November 13 2017

How to Get Back into your Creative Life After a Break

Life Happens

We all have things that happen to us that slow our creativity down, or that put a halt to our creativity. I fell behind in my journaling, planning, and overall creative “things,” back in July when my Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 aggressive cancer (chemo wouldn’t help and surgery wasn’t an option–so it was just a matter of quality of life during the time he had left), and Mr. Rockstar was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. I tried to stay creative. I tried to journal. To Plan. To finish out #onebookjuly2017 and #campnanowrimo. But my emotions, thoughts…my mental state was all over the place. Insert Anxiety, Depression, and ADHD, along with the roller coaster of emotions that come with finding out your Dad has inoperable and non-treatable stage 4 cancer, and your husband has a disease that isn’t curable either–I was a wreck!

Still, I tried to maintain some sort of routine, some sort of balance. I tried to be creative. And someday’s I managed to journal, plan, write, art… Other days–I barely seemed to function. The worse my Dad got the worse my emotional state became. My emotions were all over the place. I started grieving well before my Dad died on October 5th. But his death, and my Mom’s subsequent hospitalization (she was admitted into the very same ICU ward as my Dad–within an hour or so of his death she was up there a few rooms down from where he was (he was still in the room, they were kind enough to allow my Mom to say goodbye, for all of us to say goodbye). The doctor’s and nurses all knew who I was–first time they’d had that happen, and they were absolutely wonderful to us.

Fast forward a week, my Mom was in the hospital 8 nights and 9 days. So I was at the hospital for approximately 10 days, because I’d been there the night before when my Dad was helicoptered from their local hospital to the one in Charleston to ICU. By the time my Mom was released I’d already taken care of my Dad’s cremation, and a lot of paperwork for things like insurance, etc. I was on the ball in regards to taking care of my Mom. I was not, however, doing very well in the taking time to grieve for my Dad, taking care of myself (not really), much less housework, planning, journaling, filming videos for Patreon or YouTube, etc. I did manage to do a few loads of laundry somewhere in there so I had some clean clothes to wear when I went back to the hospital (my husband convinced me to go home with him to take a shower and get some sleep–I hadn’t slept but about 3 hours in about 3 days). (I’m sure I was in definite need of a shower by then.)

 

Falling Behind  

Grief is not like many make it out to be. It comes in waves. It’s very much like riding a rollercoaster ride, maybe like that one at Sea World that splashes you with water when you least likely expect it, so not only are you on the ride, but you have added elements of surprise. I took a short break, but I knew for my own mental health I needed to focus on positive things, on things that brought me joy, and let the grief happen organically. So I got back to work… I filmed videos. I even wrote a blog post. I tried to journal but I was having issues… I felt blocked. I wasn’t sure of what it was exactly, but the journal felt wrong, what I was doing felt off, what I wanted to do felt off–I was off kilter so everything was off.

I watched a few YouTube videos, specifically one by Documented Journey, and then a Patreon video by Courtney Diaz (LittleRavenInk), and I managed to create a few pages. I knew I needed to make a change. I wasn’t sure of what change to make, or if the change would even by much more than perhaps a new journal, but I knew I needed to change things up. I’d changed. What had happened was traumatic, and it had changed me, so everything felt off–I felt off. My routine was off. My psyche was off. My anxiety was high. I was fighting depression. My focus was all off so my ADHD was in rare form. I wanted so badly to jump back into my “creative life,” to create art, to write, to journal, to do something… anything–but I couldn’t.

And then something special, quite a bit of synchronicity, happened.

 

Picking Up the Pieces

Picking up the pieces after something like the death of a loved one, the hospitalization of a loved one, especially both happening at the same time, would be difficult for almost anyone, but for me it felt like my whole world had been turned upside down. Trying to explain how close a call it was with my mom, or how hard it was to try to remain positive for my Mom, about my Mom, while my Dad had just died a few door down in ICU, or how hard it was to watch my Mom suffer in pain, delirium, and not know exactly what was wrong… There are no words. No words at all, but I found solace in the words my Dad had spoken to me… “she’s going to need you… you’re stronger than you know… I believe in you….” Those words kept me strong, gave me courage. After my Mom went home there were/are still obstacles to overcome: physical therapy, outpatient surgery, etc, but my Mom is one hell of a strong person. I knew I had to get back to life, to my own life, to living life. I couldn’t wallow–my Dad would not want me to do that, nor did my Mom.

