the ability to createher artistic creativity(Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
As a lover of all things stationery, and a journal/book/DIY/art/book/writer nerd, I am, I admit, often tempted to start a new journal. Sometimes the temptation arises because I see a shiny new journal on a shelf in a store, or a new journal via someone’s YT video, FB post, IG picture, etc., or simply because I have gotten bored, anxious, or tired of the current journal I am using–or perhaps because I’m frustrated with what I’ve been doing. Maybe it started out great but somewhere along the way what I wanted the pages, and eventually the journal, to look like is not what it looks like.
I’m not alone in this. About once every few months someone asks me if I am ever tempted to start a new journal before I’ve finished my current, or how to do stick with a journal until I’ve used up the whole journal, or am I ever tempted to start a new journal–shiny new journal syndrome (much like the shiny new idea syndrome in regard to writing, which I know way too much about for my own good). Every time I start a new journal before finishing the current journal I regret it for all of about 5 minutes–the shiny new pages are just so pretty, the crisp clean feel of the new journal is overwhelming in its beauty, the newness… and yet–
I can’t help but wonder if all of this angst over my journals and planning system are about the journals/planning or if it’s really about the depression and anxiety that have increased from being sick for over a month. Being sick has definitely taken a toll on me. Now that I’m finally feeling better and more like myself I realize that it’s probably a combination of all of the above. I’m working on things so that I feel more better.
If you would like to see what I’ve been up to you can watch my coffee chat video from Monday where I talk about how I’m not feeling the journal/planner peace. Continue reading
Over the course of several years, I’ve been refining my writing process, which includes ways to get inspired, stay motivated, and get shit done (productivity). Here are some of the things I’ve found that help me.
Clean up your work area, as well as other areas that bother you and/or need cleaning. A 15 minute clean in your work area, a quick clean of your living areas. A 30 minute clean for important areas. Sometimes it’s hard to work when there is clutter, especially if the clutter distracts you. So taking fifteen minutes to clean really helps.
Books that help inspire and motivate you to be creative have really helped me lately. Books like “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, or the one I’m working on right now, “Finding Water,” also by Julia Cameron. Another book that’s extremely helpful with productivity is “Getting Things Done” by David Allen.
Morning Pages are a great way to start your day. They help with clarity, are a great tool to get you in the mood to write, and are overall a great way to put those negative things that are rolling around in your brain down and then let them go–after a while you’ll see that what you write is less negative and more positive.
Music. Music is a great way to help you get in the mood to be creative, to write, clean, create (art, etc) and to keep you motivated. I often listen to classic rock while I clean, instrumental music or Rainymoods.com when I’m writing, and various kinds of music when I’m creating art.
An artist date. An artist date, as defined by Julia Cameron, is a solo adventure, that includes something fun, playful and are aimed at romancing or wooing our artist within. I like going for a walk in a park, swinging on a swing at a playground, going to for a cup of coffee and reading or writing or drawing, as well as going to lunch by myself and taking a book along with me. Most of my artist dates include coffee and a book or notebook and/or my camera.
Candles, Incense…I use these things to help get me in the mood to write, to help cleanse my work area of any negativity, and because they smell good.
Journal. I often write a few lines down here and there about what I want to do, as well as use my bullet journal to make a list of tasks for the day, week, month. I jot down projects, and then break them down so that I know what I should start with, as well as making sure that I have smaller goals to start with (which helps me feel better, more positive and less fearful–less self-doubt).
Vision board. This can be a physical vision board, one on Pinterest, in your journal using collage, or whatever works for you.
Read a book for fun. I often take a break when I feel a bit burned out with writing and read for fun. I now have a goal to read for at least 30 minutes each day just for fun, not for homework or for “working on my self,” but for FUN!
Don’t compare yourself to others.
Space for Writing/creating Art/etc. Whether it’s a corner somewhere, or an actual room, having your own space, a space that is for your creativity helps.
Limit Distractions. Block out a certain amount of time that is just for writing. That means no Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google searching, etc. You and the page (and my cup of coffee or glass of wine.)
Get dressed. Get out of those pajamas, those sweatpants, and get dressed. It doesn’t have to be “dress” clothes, but it does need to at least something that you’d wear to the grocery store, to the craft store, the bookstore… It’s a mindset thing. I’m dressed and now I’m ready to go to work.
Writing buddies, or “Co-conspirators” as Ms. Cameron calls them. Find others with like interests so you can talk about those interests. For me it’s the #writestuff community, #writetube, FB…I have quite a few writer buddies and it really does help knowing that you’re not alone in your struggles (whether it’s with procrastination, self-doubt, editing woe’s, or trying to figure out whether your book should be in 1st or 3rd POV).
