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!!! 😀


October 19

Outlining Using Tarot and Hero’s Journey for NaNoWriMo Prep

Last year for NaNoWriMo, and this year, I’ve used Arwen Lynch’s 33 Days to Finish Your Novel, which is an ecourse (I’ll leave the links to everything below). With Arwen’s ecourse you use tarot cards and the hero’s journey to plot out your novel. I know, I know… You’re probably thinking WHAT? Tarot cards? The Hero’s Journey? But it’s creative, intuitive, imaginative, fun, and it works.

Using the Tarot cards helps open my mind to possibilities, as well as sparks the fire of my imagination. I look at a card and instead of just seeing what is on the card I also see an image in my head of the character, or the setting, or an event. I see the possibilities of various different scenarios from the image on the card. As I work through the scenarios in my head of what I see when I look at the card I find myself imagining my character as the Hermit, or the Fool, sitting in front of a field full of wild flowers or a beach or an old castle… I see the antagonist with a knife in his/her hand, or kidnapping the protagonist. I see those possibilities and as I narrow down things in my head and then on paper, I know what is going to happen next in my novel.

Using my Writer’s/NaNoWriMo Bullet Journal, I’ve been creating the basis of my outline for NaNo, then taking those basics and going a step further in my Writer’s Notebook for that novel. It’s a process. It’s a process I wasn’t sure I’d ever actually be able to follow through with–I’m a pantser at heart, y’all. But with this method, I can outline the main points, the hero’s journey, and then write by the seat of my pants the rest–like the scenes, which I don’t outline. It gives me structure while still allowing me to be free, to use my imagination, to not feel boxed in by an outline.

Here is my YT playlist for last year’s NaNo Prep

And here is my YT playlist (so far) for this year’s NaNo Prep.

And here are the supplies I’m using thus far:

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

Arwen’s Course Info: http://tarotbyarwen.com/17242-2/

Tarot for Writer’s by Corrine Kenner : http://amzn.to/2cnPEJx

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 (If you use the code Burgess10 you will get 10% off anything in her shop except the custom order TN’s).

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

Midori A5 Grid Notebook: http://amzn.to/2e8ag87

Clairfontaine A5 Red Notebook (Lined): http://amzn.to/2eTw9cl 

**** 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!

Note: All items have been purchased by me with my own money. Any items sent for review will be clearly noted here or in the video. All opinions are honest and are my own.

October 16

The Drawing of the Three Discussion

the-drawing-of-the-threeSome readers of the Gunslinger have complained that the book is dark, gloomy, and a bit of a slow read. While I do believe that book is a bit dark, and a bit gloomy, and the first chapter is a bit of a slow read, the rest of the book is quite the opposite. Many have also said that The Drawing of the Three is actually the starting point and that the Gunslinger is more or less backstory, and that readers could start with The Drawing of the Three and read the Gunslinger later. I suppose they could, but you miss out on so much of the story if you do that.

In the Gunslinger, we learn that Roland has left behind all of those who started the quest with him, who joined him along the way, or who helped him. Most of them are dead. We learn and sense that Roland is, in fact, more than capable of leaving those he cares about, even killing those he cares about, or leaving them to die. Roland is also more than capable of completing his quest alone, and in some ways seems to prefer it, even seems to reject companionship. But in the Drawing of the Three, Roland is forced to find the “Three.” The book runs parallel with Walter’s Tarot Reading. King even names a major section “Shuffle.”

