July 15

#onebookjuly2016 What it is and what I’m doing

For the past few years, this is the third year, Rhomany’s Realm, MissVickyB, and Carie Harling, have been challenging people in the “planning” community to participate in something called the #onebookjuly challenge.

The challenge is: 1 book, one pen, one month. The idea behind it is to take your planning back to the basics. So many people are looking for what they refer to as Planner Peace. I’ve heard it said by many that if your basic planning system doesn’t work then no matter what planner you have, no many how many you try, the system won’t work, which makes sense–planner peace at its core comes from a planning system that works, and all you really need to plan your day, month, year, etc is a pen and a piece of paper/notebook.

For years, nothing worked right for me. Nothing. I tried a day runner type planner, one of those inexpensive one’s you can get at Walmart or the drugstore, I tried a notebook, a tried a desk calendar, I broke down and tried a Filofax, before that (many years ago) I had a Franklin Covey, a Fauxbonichi, then I tried the Bullet Journal method…

Currently, I am using what I call an “omni-journal,” or what MissVickyB calls a Faux-Bujo, the combination of a “Fauxbonichi and a Bullet Journal.” A Fauxbonichi is a “faux” Hobonichi, which is a Japanese planner that allows you to plan and sketch/illustrate your life via monthly calendar pages, weekly calendar pages, and then daily pages on what is called Tomoe River paper (which is divine paper for watercolor and fountain pens) and most people sketch or illustrate little drawings, and/or use diary stickers, on their daily pages to chronicle their day.

I love the Hobonichi, and if the day wasn’t set up for one page per day, dated pages, I would have stuck with it, but I write too big and too much for one page per day. So I bought a Seven Seas Crossfield notebook, by Nanami Paper, which has Tomoe River paper, and I also have a Mystiqe notebook by Taroko Designs with Tomoe River paper, both have dot grid paper and started what I called an omni-journal–a combination planner, sketch book, Hobonichi style, bullet journal style, Fauxbonichi style journal. And I love it, but I’ve found that I don’t like the way the “bullet” to do list looks on my pages that are filled with art and writing… It takes away from the aesthetics of the page.

For several months I’ve debated over whether or not I could actually use Jenny Penton’s Planner Perfect method, where you script your days. Instead of “to-do” lists you script out your day. I bought her ebook and read it. Tried it for a few days but felt lost when it came to my “to-do’s” like paying bills, appointments, etc. I went back to sticky notes for my “to-do’s” in my omnijournal, or putting my little “to-do” list on my daily pages. I flip-flopped back and forth between bullet journaling, omni-journaling, etc… I did not have planner peace.

The beginning of June rolled around and I thought… Oh, #onebookjuly is almost here. Maybe this time I can do this and not fail miserably. Maybe I can figure out something that will work for me. I began taking notes about what I liked about the various planning methods that are out there. I literally made a pro and con list. I also decided that for the challenge instead of using one book, I’d actually use one Traveler’s Notebook. I had a new Jonelifish, a traveler’s notebook made by an artist named Jonel Imutan. I also decided that instead of using one pen since I art/sketch/watercolor/illustrate I’d use one bag. Figure out my very favorite art supplies for my journal, what I’d use if I were going to go out on an artist date or out of town and needed an art travel bag.

I’m going  to link my most current video for #onebookjuly2016, which is part of my playlist for #onebookjuly2016 at the end of this so you can check out my videos, if you’d like, that will explain this further, but suffice to say, I am really loving things because I have been combining Jenny’s Planner Perfect Method with what I was already doing in my omnijournal, only I’m finding that I am leaning more and more towards the Planner Perfect Method.

Scripting my day out has helped me change my mindset about planning, about what I’m doing each day, each week. It’s helped me realize that my omnijournal is more of a common place journal. I’ll have more to come about using the Planner Perfect Method, but for now I’m just so much happier with how my daily stuff, like planning, sketching, art, writing, etc… I feel more positive and filled with enthusiasm about each day, part of that is finding near planner peace, part of it is succeeding finally at #onebookjuly, and part of it is Project Me.

