Treat Yourself / Weekend Links: On Creativity, Laughter, and Letting Go

Little B weekend links

This weekend, may you find the space to create, may you be surprised by all the hilarity that surrounds you, and may you receive the little ones in your life with humor and chill, even if they’re driving you bananas. Happy weekend!

The emotions that make us more creative. 

There’s something about living life with passion and intensity, including the full depth of human experience, that is conducive to creativity.

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I want to know the funny people who thought of ancient Greek sculptures dressed up in Hipster clothing. This slays me.

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A writer never really knows which words will resonate with the world she serves. Apparently these words did, and it sort of surprised me. 

For the Overwhelmed Mom of Little Kids: 8 Things I Wish I’d Known

for the overwhelmed mom

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And finally, join me for the FREE Hope*Writers Summit! 

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My FAVORITE resource that encourages me in my writing is Hope*Writers. I’m so happy to tell you about the Hope*Writers Summit that you can receive for FREE, only from May 16th-19th! Hope*Writers Summit is offering everyone access to twelve interviews. {And mine is one of them. #gulp}

I talk with one of my favorite authors, Emily Freeman, about everything from unfinished books proposals to “stewarding your story,” something I’ve learned to do as I’ve written my way through messy chapters of my life. You’ll learn why I write on my blog and in a journal. You’ll also learn why my husband is my best editor, even though he’s not a writer.

Curious? CLICK HERE to learn more and to sign up! 

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Each one of these interviews shows me that we have a lot in common as writers, but the road proceeds differently for each of us. I love that. In a world that’s obsessed with formulas and algorithms, I’m encouraged by the surprise, serendipity, and setbacks of each writer’s story. There’s no one right way to do this.

If writing is part of your life at all {or if it’s not but you maybe want it to be}, I highly recommend this online space.

When I’m drowning in my right-now life and wondering if this writing thing is worth it, I read a post or listen to an interview and just like that, I’m inspired and back in the game. For real. Hope*Writers is that encouraging. I hope you’ll join us!

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I’m all about helping you recapture the possibility of your right-now life. 

If that sounds like something you need, sign up in the box below to receive fresh hope and possibility delivered to your inbox a couple of times a week.

 

*Affiliate Links: The Hope*Writer Summit is absolutely free but if you choose to join the Hope*Writers membership site, I receive a percentage at no extra cost to you. Affiliate links are one of the ways I’m able to cover costs and provide new content, year after year. So thanks for supporting my work!

8 Favorite Resources to Help Make Your Hoped-For Work a Possibility in Your Right-Now Life

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These are a collection of resources, some as short as a blog post and others as long as a book, that have helped me approach my work in recent years. {Both my right-now work and my hoped-for work.}

For me, the best resources are ones that I return to, quote, remember, and recommend. All of these qualify. Here they are, in no particular order.

 

1. “How to Make Time and Space for the Life You Really Want” by Ann Voskamp.
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This post of hers inspired this post of mine. It was, in a sense, the catalyst for the entire series and the inspiration I needed to create time when I didn’t have any to spare.

 

2. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
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This book y’all. Its message rings in my ears whenever any opportunity presents itself. I don’t believe we have to be all or nothing with our yeses and our no’s. But I do believe we need to be wise and deliberate. Essentialism is like a shot glass of permission to spend yourself wisely. I say “no” with much less guilt now. And I say “yes” with more confidence.

 

3. The Magical Key to Doing It All by Kendra Adachi at The Lazy Genius Collective

What’s the solution? Being you. And your “all” looks different than mine or anyone else’s.

This short post is like a reset button for your life and your to-do list. The LGC helps all of us “be a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don’t.” This, in my opinion, is simply Being an Adult 101, and I think they should teach it in school.

 

4. A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Life by Emily P. Freeman
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“Do you desperately fear you have nothing to offer the world but secretly hope you’re wrong?” Then get this book.

It’s time to uncover the shape of your soul, turn down the voice of the inner critic, and move into the world with the courage to be who you most deeply are. Creating a life of meaning is not about finding that one great thing you were made to do, it’s about knowing the one great God you were made to glorify–in a million little ways.

It’s no secret that I’m one of Emily’s biggest fans and have gobbled up everything she’s written over the last 8 or 9 years. She is my soul sister. The end.

 

5. The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy, and Women’s Work by Kathleen Norris
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Yes to anything that makes laundry feel sacred and that’s written with the scholarly and gentle voice of Kathleen Norris. This book is tiny. {88 pages, yay!} Best of all, it inspires me to embrace the “mundane” work of my right-now life with gratitude and grace, a thoughtful reminder that “laundry, liturgy, and women’s work all serve to ground us in the world, and they need not grind us down.”

 

6. Choosing Rest: Cultivating a Sunday Heart in a Monday World by Sally Breedlove
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Again, this is a book that makes me breathe deeply and removes all traces of panic from my work. It’s not easy to rest when there’s so much to finish, whether it’s the dishes or my writing or relationships that aren’t tidy. If you can relate, this book will be a gift. It’s one to read slowly and restfully, one that you’ll want to re-read when you need reminding of what true rest looks like.

