November 16

Omni Journaling with Burgess

In January of 2015, I posted a video called “A Smattering of my Journal Collection.” I knew I had a lot of journals. I knew I had too many journals back then, and was about to order my first real Traveler’s Notebook. 😀 I was super excited about it, couldn’t wait to delve in, and I was trying to get away from having so many different journals.

By March I was re-evaluating things… and made a video called “Journaling and Why It’s Important to Me.” What I didn’t know then was that I was on my way to Omni Journaling. 😀  In April I did my first real flip thru of my Fauxbo and Hobo. I was really into the documenting my life with words and art, still am, but I was having a bit of a problem in the planning department. And when I heard about #onebookjuly I was so ready to condense things. I needed to organize things in a better way. I needed to get back to basics. I made the decision to join and made a video, where I talked about the idea of the perfect journal, and I say “I want to …. in one place.” I haven’t yet called it an Omni Journal, but I’m headed down that road. 😀

The Omni Journal has been a work in progress. On March 5, 2106, I posted a video  about various topics, one of which was how I’d set up my journals/TN’s/OmniJournal… I just didn’t call it an actual Omni Journal until the next video. 😀 Finding my way with my journaling style has been a long journey. Back in high school (in the early 80’s) I was Smashbook style journaling before there was ever a Smashbook. I added receipts, concert stubs, quotes, pictures from magazines, pictures of people, doodles, writing, and all kinds of other things into my journals. I’ve come a long way since those composition notebooks I used back then, but one thing has changed–my love for the combination of art and words.

And now I have created a group on FB called Omni Journaling with Burgess. And I’ve uploaded my the first video in a series of videos answering questions about the Omni Journal. 😀

 

 

 

 

November 9

My (updated) Writing/Creative Space for NaNoWriMo

It was dark and stormy night, no… no, it was a small and suffocating room, no… no. It was a room that needed to be rearranged so that I no longer felt closed in and suffocated.

The last thing I probably should be doing at the beginning of the second week of NaNoWriMo is rearranging my writing/creative space, but I couldn’t take it any longer. The longer I was the in the room trying to write the more closed in and suffocated I felt. Not only by the disorganization and clutter, but by the way the furniture was arranged. I love the view from my desk… I look out of the window and I see the sky, trees, (the neighbor’s houses), and our bench that sits beside the wisteria bush I planted last year. It makes me feel good, but the rest of the room–it didn’t make me feel good.

I kept thinking, I’ll get to it after NaNo. I moved a few things around before NaNo, but that wasn’t working either. Books. Shelves. More books. The little table that I loved but couldn’t really use and didn’t really fit in here. Art and journal supplies. Books. My typewriters. The antique dresser I modge-podged that I use for storage for things like my hats, gloves, craft paper, etc. The small antique writing desk my Aunt Jan gave me. The damn file cabinet that I just can’t seem to find a proper place for… Well, I finally, with Mr. Rockstar’s help, figured out how to arrange it so it was more open, and it was efficient, but pleasing to my eye.

Let’s face it, I’m in here more than anywhere else in the house, except for maybe when I’m sleeping… If I had the recliner in here I’m sure I’d fall asleep reading quite often, which is in part why it’s not in here (the other part would be because I really don’t have room, not until I can move the dresser somewhere else (it’s an antique that belonged to my husband’s uncle and eventually will go in the room my son is in when he moves out).  Instead of putting the picture in here individually, I thought I’d create a gallery. Hope you enjoy. 😀

November 6

Real Life Tips for NaNoWriMo

The-Secret-Of-Writing-QuoteThe most popular bit of advice given in regard to writing are:

  • Writer’s write.
  • Just write.
  • Put your butt in the chair and write.
  • Write one word at a time.
  • Keep writing…

Each year I participate in NaNoWriMo (and NaNo’s Camps) to keep myself motivated to write everyday. Developing the habit of writing everyday is one of those crucial aspects of a writing career that is essential to success. Recently I heard someone say “If you’re not writing, you’re not a writer.” I think it’s important, as a creative person, to remember that there might be days when you don’t feel like writing, or being creative in general. When depression, anxiety, or life’s curve balls happen and the last thing you want or feel like doing is writing (or being creative). But if you want to thrive and survive as a creative person you have to find a way to get past those, to not only survive them but to thrive.

I love reading and writing. I also love drawing, painting with watercolors, coloring, writing in my journal… the combination of words and art help soothe my soul, they provide me with a healthy way to reduce my anxiety, stress, and help to keep the depression at bay. I’ve also noticed that journaling about my writing process, as well as my day, help keep me focused (and believe me, that’s hard to do since I have ADHD). When a shiny new idea pops up and tempts me to quit what I’m currently working on to go work on that shiny new idea, I just jot down the shiny new idea into my notebook, then go back to my current project.

