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Category Archives: Art Journaling

The Universe is speaking, and I’m listening

Just when I thought I was getting things together, especially in regard to my writing, I got hit with a bout of fear (procrastination, self-doubt, distractions, stress, anxiety…). And it waited until I won Camp NaNoWriMo to hit me. Though I did need a break from writing yesterday–I’d stayed up until a little after three in the morning Tuesday night to write, and I got up early Wednesday morning.

Today I was feeling those feelings of fear creep into my mind…You might as well just put the novel in the drawer and not worry about finishing it–you know it sucks! Or, oh, look it’s a shiny new idea…Or, just forget about writing, why don’t you go read a book, watch Netflix, draw a picture…you know you’re never going to be published, find something else to do…

I wrote my morning pages this morning and felt good. First thing on my “to-do” list done. Next thing, done.

And now, it’s the next day… So much for getting this blog post up.

But I’ve been busy. Listening to the Universe…

The Universe has spoken…Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…

Seriously though, the Universe has been speaking to me. I am going to start Julia Cameron’s “The Right to Write,” on May 1st.  The descripton for the book on Amazon says:

What if everything we have been taught about learning to write was wrong? In The Right to Write, Julia Cameron‘s most revolutionary book, the author of the bestselling self-help guideThe Artist’s Way, asserts that conventional writing wisdom would have you believe in a false doctrine that stifles creativity. With the techniques and anecdotes in The Right to Write, readers learn to make writing a natural, intensely personal part of life. Cameron’s instruction and examples include the details of the writing processes she uses to create her own bestselling books. She makes writing a playful and realistic as well as a reflective event. Anyone jumping into the writing life for the first time and those already living it will discover the art of writing is never the same after reading The Right to Write.

A few other writers are joining me in this quest and I’ll be posting my thoughts via this blog every other day or so, and on YT on Wednesdays. You’ll be able to find more posts via this #therighttowritewednesdays, since Wednesday’s are the days I usually post Writerly related videos. 😀

I hope you’ll join me. I’ll also be posting about how I’m taking back my life by trying to be a healthier, more fit me. On Friday’s I’ll have “Fitness Friday” videos, and on Monday’s… Well, that’s my coffee chat video. And on Sunday’s I’m going to start sharing my art journal/bullet journal pages.

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Coffee Chat | Synchronicity

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that for the past few weeks I’ve noticed, because I’m now paying more attention to things (thanks to the Artist’s Way), that similar themes keep popping up. Coincidence? I’m not sure that I believein coincidence–I’m going to call it synchronicity.

Themes like accountability, creativity, time-management, organization, self-confidence, believing in yourself, having a shitty first draft is okay, how important it is to have goals and to reach for your dreams…getting fit, being healthy, self care.

Since I’ve been reading Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way,” I’ve been paying more attention to things like synchronicity, especially when it pertains to creativity, life, living a creative life, self-care, writing, art…It took me quite a few weeks to realize what was taking place in my life. The art of being present, in the moment.

I’ve been trying since last year to get organized in a way that allows me to stay organized. I’m a creative clutter kind of person. While I am working on things my desk is usually littered with things: washi-tape, pens, markers, paint brushes, glue-sticks, stickers, scissors, ruler, a cup of coffee, journals, a book (or three), hand lotion, fountain pen ink…. I have tried various planners, from ring bound, bound, TN (Traveler’s Notebook) inserts, spiral bound, to DIY. I’ve also tried verious journal techniques. The thing that seems to work the best for me is what is called an “omni-journal,” along with my Hobonichi.

I am now using my Hobonichi for my bullet journaling, as well as a small bit of “sketch/illustrate” your life journaling. And I’m using my Seven Seas Crossfield as my omni-journal, which houses my journaling, more in depth sketch/illustrate your life journaling, alond with my bullet journal collections and a few spreads. Both of these journals are in my Jonelifish A5 trifold (that is called Hans after Hans Christian Anderson), and my Jonelifish A5 bifold, which I use as my writer’s bible, is called Shakespeare. I am still using the Leuchttrum Master for my writing bullet journal (I’ll have a new one for each novel).

So why would I be talking about synchronicity when it comes to organization, planning, journaling, and the like? Yesterday morning my daughter called me. She needed some peace and quiet because she had a number of things she needed to do, like apply for jobs, apply for unemployment (the company she was working for had a massive layoff), redo her resume, and she said she wanted to start bullet journaling. What? I had been thinking about how bullet journaling might help her for the past few weeks but had yet to mention it.

