Morning meditation ritual

Part one of my daily morning rituals

I let this part of my morning practice slide for a long time, which left my foggy brain in charge for too long. This winter, I returned to a daily practice where the morning meditation ritual is again the first part of my day.

I wake up, and before I get out of bed, I listen to a guided meditation on my phone for five to fifteen minutes. This makes me feel clear in my head and ready to start the day.

Sometimes I wait until I am seated at my home desk, but that means I have had my coffee, and I can feel the caffeine kicking in while I try to settle into the meditation. However, the meditation makes me feel afresh and eager to go on with the task ahead.

Gabby Bernstein’s meditations are some of my favorites. Carrie Green from the female entrepreneur association also shares some good visualizations. I use the ones from their respective member’s sites, but they both offer audios for free as well. Insight timer is also a really generous app.

Here are the links

A morning meditation ritual for writers

I use visualizations, affirmations, and different kinds of meditations as part of my daily writing rituals.

Recently I started to think it would be nice to create some audios myself. Writing my speculative fiction book, I made this short audio with Affirmations for writers. I want to create a meditation for writing to start 2022 with an even stronger morning meditation ritual.

If you would be interested in a morning meditation for writers, I will let you know when I have created and recorded it. Just sign up below, and I will share it with you when the audio is ready.

Christmas countdown writing challenge

Love the time of Christmas and also want to make time for some writing – join the Christmas countdown writing challenge.

It is the first day of December, and I am sitting at my desk looking out at the snow. Last year my daughter was too young to understand all the festivities of Christmas but today we started the day with the first of 24 small presents and in the afternoon when the sun has set we will light a candle that counts down the days to Christmas.

It is a day of hygge and a nice way to start a month of celebration and family time. On the flip side, I also know that it can be a busy month where I lose focus and become a little grinch-like.

That is why I decided to make a Christmas countdown writing challenge for myself. Because when I make time to write every day it gets me in a better mood and what better way to anticipate the holidays than doing stuff you love.

Free printable – Christmas countdown writing challenge

I made this printable with a chain of 25 circles. Either tick one of each day until the 25th of December, for 25 writing prompts or just for 25 times of sitting down to write.

A little girl in my family knew she wouldn’t be home a couple of days in December and instead of throwing a tantrum for being away from the countdown chocolate calendar, she got so excited about the return date where she would be able to eat four pieces. I have decided to adopt the same attitude. If I skip a day of writing, I will double up the next day.

I like a challenge to entail a reward. The reward could be some chocolate, but Christmas is pretty heavy on the candy, so if I tick every circle in the challenge, I will reward myself with a beautiful candle for January.

I think this writing challenge is a nice way to round up the year, which started with this writing pledge

I started the year writing next to a candle. Now I will end the year by writing next to a Christmas candle that counts down the days to Christmas eve. If I complete the challenge I come full circle, and I am ready to write next to a new candle in the new year.

Merry Christmas and I hope the printable makes you want to write some more this December.

How to Choose a Notebook

I look at the pile of notebooks on my desk. In the cabin below I storage, all the written up ones. The ones on my desk are all kinds of sizes and colors. Some are lined and others are blank. I am about to choose a notebook to be my loyal companion for the next month or so. 

But which notebook to pick?

First of all, I remind my inner perfectionist that there are no right or wrong answers. Instead, I ask myself two questions. Does it help me write and does it bring me joy? 

The answer depends on the writer.

I prefer no lines, a size a bit smaller than A4 with a softcover, or an A5 horizontal spiral one with a hardcover. 

And if you don’t know yet don’t worry. Pick one you like and after a while ask yourself what you like and dislike about it.

In front of me on the desk, I see all sizes and front covers. And each one of them makes me excited. I somehow feel that if I am to justify my next buy, I should probably choose to write in one that I already own. 

For many years I used the Moleskine Cahiers. Besides the quality, they felt less intimidating to use as opposed to the more pretty ones. But recently I started to fill in the beautiful Paperblanks. I had to get used to the size but I love the thick paper. 

Both choices are a bit expensive so I also have a bunch of  notebooks from discount stores. When I find one I like I buy 3-5 of them.

The first kind of notebooks I fell in love with was the kind handed out in school. I remember the first story I ever wrote to be a Christmas thriller which filled up two notebooks. 

When I look at old notebooks, it has the same effect on me as some songs can have. As with special songs a particular notebook reminds me of a specific event or year. 

Heading into fall, I want to pick a notebook I can curl up with on the couch. So back to the two questions.

Will this notebook make me write? 

Does this notebook bring me joy? 

The safe choice will be to go back to the black Moleskine cahier. Instead, I choose a partially filled-up notebook that I didn’t finish because I wanted to use it for a specific project which meant I forgot about it. I love this notebook. It was a present from my sister, and it has a lock and owls on it and really good paper quality. It is not too big. And it reminds me of the coziness of fall.

I have found my new companion.

