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Second week of “The Right to Write” by J. Cameron

I’m on my second week of working through the exercises in “The Right to Write” by Julia Cameron and I have to say that it is actually helping my writing in a variety of ways. I’m still doing the Morning Pages, which I learned about in “The Artist’s Way,” and I’m also art journaling (or better known as illustrate your life, sketch your life, with an added bit of “Smashbook” style…), and I’ve been inspired to create more in general.

I am doing more creative things on a daily basis. (Part of that is because I’m now using a bullet journal and that has helped tremendously.) I have changed a few of the exercises to fit things for me. Instead of postcards, I sent an email, a letter, a phone call, a message.

I’ve also found that my morning pages are easier to do, better. I started the morning pages with “The Artist’s Way,” but they’ve actually improved since starting this book.

I hope if you’re following along that you are finding this book as helpful as I am.

Here’s the video I made about week 2:

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Introduction to The Right to Write (by Julia Cameron)

I’m on day 2 of the exercises in the book “The Right to Write” by Julia Cameron and so far I am enjoying it–the Invitation (this is the part where she has written a bit and invites you to do the next part) and the Initiation. Today’s exercise took all of maybe 15-20 minutes, and most of that time was spent reading the Invitation. Yesterday’s exercise took longer but not a long time.

Why read a book about the “right to write?” Because there are times when I feel like I don’t have the right to call myself a writer. When I don’t feel like a true writer, that perhaps I’m not talented enough, or not productive enough, or just not worthy…The self-doubt is real, and I have yet to meet/talk to a writer (or an artist or musician) who doesn’t at one time or another, or at varios times, have self-doubt.

While working on the self-guided course in “The Artist’s Way,” I learned that the self-doubt, procrastination, self-sabotage, writer’s block, etc., all stem from fear. FEAR! I worked through some things but I know that I only scratched the surface of things. Instead of going through “The Artist’s Way” a second time I chose to use this book–“The Right to Write.” I loved what she had to say in the introduciton of this book. If you’re interested, here’s my video about her introduction:

 

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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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Writer Wednesday | Building your Writing Habit

Camp nano 2016One of the things I’ve struggled with the most in regard to my writing, other than self-doubt/fear issues, is building my writing habit. Making and sticking to a routine, a schedule. Part of the reason is that I’ve flip-flopped around between being a day writer and being a night writer, trying to do one or the other, and finally I realized, thanks to the Artist’s Way and a lot of trial and error, that I’m a bit of both.

Here are a few tips to help build a writing routine, and I’ll talk a bit about what has and hasn’t worked for me, and why, along with what I plan on doing in the future.

  • LOCATION/Time: Find a place that you can make yours. Whether it’s in a corner of a room, a room of your own, the back porch, the car (no joke, I read about a woman who writes in her car), or where ever. Make it a dedicated space. A place that you feel comfortable writing in, and then place a few things, or bring them with you, that inspire you. Maybe it’s your favorite pen and notebook. Or maybe it’s your favorite hat, sweater, candle, chair, blanket, picture…. Then pick certain times, and yes, I said times, plural. We’ll get to that in a bit.Writing Desk
  • Start small. Make Goals. Big one’s like yearly goals, then break that down into quarterly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals, daily goals. With your goals made, you can make a plan. Figure how much you need to write based on those goals. For example, write make my 40K word goal for CampNaNoWriMo I need to write 1333 words each day for the month of April. If I make that goal, I’ll have a little over 100K for my novel…THE END (well, it’ll be the end of the book but not the end of my writing because there will still need to be major editing, revising, rewriting… All that good editing stuff). If I miss a day, not a good thing, or if I only write say 500 words on a day then I know I need to make up for that. What I’ve done by breaking my goals up into smaller goals is make them into tasks that are manageable.
  • Create a Writing Plan: My writing tasks, thanks to breaking my goals down into manageable tasks, is to write 1333 words during the month of April, or maybe it’s to write 500 words a day the entire year, or maybe it’s to write 1000 words a day during the week. I’ve also set up some kind of schedule (LOCATION/TIME) for my writing. If the house is only quiet from 4am-6am or 4pm-6pm; or if the ideal writing time is before work, or right after work. You know what your life is like, when the peak times are for you to write. If you’re not sure try different things until you find a time that will work for you.
  • Write in increments. For example, I write my morning pages, then I take a break from writing and draw. Then I go back to writing and write for 30 minutes to an hour. Then I take a short break, usually 15 minutes and start a load of laundry, make myself a fresh cup of coffee and grab a banana (one of my favorite snacks). That that has done for me is get my out of the chair and moving around. I’ve gotten a healthy snack, done something on my to-do list that I need to accomplish that has nothing to do with writing, as well as clear my head a bit. Then I go back to writing , or I’ll do something that is “writing related,” like look up character names, or find a picture of a setting I like, or research a fact, or write down notes for a video or blog post, then I go back to writing and write for another 30 minutes to an hour. Then it’s time for another break. Time to put those clothes in the dryer, wash some dishes, check the mail, or go for a walk. Then…I go back to writing or doing something “writer related.” I take a long break in the afternoon, usually, and film a video, edit a video, upload; and/or cook dinner, clean the house (I love doing 30 minute daily cleans); eat dinner with Mr. Rockstar, watch a little TV. Then I go back to writing and usually write for 30 minutes to an hour before I go to bed.
  • Distractions: Get rid of them, minimize them. Put your phone on vibrate, or better yet silent. Or leave it in a different room. Or you can use a program like Write or Die. Turn your WiFi off. If you’re like me, you’ll put your Scrivener Project in the compose mode, open up Rainymoods.com, light a candle, grab a cup of coffee and write. get shit done
  • Triggers: Speaking of lighting a candle, grabbing a cup of coffee, opening Rainy Moods…those are triggers for me that it’s time to write. I also prefer to write at my desktop, but there are times when I get tired of sitting at the desk and I use my laptop, with my comfy lapdesk thingy, and I lounge on my bed and write. I also go outside and write at the picnic table in our backyard (if the weather permits), or I’ll go to Starbucks or a park. I also wear my NaNoWriMo or CampNaNoWriMo t-shirts when I’m having a particularly rough day and I need to feel more motivated.
  • Word Count Trackers or Logs: Or productivity logs/trackers. If you really want to know how productive you are, keep a log of when you start writing, when you finish, make sure that if you do something else you log the time and activity. Did you pause in your writing to check Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? Did you stop writing and watch YT videos? (I speak from experience, lol!)

