Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Allie Pleiter Part Two ~ How To Write When Everything Goes Wrong!

Allie is back with her second amazing book 
How To Write When Everything Goes Wrong.  
And don't forget her first post, The Chunky Method, found here.  
Take it away, Allie.

  Crisis? Ask yourself these four powerful questions!

Hi L.A., thanks for having me back again! 
Life throws you curve balls, and my second book for writers, HOW TO WRITE WHEN EVERYTHING GOES WRONG, deals with survival tactics to keep your creative self alive and well when life’s chaos is giving you a beating.  Here’s one of my favorite coping tactics: the power of asking yourself the right four questions inspired by leadership guru Michael Hyatt.

Question #1.  What’s possible now?
When crisis hits, our brain kicks into totalitarian thinking, cataloging everything wrong about your situation and blinding your current possibilities.  After giving yourself a few minutes to react—shock, anger, annoyance, frustration are all natural and can’t be avoided— deliberately force a shift of thinking toward what IS possible now?  The good news is that the more you practice this shift, the easier it becomes.  Sure, I’ve asked What’s possible now?” through gritted teeth.  Sometimes it is genuinely hard to drag my brain off the negative.  I’ve found, however, that even the tiniest possibilities make coping much more possible.

Question #2.  What’s not possible now?
Many of us get into trouble precisely because we refuse to recognize the true limitations of a given crisis.  If your spouse’s car accident injuries will pull your time and attention from your tight book deadline, own it now, not forty-eight hours before the book is due.  It’s not easy, and it often feels like surrender, but it’s far better than denial.

Question #3. What do I need right now?
The right now” is the crucial part here.  At the start of a given crisis, you may need simply to get calm.  Or at least calmer.  You may need someone who understands the process ahead of you better than you do at the moment (especially true in medical crises).  Our “what if”writer's brains gallop off in a dozen long-term directions, churning today’s problems into tomorrow’s catastrophes.  Yes, the larger picture is important to consider.  If we can train our brains to focus on the next solvable step, however, survival comes more easily.

Question #4. What do I want right now?
We often think of crisis as survival mode”—only needs not wants.  It’s not necessarily true.  You may need to eat, but you might also want someone to help you talk through your situation.  Resist the urge to cast aside what might feel like luxuries” until life calms down.  Non-essentials that make you calmer, more comfortable, or a bit more cheerful are not selfish, but a wise form of self-care that can bolster your endurance or clarity at a time when you need it most.

These four questions can offer you the foothold you may need to get through the first hours or days of any crisis.  I find these questions work for any size dilemma—from missed flight to a parent in emergency surgery.  If you can shift your thinking from the knee-jerk of “EMERGENCY! PANIC!” to What’s possible now?  What’s not possible now?  What do I need right now?  What do I want right now?”, you will discover your coping abilities can be far stronger.

Buy: Amazon

Bestselling author Allie Pleiter has written over 30 novels and non-fiction works, selling over 1.2 million books worldwide.  Aside from teaching her popular Chunky Method of time management for writers, Allie works on as many as four books at a time.  How? By fitting small “chunks” of writing into a busy life—accompanied by coffee, knitting, and lemon meringue pie.

She is the author of The Chunky Method Handbook: Your Step-by-Step Plan to WRITE THAT BOOK Even When Life Gets in the WayVisit her website for more information.

Find Allie:

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  1. Thank you for having me. I'm glad to be able to help writers navigate times of crisis!

  2. Hi Allie! Disasters strike at the most inconvenient time, don't they? I love how you said to "own it now" which really is so much more difficult than it sounds. I guess I always wait to see if it's really as bad as it is before start the ball rolling for deadlines, commitments, invitations, etc.

    Thanks LA for having Allie back on your blog!

  3. Allie! I've been to about a half dozen workshops about writing through chaos or when life goes wrong, etc. I've never had such a huge AHA! as I did reading your post! The 4 simple questions hit home, and I'll be printing these out and put them by my desk!

    L.A.,I love your blog, and all your guests, even though I don't comment on most of the posts. I strike gold every time I read a new post! Brava!