RSS

Monthly Archives: January 2016

January Wrap Up

IF we were having coffee right now I’d tell you…

Picture 14

As of right now, I’m still sick, but I’m trying to keep on keepin’ on, as they say.

The beginning of January was rough. I had a meltdown, realized how bad my anxiety and depression had gotten because of the chaos that comes with the holidays (preparing for the holidays and the holidays themselves, along with creative pursuits, and trying to finish a book, maintaining a household, etc….), and decided to do something about it so I re-started the Artist’s Way 12 week self-guided course on the 22nd of January. I also started art journaling/sketch your life/document your life journaling again the beginning of January. AND, I started reading more–my goal is to read at least one book a week.

And if that wasn’t enough, I made up my mind to organize, clean, and purge (get rid of things that I’m never going to use, things that are broken or stained or don’t fit, etc.). So far I’ve accomplished quite a bit, but there’s still a lot to be done.

I’ve read 12 books so far this year so I’m ahead of schedule since my goal is to read 52 books for the year. Not bad. I’m currently reading the Shannara Chronicles: the Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks, All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris, Nail your Novel by Roz Morris, and The Talisman by Stephen King. (Yes, I am one of THOSE people who reads more than one book at a time.)

I’m on week 2 of the Artist’s Way 12 week guided course.  And I’m doing well with my morning pages and the weekly artist dates.

I’ve been walking every other day or so, at least one mile. This past week I haven’t felt up to walking a mile or more so I’ve just been getting outside to get fresh air and walking around my yard, which helps even if it’s not as far as I would like to go, it’s at least getting some exercise and fresh air. And since I’ve been sick, my appetite has decreased, which means my protion size has decreased a great deal. I’ve actually lost a few pounds since being sick. (Yay me!)

My Writing!–hmmm, some days it goes well, other days not so much, but I’m still working on it. I feel as if I ought to be writing more, but being sick has really taken a toll on me. I feel exhuasted, achy all over, I can’t breathe, I look like Rudolph, and it’s all I can do some days to manage to write a few hundred words, but at least I’m actively working on my writing.

I’m trying to stay positive. Positivity was my word for this year. So I’m working on staying positive even when things aren’t feeling very positive. I am using affirmations to help… I fine an affirmation for each day and write it down in my journal–think about it all day to remind myself to stay positive. It’s easier some days than others.

 

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Messy Desk or Creative Clutter

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” ~Einstein

Einstein wasn’t alone, Mark Twain and Steve Jobs also had a “cluttered” desk, and I’m sure that there are many others, those are just the one’s that I know off the top of my head.

IMG_4156

It looks semi clean, but it’s not…

I prefer to think of my desk as “creative clutter.” Though, if I’m honest, there are places all over my house that could be termed creative clutter. Don’t get me wrong, there are also places that are organized, but my desk (and the damn kitchen counter) are almost always in a state of mess/clutter/creative chaos. Well, the kitchen counter just ends up cluttered, there’s really nothing creative about it.

According to studies from the world’s foremost creatives show that just the right amount of mess on your desk can help you achieve greater creativity, defy convention, and even be more productive. ~5 Reasons Creative Geniuses Like Einstein, Twain and Zuckerberg Had Messy Desks-And Why You Should Too

I’m no Einstein, Twain, Jobs, or Zuckerberg, but I am a creative person, and I do tend to have a “messy desk.”

My Desk

My Desk in use…

I’ve tried the minimalistic approach to my desk, I’ve tried organized and clean, I’ve tried rearranging a number of times, but no matter how clean and organized my desk starts out, or how I arrange it, it ends up messy.

IMG_4155

This is a working desk. I art journal, write, plan, journal, read, etc at this desk.

There are other places in my “Creative/Writing Room” that are organized and clean, just not usually my desk.

My books are usually arranged by author, and sometimes by genre.

My books are usually arranged by author, and sometimes by genre.

If someone were to ask me where something was, nine out of ten times I could tell you exactly where that item was, especially if it’s a book, journal, or art supply (though I do not know where all my stickers and ephemera are exactly–I really do need to organize that stuff).

Mr King's bookcase, along with a few other authors, though eventually it will just house all of my SK books.

Mr King’s bookcase, along with a few other authors, though eventually it will just house all of my SK books.

For example,  my red bookcase holds Mr. King’s, Mr. Koontz’s, and a few others’ books.  But the smaller bookcase houses poetry, classics, literature, dictionaries, along with Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, and Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles.

