Girl Talk: Hello, where art thou mojo?

I have always been the type of girl who positively champs at the bit to get into a new work year, itching to put pen to paper, brimming with new ideas and energised by the prospect of charting new territory. This year? Um, not so much.

After experiencing major burnout last year, aided by more than a few unfortunate events that snowballed to Mount Everest proportions, I could barely muster the energy to write a list of new year's resolutions (okay, I did). Perhaps you felt the same way?

Not one to wallow in puddles of self-pity, I created a sort of self-motivation project drawing on a few helpful resources to help me fire up my mojo. Some are glossy stock-standard; others are more personal; others reek of GOOPiness. But if you're struggling to locate your enthusiasm, they might help you, too.

1. The Self-Help Book
A cliche, I know. But somehow the right one landed in my lap just as I was about to throw my hands up in the air and yell, "I give up!". In the past, I've drawn on the likes of Susan Jeffers' Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway, Dr Sarah Edelman's Change Your Thinking, Gary Bertwistle's Who Stole My Mojo and Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life.
There's a great book out in February called Making $#it Happen by Peter Sheahan ($34.95; Random House) that I plan on getting into, too.

But during my wee summer break, I borrowed Erik Rees' S.H.A.P.E - Finding & Fulfilling Your Unique PURPOSE For LIFE from my father-in-law, squirreling it away and scribbling notes down in a journal. Essentially, Rees helps you hone in on your God-given gifts (i.e. 'your sweet spot') in order to help you plan for a life/career/service more in line with your natural abilities, personality, passions and experiences. It's full of inspirational quotes, work sheets and life anecdotes. I intend to refer back to my notes when I lose my way this year (wouldn't it be nice not to!).

2. The Inspiration Board
Cliche #2! But this works. Refreshing my cork board with new pictures, postcards, words of inspiration and assorted visual stimuli is a fun project and way to get the creative juices flowing. Ta-da!

3. The Inspiring Blogs
There are oodles of them out there, and all my favourites make an appearance in the right-hand sidebar, but there are a few special ones I return to time and time again for dashes of positivity, perspective and prettiness. Mark Sayers has a knack for cutting through the ephemeral pop-culture clutter to remind me of the more eternally important things; Garance Dore is an absolute go-to for eye candy; Natalie Walton has created a haven for creative types at Daily Imprint; and Meet Me At Mikes is like having coffee with a cherished friend. Respite and inspiration them all.

4. The New Stationery
A pencil case flush with new pens, crisp new notebooks, a blank diary... there are few things more satisfying for me than buying new stationery supplies. This year I bought my handbag-friendly diary at Kikki-K, but I've also been perusing Borders ('What's your poo telling you?' 2o10 calendar, anyone?) and Pulp Creative Paper (notebooks, sketchbooks, stationery sets and paper for covering exercise books).

5. The Playlist
Taste in music, like men, is such a subjective thing, yet everyone thinks their music is the height of sophistication and coolness. I do not. I know my taste is naff. I never heard a Mandy Moore song I didn't like. So if you're of the same persuasion, you might like this girlie motivational playlist...

6. The Little Book of Blessings
If you have a tendency to catastrophise like moi, or work from home without companionship to rely on in times of emotional distress, I recommend jotting down all the good things you're blessed with (people, pets, money, gifts, food, compliments, nice emails, letters, work commissions, new jobs, travel opportunities, books, shoes in your size on sale...) in a little book to turn to in times of need. Oprah might call it a gratitude list, others might call it GETTING PERSPECTIVE, but there's nothing so reassuring as reminding yourself of the positives to stamp out those blasted negative thoughts (shut-up, self-critic, and pooh-pooh to you, anonymous haters!). Of course, as Girlfriend suggests, the ultimate way to bless yourself is to bless others (aka pay it forward), so these are nice to jot down, too. Watch the karma multiply and your mojo fire up like a Lamborghini MurciƩlago LP670-4 SV!

So, all this material-type stuff has been super-helpful, but the most effective means for firing up my new-year mojo? A coffee, clearing out the office, a good chat with a Godly woman called Gloria and an email from a dear friend saying, "Keep your chin up, buttercup". Here's to a fruitful, creative and groundbreaking 2010!

Main pic from Emma Thomson's Felicity Wishes.

Yours truly,
Girl With a Satchel


Kelly said...

