flow mojo

juice to get you moving

shifting the flow to wordpress.ORG

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Hey friends & followers of flow mojo.  

Just a little note to say I’m not simply disappearing but moving this blog on over to the wordpress.org platform. 

Check it out here:  FlowMojo.org.  

The “new & improved”  blog will focus on flow, form & all that matters in between to help you be the best you can be along your creative journey. 

& come visit me at my new website:  CricketDesmarais.com. 

Here’s to you & your flow mojo.  Hope there’s lots of magic to be found there!

xo c

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Free-licious! Today only…

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Dear creative, flowing, mojo-ers,

My last post lamented and bemoaned giving up, but this week I’m giving OUT! 

Some of you may or may not have heard of Chris Guillebeau, author of The $100 Startup and blog The Art of Non-Conformity.  He is a fascinating example of FLOW in all its fine glory.  

In today’s blog he offered a social experiment of sorts, and one that I’d like to participate in.   It’s about helping someone for FREE.   (Check it out here).

As a creative coach genuinely interested in watching people dive into their dreams and truly thrive, I can’t help but want to help.   It’s in my nature.   Alas, with two little people in my life in which to feed, bathe, and wipe tooshies for, my time is a bit on the limited side.  So offering myself and my skillset as a freebie poses a problem.

What I CAN, however, give you TODAY for free is a pdf of my book I Love Coconut Oil:  56 SImple Tips for Every Day Use.   In a nutshell (haha), it’s a go-to guide on all things coconut oil in the simplest language possible.   And, as research concludes, we now know this oil is GOOD for you- with many benefits to your wellness (which I detail in the book).

So my offer today is a gift towards your health.  With a healthy body, you are that much more able to manifest the mojo to making all the creative fire flow.  Think of the coconut oil as a new lube for your creative juice. :) 

Reply below today (March 11, 2013) and I’ll send you your copy. 

And don’t forget to check out Chris’ site.   He is 100% pure inspiration.  

Now:  YOUR TURN.  What can YOU do to help someone free today? 

Thanks for reading, and big, big love….

xo c

I give up!

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I mean really.  

I just wrote and entirely new post on refocusing when the mojo ain’t flowing.  From what’s not working to what is.  On the difference between “making it happen” by showing up vs. “making it happen” via brute force.  On the notion of “outsourcing” when you’re in over your head.

And just like that, it’s gone.  Poof.  (Welcome to my world of computer and technological difficulties.  The impetus for my new post to begin with). 

I hereby declare I am officially giving up current aspirations to be my own media maven and focus on my huge, juicy, creative powers, that have recently been doused out by efforts to learn something that really just ain’t part of my make-up. 

I’ll let the universe provide the how (and the cash, thank you very much) and stick to what I’m good at. 

And if you’re feeling stuck, I’m here to tell you it’s ok to give up and refocus on what you LOVE, too.   Because that stuff is easy, and we were born to do what we are good at… not shuffle along dragging our feet or groaning as we muddle our way forward not understanding the what or the why of it all.

Do. What. You. Love. 

The rest?  Will flow into place when your heart is clear.  

See you on the flipside!

xo c

Monetizing your blog

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Things are picking up speed here.  I know it doesn’t seem so, since I’ve literally fallen off the radar for three weeks.  But not without lots going on behind the scenes.  (Above and beyond sick toddlers, power-dousing snowstorms, and the race to revise my ten years in the making novel before the AWP conference this April).  

A month ago I was bursting at the seams with excitement about a new writing/blog venture- one that would help kick up my sparkle mojo while also offering it out to others. 

Then, my savvy and kind-hearted friend (and former life coach) Dolly Garlo suggested I find a way to monetize my creative efforts vs. giving it away as I’ve so freely done in the past.

Which sent me in a researching frenzy on all things blogs and technologies.  What I learned is this:

1.  Marketing hasn’t changed much over the years.  It’s the platform that has (which now allows us to reach an epic multitude of an audience in an online nano-flash if done well).

2. Tap into the freebie resources before purchasing.There are countless tools available online to help you implement your marketing and monetizing efforts.  Many of them (most, if they are smart) offer FREE e-books, webinars & video training to convert you into a consumer.  Experiencing a taste of what they offer also gives you a taste of who they are and if their delivery style resonates with the way you learn or want to learn. 

3. Content is (still) king.   No matter how well-constructed your delivery platform, whatever it is you are offering better be rich in content.  Authenticity, aesthetics and entertainment go a long way, too, as does offering some sense of value to your reader.

