Thursday, April 29, 2021

Awfulizing: Brain Fog

One of my clients would tell me about his "Brain Fog" and attribute this condition to his problems with writing. He would describe his tired (and somewhat depressed) mood in great detail, and would catastrophize being a bit tired, unfocused and "down" by actually viewing it as a condition over which he had little choice and control. After a good deal of work, we were able to help him change that!

To help him start to view his "condition" in a new light, I referred to it as "San Francisco of the brain"--he found it funny, and this helped him be non-defensive as he started to realize that perhaps his "condition" was not something that he had no control over. This allowed us to craft a plan full of strategies for moving toward consistent morning writing: Self talk to help reduce his awfulizing and  challenge his expectations of what "Must" occur (I must be sharp and totally "on" to write), a few minute of exercise to help him energize, and rituals and habits to help him stay in process.

Overtime, he began to see "Brain fog" as something that he could write through, and that he had choices.

Monday, April 26, 2021

A Short Post on Awfulizing

I have written about awfulizing a good deal over the years. Awfulizing is the cognitive (thinking) error of making something more horrible than it actually is. It is not simply a matter of choosing strong language as a stylistic preference--the language we use stems from, and reinforces, core beliefs that lead to our feelings and behaviors (put in a rather simple way).

There are many awfulizing beliefs that academics hold that that lead to anxiety, self downing, and inertia. I am going to explore some of these in subsequent posts--stay tuned.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Saying No to Something is Saying Yes to Something Else

It is hard to say no. It is, perhaps, one of the most important skills that academics need in order to focus on what is most important to us. Without getting into the 1000 reasons we have for not wishing to say no, there are times we know we need to.

One attitudinal shift that makes it easier is to realize that saying no to something is saying yes to something more central to what and who we wish to be, or at least what we need to do. When we say no to something, we give ourselves back the potential time and energy that we would have used on the task in question. Channel your inner toddler. No...No...No...

Take that in. Feel it. Live it.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Rich is at a Coffee House!

For the first time in a year, I am sitting in a coffee house.  Great social distancing, a "garage door" open for tons of airflow--it is safe. My goal? To not cry! Prior to this year, I have written in coffee houses perhaps two days a week or so since I was a teenager. I feel joyful, but wistful--it has been a long year for all of us. It has been a long year for me.  This feel like something of a new beginning in a year of many, many losses.  I am going to work on one of my books, and I might even cry a bit--that is just going to have to be ok!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Say No To That Which Falls Outside Your Core Mission

Perhaps just a reminder post--I have written about this a bunch.  We are in a global pandemic (no duh, Rich), you don't have to take on more, and especially not things tangential to the core of your mission. You can and should say no to things that are not super congruent with your key skills and values.

The core of your mission. Know it--live within it. That is it for now.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Writing Agenda Plate

A year ago, I wrote a post that explored the optimal number of writing projects. You can find it here. 

One of my wonderful clients took these insights a step further, and created a fantastic visual depiction of her weekly writing agenda. The items that are on her plate are the only things that she can "eat"--everything else is saved in the metaphorical 'fridge or cupboard. If you like this idea and find it valuable, try doing your own!