May 22 2017

Embrace your Creativity

Creativity is defined as:

  1.  the quality of being creative
  2.   the ability to create her artistic creativity(Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary). 
Hand Lettered Creativity Quote

Creativity is, according to Creativity at Work,  “characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing.”  But when I think of creativity I think of all kinds of things. Things like one moment you’re in the shower and out of nowhere an idea for your next book hits you like a ton of bricks. Or you’re sitting at your desk, dining room table, craft table, or the living room floor coloring with your grandson and you realize he has the right idea… he knows exactly what he’s doing… he’s not second guessing himself, the colors he’s using, whether or not he’s coloring inside or outside of the lines… he’s just doing it. And when he’s done, “Mimi it’s the best…” and I’m not sure if he’s asking me or telling me but he’s right… It’s the best. It’s the best moment. It’s the best picture. He used the best colors. It’s just the best, and so is he. We could all learn a thing or two from children and pets…. I’m embracing my inner five year old. That’s the way to creativity. That’s how I’ve learned to fully embrace my creativity–best lesson I could have learned and I learned it from my almost five year old grandson.

For the past seven months or more I’ve struggled with the idea, with accepting fully the idea and the fact that I am now working in a creative job… that what I do (the art, the journals, writing, Patreon, YT (in a way), blogging (that’s something I’m working at more and more each week)… that being a creative isn’t something I just am, it’s what I do, and that utilizing my creativity in different ways is my job, helping others to be creative is my job. sharing creativity is my job… (I’m sure you get the picture by now). Truth is, I’m doing something I love. I’m creating every single day. Maybe it’s a picture I took, or a picture I drew, maybe it’s a paragraph you wrote. Maybe it’s a video you created. Maybe it’s a piece of music you worked on, or a song you learned. Maybe it’s just that you sat down with your child or grandchild and colored a picture in a coloring book.

Later on, I’m going to do another blog post about creativity. I’ll continue to do them here and there. I’ve talked about comparing yourself to others, self-doubt, procrastination, and a few other things. And each time I do these kinds of posts, via blog or video, it’s usually because I’ve learned something new about myself.

I’d like to make this a bit of a series. Maybe one per month or so.

Here’s the video: (hope you enjoy).

 

 

 

May 15 2017

Comparing Yourself to Others

Do you compare yourself to others? Your writing? Your art? Your journal pages? Your talent? I talked about just that in today’s coffee chat.

May 14 2017

The Art of Journaling

The A5 and A6 Enigma from Taroko Design Shop

I had one of those infamous pink diary’s with the lock and key when I was in elementary school. That pink diary became my constant companion when my father died when I was seven years old. I’ve been an avid journal-er since. For more than two years now I’ve been using art and text to document my life in my journals, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized and took to heart, got past the fear, and said, “It’s my journal(s), I can do what I want….” I think the rebel in me knew all along and pushed the boundaries, broke the “rules.” Refused to even acknowledge that there are rules to keeping a journal, to doing things like adding your planning into your journal. And the diarist knew that I could journal about whatever I wanted, and was happy to be writing down the feelings, thoughts, hopes, dreams, plans, and more. But the artist… oh, the artist…the artist in me was filled with fear.

I have followed LittleRavenInk (Courtney Diaz) and Rhomany from Rhomany’s Realm, as well as many others on YT, for a good long while now, and the thing I love about both of them is their individualism, how they have found their voice in their art, on the pages of their journals. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a journal, a sketchbook, a planner, etc., their style is unique. I’ve got a style, I suppose, but it ebbs and flows, it’s not ingrained yet… it’s still underneath the surface, appearing and disappearing as I find my way… As I delve into deeper recesses of my artist.

My first pages in my A5 and A6 Enigma’s, Illustrated Journals

You see, writing down my thoughts, my feelings, adding bits and bobs of things like quotes, pictures, every day ephemera and/or bought ephemera, and other things isn’t the problem… I can do that and do do that on a regular basis. I often use my journal(s) as an art journal, scrapbook, common place journal, planner, and more. I add bits and pieces of my day on the page in a variety of ways, from drawing and water-coloring, to using markers, to writing diary style, to quotes, adding pictures and receipts, bits from magazines, receipts from stores, etc…, and the thing that has been bugging me about my whole journal journey is that I wanted to do something else… something more. To hone in on the artist part of me. To improve my skill and technique, to experiment with different mediums, but to concentrate mainly on the art. On creating at least one piece of art from my day. Maybe it was the new notebook I received in the mail, or maybe it’s my favorite fountain pen or the current watercolor palette I’m using, or maybe it’s my grandson playing or Mr. Rockstar using the grill, or maybe it’s a selfie I’ve drawn and water-colored. Not necessarily in a “sketchbook,” though I do that from time to time especially when I go somewhere and want to chronicle the moment by drawing the outside of the coffee shop or the lake at Swan Lake or the people at the park, which I have learned is called urban sketching and I enjoy, but more like a real life journal that chronicles everything from the mundane to the special event to travel to just playing around and drawing one of my supplies.