The Drawing of the Three takes place primarily on the Western Sea or in New York… Jake’s “There are other worlds than these.” Eddie’s New York is set in the 80’s. Before we get to the Prisoner’s Door and Eddie Dean, we find ourselves cringing when Roland is severely injured by the Lobstrosities and loses his gun fingers on his dominate hand (his right one). And worse, his bullets get wet. The Lobstrosities don’t stop with his fingers, they take a chunk out of his calf,  he loses a toe and his boot to them. In the Gunslinger we see Roland as more of an Anti-Hero, but at this point in the book things change. Roland, the last gunslinger, has been injured to the point that we’re not sure if he’ll be able to continue as a gunslinger…”What had once been a thing so easy it didn’t even bear thinking about had suddenly become a trick akin to juggling.” Deep down we know that Roland, whose aim is true, will be able to shoot just as well with his left hand, but we know he’s changed and that his injuries have altered the chances of his success in reaching the Dark Tower. I cried in frustration and pain when he was injured. I remember being pissed and saddened in a completely different way than when I was pissed that Roland let Jake die.

Yes, Roland’s training helps him keep from losing control, and enables him to function even when others, including some gunslingers, might have been pushed over the edge, but he’s not perfect. He almost lost it after Jake fell to his death. And now, he’s so enraged that he actually takes a rock and smashes the lobstrosity with it, and then takes his remaining boot and crushes its head, over and over again. “IT was dead, but he meant to have his way with it all the same; he had never, in all his long strange time, been so fundamentally hurt, and it had all been so unexpected.” Ka? Some kind of weird atonement for letting Jake die?

Roland heads North. The MIB, who tricked Roland into thinking he is dead, watches Roland as he struggles on the beach, then heads in the opposite direction. Roland’s journey towards the Three, his new ka-tet. The first door is the Prisoner, which is Eddie Dean. The “grinning face of a baboon” is upon that door, which implies “a monkey on one’s back.” That monkey is not only heroin, but his brother Henry. The door allows Roland to see through the eyes of the person that he is supposed to draw. Once he crosses the threshold of the door he actually enters that person’s body and mind, leaving his body behind where it lays near the Western Sea.

Roland can assert himself and take control while inhabiting the body of the drawee, as well as communicate with the drawee. Roland soon learns that Eddie isn’t weak, but he does have weaknesses–heroin and Henry. Eddie is in big trouble, and Roland needs Eddie’s help, time is running out for the both of them. Roland convinces Eddie to go into the bathroom and to walk through the “magical” doorway into Roland’s world. They quickly rid Eddie of the drugs that are taped to him, while the plane’s crew are banging on the bathroom door. Roland gets Eddie back through the door mere seconds before they burst through the bathroom door. Eddie thinks quickly. Roland, however, is frustrated with Eddie and his clumsiness.

Between Eddie and Roland, they handle the Customs interrogation. Roland’s strength gives Eddie the courage and strength to withstand the questions and the withdrawal he feels from the drugs. Roland doesn’t trust Eddie. He knows that Eddie has an inner strength, that he’s a survivor, but you can hear the mistrust when Roland tells himself, through Cort’s voice, “You did yourself ill to feel well of those to whom ill must eventually be done.” And Eddie fears and likes Roland, and thinks that in time he might even grow to love Roland like a brother.

Though Roland takes Eddie and Detta/Odetta through the doors without their explicit consent, he tells himself that he’ll release them once he’s reached the Tower, and that they might even be able to go back to their own worlds and times… he’s honest enough with himself to know that that is not likely though. “Neither, however, could the thought of the treachery he contemplated turn him aside from his course,” and we see how Roland’s quest is all Roland can think about, all he allows himself to be concerned with. Ka? We wonder about that, especially after the MIB’s voice creeps in to remind Roland that he’s already sacrificed Jake for the Tower, and now Roland is ready to sacrifice his new ka-tet to a life in an alien world and time, where they might die and never return home…Roland is a prisoner of his quest for the Dark Tower.

