Monday, February 29, 2016

MUST-HAVE Printables for Spring Fling Productivity!

Creativity takes Courage! (Day -1)


As I sat down to write this post today I received a visit from an old acquaintance. She doesn’t think much of me. In fact, she constantly highlights my weaknesses and criticizes me. For years I called her the Bad Momma Fairy because she was especially critical of my parenting. I envision her as this tiny but super fat fairy who likes to sit on my shoulder and whisper nasty comments in my ear.

I’ve grown more confident in my parenting but the bad fairy doesn’t want to leave. She enjoys torturing me, besides she’s lazy and doesn’t want to move. And she doesn’t have to. I recently provided her with a brand new red button to push labeled, “My writing.”

Brunhilda, as she calls herself now, no longer cares about my parenting. Nope. She’s moved on to despising my creative endeavors. Her voice oozes disdain while she critiques every word, every sentence I construct.

“Vhat a genius. Even vhen zuhd use ze vord “really” zeven times in vhan paragraph.”

“I hate you, Brunhilda. I really do”

I was relieved and saddened to discover I’m not the only one with an imaginary foe. Your foe may be called Inner Censor or Inner Critic, you may even have a pet name for yours like I do. Whatever it’s called this inner voice is a threat to our creativity and productivity. It also wears many faces.

Rosanne Bane, creativity coach and author, calls it the Saboteur and suggests it wears five different masks: the Attacker, the Enticer, the Protector, the Innocent, and the Unlucky.

The Attacker = the nagging, insulting, overcritical voice that says, “You are fooling yourself.”

The Enticer = tells you everything is going to work out great without you lifting a finger or experiencing any hardship. It entices you to passivity. Your work will happen by magic.

The Protector = vows to shield you from criticism, rejection, and failure. All you have to do is insulate yourself and your writing from the outside world. Sure you’ll be lonely and miss opportunities but no one will ever say anything mean about your work.

The Innocent = is shocked when things get hard. It despondently questions how something like this could happen to you? Denial and idleness are its hallmarks.

The Unlucky = makes the most of any adversity. It likes to underline the negative and obscure the positive. Depression and hopelessness are its chief weapons.

The Saboteur, The Inner Critic, Brunhilda, these are all pseudonyms for the one who wants to keep you from achieving your divinely appointed mission. They are all faces of the Adversary.

This month as you participate in the Spring Clean Writing Fling be hyper-vigilant against his attacks. He doesn’t want you to succeed or feel confident and he will try every trick he can think of to lead you astray.

by PJ Switzer

Links to look at:
Check out Rosanne Bane's website for more information and inspiration.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Day -2: Sabbath Food for Thought "Spiritual Principles of Goal Achievement:"

If you're anything like me, you've set a lot of goals through out your life.

Reached them? Not so much

Even though I'm a hard worker and high achiever in many areas, I'd failed at so many goals I set in the past, I no longer trusted myself. Then ...

I came across 7 spiritual principles of goal achievement -- unlike anything I'd ever heard before.

They were being taught by a very inspired woman, highly successful in the business world. That, coupled with three more principles taught by Elder Bednar, have literally changed my life -- the way I think, speak, act, & feel.

I'm so grateful to my Heavenly Father for the miraculous changes for good I've experienced because of these things, in my life and the lives of my family, practically overnight.

I'd like to offer these timeless truths for you to ponder at the start of our joint Spring Clean Writing Fling, expressing my gratitude to Heavenly Father in advance for helping us love & support each other in experiencing the most productive, successful, & joyful month we've ever had.

It started for me with this blog post: "This Simple Morning Practice Primes your Brain for Success." 

The woman written about was May McCarthy and the blog post described some interesting spiritual principles she's teaching about succeeding in business. (And for other areas, too.)

She uses some fun terminology to bring Heavenly Father into the business world (calling Him her "CSO"- Chief Spiritual Officer) and often refers to the Spirit as the still small voice of "intuition."

I loved it! Then, I did a google search and watched several you tube clips of her teaching these principles. What a delightful woman!

