Category Archives: Around Here
I’m sorry it has taken me 2 weeks to complete this week, but that might have been synchronicity at work, since this week is actually about:
Pivotal to any creative journey is the ability to resist the cliff’s edge of drama. All of us are tempted to binge on negativity. It is the careful husbanding of optimism that allows us to move productively forward. This week’s spiritual toolkit is aimed at dismantling the hobgoblins of fear and distrust that poison your well. You will align yourself with a Higher Power that extends itself in benevolent ways on your behalf. Sketchbook in hand, you will practice being in the now, where there is always sufficient safety for you to experience balance.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve incorporated my morning and evening stretches, my evening pages, walking, self-care, art, writing, reading, and a bit of meditation into my day.
“As an artist I must be able to see into the future. I mist be able to cast an idea forward and see it fleshed out and standing on its own, a real creation.” That really hit me this past week. Since I’ve been fleshing out the outline for my novel for NaNoWriMo using tarot and the hero’s journey (Arwen’s 33 Days to Finish Your Novel course), I’ve been in the “now” with the novel, but I’m also seeing that finished work in my head. How it’s all coming together. I’m also noticing that my art, at least my daily sketches that are part of this week’s chapter, as well as my daily art for my journal, are changing. Not a whole lot, but enough that I’m noticing what feels more “me.” I’m finding my authentic voice with my art. 😀 That feels good. I’m not quite there yet, too many days are not really thought out and just thrown on the page because I’m in a hurry. I need to slow down. Enjoy the process.
“Anything that curbs our enthusiasm is the enemy.” So true. Comparing yourself to others is a good example of something that curbs our enthusiasm. I look at my drawing, at something I painted with watercolor, or my art journal page and then I look at someone else’s, someone who is trained, or how has been at it for longer, or…and no matter how decent my page is it’s not going to look decent compared to someone else’s… It’s like comparing apples and oranges. I’ve had to stop doing it. Now I watch other people’s process videos for helpful tips, tricks, techniques. I refuse to compare my works to theirs, unless about a technique–if I’m doing something wrong I need to know what I’m doing wrong and how to correct it.
“Each day I must find something to love in my day at hand.” STAY IN THE PRESENT. Since I started the little sketchbook Jen sent me I’ve been practicing the “Illustrate your life” portion (It’s one of the Divining Rod exercises) and it has helped me focus on being more in the present, on finding something positive each day.
“It shall pass.” Remember this, she says. Use it as a touchstone. There are cycles of acceptance. She says there are “bleak seasons and fruitful seasons. Successes and failures….to find the dignity in the doing…and (to remember) it counts for something.” This is something I am still working on. I realized how one bad day, or one bad piece, or one bad… throws me off and then the “I don’t know why I’m even trying to be a writer, to draw, to paint, to…” starts in my mind. I’ve got to learn to be more resilient when it comes to things like that, and to keep it simple. To find my “Calm oasis and listen, enjoy a sense of communion with a greater power than myself.” Getting outside for the walks, communing with nature, with the universe, really does help me. And sketching at least one small piece of my daily life has been fun…it makes me slow down.
Hello all. Welcome to NaNoWriMo Preparations… Last year I stumbled upon Arwen’s 33 Days to Finish Your Novel. I wanted to try something different and outlining my novel via Tarot and the Hero’s Journey sounded interesting, creative, and fun. I watched a couple of her videos, read her information about the course, and signed up. It’s one of the best things I’ve done for my writing.
Thanks to Arwen, I outlined my novel Witchy Business for NaNoWriMo last year, and I went on to outline yet another novel, both of those are works-in-progress. And now it’s time to prepare for this year’s novel. Out came my notebook with everything from Arwen’s course, along with Corrine Kenner’s book Tarot for Writer’s, two or three of my tarot decks, a notebook, my writer’s bullet journal, and my Writer’s Bible, pens and highlighters, colored index cards. And what do you know… I’m ready. Oh, and the coffee–that’s a must.
And away I go with the start of my outline. I’ve been busy the past two days. I have gotten my supplies together, started my character sketch, started the first part of my outline. Tomorrow I start working on my MC’s GMC (goal, motivation, conflict). After that it’s the Antagonist and his GMC. First index card with tarot card (a copy of it) is pinned on my tri-fold board–my storyboard no longer looks like a blank canvas.
I feel like I accomplished something today, even though it took me friggin’ forever to get the second part of my NaNoWriMo Prep Pt 2/Beginning of my Outline edited. Grrrr! I really need to figure out the editing software that I purchased so I can quit using Movie Maker. That, or I need to win the lottery so I can afford an iMac. 😀
I’m really excited. My outlining is going well so far. 😀
Week 2 is titled: Uncovering a Sense of Reality. At first glance I was unsure about this chapter, but after reading the introduction I felt good. Stronger. That perhaps I’d gain more of a sense of my own power and strength… resolve.