I came home to find happy mail, more than once…

I was overwhelmed by all the love and support… I couldn’t help myself from crying happy tears over all the thoughtfulness, the compassion and generosity that was given to me.

I am finding my way…Some days are harder than others. Some days the waves of grief knock me down and take my breath, other days I let the ebb and flow of the grief wash through me–it’s not easy, But I’m working through things one day at a time.  Synchronicity is something I haven’t talked about a whole lot until lately… but it was hitting me from every direction–like the Universe was speaking directly to me and I needed to listen. I’m listening… I don’t have any sage advice. What has worked for me may or may not work for you. But the best way to get back into doing something is to start doing it. To make time to do it, even if it’s just in small doses to start with. Or to change things up so that you can get your feet wet again before diving straight in. For me it took forcing myself to jump back in, but then I was blocked again. Then I changed things up to fit with how I’d changed. The “synchronicity” helped me do that. Creativity is a great way to help with the grieving process. It doesn’t lessen your grief. Nor does it take the pain away, but it does give you an outlet to pour your feelings, doubts, and thoughts into. It gives you a positive way to work through your grief. It’s also helped me find a little balance, which is helping me find my way back to a routine. I really need to get back on a routine, but I know that I have to make changes because things have changed, I’ve changed. For the better, I think.

If you’ve used creativity, whether it’s art, writing, music, or some other creative outlet to work through your grief I’d appreciate it you’d comment below and tell me about it. 😀

October 27 2017

Creativity and Grief

On October 5th as my Dad took his last breath in the ICU my mom was being admitted into the hospital and within an hour or two would be in that same ICU ward… I was a mental and emotional wreck but I held it all together in order to do what was necessary to save my Mom. I wanted to scream. To cry out. To curl up in a corner in the dark… but I could not do any of those, all I could focus on was saving my Mom. She nearly died.

At that moment when my Mom was being wheeled into the ICU from the ER, and my Dad was still in ICU in the room he passed away in, I had both parents in ICU–one alive and one dead. It was overwhelming. The ICU was wonderful to us though. They made it possible for my Mom, as well as our immediate family, to say goodbye to my Dad before the Crematorium picked him up. And the Crematorium was also wonderful–they were understanding and compassionate.

On Friday 13th my Mom went home from the hospital. It was such a relief. Such an amazing thing, and yet as hard as it was for my Mom to go back to the home they built together alone, she did just that… the two of us–me and my Mom–had not had time to mourn my Dad. She’d been in the hospital, half in and out of delirium because of an ecoli bacterial infection, pneumonia, etc and I had been so focused on her that I hadn’t really dealt with my Dad’s death. Needless to say, I crashed. Emotionally, mentally, and physically, but the crashes came in spurts. I was still in “fight/survive” mode…my focus went from taking care of my Mom to taking care of everything else… taking care of the laundry, housework, etc that had been neglected while I’d been staying at the hospital with my mom two hours away. I’d come home 2 of those 7 nights to take a shower and get a bit of sleep. The waiting rooms in the ICU ward are not conducive to sleep.

My Mom is one hell of a lady. She’s such a strong and amazing person…this past week I’ve been working on a memorial video for my Dad’s memorial service this Saturday morning… It’s been hard on me. I had to take a break from it because I just couldn’t…I hadn’t really, truly dealt with my Dad’s death. Rationally I knew he was gone. Mentally I understood but emotionally I had not accepted it. I was almost in limbo, perhaps because I had spent that whole week after his death concentrating on my mom, but once my mom was home and I was home (I live an hour 1/2 from her) things changed. My purpose changed.

Throughout the past few weeks I’ve gotten some art done. Some writing done. I’ve tried to get back into a routine but my focus is off… I am all over the place emotionally. I’ve used creativity, art and writing to help with my grief. I’ve been channeling my grief into doing things psychically so that I can deal with things emotionally as I need to, as they surface. And they have surfaced. Those damn phases of grief aren’t as clear cut as people make them out to be. One moment I’m sad and crying, the next minute I’m angry and pulling apart my whole house to find a few pictures–carrying on like a mad woman because I can’t find them. The next minute I’m a puddle on the kitchen floor. One minute I’m doing well, and the next minute I’m a wreck.

Once I finally got the video finished for Dad’s memorial service I felt relieved, but at the same time overwhelmed with various emotions: sadness and loss, gratitude and love. and anger–fuc*ing cancer! Tomorrow (well today now since it’s after midnight) we’ve got errands to run, bills to pay, a few things we need to get for the service, but tonight I am working on a few creative things. Creative things that help with my peace of mind. The past few weeks have been hectic, filled with stress and anxiety, but one of the things that has really helped me has been the ability to be creative. It’s not a band-aid, however. The wound is emotional and it hurts but I can’t will it away or fix it overnight. All I an do is what I can do, when I can do it. My creativity in some ways has gotten a bit stuck, and yet in other ways is open. I’m rolling with what feels right to me currently. In the now…the present, which seems odd since I’ve been planning my novel for NaNoWriMo, planning my Dad’s memorial service and creating the video, as well as trying to figure out a bit of a schedule for November to fit in all the things like visiting my mom once or twice a week, having Viktor (my beautiful grandson) sleep over at least once a month,  Patreon, Youtube, NaNoWriMo, and my FB group.

Thank goodness for the wonderful community of people that have been so supportive during this hard time. From family members, to friends, to my Patrons and YT subscribers and my FB group members. I’ve been so blessed and I am appreciative of all the support.

I’ve missed blogging. I used to blog every day. I miss it. But with so much going on I kept putting off publishing a post–I have 5 or 6 drafts that have yet to be completed. I will get to them. Better late than never, but from now on I’m going to work on having a post that coincides with my YT videos, which are usually on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.

 

July 3 2017

July is time for challenges and change

Prior to my laptop having gone kaput when a Windows 10 update struck, I wrote in spurts. I could write while watching TV with Mr. Rockstar (as long as the show didn’t have a lot of music), or on an artist date at a coffee shop or at the park, or while in bed, but last year before NaNoWriMo my laptop went kaput and needed to be fixed. Mr. Rockstar’s friend Computer Guy has fixed it (about a month ago now) but I have yet to get it back, and that makes writing hard because if I want to write I have to either write at the desk with my laptop or I have to write by hand, (last night I tried using the old ibook G4 and forget it… it’s got a problem as well).

All I could think of last night was the problem… No laptop yet… this is the third NaNo event I’ve been without my laptop. And my new desktop… the one I just got well one of the USB ports on the top won’t recognize when you plugin a USB and the port for the headphones won’t recognize when you plugin the headphones… SiGh! SO I’m just frustrated. Aggravated. I was ready to say the hell with writing, to hell with it all, I was so grumpy over the lack of mobility, the “I have to sit at this desk, which I am always at, for the most part, or turned around beside the desk because I’m working at the craft table, I believe I reverted back to the terrible three’s and felt the tantrum coming on–I know it’s stress that caused that, I know it is, instead of having an actual tantrum though, I vented. I needed to vent. I had to vent. Part of my creative process is sometimes separating the writing from the art, not always but sometimes. But the book I want to write is about more than just art, or journals, or creativity, it’s about being creative with your journals, about finding time to create, about finding your creative mojo again, about living creatively, about words and art, journals, creativity, and so much more. SO regardless of whether I have my laptop or not, I’ll be writing.

“See Yourself Succeeding:  The way you see yourself has a lasting impact on your life. When you consider yourself worthy of achieving your goals…you’ll become who you want to be. You’ll see yourself as confident and capable, and you’ll follow a different path–because you now see yourself walking toward success. We don’t always realize the full impact of our thoughts–how far they reach or how they truly affect us and our goals. See yourself in this brand-new light. Think you can–and you will. Do all you can to become everything you want to be.” ~Barbara J. Hall

As I challenge myself to think outside the box, to get out of my comfort zone, not only with my writing, but my journals, art, DIY projects–well, life in general, I realize that what I’ve been slowly but surely doing is creating a life filled with creative interests that help me maintain some sort of balance in regard to anxiety and depression, and that help me utilize and cope with my ADHD.