I didn't think she was LDS, but I loved her positive, gentle spirit. (Virtuous, lovely or praiseworthy, right?) The Spirit whispered to get her book and study these principles further. But I couldn't, I was too short on funds at the time. Then, without my asking, a friend generously bought two copies, one for herself, and one for me! The information May shares is a game changer I'm underlining passages all throughout the book. (And, no, I'm not selling it, or being paid to endorse it.)

Next, the Spirit directed me Elder Bednar's 2008
General Conference talk about prayer.

I bet you'll remember this talk. 
Here's the link for it: "Pray Always."

Combining the spiritual principles from these two sources has given me a completely different approach to goal setting and achievement. It has become an adventure --- a powerful, joyful, fun, experience ... and has brought me to higher levels of confidence, light, and love, that I've never experienced before.

I sincerely believe these are true principles, and could bless your life in wonderful ways, too!

I was going to outline these principles here for you -- with cute pictures and everything. In fact, I spent hours working on it. But then I felt prompted you would be better served by exploring them yourself ... rather than getting my interpretation of them. (Although the time spent working on it helped clarify it for me even more. Chances are, I'll share some of those ideas during our Writing Fling.)

In the meantime, we'd love to hear what you think of these things! PJ & I wish you each the best of luck, dear ANWA sisters! We truly feel this is going to be one of the most exciting, amazing months for all of us, ever!

Lots of love,
Janet and PJ

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Day -3: Choose your Goal

2016 Spring Clean Writing Fling

-PJ Switzer

Goal setting and planning, two of the favorite exercises of the left-brained. Still, if we want to be productive we're going to have to develop these two skills. Here's a tip to take the sting out of the process.


For example: By March 31, 2016 …

A query letter polished and ready to use.
30,000 words on my current manuscript.
Finish The Right to Write by Julia Cameron.

Make sure to seek the counsel of the Spirit in setting your goal. Whatever you do, DO NOT set your goal based on what another writer is doing.

I recently began social media stalking a writer whom I admire and respect. She’s writing upwards of 3,500 words per day while editing two other manuscripts, maintaining a blog, raising a family, and curing cancer (probably).

Naturally, when I sat down to set my own goals I based my plan on HER accomplishments and not my abilities. What followed were weeks of frustration and not much productivity. I learned several important things from that experience.

First, that lady is probably an alien. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

Second, and this is going to sound like a “well, duh” statement, I cannot write as another author does. If my voice is unique so then is my pace and my process. 

Third, comparison kills creativity.

Vermeer produced 34 paintings during his career. 
Rembrandt, on the other hand, produced roughly 300 paintings, 300 prints, 
and more than 2,000 drawings.

That Vermeer, what a hack!

Agatha Christie wrote 69 novels and 19 plays. 
In contrast, Harper Lee published 2 books and for the majority of her career 
had a single title to her name.

Looking at their output we could argue that Vermeer and Lee were lesser artists but anyone looking at Woman With a Water Jug or reading To Kill a Mockingbird knows that isn’t true. 

One work of art, one book can change the world. Don’t give up because you’re not Barbara Cartland, producing a new book every 40 days.

Links to look at: 

Both sites have cute, FREE printables to helps with goal setting & organization.

Return & Report
Let us know  -  Report back on the comments in Facebook!

Have you Read:

1. The Spring Clean Info post?  CHECK
2. Sample Daily Post: Day -4?  CHECK
3. Goal Setting: Day -3? CHECK

You're on you're way for the most amazing month ever!

Content by P.J. Switzer & Janet Clark

Friday, February 26, 2016

Day -4: Preview of Things to Come

2016 Spring Clean Writing Fling

Read this"Pre-Fling" 
Sample Post 

* Submit a Practice Sprint for Fun * 

Return & Report


Today, While the Sun Shines (or the Midnight Oil Burns)

All of us have a personal mission on earth, and the unique talents to fulfill it. Yours probably includes some writing, or you wouldn't be here reading this.

There are stories to be told--only you can tell; and lives to touch and inspire, that won't be, if you don't do your part.

But you don't have forever to do it. What if you learned you had only one year to live? Would that change your writing goals? Maybe they should change.

