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Category Archives: Life

September’s Wrap Up and October’s Happenings

 

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Finding Water Week 4: A Sense of Balance

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.

 

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My Writer’s Bible, Bullet Journal, and Notebook

My Camp NaNoWriMo Spread, including a word count tracker, April's calendar, tasks, and some inspiration.

My Camp NaNoWriMo Spread, including a word count tracker, April’s calendar, tasks, and some inspiration.

Back in April,  I started my Writer’s Bullet Journal in a large (well, it’s the Master) Leuchtturm 1917, but it was just too big to handle easily. Forget taking it anywhere. And it didn’t fit in my Writer’s Bible, which is a custom Jonelifish TN (traveler’s notebook). I tried the softcover Leuchtturm 1917 and loved it, but it became harder and harder to find, so when I got down to the last few pages of it I decided to use a Midori A5 grid notebook I had, since it could also be housed in my Writer’s Bible and replace the filled softcover Leuchtturm1917.

get shit done

Self Explanatory

With NaNoWriMo quickly approaching, I needed to get things together. I had 6 weeks to prepare for November 1st and when I really thought about it–that just didn’t feel like enough time, but HEY! a writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do. So I got my butt in gear and started preparing. My husband said, “It’s not November yet, why are you doing Nano stuff now?” I looked up at him with my serious face. “It’s almost the end of September. I’ve got to get things ready…” I said.  And then I looked down at my Writer’s Bible and said, “I’m excited and there’s a lot of work to do.” And like Jake at the end of the Gunslinger, my husband nodded and said, “Well go on and do your NaNo stuff then.” It’s not as good as “there are other worlds than this,” but it made me happy. And since I’m using Arwen’s 33 Days to Finish Your Novel course again I knew I’d need to start at least 33 days before NaNoWriMo. I really do love using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey to outline.

amwriting april 22

Camp NaNo April 2015 (?) Writer’s Bible, Laptop, and Starbucks’s White Chocolate Mocha

So here I am, preparing for NaNoWriMo once again. Only this year, I know so much more than I did the previous years… with each passing year I learn more about myself as a writer. I’ve learned more about writing, outlining, pantsing, branding oneself, the writing community, editing videos, taking pictures, planning and using a bullet journal, what works best in my Writer’s Bible, and what I need in order to survive NaNoWriMo. Not that I don’t aim to write between 1000-2000 words per day during the rest of the year, but there is something about NaNoWriMo and the various writing communities that pushes you do do more, to try new things, to expand your horizons, and to get your ass in the chair every day and WRITE! And the planning community, especially the bullet journal community has given me such great ideas for how to plan out things in my Writer’s Bible and Writer Bullet Journal.

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NaNoWriMo 2016: Writer’s Bible, which includes my Writer Bullet Journal, my Writer Notebook, a few supplies, Tarot Cards

When I first talked to Jonel Imutan about making me a Writer’s Bible, a TN specifically for my writer stuff, I knew I wanted something unique, functional, and that fit me. I told her what I wanted, and left it up to her which style of typewriter to engrave on the front, and how to coordinate the colors, and once it was done I got to name it–Shakespeare. Thought I’d have named it something from a Stephen King novel, huh? Nope. Though I love King’s works, and he’ll always be my favorite and he’s a genius, there’s something about Shakespeare that has always spoken to me.

I have done numerous videos that have featured Shakespeare (my Writer’s Bible), and over time it has become even more supple and pliable, more functionable because I’ve learned what works best for me, and it’s always subject to change if I find that something isn’t working.

Midori A5 Grid Notebook that I'm using as my Writer Bullet Journal

Midori A5 Grid Notebook that I’m using as my Writer Bullet Journal

Inside my Writer’s Bible, the first notebook is the Midori A5 Grid Notebook that I’m using for my Writer Bullet Journal. I printed what you see on the cover, which I found on Pinterest. I love what it says: Punch Today in the Face. Some days you just have to do that… and I know there will definitely be days during November when I am going to feel like punching something in the face. 😀 Don’t get me wrong, NaNoWriMo is awesome, but it’s chaotic. I’ve tried pantsing during NaNoWriMo, writing by the seat of my pants, and I failed. I love the idea of pantsing…of writing intuitively with no outline, just writing, but I was flailing around like a fish on land by the middle of November when I did that. Since then I’ve been working on the method of planning that works best for me. It feels like I’ve found it–using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey, Arwen’s method specifically, has really helped me find my groove with outlining. I used it last year and I’m using it again this year. I’ve also tried the Save the Cat method, along with a few others.

