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Monthly Archives: July 2016

A Writer’s Life

Most days I write. I get up in the morning, usually after 4-6 hours of sleep, still groggy and make coffee. While the coffee is brewing, which doesn’t take long since I have a Bunn coffeemaker, I start my morning pages–my ego is still asleep. I’m usually wishing I were still sleeping.

Once I take the first sip of coffee, I immediately feel better. Yes, I know it’s a mind thing at that point, but it’s a win for me because not only do I like the smell and taste of coffee, but various studies have proven that coffee is good for us…helps prevent cancer, etc.–I will take it as a win.

I head for my writing room. Here is a quick peak of my writing room:

I wish I could say that the first thing I do, after I’ve written my morning pages, is start writing, but most days I check my email, FB, and YT first. I respond to various messages, posts, comments…(I’m now on my second cup of coffee) and if someone posts a video that I can listen to while I work on my journal pages I’ll do that, unless I’ve already prepared my pages the night before.

Lately though, thanks to changing things up because of Project Me and Jenny Penton’s Planner Perfect method I’ve started on my top 3 things for the day. Mine are usually stretches, which I can do while I watch a video (or two, depending on how long the videos are, because I have to do 15 minutes worth of stretching–it helps keep my shoulders mobile, otherwise I’ll lose mobility again); start laundry; dishes and/or shower and get ready for the day.

Once I’m dressed for the day, I sit back down at my desk, open Scrivener, and read the last 2 paragraphs I wrote. Once my head is back in my novel I start writing. Big deal, right? So I’m writing. I’m a writer, that’s what writer’s do. Not as easy as it seems though. I get distracted by the sun shining through my window, by the beeps and buzzes of notifications from my tablet or phone, by the lack of coffee in my cup (I’m usually on my 3rd cup or about to get my 3rd cup, though somewhere in the middle of those cups of coffee I try to drink a bottle of water).

Butt in chair and write! I try to get back to the work at hand. Writing. For a few years now, I’ve been trying to establish a routine. A ritual. The thing about writing a novel is consistency, determination, passion…AND getting your butt in the chair and doing the work. Since I started planning my day differently, less “to do’s” and more “scripting my life,” I’ve realized that scripting my life is helpful for me personally, but not so much for my writing, which is what I consider to be my job. So, I’ve gone back to my writer bullet journal.

However, I’m not doing things the same way anymore. No more monthly calendar, and no more dailies. Not for my writing. I have a monthly log for my wordcount set up for August, and the weekly spread set up. I’ve got the wordcount goals set up so that I know about where I am, and I’ve pushed up my daily wordcount for August. During July I’ve been aiming for 1000 words a day every day, but for August I’m pushing for 2K a day during the week, and 1K on the weekends. That might change, but I am pretty sure if I devote 4-6 hours per day during the week, with breaks in between, and 2-4 hours on the weekends, I should be able to at least write 1500-2500 words a day during the week. I might end up lowering the wordcount on the weekends to 500 per day. We’ll see.

And so I can stay on top of things and and finish my novel… I’ve changed things in my writer’s bible and August is going to rock. I’m hoping to keep the blogs rolling with the videos, and my video schedule is set up for a Coffee Chat on Monday’s, Writer Wednesday, Journaling on Friday’s, and then something or other on Sunday’s… Not sure about that yet.

Here’s the video for that:

 

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#onebookjuly2016 What it is and what I’m doing

For the past few years, this is the third year, Rhomany’s Realm, MissVickyB, and Carie Harling, have been challenging people in the “planning” community to participate in something called the #onebookjuly challenge.

The challenge is: 1 book, one pen, one month. The idea behind it is to take your planning back to the basics. So many people are looking for what they refer to as Planner Peace. I’ve heard it said by many that if your basic planning system doesn’t work then no matter what planner you have, no many how many you try, the system won’t work, which makes sense–planner peace at its core comes from a planning system that works, and all you really need to plan your day, month, year, etc is a pen and a piece of paper/notebook.