Thanks for this post Erica!
I too have been having trouble getting back into the swing of things.
I think the downfall of working from home is that you can easily get a bit too comfortable. It also didn't help that I suddenly had a whole heap of playmates to entertain me for the last 2 weeks.
My favourite suggestion is the cork board! I recently took down ALL of the pictures on my inspiration wall in preparation to sell my house and the little white box of a room is hardly inspiring me!
Thanks again, can't wait to read your thoughts in 2010!

ettie ruth said...

You;re not the only one feeling mojo-less. I LOVED this post xx thanks xx

Madmother said...

You are not alone - my little blogging world has numerous people with the same issue.

Mojo, muse, whatever you wish to call it, gone awol.

Do you think there is a mojo union and they are taking industrial en masse?

Erica Bartle (nee Holburn) said...

Mojos gone AWOL en masse? Love.

I don't think it's an issue particular to bloggers or stay-at-home mums, though there's something about the solitary life that sucks one's mojo dry.

I was far more productive/fruitful in an office environment with like-minded folk. I think more bloggers should get together to set up office spaces.

New year's resolutions:


Alas, the blogging life (without reasonable limits) can be a bi-atch.

Erica x

Anonymous said...

Have a great year Erica, and good luck getting your groove back. Apart from when you actually mentioned your struggles throughout the last year I never really picked up that you were floundering; so imagine what you can achieve when you're firing on all cylinders.

Have you considered renting some office space and getting in other freelance creatives to share? That could tick the 'companionship' box.

ettie ruth said...

"I was far more productive/fruitful in an office environment with like-minded folk."

- I have just resigned from my job because like you I appreciate this. I AM in an office environment, but like minded folk? Show me the way!!

When God closes a door he opens a window?


Rochelle said...

Beautiful post, Erica. I limped to the finish line in 2009 and am hoping for a much happier, more fulfilling year ahead. Plenty of inspiration to be found here. :)

I wish you a wonderful year ahead and can't wait to see what's in store for GWAS!


Julie said...

Blessings to you Erica for a wonderful 2010.

anna said...

Lovely post, just what I needed to read. I'm going to look out for some of the books you mentioned. Particularly the "Making $#it Happen" book as Mum and my motto is "we can do $#it" which has been a good thing to remember as 2009 was a bit of a bum.

Happy New Year and here's to finding the mojo :)

- Anna

Kate Moore said...

You hang in there kiddo. You are an inspiration for other bloggers and other people who simply want to do something new and different and follow their bliss.

Uncovering Lee said...

Ah thanks for the motivation I am all about recovering my mojo dam it.. I know its there somewhere... heres to 2010

Promotional Chocolates Bars said...

Lovely post.And blessings to you Erica for a wonderful 2010


M said...

Mojo comes and goes.... I've found that black coffee and long, brisk, mind-clearing walks with my puppy helps a lot.

Happy 2010! xo

Unknown said...

Great post. Just what I needed :) Have a fantastic and blessed year. Thanks for being the calming factor in an otherwise crazy world!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this post Erica. After a couple of years of bad stuff happening - acute & chronic illness, 3 deaths in the family, & loss of identity due to job loss & having to move back home (due to illness) - I was feeling a little blah about the new year. However this post has made me feel hopeful again. I don't feel so alone in feeling blah & it gives me some great ideas for getting my mojo back. Will have to check out the books you recommend. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Erica have you read your starsign in the recent RUSSH? I'm a gemini and it's suppose to be the most important professional year for the decade/my life. Considering I have just started my first job/journalism cadetship that's a little daunting but I found it a good astrology article (if you believe in that thing, I take it with a grain of salt).
I like the idea of the inspiration board but I don't know if I can puncture beautiful photos with a thumb tack!
For my self-help book...I will be reading Friends & Frenemies. I'm in my early 20s and need help in that department to find out who my true friends really are!
I liked this post! Your blog provides a bit of everything!

Anonymous said...

Wow sweetie you're gorgeous

Anonymous said...

Wow, Sweetie you're gorgeous

Anonymous said...

Erica you do SUCH an amazing job on this blog. I really appreciate it, I love clicking here every day and checking out all the new glossy news. Hope you have a fabulous year.

Victoria Hart said...

I just adore the idea of a book of blessings, I think once I have more time (I'm currently in my final year of university) I'll make myself one, you're a great inspiration! xxx

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

Thank you so much for sharing, Erica. I too found it difficult to find my mojo, both for getting into the spirit of Christmas and when facing the new year. Love your book of blessings idea.