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On the inside, the cover page, I pasted a picture that I got from NaNoWriMo 2015 for inspiration… it reminds me of what I’m supposed to be doing… WRITING, plus it has fun things in the picture like Coffee, Pens, Ink, a Notebook…and let’s not forget my Coffee magnet bookmark. I love how this picture makes me feel. So below is a gallery I created of the rest of the inside of my Writer Bullet Journal. I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures. It’s still a work in progress though.. and I made a few boo boo’s…  but overall I like it. I can live with the mistakes, it just gives my Writer Bullet Journal character. 😀

 

Next is the Index, and then the Future log. Nothing complicated about either of those. I have been working on this new Writer Bullet Journal since September 20th and so far I’ve gotten a few things done, but there’s still much more that I need to work on. I’m trying to stay organized. There’s so much to keep up with that I had to get organized if I want to get things done, especially if I want to be efficient. It’s about working smarter not harder.

The next notebook in my Writer’s Bible is the “new shiny ideas” notebook for writing. If I get an idea about a character, a novel, a scene but I’m not sure it goes in the current WIP then I write it down in this notebook.

Shiny New Ideas Notebook

Shiny New Ideas Notebook

And here is the third notebook in my Writer’s Bible.

NaNo YT and Blog Insert

NaNo YT and Blog Insert

The first page is my NaNo Prep YT video list

NaNo Prep YT Video List

NaNo Prep YT Video List

And the next page is the NaNo Prep Blog Post List:

NaNo Prep Blog Post List

NaNo Prep Blog Post List

And the last notebook in my Writer’s Bible. Its a Clairefontaine notebook and I use it as my Writer Journal. I write down how my writing or outlining is going. What I think, etc.. The pages are wonderful for fountain pens. 😀

Clairefontaine Notebook

Clairefontaine Notebook

And last but not least, is my Writer Notebook. It is where I write out what I’ve learned from using the outlining method. I am not sure of where I got this notebook. I believe it might have been Walmart. I love the paper for writing. And I love that the pages are sectioned by different colors, and that at the top it has a little section where you can either write the date or the page number. I’ve chosen to write the page numbers.

And that’s it… at least for now. I have a lot of work to do this afternoon and this evening to write down what I learned about the Call to Adventure. I go back through my notes from my Writer Bullet Journal and then summarize it in the Writer Notebook.

Links to some of the things I’ve mentioned are below. Note:

**This post contains  some affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I might receive a small commission (this doesn’t cost you anything) if you subscribe or purchase something through some of the links I’ve provided. You will never see me post a link to a product or service that I haven’t used myself and love!**

Arwen’s YT video using Tarot for writing: https://youtu.be/V90tAWykxVY

Arwen’s Course Info: http://tarotbyarwen.com/17242-2/

Tarot for Writer’s by Corrine Kenner : http://amzn.to/2cnPEJx

Wizards’ Tarot Deck by Corrine Kenner: http://amzn.to/2cC5xI2

Rider Waite Tarot Deck: http://amzn.to/2dfPRvb

My Writer’s Bible: http://jonelifish.com

 

 

 

 

 

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NaNoWriMo Preparations Have Begun

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. 😀

 

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Week 3 of Finding Water: A Sense of Support

finding-water-julia-cameron-960x288Uncovering a Sense of Support
Critical to any creative journey is sense of creative support. You must practice discernment, weeding out that which does not serve and watering the shoots you want to foster.  This week’s tasks invite you to consciously interact with those who are positive on your behalf. Reaching out to others for their belief, you will also reach within and steady your personal confidence. If you had the faith what might you try” This week’s explorations will lead you into knowing your own mind.

When I first saw this chapter (my first attempt at Finding Water), I wasn’t thrilled about it–this time, however, things have changed. Cameron talks about having a network of friends and family there to be supportive. She calls these supportive people in your life Believing Mirrors. Accordingly, they reflect back to you the beautiful being that you are when you aren’t able to see it yourself. And through their own beauty they inspire you and speak the words you were thinking, but hadn’t formed yet or the words that you’re afraid to say. In turn, you will reflect the amazing creative beings that they are and that you are yourself–without having to actually work hard at it, which is what we do when we’re doing it alone. In a group setting, this multiplies. Cameron states that “creativity occurs in clusters,” and I agree with her. Over the past month I’ve found this to be true myself.

This week has been chaotic, especially the weekend. I’ve been busy with family, as well as personal and creative projects. I missed doing Morning/Evening pages more than once this week. I had to split my Artist Date into two different things because of time and obligations, but I ended up having much more fun than I might have had I just done what I had originally planned for my Artist Date. For more about what I did for my walk and my Artist Date I’ve included the video for this week.

