Time, rest, work, and the shaping of a writing life

“Women can have it all, but not all at the same time.” Brilliant, successful people from Betty Friedan to Madeline Albright to Oprah to Anne-Marie Slaughter are credited with this line. I don’t think anyone is irritated about plagiarism because truth is truth and amplifying shared wisdom raises everyone up.

I need to come clean: right now, I’m not occupied with writing a seminal feminist text or running the State Department or establishing myself as the ultimate media mogul.

Nope, my reality isn’t nearly as high profile or quite so life and death. It’s just as real though. I’m dancing with the daily truth about the choices that must be made: “this, not that.”

The "thises" and the "yeses"

My “thises” include mothering sick children and tending to my own wintertime ailments. When I’m not tossing tissues in the trash, I’m taking on copywriting work and writing coaching commitments for healers who are changing the world, one client at a time.

I’m also immersed in the Practice of Being Seen community for therapists and its delightfully demanding sister project, the Practice of Being Seen podcast.

On the podcast, we talk a lot about the various roles we play as individuals, as professionals, and as change agents. Often, it’s about “you can do more than one thing, but let's think about how that will feel...”

That’s what we explored in the recent discussion we had about Resistance & The Princess-Rebel Role Model. You can be both princess and rebel because, let’s be honest, we often want to be saved just as much as we want to change the world. But what does that really look like in practice? (Listen in and decide whether it’s something you can really do at the same time.)

The "thats" and the "not todays"

But the act of podcasting - and doing all the behind the scenes work it takes to make it happen - creates a whole new bunch of “thises” and excludes a whole lot of “that.”

As you may have noticed, blogging about writing and the creative quest have been in the “not that, not today” pile for some time. That’s due to the concrete realities that contain our boundless universe and give our lives some kind of reliable shape. I assume you know these - very real the constraints of time and energy?

The shaping of the time. The container of rest.

All this has me thinking about time and energy more than ever. I’m thinking about  as discernment too. And I have a couple of resources for you to check out that speak right to what I know is a very common concern for so many of us - particularly those who try to  fit parenting and entrepreneuring and client supporting and creating and self care all into one day.

Jeffrey Davis of Tracking Wonder invited me to write about my tango with time. It felt good to offer up some of my finite number of hours to Stop trying to make time. Enter into relationship with time.

In the post, I talk about how “I enter into relationship with time so that I can see the relationships between my ideas and the work I want to manifest.” The patience and the resources it takes to enter into such a productive relationship rely on one essential thing: rest.

Karen Brody’s work with yoga nidra has long been a source of solace and support, and I’m thrilled to tell you that she has a nine-month immersion in yoga nidra coming up.

This  sleep-based meditation is radically necessary and powerful, but that isn’t the only reason I am so excited to share the program… Daring to Rest: Wild Woman Writer is specifically for women who know they have a story to tell. A playwright and author as well as a yoga nidra expert, Karen is the perfect woman to combine story, sleep, and personal revolution.

Ultimately, yes, it does come down to balance

It's as trendy to scoff at balance as it is to strive for it. When the contemporary tussle over a word becomes too much for me, I look to the ancients.

Balance | #365MagicWords by Writer & Storytelling Coach Marisa Goudy
Balance | #365MagicWords by Writer & Storytelling Coach Marisa Goudy

This is the latest image in my #365MagicWords series. As I am thinking of shaping time and prioritizing rest, and I am also thinking of the Eqyptian Goddess Maat who was the keeper of universal balance. The daughter of the Sun and the wife of the moon, she had great wings and always wore an ostrich feather headdress. She was the embodiment of justice and the grounding of reality.

A fine spirit guide for these tumultuous, over scheduled times, yes?

Let's Unlock the Magic of Our Words in 2017

“Say the magic word, dear.” Maybe your first thought is “please.” Or maybe you’re thinking “abracadabra” or “open sesame!” There are as many magic words as there are tongues to say them. Luckily, there are only 365 days in a year.

Begin. #365magicwords by Writer & Storytelling Coach Marisa Goudy

Begin. #365magicwords by Writer & Storytelling Coach Marisa Goudy

In 2017, I’m launching #365magicwords.

It’s a daily project that asks for no more than a word and an image. Perhaps the word will wish to be wrapped in a story or anchored in a definition. Most often, I’m thinking I’ll let the magic work in the mind of the beholder (most often the be-holder of the smartphone who will see these images on Instagram and Facebook.)

What kind of magic lingers in your language?

We know words have power. We know a single word can resonate at countless frequencies, only finding its meaning and its truth when it lodges itself in a particular human mind and is held in a particular human heart.

We know that words form verses and books that shape faiths and cultures that dictate the fate of the world. We know that the Word came first.

And yet, we’ve also heard that talk is cheap and we live in an age when we don’t know if it’s safe to take people at their word. We're told not to be so sensitive about what people say and judge people by what they actually do.

It's time to redefine our relationship with our words

With #365magicwords, I hope to deepen my relationship with the language I use. I hope to open word-shaped doors for others so they can discover new magic spells for themselves.