    Word Count tracker, and April's Calendar

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

  • (Last but not least) Get your ASS IN the CHAIR! If you don’t sit down (or stand if you’re lucky enough to have one of those standing desks) and write you won’t get the words written. Write. Write! WRITE!
  • Self: Improvement, care, etc. If you want to be a better writer, then write, but you might also want to check out what successful writers have done or are doing. Read books about the craft of writing, memiors about writers, blog posts from successful writers. And, you’ll want to take care of your self. Along with taking breaks, you’ll need to get some exercise, sleep, nourishment (perferrably healthy foods/snacks), and hydrate.
  • AND REMEMBER: what works for one person/writer might not work for you. FIND out what WORKS for YOU.

And, one of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard lately is: When you’re done, once you’re spent, and you know it’s best if you stop, then stop. TAKE A BREAK!

 

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Week 1 Wrap Up | Intro to Week 2 of Camp NaNo

I am still behind with posts, this was supposed to go up the other day, but I’m working on getting everything done, organized. My “To-Do” list is growing smaller (for now anyway. More will be added soon.)Week 1 of Camp NaNoWriMo went well. I closed out the week with just a little over my goal.  I’m happy with where my story is going. And I love the cabin I’m in. Now if only I could get the weather around here to play nice, my allergies to go away, and the money tree to sprout some new buds…

I finished (re)reading “Merrick” by Anne Rice, and am almost finished with “Mr. Mercedes” by Stephen King. I’m also reading David Allen’s “Getting Things Done.” I spend one hour a day reading, usually in the evening. It’s my reward for getting at least 500 words written for the day. I know my goal is 1333 words each day, but there are always days when other things happen and for whatever reason you’re unable to write that much. Some days it’s time that hinders me. I have family obligations, things I want and need to do with my family that prevent me from spending as much time on my writing as I want. On those days, my goal is to write at least 500 words, and then I make up the difference the next day.

The beginning of April was filled with family things, so my word count was all over the place, but I stayed up late quite a few nights writing, which threw my new schedule out the window. Today, however, I am back on schedule. I didn’t get much sleep last night, but I’m up early so I can get back on schedule.

Week 2 officially started on Friday, I’m going by every 7 days, so I’m not doing too badly for week 2. I’m on target, if not a little ahead. I aim to keep it that way.

 

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Camp NaNoWriMo Tips

Camp nano 2016For the past three years I’ve been participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, and in NaNoWriMo for far longer than that. I enjoy the Camps because of how much more laid back it is than November’s NaNo, how it’s a virtual camp with the cabins so you have other writer’s you can talk to about your writing, writing in general, and other writerly things. But I also like participating in the camps because I usually try to finish up things that were already started. It’s all part of my “having follow through,” and living a “creative life,” as well as my “getting organized and staying organized.”

