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The Life of a Creative Person

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. ūüėÄ

 

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Cha…cha…changes

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.

About me: My Truths...

About me: My Truths…

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).

From Designs by Planner Perfect, by Jenny Penton

From Designs by Planner Perfect, by Jenny Penton

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.

My inspiration page...

My inspiration page…

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.

 

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My path towards creative freedom

For the past six weeks I’ve been using the Artist’s Way’s 12 week self-guided course to finding my way back towards creativity. As a creative person, I have often found myself in creative slumps–writer’s block, artistic blocks, and/or just feeling blocked creatively in general. Some people call it procrastination, other’s attribute it to self-doubt, fear…Whatever you call it, I believe it all stems from the same place. A rose by any other name is still rose kind of thing.

For the past month I’ve been sick. It started with the whole sinus thing, then it was more like the flu, then full blown flu, then back to the sinus thing, and in between I ended up with a stomach bug. Perhaps it was the flu, but I think part of it was allergies, and I think another part of it was my body’s way of telling me to slow down and take better care of myself. To stop staying up so late and not getting enough sleep. To stop spreading myself so thin. To stop and take a look around me, to take in my surroundings. To stop and appreciate things. To take a look at what I was doing and re-evaluate how I was doing them.

After the period of forced rest because I was sick, which made me slow down and actually evaluate things, I realized I needed to organize the whole of my life. Not just my writing (my novel), or my desk, or my writing room, or my kitchen, or my bullet journal, but what I was doing, how I was doing it, and why. Truth is, I’m a creative clutter kind of person so the only things that are actually organized in my house are the things I don’t use that much: the dining room, for example, only the clutter had quickly spread to the dining room because I was sick and couldn’t clean and straighten up the way I normally do. I looked around my home, especially the places where I tend to linger, and low and behold I saw the wake of clutter I’d left behind.

The discarded coats hung on the backs of chairs, the pile of “art stuff” near where I sit on the couch, the stack of books on the (click)clack couch in my writing room, the mountain of clean laundry in the chair and in the basket in my living room that I haven’t felt like folding but I DID do the laundry…See where I’m going with this?

It was no wonder I felt blocked creatively. No amount of bullet journalling, planning, or even cleaning was going to unblock my creativity if I didn’t 1. Clean up the mess, 2. Work on getting better–getting well, 3. Stop procrastinating, and 4. Be accountable for not only my life, my creativity, but the mess.

One of the tasks during week 4 or week 5 was to let go of things, to purge things from your life that you don’t use, don’t wear, don’t need, are broken or don’t fit or are stained… I have been doing that bit by bit for the past few weeks, yet I was still holding on to some things. Now it stops. Today, as I look around at the wake of having been sick for a month and can honestly evaluate the mess and clutter that have been left lying around because I am the person who does the majority of housework, I am appalled. I am getting rid of SHIT today. Today I am going to hang up every single coat, fold and put the laundry away, clean off my dining room table (so I can actually see it–and it’s a gorgeous antique so what the hell was I thinking?), clean off the (click)clack couch and put away the books…

Don’t get me wrong. I did the dishes (most of the time) when I was sick, even if it was a day later. And I cleaned the bathroom every other day to get rid of the germs (I’m picky about keeping the bathroom clean), and I tried to keep the kitchen clean. But with three people sick in the house, and me being the only one home to clean, my husband and son still went to work (though my son did stay out a few days), it was up to me to do all the cleaning.

This is pretty much today’s morning pages, brought to you by a homemade white chocolate mocha (which is my favorite from Starbucks) and finally getting some energy back after getting some much needed sleep because my body protested and I fell asleep in the recliner around 7:30 PM and didn’t wake up until right at 6 AM.

 

 

 

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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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Rain, Rain, Go Away…

Come again another day… Here in South Carolina we’ve had more than our fair share of rain this year. Today is no exception–it’s raining like crazy¬†outside. My street is almost flooded–the right side is one big huge puddle, and the intersection is going to washout again if the rain doesn’t let up soon–they just got it fixed a month or so ago after the flood washed it out.

My Christmas shopping is done. I’m anxiously awaiting the last of the presents to arrive today and tomorrow via UPS, thanks to Amazon Prime I was able to get a few harder to find presents for my daughter and husband. Last year I said I wasn’t going to wait until December, but I did that exact thing this year. However, next year I am going to start shopping in August so that all I’m searching for in December are the stocking stuffer type presents.

When I was kid, I so looked forward to the little items in my stocking. We usually got things like nuts and fruit, chocolate, ¬†small toys and books, along with a small gift–sometimes mine was a bracelet, a ring, a necklace, other times it was a watch. I remember being so excited one Christmas, I must have been five or six, when I got a Barbie watch that had different colored interchangeable bands. My daddy (who died when I was seven), helped me change the band so I could wear it all day on Christmas. I loved that watch. After that, there was the Snoopy watch, the Mickey Mouse Watch, and then later on it was “big people” watches like a Timex with the glow in the dark hands and numerals. I have a thing about watches. ūüėÄ

As I sit at my desk contemplating the gifts I’ve gotten those I love and hoping that I chose the right things–I’m a give-a-gift-that-means-something-or-screams-out-buy-me-for-this-person kind of giver. There have been years when I haven’t been able to give gifts, when I had to wait until after Christmas, and then there have been years when I’ve contributed to buying gifts for someone(s) because someone I love couldn’t afford to buy gifts for their children. Not to mention the years when my children spent four-six Christmases in a row with their dad out of state (we were supposed to trade off holidays, but for a while the only time he could get off, or the only time he wanted to take off, or something, was Christmas ¬†and I couldn’t not let them have a good Christmas, spend time with their dad, even though it meant I was alone for all of those Christmases.

I hated the holidays for a long period of time–being alone during the holidays, or being in a relationship and still feeling alone is a horrible thing. Now that I’m with Mr. Rockstar I feel differently about the holidays. Our first Christmas together we had just moved into the house about six weeks prior to Christmas, and we barely had enough money for groceries (we ate a lot of Ramen noodles back then) but we managed to get one of those really small Christmas trees, the ones that are only about a foot tall, and decorate it with one string of lights and a few ornaments. An honest to goodness Charlie Brown Christmas tree. We bought each other small presents…$20 each, but I remember it being a wonderful holiday. I didn’t care about the amount we spent, I cared about us being together, about starting our own traditions for the holidays, and because of him, and then the next year my grandson was born in July, the holidays were once again a time for celebration.

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic, but I see a few birds out and about singing, so maybe the rain is going to let up. Either way, their song makes me feel better, more positive. There’s something about celebrating the holidays with your loved ones that gives ¬†you that warm, fuzzy feeling inside, at least it does for me. I’m glad that I’m no longer a Bah Humbug kind of person about the holidays.

Now I’m excited about Christmas. Spending time with my family, good food, and watching them open the presents that we so carefully chose for them–and it’s not about the amount of money you spend, there were some presents that were in the $20 range that I’m more excited about than some of the more expensive presents.

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2015 in Around Here, Family, Holiday

 

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