4.  Know your niche and zero in on it.   This one is tricky for me, as my passions run the gamut from poetry to Pina Bausch to yoga and  the raw foods revolution.  If you’re like me, you need to get a different perspective and see what ties it all together.  Mine, I suspect, is the creative lifestyle and wellness of mind/body/spirit, which is still a pretty broad spectrum but at least connects with my coaching, teaching and many creative interests. 

5.  Be clear on what you are selling.  When you understand your niche, you can focus on your passions found there, and work to generate authentic goods or services to your audience.   The cash-cow to your monetization efforts.

6.  All information tends to be recycled. None of what I really learned is new news to me.  Go figure.  Which leads to lucky number 7:

7.  Roll up your sleeves, be real and believe in yourself.  Confidence coupled with clarity, authenticity and a willingness to do the work will get you where you want to be.  You need total confidence in yourself to charge forward with the notion of monetizing your blog, and a whole lot of giddy-up in your go.  Because if you actually want to build an engaged audience, you better put your nose to the grindstone and do what you love to make it all happen.  It’s really as simple as that.  

Now, with that all said, I realize I haven’t addressed the technical HOW of monetizing your blog.  There are several platform avenues you can take to make that happen, and these fantastic folks offer great resources (and ultimately, services) to help you along your way.

  • Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing.  Incredible free nearly 300 page e-book packed with useful info and interviews from top notch online business folks, and many other valuable tools-all offered with a down-to-earth and easy to understand approach.
  • Marie Forleo’s intro videos to her B School, a comprehensive, 8-week online business school that shows you, step-by-step, how to package, position and sell your products and services using modern tools of online entrepreneurship. If I had the bucks, I’d sign up for this in a heartbeat!  While there is an undertone of the NYC materialism that had me fleeing fifteen years ago for a more “rustic and salty” life in Key West, they also offer a sense of fun and an upbeat, empowering attitude, made for women who want to shake, rattle and roll.   
  • Danielle LaPorte, entrepreneur, multi-media maven and divine inspiration. Now Danielle doesn’t exactly offer detailed, specific insight into the world wide web of marketing, but she’s got a damn good handle on it, and she is pure inspiration to me on how, if you get your STRUCTURE situated (and your head/heart/mind/body/soul!), you can really freaking FLY!  All that and she’s unabashedly herself, through thick and thin, which I deeply appreciate.  AND her ability to offer information with a visual aesthetic, sense of soul and full-on poetics knocks my socks off. 

All of these folks offer a tremendous wealth of information and ultimately, services, with their own sense of style when it comes to delivery.  Each have methods that resonate for me, and perhaps will for you, too. 

In an ideal world, I’d hire one of them to build my online platform, but alas, the dollars in my current pocket don’t add up YET.  So I will muscle forward and do it myself.  Not exactly FLOW, but there is something to be said with working with the energies we are resistant to. This whole project certainly is a lot less stifling today than it was three weeks ago! 

Have any of you taken the plunge into turning your creativity into a business?   What resources did you find helpful?  How was your process? 

Coming up:  Online overwhelm:  How to cut through the superfluous   

& hopefully, a whole new look to the flowmojo blog, which REALLY needs an updating. 

xo

visit creative writer & coach Cricket Desmarais at cricketdesmarais.com for a sample of her work and what she can do for YOU. 

Starry-eyed & the search for structure

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I admit it.  Though I know the value of a solid structure, I struggle with form. I’d prefer to waft through the stars and let fate have its way.  But I know If I’m ever going to move forward with the galaxy of projects spinning out in my head, it’s best if I figure out a structure and a system.  A little grounding does, in fact, go a long way.

But then, chaos ensues.

Rules shmools protests the rebellion within when I try to implement a system for my personal and professional world.

Press on, demands my inner critic.

Somewhere in the middle there must be an answer.  One trick, I’m discovering, is to know which voice is actually leading you to a truth that works for you.

Take for example, this last week.  I decided that the fabulous new blog idea I was so excited about and wanted to launch needed more preparation.  It was suggested I might even monetize it somehow and (gasp!) actually make a return on my creative investment.

But how, exactly?

I dug deep into the web, going down the endless rabbit hole of all things marketing and blogs.

Keep going and pay attention and figure it out demanded Inner Critic. I learned loads about automation and plug ins and opt in forms and listened to several online webinars.  I saw how flooded the internet is with freebie sources all specifically designed to build readership and ultimately, sell their service and/or product.