 

7. Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits–to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life by Gretchen Rubin
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Gretchen Rubin is our Type-A friend who is so kind and common-sense, we can’t help but adore her even though she’s perfect. I love this book in its entirety but it’s worth the price of the book for the first section — explaining the four tendencies and figuring out which one you are.

I sort everyone into four categories, which describe how people tend to respond to expectations: outer expectations (a deadline, a “request” from a sweetheart) and inner expectations (write a novel in your free time, keep a New Year’s resolution).

I’m a self-professed personality test junkie. Gretchen’s simple framework has been huge in my life. Huge. {I don’t say that lightly. It’s even helped my marriage but that’s a different story.}

Knowing how I respond to an expectation {as an “Obliger”} has helped me craft my work, both my right-now jobs and my hoped-for work, in a way that’s effective for my type. For example, I need certain types of accountability and deadlines. If you’re trying to get traction as you pursue your own hoped-for work, it’s important to know what scenario works best for you and what doesn’t. P.S. She’s currently writing a book on just the four tendencies and I’m first in line.

 

8. Hope*Writers

 

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This resource is for those of you who are writers. Or for those of you who think you might be a writer but you don’t have the courage to give yourself that label yet.

Wish you could sit with an author you trustand ask all your writing questions? This is your chance to do that,
Only better.

I’ve been a member of Hope*Writers since the beginning and I’m being for real when I say that these people and all they offer helps keep me in the game. I’ve been to conferences, purchased books, and read plenty on the internet over the years. This site is like all of those resources except with friends. Who are experts. But feel like next door neighbors. I’m not an affiliate; I’m just a real-life member who’s a BIG fan. And…they just launched the FREE Hope*Writers podcast.

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I love it. As in, I’ve actually listened to two of the podcasts more than once because they’re chock full of practical help plus I laugh till’ I cry. {Also, if you have a listen, you’ll get a special trial offer to join Hope*Writers.}

 

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And here’s a list of the posts in this 8-part series.

I’ll soon have a graphic in the right sidebar of the blog {or at the bottom of the page if you’re reading on a mobile device} that links to the entire series. It’s there to encourage you when you’re tempted to quit, smothered by your right-now life, and feeling like this hoped-for work is a waste of time. It’s not. There’s hope.

Never stop starting.

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It has been so fulfilling to write this series and to walk this hopeful road with you. You’ve encouraged me with your stories and asked such thoughtful questions along the way. If this series has been helpful for you, forward it to a friend and share a dose of possibility.

I doubt this is the last you’ll hear from me on the topic, so keep the questions and comments coming. What’s something you’d love to see addressed in another post? I’m all ears.

How to Embrace Your Right-Now Work Even if it’s Not Your Hoped-For Work

One Gift Your Right-Now Work Is Giving You, Even If You Smell Like Marinara Sauce

4 Simple Ways to Create Time When You Don’t Have Any to Spare

4 Reasons Why Your Right-Now Work Matters to Jesus {even if it doesn’t matter to you}

2 Ways to Give Your Hoped-For Work a Voice. Right Now.

3 Ways to Avoid Despair as You Pursue Your Hoped-For Work

“Never stop starting.” And 5 Other Truths to Keep Your Hoped-For Work Alive in the Midst of Your Right-Now Life

8 Favorite Resources to Help Make Your Hoped-for Work a Possibility in Your Right-Now Life

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*Book links are amazon affiliates and help keep the lights on at marianvischer.com. : )

3 Ways to Avoid Despair as You Pursue Your Hoped-For Work

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This post right here? It’s a timely one. I’ve just come off a couple of weeks of working full-time hours for my part-time job. Even though it was expected and planned for, when I’m working overtime + making sure people get fed and clothed and picked up and cheered on from the bleachers and consoled, you can count on some ugly aftermath.

You can count on a house that looks like a Category 20 hurricane swept through it. You can count on a wife and mom who is tired and cranky. You can count on this same exhausted woman to do something completely irrational like paint the living room that has knotty pine walls and has thus far required three coats of primer and can she just pretend she never started this job?

And you can count on her wanting to abandon her hoped-for work because she hasn’t written in ten days and therefore no longer feels like a writer. She knows starting is the hardest part but ohmygosh, the starting doesn’t ever get easier.

I have cleaned the kitchen, scrubbed the toilets and walked the dog this morning. It’s called “productive procrastination.” It shows up every time I have lost the will to write and also before I need to pack for a trip.

I’m oddly thankful for these adverse circumstances. They remind me that pursuing our hoped-for work isn’t all writers’ conferences and art shows and a thousand likes on social media. It’s not all perfectly steamed lattes at the coffee shop and thoughtful contemplation and art that flows off fingertips.

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Presently I’m writing on my porch while also spraying poison on a patch of ants that showed up out of nowhere. And I have a child with a fever on the sofa in the living room with half-primed walls.

Sometimes pursuing my hoped-for work looks like duct taping my pajama-clad self to the chair and writing already, even though I don’t feel like a writer and I want need to finish painting the living room and my kids have been sick and out of school a lot this year.