One shelf is my "Writerly" books, the other has my Harry Potter and Anne Rice collection.

One shelf is my “Writerly” books, the other has my Harry Potter and Anne Rice collection.

Then there are the vertical shelves (the room also passes as our guest room since there is a click-clack couch that pulls out so space is limited).

My art section... Sorry there's a mirror on the dresser so I'm in the picture...

My art section… Sorry there’s a mirror on the dresser so I’m in the picture…

And if you haven’t gathered, I like color. My art section is organized, at least the top of it is, if you look in the drawers, which I suggest you don’t, then that’s where you’ll find the creative clutter. (I really need to work on that, but the room is a work in progress.)  I’ve been organizing the room, tackling one or two things each week.

My storyboard is on the wall above the click-clack couch, which I often times sit on to read, write, etc....

My storyboard is on the wall above the click-clack couch, which I often times sit on to read, write, etc….

I surround myself with books, art, color, and other things that spark my creative side, that inspire and motivate me to be creative. There are books in pretty much every corner of my room, as well as some type of inspiration, either a quote, or picture.

Patricia Cornwell bookshelf.

Patricia Cornwell bookshelf.

For example, when I sit at my desk, like I am right now as I type this, I can see the rain falling outside my window, it’s a rather gray day but I love writing to the sound of rain. I look to my right and there is my corner bookshelf with Patricia Cornwell (and a few Nora Roberts books thrown in because I didn’t have anymore room on the other shelf), and to my left is my red bookcase filled with mostly Mr. King’s books (yes I’m a fan, one of his Constant Reader’s).

Stack of books against wall... it's time for a new bookshelf.

Stack of books against wall… it’s time for a new bookshelf.

Not to mention the books that I have stacked against the wall because I’m out of shelf room–I really need another bookcase, and in the process of figuring out exactly what I want so a friend of mine can build them for me for my birthday. There’s nothing like handmade bookshelves. 😀

So, yes… I’d say that a messy desk, or creative clutter, works for me, though there are definitely some things I have to have organized and clean.

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , ,

Choosing to live… creatively

Since I started re-reading the Artist’s Way last week, several other things have come up that have shown me that starting the 12 week process is the right decision.

embrace struggle

Living creatively is and isn’t a choice, at least to me that’s how it feels. I am a creative person. Being creative, whether it’s DIY home projects, writing, creating art, journaling, art journaling, scrapbooking, poetry, reading, or photography is just who, what, and how I am. It’s a big part of how I’m wired.

As an INFP, I’m optimistic, open-minded, empathic, creative, introverted, passionate, enthusiastic (especially about creative things), resilient, dedicated, and intuitive, but I’m also too idealistic, impractical, too altruistic, I often don’t see the forest for the trees, I take things too personal, and I’m reserved, cautious, and self-conscious, which makes me hard to get to know.  I was born to be a writer, a creative person, some type of artist. I was born to help others. At least, that’s how it feels to me. Yet I know, now, that I tend to over extend myself. I tend to get overwhelmed and stressed out–and I do that to myself, usually.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

All of these things are part of why I made the decision to start the Artist’s Way 12 week “program” again. After my video went up about what I’m doing and why I got several comments. The response the video touched me and I thought, “Burgess, it’s time to do a giveaway. And you’re going to give the Artist’s Way to someone. So this Friday I’m going to draw one of the names from the people who responded to my video about the giveaway and send that person their very own copy of the Artist’s Way.

I’m going through a few things right now, one of which is being SICK! I feel like Death came calling and instead of taking me She just touched me with her Sickle and said, “Nope, just wanted you to see how it feels to be Death for a while.” Two, finding balance in your life is hard. No matter how much I try to take my writing seriously, so that others will as well, someone or something always tends to say or do something, or something happens, that makes me question it. It’s not a “real job,” or “writing/art isn’t going to pay the bills/isn’t paying the bills,” or “since you’re not working, could you…”. Then the negativity I already feel, the self-doubt and lack of self confidence rears its ugly head even higher and just laughs at me, and I feel like giving up.

its impossible

Depression is an ugly beat. When combined with anxiety it’s even uglier. A depressed person helping a depressed person is like the blind leading the blind. An anxious person with depression helping someone else who also has anxiety and depression–I’m not sure of what to say about that… I do know that I have to take a step back from the negativity, and be my own authentic self, and stop letting the anxiety, self-doubt, insecurities, and other things rule my life. It’s time to me to choose to live my life creatively, to live my own life, to stop people pleasing, to stop doubting myself and hold my head up high, and to take the bull by the horns and say, “I got this shit!”