Here is the List for the main One Book July video’s:
The ORIGINAL #onebookjuly video (v1) https://youtu.be/AchAsT5YQkY
Rhomany’s intro video to #onebookjuly2016 https://youtu.be/KmBLVaB6uhA
Follow Carie here https://www.youtube.com/user/carielynn74
Follow Vicky here https://www.youtube.com/user/MissVick…

July 14

Project Me-Me, Myself, and I

Back in April I talked about taking back my life. Losing weight, getting healthy and fit, working on me. As a matter of fact, I’ve been slowly but surely working on me for about seven years now, it just started in a different manner. Back then I didn’t need to lose weight necessarily–get more fit, actually, but I needed to heal from a break up.

My inspiration page...
My inspiration page…

I started things out small back then. But I’ve amped things up a bit now. Not only do I have a TN (traveler’s notebook just for Project Me, but I’ve been working on it daily. Now, thanks to Jenny Penton and her planner perfect method and Project Me, I’m concentrating on three areas: Mind, Body, Soul.

This quote by Maya Angelou sums most of it up:

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, and some humor, and some style.

Maya quote done by me...

Since joining Project Me with Jenny Penton of Planner Perfect the beginning of July, I have started working on me even more. I’m working on my mind, body, spirit/soul. I’m delving deep into and underneath the surface. It’s so much more than just a project, it’s about being a work in progress, and yet living in the present, accepting yourself and loving yourself, but working towards improving your life, your “self,” at the same time.

My whole life, I never felt good enough, like I couldn’t do anything right. I also had abandonment issue because my father died when I was young, too young to really understand what death really is/means, and yet old enough to understand that everything changed overnight. I went from being an outgoing, fun loving child, to a mostly solitary, introverted child. I kept it all in. I read voraciously because reading allowed me to escape. Later on, I wrote voraciously. An avid reader and writer, who doodled cartoon figures, landscapes. I was creative. It was an outlet.

As an adult I still do those things. At least now I do all of them. But for many years I didn’t draw or paint. I didn’t pursue fiction writing, though I did write poetry, And deep down inside I didn’t believe that creating art, writing books, and other “creative” artist type jobs were going to support me, that I wasn’t talented enough and I’d end up the proverbial “starving artist.”

artist's way“The Artist Way” by Julia Cameron helped me come to terms with my creativity, with thinking of my writing as my job, and my art/journaling/reading/photography as my hobbies, and yet all are my passions. I could spend an entire day reading or writing or creating art, so I combine them and divvy up my day so that I can do all of those things. I’m still working on the routine, but it’s getting there slowly but surely.

Project Me will be ongoing, and I’m super excited about it. I’ve made progress in just 2 weeks.

DSCN0102With my daughter’s help, I made homemade bread Tuesday. This past Sunday I went to the beach, 2 hours away, with my daughter and grandson and had a blast–I got out of the house, spent time with family, relaxed, had fun, and took a daycation. 😀 I’ve also been slowly getting rid of things I don’t use, are broken or torn or worn, and slowly purging a few things, which means I am slowly getting more organized.DSCN0086

I let things go for too long when I was ill, in pain and needed surgery. Once I had the surgery, I tried do much too soon, and had to spend  time healing again. I’m trying not to do that again–not to jump the gun and try to do a major project like cleaning and organizing my whole writing room in one day, or painting a room in a day. I’m still in pain, but I’m working through it slowly. Exercise like walking, beginner yoga, stretches, cutting the grass (with a push mower) and the like are helping.

About me: My Truths...
About me: My Truths…

Anyway, Project Me is about working through some of the false truths, re-writing those false truths into authentic truths. It’s about making yourself a priority not an afterthought. It’s about nourishing your mind, body, and soul through affirmations and positivity. It’s about re-writing, “scripting” your life to make those goals, to be a happy, authentic, positive, productive, healthy (mentally and physically) person.