When I’m afraid that I don’t know what to write next, or the fear of the blank page sends my anxiety into overdrive, instead of freezing and letting that fear overtake me I take a walk, read a chapter in the current book I’m reading (right now I’m re-reading the Stand by Stephen King), take a bath, get a cup of coffee or a bottle of water, eat a snack like cashews or a banana–during that time I’ve cleared my mind. The ability to write isn’t as super power. It takes commitment, diligence, resilience, and determination.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given in regard to writing is two parts:

  1. “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” ~Stephen King
  2. “Just write, and keep writing until it’s finished.” Miss Franklin, my 9th grade English teacher.

King also said, “Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life.” I firmly believe that. If you don’t understand the basics of storytelling, of a book, how can you write one, especially a good one.

And when it comes to the actual writing, if you don’t write… you won’t have a book, and you can’t edit a blank page, can’t publish the book you don’t write… And the first draft isn’t going to be perfect, or as Hemingway said, “The first draft of anything is shit.” I remind myself of that daily. I also remind myself that the worst thing I’ve written that day is better than what I didn’t write. Letting go of the perfectionism is one of the best ways to survive  and thrive during NaNoWriMo. Turn off your inner editor when you’re writing the first draft. It’s called the Fugly First Draft for a reason.

Here is additional real life tips for NaNoWriMo:

November 1

The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King

During November we’ll be reading The Eyes of the Dragon as the next book in the Dark Tower reading project. This book is quite different than King’s other books, and is definitely connected to the Dark Tower series. Here are the discussion questions for Eyes of the Dragon:

  1. Why does Flagg want to destroy/ruin Delain? “He wanted what evil men always want; to have power and use that power to make mischief. Being a King did not interest him because the heads of Kings all too often found their way to spikes on castle walls when things went wrong. But the advisors to Kings…the spinners in the shadows…such people usually melted away like evening shadows at dawning as soon as the headsman’s axe started to fall. Flagg as a sickness, a fever looking for a cool brow to heat hup. He hooded his actions just as he hooded his face. And when the great trouble came–as it always did after a span of years–Flagg always disappeared like shadows at dawn. Later, when the carnage was over and the fever had passed, when the rebuilding was complete and there was again something worth destroying, Flagg would appear once more.” The Road to the Dark Tower, Bev Vincent
  2. Why doesn’t Thomas tell anyone he saw Flagg in Roland’s (King Roland, not our gunslinger Roland) room? Flagg’s influence and manipulation, his jealousy over Peter, selfishness…
  3. Why does Flagg want Peter out of the way? Peter is intelligent and not easily manipulated, and he will be a good king, a fair king. 
  4. Why does Flag want to kill Sasha? She has too much influence over King Roland… King Roland listens to her and not to Flagg. She’s in the way.
  5. Is Roland a good king? A good father? He’s neither bad nor good at either, he’s not very smart and is easily manipulated so he definitely wasn’t a great king, but he did care about his people and was fair so he wasn’t a bad king. He would have been a much better father if Sasha hadn’t died. 
  6. While in prison, Peter finds a note that was written by a former prisoner. The note implicates Flagg in a murder that took place 450 years ago. What was the person who wrote the note accused of? Flagg’s been in and out of Delain many times trying to ruin it…Valera was imprisoned for killing his wife Eleanor during the reign of Alan II…450 years before Peter was imprisoned for killing his father…neither man committed the crimes they were accused of…both men were framed by Flagg, and the note accuses Flagg of being the murderer. 
  7. What are some of the other names Flagg has used?  Bill Hinch, and he had been the King’s Lord High Executioner. a singer named Bronson, 
  8. The tower where Peter is imprisoned seems symbolic of the Tower. What do you think about the various symbols within the books we’ve read so far? The Needle is reminiscent of the Tower, the last vestige of hope. I like the symbols. Each time I read the book I find a new that I missed before. 
  9. What did you think about this book? I enjoyed the book. It’s a bit of a mix between a Fairy Tale and a Fantasy. It had all the essential King elements, but was quite different than his other books. 
October 27

Omni Journals: Comparison between various journals

When I first started adding more visual elements like drawings, watercolor, pictures, and more to my journal pages I figured out quickly that the paper in my journal made a difference. I joined the Fauxbonichi journal group after watching videos by MissVickyB and Anna Brimbles. They showed a journal called the Miquel Ruis. I got one. Loved the cute red journal and the smooth pages until I tried to watercolor on the paper. Before long, many in the group complained that once their journal was halfway finished the binding started breaking and the journal started falling apart. I know, from personal experience, that when you add elements like stickers, watercolor, die-cuts, real life ephemera or purchased ephemera the journal does become chunky quite quickly.