(and last but not least) Schedule. This has been the hardest for me, yet it really is one of the top things I should be doing, should stick to so that I’d be more productive. I know this. I do, but the struggle has been real y’all. I know that I should block out specific chunks of time for writing, for art, for… and cut the distractions, and Just Write, but honestly, outside forces like Mr. Rockstar’s crazy schedule, which changes at the end of this week finally (he goes back to having a regular schedule instead of rotating shifts), or family, or things that happen, or staying up too late because I had insomnia or was in pain and then I don’t wake up until mid-day (or later)… But today is the start of brand new week, and last week I did better than the week before, and this week I’ll do even better than last week, and before long I should be back into my routine.
One last thing, if you’re striving for perfection then you’re bound to be disappointed, so instead of striving for perfection, especially with that first draft, remember this:
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” ~Marilyn Monroe
For me Happiness is being the writer who is writing, not the writer who is waiting on:
inspiration, motivation, mood…
And a good cup of coffee.
It’s also being busy. And this summer I am going to be so busy. Not only am I participating in the Summer Novel Writing challenge called #HotandSticky, started by YT channel Stripped Cover Lit, but I’ve also started working on the 12 week self guided course from Julia Cameron’s third book in the Artist Way series called “Finding Water.” What, you skipped book 2 Walking in the World? Yes, I did. Eventually I’ll get to that one, but since I’m also doing an exercise a week from her book The Right to Write, (and yes I was doing them daily but it got to be a bit too much when I had my meltdown a couple of weeks ago and was a bit paralyzed creatively thanks to depression and anxiety) I thought Finding Water was better suited to me at this time.
And, this is preparation month for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo. WOW! Busy, Busy, Busy!, which makes me happy, happy, happy. And a bit stressed out, but the good kind of stress. Working with, around, and despite or in spite of Anxiety, Depression, and ADHD, I find that when I stay busy I function better. I am not saying that I should overwhelm myself with things but having a routine, a plan, sticking to certain rituals, help, but if I don’t have things to do, other than housework, writing, art, journaling, etc then I find myself procrastinating more. “Oh, I’ve got time for that later… I don’t have much to do, let me just watch some Netflix or Hulu…” and then hours later, after having watched half of the third season of Grimm and I haven’t gotten anything else done. (In my defense, I watched the first two seasons, missed the third and half of the fourth… SO I was a bit lost with the whole Grimm’s baby, Juliette/Eve, and Adalind thing. And Truble? I had no idea of who she was, but she looked a lot like Nick and she was a Grimm, so some lost relative? I had to know.)
I’ve given a great deal of thought to my routine. My morning and how I want to start each morning, my goals for the day, for the week, month, year…And the thing that keeps surfacing during these “brain dump” sessions is “get more organized,” “get on a routine and stick to it.”
“I’m not good enough…” “This sucks!” “I’ll never get published…Published, hell, you can’t write a decent first line–why are you even thinking about getting published?” Or my favorite…”Why am I even bothering…trying…???”
Most, if not every, creative person has suffered, at some point or other, maybe you’re suffereing from it now, from self-doubt, which is really just plain ole’ fear. But if you turn fear into motivation, if you turn it into something that works for you instead of letting it eat at you and turn into self-doubt, procrastination, then you can finish that book, or that piece of art, or that song or poem you’ve been working on. If you don’t do anything, if you wallow in the fear, letting that self-doubt eat at you, then the fear ends up turning into procrastination and you send up self-sabotaging, which just leads to more fear, more self-doubt, more procrastination..And it’s a vicious cycle, and that’s often what people refer to as “writer’s block.”
What are your fears? Really? The one’s that prevent you from following your dream…from accomplishing the things you really want to do…from finishing that book, or art project, or poem, or screenplay? When I was completing the Artist’s Way 12 week self-guided course by Julia Cameron, and then working on the exercises in her book The Right to Write, I made lists–lists of my fears. Then I went on to work on those fears, I had to figure out if the fears were real, if they were justified, exaggerated, and what was the underlying cause or reason behind the one’s that were real. I delved into the depths of my fears. And that wasn’t easy.
Once you’ve done that, though, one of the first things most people suggest, from what I’ve found, is to negate those fears with at least a few positive affirmations, traits, facts…You can write out positive affirmations on sticky notes and put them in various places so you’ll see them, or make a lists of them in a journal.
For example, if you fear rejection you can look at how many others were rejected before they were finally published. Stephen King and J.K. Rowling are great examples of this.
Another thing you can do is schedule your writing. Make your writing a priority, build a routine, give yourself a deadline (a realistic amount of time, or number of words or pages to complete each day). For example, writing 300 words a day in a year makes a novel…300 words each day for one year equals 109,500 words, or 109,800 words if it’s a leap year.
Expect problems, mishaps, things that may happen, because in real life shit does happen. Adjust accordingly, but don’t let the deadline slide. REMEMBER why you love your story. Why you love writing. And REMEMBER that self-doubt, procrastination, and FEAR feed on each other–Don’t be a victim of that fear.
One word at a time. One sentence at a time. One page at a time… and before you know it’s One Day and you’ve finished the first draft of your novel.