This is what Jenny said about Project Me:

We are going to take the time to love, nurture and care for ourselves. We are going to devote some time to identify who we are outside of the roles we play, find our talents…

So far, #projectme has helped me tremendously. Not only am I scripting my days, drawing and painting, reading, writing, purging things I don’t need or are torn/worn/too small/etc and organizing what I do want, and cleaning the house more, but I am happier. I wake up in the morning with a “hello morning” attitude. I am going to bed with a “it was a good day” feeling. And I am exercising more, finding ways to exercise even though I am in near constant pain (still). A body in motion stays in motion, I remind myself when the pain gets to me. I am also eating healthier, and on the road towards eating even healthier. Looking up new recipes, finding ways to cook things so that we are eating way less processed food.

Don’t get me wrong, I probably won’t be making my own pasta, but I can buy healthier pasta. And next spring, I want to plant a garden. That’s right. I’m so serious about it, I’ve been researching how to plant a garden for a “beginner.”

Does any of this have anything to do with my writing? Yes. Writing is a mostly solitary, sedentary profession. I get up and take breaks, real breaks now. Breaks that involve cleaning, preparing meals and cooking, art, reading, working on pages in my project me notebook as well as my other journal. I’m also stretching first thing in the morning. What I call my 15-20 minute stretches. I then write for 15-20 minutes–morning pages, a brain dump, whatever you want to call it.  Within the first hour of waking up, I’ve greeted the morning, made coffee, stretched, written, and gotten dressed and am preparing for the rest of my day. Two blocks of time during my day are for writing. Morning and afternoon/evening. I split it up because I need a mental break so I don’t get burned out, and because sitting for such a long time isn’t good for me. I’m producing more words and the words are better. And, I’m no longer beating myself up if I take a day off from writing to do something important like go to the beach with my daughter and grandson.  That’s a great thing. 😀

July 9

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.

June 27

Let’s talk about #onebookjuly 2016, bullet journals, planning, and stuff

A couple of years ago I heard about #onebookjuly on YouTube.

ONE BOOK, ONE PEN, ONE MONTH… I thought, there’s no way I could use just one notebook for planning, art journaling, regular written (diary style) journaling, and all the other things I do…

You see, I’m a journal/notebook (office supply) junkie. Hello, my name is Burgess and I’m a journal, office supply, coffee, chocolate, book addict.

But the more I thought about it, especially over the past few months since trying and failing more than one #onebookjuly, I realized I needed to do something. Back then I was using a Filofax for planning, or at least I was trying to use a FF for planning. I was using a Moleskin for my regular journaling… I have tried the Hobonichi, Traveler’s Notebook’s (TN) with fancy and plain inserts, a Fauxbonichi, a thick black journal, a sketchbook,  and a Productive Luddite Really Big Notebook…I’m sure I tried other things, but those are the one’s that really stand out.

I gave one FF (the personal size) to a friend, sent her Happy Mail that made her day, which made my day, and the A5 FF that I still have I haven’t used in I don’t know how long now–I was converted to using a TN. Then came along the bullet journal… I tried. I tried in various ways, especially since I’ve always been a “list maker,” a “to-do” list kind of person.

I used to use those yellow tablets (or the white one’s) and make a list of my my “to-do’s” and when I started it I’d make a check mark, when I finished it, I’d make the check mark an X–that way if I was interrupted I knew what I was working on…

So when I happened across the YT channel Rhomany’s Realm and saw not only info about bullet journaling, art, planning, TN’s, and #onebookjuly, or MissVickyB’s YT channel with video’s about all of those things, and Carie Harling’s videos…I felt like it was fate, destiny…I just knew that I could finally get my planner peace, one book (to rule them all). Only I tried #onebookjuly and realized I love journals, and I like having some separation of journals… I don’t want every single thing in one journal, BUT at the same time I would like a sort of Omni-Journal that I could use for my planning and for my regular art, sketchyourday, illustrateyourday, Hobonichi, Fauxbonichi, Smashbook style journal(ing).