Since we don't know how many "tomorrows" we've got, let's get going today. No one else can do it for us. They've got their own work to do.
-Janet Clark

Creativity Kick-Starter
Write by hand
Having a hard time getting the writing muse to answer your calls? Try sending her a hand-written note. Writing a chapter, scene, or post long hand has many advantages. It slows and simplifies the process while allowing full creativity. (Plus, you know it's just a draft so there's less pressure to be perfect the first time out.) Notebook and pen are cheap, portable and durable. Plus, there's no pesky internet to distract.
-PJ Switzer

Writing Sprint

Sprint Prompt: 
"What do you mean, he's dead?"

Let's get the mojo going. 
Set your timer for 15 minutes and write fast & furious. 
Ready. Set. Go!
-PJ Switzer

 Share your sprint on our Tumblr page:

Productivity Pointers

As you prepare for an amazing Spring Clean experience, 
keep these things in mind:

1. Pray - Look, you didn't get the writing bug by accident. This is a gift Heavenly Father gave you. Talk to Him about it. Seek His direction. Let the Spirit guide your work. (Pssst, He loves all genres so don't turn away from His help because you think he doesn't care about "a silly romance" or an alien invasion story.)

2. Ask yourself, "Why am I writing?" - At the Southwest retreat last year Theresa Sneed shared the importance of knowing why you’re writing. Whether it’s for your family, for publication, or for world domination, you need to know why you’re doing it. 

3. Make a List: What things increase & enhance your writing productivity? What decreases and diminishes it? – It’s a great exercise. Use it and help stack the odds in your favor.
-PJ Switzer

Links to look at: 

 This link is on the Mission almost Impossible: Writing with Small Children. 
(Or for small dogs and writing. Or husbands. Or church callings. You get it.)

Return & Report

1. Did you read the INFO post (Feb. 25)?   CHECK.

2. Have you read this sample daily post?     CHECK. 

Return & report in the comments section below 
OR in the comments on Facebook linking to this post. 

Congratulations! You're on your way 
to an awesome Spring Cleaning!

Content by P.J. Switzer & Janet Clark

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Spring Clean Writing Fling INFO

Join the 2016 Spring Clean Writing Fling! (SCWF)

What Exactly IS the Writing Fling?

A fun, month-long dose of inspiration & motivation to support you in a writing goal of your choice!

What kind of goal do I have to make?

Anything related to your writing! Like ...

·        Starting a new writing project (novel, short story, blog, etc.)
·         Finishing a previously started writing project
·         Studying a book about writing you’ve always wanted to
·         Finish revising a work in progress
·         Developing your online author platform, such as:
o   Setting up a blog, or writing a certain number of posts
o   Developing an author website, facebook page, or twitter account
·         Swap Beta Reading with another writer
·         Doing research for a book idea/scenes
·         Preparing a work for self publication & publishing
·         Designing illustrations or cover art – or commissioning it
·         Seeking an agent/publisher – (querying, pitching, synopsis writing)
·         Reading books in your genre
·         Writing your life story (or a family member’s)
·         Writing an ancestor’s story

How does the Spring Fling Work?

1) Join the Spring Clean Writing Fling Facebook group (to get notifications)
2) Prayerfully choose your writing-related goal 
3) Work on your goal from March 1-31 
4) Check out the daily posts for inspiration, motivation, & activities 
5) Report back on your progress (in the Facebook comments)

Do I have to do all the activities?

No, you don't! They are offered to support & inspire YOU! Choose what speaks to you.
(Of course, the more you participate in, the more you'll benefit.)

What kind of info/activities will there be?

Each day's post will offer 5 categories to inspire and motivate you. Here are the descriptions:

1. "Writivation" 

Inspiring thoughts from writers, scriptures & general authorities –
Reminding you why you write!

2.  Creativity Kick-Starter

A fun, brief activity to boost your creativity & help you be a better writer!

3.  Writing Sprint & Tumblr Sharing

A five to fifteen minute writing sprint and place to share your writing --      at

4.  Productivity Pointers

Oodles of ideas, tips, motivation, even printable downloads – to help with your work in progress – at any stage!

Plus:  "Links to Look At" -- Information & websites worth checking out.

5.  Return and Report

“Check in” and report on your progress daily in the comments of the FB post/and blog. ACCOUNTABILITY quadruples your productivity!

Have Fun – Reach Goals – Support Each Other – Make new Friends!