Once they finish with Balazar, which was one hell of an action scene, Roland’s life is in Eddie’s hands. Roland fights with his infection and Eddie fights the withdrawal from the drugs. Eddie hates Roland for kidnapping him and leaving him stranded in a world where he has no access to his drugs. Yet Eddie continues to take care of Roland, including killing lobstrosities so they can eat. Eddie even builds what Roland calls a travios and drags Roland north. Eddie’s resourcefulness would have met with Cort’s approval, Roland thinks, but Roland ridicules it in his mind. Eddie thinks about killing himself, but the fact that Roland needs him keeps him from doing so. Eddie tells Roland of his life, tells him about Henry. Eddie hopes to get a response from Roland, perhaps and agreement about Henry, but Roland says, “What’s past is past, and what’s ahead is ahead. The second is ka, and takes care of itself.” Eddie grows to hate Ka.

The second door is called the Lady of the Shadows. Eddie thinks it’s a way back to his world and a way to get drugs. Roland places his life in Eddie’s hands, even turning over his guns to Eddie. He tells Eddie that his old life is over. After they reach the Tower Roland doesn’t care what Eddie does, but until then that part (meaning the drugs) of your life is over. Roland says, “You could be a gunslinger. I needn’t be the last after all. It’s in you, Eddie. I see it. I feel it.” High praise coming from Roland.

Eddie threatens to kill Roland once he passes through the doorway, especially since Eddie knows he can’t pass through the doorway without Roland, but Eddie can’t kill Roland.

Detta/Odetta is a prisoner within her own body/mind. She lost her legs from the knees down when she was pushed in front of a train. Later in the book we find out that it was in fact Jack Mort who pushed her. We learn of her history through a series of flashbacks. Roland was able to enter Eddie without being noticed, but Detta detects him right away. Roland sense her other personality, “not the way one would look at her reflection in a mirror, but as separate people; the window became a windowpane and for a moment Odetta had seen Detta and Detta had seen Odetta and had been equally horror-struck.”

Roland warns Eddie that she is dangerous, but Eddie is smitten with Odetta. He “hears with his ears, but not with his heart.” Roland hears Eddie’s story about Detta’s and Odetta’s brief awareness of each other and knows that he has to somehow make her two personalities face each other.

Jack Mort. The Death door. Jack Mort is a sociopath, and Roland picks up on this. Mort does not know that Roland is there, he’s too intent on what he’s doing–he’s about to push Jake Chambers in front of a car. Ka? Roland worries that he’ll be forced to watch Jake’s death, and fear that it is punishment for sacrificing Jake beneath the mountains. But Roland pushes forward, distracting Mort long enough that he misses his chance to push Jake, and Jake isn’t crushed beneath the wheels of the Cadillac Sedan. Roland wonders about things… if Jack Mort had been meant to kill Jake then he won’t be able to stop, but he knows he can’t be responsible for Jake’s death a second time, and pushes forward–this is a selfless act, and because of his contact with Eddie it makes him wonder about the implications of his decision. He also doesn’t think about the paradox that he’s created.

Jake entered the Way Station by sort of being reborn into Roland’s world after dying in his when he was killed because Jack Mort pushed him in front of the Cadillac. Saving Jake’s life means that Roland has changed things so that Jake never actually entered Roland’s at the Way Station. Roland contemplates much about what has just happened, but he sees that Detta has Eddie tied up and at the mercy of the lobstrosities. Roland knows it’s a trick to get him to come back. Roland knows that Jack Mort is not meant to be part of his ka-tet. Mort, who caused both of Odetta’s injuries (the one that made her personalities split, and the one that caused her to lose her legs). Mort represents Death. Death for the split personalities of Odetta and Detta.

One of my favorite parts of this book comes now: The gun shop scenes, the pharmacy scene, and the scene with the cop who shoots at Jack Mort but the cigarette lighter saves Morts life and yet helps end his life at the same time. Once Roland projects the message to the Lady of Shadows, calling her by both Odetta and Detta, she turns to look and Roland jumps Mort’s body onto the tracks. The train cuts him in half at the waist, but Roland has crossed back with boxes of bullets and antibiotics. As Mort is cut into two, Odetta and Detta split into two physicalities and struggle with each other as they witness through their own eyes and through Jack Mort’s–Odetta hugs Detta and tells her “I love you” and they become one again. She goes down to the beach with Roland’s guns and saves Eddie from the lobstrosities.