I tried using a Leuchtturm1917 for my bullet journal, and my TN for my “art” journal, and then I tried using the Leuchtturm for all of the above (the paper isn’t all that great for the watercolor, markers, etc at least not with the abuse I put paper through since I’m heavy handed when it comes to watercoloring–I’m a newbie so give me some slack). The Leuchtturm’s paper is awesome for writing, though I have to say the Rhodia’s paper feels better when using a fountain pen. I love the notebooks, but not for art/watercoloring.

So off to find something else I went. The Hobonichi would work, especially since I love Tomoe River paper, but being limited to one page for day made me feel creatively caged. I needed to be free to use up as many pages per day as I wanted. Some days I draw more, some days I write more, some days I add a little bit of everything…I wanted something I could use for all of the above: bullet journaling, art, writing, collage, watercolor, ephemera, pictures, etc… I didn’t want to be limited by the paper, the page number, etc.

THEN low and behold, I found out about Nanamipaper’s Seven Seas  A5 journals with Tomoe River paper. The Standard has plain Tomoe River paper, the Writer has lined TRP, and the Crossfield has dotted TRP. I fell in love. Once I got hooked on them, I found out how hard they are to come by. They’re almost always out of stock. Back to searching again. Since I’ve tried the Stalogy 365 journal with Tomoe River paper (TRP), and now the Mystique with TRP from Taroko Design shop, which so very similar to the SevenSeas Crossfield. Pricewise they’re pretty much the same, but the shipping is a bit more–though Taroko Design’s journals aren’t out of stock nearly as often as the Seven Seas journals are.

Now, on to why I’m once again trying #onebookjuly.

I am the proud owner of 3 A5, 1 PP (passport sized), and 1 FN (fieldnote’s sized) #Jonelifish TN’s.  (TN’s made my Jonel Imutan). She is an artist, and her work was worth every penny and the wait. My bifold A5, otherwise known as Shakespeare–my writer’s notebook/bible, my trifold A5, otherwise known as Hans (after Hans Christian Anderson) –my art/life TN, my corset trifold A5, now known as Tennyson, is my spiritual/witchy TN, and my PP is used as a wallet, and the FN is used a mini writer notebook… Not to mention that I have a Buteo Bunker TN (wide). SO…With all of those TN’s, and their various uses, I really felt the need to streamline, especially since bullet journaling in separate notebook wasn’t really working.

Streamline. Get back to the basics. Figure out my goals, how to use my beautiful works of art (my Jonelifishes) to their full potential. Thus, my participation in #onebookjuly2016, even though I failed previously. You see, I really like the idea of one book (to rule them all), BUT I know it’s not completely me, so if I can streamline what I’m doing, all that I’m doing, into one TN, then I believe that will help me set up my TN’s (once this challenge is over) in a way that really works for me. Plus, I’m glutton for punishment.

I’m already participating in the #HotandSticky summer novel writing challenge, and #campnanowrimo july starts, and #onebookjuly2016 V. 2.0 is one book, one project, one month, so I’m combining V1 and V2 and making mine: one book (TN); one bag (with watercolor pencils, watercolor brush, a fountain pen (my TWSBI Eco) with Noodler’s Bullet/Waterproof ink, and whatever else will fit into that one little bag; one project (one of the july journal/art challenges), and one month…. WHEW!

Plus, July is my grandson’s birthday month, and my birthday month.

YES…” M.O.O.N spells moon” (Stephen King’s THE STAND reference).

SIGH!!! I’m adding my “Let’s talk about #onebookjuly2016” coffee chat video so if you’d like to see some of what I talked about here you’ll be able to… I’ll take some pics and write another post once I have everything together and set up.

Thanks y’all!

June 6

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

 

June 4

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:

June 3

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. 😀

 

May 31

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.

May 12

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:

May 6

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.