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September’s Wrap Up and October’s Happenings

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Happiness is…

For me Happiness is being the writer who is writing, not the writer who is waiting on:

inspiration, motivation, mood…

And a good cup of coffee.

It’s also being busy. And this summer I am going to be so busy. Not only am I participating in the Summer Novel Writing challenge called #HotandSticky, started by YT channel Stripped Cover Lit, but I’ve also started working on the 12 week self guided course from Julia Cameron’s third book in the Artist Way series called “Finding Water.” What, you skipped book 2 Walking in the World? Yes, I did. Eventually I’ll get to that one, but since I’m also doing an exercise a week from her book The Right to Write, (and yes I was doing them daily but it got to be a bit too much when I had my meltdown a couple of weeks ago and was a bit paralyzed creatively thanks to depression and anxiety) I thought Finding Water was better suited to me at this time.

To read more visit TheWriteBurgessTaylor

 

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Happiness is…

For me Happiness is being the writer who is writing, not the writer who is waiting on:

inspiration, motivation, mood…

And a good cup of coffee.

It’s also being busy. And this summer I am going to be so busy. Not only am I participating in the Summer Novel Writing challenge called #HotandSticky, started by YT channel Stripped Cover Lit, but I’ve also started working on the 12 week self guided course from Julia Cameron’s third book in the Artist Way series called “Finding Water.” What, you skipped book 2 Walking in the World? Yes, I did. Eventually I’ll get to that one, but since I’m also doing an exercise a week from her book The Right to Write, (and yes I was doing them daily but it got to be a bit too much when I had my meltdown a couple of weeks ago and was a bit paralyzed creatively thanks to depression and anxiety) I thought Finding Water was better suited to me at this time.

And, this is preparation month for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo. WOW! Busy, Busy, Busy!, which makes me happy, happy, happy. And a bit stressed out, but the good kind of stress.  Working with, around, and despite or in spite of Anxiety, Depression, and ADHD, I find that when I stay busy I function better. I am not saying that I should overwhelm myself with things but having a routine, a plan, sticking to certain rituals, help, but if I don’t have things to do, other than housework, writing, art, journaling, etc then I find myself procrastinating more. “Oh, I’ve got time for that later… I don’t have much to do, let me just watch some Netflix or Hulu…” and then hours later, after having watched half of the third season of Grimm and I haven’t gotten anything else done. (In my defense, I watched the first two seasons, missed the third and half of the fourth… SO I was a bit lost with the whole Grimm’s baby, Juliette/Eve, and Adalind thing. And Truble? I had no idea of who she was, but she looked a lot like Nick and she was a Grimm, so some lost relative? I had to know.)

I’ve given a great deal of thought to my routine. My morning and how I want to start each morning, my goals for the day, for the week, month, year…And the thing that keeps surfacing during these “brain dump” sessions is “get more organized,” “get on a routine and stick to it.”

So I’m trying to do just that. 😀

 

 

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Introduction to the Artist’s Way and What I’m Doing

Back in November, I started reading “the Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. I committed to participating in the 12 week program she suggests. Then in December, I became distracted by the chaos of the upcoming holidays and stopped–but that was probably when I needed it most since I was blocked creatively, and I was feeling so out of it creatively, and inwardly–it was just such a bad time. I wasn’t creating art, words, or anything else on a regular basis because I was such a mess (anxiety, depression, ADHD, along with being overwhelmed and stressed out over the holidays).

Some of you might think that creativity is a luxury. It is not. Creativity is a necessity, at least to me it is.

Human beings are all in some way.  Life itself is a creative activity. Every choice we make, everything we do, every movement, (it’s starting to sound like that song… “Every move we make…every breath we take…)  is sensory process of the information we take in and understand is creative.

Often times when I get blocked creatively I know that it is because of things aren’t meshing in some way.  The words just  won’t flow out on the page.  The brush and paint just won’t flow out onto the page the right way.  For my husband, who is a musician, the notes just don’t sound right or  his fingers just won’t strum the strings on his guitar right.  No matter what medium of art/creativity is your thing, that kind of block  is enormously frustrating. And there have been times when it has driven me to quit. Or when it increases my anxiety and depression, …it has even caused some people to have anxiety and/or depression, or  driven some to drink, to be angry, to be confused.  And the farther I get into that anxious, confused, blocked, depressed, closed off and/or blocked state the deeper I dig myself into the writer’s block, or the artist’s block–it’s a vicious cycle, a hole that we just keep digging ourselves deeper and deeper into. I can’t tell you how many holes I’ve dug for myself, how many projects I’ve started and stopped–quit because of that very thing… Being creatively blocked.

the artists way

After my meltdown on January 2, I realized I had to do something. I needed to commit myself to being accountable for my own productivity, creativity, and success. But HOW??? I needed to find a way to stop the blockages, the confusion and anxiety over my creativity. I wanted get un-stuck and find a way to stay un-stuck, or at least a way that worked when I did get stuck.

According to some of the research I’ve done this book helps people with discipline, structure, organization, creativity, clarity, momentum, and so much. I am hoping that it will do all of that and more for me–hopefully, for you as well.

If you you don’t have the book then check it out… The Artist’s Way  and give it a shot. If you’re blocked, then it can’t hurt to try. A few of us are going to be going through it together. If I get enough people I might open a FB page for us to use, but I already have a playlist on my YT channel with my introduction video. I’d like to live my life creatively, have more clarity and purpose, be more productive and successful. 😀

I hope you’ll join me.