I’ve often said that I’m a work in progress, that life itself seems to be a work in progress. Part of the reason I’m participating in CampNaNoWriMo this month is because I’m trying to finish my WIP. There are a few things I like to remember, they’re my tips for Camp:

  1. Remember it’s supposed to be FUN!
  2. It’s a first draft, or finishing up a draft, (or if you’re lucky, editing a draft). No one else has to see it. You don’t have to share it with anyone. And you can edit it later, or do more edits later. There is an invisible permission slip that comes with writing a first draft: It’s okay if it’s shitty. First drafts are supposed to be shitty, just ask Hemingway.
  3. You get to choose your own word count. So you can be the tortoise–slow and steady wins the race, or you can be the hare–and try to get all the words out on the page, or you can be the salmon and swim against the tide. Whatever works for you. My word count goal for this month is 30-40K.
  4. When you choose your idea you loved it. During this month keep that in mind. Why you choose the story…Why you loved the idea.
  5. The NaNoWriMo Forums, they’re great for advice, for ideas, for socializing, for information. And other writer communities such as #writestuff, #writetube.
  6. BACK UP YOUR WORK!!!
  7. Self-Care is important! Don’t forget to hydrate, exercise, eat healthy, and get enough sleep. Yes, I’m a coffee addict, but I also drink water, sweet iced tea, hot tea; apple, grape, and orange juice; Dr. Pepper, and hot chocolate. Often when I am stumped I’ll take a walk outside, take a long hot shower or bath, go for a drive, go somewhere else to write. Sometimes I take a break and read.
  8. Write! Get your (my) ass in the chair and just write.
  9. Morning pages are a great way to kickstart the creative juices.
  10. Make it a goal to wear your NaNo and Camp NaNo t-shirts and use your NaNo/Camp NaNo coffee mugs during the month.

I hope you’re having fun and that you get all the words written this month. Time for me to get back to writing. I have at least 1000 words to write today.

 

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Finding Balance with writing and life

Camp nano 2016Camp NaNoWriMo. I can’t believe it’s already April 5th. It seems like just the other day I was preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo. Now there are only 2 days left in the first week. WOW!

Yesterday was definitely a Monday. Almost everything that could go sideways did, and yet out of the topsy-turviness of the day I ended up spending time doing something that I really needed to do–spend time with my grandson. Truth is, no matter how well you plan your day, sometimes life throws a curve ball and you can either catch it and throw it back, catch it and roll with it, or you can drop the ball…I chose to catch it and roll with it, which was hard to do at first.

My Daddy

My Daddy

Yesterday also marked the 41st anniversary of my father’s death. No matter how many years pass, on April 4th I feel like a seven year old child again. The grief, pain, sadness, and overwhelming feeling of loss has never went away, but dealing with it is easier. However, it is never easy. I took the picture of a picture of my father from when he was in the Army–he was young in this picture, and young when he died–at the age of 31.

My plans were to spend the day writing, art journaling, cleaning, taking a walk, having coffee, grabbing a quick bite to eat and reading, and then to go back to my writing. That did not happen. Not all of it, anyway. Though I am not happy with my word count for yesterday, or the lack of journaling my day, or the lack of cleaning…I did manage to get a few things done, plus I spent quality time with Mr. Rockstar and my daughter Ria, as well as with my grandson Mr. Viktor.

Viktor pretending to be a pirate on a pirate ship.

Viktor pretending to be a pirate on a pirate ship.

That’s what it’s really about…the moments. Small ones, big ones, happy ones, sad ones. No matter how old I get I will always miss my Daddy. I’ve been blessed to have had such wonderful parents. My Dad (stepdad) is an amazing person and I am so grateful that he came into our lives. He’s been a rock, a blessing, a role model, and a great parent, though he never tried to take my Daddy’s place.

I can boost my wordcount today, but if I hadn’t taken the time to have lunch with my husband and daughter I’d have missed out on that time. If I hadn’t taken the opportunity to pick my grandson up from daycare and then to have a snack and then go outside and play I’d have missed that time with him–time I couldn’t replace or make up for.

I also missed some time to write on Saturday in order to go to my parents house to celebrate my Mom’s birthday. My daughter and worked hard, my daughter especially, on clearing the grass and planting roses, putting rock down, etc so my mom now has her rose and rock garden. 😀 (I’ll have to take a picture of it the next time I’m there.) But I made up for that writing time on Sunday night. Now it’s time for me to get back to writing so I can make up for yesterday’s word count.

 

 

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