Do you want to join me? You’re invited to savor each word with me, and, if you’re inspired, to send your own magic words to the collective too.

The why and the how of a 365 project

365 projects have become something of a New Year’s Day tradition for me. And, even though the 2015 and 2016 attempts were “failures,” I count them amongst my favorite mistakes.

A couple years ago, Saundra Goldman asked me to write about the 365 Project as Creative Process for her Creative Mix blog. I’d had great success with my 2014 #365feminstselfie project and I was an unabashed cheerleader for the daily digital enterprise.

Here’s what you need to know about creating and sharing something online everyday

A 365 project has to be sustainable.

You have to be able to keep it up each day in five minutes or less. It has to offer you some sort of creative or emotional sustenance to be worthy of your energy.

A 365 project has to help you see and be seen.

The goal isn’t just to “do the internet” with a new gimmick. You show up for yourself first. You bring your curiosity, your desire for your integrity, and your belief in everyday magic.

When you lead with that energy, you create ripples of truth and connection that nurtures those who see you.

Let's discover #365magicwords together

Find the #365magicwords project over on Instagram. And, if you decide to cast some spells and unlock the magic of everyday words, do use the hashtag and tag me so we can unravel the mystery together.

A 365 Project that Inspires You to Love the Life You Live

What’s one thing you absolutely do every single day? If you’re like most people, the answer is “brush my teeth.”

But then, there’s a tribe of people that smiles when they answer that question - and not just because they have nice, clean pearly whites. I know this smile because I wear it too. I can’t help but grin because I love my answer and I love my daily, without-fail habit.

#365feministselfie marisagoudyA 365 project.

Every day of 2014 I took a picture of myself with my iPhone, used one of several fun apps to slap “#365feministselfie” onto the image, and shared it to Instagram, Facebook, and Google+. What may seem like just another act of social media fueled narcissism was actually an important self-care practice, a visibility strategy, and an opportunity to see yourself and the world in a whole new way.

The Selfie Isn’t All About Self Obsession

Veronica Arreola of the blog Viva La Feminista launched #365feministselfie at the start of 2014 for a number of great reasons including, “I do not see myself represented in the media, so I’m making my own!”

Last January I felt lost behind an eight months along baby bump. I didn’t have the time or the energy to do much for myself besides take vitamins and read novels, but I did have it in me to pull out my phone and snap a picture.

North American was lost in the Polar Vortex and my pregnant woman’s glow was hidden behind sweaters and scarves and the sheer exhaustion of running a business and mothering a preschooler. Taking time from my day to witness the miracle of this body I’ve been blessed with was only going to happen if I was held accountable to some grander project that everyone could see.

I needed those selfies a year ago, and I need the daily ritual still.

How to succeed at your own yearlong project (whether it’s 365 or not)

#365feninistselfie marisagoudy 2Are you feeling the call of the 365 project this year?

Lately, I've become something of a 365 evangelist. Like any convert I was aglow with the wonders of my chosen elixir and was quite convinced that it could change everyone’s life for the better.

So, even as I talked about all the benefits from visibility to the mindful pauses to the historical record I’d created for my daughters, people were quick to offer their resistance. The biggest fears weren’t as much about commitment (though that’s a biggie for most people) as much as they were about concerns about creating decent content day in and day out.

With a selfie project you just need to be able to leave your vanity at the doorstep of the new year (unless you’re one of those people who manages to look gorgeous every day!). I could never get away from my #365feministselfie canvas, of course, though there were plenty of moments when I felt was too weary and pale to submit myself to the public eye. That’s the chance to get creative or get brave.... over the year I did a lot of both.

But what if you are creating a professional-themed project that requires more than ducklips or a quick snap with the cute baby in your lap?

One friend is an interior designer and she’s considering a project about color. Another local mom entrepreneur is thinking about how to turn her new concept in a daily project. They’re in love with the idea of bringing what they love to life every day, but how… They’re already dancing with overcommitment and they don’t need to spend any more time staring at their phones.

The answer is found in weekly rituals and daily serendipity. Make it a 52 project and commit to putting something out there on the same day each week - without fail.

Just as a life is the sum total of each breath, the weekly project is the sum of each day. You want to create content every day if you can because that makes the weekly posts into simple round ups.

Say you’re a clothing designer who wants to dive deep into the colors and textures of fabric that surround you. Here's a way to break down the steps and integrate this new project into your routine:

  • Take at least three or four pictures each week that really speak to you and share them on Instagram.
  • Curate one or two articles from around the web that expand your perspective and share them on Twitter.
  • Write one or two brief but thoughtful Facebook or Google+ posts related to how you are seeing color and texture.
  • Do all these small tasks while considering the end of the week post… How do these serendipitous discoveries contribute to the unique vision that your community loves you for? To create the weekly post you just need to pull all the pieces together, write a quick intro, and sum it all up with a good call to action.

Let's 365 together


In 2017, I'm introducing #365magicwords. Get the details and join me on Instagram!