 

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What Failure has taught me as a Writer

For about two weeks, the week of Christmas and the week of New Year, I was in a funk. I was filled with anxiety, overwhelmed and stressed out, depressed, and I could not write. I didn’t have the time, or when I did have the time I was too stressed out and overwhelmed to write. I sat down at the computer and as much as I wanted to write, I just could not get the words out–and they were there in the dark recesses of my overworked mind, but they were buried underneath the chaos of my life (the holidays, obligations, anxiety, depression, etc., etc.). So I felt like a F.A.I.L.U.R.E.

Writer’s write. That’s what we do. If you can’t write then what?

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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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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The Worst Parts of Writing a Novel (or the Writing Process)

snoopy-good-writing-is-hard-work.jpegWriting a novel, especially once you’ve finished the first draft (especially if it’s your first book), is rewarding, but it’s also hard work.

Once you’ve come up with the idea, and finished your outline (if you’re a plotter), and you’ve started writing there are definitely things about the writing process that suck. Things like self-doubt, procrastination, time management, anxiety, writer’s block, distractions, and stress. Not to mention the naysayer’s out there who question your intentions, talent, and/or sanity–sometimes you’re one of those naysayer’s. its impossible

For me, the worst parts about writing a novel, other than figuring out what my actual writing process is, like trial and error with outlining, going from a pantser to a plotter, or finding my voice, are these things:

Anxiety and Stress. I have anxiety, not just when it comes to my writing, but in general, so it’s amplified when I’m doing something that causes me stress. On the good days, when I feel like I’m a good writer, maybe even a great writer, and I’m in what I like to call the “writer zone” I can write anywhere from 1000-3000 words a day. I feel good about my writing, about my novel. But on the bad days when I’m filled with anxiety or stressed out over a chapter, scene, or the novel itself I let the SELF-DOUBT in and then I feel like the worst writer ever, I question whether I should even be writing, I wonder why I am bothering when it’s evident that I’m never going to finish, or never going to accomplish my dream of finishing my novel and getting it published.

Found Picture on absolutewrite.com

Found Picture on absolutewrite.com

The Ups and Downs/Roller Coaster (Mood Swings). Like I just said, some days I feel like a good writer, or maybe even a great writer, but there those days when I feel like the worst writer ever. The ups and downs, or the roller coaster of emotions (mood swings), seem to be common for creative types. On the bad days, I question whether or not I should just give up and find something else to do with my time, but on the good days I know that it’s worth my time. Nobody said writing a novel was going to be easy, or that there weren’t going to be bad days, I have to remind myself on the bad days not to give up. Not to quit. To keep at it. And I remind myself that I’m not alone in this, that there are many  writer’s out there who feel the same way I do, whose first draft was a piece of shit, who went through all of this or who are going through it now. Within a few hours, I’ve gone from “Hey! I can do this!” to “OMG! I’m really doing this! Damn this is good!” to “OMG! What the hell was I thinking? Why am I even trying to write a novel?”  I know that there is evidence, that there is a correlation between creativity and mood swings/mental illness (depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc), which makes me wonder if this is normal. Okay, so I know, from what I hear, that many other writer’s have these ups and downs when writing, therefore, I don’t feel so alone.bonafide writer mug

Taking yourself seriously as a writer. Over the course of the past year, but especially the last few months (maybe six months or so), I’ve gone from feeling like I couldn’t or shouldn’t call myself a writer because I didn’t have anything (recent) published, that I’d never been paid for my creative writing (though I have been paid as a tutor and to (help) write or edit papers–that’s for a whole different post) to officially calling myself a writer. I’ve gone from shying away from saying I’m a writer, to proudly proclaiming it. I’m a bona fide writer, y’all.

My daughter and my husband, have both told me, and I’ve told myself, that if I don’t take my writing seriously then no one else will. That’s the truth, and I know, it but for a good while there was something blocking me from taking myself seriously as a writer because I didn’t feel secure enough to actually call myself a writer. Once I got past that point, and it’s been recently, I realized how much better I felt about my writing. How proud, and courageous it made me feel to say it out loud. I’m a writer! There’s something about proclaiming it to others out loud that makes you feel more confident as a writer, but until I got to that point it was one of the worst parts about the writing process for me. People would ask me what I do and I’d lower my head and say, “I’m a housewife,” or “I work from home,” or I’d just say “nothing.” Now, I say, “I’m a writer.”

The worst thing about writing a novel, is not being able to write–writer’s block. Some people say that writer’s block isn’t real, other’s say it’s actually, more or less, when you allow self-doubt, anxiety, stress, and/or insecurity to cripple you mentally. Perhaps that’s true, but I know when I procrastinate it is usually because I’m filled with anxiety, stress, insecurity, and/or self-doubt about my writing, a certain scene or chapter, or my ability to write–talent, creativity, etc. I’ve struggled with this for years, but over the past year, thanks to being part of a great community of other writer’s (#writestuff, #writetube) the struggle has lessened. I won’t say I don’t still struggle, I do, but at least now I don’t feel so alone. I don’t feel like I’m the only one out there struggling. And there are times when the kind words of motivation, inspiration, generosity, compassion, and/or constructive criticism are exactly what I need to push myself–to get my ass in the chair and write.

 

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