Here’s my video where I talk about more of what I found that spoke “synchronicity” to me. 😀

 

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Preparing for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo

Can you believe that it’s almost the middle of March? I can’t, yet at the same time I can believe how quickly 2016 is passing–at least the spring fever and Camp Nanowrimo fever has taken over. I wanted to finish my outline. I wanted to make it better. I wanted to be this outlining queen so that I could finish my novel. Finally finish my novel.

And yet, after a conversation with my daughter about writing I realized something important–I am not a pantser or a plotter. I’m not a gardener or an architect. I’m what people often call an astronaut (though I’m not quite sure of why exactly, or a plotster, or a loose outliner. Does it matter whether or not I pants or plot my novel? To some it seems to, and yet it’s my novel to write and I should be writing it in the best way that I am able to, in a way that brings out the best of my talent.

As much as I would love to have an elaborate, finely detailed outline so that I didn’t have to second guess myself while I’m writing, the best way for me to write is to just write.

I’ve also given a great deal of thought to what I want to do with my website/this blog. And how serious I want to get with it. It’s past time I took it more seriously. I’m committed to writing. To journaling and my art. To “branding” myself in a positive way. To bettering the quality of my videos on YT. The only things (social media) I’m not real serious about are Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. Perhaps when I get a better smart phone I’ll do more stuff with Instagram. Or when I figure out some kind of app for my desktop that works well in allowing me to put pictures from my actual camera into IG. I don’t want to spend anymore time than I already do on social media, and in order to do that stuff, or at least seriously, I’d have less time to do all the stuff I already do (and I don’t always have enough time now).

Tomorrow (well today now since it’s after midnight) I’ll be working on my novel and my art journal pages (my omni-journal), as well as my morning pages (first thing), and I’ll be working on some purging of clothes and shoes. Not to mention cleaning and cooking, going to the DMV for my son’s car, and going to look at a truck with Mr. Rockstar. And then I’ll be picking up my grandson from daycare, then my son from work, and then going home to finish putting dinner together….and that’s not including the dishes, spending time with my grandson, giving him a bath…Is there really enough time to be Tweeting, to be posting pics on IG, to be putting stuff on Tumblr? I don’t think so, at least not for me.

 

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The Halfway Mark/The Artist’s Way

I just passed the halfway mark of the self-guided course from Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way.” When I first opened the book I thought it was sort of  hinky. In that I-can’t-believe-it’s-a,and I’m-reading,-yet-another-self-help-book way. But after reading the introduction…and definitely by the time I was midway through the first week/chapter, I knew it wasn’t just a self-help book. It’s a guide to openmindedness. It’s door towards finding out how to delve into your deeper ideas of what you really think about creativity, especially your creativity. It’s also an ongoing exercise into being honest and open with yourself about yourself.

I could go on about what it is, but the simple truth is: It has helped me realize that:

  1. I feel guilty when I write, create art, take time away from my other obligations like the house, my husband, my family (children, grandson, parents, in-laws, etc.), my friends because I am writing…
  2. I feel selfish for taking that time for myself to write, create art, etc.
  3. I feel guilty when I don’t write.
  4. I feel more anxious, depressed, and stressed out when I don’t create art, art journal, etc.
  5. I have perfectionism syndrome, which is the root cause of my fear, procrastination, anxiety, stress, and depression, especially in regard to writing, art, etc–Creativity.

There’s more, but I’ll go into the more at a later date.

From now on, I’ll be posting my check-in’s on the blog, as well as on YT. I think it’s important that when I’ve finished the course I do a proper review of the book.

 

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Working Towards Living a Creative Life

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(this was the info I found for it, it's Not My image... It came from Google...

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(this was the info I found for it, it’s Not My image… It
came from Google…

I’ve been sick for the past three weeks. The worst kind of cold/sinus/flu thing. I’m not well yet, but I feel better. Over the past few weeks there was little in the way of working on my novel in Scrivener. However, I worked on the novel in my writer journal. I worked on characters, plot, setting–I journaled about it. When I finally got back to writing I missed and was so excited to be back to writing. I felt guilt for not actively working on my novel.

I started my fourth week of the 12 week self-guided course from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way.” So far the course is helping a great deal. Between the “morning pages,” the tasks, and the check-in’s, not to mention the artist date’s, I’m facing all kinds of things I had no idea were even issues, or that the issues were as bad as they are. I am filled with self-doubt. I self sabotage. I have writer impostor syndrome.