The most epic battles are often fought on everyday soil. Fighting for our hoped-for work in the midst of our messy right-now lives is no different.

Today I give you three ways to keep your perspective and fight despair when you’re barely hanging on to your hoped-for work:

 

1. Don’t envy another’s work life.
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I struggle with this one in embarrassing ways, believing the lie that if only I had her circumstances or his capital, I could meet my goals and do my thing. I’ve believed this just today actually. And every time I find myself sliding into the pit of envy, I have a choice to make: surrender to resentment or receive my own life.

Ironically, the challenges of the everyday usually become my inspiration. Frustration is often the fuel that gets me writing in the first place. This entire series on work — it’s been born out of my own wrestling. I thought I needed a spacious writing life to be the writer I wanted to be. God is showing me otherwise. It’s messy. But the mess is my medium and God makes art out of it anyway.

There is freedom that comes in receiving your own life instead of envying someone else’s.

And don’t be fooled by the seemingly grand and spacious lives of others. There are unique struggles that come with each stage of success. Keep working at your own pace, on the canvas of your own life.

I will never stop needing this reminder from Henri Matisse:

Much of the beauty that arises in art comes from the struggle an artist wages with his limited medium.

 

2. Accept abrupt transitions.

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When I was in college, I ran the 10,000 meter race in track. That’s 25 laps around a 400-meter track. Please don’t be impressed. I literally needed half of those laps to get warmed up. I was never a sprinter. It was true of my running life and it’s true of my writing life. Sure, I can hustle when I need to. I can crank out a product when I’m called on. But hurry comes at a cost because I’m a contemplative at heart. I’m a long-distance, slow-paced runner living in a world that spins a bit too fast for my liking.

I don’t have the personality where I can easily switch from task to task and embrace interruptions. I have the personality that might glare at you with violent eyes if you interrupt me while I’m in the middle of deep, thoughtful work or when more than one person is audibly asking for something at the same time.

This is why I live in a perpetual state of whiplash. My right-now life doesn’t accommodate my slow-paced taste and my need for long runways.

I try to get up early because, again, it takes me a long time to adjust to wakefulness. Plus it gives me time to align my spirit with the heart of God and embrace the day’s work before the rest of the house wakes up. Because when that happens, I’m jolted into the world of squabbling siblings and “Mom! Are you making oatmeal?” Then we stumble out the door and rush three kids to three different schools. By 8:15 in the a.m., I need a nap.

Each day is a mashup of paid work, housework, writing work, family work, kitchen work, and unexpected work. Stop times and start times are not always under my control. I may be deep in the writing zone and then pow! My littlest guy gets off the bus and I am quickly zapped into the world of Pokemon trades and after-school snacks.

Changing hats so abruptly throughout the day is not my jam. But it is my right-now life. And change hats I must.

Sometimes we can use abrupt transitions as an excuse. “Well I only have an hour so it’s not worth sitting down to write.” That hour is still an hour of hoped-for work. And while it may not be enough time to finish anything, it reminds you that this is what you do. It’s the daily discipline of reclaiming your identity and relaunching your hope. It keeps you in the game and serves as a deposit on deeper work that may show up later.

 

3. Tell someone.

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The land of hoped-for work can be a lonely place. Too often, we dream our dreams in solitude and do our work in isolation. We languish and lose momentum and tell ourselves we’re crazy. It’s the rare person who doesn’t need some sort of accountability to stay the course.

Community, whether it’s two people or twelve, helps keep me going. I’ve dared to speak my hopes out loud and I’ve had the privilege of cradling the dreams of others. Part of the reason I sat down this morning is because I told my “someones” I would keep writing — my writing friend in New Jersey who I vox and e-mail with, a small community of creatives across different time zones that I talk to regularly {thank you technology}, my husband who gives me Saturdays to work on a writing project. And you.

Yes, you. You take time out of your busy life and meet me here. And sometimes you tell me that what I wrote made you feel normal instead of crazy. You allow me show up in your life and serve you. You remind me that this hoped-for work is my offering.You guys are my “someones.”


 

My next post will have a few more tips to keep you going. And then I’ll have a wrap-up post with my favorite resources to share!

Thanks for staying with me. Y’all sure know how to keep a sister going.

What are your greatest obstacles to pursuing your hoped-for work in the midst of your right-now life? 

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If you’re new around here, we’ve been winding our way through a series on work. Here are the other posts in the series:

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How to Embrace Your Right-Now Work Even if it’s Not Your Hoped-For Work

One Gift Your Right-Now Work Is Giving You, Even If You Smell Like Marinara Sauce

4 Simple Ways to Create Time When You Don’t Have Any to Spare

4 Reasons Why Your Right-Now Work Matters to Jesus {even if it doesn’t matter to you}

2 Ways to Give Your Hoped-For Work a Voice. Right Now.

3 Ways to Avoid Despair as You Pursue Your Hoped-For Work

“Never stop starting.” And 5 Other Truths to Keep Your Hoped-For Work Alive in the Midst of Your Right-Now Life

8 Favorite Resources to Help Make Your Hoped-for Work a Possibility in Your Right-Now Life

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