Though I am grateful for the free resources and their providers, it was all very dry and left me feeling rather limp and inauthentic about the project in the long run. Can’t I just write?  Won’t the rest of the magic happen by itself after that?  Maybe, but the fact is, I still hadn’t figured out how to monetize my blog.  Not much magic in that, considering I’ve decided to turn the tide on my creative skill set and give myself the value I am worth.

Then there were my children.  In the midst of me diving into the research, my attention to them naturally waned.  They’re fine without form, Rebellion reassured.  They’ll appreciate a bit of freedom.  There were many many hours spent in front of Netflix, watching episode after episode of Ruby Gloom and My Big Big Friend, dinners consisting of crudities, crackers and cookies on the couch to keep them quiet and happy.

Not a parenting highlight of my life, I confess, but nothing compared to the behavioral issues that ensued and my really uncool, non- evolved responses to them.  By 6:30 every evening, I was so flabbergasted by their erratic outbursts, my inability to cope and my negative feelings about them that I was wrangling them to bed by 7 just to save my sanity.   It was utterly disheartening.

What I learned is this:  It’s not the voices that direct you best.  It’s the heart.

As I mentioned last week, by checking into how you FEEL (and why you feel that way), you will likely find your answers.  What is it you really want, and how is your path towards that supporting you?  Does it feel like force or does it feel like flow?

Force= coercion.  Enough of of will result in exhaustion, stress and general unhappiness.

Flow= energized focus.  Usually aligned with the task at hand and resulting in spontaneous joy and even rapture.

Don’t get me wrong.  There’s a certain amount of discipline required to find your flow, but that is not to be confused with force.  The discipline desired here is will infused with passion.   Add focus, a sense of total presence and you are well on your way to manifesting.

There are some brass tacks for making this happen.

  • Time, of course is vital, so searching for those windows of opportunity and showing up within them are key. For example, I might prefer to create or do research in the mid-morning, when my mind is most alive, but realize that evenings are the only real time I can quietly focus on my work while the little ones are sleeping.  I have to kick discipline in place and not let being tired win.
  • Some form of daily meditation practice or exercise/athletics is suggested.  In these states, the mind learns how to let go and tune in, all the while creating a laser-like focus.   Studies show how both increase endorphins to help boost the mood and sense of self- key factors in motivating you towards the thing you most desire.
  • Create small, reachable, weekly tasks.  Your sense of empowerment increases each time you show up for yourself in these small, tangible ways, building momentum for the bigger picture.
  • Be loose.   If something isn’t working for you, turning to tension and rigidity will just break your spirit.
  • Check in regularly. Honest inquiry will help you evaluate whether the structure you’ve created is supporting you, holding you back, or weighing you down.  This can prove helpful if you have a support system in place.  (Creative coaches, close friends and contemporaries are great for that!)

Be kind to yourself.  Beating yourself up for not sticking to the structure you’ve created when it’s simply not serving does nothing but stop the flow dead in its tracks.  Instead,  tune your head towards your heart and search for a structure that resonates for you.  When you feel forward momentum coupled with a sense of freedom and possibility, you know you are onto something.

As for me, I’ve let go of the technical issues of the blog and relishing in good ol’ fashioned writing instead.  Blog content is equally important, as are the poems that want to make their way to the page.  The How will reveal itself when I’m good and ready, without force or manipulation.

What sort of structure serves you best?  How did you discover it?  How has it changed as you’ve changed?  I’d truly love to hear! Comment below and I’ll share my secret blog idea with you.  Maybe you’ll want to be part of the sparkle!

xo c

A few words on form…

Matthew Day Jackson's painting "Buckminster Fuller."

Matthew Day Jackson’s painting “Buckminster Fuller.”

That guy up there?  That’s pioneer Buckminster Fuller in front of his famous geodesic dome.  Fuller was, among many things, an independent thinker with an education in design and engineering.  The guy knew form like nobody else, and in it, he was liberated.

While I admire from afar, let me mention that I typically resist form in my own life and all that it entails.   Even the word structure denotes a certain sense of rigidity.  And just forget about regimen.  Those words are the antithesis to my free-wheeling, mojo-making inspiration.  They make me feel like I can’t breathe.  And who can create when they can’t breathe?

But, as a coach, a creator and most recently in the last four plus years, a mother, I know all too well that without form, function tends to decrease or be limited, if it manages to appear at all.  Chaos tends to ensue, and while there definitely is a certain amount of energy in that, it ultimately  tends to leave most of us deflated, deluded and sometimes even depressed. (Trust me, I’ve been there).