The newly combined personality of Odetta and Detta, takes on her middle name, which is Susannah, and then ends up taking on Eddie’s surname. She’s strong, has heart, but is able distance herself from her emotions. Roland believes that Susannah is the third person he was supposed to draw. But… and here it is y’all… what we’ve all been waiting for…

When Roland killed Jack Mort, he changed Jake’s situation. The real third person to be drawn into Roland’s ka-tet, and back into Mid-World, is Jake.

Though Eddie has tremendous respect for Roland, he knows that Roland would sacrifice all of them for the sake of the Tower. Eddie tells Roland, “if you kill what you love you’re damned.” Roland believes he might already be damned for sacrificing Jake but he sees the possibility of redeeming himself. He promises Eddie that he won’t consider sacrificing them, and wouldn’t have considered sacrificing Jake, but there is more than only one world to win, that his mission is bigger than just the Tower, that it’s to save everything, all worlds.

In the back of my mind, throughout both books, I keep wondering if the Tower is salvation for all worlds but damnation for Roland, or if it’s salvation for Roland but damnation for all worlds, or a bit of both for both…

*Note: much of my information has come from the books, the afterwords, Robin Furth’s Stephen King’s The Dark Tower A Concordance Vols I and II, and Bev Vincent’s The Road to the Dark Tower.

October 16

The Drawing of the Three Discussion Questions Part II

As a Constant Reader of Sai King’s work, I’m often surprised, yet not surprised at the same time, that there is so much symbolism within the pages of his books. Instead of separating the remaining weeks I’m going to write all of the questions here in this post and then I’m going to write a discussion post about what I think about the whole of the book. From now on, I’m going to do the same for the rest of the books. A central Questions Post and then a Central Discussion Post. I’d love it if you’d answer the questions here, and then go on to comment on the discussion post.

What is Ka? How does it affect Roland’s life? Does Ka seem to equate pre-destination? Do you think that humans are trapped by Ka, or do we retain free will?

What do the three magic doors look like? Why do you think each are different? How do they work? Do you think Ka has anything to do with the differences between the doors, and their existence?

Roland hears voices in his head. Cuthburt’s, the MIB’s, his father’s…Do you think they play a part in Roland’s internal dialogue? Do you think they are a force for good or bad? How does Roland becoming a voice in the mind’s of others change your view of Roland?

Much of the Drawing of the Three takes place outside of Roland’s World, and instead in our world, or at least a version of our world. Many of Eddie’s problems, as well as most of Detta/Odetta’s problems, are rooted in the U.S.’s culture/history. What social, economic, and cultural problems of 1980’s America touch Eddie’s life? How did racial hatred, segregation, and then the Civil Rights Movement affect Detta/Odetta’s life?

Why is Eddie willing to put his life in danger for his brother Henry? Do you think Henry deserves this kind of loyalty?

Roland comes from a Warrior culture. What part does patriarchal lineage play in the gunslinger culture? Why would this kind of culture be foreign to Eddie?

What did you think about the showdown at Balazar’s place?

Why did Odetta’s father refuse to tell her about his past? What metaphor does King use to describe Dan Holmes’s protective silence? How does his treatment of his past contribute to Odetta’s fragmentation?

How does Roland help “cure” Odetta of the fragmentation? Is timing significant?

What do you think about Jack Mort and what happened to him?

What role does Jack play in the novel? Why is this so significant in terms of Roland’s development?

The verb to draw has many meanings and can be used in many contexts. Roland, Eddie, and Detta all draw guns. Roland draws his two companions into his world. However, the verb to draw can also be used to describe the action of drawing poison from a wound so that the wound can heal. What role does this kind of drawing play in the Drawing of the Three?

What role does Jake play in this novel? Why is this so significant in terms of ROland’s development?


*Note: Most of these questions came from Robin Furth’s Stephen King’s The Dark Tower A Concordance Volume II.


