if you want to get better at it. I have recently joined a challenge where we write 500 words a day without editing. We count creative writing (novels, short stories) and blog posts. Here are four lessons learnt that I would like to share with you.

Diary1) Move forward, don’t look back!

Writing a book is comparable your real life (“RL”). You need to move forward and accept the past. Looking at what we have written the day before is not really necessary as it is not important in that moment. You will later edit and shape your novel in a concerted effort.

2) Forget format, focus on content!

Format is done last of all. Often in RL we focus more in format and presentation than content. (Also known as “management bullshit”). We produce content only and review presentation and format later.

3) Write from the heart, let your voice take over!

Even if you might feel a certain chapter or scene does not make sense you can delete it later but see where it takes you. As in your RL there might be stories you are not proud of but you can accept them as experiences that shaped who you are.

4) Find a regular time and atmosphere to write ZEN-style!

I love to write early in the morning when my brain is not distracted yet by the daily chores. If you hate meditation try writing. Maybe even before you have your first cup of coffee (or for addicts like me the second).

With hugs

VMSVivienne M Sharma

PS: Thank you to @JeffGoins for starting this challenge. I have written 14k words now in my second novel which I left in the “drawer” since August.

 

Double Happiness – A masala love story – Prelaunch Information

Dear Tributes and Fans,

Our Queen Vivienne and her entourage are honoured to announce:

“Double Happiness” is here to stay and “A masala love story” (Part 1 of 4) will soon be delivered throughout our kingdom by the major seller of electronic reading material (also known as amazon.com). (“Tatatataaaaa”)!

Check your amazon site on Friday, 13 December 2013. 

What a coincidence that a true amazon such as our Queen Vivienne will publish on amazon.

The queen replies: “There are no coincidences.”

(Vivienne M Sharma in “Double Happiness – A masala love story”)

"Double Happiness - A masala love story" Part 1 of 4

What you need to know about “Double Happiness – A masala love story” (before all your friends):

Vivienne M. Sharma, born in 2023, is the daughter of Vivienne Wardi and Arjun Sharma. She discovers her late mother’s diary at 12 years old and is drawn into an adventure spanning generations, her parents’ circle of friends, sisters and brother. The first part of the “Double Happiness” series “A masala love story“ starts out as a Bollywood-style love story and turns into a political drama that manifests a love which should never have existed.

Thank you from yours truly,

VMS

BTW: Please tell me if I am reading too much “GoT”.

 

Postponing life again and again

Our lives have become so hectic. We think in terms of optimizing our time. We want to maximize output while reducing input. We give ourselves targets. We rush. We run. Sometimes we force ourselves to take a break and stop for a few minutes to meditate. Relaxation is forced upon us as well as a healthy nutrition. Sometimes I ask myself about purpose. What is the point of this? Where do we struggle the most? Breaking our own barriers, fighting against the slack persona in ourselves, the couch potato? Or is it the aggressive marketer within us that goes beyond shame, overcomes shyness and speaks to strangers on the train. I laugh when a child shouts out in the middle of a game. The child uses a swear word. It is so natural and so different from the other people on the trains. We, the professionals hide behind our laptops and smart-phones. We want to seem busy because busy equals important. Important equals successful. Successful means we will be loved. Ultimately.  BUT:

  • Tonight we are too busy to spend the evening with the man or woman we like.
  • Tonight we miss dinner again and come home when our baby is already asleep.
  • Tonight we have a pizza instead of the healthy salad we planned to have.

Maybe we will even have a drink because our boss was unfair, our husband did not call or our client just cancelled an appointment. If I feel like this I try to do something completely different like dancing. Have you tried?

Life is a bollywood movie

by VMS

Have you ever imagined your life to be bollywood movie? You know like you sit in a café and suddenly you look into his eyes and your hands start moving towards the sky, your bangles showing up as you move your hands upwards in different mudras (handsigns). You give your loved one a sexy wink and you move your hips and suddenly both of you are in a mountain range in Switzerland dancing with different costumes in colour-coordinated style.

The words of an Urdu song come out of your mouth and your voice is a few pitches higher. The advantage of being in a movie is that you are also very slim and wear full make up and have perfect hair when you just get out of bed.

Your family and close friends magically appear when you need them and the special one is on your side in the critical moments of your life.

It sounds funny and unrealistic but often I think when we start the day with a bollywood mindset, listen to the music on the way to work and keep that smile when we think of our prince…that we get more positive responses from our surroundings.

Let’s try to have a bollywood day and please share your experience.

Here are songs to get you into the swing:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7k_U1ZXybo

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdyaixHYviA

 


A family

 

How to speak to your brain to solve any issue in three easy steps

This morning it took me a long time to get into work mode. Maybe the whole pizza and bottle of red last night had a bit of influence on my slack-ness. I came to my office later than normal (10 AM) and cheerfully started my day by jotting down a cool idea on my whiteboard. I wiped away small tasks from the To-Do-List in no time (despite the wine).

And then I get a mail which tells me in the typical formal Swiss letter style (that they took over into email writing) that one of my business plans will NOT work out in the way I wanted. The writer gives me the facts only plus a suggestion what I can do. I was disappointed. Then I reflected. Maybe this extra challenge was built in so that I find a better solution.

We Germans (and the Swiss Germans have perfected this art) tend to think and speak in a „this will not work“ manner. We often explain why certain ways will not work but usually fail to offer an alternative or a solution. I have fallen into this trap many times myself and believe it can be frustrating for people with other cultural attitudes.

While it is acceptable to be negative or pessimistic once in a while I learnt that the „this will not work“ manner stops your brain from thinking about solutions.

First step: Ask your brain an open ended question

In other words when you have a problem you would like to solve you need to give your brain a task to work on while you are sleeping, ironing or cleaning. One example would be to ask your brain „How am I going to pay those bills?“ instead of saying „I am never going to be able to pay those bills.“

Second step: Write down all solutions that came to your mind during ironing

The next morning or after ironing your shirts you take a white sheet of paper and jot down all the solutions that came to your mind (Please note. „Suicide is not an acceptable solution.“).

Third step: You forget what you have written and look at it with a fresh eye

After a few hours of working on another task you look at your solutions again. You can highlight the ones that seem easy to achieve and start with those. Then you devise a plan for every week and work off that plan until you have solved your issue.

What if your pessimist breaks through?

The German inside of me sometimes is still hesitant, miserable and wants to ponder on the problems (even though the original problem has disappeared through above mentioned 3-Step-Plan).  I am giving this pessimist a bit of room. I allow it inside my home. I show this pessimist some achievements and I allow the pessimist to write down all of her wishes in a booklet. If that does not help I order pizza and wine. Just like „groundhog day“.

What is your recurring challenge or limitation?

Please share your experience with the 3-Step-Plan.