Notice that in both of the paragraphs above, I mention nothing about goals and instead put the focus on feelings, because feelings are the impetus that moves us forward.  Feelings can drive us towards -or away- from our goals.  Goals, on the other hand, are these ideas “out there”  that we strive towards.   Striving, in my opinion, has ultimately not served my soul- or my career- well at all.  It has perpetuated a “prove myself” mentality that stressed me to the max and often left me feeling like I was a million miles away from reaching my potential if I didn’t accomplish those said “goals.”  The pushing and harshness were, and still are, debilitating.

Let’s focus on how you feel and use that as an impetus to get our flow mojo going.   With a little form, of course.

Rest assured that if you follow form,  flow will naturally happen, and when you’ve followed the said form long enough, you will even find freedom.  Which all sounds fine and dandy until you actually attempt it, right?

I’m right there with you. In my last post I wrote about wanting a coach to help me get clear on my “goals,” create action plans and keep accountable.  The divine timing of things led me to choose otherwise, as I create space to make the finances needed to dive into that idea when I’m good and fiscally ready.   For now, I’ve had to figure out a way to make it happen on my own. In this case, the it I refer to is form.

Consider form/structure/regimen and how it makes you FEEL.  Does it feel solid?  Limiting?  Safe?  Steady?  Difficult?  Overwhelming?  Take note of what the notion of form does to your inner psyche and the juice of your soul.  And don’t judge the juice. You’ll use what comes up in the next step.

Next, you want to build the form in a way that feels good to you.  Obviously if you discovered that form feels like a sort of strangle-hold on your mojo, you aren’t going to implement a full-on, systematized structure right out of the gate.

On the other hand, if structure really appeals, go for the gusto and give yourself permission to do what you can.  Either way you must SHOW UP ENTIRELY in your efforts.  No hemming or hawing.  Do what you say you’re going to do, or don’t.  Your structure, your choice.  Baby steps or quantum leaps- it’s all good… IF YOU SHOW UP.

But exactly HOW do you create that structure?  Since each of us come to the table with different personalities and different needs, there’s no cookie cutter outline on what this will look like.   The elements, however, tend to be similar.

1.  The What.

Once you’ve defined how you want to feel, what exactly is it that will take you closer to that feeling?  Or you could do it the other way around:  what is it you think you’d like to do and how does it make you feel?  If you closely examine your emotions around the task, it’ll give you insight on  the next steps involved in creating your form.

Example:  Commerical and creative freelance work.  I want more of that.  But the idea of commercial work tends to make me feel overwhelmed, uninspired and constrained.   Sure, the money might be good (which helps me feel safe and expansive).   But if I have to choose a way in which to spend my time (which is currently limited since I’m a stay-home mom), I’ll focus on creative freelance work, which excites me and makes me feel expansive and alive.

Then I narrow it down to specifics:  Write poems/ work on completing manuscript.   Flesh out novel.  Continue blog posts.  Create another blog on upping the sparkle mojo.   Send work out to journals.  Continue search for agent.   Market thyself.  Send queries to lifestyle magazines with article ideas.

Now all of these things are specific unto themselves, and all require a certain form  and action plan to help them be carried out.  Read on.

2.  The How. 

Not to be confused with the “HOW WILL THIS ALL WORK OUT” (which is an entirely different post for another time), there are a few means to this end, and again, each will vary depending on who you are and what it is you set out to do.

I recommend first that you brainstorm in a stream-of-conscious sort of way to see what answers arrive for you, as I am of the school that the information is almost always, or at least begins, within.  YOU know your answers, even if you think you don’t know.  (Thank you to my former life coach Dolly Garlo for setting me straight on that!  … “I don’t know is an excuse for not thinking.  What would the answer be if you DID know?” She’d challenge me when I shrugged my shoulders and deferred to this lame but popular answer).

If you still think you don’t know, you can always go by way of Google or the good old library- meaning research.  How do other people do it?  Who do you know doing it now?   Don’t be afraid to make some phone calls, take notes, and see the form in other people’s flow.

Informational interviews are great, too (thanks again Dolly), meaning making a date with someone for a cup of something and asking them loads of questions to help you light your way.  For the most part, people really do love talking about themselves, and are also quite happy to help you along your road.