“As you explore your inner world, your outer world will come more sharply into focus. As you face your imagined barriers, you will encounter real ones, as well. This week’s wortk will help you to become more grounded and farseeing. As you seek your own internal support, as well as the support of friends, your creativity will become more steady. As you undertake small actions on your own behalf–watering the garden, as it were–larger actions will seem more possible. A sense of your own power will return to you.”
The first section is called Claustrophobia. I know that feeling even though I am not claustrophobic. Feeling like you’re stuck, enclosed in a room, stuck looking at the same four walls, backed in a corner creatively–blocked, or even just overwhelmed and suffocated by all the things going on, especially if there are outside forces causing you drama. Cameron states that “drama is contagious,” and gives an example of a young writer who called her quite a few times in a short amount of time, about how the writer’s friends were “misbehaving,” that “life itself” was misbehaving, and that “things weren’t going her way.” The writer is unable to write and blames all the stress in her life. I’ve been there.
Cameron says, “It is only when she is not working that her normally nice boyfriend suddenly becomes the monster. It is when her mind is not on her work that it is so closely focused on the workings of everyone else’s personality. Her own personality is what is on tilt, but she can’t see that.”
I agree, and disagree. There are those who are never going to take an artistic career seriously, who see being an artist (like a writer, musician, painter, illustrator…) as not being a real job…You can’t change their minds, all you can do is what you do, have boundaries, and do your best.
My reality is that I sometimes lose focus, get distracted easily, and/or I try to do too much in a day. Along with a few other things that I discuss in this video about Week 2 of Finding Water.
When you’re creative, especially if you’re like me when you’re creative, you’re bound to find less time to do other things. Things like the dishes, or cleaning off the counter, which seems to be a magnet for “stuff.” Or you end up with piles of things you’re working on in different places. For me it’s piles on my desk, piles on the floor in my writing/craft room. A bunch of my “stuff” on the dining room table…
I’m here to tell you…YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I thought I’d chronicle little bits and pieces of my life while I work on the creative projects over the next few months. There are days when I feel good and I get a lot accomplished. There are days when I get distracted by something or another, or maybe more than one something’s, and I don’t get as much done as I wanted to, or even much done at all–except the one or three things I was distracted by.
“Doubt kills more dreams than fear,” is a true statement, and if I let doubt eat at me then I’d run far and fast from taking on so many projects. I’d let that little spark of doubt turn into a flame, and fear would overwhelm me. But I’m not going to do that. WHY? HOW?
I blossom like a field full of wildflowers when I am creative. The more creative I am, the better I feel, the more I get accomplished, the more energetic I feel. Yes, there will be days when I don’t feel good, a bad day, and I might not get everything done that day. Hell, I might not get much done at all that day. But I won’t let that stop me from doing at least one thing. Maybe that day I’ll read. Or I’ll paint. I’ll do something that is more relaxing. On the good days I’ll do more of the physical things, like organizing my closet, sorting through the basket full of clothes…
Here lately I’ve tried to be more aware of “self-care,” to take better care of myself, to be present in the moment, and to take time for the things I love, the people I love, and the simple things in life, which means there are times when the dishes get rinsed off but not washed until the next day, when the clothes may or may not get folded, when the kitchen got swept but I forgot to mop, or when I stay in PJ’s with no makeup on and read and/or draw all day, or when I go to bed early. I think our body’s tell us what we need, just as much as our mind’s do. I’m trying to pay more attention to what I need creatively for my mind and soul, and what I need physically for my body. Finding balance, especially when you’re busy is important. The upcoming blog posts and videos will help me stay accountable, as well as perhaps help one or a few others know that they are not alone in the creative life. To me, creativity does all of me a bit of good. 😀
Creativity, the act of “turning new and imaginative ideas into reality,” the “ability to perceive the world in new ways to find hidden patterns, to make connections,” “the use of imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.” There are more definitions, but those are basics.
To me creativity is about passion, imagination, curiosity, and expression.
We’re talking about creativity all month our women’s group called Destination Me: Adventures at the Round Table. And I’m also staring 3 projects for the month of September this week.
Like I said before I’m going to re-read the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I’m currently reading The Eyes of the Dragon, but on September 1st I’ll start reading the Gunslinger.
I’m also going to work on a projected called the Decorated Page, it’s based on the book with the same name by Gwen Diehn. And I’m re-starting Finding Water by Julia Cameron. Not to mention I’m still participating in the #hotandsticky summer novel writing challenge. WHEW! I’m going to be such a busy creative person this upcoming month. Oh, and did I mention I’m trying to finish organizing and cleaning my writing/craft room? No, well I am.
I am really excited about the projects. If you’re following along, participating, or would like to participate please leave me a comment and let me know. Especially if you’re going to be blogging and/or vlogging about it. 😀 For me details about the projects I’ve included the video I made for YT (and the group). I hope I’ll see your comments and likes. 😀 I’m so excited about these projects.
the new group on FB that I opened with a few other ladies called Destination Me: Adventures at the Round Table.
