Andrea Hayes: Finding Your Flow
I have lost my flow and I don’t know where to go . . .
Easing back after Christmas into my sacred space of creative bliss, or, for want of a better word ‘writing’, was not only intimidating but for me TOUGH as nails.
And, like a nail, I reminded myself I needed to be strong and determined to get back into my solid pre-festive routine to help me trigger my writing motor memory and get back into my flow.
So, instead of doing a little bit of writing to ease myself back into it, I decided to do the opposite and avoid the keyboard completely. That’s right, I escaped into the world of box sets and distracted myself with some DE cluttering, offering to clean the office, blaming the mess on my confused uninspired mind. It was complete procrastination.
Each passing day of not flexing my writing muscles made it more difficult to start back up.
So I do what all writers do and I face the elephant in the room. I am sitting down, staring at a blank screen, ready to do my 1000 words and…. nothing…….the tide is out, my inspiration well is empty.
I begin tapping away and then deleting what I have written. I am stuck and feeling totally dissatisfied. I try to be patient and allow the tsunami of ideas to flow into my mind. For the next hour or so it feels like I am in a cul-de-sac of creative blankness and that’s when the inevitable happens, the self-doubt monster kicks in.
Writers have heaps of ideas, you are sitting here and you haven’t a notion, no plot twists, no characters, you’ve got nothing.
You know what that means? You’re a fraud, who are you fooling? No one! You are not a writer.
My creative mind should be a veritable mountain of references, my secret playground where I can toy with ideas and concepts. Instead, it feels like a potential death trap and I am dying a slow, uninspired, fruitless end. WRITING GODS – HELP!
So, instead of drowning in self-doubt, I decide to let go and try a different creative medium-hypnotherapy. Hypnosis for me is like my own personal flotation device, especially in the rough seas of writer’s block. I know my mind plays an integral role in my ability to gain equanimity. There is a calmness required if one is to endure the turmoil of being out at sea creatively.
I simply do what I always love doing in the ocean: I lie on my back, close my eyes and float. I go with the flow of my subconscious mind. No, seriously, I actually do this. As a trained clinical hypnotherapist, I have specifically devised a hypnosis relaxation which targets my writer’s block and allows me to dive deeper into my unconscious mind so I can access new ideas and move into calmer seas of creation. My chosen method involves a relaxation on a small boat at sea! And it is very effective.
This works for me and I feel it can work for you too. It is probably easier to experience than explain so why not head over to my website for some free audio hypnosis to try yourself.
So how does it work? Hypnotherapy is often used to relax someone to the point where their unconscious mind finds it easy to access those times and places where creativity just flows.
What does it mean to be in FLOW…..?
In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. Put simply, being in flow, is like being ‘on a roll’, being switched on to your creative genius. It’s a concept proposed by positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, (author of Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience)
Using hypnotherapy, you can work to train your thinking to begin to attach those feelings of being ‘in the flow’ to times and places in the future when it would be appropriate for you to be in this kind of state.
The deep relaxation hypnosis brings auto-suggestions to kick-start your confidence and your own innate creativity. This method can be used as an effective tool to really help anyone overcome writer’s block. It also helps with stress and anxiety, which are both increased when you find yourself stuck in a writing rut with no fresh ideas coming.
When you next find yourself ‘out of flow with nowhere to go’, put your mind at rest and dive into the vast ocean of your subconscious mind, and get your stream of consciousness and creativity flowing again with hypnosis.
After relaxing my mind and body and allowing myself some time to be still, I often then just practice ‘free writing’. I just write write, write, write continuously for a set period of time, maybe 5 minutes, usually in a journal or notepad dedicated purely to this. Most importantly, I write without judgment and just allow the stream of consciousness that I am connected to after my trance to pour out onto the page.
The key to this is not to censor or think about anything like spelling, grammar or even if what you are writing is making sense – just be in unison with the pen and your mind. I am often amazed at the breakthroughs that I make: suddenly things seem to fall into place and I feel centered again and almost at ease with the process.
My second book, My Life Goals Journal, has just been launched and I used this process during the writing period and it worked. I feel now I am beginning a new journey – possibly on to book 3!
I am so excited at the prospect of what direction I will take in the months ahead. Sometimes you don’t need to know how the beginning, middle and end are going to unfold, you just need to enjoy the journey and trust you are always going in the right direction.
If you are feeling stuck in a writing rut, my advice is: never stop moving forward. In other words, just keep writing.
A wise and brilliant writer once told me: ‘you can’t edit what isn’t written’. So, fill your pages everyday and you will then have something to work with! (Thank you, Sam Blake AKA Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin.)
That guidance has served me well and it anchors me along the way and helps me weather the writing storms. So, this year, my writing goal is to simply go with the FLOW and keep my inner critic at bay.
(c) Andrea Hayes
About My Life Goals Journal
Do you dream of creating a change in your life but feel stuck or unsure where to start? Andrea Hayes’ inspirational and practical journal will help you clarify what you really want for the year ahead so you can begin to manifest the life of your dreams.
Inside, you will find a twelve-step strategy to help you identify your goals and focus on each one, month by month.
With space provided for monthly journaling, helpful exercises for overcoming your own personal mental blocks, and Andrea’s free hypnosis downloads designed to let you relax and access your most authentic self, this book will help you to stop drifting and form new habits that will transform your life.
A once-in-a-generation book that comes along and suddenly your whole life seems to slot into place. There’s inspiration on every page and it s brimming with wonderful, life-affirming messages you’ll want to live by. Everyone I know is getting a copy. Claudia Carroll
Andrea’s overall positivity is infectious. This book is the first page of the rest of your life. Brendan Courtney
Andrea Hayes is an Irish broadcaster and producer whose work includes TV3’s hugely successful series Animal A&E, Dublin Airport: Life Stories and Coming Home for Christmas. She recently wrote, produced and directed a new TV series, Dog Tales with Andrea Hayes. She also guest presents TV3’s Midday and is a familiar voice on Dublin’s Sunshine 106.8.
Andrea’s bestselling book, Pain-Free Life: My Journey to Wellness, chronicles how journaling helped her to overcome her health challenges, and in My Life Goals Journal she shares the practical plan she used to create change in her life – so you can change too!
Andrea is a trained clinical hypnotherapist and Bethany Grief Minister. She lives with her husband and young daughter, Brooke, in Dublin.