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.

 

September 2 2017

Chh Chh Changes…

Hello my creative people…

How the hell are you?

It’s been a while… now I hear that song playing in my head… “It’s been a while…”

I’ve been busy spending time with family, busy creating content for Patreon, for YT, rearranging my creative room, revamping how I film videos and my journals–how I have them set up, as well as thinking…

Damn that thinking about things… but it was necessary and much needed. Between my dad having cancer (and dying… it’s now a matter of time and the quality of life while he’s still here), and Mr. Rockstar being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, my world was turned upside down. Mr. Viktor (my 5 year old grandson) started kindergarten. I closed one FB group and changed another to fit what I’d imagine all along–it was a progression… A progression of things that made me challenge myself, change things, and that changed my perspective.

In October my account with Blue Host has to be renewed… the notification came in my email this week… and I thought “Do I want to keep my website? Keep my blog? Do I want to really devote the time, effort, and money into something that has been hit or miss the past year?…” And the answer was yes. YES? Yes! It’s time to get back to me. To the things that bring me joy. To the things that I love and that I enjoy. To doing the things that really matter. And writing, reading, art, blogging, vlogging (well, I’m not a really big vlogger but I do enjoy making videos that inspire and motivate others, videos that are a sharing of thoughts, ideas, how to’s, and what I’ve learned so that I might be able to help someone else). I can do all of that within the space of this website. Share my thoughts, ideas, my videos, my pictures, my creativity, my life (to an extent) right here.

Truth is, I’ve missed blogging, but I kept putting it off. I evaded, avoided, procrastinated. Why? I’m still not quite sure, except that somewhere deep inside myself I was hesitant to put all of this down in writing and then share it… I was anxious, but now I’m past the point of being nervous about it and instead I’m excited about it.

Excited about the changes. So excited that I’ve finally created a YT channel trailer video:

And I’m finally sketching daily thanks to #sketchtember, and prepping for #NaNoWriMo and calling it #preptember, and I’m still on Patreon, still journaling and reading, and drinking coffee and watching mind candy TV movies and shows when I need to  relax and unwind (or I go for a walk or both).

I’ll be posting more here. It’s time for to get serious about coordinating my blog posts with my YT videos.

July 16 2017

A real hero

My Daddy

When I was 7 years old my daddy died. He was 31, my mom was 28, and my younger brother was 4 years old. We were all devastated. I retreated into a shell. I took to books, writing in my pink dairy, and talking to my daddy in my dreams. My brother became glued to my mom.

When my mom met the man who was to become our (step)dad I wasn’t sure about the whole “new” dad thing. I already had a daddy. He was in Heaven with the angels and God and I was just waiting to be with him, or for him to come back to us.

But he was such a gentle soul, this big and tall bear of a man. He never tried to take my daddy’s place. He stood by the car as he waited for us when we visited my daddy’s graveside. He talked to us not at us, listened to us–really listened, and he genuinely loved us like we were his own children. We couldn’t have asked for a better dad, and my mom couldn’t have asked for a better husband.

Now it’s forty-one years later, in May my mom and this gentle bear of a man were married 41 years, and I am heartbroken… I am losing another father, this time it isn’t unexpected like my daddy’s death (car accident). This time it’s cancer. Aggressive cancer that has taken over my dad’s body and reduced him to a shell of the man he once was physically. And I can tell he hates it. This strong man that I love and who has been a real hero in every way that a person can be a hero, has been reduced to being a victim of extremely aggressive cancer and all that that entails. I am devastated. My mom. My children. My nephews. My brother. Our family is devastated. My mom is losing another husband. We are losing another father. My children and nephews are losing their grandfather, and my grandson is losing his great grandfather–his Papa. His siblings. They are a close knit family and they stick by each other through thick and thin. We are all helpless, and feeling every single bit of that helplessness down to our core.

I have been blessed to have had three wonderful parents. My Daddy, my Mom, and my Dad. My Dad has taught me so very much about life, unconditional love, resilience, family, determination, and he is and will always be a hero to me. My father is dying of cancer. It’s basically a matter of when, no matter how much of a fighter my dad is, the cancer has taken over. I truly wish there was going to be a happy recovery story. I wish that Cancer didn’t suck. Like most people, just hearing the word “Cancer” made me cringe. It’s one of those words that leaves a bitter aftertaste when you say it. And now the man who has been a real life hero to me, to my children, to our family is dying of Cancer. I am past the denial. The diagnosis a few weeks ago was bad enough, and then the news that it was inoperable, but since then my dad has went downhill quickly. It’s like his body sighed and said… “okay, we’re done fighting…let’s rest now.” Only my dad is fighting it.  Is that worse or better? It’s heartbreaking is what it is. I want him to be well. I want him to get a shot. To take a pill. To  get some damn help and get better. But I’m not sure that’s going to happen, and today I realized that. Reality set in and it  sucks beyond words. I know that my words will not do him justice, but I feel like so many people shy away from the truth of what happens when someone becomes chronically ill, when cancer sets in. My mom took care of my disabled grandfather for over a decade and in the end cancer got him as well. We are not alone. I will never be alone. My daddy, my grandparents, my family, my dad, my mom, my aunts and uncles, my cousins, my friends,  are with me. We’ve all been through something, and because death is inevitable will all go through things in life that are heartbreaking. My dad would not want all this attention. He loves me and is proud of me, proud that I am who I am and that I doing something with my life that makes me happy, but he really wouldn’t want all the attention. He’s a humble and proud man.

Doug (my son), Maria (my daughter), Viktor (my grandson), my Mom, my Dad, Me, and Mr. Rockstar.

My Dad is such a wonderful person. He’s laid back. Generous. Compassionate. Hardworking. Honest. Honorable. Loyal. My Dad has taught me so much about life, love, unconditional love, resilience, family, determination, and so many other things. Things like,  I am stronger than I think, worth more than I think, smarter than I thought, and I can do anything I put my mind to. That though there are some things that are not probable, there are very few things that are impossible if I put my mind to it. He is one of my biggest fans, my strongest supporters, and I would not be the person I am today without him.

I have not given up hope that today was just a setback, but I am realistic enough and tough enough to know that it might not be a setback. A few weeks ago my dad was tired, and he’d lost weight but he could stand and walk on his own. A few weeks ago, my dad could still walk without assistance. A couple of weeks ago my dad was still able to do all of those things. Today broke my heart and I’m not going to show the photos I took today right now. Maybe later. Right now I can’t bear to look at them. I’ve finally stopped crying. Am I crying because I know I’m losing my Dad? Yes. Am I crying because my mom is losing another husband? Yes. Am I crying for all that my Dad is going through and will go through? Yes. Am I crying because of all our family is going to endure? Yes.  My Dad knows he is dying. Most of us, my family, have now accepted that he is dying. Reality is setting in, or has set in. Have we given up? No. Has my Dad given up? No, I don’t think so–it’s not in his nature to give up. BUT I do know that right now I have a chance to tell my Dad how very much I love him, what a wonderful and amazing father he has been, how grateful I am that he came into our lives. We were blessed the day he and my mom met, the day they married (or as my brother said back then, “we’re getting married.”

Dad, Jacob, and Jimmy

For 41 years, my dad has done his best by all of us. I’m thankful for the blessings that he’s brought to us. I know he knows that I love him, but I’m not sure he knows just how very much I appreciate him, how much I value him as a person not just a dad. This is my chance to do that. To honor him with my words, although my words do not do justice to this man–my dad is a real life hero. He is a hero to me and he always will be.

I know the struggle has only just begun, not just for my dad but for all of us. Everyone who is close to my dad. I reach out across the divide of miles, things that keep us busy or keep us from reaching out to one another to say: “Life ain’t always peaches and cream, baby. You gotta make it happen if you want it.” I can hear him saying that to me throughout the years. I can also hear him telling me “there’s no such thing as can’t.” And my favorite, “You catch a lot more bees with honey than with vinegar.” He’s right.

My dad is a hero to me, and many others, and he always will be. Right now I have a chance to tell him and show him how very much I love him, how very much I appreciate all that he has done for us. And how very proud I am to call him Dad.

My Dad and my grandson.

 

April 10 2017

Coffee Chat Monday

If we were having coffee I’d tell you…

September 19 2016

Week 3 of Finding Water: A Sense of Support

finding-water-julia-cameron-960x288Uncovering a Sense of Support
Critical to any creative journey is sense of creative support. You must practice discernment, weeding out that which does not serve and watering the shoots you want to foster.  This week’s tasks invite you to consciously interact with those who are positive on your behalf. Reaching out to others for their belief, you will also reach within and steady your personal confidence. If you had the faith what might you try” This week’s explorations will lead you into knowing your own mind.

When I first saw this chapter (my first attempt at Finding Water), I wasn’t thrilled about it–this time, however, things have changed. Cameron talks about having a network of friends and family there to be supportive. She calls these supportive people in your life Believing Mirrors. Accordingly, they reflect back to you the beautiful being that you are when you aren’t able to see it yourself. And through their own beauty they inspire you and speak the words you were thinking, but hadn’t formed yet or the words that you’re afraid to say. In turn, you will reflect the amazing creative beings that they are and that you are yourself–without having to actually work hard at it, which is what we do when we’re doing it alone. In a group setting, this multiplies. Cameron states that “creativity occurs in clusters,” and I agree with her. Over the past month I’ve found this to be true myself.

This week has been chaotic, especially the weekend. I’ve been busy with family, as well as personal and creative projects. I missed doing Morning/Evening pages more than once this week. I had to split my Artist Date into two different things because of time and obligations, but I ended up having much more fun than I might have had I just done what I had originally planned for my Artist Date. For more about what I did for my walk and my Artist Date I’ve included the video for this week.

Truth is, with each passing week I’ve realized that 1. I need to prepare for my Artist Date better. 2. I need to make the time for my Morning/Evening pages. 3. I need to ask for help more. I know that things are getting better, I can feel it inside and out, but it’s slow going and I’m not the most patient of people–What? Me? Nope, I’m not. It’s one of my flaws.

I prefer to do things on my own, I don’t like asking for help, nor do I like feeling like I’m not able to do things myself… so asking for help is difficult, but not impossible. Over the past few years, I’ve had to ask for help from family and friends much more than I wanted but it helped me, and made me feel good–I have people I can ask for help. Over the past month, I’ve realized (thanks to our group, Destination Me) that I am not out here alone, and it’s alright to ask for help. 😀

Overall, this was a much better week, and a much better experience, than I thought it would be. Now, I’m off to address thank you cards.

August 23 2016

Commonplace journal and an Omni journal

Notes and art from my Omni Journal
Notes and art from my Omni Journal

A commonplace journal is a book that you put information in, where you compile knowledge, ideas, facts, quotes, anecdotes, observations, and information. It comes from what used to be known as commonplacing, or a commonplace book, which is “the act of collecting ideas and notes in a single place, ” thus, commonplacing.  Many famous people such as Auden, C.S. Lewis, and others had Commonplace journals. They’ve come back into style, though I’m not quite sure of why they ever stopped being in style, or if maybe they just weren’t talked about much until the past few years.

P1000243
“A gray day” journal page

I have always combined things like quotes, notes, facts, etc into my regular journals. I never knew there was a special journal for those things. But as you can see from my journal pages I combine a number of things onto my pages. From what I’ve found out, that is also called an omni-journal.

An omni-journal is a journal that contains multiple elements, or “of all things” (which is the definition of omni) so it would be a journal of all things: bullet journaling, art journaling, sketch your day, illustrate your day, scrapbook style journaling… And it could also include what you would put in a commonplace journal.

Real Life page from my OmniJournal...
This is Real Life page from my OmniJournal…

Since my journal is a combination of the primary definitions of a commonplace journal and an omni journal I was trying to think of a term that captured it without using the term Omni Journal, which is described here on this blog post and in Yippie Cahier’s YT video. I came up with the term Comni-Journal, but I still like “Omni-Journal” better.