I did some serious soul searching last weekend, and my past Tuesday Talk video was about some of this… about investing in myself and my goals, about delving deep and realizing that I’ve been putting off trying to really “illustrate my life,” out of fear… out of insecurity… out of a lack of self-confidence. And yet the past year has improved my self-confidence, lessened my fear, knocked loose some of those insecurities and I’ve tried things and done things that the artist in me wouldn’t have even thought I could do–things like open my own journaling group, start Patreon, call myself an artist… WHOA! Did I just call myself an artist? Yep, sure did!

I’m not a professional artist, but I’m learning… I’m going back to the basics of drawing and learning to do so in a class offered by Danny Gregory on Sketchbook Skool. I’m experimenting on my own with watercolor until I can take a watercolor class–that is on my To-Do list after I finish the Drawing class. I’m learning on my own and taking classes. I’m journaling every day, drawing and water-coloring every day, and have gotten serious enough about that I purchased a new journal with 68 GSM Tomoe River paper in it from Taroko Design, the journal is called the Enigma and it’s got the most divine paper. I also have a Strathmore Watercolor paper journal/Sketchbook with 140lb paper for when I do happen to go Urban Sketching, or for practice, since painting with watercolor on Tomoe River paper is quite different than on watercolor paper.

Using my Winsor & Newton set to chronicle my day in my Omni Journal.

Right now I use a Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolor set, but I want to invest in the Daniel Smith Watercolors and create a basic travel set and then add to my collection as I go. I have goals… plans, but first it’s time for me to just start. I can’t wait until I can afford the Daniel Smith watercolors, though I do have a small travel kit that one of my wonderful friends made for me (I use those when I create works of art for people). Instead of waiting around, procrastinating even more, I sat at my DIY craft table and opened up both the A5 and the A6 Enigma and created my first page. I’ve realized that the A6 is going to be my fun, experimental tiny book of sketches, watercolors, etc… I’m going to take it with me every where I go and sketch something… anything–it might be the mailbox or the neighbor’s car or dog or pool or tree, or the coffee shop, or the front of the grocery store, or the people waiting in line at the doctor’s office. And the A5 will be my actual “Illustrated Journal,” also known as an “Artist’s Journal.” Some of those sketches might be of my supplies, of a tree in my own backyard, of Mr. Rockstar, of my grandson Mr. Viktor, of my own car, of myself, of pictures I’ve taken, of people (Friends, Family, etc)… I am going to illustrate something each day.

If any of you have seen the pages of my (Omni) journal or my Hobonichi you know that I often sketch bits and pieces of my day on my journal pages, sometimes it’s cartoon like, sometimes it’s fancy stick figures, sometimes it’s an actual sketch and watercolor… but I also add a lot of text, ephemera, photos, etc to the pages of my (Omni) journal/Hobonichi. I am going to continue to do that, because those are fun… I’m not always serious when I draw those bits and pieces of my life. Don’t get me wrong, there are some serious sketches within the pages of my (Omni Journal) and Hobonichi, but there are far more fun drawings…

I’m going to be chronicling my journal in depth on Patreon, but in bits and pieces here and on YT. I hope you enjoy the process, I know I hope to.

Once I get things together, I’ll make a revised Journal Supply post and video.

 

 

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 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

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 17 2017

The Artist’s Way Week 1 2017

Have you ever thought “Why on earth did I ever think I could be an artist, writer, poet, singer, ____ fill in the blank?” Or “Why am I trying to do this? I’m never going to make it as a(n) ____, I should just find something else to do with my time.”  Last year when I first started working on Cameron’s 12 week self-guided course The Artist’s Way I couldn’t help but feel like I was an imposter… in the back of my mind I felt like a pretend writer/artist…This past week was week one of my 2017 journey with The Artist’s Way and I don’t feel so much like an imposter anymore, but I have realized that I do still have some self doubt, as well as the overwhelming need to pile too much stuff on myself, which equals stress, a lack of individual focus, and can lead to not following through with at least one or two things.