I’m a writer. I have a real job, even if I don’t get paid for it yet. I am working on my novel. I am also living my life creatively. I spent over twenty years working in a field I hated but paid the bills and helped me provide for my children. Now that I don’t have to do that, I’m finally doing what I was meant to do. I’m probably going back to college, hopefully this summer.

It’s going to be hard, especially adjusting to all the changes, and for the people in my life to adjust to all the changes, but I have to do what is best for me.

Trust your own madness

 

Introduction to the Artist’s Way and What I’m Doing

Back in November, I started reading “the Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. I committed to participating in the 12 week program she suggests. Then in December, I became distracted by the chaos of the upcoming holidays and stopped–but that was probably when I needed it most since I was blocked creatively, and I was feeling so out of it creatively, and inwardly–it was just such a bad time. I wasn’t creating art, words, or anything else on a regular basis because I was such a mess (anxiety, depression, ADHD, along with being overwhelmed and stressed out over the holidays).

Some of you might think that creativity is a luxury. It is not. Creativity is a necessity, at least to me it is.

Human beings are all in some way.  Life itself is a creative activity. Every choice we make, everything we do, every movement, (it’s starting to sound like that song… “Every move we make…every breath we take…)  is sensory process of the information we take in and understand is creative.

Often times when I get blocked creatively I know that it is because of things aren’t meshing in some way.  The words just  won’t flow out on the page.  The brush and paint just won’t flow out onto the page the right way.  For my husband, who is a musician, the notes just don’t sound right or  his fingers just won’t strum the strings on his guitar right.  No matter what medium of art/creativity is your thing, that kind of block  is enormously frustrating. And there have been times when it has driven me to quit. Or when it increases my anxiety and depression, …it has even caused some people to have anxiety and/or depression, or  driven some to drink, to be angry, to be confused.  And the farther I get into that anxious, confused, blocked, depressed, closed off and/or blocked state the deeper I dig myself into the writer’s block, or the artist’s block–it’s a vicious cycle, a hole that we just keep digging ourselves deeper and deeper into. I can’t tell you how many holes I’ve dug for myself, how many projects I’ve started and stopped–quit because of that very thing… Being creatively blocked.

the artists way

After my meltdown on January 2, I realized I had to do something. I needed to commit myself to being accountable for my own productivity, creativity, and success. But HOW??? I needed to find a way to stop the blockages, the confusion and anxiety over my creativity. I wanted get un-stuck and find a way to stay un-stuck, or at least a way that worked when I did get stuck.

According to some of the research I’ve done this book helps people with discipline, structure, organization, creativity, clarity, momentum, and so much. I am hoping that it will do all of that and more for me–hopefully, for you as well.

If you you don’t have the book then check it out… The Artist’s Way  and give it a shot. If you’re blocked, then it can’t hurt to try. A few of us are going to be going through it together. If I get enough people I might open a FB page for us to use, but I already have a playlist on my YT channel with my introduction video. I’d like to live my life creatively, have more clarity and purpose, be more productive and successful. 😀

I hope you’ll join me.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

What Failure has taught me as a Writer

For about two weeks, the week of Christmas and the week of New Year, I was in a funk. I was filled with anxiety, overwhelmed and stressed out, depressed, and I could not write. I didn’t have the time, or when I did have the time I was too stressed out and overwhelmed to write. I sat down at the computer and as much as I wanted to write, I just could not get the words out–and they were there in the dark recesses of my overworked mind, but they were buried underneath the chaos of my life (the holidays, obligations, anxiety, depression, etc., etc.). So I felt like a F.A.I.L.U.R.E.

Writer’s write. That’s what we do. If you can’t write then what?

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Tags: , , ,

I’ve fallen in love with my WIP again

Immediately after the holidays I had a meltdown–you know the kind where you’re overwhelmed, filled with anxiety, stressed out beyond belief but you don’t realize how bad it is until you finally sit down to do something like write and then you realize–WTF! I can’t write. The blank page is staring back at you, screaming silently for you to write, just one fucking word, something, anything, but NOTHING comes out. Your mind is racing, the thoughts are somewhere deep inside there, you know it, but all of those thoughts are so jumbled that you can’t untangle them to even come up with a few coherent sentences.