I prefer an A5 sized journal. The average size of an A5 is 8×5 inches. I didn’t use the Miquel Ruis for very long. I purchased an actual Hobonichi, and a Seven Seas Standard, both of which are made with 52 gsm Tomoe River paper. The Hobonichi has almost-white Tomoe River paper and  a sort of pale gray grid, and the Seven Seas Standard has plain Tomoe River paper. I love Tomoe River paper. Absolutely love it. It crinkles slight, has the slight ripple to it, when you add watercolor. And the feel of the paper is delicious. I loved working with the paper from both journals, but soon I realized that because I write a lot, and my handwriting is rather large, that being limited to one page per day in the Hobonichi wasn’t good for me. I could use as many pages as I wanted for each day in the Seven Seas Standard, but I was limited with the Hobonichi.

Crossfield
Crossfield

I heard about the Seven Seas Crossfield, which is  480 pages of 52gsm Tomoe River paper with 5mm “dot” grid–the little dots aren’t dots they’re these really small little pale blue crosses that make up the “dot grid.” I loved it. Really loved it. I started using the Crossfield right around the same time I heard about the bullet journal. I started trying to add elements of the bullet journal to my “fauxbonichi” style journal. I was almost finished with my Crossfield when I looked on Nanamipaper’s website to order another and found that they weren’t available. All sold out. A month or so later a friend informed me that the Crossfield would be available in a few days, I ordered two. Many people who love the Seven Seas journals commented that when the journals become available they sell quickly–usually within 24 hours they’re sold again, especially the Crossfield. I was so glad I ordered two.

One book July was coming around and I was trying really hard to find my way in regard to my journal. I wanted a journal that could house bits of everything. Elements like planning, art, photos, everyday ephemera, facts, quotes, research, collections, and more. An Omni Journal. I used my Crossfield and loved it. I wanted a journal I could house in my Jonelifish A5 trifold with an insert or two behind it for other more specific things. I wanted to be able to chronicle anything and everything from watercolor, common place style journal pages, to-do lists, collections, photos, and diary style journaling instead of keeping things separate. I was still journaling “fauxbonichi style” but I also started adding in other things, thus the term Omni Journal.

Because I add so much to my Omni Journal they fill up quickly. I noticed the Crossfield, which has 480 pages, lasts me about 6 months. I briefly tried using a Bullet Journal separately from my Omni Journal. I tried doing that in the Leuchtturm 1917 and in the Crossfield, but keeping it separate didn’t work for me. I went to Nanamipaper to buy another Crossfield but they were sold out. So I went searching for A5 journals with Tomoe River paper and came across the Taroko Design shop and their Enigma and Mystique. At the time the Taroko shop was sold out of the Enigma, and without too much research, but based on a few reviews I read, I ordered the Mystique.

Mystique. The picture is from the actual Taroko Design Etsy Shop
Mystique. The picture is from the actual Taroko Design Etsy Shop

The Mystique is an A5 sewn binding made of 80gsm Taroko Orchid grid paper. It’s gorgeous, thick, and smooth but not glossy or slick. It takes fountain pen fabulously, and though there is some ghosting there is rarely bleed through. It’s absolutely wonderful paper, but I soon realized that the Mystique was not Tomoe River paper. I became concerned that I was messing up the journal by adding watercolor to it. So I stopped using it as my Omni Journal and got out the second Crossfield and started using at as my Omni Journal. Well…. My journal is almost full and it’s almost the end of the year so I went back to Nanamipaper to order a Crossfield and wouldn’t you know, not in stock. So I went back to the Taroko Design shop on Etsy to see if they had the Enigma in, which actually has 68gsm Tomoe River paper. Yep. In stock. So I ordered one. It came in 8-9 days, which is great considering it was being shipped from overseas  to South Carolina, USA. It was packaged well, and I was in awe when I opened it. WOW! The paper in the Enigma is so freaking awesome. It’s thicker than the Tomoe River paper in the Hobonichi, the Crossfield, or the Standard. It’s not as thick as the Mystique, but  the Mystique is 80gsm Orchid paper that’s to be expected.  The Hobonichi, Crossfield, Standard, Enigma, and Mystique are all great for fountain pen use. And I’ve had no issues using watercolor with any of those, BUT the Tomoe River paper does take the watercolor better.

Enigma: Picture is from the actual Taroko Design Shop on Etsy.
Enigma: Picture is from the actual Taroko Design Shop on Etsy.

I’ve started setting up my Enigma for next year, as that’s the journal I’ll be using for my Omni Journal, and the Mystique that is only half used will become my Morning pages journal. I’m good with that, since there is no way I’ll let half of that wonderful 80gsm Orchid paper go to waste. 😀

If you’re interested, the Seven Seas journals can be found at http://nanamipaper.com, and the Taroko Design Shop can be found on Etsy–he also has a FB page, as well as a few listings of his items on Amazon. 😀

I’m going to insert the video I  made showing the journals here at the end so you can see what the journals look like. Hope this review helps.

October 25

My Favorite Writer Resource Books

Books. I love books. All kinds of books. As a writer, I’ve found myself more and more drawn to what are known as writer resource books. LIke I said, I love books, but the ones listed below are some of my favorites in regard to writing.

Books like Christopher Vogler’s “The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers,” which explains the Hero’s Journey in great detail. Or “Nail Your Novel: Why writers abandon books and how you can draft, fix and finish with confidence,” by Roz Morris, or “The Wonderbook: The illustrated guide to creating imaginative fiction,” by Jeff Vandermeer, which has great pictures/illustrations  that are inspiring all by themselves,  but it’s a great resource as well.

Stephen King’s “On Writing” and “Secret Windows,” are great writing resource books, and since King is such a prolific author that when I read that he got rejection slips in the mail it motivates me to keep writing. 😀

Since I’m using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey for outlining my novel here are a few books that I’ve found helpful: “Tarot for Writers” by Corrine Kenner, and “The Storyteller’s Tarot” by Linda Perfect.

Now if you’re looking for an interesting and fun writing resource, one that is filled with good information and will make you laugh and keep you interested, check out Chuck Wendig’s “The Kick-Ass Writer.” If you’re into suspense or mystery then check out Carolyn Wheat’s “How to Write Killer Fiction.” If you’re interested, “First Draft in 30 Days” by Karen S. Wiesner is a pretty good read as well.

And for those of you who aren’t into outlining, especially if you’re a pantser, you might want to check out Chris Baty’s “No Plot? No Problem!” or “Ready. Set. Novel!

And once NaNoWriMo is over, you’ve finished writing that first draft, and you’re ready to edit your novel, you can check out “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers,” by Renni Browne and Dave King.

I have quite a few other books, but these are some of my favorites, the books that I prefer to read and that have helped me. 😀

Hope this helps.

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

Arwen’s 33 Days to Finish Your Novel: eCourse Info: http://tarotbyarwen.com/17242-2/

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

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

Radiant Rider Waite Tarot Deck in Tin: http://amzn.to/2d16J9M

My Writer’s Bible: http://jonelifish.com *Note, if you use the code: “Burgess10” you’ll get 10% off your purchase (coupon is good for all merchandise except for Custom-Made Traveler’s Notebooks).

Colored Index Cards: http://amzn.to/2cTqLRM

Dry Erase Calendar Board: http://amzn.to/2cPr17o

Shakespeare Tarot Cards: http://amzn.to/2cTrnXj

Lord of the Rings Tarot: http://amzn.to/2ct75Xk

The Hobbit Tarot: http://amzn.to/2ditJTQ

The Witches Tarot: http://amzn.to/2d16VWA

**** 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!

Thank you!

October 24

If we were having coffee…I’d tell you that I have plans

And those plans include:

  • Finishing my outline for NaNoWriMo
  • Cleaning the rest of the Writing/Art space
  • Finishing my storyboard
  • Making a video of my updated Writer’s Bible
  • Writing a corresponding blog post about my updated Writer’s Bible
  • Making a video about my Jonelifishes and what I use them for
  • Writing a corresponding blog post about my Jonelifishes
  • Writing a blog post about How to Win NaNoWriMo
  • Making a video about my tarot cards
  • And more…

So here’s my coffee chat video:

October 21

My NaNoWriMo/Writer Bullet Journal

This past April I worked really hard on creating an improved NaNoWriMo/Writer Bullet Journal in a Master Leuchtturm 1917. I wanted the bullet journal to be easy to use, to be easy to read… I wanted it to be functional and pretty. 1 out of 4 ain’t bad.

Since then, I’ve changed things up in regards to my NaNoWriMo/Writer Bullet journal–several times in fact. Here is my updated version of my NaNoWriMo/Writer Bullet journal:

I’m still working on it, and since we basically have 10 days left before NaNo starts I still have some time. Sunday I’ll be showing a flip thru of my Omni Journal, and Wednesday, which is Writer Wednesday on my YT channel, I’ll be showing  my updated Writer’s Bible. I really need to go back through my Writer Omnibus and organize things better as well (to be frank, I probably won’t get to that before NaNo starts).

