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. 😀

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.

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April 6 2017

#backtobasicsapril

What have I been up to for the past few weeks? Organizing, writing, goal setting, journaling, filming videos for YT, and so much more.

A few weeks ago I knew I needed to do something. I hadn’t really been journaling, at least not much while I was sick for approximately two months. Not journaling is serious, at least in Burgess Land. Journaling, of any kind, whether it is text journaling, common place journaling, art journaling, “smashbook” style journaling… it all helps decrease my anxiety, and helps keep the depression demons at bay.

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March 20 2017

If we were having coffee

I’d tell you about how I’m going to work on getting back to the basics in April, #backtobasicsapril. A few years ago, I participated, along with a lot of other journalers and planners,  in #onebookjuly with Rhomany’s Realm, Carie Harling, and MissVickybee. Since then I’ve participated every year since. This year I can’t wait for July, and there are so many other things in my life that I need to get back to the basics with I knew I needed to do something. Here is the link to the playlist for #onebookjuly.

I mentioned my dilemma in a previous coffee chat, as well as a different video on my YT channel. Many others said they were feeling the same way. Many asked if we could do #onebookjuly early. I don’t see why we couldn’t, but I need to do more than get back to the basics with my journaling and planning, I need to purge, clean, and organize my supplies, my house, my life…especially with Camp NaNoWriMo starting April 1st.

In the spirit of Rhomany, Carie, and Vicky’s #onebookjuly theme, which is getting back to the basics of planning, we thought we’d call our mission for April #backtobasicsapril. Some of us will be getting back to the basics with their budgets, or with their meal planning, their craft/journal/planner supplies, their homes, their planners, journals, or some of those or maybe all of those, as well as a few other things most likely. I am going to start the purging, cleaning, and organizing of my desk this week because I will (hopefully) be getting my new computer built this coming weekend, but everything else starts on April 1st. 😀 Continue reading

November 9 2016

My (updated) Writing/Creative Space for NaNoWriMo

It was dark and stormy night, no… no, it was a small and suffocating room, no… no. It was a room that needed to be rearranged so that I no longer felt closed in and suffocated.

The last thing I probably should be doing at the beginning of the second week of NaNoWriMo is rearranging my writing/creative space, but I couldn’t take it any longer. The longer I was the in the room trying to write the more closed in and suffocated I felt. Not only by the disorganization and clutter, but by the way the furniture was arranged. I love the view from my desk… I look out of the window and I see the sky, trees, (the neighbor’s houses), and our bench that sits beside the wisteria bush I planted last year. It makes me feel good, but the rest of the room–it didn’t make me feel good.

I kept thinking, I’ll get to it after NaNo. I moved a few things around before NaNo, but that wasn’t working either. Books. Shelves. More books. The little table that I loved but couldn’t really use and didn’t really fit in here. Art and journal supplies. Books. My typewriters. The antique dresser I modge-podged that I use for storage for things like my hats, gloves, craft paper, etc. The small antique writing desk my Aunt Jan gave me. The damn file cabinet that I just can’t seem to find a proper place for… Well, I finally, with Mr. Rockstar’s help, figured out how to arrange it so it was more open, and it was efficient, but pleasing to my eye.

Let’s face it, I’m in here more than anywhere else in the house, except for maybe when I’m sleeping… If I had the recliner in here I’m sure I’d fall asleep reading quite often, which is in part why it’s not in here (the other part would be because I really don’t have room, not until I can move the dresser somewhere else (it’s an antique that belonged to my husband’s uncle and eventually will go in the room my son is in when he moves out).  Instead of putting the picture in here individually, I thought I’d create a gallery. Hope you enjoy. 😀

October 11 2016

If we were having coffee… Hurricane Matthew

From Weather.com
From Weather.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 30 2016

The Life of a Creative Person

When you’re creative, especially if you’re like me when you’re creative, you’re bound to find less time to do other things. Things like the dishes, or cleaning off the counter, which seems to be a magnet for “stuff.” Or you end up with piles of things you’re working on in different places. For me it’s piles on my desk, piles on the floor in my writing/craft room. A bunch of my “stuff” on the dining room table…

I’m here to tell you…YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I thought I’d chronicle little bits and pieces of my life while I work on the creative projects over the next few months. There are days when I feel good and I get a lot accomplished. There are days when I get distracted by something or another, or maybe more than one something’s, and I don’t get as much done as I wanted to, or even much done at all–except the one or three things I was distracted by.