Here is the Intro to the Group:
Destination Me is about all of US. Women. It’s about inspiring and challenging ourselves and others to be creative, to share our thoughts and ideas, our advice with others. It’s about challenging all women, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc to take care of themselves, to nurture themselves, to be creative and to share their thoughts, feelings, ideas, advice, and more. Destination Me provides women with fun, safe place to be creative and to share their creative pursuits, as well as creative ways to bring back or to bring a sense of purpose and vitality that we may have lost or just misplaced due to various circumstances, or that we find we need, along our journey.
This group is all about diversity, acceptance, tolerance, creativity, self-love, self-acceptance, self-care, as well as inspiration,
We welcome all women.
Here’s the link to the group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DestinationMe/
If you’re interested you should join the group. It is a closed group.
Here is the Intro Video I made for YT:
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.
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.
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.”
“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.
With 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.
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.
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. 😀
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.
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).
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.
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.
Over the course of several years, I’ve been refining my writing process, which includes ways to get inspired, stay motivated, and get shit done (productivity). Here are some of the things I’ve found that help me.
- Clean up your work area, as well as other areas that bother you and/or need cleaning. A 15 minute clean in your work area, a quick clean of your living areas. A 30 minute clean for important areas. Sometimes it’s hard to work when there is clutter, especially if the clutter distracts you. So taking fifteen minutes to clean really helps.
- Books that help inspire and motivate you to be creative have really helped me lately. Books like “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, or the one I’m working on right now, “Finding Water,” also by Julia Cameron. Another book that’s extremely helpful with productivity is “Getting Things Done” by David Allen.
- Morning Pages are a great way to start your day. They help with clarity, are a great tool to get you in the mood to write, and are overall a great way to put those negative things that are rolling around in your brain down and then let them go–after a while you’ll see that what you write is less negative and more positive.
- Music. Music is a great way to help you get in the mood to be creative, to write, clean, create (art, etc) and to keep you motivated. I often listen to classic rock while I clean, instrumental music or Rainymoods.com when I’m writing, and various kinds of music when I’m creating art.
- An artist date. An artist date, as defined by Julia Cameron, is a solo adventure, that includes something fun, playful and are aimed at romancing or wooing our artist within. I like going for a walk in a park, swinging on a swing at a playground, going to for a cup of coffee and reading or writing or drawing, as well as going to lunch by myself and taking a book along with me. Most of my artist dates include coffee and a book or notebook and/or my camera.
- Candles, Incense…I use these things to help get me in the mood to write, to help cleanse my work area of any negativity, and because they smell good.
- Journal. I often write a few lines down here and there about what I want to do, as well as use my bullet journal to make a list of tasks for the day, week, month. I jot down projects, and then break them down so that I know what I should start with, as well as making sure that I have smaller goals to start with (which helps me feel better, more positive and less fearful–less self-doubt).
- Vision board. This can be a physical vision board, one on Pinterest, in your journal using collage, or whatever works for you.
- Read a book for fun. I often take a break when I feel a bit burned out with writing and read for fun. I now have a goal to read for at least 30 minutes each day just for fun, not for homework or for “working on my self,” but for FUN!
- Don’t compare yourself to others.
- Space for Writing/creating Art/etc. Whether it’s a corner somewhere, or an actual room, having your own space, a space that is for your creativity helps.
- Limit Distractions. Block out a certain amount of time that is just for writing. That means no Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google searching, etc. You and the page (and my cup of coffee or glass of wine.)
- Get dressed. Get out of those pajamas, those sweatpants, and get dressed. It doesn’t have to be “dress” clothes, but it does need to at least something that you’d wear to the grocery store, to the craft store, the bookstore… It’s a mindset thing. I’m dressed and now I’m ready to go to work.
- Writing buddies, or “Co-conspirators” as Ms. Cameron calls them. Find others with like interests so you can talk about those interests. For me it’s the #writestuff community, #writetube, FB…I have quite a few writer buddies and it really does help knowing that you’re not alone in your struggles (whether it’s with procrastination, self-doubt, editing woe’s, or trying to figure out whether your book should be in 1st or 3rd POV).
- (and last but not least) Schedule. This has been the hardest for me, yet it really is one of the top things I should be doing, should stick to so that I’d be more productive. I know this. I do, but the struggle has been real y’all. I know that I should block out specific chunks of time for writing, for art, for… and cut the distractions, and Just Write, but honestly, outside forces like Mr. Rockstar’s crazy schedule, which changes at the end of this week finally (he goes back to having a regular schedule instead of rotating shifts), or family, or things that happen, or staying up too late because I had insomnia or was in pain and then I don’t wake up until mid-day (or later)… But today is the start of brand new week, and last week I did better than the week before, and this week I’ll do even better than last week, and before long I should be back into my routine.
One last thing, if you’re striving for perfection then you’re bound to be disappointed, so instead of striving for perfection, especially with that first draft, remember this:
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” ~Marilyn Monroe