It always gets crazy busy when I have a good idea and I want to start working on it. For example, I’ve been thinking about making tabs and putting them in my NaNo/Writer Bullet Journal, as well as in my Project TN. I’ve also been thinking about cleaning out my desk completely (that means a big trash bag and a few file folders will be needed). But do I have time for any of that? Yes and No. I could make time. Instead of writing this blog post I could be cleaning out the drawers in my desk. Or I could be making tabs. Or I could be folding the white clothes or doing the dishes. I could also be working on the last parts of my outline for NaNoWriMo. I will be working on my desk drawers on Monday while my coffee chat video saves and then while it’s uploading. And on Tuesday, I think I’ll work on the tabs. Tonight I’ll fold the white clothes while I’m watching TV.

During NaNoWriMo I’ll be using my NaNo/Writer Bullet Journal to keep up with everything, but I’ll warn you now: My writing/craft/art room will end up creative chaos, our clothes will get washed but I can’t guarantee they will get put up after I fold them (though I will try), and we’ll most likely be using paper plates and eating easy to cook/make/throw together meals. One of the great things about my husband is that he’s pretty laid back. As long as we aren’t starving, as long as the bathroom and the kitchen are clean (and he’s not a stickler for rinsed off dishes being in the sink until  one of us (usually me) can get to them since we don’t have a dishwasher), he’s okay with things. He’ll help me fold clothes, do dishes, etc., especially if he hasn’t worked a long day.

October 21

Self-Care: Taking a Break Does a Mind/Body Good

With NaNoWriMo fast approaching, not to mention the prepping for NaNo, along with my other projects: The Dark Tower Reading Project, the Decorated Page, and Destination Me…When I first started this blog post the title was Self-Care for NaNoWriMo, but once I started writing the first sentence of the post I realized it was about more than that. Self-Care is about more than getting enough sleep, eating healthy, getting exercise, and taking time for yourself. It’s also about knowing when to take a break, taking a break when your mind or body needs you to. It’s also about making sure you take time to nourish your creativity, to refill your well. (Thank you Julia Cameron.)

Taking a break for your mind might mean taking a break from the writing to go for a walk and clear your head. And hey, the fact that walking also does your body good–well, double points. 😀 And if your body is screaming at you that you’re thirsty, well then get up out of the chair and go get some water. 😀 That five minute walk from the chair to the kitchen  and back is good for both your mind and body. People talk about the cues that your body send you, and oftentimes in the past I have ignored those cues. Instead of taking a break to eat lunch I just kept writing–hell, I might not have even realized that hours had gone by until my stomach growled, or I got a headache from not eating… The truth is, once I get in that zone I forget about everything else. That’s part of the reason why I keep a large cup with a lid and straw full of water or juice on my desk, why it seems like I drink so much coffee–most of the time the coffee gets cold before I am able to finish it. But the first two cups of coffee, or my ADHD medication as I tend to think of it, those go down quick, and they’re so delicious and necessary, but so are the ounces of water that my body needs.

I have a busy schedule, and I do have a lot going on and I get a lot done (some days), but I don’t manage my time very well. That’s something I need to continue to work on, especially with NaNoWriMo coming. Managing my time includes making sure I take some time for myself. Time for walks, to get out of the house, to pamper myself a little so I can give myself a pedicure, or try that new face mask that’s been in my bathroom drawer for months, or just veg-out on SyFy movies while in my pajamas for a few hours on Sunday morning. Staying busy, especially with creative projects like writing, reading, art, etc helps lessen the depression and anxiety.

So what to do about self-care for NaNoWriMo? Like many other writers during the month of November, my aim will be to write at least 1667 words per day. From reading about other authors, some famous like Sai Stephen King, many aim to write at least 2000 words per day, while others aim to write a chapter a day, which for some genres is about the same thing.  If I aim for 2K a day then I’ll have 60,000 words by the end of November. And if I participate in words sprints at least once a week, say a few of the 20 minute word sprints I could add to that day’s word count, maybe even write enough during the word sprints to add another 1000 words for that day’s total. That would be an extra 4000 words for the month. Now we’re talking 64K for the end of November. But I have a bad day or a day when I really need a break and I only write 1000 words instead of the 2K. I’m still ahead and I’m not stressing over it. I’ll get the words written, and the best way to make sure I can do that is by taking proper care of myself.

Eat healthier snacks and meals. Drink more water. Take walks every day. Do my stretches and meditation in the mornings. Write on!!! 😀