“Doubt kills more dreams than fear,” is a true statement, and if I let doubt eat at me then I’d run far and fast from taking on so many projects. I’d let that little spark of doubt turn into a flame, and fear would overwhelm me. But I’m not going to do that. WHY? HOW?

I blossom like a field full of wildflowers when I am creative. The more creative I am, the better I feel, the more I get accomplished, the more energetic I feel. Yes, there will be days when I don’t feel good, a bad day, and I might not get everything done that day. Hell, I might not get much done at all that day. But I won’t let that stop me from doing at least one thing. Maybe that day I’ll read. Or I’ll paint. I’ll do something that is more relaxing. On the good days I’ll do more of the physical things, like organizing my closet, sorting through the basket full of clothes…

Here lately I’ve tried to be more aware of “self-care,” to take better care of myself, to be present in the moment, and to take time for the things I love, the people I love, and the simple things in life, which means there are times when the dishes get rinsed off but not washed until the next day, when the clothes may or may not get folded, when the kitchen got swept but I forgot to mop, or when I stay in PJ’s with no makeup on and read and/or draw all day, or when I go to bed early. I think our body’s tell us what we need, just as much as our mind’s do. I’m trying to pay more attention to what I need creatively for my mind and soul, and what I need physically for my body. Finding balance, especially when you’re busy is important. The upcoming blog posts and videos will help me stay accountable, as well as perhaps help one or a few others know that they are not alone in the creative life. To me, creativity does all of me a bit of good. 😀

 

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. 😀

March 14 2016

Preparing for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo

Can you believe that it’s almost the middle of March? I can’t, yet at the same time I can believe how quickly 2016 is passing–at least the spring fever and Camp Nanowrimo fever has taken over. I wanted to finish my outline. I wanted to make it better. I wanted to be this outlining queen so that I could finish my novel. Finally finish my novel.

And yet, after a conversation with my daughter about writing I realized something important–I am not a pantser or a plotter. I’m not a gardener or an architect. I’m what people often call an astronaut (though I’m not quite sure of why exactly, or a plotster, or a loose outliner. Does it matter whether or not I pants or plot my novel? To some it seems to, and yet it’s my novel to write and I should be writing it in the best way that I am able to, in a way that brings out the best of my talent.

As much as I would love to have an elaborate, finely detailed outline so that I didn’t have to second guess myself while I’m writing, the best way for me to write is to just write.

I’ve also given a great deal of thought to what I want to do with my website/this blog. And how serious I want to get with it. It’s past time I took it more seriously. I’m committed to writing. To journaling and my art. To “branding” myself in a positive way. To bettering the quality of my videos on YT. The only things (social media) I’m not real serious about are Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. Perhaps when I get a better smart phone I’ll do more stuff with Instagram. Or when I figure out some kind of app for my desktop that works well in allowing me to put pictures from my actual camera into IG. I don’t want to spend anymore time than I already do on social media, and in order to do that stuff, or at least seriously, I’d have less time to do all the stuff I already do (and I don’t always have enough time now).

Tomorrow (well today now since it’s after midnight) I’ll be working on my novel and my art journal pages (my omni-journal), as well as my morning pages (first thing), and I’ll be working on some purging of clothes and shoes. Not to mention cleaning and cooking, going to the DMV for my son’s car, and going to look at a truck with Mr. Rockstar. And then I’ll be picking up my grandson from daycare, then my son from work, and then going home to finish putting dinner together….and that’s not including the dishes, spending time with my grandson, giving him a bath…Is there really enough time to be Tweeting, to be posting pics on IG, to be putting stuff on Tumblr? I don’t think so, at least not for me.

Category: #amwriting, #writestuff, Art Journaling, Blogging, Camp NaNoWriMo, Goals, Home, Life, Uncategorized, Writing | Comments Off on Preparing for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo