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We are nearly at the end of our six weeks and I hope that you’ve found some new practices and new beliefs. The act of remaking yourself as an artist is a daily event. We become by doing.

This isn’t a six-week practise but a daily, permanent practice. The practise of tuning in to your own vision, listening to your own instincts, showing up.

Over the last six weeks you’ve practised failing and making a mess, you’ve tuned in to yourself and you’ve showed up. You’ve made words on the page, words which did not previously exist.

So, what do you want to do with these words? What do you want the next six weeks to look like? And what about the months after that?

Before we finish our time together, I encourage you to take some time to reflect firstly on what you have achieved during our time together. Be precise. Make a list. Include action and outcome – for instance:

  • I wrote for twenty minutes four days a week
  • I wrote five thousand words
  • I thought of an idea for a book
  • I made a new garden
  • I wrote a song
  • I spent six mornings meditating
  • I started a scrapbook….

    And then: what do you want to be writing on that list a year from now?
    For instance: One year from now, I want to be writing a list which includes: I wrote for an hour a day six days a week; I wrote the first draft of a novel; I started working with a coach or mentor; I sent my manuscript out; I learned to play the guitar…

And then, choose one of those items and write down this one thing: what specific thing do I need to complete this month in order to be on track for that goal? For example, if I took an example – I want to finish a messy first draft, this month I need to write the first three chapters…

Now, break that one-month goal down even further into a series of small concrete actions. Not desires: actions. For instance to write the first three chapters of a messy draft, I need to:

  • Instal Scrivener
  • Buy index cards
  • Make a list of possible scenes and chapters in the book
  • Put them in a rough order
  • Write a rough of the first scene
  • Write a rough of the second scene…

Do you see how I’m breaking this down into tiny tiny steps? This is because I am a dopamine addict.

Dopamine is one of the ‘happy hormones’ – it helps us sleep, keeps us motivated and our brains sharp. Studies indicate that low levels of dopamine lead to forgetfulness, fatigue, insomnia and a whole host of low mood stuff. And each time you complete small tasks – and notice that you’ve completed it! – you get a lovely little burst of dopamine. And then you feel more willing to engage in the next task… Whereupon you get another little burst of the good stuff.

So, if you can break down your monthly goal here into the smallest components, you allow yourself to get more dopamine, for the same amount of effort. Brain hack!
I have been known to make a list of five items relating to sending one email. Make sure you cross off each little item.

Writing a book is a big undertaking, and it’s helpful to gather support and resources. Store them up. Use them. And it’s helpful to mark your moments of completion. So when you finish a scene, when you do an edit on a chapter, when you hit your word count for that week – tell someone. Or record it in your calendar.

Get your dopamine hit. (Sorry – cheesy advertisement reference coming up…)
Because you’re worth it.


Today’s prompt…


It was the last thing I knew...