October 11

If we were having coffee… Hurricane Matthew

From Weather.com
From Weather.com

If we were having coffee I’d tell you about how Hurricane Matthew (2016) left a trail of destruction all the way from Haiti to North Carolina, causing billions of dollars worth of damage along the East Coast.

According to the news, Matthew started out as a tropical storm/wave on September 22 off the coast of Africa. Within a week it grew to a majorly destructive hurricane.

The hurricane slammed into Haiti at full force, and caused over a billion dollars in damages and claimed many lives. Matthew continued on its destructive path to the eastern tip of Cuba where it all but annihilated much of the coastal town of Baracoa.

Florida braced for the worst as the destructive Matthew headed their way on October 7; it was downgraded to a Category 2  later that evening, but still caused massive flooding, and widespread power failures in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas. Matthew turned its attention  on the 8th of October towards Georgia and South Carolina (which is where I live), where it made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane, leaving a wake of damage: flooding, power outages, and more. There are many who are still without power.

Though Matthew was downgraded it wasn’t done yet. It hit North Carolina and Virginia on Sunday, October 9, still packing quite a destructive punch.  Because of torrential rains, parts of eastern North Carolina, and parts of South Carolina, are facing even more flooding.

Then Matthew returned to the Atlantic Ocean, but it claimed approximately 19 lives in the United States alone, and the devastation and destruction can still be felt as many are still without power and many in the Carolinas face even more flooding.

Just as I survived Hurricane Hugo in 1989, I survived Hurricane Matthew, and for that I am thankful. Yes, we have damage. Yes, we were prepared ahead of time. Part of that preparedness was because we’d survived Hugo along with other tropical storms and hurricanes (along with quite a few other natural disasters like snow storms in parts of SC that rarely even get snow, as well as the flood we had last year ), and part of it was because of Gov. Haley.

Today, I raise my cup of coffee to all of those who were in the wake of Matthew’s destructive path, to Gov. Haley for evacuating the areas of SC that were supposed to be in the most danger, and to all of the workers: EMS, Police, Fire Dept, news people, volunteers…and many others.

October 3

September’s Wrap Up and October’s Happenings

October 2

Finding Water Week 4: A Sense of Balance

I’m sorry it has taken me 2 weeks to complete this week, but that might have been synchronicity at work, since this week is actually about:

Pivotal to any creative journey is the ability to resist the cliff’s edge of drama. All of us are tempted to binge on negativity. It is the careful husbanding of optimism that allows us to move productively forward. This week’s spiritual toolkit is aimed at dismantling the hobgoblins of fear and distrust that poison your well. You will align yourself with a Higher Power that extends itself in benevolent ways on your behalf. Sketchbook in hand, you will practice being in the now, where there is always sufficient safety for you to experience balance.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve incorporated my morning and evening stretches, my evening pages, walking, self-care, art, writing, reading, and a bit of meditation into my day.

“As an artist I must be able to see into the future. I mist be able to cast an idea forward and see it fleshed out and standing on its own, a real creation.” That really hit me this past week. Since I’ve been fleshing out the outline for my novel for NaNoWriMo using tarot and the hero’s journey (Arwen’s 33 Days to Finish Your Novel course), I’ve been in the “now” with the novel, but I’m also seeing that finished work in my head. How it’s all coming together. I’m also noticing that my art, at least my daily sketches that are part of this week’s chapter, as well as my daily art for my journal, are changing. Not a whole lot, but enough that I’m noticing what feels more “me.” I’m finding my authentic voice with my art. 😀 That feels good. I’m not quite there yet, too many days are not really thought out and just thrown on the page because I’m in a hurry. I need to slow down. Enjoy the process.

“Anything that curbs our enthusiasm is the enemy.” So true. Comparing yourself to others is a good example of something that curbs our enthusiasm. I look at my drawing, at something I painted with watercolor, or my art journal page and then I look at someone else’s, someone who is trained, or how has been at it for longer, or…and no matter how decent my page is it’s not going to look decent compared to someone else’s… It’s like comparing apples and oranges. I’ve had to stop doing it. Now I watch other people’s process videos for helpful tips, tricks, techniques. I refuse to compare my works to theirs, unless about a technique–if I’m doing something wrong I need to know what I’m doing wrong and how to correct it.

“Each day I must find something to love in my day at hand.” STAY IN THE PRESENT. Since I started the little sketchbook Jen sent me I’ve been practicing the “Illustrate your life” portion (It’s one of the Divining Rod exercises) and it has helped me focus on being more in the present, on finding something positive each day.

“It shall pass.” Remember this, she says. Use it as a touchstone. There are cycles of acceptance. She says there are “bleak seasons and fruitful seasons. Successes and failures….to find the dignity in the doing…and (to remember) it counts for something.” This is something I am still working on. I realized how one bad day, or one bad piece, or one bad… throws me off and then the “I don’t know why I’m even trying to be a writer, to draw, to paint, to…” starts in my mind. I’ve got to learn to be more resilient when it comes to things like that, and to keep it simple. To find my “Calm oasis and listen, enjoy a sense of communion with a greater power than myself.” Getting outside for the walks, communing with nature, with the universe, really does help me. And sketching at least one small piece of my daily life has been fun…it makes me slow down.

October 1

The Drawing of the Three Discussion Week 1

the-dark-tower-gunslingerWhen we left off with Roland and his quest for the Dark Tower, Jake dies because Roland was faced with the “second-most agonizing choice of his life” and chose to sacrifice Jake, his symbolic son. Jake tells Roland, “Go, then. There are other worlds than these.” Roland palavers with Walter. The Man in Black tells Roland about the past, the Universe, and Roland’s future with a deck of Tarot cards. The cards show the Sailor, which is Roland’s card, The Prisoner, The Lady of Shadows, and the Death card… these are the three that Roland will find through the three doors he will find along his quest.

The book ends with Roland watching the sunset on the beach of the Western Sea. The Man in Black is dead. Roland’s future is unclear, and less than 7 hours later we begin The Drawing of the Three on that same beach.

Like the Sailor card from the Tarot deck, Roland wakes to the “grating sound of water with a throat-full of stones.” The “monstrosities (or lobstrosities as they will later be called) the-drawing-of-the-threeand their chant of “Did-a-chik” “Did-a-chum” seem to be symbolic. Roland is crippled by them, hurt in a way that he has never been hurt before, losing the first two fingers on his dominant hand (right). This injury is unexpected, in more than one way (to Roland and to the Constant Reader). Why do you think King choose to do that? How does this change Roland? Do you think that the Prologue was a set up for the tone of the novel? Or do you think it was Ka? As a Constant Reader of King’s work I was surprised, yet not surprised, that Roland was hurt so harshly in the 2nd book. I think Roland needed to be taught a lesson, not to mention that he ends up needed help and Eddie Dean ends up being the one to help him. It changes Roland for the better as the novel progresses, though it does so at a cost, and maybe that’s what it’s about–the cost. King has often said that his characters guide him, that the story itself guides him. To me, the story has unfolded the way it has because of King’s Ka, as well as Roland and his Ka-Tet. 

King’s influences for the Dark Tower series are The Lord of the Rings; The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly; King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table; and Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came. Do you feel like the Gunslinger showed these influences? Do you feel the influences in The Drawing of the Three? I can definitely see and feel the influences of LOTR’s, Clint Eastwood and the Good, The Bad, and The Ugly; as well as King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. I read the poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” and you can definitely see how the poem influenced him. The Dark Tower series is a cross between a western, fantasy, a bit of SciFi, and horror. 

In The Gunslinger, Roland is shown as a broken, damned man. One who possesses enough humanity to understand his actions, yet lacks enough humanity to change the course of his actions (Ka). Do you think that Roland has grown as a result of his actions? Especially his sacrifice of Jake? I do believe that Roland has grown because of his actions, but especially because of Jake’s sacrifice, which is how I think of it. Jake knew something. Throughout the novel The Gunslinger, Jake was intuitive. Roland even remarks on it (or at least thinks about it). 

What do you think about Eddie Dean, the Prisoner? What do you think about Roland’s thoughts while riding piggy back in Eddie’s mind? Eddie Dean is a Prisoner of the drugs, as well as his love for Henry, his ideal of what Henry has done for him…sacrificed for him. Roland is flabbergasted with many of the things he encounters while piggy-backing Eddie’s mind. Because of  this, he learns that Eddie has a bit of steel underneath the surface, hidden behind the things that keep him imprisoned.  At heart, Eddie is a gunslinger. 


September 28

My Writer’s Bible, Bullet Journal, and Notebook

My Camp NaNoWriMo Spread, including a word count tracker, April's calendar, tasks, and some inspiration.
My Camp NaNoWriMo Spread, including a word count tracker, April’s calendar, tasks, and some inspiration.

Back in April,  I started my Writer’s Bullet Journal in a large (well, it’s the Master) Leuchtturm 1917, but it was just too big to handle easily. Forget taking it anywhere. And it didn’t fit in my Writer’s Bible, which is a custom Jonelifish TN (traveler’s notebook). I tried the softcover Leuchtturm 1917 and loved it, but it became harder and harder to find, so when I got down to the last few pages of it I decided to use a Midori A5 grid notebook I had, since it could also be housed in my Writer’s Bible and replace the filled softcover Leuchtturm1917.

get shit done
Self Explanatory

With NaNoWriMo quickly approaching, I needed to get things together. I had 6 weeks to prepare for November 1st and when I really thought about it–that just didn’t feel like enough time, but HEY! a writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do. So I got my butt in gear and started preparing. My husband said, “It’s not November yet, why are you doing Nano stuff now?” I looked up at him with my serious face. “It’s almost the end of September. I’ve got to get things ready…” I said.  And then I looked down at my Writer’s Bible and said, “I’m excited and there’s a lot of work to do.” And like Jake at the end of the Gunslinger, my husband nodded and said, “Well go on and do your NaNo stuff then.” It’s not as good as “there are other worlds than this,” but it made me happy. And since I’m using Arwen’s 33 Days to Finish Your Novel course again I knew I’d need to start at least 33 days before NaNoWriMo. I really do love using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey to outline.

amwriting april 22
Camp NaNo April 2015 (?) Writer’s Bible, Laptop, and Starbucks’s White Chocolate Mocha

So here I am, preparing for NaNoWriMo once again. Only this year, I know so much more than I did the previous years… with each passing year I learn more about myself as a writer. I’ve learned more about writing, outlining, pantsing, branding oneself, the writing community, editing videos, taking pictures, planning and using a bullet journal, what works best in my Writer’s Bible, and what I need in order to survive NaNoWriMo. Not that I don’t aim to write between 1000-2000 words per day during the rest of the year, but there is something about NaNoWriMo and the various writing communities that pushes you do do more, to try new things, to expand your horizons, and to get your ass in the chair every day and WRITE! And the planning community, especially the bullet journal community has given me such great ideas for how to plan out things in my Writer’s Bible and Writer Bullet Journal.

NaNoWriMo 2016: Writer’s Bible, which includes my Writer Bullet Journal, my Writer Notebook, a few supplies, Tarot Cards

When I first talked to Jonel Imutan about making me a Writer’s Bible, a TN specifically for my writer stuff, I knew I wanted something unique, functional, and that fit me. I told her what I wanted, and left it up to her which style of typewriter to engrave on the front, and how to coordinate the colors, and once it was done I got to name it–Shakespeare. Thought I’d have named it something from a Stephen King novel, huh? Nope. Though I love King’s works, and he’ll always be my favorite and he’s a genius, there’s something about Shakespeare that has always spoken to me.

