Just for You, Our Muses

Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend and/or Mother’s Day.

If you read the A to Z series in April, you might have caught the news that I’ve spend much of the last year training to become a life coach specializing in creativity, the creative process, and writers. YOU are the inspiration for that endeavor. This community not only gave me the courage, you gave me the vision for how I can give back and share all I’ve learned over a lifetime of creativity.

Because I feel so blessed to be part of the Muse community, I wanted to share with you a couple of opportunities before anyone else sees them. In fact, I’m not offering these anywhere else, though you are free to share them.

The first is that, now that training is complete, I need to amass 100 coaching hours for my first certification rank with the International Coach Federation. Though I’m well on my way, I discovered I could “give away” 30 of those hours. This is first for the Muse community and then for anyone you know that might be interested: up to ten sessions of coaching on subjects of your choosing, m. The best thing about coaching is that it serves YOU, not the coach. If you are interested in becoming a pro bono client (or know someone who is), please email me at robynalruecoaching [at] gmail.com. Preference goes first to this community and then to the people we know.

The second is that International Coach Week begins May 15th. In honor of ICW, and again for the Muse community, all coaching is 50% off if booked through midnight on May 21st. For a description and more information, I’ve set up a page here for reference.

In addition to individual coaching, I also offer group coaching, with the enhanced opportunity for peer-to-peer learning. I’m only running one “program” at this time, which is Habit Builder 45, designed to help you establish new habits for a lifetime. Again, click here for more information.

I am so honored to be of service to a community that has been so supportive. I’ll be writing posts here with what I’ve learned that is both of general benefit and specifically of benefit to writers. I’ve got a whole year of post ideas backed up between my ears!

If you have any questions at all about coaching or anything in this post, please do not hesitate to ask them in the comments below or privately at robynlaruecoaching [at] gmail.com.

Z – Zest

Zest. Gusto. How rarely one hears these words used. How rarely do we see people living, or for that matter, creating, by them. Yet if I were asked to name the most important items in a writer’s make-up, the things that shape his material and rush him along the road he wants to go, I would only warn him to look to his zest, see to his gusto.
Ray Bradbury

I was sure I’d lost my zest. I was pretty sure my gusto had flown the coop.

I tend to expect a lot of myself in terms of creative work. In the past I’ve enjoyed a high output of words and never thought that would change.

Until it did.

Last year, my body delivered its opinion of my expectations and how I handle stress by planting me in the hospital (10 days in March).  I’m still working on the necessary lifestyle adjustments it was clear I needed, including my attitudes toward my own production. Overachievers beware.

I came out of the hospital with two goals: make meaning and find middle ground. So I started a course to become a creativity coach and I got some accountability for my expectations. It’s a good thing I did because November brought the removal of my cancerous thyroid (great news) and the issues of adjusting the replacement hormone, which is a surprisingly long process. Fatigue on a whole new level, folks. If I had gone through that without someone reminding me it would be a good idea to “adjust your expectations, Robyn!” I’d have fallen into my old ways pretty fast.

Mind over matter and “just do it” have been a big part of my life until this past year. I’ve got a whole new level of compassion and empathy for people struggling to get their creative work done. I’ve got a whole new picture of what we do to ourselves with unrealistic expectations, both high and low. I’m navigating toward that middle ground.

So it seems the zest is still there. The gusto hasn’t flown away. I have good habits in place and a craving to put words on paper. Not long ago I complained to my coach about not getting thing done well enough or fast enough. She laughed and pointed to the task list I sent her, reminding me I was getting things done. And I do. I’ve had an enormously productive six months.

Just not the way I used to.

And I need to be okay with that.

Because I still have my zest.


How is your gusto? Do you feel that zest regularly?

X – Words as X-Rays

Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly–they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

The right words reveal our bony parts. They dig in and expose new thoughts, revelations, feelings. The right words can comfort or challenge, affirm or deliver a swift kick. The right words can change us entirely as we sit with them.  The desire to write the right words is strong. How many of us miss the mark?

When I think of the works of Brene Brown, C.S. Lewis, Judith Glaser, or Margaret Atwood, I think of the subtle shift of my being because I read the right words at the right time.

How often have you read words that revealed your bony parts? Can you recall a book or piece of writing that pierced you? How long did those words stay with you?

V – Voyage of Discovery

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
Marcel Proust
Swann’s Way: In Search of Lost Time, Vol I

This is another of my favorite quotes. It’s helped a lot in times of feeling my circumstances were never going to change for the better. Developing new eyes, a new way of looking at things, has been so helpful.

The main reason I love this quote is because most main characters come to a moment of decision, a moment when they look on their circumstances with new eyes and perspective. It’s so pivotal and integral to story telling, isn’t it? I think it’s also pivotal in life, but that’s me.

What have you discovered when you’ve gained a new perspective? How did it change you? Do you relish this moment in every novel as I do?

T – Truth

That’s what fiction is for. It’s for getting at the truth when the truth isn’t sufficient for the truth.
Tim O’Brien

Humans are born with this amazing ability to replay scenes in our minds, to edit them, recast them, and alter actual events on our mental stage. It’s psychological benefits an be enormous (or destructive depending on the person).

Fiction is a bit like that. We can tell deep truths in stories that we can barely verbalize in the real world. We put our characters through emotional trials that are universal to humanity, allowing the readers to identify and invest in those characters from the front cover to the back. We can rewrite our own experiences and give our characters different reactions and results. That is just one way writing can be cathartic.

There is so much we say, both knowingly and unintentionally, in our work that is truth. What do you think of the quote? What does it bring to mind for you?