That was me on January 2nd.

I decided to film a video for my YT channel instead. Maybe talking about writing, doing something creative like filming a video, would help the, dare I say it again, “Writer’s Block.” But a little into the video I began ranting. I hadn’t realized I’d had all of that angst underneath the surface just waiting to boil over and out into the world…

Things changed after that… Drastically.

 

The moment I sat down with pen and paper to go over all those things, and actually listed my goals again I knew I needed to re-evaluate how I planned on making them happen–writer’s block or not, I needed to write and I wanted/needed to do it every day. I also needed to get rid of my first 4 chapters and re-write the first few chapters because I hadn’t started the first chapter where the action is, it was all pretty much backstory.

Hobonichi Daily Art Journal pages...

Hobonichi Daily Art Journal pages…

An inspirational quote, and a character from my novel... Picture was inspired by one I found online. :D

An inspirational quote, and a character from my novel… Picture was inspired by one I found online. 😀

I started reading again. I started art journaling again.  I started, what I call my “personal” journaling, and my “writer journaling,” again.

I started writing in my novel again. I wrote the new chapter one, went through my outline and started making changes to it so that it would reflect the new chapter one. I felt so good about the novel, so excited and passionate about it that I fell in love with it all over again….

I realized while reading, art journaling, and personal journaling, that I need those creative outlets, as much as I need to write… Maybe more so when I am writing. Writing a novel is an intense project. It requires a great deal of focus, determination, resilience, patience, passion, and imagination. If you don’t take care of yourself, especially if you’re like me and you have anxiety, depression, ADHD, then those “things” tend to get worse.

Those two weeks of the holiday, the week of Christmas and the week of New Year, I drained myself dry. I was overwhelmed, stressed out, not writing other than a little personal journaling and a little “writer journaling,” and I barely art journaled. I was too busy. I was too anxious. I was pulled in various directions. And then added to that was the socializing, the lack of any real “me time,” and “no writing,” and I should have known that at some point I’d just crash.

And crash I did, but crashing also allowed me to look at things from a different point of view. It allowed me to see my mistakes. What I was doing wrong hit me full in the face when I had the meltdown and maybe that’s what I needed.

All I know is that after the meltdown, not immediately after–it took a few days for me to really get into a new routine, to change things up and figure out a few things, but now…a little over ten days later, I can look back on that and know, without a shadow of a doubt, that if it hadn’t happened then it would have happened eventually, and better it happened sooner rather than later.

If you’re suffering from Writer’s Block, then it’s probably more emotional than physical. At least, for me that’s how it is. The moment I take a step back, really take a step back, and look at what I’m doing, how I feel, what I’m thinking… I can usually pinpoint something that’s underneath the surface–something that has reared it’s ugly head and is preventing me from writing. Maybe it’s self-doubt, insecurity, fear, exhaustion, a lack of focus, distractions, pain (physical and/or emotional), anxiety, depression…The list goes on. I know what works for me now, and I made a video about it…

I hope you’ll check it out:

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Using the Tarot for Writing

Write Faster with TarotIn 2014, I purchased an ebook called “WRITE FASTER With Tarot: Structuring Plots” by Diana Castle. I read it, tried it with the Enchanted Deck of Tarot cards I have by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber (I’ve had that deck since 1990, y’all). The ebook wasn’t expensive, and it was worth the read, but it really didn’t have enough information for me, and as a pantser I really didn’t want to structure my novel, what I really wanted was to use the tarot to inspire me, help feed my creative muse, and for the characters.

Then, in September of 2015 I saw a video by Arwen Lynch on YT about her ecourse for using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey to write your novel in 30 days. I debated over it for a bit, and then decided I’d try it. The ecourse is $33, or at least it was when I took it, and well worth that price and more….My only wish was that she’d done a few more videos about it. (HINT< HINT if you happen to be reading this Arwen, lol!). eCourseTitleGraphicWebPageOnly

I began my journey in October, planning my novel for NaNoWriMo, and had a blast. I made videos on YT, I had a journal specifically for my ideas and my journey through the course, and I made a binder to put copies of the emails I printed out. I even kept up with all of it. (Insert pat on the back here because sometimes I lose focus, get distracted, and don’t always follow through with some projects.) Read the rest of this entry »

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,