For years, nothing worked right for me. Nothing. I tried a day runner type planner, one of those inexpensive one’s you can get at Walmart or the drugstore, I tried a notebook, a tried a desk calendar, I broke down and tried a Filofax, before that (many years ago) I had a Franklin Covey, a Fauxbonichi, then I tried the Bullet Journal method…

Currently, I am using what I call an “omni-journal,” or what MissVickyB calls a Faux-Bujo, the combination of a “Fauxbonichi and a Bullet Journal.” A Fauxbonichi is a “faux” Hobonichi, which is a Japanese planner that allows you to plan and sketch/illustrate your life via monthly calendar pages, weekly calendar pages, and then daily pages on what is called Tomoe River paper (which is divine paper for watercolor and fountain pens) and most people sketch or illustrate little drawings, and/or use diary stickers, on their daily pages to chronicle their day.

I love the Hobonichi, and if the day wasn’t set up for one page per day, dated pages, I would have stuck with it, but I write too big and too much for one page per day. So I bought a Seven Seas Crossfield notebook, by Nanami Paper, which has Tomoe River paper, and I also have a Mystiqe notebook by Taroko Designs with Tomoe River paper, both have dot grid paper and started what I called an omni-journal–a combination planner, sketch book, Hobonichi style, bullet journal style, Fauxbonichi style journal. And I love it, but I’ve found that I don’t like the way the “bullet” to do list looks on my pages that are filled with art and writing… It takes away from the aesthetics of the page.

For several months I’ve debated over whether or not I could actually use Jenny Penton’s Planner Perfect method, where you script your days. Instead of “to-do” lists you script out your day. I bought her ebook and read it. Tried it for a few days but felt lost when it came to my “to-do’s” like paying bills, appointments, etc. I went back to sticky notes for my “to-do’s” in my omnijournal, or putting my little “to-do” list on my daily pages. I flip-flopped back and forth between bullet journaling, omni-journaling, etc… I did not have planner peace.

The beginning of June rolled around and I thought… Oh, #onebookjuly is almost here. Maybe this time I can do this and not fail miserably. Maybe I can figure out something that will work for me. I began taking notes about what I liked about the various planning methods that are out there. I literally made a pro and con list. I also decided that for the challenge instead of using one book, I’d actually use one Traveler’s Notebook. I had a new Jonelifish, a traveler’s notebook made by an artist named Jonel Imutan. I also decided that instead of using one pen since I art/sketch/watercolor/illustrate I’d use one bag. Figure out my very favorite art supplies for my journal, what I’d use if I were going to go out on an artist date or out of town and needed an art travel bag.

I’m going  to link my most current video for #onebookjuly2016, which is part of my playlist for #onebookjuly2016 at the end of this so you can check out my videos, if you’d like, that will explain this further, but suffice to say, I am really loving things because I have been combining Jenny’s Planner Perfect Method with what I was already doing in my omnijournal, only I’m finding that I am leaning more and more towards the Planner Perfect Method.

Scripting my day out has helped me change my mindset about planning, about what I’m doing each day, each week. It’s helped me realize that my omnijournal is more of a common place journal. I’ll have more to come about using the Planner Perfect Method, but for now I’m just so much happier with how my daily stuff, like planning, sketching, art, writing, etc… I feel more positive and filled with enthusiasm about each day, part of that is finding near planner peace, part of it is succeeding finally at #onebookjuly, and part of it is Project Me.

Here is the List for the main One Book July video’s:
The ORIGINAL #onebookjuly video (v1) https://youtu.be/AchAsT5YQkY
Rhomany’s intro video to #onebookjuly2016 https://youtu.be/KmBLVaB6uhA
Follow Carie here https://www.youtube.com/user/carielynn74
Follow Vicky here https://www.youtube.com/user/MissVick…

 

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Project Me-Me, Myself, and I

Back in April I talked about taking back my life. Losing weight, getting healthy and fit, working on me. As a matter of fact, I’ve been slowly but surely working on me for about seven years now, it just started in a different manner. Back then I didn’t need to lose weight necessarily–get more fit, actually, but I needed to heal from a break up.

My inspiration page...

My inspiration page…

I started things out small back then. But I’ve amped things up a bit now. Not only do I have a TN (traveler’s notebook just for Project Me, but I’ve been working on it daily. Now, thanks to Jenny Penton and her planner perfect method and Project Me, I’m concentrating on three areas: Mind, Body, Soul.

This quote by Maya Angelou sums most of it up:

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, and some humor, and some style.

Maya quote done by me...

