Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Power of Power Pals

Here's the article I wrote for the California Writer's Club Tri-Valley Branch this month. Hope you enjoy it.

A couple of years ago, a few writing colleagues and myself used the Artist’s Way as a guide to help us deepen our writing practice and to live our lives as writers more fully. We did morning pages, artist dates, visited art galleries, read, got to know our inner critic, and how we sabotaged ourselves. We had our aha moments and our “I don’t agree with this” moments. Occasionally we faltered and fell, other times we accomplished our goals, and always, held each other up with support, respect, and accountability to each other. These were my Power Pals.

I’ve had the same Power Pal for a couple of years now, who holds me accountable and helps me reach my goals simply by being there. Not criticizing, not judging, not lecturing, just being there. I’m sure there are lots of ways to work with a Power Pal, but here’s one suggestion.

Make four lists:
Goals for the week
Yahoo (things you accomplished during the last week)
Boohoo (things you listed and didn’t accomplish)
Toodle-oo (items listed for three or more weeks and I still haven’t accomplished).

Email your Power Pal on Monday morning with your goals for the week. (keep a copy of the list taped to your work station so that you can see it easily and check off your accomplishments as you complete your tasks).

The following Monday, report your progress (your four lists) to your Power Pal via email. The beauty of these lists is that you can celebrate your successes (Yahoo) which is the most important, set your priority compass for the following week (goals), including the items you hoped to accomplish but didn’t (Boohoo), and finally, take a look at those things that appear week after week and remain undone (Toodle-oo). Once you identify those, you can make a decision to put the item on hold, scratch it completely, or make the commitment to do the activity that week. If you don’t, take it off the list. It is weighing you down for whatever reason.

As a coach, I can’t stress enough the power of a Power Pal.

Where do you find one of these gems? Just ask. Maybe at a CWC meeting, a critique group, a trusted friend. Remember, the effectiveness of a Power Pal comes in support not criticism, so choose wisely. Good luck reaching those goals!

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