However, as I found my way through the “morning pages,” and went on my artist date’s, read the information…as well as working in my personal journal, my “art” journal (which is more of a sketch your life, illustrate your life, smash journal, etc), and my writer-ly journal I found myself being more and more creative, wanting to be more creative even if I couldn’t manage to do as much as I wanted to do because I was sick–I made a new list of things I’d like to accomplish over the next few months: DIY projects around the house and yard, urban sketching, poetry workshop, plotting workshop, making my journaling work for me in a better way, in a more productive, creative way.

embrace struggleJournaling helps me me in ways I wouldn’t have imagined. Things are more vibrant and positive. I’m more passionate about life, my pursuits, relationships, and I’m more open. My communication skills are improving. The more I work through the Artist’s Way course, the more in depth my creativity becomes, the more open I am to figuring out why I have so much self-doubt, why I sabotage myself,  and how I can fix it. Working on the self-doubt isn’t easy, it means facing things that are painful. Insecurities. Memories. Fears. And working through those takes courage, but it’s worth it. I find myself procrastinating. I get distracted. I make excuses. Reluctantly I find myself avoiding my writing, or my art, because I’m afraid that it won’t be good enough. Perfectionism. What if it sucks? What if my beta readers laugh? What if I’m really not that talented? Maybe I should just give up now before I embarrass myself. But as the words flow onto the page in my journal I find myself more and more open to the possibility that perhaps it’s just the fear and the insecurity that are causing me to have so much self-doubt, or to feel the self-doubt to begin with, or that I’m procrastinating and self-sabotaging because of fear. Plain and simple.

These insights into my creativity, or lack thereof,  are a start. A start to opening the door to living a more creative life, to being successful in my creative pursuits, and to opening myself up to being successful in my creative pursuits. I knew I had a few issues because of the self-doubt,  writer’s block, procrastination, and yet I didn’t think it was as bad as it was until I began reading the “Artist’sWay.”  As hard as it was to sit down every morning, in the beginning, and work on my morning pages it made me see how important it was to be open, to let the words flow. I also realized that the resistance was because of fear–insecurities are rooted in fears. I’m not really a fearful person. Even when I am I sort of “fake it till I make it kind of thing.” You can only do that with writing for so long before the insecurities/self-doubt eat you and end up with writer’s block–at least, that’s what I’ve experienced. Facing the resistance head on isn’t something I’ve done in my morning pages, the morning pages are just about being honest with myself, but I have been facing those fears, insecurities, and self-doubts in my personal journal.

The Writer's Life

The Writer’s Life

When you think about it, really think about it, the procrastination, self-doubts, insecurities, perfectionism, and avoidance are all about fear, based on fear. I’m not a fearful person at heart though, I’m more of a sassy, feisty, stubborn, determined, and resilient kind of person. So I buckled down and wrote it all out in my journal. I wrote and wrote and wrote, honestly and openly about my fears. Facing some of those fears gave me insight, but it didn’t fix the problem, but it did make me realize and understand that I’m the only one holding me back. I am the only one who can do something about it. I decided to take mini-artist dates, do little things to make me feel good and be more open to being creative. For example, I went outside with my cup of coffee and a book of poetry and read for 15 minutes, I went outside with my coffee and my sketchbook and had some fun, I went to my hair stylist and had my hair done (washed and styled), I ordered myself a few cute little diary stickers and 2 new watercolor inserts for my TN (Traveler’s Notebook), as well as a cute little magnetic bookmark with a coffee theme. (I also ordered one for my daughter with a unicorn on it, she’s an artist and a welder, as well as being a single mom who suffers from depression and like me, she suffers from self-doubt at times.) Twice a week, on the first day of the new week of the self-guided course and halfway through the week I go on an artist date and take myself to Starbucks. One of those dates I journal and the other day I draw and watercolor. I love watercolors. I love journaling. So I’ve decided to combine the two and try doing what people are calling “Urban Sketching,” or “Illustrate your life,” or “Sketch your life.” It makes me feel really good when I do that. I don’t make my artist dates about my novel, I make them about something else creative. The more creative I am, the more I want to write, the more I feel able to write and less self-doubty.

I’m amazed at how much it has actually helped me with the writing.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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:

 

 

 

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