Since joining Project Me with Jenny Penton of Planner Perfect the beginning of July, I have started working on me even more. I’m working on my mind, body, spirit/soul. I’m delving deep into and underneath the surface. It’s so much more than just a project, it’s about being a work in progress, and yet living in the present, accepting yourself and loving yourself, but working towards improving your life, your “self,” at the same time.

My whole life, I never felt good enough, like I couldn’t do anything right. I also had abandonment issue because my father died when I was young, too young to really understand what death really is/means, and yet old enough to understand that everything changed overnight. I went from being an outgoing, fun loving child, to a mostly solitary, introverted child. I kept it all in. I read voraciously because reading allowed me to escape. Later on, I wrote voraciously. An avid reader and writer, who doodled cartoon figures, landscapes. I was creative. It was an outlet.

As an adult I still do those things. At least now I do all of them. But for many years I didn’t draw or paint. I didn’t pursue fiction writing, though I did write poetry, And deep down inside I didn’t believe that creating art, writing books, and other “creative” artist type jobs were going to support me, that I wasn’t talented enough and I’d end up the proverbial “starving artist.”

artist's way“The Artist Way” by Julia Cameron helped me come to terms with my creativity, with thinking of my writing as my job, and my art/journaling/reading/photography as my hobbies, and yet all are my passions. I could spend an entire day reading or writing or creating art, so I combine them and divvy up my day so that I can do all of those things. I’m still working on the routine, but it’s getting there slowly but surely.

Project Me will be ongoing, and I’m super excited about it. I’ve made progress in just 2 weeks.

DSCN0102With my daughter’s help, I made homemade bread Tuesday. This past Sunday I went to the beach, 2 hours away, with my daughter and grandson and had a blast–I got out of the house, spent time with family, relaxed, had fun, and took a daycation. 😀 I’ve also been slowly getting rid of things I don’t use, are broken or torn or worn, and slowly purging a few things, which means I am slowly getting more organized.DSCN0086

I let things go for too long when I was ill, in pain and needed surgery. Once I had the surgery, I tried do much too soon, and had to spend  time healing again. I’m trying not to do that again–not to jump the gun and try to do a major project like cleaning and organizing my whole writing room in one day, or painting a room in a day. I’m still in pain, but I’m working through it slowly. Exercise like walking, beginner yoga, stretches, cutting the grass (with a push mower) and the like are helping.

About me: My Truths...

About me: My Truths…

Anyway, Project Me is about working through some of the false truths, re-writing those false truths into authentic truths. It’s about making yourself a priority not an afterthought. It’s about nourishing your mind, body, and soul through affirmations and positivity. It’s about re-writing, “scripting” your life to make those goals, to be a happy, authentic, positive, productive, healthy (mentally and physically) person.

This is what Jenny said about Project Me:

We are going to take the time to love, nurture and care for ourselves. We are going to devote some time to identify who we are outside of the roles we play, find our talents…

So far, #projectme has helped me tremendously. Not only am I scripting my days, drawing and painting, reading, writing, purging things I don’t need or are torn/worn/too small/etc and organizing what I do want, and cleaning the house more, but I am happier. I wake up in the morning with a “hello morning” attitude. I am going to bed with a “it was a good day” feeling. And I am exercising more, finding ways to exercise even though I am in near constant pain (still). A body in motion stays in motion, I remind myself when the pain gets to me. I am also eating healthier, and on the road towards eating even healthier. Looking up new recipes, finding ways to cook things so that we are eating way less processed food.

Don’t get me wrong, I probably won’t be making my own pasta, but I can buy healthier pasta. And next spring, I want to plant a garden. That’s right. I’m so serious about it, I’ve been researching how to plant a garden for a “beginner.”