But it’s more than just that. My life is a good one. With so much going on in July I’ve got to get things together. Working on a few things this month like #onebookjuly2017, #worldwatercolormonth,  and more. I’ll share more with you soon. But for now… here are a few videos where I talk about what is happening this month. And tomorrow I hope to start talking about my book for #campnanowrimo.

Journal Stuff:

 

Writing Stuff:

Other Stuff:

 

April 19 2017

Writer’s Doubt: Voice of Doom and Gloom, Friend or Foe?

What is Writer’s Doubt? At it’s core, self doubt (writer’s doubt) is fear. Fear of being a failure. Of not being good enough, or talented enough. And/or fear of success. Writer’s Doubt is that booming voice or the creeping but quiet voice that insists your writing sucks, that sense of dread or defeat, that feeling of suffocating or drowning… The inner voice of Doom and Gloom that makes you want to quit writing, that makes up excuses for why you’re not writing, why you don’t have time to write. Writer’s Doubt/Self Doubt is a mindset. If you fuel the negative thoughts that come from fear, that lead you down the road of self doubt, then it will become a vicious cycle of negativity. You’ll find yourself comparing your writing to other’s writing. You’ll judge your first draft against someone else’s finished, and I mean edited and published draft. You’ll want to write but the self doubt will re-assert its monstrous self and instead of putting your butt in the chair you’ll find something else, something easier to do. Or maybe you’ll be one of the lucky one’s and you’ll fight the fear, you’ll wage against the self doubt and sit down in that ergonomic chair, at your lovely desk, in front of your computer and you’ll put your hands on the keyboard, touching your fingertips lightly across the keys… you’ll start writing even if you’re afraid that your words will be nonsense, or that people will laugh. You’ll fight the good fight and write no matter how loudly that voice of doom and gloom rages. Today, I am sitting in front of the computer, at my lovely red desk, with my fingers gliding across my ergonomic keyboard, sitting in my non-ergonomic chair that really needs to be replaced, with my feet barely touching the floor writing this blog post to correspond with the video I made about this topic. I haven’t worked on my novel today, but I have done a bit of research and made some notes (keeping my head in my novel, or at least trying to). Later today I will work on the actual novel, and hopefully I will get at least 1000 words written. Am I afraid my novel will suck? Yes, a little. I’m not bored with my novel, but I do know that I need to work on my antagonist a lot more, a whole lot more. Do I expect I’ll encounter writer’s doubt (again) while working on this novel? Yep, I am sure I will feel a bit of doubt, fear, insecurity, but will I let it make me quit? Nope. NO way in hell will I quit. It’s just not in my nature. I’ve been known to take a hiatus or two, even a long one, but after having put my writing off to the side for over a decade or more, and putting my art to the side for even longer, maturity has taught me that giving up on the things you love, that you’re passionate about, those creative pursuits that help give your life meaning, I won’t quit working on my novel even if it takes 10 years to finish it.

Here’s the video… this has a great deal more information in it. 😀

 

Category: #amwriting, #writestuff, Anxiety, Creativity, Fear, Life, Self-Doubt, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Life | Comments Off on Writer’s Doubt: Voice of Doom and Gloom, Friend or Foe?
April 17 2017

Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2 (I’ve been procrastinating)

This Camp NaNoWriMo, and we’re just past the two week mark, I’ve been guilty of procrastination. Hello, my name is Burgess Taylor, and I am a procrastinator. The ironic thing is that I’ve been procrastinating with things that I also love to do, as well as things that I don’t really even care to do–things like washing dishes, laundry, cleaning the bathroom. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve also been procrastinating with things like Netflix, Hulu, reading, making videos, and social media (FB, YT, etc). I do and don’t consider spending time with family procrastinating, unless of course I initiate a Netflix marathon for me and Mr. Rockstar, which I have done, and I’ve let him convince me to do–and it was so hard to convince me to put off my writing to watch Wayward Pines on Hulu, or to watch most of the show Prison Break on Netflix. 😀 And yet, I was productive… most of the time when I watch TV I journal, and sometimes I write by hand. But this time, and maybe it’s because I still don’t have my laptop, I have not been writing nearly as much each day, or every day, the way I have during previous Camp’s.