I’m going to add a video to the bottom of the post where I talk about a few other things from week 1, my actual check in, and here on the blog post I’m going to delve into a few other things like how differently I feel this go round. How much trouble I’ve had delving into the Morning pages…

Last year when I was working on The Artist’s Way I knew I needed to work on the root of my writer’s block, on my lack of belief in myself as an artist, and my self-doubt in general. I am a creative person. I owned that shit! I learned to say “I’m a writer!” loudly and proudly. And by the end of 2016, I’d learned to say ‘I’m an artist,” proudly. After a thirty years plus some hiatus from creating art, and then to jump into the “Fauxbonichi/Hobonichi/etc” style journaling, adding doodles and watercolor to my journal pages, and then to actually creating art on watercolor paper, and even on canvas, and signing up for Patreon this past year–well, let’s just say I climbed more than quite a few hurdles.

However, for every two or three hurdles I manged to climb over, it felt like there was yet another (or three) obstacles…I learned a great deal about myself last year, and I’m learning even more this year. I learned quite a few things just last week. One of the things I need to remember is that I need to have patience with myself. I could make a list, but instead I’m going to say that Self-Care has become an even more important part of my life. This week as I work on week two,  I’ll be working on Morning Pages first thing. I’m going to make it my top priority first thing in the morning. Another thing I am going to work on is taking Wednesday, and maybe even Friday, off from YT. I need a bit of a break, some time to get a few things together–I’m going to make a few changes, and I need a few days to figure things out.

There is this part of me that feels guilty because I need a break… I shouldn’t feel guilty for needed a break. For taking a bit of “me time.” In the video I have linked below, I say “I’m sorry, but not sorry,” and that is the truth. Rationally, I know I need this break, but it does bother me that people might be disappointed, and yet if I am to continue to make at least decent content than I have to take a break. I’m still healing, I need a bit more rest than I’ve been getting, and my body is screaming at me to get that rest. My mind is screaming at me to figure this shit out because I’ve piled too much on myself for the beginning of this year, and I need to spread out the projects a little better.

November 6 2016

Real Life Tips for NaNoWriMo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is additional real life tips for NaNoWriMo:

Category: #amwriting, ADHD, Art Journal, Creativity, Depression, Fear, Goals, Inspiration, Life, Motivation, NaNoWriMo, Productivity, Uncategorized, Writing | Comments Off on Real Life Tips for NaNoWriMo
September 12 2016

Finding Water Week 2 Check In

Week 2 is titled: Uncovering a Sense of Reality. At first glance I was unsure about this chapter, but after reading the introduction I felt good. Stronger. That perhaps I’d gain more of a sense of my own power and strength… resolve.

“As you explore your inner world, your outer world will come more sharply into focus. As you face your imagined barriers, you will encounter real ones, as well. This week’s wortk will help you to become more grounded and farseeing. As you seek your own internal support, as well as the support of friends, your creativity will become more steady. As you undertake small actions on your own behalf–watering the garden, as it were–larger actions will seem more possible. A sense of your own power will return to you.”

The first section is called Claustrophobia. I know that feeling even though I am not claustrophobic. Feeling like you’re stuck, enclosed in a room, stuck looking at the same four walls, backed in a corner creatively–blocked, or even just overwhelmed and suffocated by all the things going on, especially if there are outside forces causing you drama. Cameron states that “drama is contagious,” and gives an example of a young writer who called her quite a few times in a short amount of time, about how the writer’s friends were “misbehaving,” that “life itself” was misbehaving, and that “things weren’t going her way.” The writer is unable to write and blames all the stress in her life. I’ve been there.

Cameron says, “It is only when she is not working that her normally nice boyfriend suddenly becomes the monster. It is when her mind is not on her work that it is so closely focused on the workings of everyone else’s personality. Her own personality is what is on tilt, but she can’t see that.”

I agree, and disagree. There are those who are never going to take an artistic career seriously, who see being an artist (like a writer, musician, painter, illustrator…) as not being a real job…You can’t change their minds, all you can do is what you do, have boundaries, and do your best.

My reality is that I sometimes lose focus, get distracted easily, and/or I try to do too much in a day. Along with a few other things that I discuss in this video about Week 2 of Finding Water.