3.  The Why. 

Ask yourself, in all honesty, why you want to do the task you set out to do. If you want to become a vegan because you think that beautiful girl you met in yoga might like you better, chances are you’ll be diving into the ice cream to quell your nerves before asking her on a date. If you want to publish because you think it’ll make you rich and famous, what is it about the idea of being rich and famous that appeals?  How does that make you feel?   Safe?  Established?  Free?  Fine.  Go for it.  But I hope you also feel very inspired while writing, too, because the road to rich and famous writer-dom is typically filled with a lot of ass-in-chair time.   Being authentic about your desires is key to manifesting- and sustaining- the mojo to make it happen.

4. The Where.

This one is pretty basic.  Where do you need to be to do this work?  Does it require a plan of action just to get there?   If it’s at home, is your space clear and ready for you to arrive without distraction? Do the people around you support you and recognize your efforts towards form?

5. The When.  

Again, fairly basic, but probably the most challenging one on the list.  This one is all about showing up and accountability, folks.  This is where you must commit.  While the word deadline still makes my gut queasy, not a lot of work tends to get done if you don’t have a target date in mind.  Make them, and do your darndest to stick to them.  I guarantee you’ll feel totally empowered, relieved and probably very motivated when you do.

I realize this a an extremely simplified view of form and action plans and will likely blog more about each in the upcoming future.  For now, get yourself some paper and start brainstorming, then try mapping it all out before putting it on a calendar. Then… begin!  No time like the present to start living the dream.

And remember, you can always alter the form along the way if it’s not quite working for you.   Just be honest about whether you’re being “lazy”  or intolerant of the challenge, which will help you stretch and grow.  Research shows it takes at least three weeks to make anything new a habit, and nearly everything gets easier as we repeat patterns.  Especially when they are positive and make us FEEL GOOD.

If you have any words on a form that works for you, please share your comments below.  The only pros here are the people actually walking the talk.  I’ll let you know how it goes for me as I get going… and hope you will, too.

Here’s to the freedom that comes after form!

xo Cricket

Get out of your box (or at least enjoy being in it)

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Have you ever decided it was time to make a great leap, to bust free, to shake it up & make it happen, only to be met with a litany of difficulty around the how?

That was me, recently.  I decided it was high time I invest in myself so that I could move forward & step into my potential, BE the person I aspire to creatively & professionally be.  I dialed up the writing life coach whose blog I’d been following for the last two years, & we conversed for quite some time on goals & dreams.   Then I cut to the chase.  What were the details on how this would happen?   How often would we “meet” & how much would it cost?

My heart sunk when she relayed the info.   It would be nearly twice as much for half of what I’d hoped for (which also piqued my sense of value about my own coaching & freelance fees).   My head spun out on how I could “make it happen,”  calculating what I’d saved from my occasional freelance work (I’m still a full-time,stay-home mom, mind you) to see if it could at least launch me forward that first month while I worked on making more finances to sustain my commitment.

It would.  For only the first month, using nearly every bit so that there would be no room to be part of life’s daily commerce or any surprises that might pop up.   & not without invoking my old friends- lack mentality, panic, force, grasping & anxiety-  emotions I was clearly trying to move past in the alchemy of my manifesting.

Even with her offer of a “discount/scholarship” rate,  I would be hard pressed to manifest the monthly fee unless I scrambled to get more freelance work, which only made me feel worse about the idea of moving forward.  I had a week to decide or the offer would dissolve.

I declined.   From a place of true clarity & a sense of power, I chose NO.  It just didn’t feel right.  Not now, at least.

No, my new way of creating, I decided, would definitely NOT include those old emotions.   My new way of manifesting would be based on feelings of abundance, trust, flow, & a relaxed sense of all things being possible.

So what now?   If I don’t hire a coach, can I be my own coach?  Can I make myself accountable?  Can I create a solid structure & action plan so that I can move forward in a way that feels good, honest & inspiring?  I’m working on it.

In the meantime, I’m discovering lots of great FREE resources on the web, & learning that what I really want to focus on is different than what I’d have to be focusing on had I said YES to the coach & her “offer.”  I feel so much more spacious & available to the muse’s call.   My old friend, poetry, is finding me again.   The other freelance stuff that I didn’t so much enjoy?   Falling away.  & that is totally fine by me.

What about you?  Have you found some tools to help you launch into the new year & get your flow mojo going?   What’s working for you?  What’s not?  It’s never too late to shake it up, think out of the box, & work with what IS.  Just make sure you FEEL GOOD while doing so.

xo Cricket

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