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Tag Archives: The Artist’s Way

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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Ways to get Inspired, stay motivated, and Get Shit Done

get shit doneOver the course of several years, I’ve been refining my writing process, which includes ways to get inspired, stay motivated, and get shit done (productivity). Here are some of the things I’ve found that help me.

  • Clean up your work area, as well as other areas that bother you and/or need cleaning. A 15 minute clean in your work area, a quick clean of your living areas. A 30 minute clean for important areas. Sometimes it’s hard to work when there is clutter, especially if the clutter distracts you. So taking fifteen minutes to clean really helps.Writing Desk
  • Books that help inspire and motivate you to be creative have really helped me lately. Books like “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, or the one I’m working on right now, “Finding Water,” also by Julia Cameron. Another book that’s extremely helpful with productivity is “Getting Things Done” by David Allen.artist's way
  • Morning Pages are a great way to start your day. They help with clarity, are a great tool to get you in the mood to write, and are overall a great way to put those negative things that are rolling around in your brain down and then let them go–after a while you’ll see that what you write is less negative and more positive.
  • Music. Music is a great way to help you get in the mood to be creative, to write, clean, create (art, etc) and to keep you motivated. I often listen to classic rock while I clean, instrumental music or Rainymoods.com when I’m writing, and various kinds of music when I’m creating art.
  • An artist date. An artist date, as defined by Julia Cameron, is a solo adventure, that includes something fun, playful and are aimed at romancing or wooing our artist within. I like going for a walk in a park, swinging on a swing at a playground, going to for a cup of coffee and reading or writing or drawing, as well as going to lunch by myself and taking a book along with me. Most of my artist dates include coffee and a book or notebook and/or my camera.june 3rd and 4th
  • Candles, Incense…I use these things to help get me in the mood to write, to help cleanse my work area of any negativity, and because they smell good.
  • Journal. I often write a few lines down here and there about what I want to do, as well as use my bullet journal to make a list of tasks for the day, week, month. I jot down projects, and then break them down so that I know what I should start with, as well as making sure that I have smaller goals to start with (which helps me feel better, more positive and less fearful–less self-doubt).june 1st and 2nd
  • Vision board. This can be a physical vision board, one on Pinterest, in your journal using collage, or whatever works for you.
  • Read a book for fun. I often take a break when I feel a bit burned out with writing and read for fun. I now have a goal to read for at least 30 minutes each day just for fun, not for homework or for “working on my self,” but for FUN!
  • Don’t compare yourself to others.
  • Space for Writing/creating Art/etc. Whether it’s a corner somewhere, or an actual room, having your own space, a space that is for your creativity  helps.amwriting april 22
  • Limit Distractions. Block out a certain amount of time that is just for writing. That means no Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google searching, etc. You and the page (and my cup of coffee or glass of wine.)
  • Get dressed. Get out of those pajamas, those sweatpants,  and get dressed. It doesn’t have to be “dress” clothes, but it does need to at least something that you’d wear to the grocery store, to the craft store, the bookstore… It’s a mindset thing. I’m dressed and now I’m ready to go to work.
  • Writing buddies, or “Co-conspirators” as Ms. Cameron calls them. Find others with like interests so you can talk about those interests. For me it’s the #writestuff community, #writetube, FB…I have quite a few writer buddies and it really does help knowing that you’re not alone in your struggles (whether it’s with procrastination, self-doubt, editing woe’s, or trying to figure out whether your book should be in 1st or 3rd POV).Camp nano 2016
  • (and last but not least) Schedule. This has been the hardest for me, yet it really is one of the top things I should be doing, should stick to so that I’d be more productive. I know this. I do, but the struggle has been real y’all. I know that I should block out specific chunks of time for writing, for art, for… and cut the distractions, and Just Write, but honestly, outside forces like Mr. Rockstar’s crazy schedule, which changes at the end of this week finally (he goes back to having a regular schedule instead of rotating shifts), or family, or things that happen, or staying up too late because I had insomnia or was in pain and then I don’t wake up until mid-day (or later)… But today is the start of brand new week, and last week I did better than the week before, and this week I’ll do even better than last week, and before long I should be back into my routine.2nd week of june

One last thing, if you’re striving for perfection then you’re bound to be disappointed, so instead of striving for perfection, especially with that first draft, remember this:

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” ~Marilyn Monroe

 

 

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Coffee Chat…If we were having coffee

It’s been a long while since I did a “If we were having coffee” post. And since today’s YT video is a Coffee Chat video, I thought I’d do a blog post to go along with that.

If we were having coffee…typewriter_writer_large_mug

This week has been a busy one. I’ve cleaned, even thrown out a few things, donated a few other things, and I’ve organized. I still have quite a way to go but I’m working on it. I feel like I’ve accomplished something(s). I am determined to get the house “organized,” and CLEANED (you know that deep clean that usually takes place in Spring, only I have arthritis and tendonitis so I can’t do it all in one day/week, hell one month).

I’m excited about the projects that I have going on over the summer.

  • #HotandSticky Summer Novel Writing Challenge
  • #FindingWater 12 week self guided course by Julia Cameron (it’s the third book in her Artist’s Way trilogy)
  • The Right to Write, also by Julia Cameron, which I’m still doing but I’ve narrowed it down to only once a week now.
  • And, June is preparation month for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo, which I will also be doing.

I’m trying to stay busy. Less time for negative thoughts when there are positive actions. That (hopefully) means I’ll have less time to be depressed, procrastinate, less time for FEAR, self-doubt, guilt…because I’ll be busy writing, reading, taking pictures, creating art, and spending time with family and friends.