I have done numerous videos that have featured Shakespeare (my Writer’s Bible), and over time it has become even more supple and pliable, more functionable because I’ve learned what works best for me, and it’s always subject to change if I find that something isn’t working.

Midori A5 Grid Notebook that I'm using as my Writer Bullet Journal
Midori A5 Grid Notebook that I’m using as my Writer Bullet Journal

Inside my Writer’s Bible, the first notebook is the Midori A5 Grid Notebook that I’m using for my Writer Bullet Journal. I printed what you see on the cover, which I found on Pinterest. I love what it says: Punch Today in the Face. Some days you just have to do that… and I know there will definitely be days during November when I am going to feel like punching something in the face. 😀 Don’t get me wrong, NaNoWriMo is awesome, but it’s chaotic. I’ve tried pantsing during NaNoWriMo, writing by the seat of my pants, and I failed. I love the idea of pantsing…of writing intuitively with no outline, just writing, but I was flailing around like a fish on land by the middle of November when I did that. Since then I’ve been working on the method of planning that works best for me. It feels like I’ve found it–using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey, Arwen’s method specifically, has really helped me find my groove with outlining. I used it last year and I’m using it again this year. I’ve also tried the Save the Cat method, along with a few others.


On the inside, the cover page, I pasted a picture that I got from NaNoWriMo 2015 for inspiration… it reminds me of what I’m supposed to be doing… WRITING, plus it has fun things in the picture like Coffee, Pens, Ink, a Notebook…and let’s not forget my Coffee magnet bookmark. I love how this picture makes me feel. So below is a gallery I created of the rest of the inside of my Writer Bullet Journal. I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures. It’s still a work in progress though.. and I made a few boo boo’s…  but overall I like it. I can live with the mistakes, it just gives my Writer Bullet Journal character. 😀


Next is the Index, and then the Future log. Nothing complicated about either of those. I have been working on this new Writer Bullet Journal since September 20th and so far I’ve gotten a few things done, but there’s still much more that I need to work on. I’m trying to stay organized. There’s so much to keep up with that I had to get organized if I want to get things done, especially if I want to be efficient. It’s about working smarter not harder.

The next notebook in my Writer’s Bible is the “new shiny ideas” notebook for writing. If I get an idea about a character, a novel, a scene but I’m not sure it goes in the current WIP then I write it down in this notebook.

Shiny New Ideas Notebook
Shiny New Ideas Notebook

And here is the third notebook in my Writer’s Bible.

NaNo YT and Blog Insert
NaNo YT and Blog Insert

The first page is my NaNo Prep YT video list

NaNo Prep YT Video List
NaNo Prep YT Video List

And the next page is the NaNo Prep Blog Post List:

NaNo Prep Blog Post List
NaNo Prep Blog Post List

And the last notebook in my Writer’s Bible. Its a Clairefontaine notebook and I use it as my Writer Journal. I write down how my writing or outlining is going. What I think, etc.. The pages are wonderful for fountain pens. 😀

Clairefontaine Notebook
Clairefontaine Notebook

And last but not least, is my Writer Notebook. It is where I write out what I’ve learned from using the outlining method. I am not sure of where I got this notebook. I believe it might have been Walmart. I love the paper for writing. And I love that the pages are sectioned by different colors, and that at the top it has a little section where you can either write the date or the page number. I’ve chosen to write the page numbers.

And that’s it… at least for now. I have a lot of work to do this afternoon and this evening to write down what I learned about the Call to Adventure. I go back through my notes from my Writer Bullet Journal and then summarize it in the Writer Notebook.

Links to some of the things I’ve mentioned are below. Note:

**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!**

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

Arwen’s Course Info: http://tarotbyarwen.com/17242-2/

Tarot for Writer’s by Corrine Kenner : http://amzn.to/2cnPEJx

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

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

My Writer’s Bible: http://jonelifish.com