Does any of this have anything to do with my writing? Yes. Writing is a mostly solitary, sedentary profession. I get up and take breaks, real breaks now. Breaks that involve cleaning, preparing meals and cooking, art, reading, working on pages in my project me notebook as well as my other journal. I’m also stretching first thing in the morning. What I call my 15-20 minute stretches. I then write for 15-20 minutes–morning pages, a brain dump, whatever you want to call it.  Within the first hour of waking up, I’ve greeted the morning, made coffee, stretched, written, and gotten dressed and am preparing for the rest of my day. Two blocks of time during my day are for writing. Morning and afternoon/evening. I split it up because I need a mental break so I don’t get burned out, and because sitting for such a long time isn’t good for me. I’m producing more words and the words are better. And, I’m no longer beating myself up if I take a day off from writing to do something important like go to the beach with my daughter and grandson.  That’s a great thing. 😀

 

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Cha…cha…changes

One of the best things about being a creative person is that I’m all into learning new things. From reading different genres, to trying new recipes, to DIY home projects or DIY beauty stuff, to reading books about self-improvement or creativity or spirituality or how to be more creative. BUT, what I haven’t been very good at, at least not in some areas, is follow-through.

Take this blog, this website for instance. I spent money to have my own website, to have it hosted, and yet I haven’t been blogging regularly. I used to blog every day. THEN, I started posting videos on YT and the blog sort of took the back seat. Why is that? I wondered.

It felt a bit repetitive, redundant to say the same thing on the blog post that I was saying in the video. It is a lot of work to maintain both.  All of the above are truths but they are also excuses.

About me: My Truths...

About me: My Truths…

I don’t owe anyone an explanation, not really. The blog is more for me than anyone else, especially since I don’t have that many followers, not like I did on my old blog, but at the same time I feel like I should say something, which says a lot about my character. About who I am, how I am as a person. I often feel the need to defend myself. Like I’m not good enough. Not smart enough. Not talented enough. Not pretty enough. Not…you get the drift.

Back in April I decided to make some real changes. I called it “Taking back my life.” I did well with some things. I have lost 10 pounds since April 15th. I’ve been exercising more, trying to make better food choices, better life choices, like eating healthier, meditation, walking, and eating less (portion control).

From Designs by Planner Perfect, by Jenny Penton

From Designs by Planner Perfect, by Jenny Penton

I’ve also signed up for #projectme with Jenny Penton’s #plannerperfect, and I love it. Such a great group of supportive and inspiring ladies. I feel really good about it. But most of the work to “take back my life,” is about making real changes. It’s about letting go of negativity, letting go of false truths (as Jenny said), and being my authentic self, opening myself up to and using my talents, my gifts.

I’ve been thinking about what those talents are. I am a natural giver. A natural helper. I am also a creative person. My passions are reading (books) , writing, art (watercolor especially), journaling, life, love, family–my grandson is so amazing. Just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t mean you’re talented at it though. I’m a decent enough writer, but I’m no Shakespeare, Vonnegut, Poe, Stephen King, Jim Butcher, Nora Roberts, or Bradbury (and yes, I’m a fan of all of those–I told you read a variety of genres). I’m a halfway decent enough (amateur) artist, but I’m no Danny Gregory or Jane Davenport.

However, just because I’m not as talented as (say my idol) Stephen King, or Danny Gregory, doesn’t mean I don’t have any talent. I can hone my talents. Get better. I can find my “niche,” my gift and use it, utilize it, and perhaps one day get paid for it. I’ve seen people find their forte their niche, and before you know it they’ve got an Etsy shop, then a website instead, and they’re using their passion and their gift (talent) and instead of just “working” they’re getting paid to do something they love.

My inspiration page...

My inspiration page…

One of my truth’s, I’m writing my novel series for me. I’ve always wanted to tell the story of a (my) family’s curse. I grew up hearing about the “Burgess” curse and the idea has always been in the back of my head. So I’m writing a book about it. While the book is based on a truth, it’s a fictional book. It’s not like I could/should/would give my novel’s family the surname Burgess (which is my real name, well it was my surname is now my middle name), though I have seriously thought about it. Instead I’ve went with my father’s (my daddy) first name, which also happens to be a surname–Milton. It works and I like it.

I’ve also been thinking about drawing/painting the cover myself. Hey, I can watercolor halfway decent, and I love drawing and painting with watercolor. But more than that, I wouldn’t have seriously thought about creating the cover for my book myself until I started working on “taking my life back,” and on #projectme.  I might have entertained the idea briefly, but I would have second guessed my capability to do it, my talent…and I’d have talked myself right on out of doing it.

I’ve been slowly but surely working on becoming a morning person. I’ve also been working on being more confident, and less negative about myself. I won’t lie and say I don’t have self-doubts, I do. But each day, those self-doubts are less and less.

Now, its time to work on my novel.

 

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