What is procrastination? The action of delaying or postponing something. Why do we procrastinate? Many experts will tell you that we procrastinate to avoid or put off doing something we don’t want to do, but when I was working through Julia Cameron’s self-guided course “The Artist Way” I learned that most of us procrastinate because of fear. Fear of failure or fear of success. There are also chronic procrastinators. Some procrastinate because of the thrill of doing things at the last minute, it’s an adrenaline rush I suppose. And some procrastinate because they are poor decision makers. Whichever type of procrastinator you are, if you’re a creative person, I’m betting that it’s the FEAR that is keeping you from creating–from writing, drawing, etc. For me, it’s the FEAR. Continue reading

Category: #amwriting, Anxiety, Camp NaNoWriMo, Creativity, Depression, Fear, Life, Procrastination, Productivity, Scrivener, Self-Doubt, Writing, Writing Life | Comments Off on Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2 (I’ve been procrastinating)
April 10 2017

Coffee Chat Monday

If we were having coffee I’d tell you…

April 9 2017

Why did I need to update my art and journal supply tote?

Overall #backtobasicsapril items

On Friday I posted a “What’s in my bags?” video because for the month of April I’m getting #backtobasics. To be honest, when I was first thinking about all of this back in March all I knew for sure was that I wasn’t really using my journals or planner(s). And if I’m not journalling then there is something seriously wrong. One of the things that has really worked for me in the past is #onebookjuly. I remember the first time I heard Rhomany of Rhomany’s Realm talk about #onebookjuly–getting back to the basics of planning. If the system you’re using for planning isn’t working it doesn’t matter what notebook you use… And since then I’ve been working on my actual planning system.

Continue reading

March 9 2017

New Journal Temptation

Nanamipaper’s Sevenseas Crossfield

As a lover of all things stationery, and a journal/book/DIY/art/book/writer nerd, I am, I admit, often tempted to start a new journal. Sometimes the temptation arises because I see a shiny new journal on a shelf in a store, or a new journal via someone’s YT video, FB post, IG picture, etc., or simply because I have gotten bored, anxious, or tired of the current journal I am using–or perhaps because I’m frustrated with what I’ve been doing. Maybe it started out great but somewhere along the way what I wanted the pages, and eventually the journal, to look like is not what it looks like.

I’m not alone in this. About once every few months someone asks me if I am ever tempted to start a new journal before I’ve finished my current, or how to do stick with a journal until I’ve used up the whole journal, or am I ever tempted to start a new journal–shiny new journal syndrome (much like the shiny new idea syndrome in regard to writing, which I know way too much about for my own good). Every time I start a new journal before finishing the current journal I regret it for all of about 5 minutes–the shiny new pages are just so pretty, the crisp clean feel of the new journal is overwhelming in its beauty, the newness… and yet–

I can’t help but wonder if all of this angst over my journals and planning system are about the journals/planning or if it’s really about the depression and anxiety that have increased from being sick for over a month. Being sick has definitely taken a toll on me. Now that I’m finally feeling better and more like myself I realize that it’s probably a combination of all of the above. I’m working on things so that I feel more better.

If you would like to see what I’ve been up to you can watch my coffee chat video from Monday where I talk about how I’m not feeling the journal/planner peace. Continue reading

February 19 2017

Two years art or visual journaling anniversary

This month marked the actual 2 year journalversary… two years that I’ve been journaling on a steady basis using art and words. I know it might not seem like a big deal to some, but to me it’s been a big deal. Not only has adding art to my journaling increased my creativity, lessened my anxiety and help manage my depression, but it’s also helped me with self-doubt and self-esteem.

I talk about much of this in this video about Fear, Self-Doubt, and Creativity:

Another thing I’ve realized is how far I’ve come with my art. By the way, I am not a professional artist. Nor am I professional writer (yet). But I am an artist. A writer. And I’ve learned that combining art and words in my journal, in my outlining for my novels (using Tarot is visual (artistic) and the Hero’s Journey is structure), has helped me figure out an outlining method that works for me.

Continue reading

January 22 2017

Journals, Planners, and More for 2017, part 2

Here is what I’ve setup in regard to journals, planners, and writing for 2017 (so far).