Real life page from my Omni Journal
Real life page from my Omni Journal

My Omni-Journal has bits and pieces of everything in it, from my ideas, musings, knowledge, quotes, pictures, drawings, art, ephemera, to-do lists, observations, facts, anecdotes, plans, and more.

I’ve been experimenting with different styles of journaling, with different types of journals and different types of paper. The one thing I keep going back to is the combination of things, a little bit of everything goes into my journal pages. I can’t seem to help myself.

I’ve been asked about my Omni-Journal quite a bit lately. I’ve posted pictures that are from older journals, and from my current journal. I can see the difference. But if you look at what I did for this year’s mini-cation it’s quite a bit different. Not that one is necessarily better than the other, they’re just different. and I’m alright with different.

Here are this year’s:

P1000256I can see how far my journaling has come now that I’m adding bits and pieces in. Today, in my Omni-Journal I wrote notes about this blog post. I’ve also written notes about YT videos I want to make, jotted down recipes, quotes, brain dumps, mind maps, etc. I have also done a bit of bullet journaling in my Omni-Journal. I don’t limit myself as to what I put in there. Don’t get me wrong, I have a journal specifically for brain dumping, an insert for collections and one for daily tasks, as well as a few for other specific things, but my Omni-Journal is the catch all for almost everything.

Here is the last of my pics… A bit of my favorites from last year and this year…

July 14 2016

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 2016

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.

April 5 2016

Finding Balance with writing and life

Camp nano 2016Camp NaNoWriMo. I can’t believe it’s already April 5th. It seems like just the other day I was preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo. Now there are only 2 days left in the first week. WOW!

Yesterday was definitely a Monday. Almost everything that could go sideways did, and yet out of the topsy-turviness of the day I ended up spending time doing something that I really needed to do–spend time with my grandson. Truth is, no matter how well you plan your day, sometimes life throws a curve ball and you can either catch it and throw it back, catch it and roll with it, or you can drop the ball…I chose to catch it and roll with it, which was hard to do at first.

My Daddy
My Daddy

Yesterday also marked the 41st anniversary of my father’s death. No matter how many years pass, on April 4th I feel like a seven year old child again. The grief, pain, sadness, and overwhelming feeling of loss has never went away, but dealing with it is easier. However, it is never easy. I took the picture of a picture of my father from when he was in the Army–he was young in this picture, and young when he died–at the age of 31.

My plans were to spend the day writing, art journaling, cleaning, taking a walk, having coffee, grabbing a quick bite to eat and reading, and then to go back to my writing. That did not happen. Not all of it, anyway. Though I am not happy with my word count for yesterday, or the lack of journaling my day, or the lack of cleaning…I did manage to get a few things done, plus I spent quality time with Mr. Rockstar and my daughter Ria, as well as with my grandson Mr. Viktor.

Viktor pretending to be a pirate on a pirate ship.
Viktor pretending to be a pirate on a pirate ship.

That’s what it’s really about…the moments. Small ones, big ones, happy ones, sad ones. No matter how old I get I will always miss my Daddy. I’ve been blessed to have had such wonderful parents. My Dad (stepdad) is an amazing person and I am so grateful that he came into our lives. He’s been a rock, a blessing, a role model, and a great parent, though he never tried to take my Daddy’s place.

I can boost my wordcount today, but if I hadn’t taken the time to have lunch with my husband and daughter I’d have missed out on that time. If I hadn’t taken the opportunity to pick my grandson up from daycare and then to have a snack and then go outside and play I’d have missed that time with him–time I couldn’t replace or make up for.

I also missed some time to write on Saturday in order to go to my parents house to celebrate my Mom’s birthday. My daughter and worked hard, my daughter especially, on clearing the grass and planting roses, putting rock down, etc so my mom now has her rose and rock garden. 😀 (I’ll have to take a picture of it the next time I’m there.) But I made up for that writing time on Sunday night. Now it’s time for me to get back to writing so I can make up for yesterday’s word count.