Truth is, with each passing week I’ve realized that 1. I need to prepare for my Artist Date better. 2. I need to make the time for my Morning/Evening pages. 3. I need to ask for help more. I know that things are getting better, I can feel it inside and out, but it’s slow going and I’m not the most patient of people–What? Me? Nope, I’m not. It’s one of my flaws.

I prefer to do things on my own, I don’t like asking for help, nor do I like feeling like I’m not able to do things myself… so asking for help is difficult, but not impossible. Over the past few years, I’ve had to ask for help from family and friends much more than I wanted but it helped me, and made me feel good–I have people I can ask for help. Over the past month, I’ve realized (thanks to our group, Destination Me) that I am not out here alone, and it’s alright to ask for help. 😀

Overall, this was a much better week, and a much better experience, than I thought it would be. Now, I’m off to address thank you cards.

 

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Finding Water Week 2 Check In

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.

 

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Week 1 of Finding Water

Working on Finding Water

Working on Finding Water

Uncovering a Sense of Optimism

Julia Cameron starts this week off with the mantra that “you’re never to old to be young at heart, never to old to be a beginner.” I agree wholeheartedly with that, as a matter of fact, in the past few years I’ve began several new things (creating art again, writing a novel, making YT videos, my own website, created a group on FB with three other women, and am now working on three major creative projects). 😀

Cameron goes on to say, “To begin, resign from competition, stop comparing yourself to your idols,” and to that I also add to your old self and to your future self. In the Divining Rod section of this portion she asks you write about your deferred dream(s). Here are a few of mine:

  • Take a watercolor class
  • Finish my novel (completely)
  • Publish my novel
  • Take a photography course/class
  • Go to a writer’s workshop and a writer’s retreat
  • Take a cruise with my husband

When I thought about what I’d have to do to make some of those things happen I knew the answer immediately…Money. Some of that isn’t feasible right now, but there are other things I can do that are. I can research free watercolor classes, free photography classes. I can write every day and work on my novel… (I’m working on that currently).

She also asks write down a list of people you can go to for encouragement:

Friends, husband, DM group, family… I’m not naming names here… 😀

Now we’re to the focusing portion, and the big thing here is to “take time to see,” which means to take the time to really look at the world around you. Taking time to smell and see the roses. 😀 She says, “I must work to husband my own optimism. I must cling to the small and positive.” The Divining Rod for this section says to make a list of 5 beautiful things you’ve recently spotted.

  1. My grandson’s smile.
  2. The sight of my husband taking the time to make me coffee before he went to work.
  3. The sunrise after the storm
  4. The blush roses in my rose garden blooming with dew still on their leaves.
  5. A bird on my clothesline singing.

Grounding: “What I am doing still matters in the scheme of things…Optimism is partially the happy accident…” and my favorite part of this section: “The doing of something productive regardless of outcome is an act of faith…just do the next right thing.” Believe you can and you will mentality. The Divining Rod section here made me realize just how often I turn to simples tasks to ground myself:

  1. doing dishes
  2. making coffee
  3. taking a shower
  4. taking walk
  5. folding laundry

Possibilities: She says, “Learn to try…learn to act affirmatively.” and that “wherever creativity is afoot, so is blossoming.” But my favorite part is this: In order to make art we must be willing to labor…to reach inside and draw forth what we find there…it begins with possibilities.”

It’s is possible to do things.. You say… “Oh… It is possible that I can write a novel.” And then the notion of well “I can” becomes “I think I’ll try.”

  • I could try writing poems again.
  • I could try (again) to learn the new video editing software.
  • I could try to put the flooring in the kitchen down myself.
  • I could try writing short stories again.
  • I could try creating my own Tn folder/pocket dashboard things.
  • I could try making my own facial scrub…

The CHECK-IN

  1. I did Morning Pages 6 out of 7 days. I wasn’t feeling well on one of those days and went to bed really early. It helps clear my head when I do them, and the only repeating issue is that I noticed I need to slow down… I need to take a little time for me and make sure that I use the time for my Morning Pages as a more of a meditation thing as well.
  2. I did my artist date. I actually did more than one. I took two nature walks just to enjoy the outdoors, and I went on a coffee/hot chocolate date with my grandson and we created art. 😀 I felt much better after all of those things.
  3. I walked multiple times during the week. I took a longer walk one day, but the other days I walked for 20 minutes. So 4 walking days out of 7. It felt good, and I enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine. I also spent 10 minutes walking around in the rain–for fun, before the storm here got bad.
  4. I need to remember that it’s okay to ask for help.

 

 

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