If you’d like to find out a bit more about what I’d say if we were having coffee here’s my Coffee Chat video:

 

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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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Fighting Fear, Procrastination, and Self-Doubt

“I’m not good enough…” “This sucks!” “I’ll never get published…Published, hell, you can’t write a decent first line–why are you even thinking about getting published?” Or my favorite…”Why am I even bothering…trying…???”

Most, if not every, creative person has suffered, at some point or other, maybe you’re suffereing from it now, from self-doubt, which is really just plain ole’ fear. But if you turn fear into motivation, if you turn it into something that works for you instead of letting it eat at you and turn into self-doubt, procrastination, then you can finish that book, or that piece of art, or that song or poem you’ve been working on. If you don’t do anything, if you wallow in the fear, letting that self-doubt eat at you, then the fear ends up turning into procrastination and you send up self-sabotaging, which just leads to more fear, more self-doubt, more procrastination..And it’s a vicious cycle, and that’s often what people refer to as “writer’s block.”

What are your fears? Really? The one’s that prevent you from following your dream…from accomplishing the things you really want to do…from finishing that book, or art project, or poem, or screenplay? When I was completing the Artist’s Way 12 week self-guided course by Julia Cameron, and then working on the exercises in her book The Right to Write, I made lists–lists of my fears. Then I went on to work on those fears, I had to figure out if the fears were real, if they were justified, exaggerated, and what was the underlying cause or reason behind the one’s that were real. I delved into the depths of my fears. And that wasn’t easy.

Once you’ve done that, though, one of the first things most people suggest, from what I’ve found, is to negate those fears with at least a few positive affirmations, traits, facts…You can write out positive affirmations on sticky notes and put them in various places so you’ll see them, or make a lists of them in a journal.

For example, if you fear rejection you can look at how many others were rejected before they were finally published. Stephen King and J.K. Rowling are great examples of this.

Another thing you can do is schedule your writing. Make your writing a priority, build a routine, give yourself a deadline (a realistic amount of time, or number of words or pages to complete each day). For example, writing 300 words a day in a year makes a novel…300 words each day for one year equals 109,500 words, or 109,800 words if it’s a leap year.

Expect problems, mishaps, things that may happen, because in real life shit does happen. Adjust accordingly, but don’t let the deadline slide. REMEMBER why you love your story. Why you love writing. And REMEMBER that self-doubt, procrastination, and FEAR feed on each other–Don’t be a victim of that fear.

One word at a time. One sentence at a time. One page at a time… and before you know it’s One Day and you’ve finished the first draft of your novel.

 

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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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The Right to Write: Days 1-5

The Right to WriteMy first “week,” well almost a week, but since I’m supposed to be doing this on Wednesday’s…But I’m running a bit behind with posting… Life happens.

The first day was titled, “Begin,” and Cameron says to just start writing where you are. That it’s a luxury to be in the mood to write and that being in the mood is not necessary. She also says that “writing is like breathing–it’s possible to learn to do it well, but the point is to do it no matter what.”

She goes on to talk about toddlers and how they learn first be grabbing for things, then grabbing with words, and that their words are “personal and powerful,…filled with will and intent…they trust the power of words.” But along the way, usually in school, we lose that power over words, that feeling that we are good at language, and we begin to feel that we might not be good enough with words.

In school your words are critiqued with things like “You stray from the topic a bit here,” or “Stick to the point,” or if you’re me, “Too much fluff.” So we end up learning to doubt ourselves and with that comes self-scrutiny, which results in trying to write “right” so that we sound smart. She gives you an exercise to work on, she calls these the Initiation, and where she talks its called the Invitation.

The second exercise, for my the second day, May 2nd, is “Let yourself Write.” Cameron talks a great deal about writing, being a writer, and what a writer is. My favorite quote from this section is:

“When we just let ourselves write, we get it right.”

The exercise she gives you has to do with what you think being a real writer is. I found it quite interesting, as well as revealing.

On day 3, is “Let Yourself Listen.” She says that “the simplest and smartest thing I ever learned about writing is the importance of a sense of direction.” She goes on to say that writing is “about getting something down, not about thinking something up.” Instead of being an “act of pontification, writing becomes an act of revelation.” We can either “think a plot up” or we can “jot a plot down.”

On Day 4, is the “Time Lie,” and this one really hit home for me. She starts off this section with this powerful sentence.

“If I had a year off, I’d write a novel.”

It’s a lie. A lie. She says that that is a “convenient way to ignore the fact that novels require being written and that writing happens a sentence at a time,” and that you can steal moments to write, and with each sentence and/or moment you write you’ll feel better, good about yourself and your writing.

One of the other things she says that really hit home for me was, “Don’t try to write something perfect; just write…the obsession with time is really an obsession with perfection.”

All of that really hit home for me, and I also saw a quote, which was one of my quotes for the day, which was from Stephen King, “300 words a day in one year’s time is a novel.” Synchronicity.

Day 5, was Track. And she likens writing to laying tracks, like railroad track, getting from point A to point B. She talks about the “rich, fertile, whimsical” side of the brain is for laying track, and the logic brain side is for second drafts. Right brain/left brain.

Some of what she talks about she spoke about in “The Artist Way.” I don’t mind though. Each section has made me think, given me food for thought so to speak, and inspired me. The next morning my morning pages were better. I can’t recommend this book enough. “The Artist’s Way” broke the surface of helping me with the creativity, with my writing. I have a feeling that this book is going to help me delve even deeper underneath the surface. My whole goal for this year, like my word–Positivity, was to change things for the better, to be more positive, to find my inner joy, to live a happier, healthier life and to be a healthier, happier me. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been working on taking back my life, on what I am calling #projectme. I feel like it’s working.

I’ve set up this whole “course” in a journal. I’m excited about all of this and feeling really motivated and inspired. I hope you are as well.

 

 

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