The Right Formula

Have you noticed that thing I do? That thing where I make a big proclamation about what I’m going to do to stay better connected and more creative and an all-around more productive human being?

Oh, you didn’t notice? You mean to tell me you have your own life and actually haven’t noticed?

All the better, because it’s hard to admit - to just blurt right out - that I have a habit of coming up with somewhat arbitrary tasks that I believe will support my work and business, and then announcing them to the world in the hopes that by saying them out loud I’ll be better able to hold myself accountable. I start off strong, but then other things get in the way, and before you know it those big ideas of mine are left floating in the atmosphere. (Although I suppose the term “big ideas” is a bit of a stretch.)

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I had the magnificent pleasure of recently spending four days with Jen Louden and Laurie Wagner, who came to my house with a circle of 14 other women in tow to teach us all about writing. Not only did the uninterrupted writing time enable me to dive deep into the most challenging chapter of my book, they also provided the perfect recipe of prompts and encouragement to push me through the biggest barriers of that chapter. In other words, I broke through, and for the first time since I started this book, I have a first draft - an actual first draft, and not just a jumbled collection of thoughts and passages - of this story.

That is still sinking in. I’m still getting used to that being true. It actually scares me just a little, because that means the book is becoming more real.

Jen and Laurie also encouraged me - all of us - to lower our own standards. They gave us permission to give ourselves the smallest tasks as humanly possible in order to stick with our writing practice. So I’m taking them up on this offer and hereby declaring (there I go again!) that my 500 Words series will not be an almost daily offering, but something more along the lines of once a week. Sound good? Wonderful, I’m glad that’s settled.

I’ve created a number of different offerings over the years of a more personal nature - things that weren’t so much about my latest project or an upcoming retreat or any other news, but simply about what I felt compelled to share. I created a project called 52 Figments, whereby I posted one question a week and asked participants to mail me a postcard with their answer to that question in collage form. I organized the 100 Books Project, which involved me giving 100 books away to anyone who agreed - all over the world - to leave the book anywhere they wanted. The books all had a note inside explaining the project, with a request that they email me if they found one. I had a weekly email called Beauty * Light * Inspiration, which was a photo, a quote and an inspiring link, and for a long time I had a weekly blog post called Five Things, with links to five things I loved. Recently I created Notes from the Rocket, and for a short while I had two stand-alone websites devoted solely to inspiration.

I have been itching to scheme up another such offering, and have decided it’s time to go back to good ole’ email. So if you’re interested in seeing what that’s about - which will be more about beauty, inspiration and fun stuff I’d like to share than about news or updates or marketing campaigns - sign up today. I’ll get going on it in the next few weeks, and I look forward to seeing what it becomes. Until then, here’s to letting ourselves off the hook, and celebrating those tiny steps.

Christine Mason Miller

Santa Barbara, CA

Writer * Artist * Storyteller * Guide