How to Choose a notebook

I would love to see an image of your notebook. Let’s meet on Instagram and use the hashtag #fillyournotebook @writingdates

If you don’t yet own a lot of notebooks, I envy you because that means you can go looking for a new one. Thinking of it,  I need a notebook for next month. . .

Other

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How I use a book journal as a writer

I have several ways of keeping track of the books I read as a writer - one of them is my Moleskine Book Journal

This blog post is about how I use a book journal as a writer but if you don’t have a book journal yet, track your reading with the free printable below.

Action step | If you want something right away to keep track of your reading you can download this free printable (no e-mail asked) by clicking the button below.

or keep reading ✒︎

The Moleskine Book Journal

I have kept track of the books I have been reading since 2011. At first, I used a little notebook which I decorated with clippings of book covers I would find in book magazines. Today I use the Book Journal from Moleskine. It has a lot of features but usually, I just jot down the book title, the name of the author, and the date
read. However I also write down a favorite quote and this is how I use a book journal as a writer.

I love quotes and often think while reading that I should write down
favorite sentences but instead, I keep on reading, believing that I will be able to find the quote again. Sometimes I do, but most often, I flip through the pages not able to find the paragraph again. That is why I have tried to make a habit out of writing it down in my Moleskine book journal in the assigned box. Apart from seeing the accumulative list of books I can now read through the quotes in the assigned box for each book.
This gathering of quotes is my favorite part of keeping a journal of my reading.

Action step| Write down a favorite quote from the book you are currently reading and also write down what it is you like about it.

I hope you feel inspired to start, take up again or expand how you keep track of your books and reading. Happy reading and writing.


For a related writing session go here

Free planner printables for writing in August

August 2021 is just around the corner. For me, that means that vacation time is soon here. So I made these free planner printables for August to make time for both family time and writing.

Besides the monthly, weekly, and daily pages, I also made a weekly writing schedule ready for download.

The writing schedule can be used in different ways. For example, you can use it to plan out how much you want to write each writing session. Or use it as a log to write down how much you wrote each time you had time to sit down to write. If you want to let the children in on some storytelling time, write down ideas for coming up with stories together.

Free planner printables to download

Before I fill out my plans and goals for a new month, I like to do a quick review of the previous month. It helps me to stay focused on what brings me joy.

Review the month

  • Did I write – I wrote some blog posts, two pages of my book proposal, I wrote in my journal, and two chapters of my memoir
  • Did I have fun – I had the most fun setting up the table of contents for my memoir on Scrivener
  • What did I learn – I learned a lot from taking the Bestseller Masterclass by Gabby Bernstein
  • Best book I readThe Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas

I try to make each blog post an opportunity to write and to have fun. So for this blog post use the review questions above to write down your own answers. And I hope you have fun planning out August.

If you do the review questions please share in the comments what the best book you read in July was. As they say a writer is also a reader.

How to create a table of contents in Scrivener

In this blog post I share an easy way to create a clickable table of contents in Scrivener.

In this video I share an easy way to create a clickable table of contents in Scrivener

I got so excited when I learned how to do this. I make sure to have a clickable table of contents because it makes it easier to go through the manuscript for an edit. It is also a great feature if you want to share a PDF with an easy overview and navigation.

5 easy steps to create a table of contents in Scrivener

  1. Make a new text in the binder and move it above the chapters. Name it table of contents
  2. Mark the chapters
  3. Go to edit in the menu bar and choose the copy special and then click the copy documents as ToC
  4. Then click the new text named Table of content
  5. Press Command + V (⌘+V) to paste

VOILA, you should now see the clickable table of contents.

Ways to use the clickable table of contents

I have a stack of notebooks next to my computer. I need to go through them a second time for the memoir I am writing. But it is such a daunting task. It is not always I remember to put down the date, and a lot of the content is just to-do lists and random notes. I know I have to go through them again so this time I am taking the time to write down important parts in Scrivener and then name the chapter with the date and content. From there I can make my table of contents and compile the document so next time I have to check a date or episode I just go to the table of contents and click.

It has come in handy for me in other ways too. Right now I use it for my book proposal which contains both its own table contents but also an example of the table of contents of the book. I also use it for writing and editing my book because it helps me to stay focused on one chapter at a time.

Table of contents or not

As a young reader, I loved it when chapters had titles. It builds up the anticipation and I started to imagine what the chapter would be about. I still feel intrigued when I find a book with chapter titles.

When I went to college, I learned a good study hack, which is to go to the table of contents to get a quick overview of the structure and focus of the book. From this, you can learn a lot about the author’s view and thematic standpoint.

If you are writing fiction and don’t want chapter titles then make a table of contents anyway. It is an easy way to check the outline and structure of your book. For my memoir, it helps me stay on track to tell the story.

I hope this post on how to create a clickable table of contents in Scrivener inspired some writing.

More Scrivener tips

Set session target with Scrivener

In this blog post I share a video on how to customize Scrivener with icons and emojis. You can set it up to fit the genre you are writing in

Personalize Scrivener with folder icons