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. 😀

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 9 2017

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

Overall #backtobasicsapril items

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

Continue reading

March 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

December 20 2016

Wrapping Up 2016, Goals for 2017, and more

With the New Year fast approaching I’ve been doing quite a bit of reflection. This year was a good one. I accomplished quite a few things I would not have thought I’d have done, things like team up with three other women and open a group called Destination Me: Adventures at the Round Table for women: “Destination Me is about all of US. Women. It’s about inspiring and challenging ourselves and others to be creative, to share our thoughts and ideas, our advice with others. It’s about challenging all women, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc to take care of themselves, to nurture themselves, to be creative and to share their thoughts, feelings, ideas, advice, and more. Destination Me provides women with fun, safe place to be creative and to share their creative pursuits, as well as creative ways to bring back or to bring a sense of purpose and vitality that we may have lost or just misplaced due to various circumstances, or that we find we need, along our journey.
This group is all about diversity, acceptance, tolerance, creativity, self-love, self-acceptance, self-care, as well as inspiration. We welcome all women.”

I didn’t stop there. As part of DM (Destination Me), and here on this blog, I created a Dark Tower (and connected books, by Stephen King) reading project. I also opened my own Facebook group about omni journaling: Omni Journaling with Burgess. I joined Patreon.

I tried two new journals for my Omni Journal when the SevenSeas Crossfield by Nanamipaper wasn’t available… The new one’s are by Taroko Design, and are the Enigma and the Mystique (the link for this is the comparison I did, and here is the video I did comparing them.

And another highlight of the year… I became a Brand Ambassador for Jonelifish. I’ve been talking about my Writer’s Bible, and my other Jonelifish Traveler’s Notebooks for almost 2 years now. 😀 I love, love, love Jonel and Jonelifish.

I cover some of this in the video I’m going to link below, but my goals for 2017, which I’m still working on, are:

  • Blog every day
  • Write every day
  • Create art every day
  • Thrive… (my word for 2017)
  • Continue purging and organizing things in the house
  • DIY projects (flooring, clean carpet, paint master bedroom and paint mural, etc)
  • 2K subscribers on YT
  • Increase my presence on IG, Pinterest, Twitter
  • Pay bills off, save money and purchase new Canon camera for creating videos and photos
  • Upgrade computer
  • Learn how to better use CyberLink Power Director
  • Seek Joy, Spread Joy, Pay it Forward

December 5 2016

If we were having coffee… Planning for 2017 Part 1

Snoopy having coffee... Picture from Christmas Card...
Snoopy having coffee… Picture from Christmas Card…

If we were having coffee… I’d tell you that this month feels so much more positive than the past two months. That’s in part thanks to my wonderful husband, Mr. Rockstar (David), my family, and my friends (my tribe). Not only have I managed to feel more confident, positive, and grateful, but I’ve also realized I’d let my attitude become one of “what’s going to go wrong next,” of looking at the glass half empty–of negativity.

I can’t help but think that the negative feelings were contributing to things going wrong, breaking… I decided that I wasn’t going to allow the negativity from the past couple of months to spread into December. Nope, not happening. So I started the month out with a positive attitude. I changed a few things up. Started planning out my Spirit(ual) Omni Journal, worked on December’s layout and set up in my (regular) Omni Journal… and I set up things for December in my 2017 Hobonichi (which is for my personal, business, and Patreon planning/use). I wanted positive reinforcement. Needed it. And the best way to do that is to start out with an affirmation, a way to hold myself accountable (got on FB, YT, etc) and stated… No more negativity, it’s a whole new month, a new beginning… I’m going to be positive…I’m going to get things done, going to be happy, and I’m so grateful for the good things that did happen over the past few months… it wasn’t all negative.

Changing my attitude, talking about how it was a whole new month, a new beginning spread… other’s did the same… Happiness, positivity, kindness… those are contagious.

SO let’s talk about what I’ve got going on, what I’m planning (not only for December, but for 2017), and some of my goals. (This is going to be a 2 part post (and video), maybe even a 3 part. 😀

What I accomplished in 2016 so far:

  • With the help of 3 wonderful women, I opened a FB group for women called Destination Me: Adventures at the Round Table. A place where we are safe to talk about and share things like our creative projects, our goals, our ideas and thoughts about creativity, spirituality, and life. A way to hold ourselves accountable. The four of us (Debbie, Jen, Karen, and myself) all contribute to the DM group… we are similar enough, but different enough, that we each contribute something to the group, and those wonderful women in the group also contribute. It’s become our home away from home. A safe haven to share and converse.
  • With the support and encouragement of several people, I finished NaNoWriMo.
  • With the support and encouragement from several women in my tribe, I opened up a FB group called Omni Journaling with Burgess.
  • With the support and encouragement of several people, I joined Patreon and now have several Patrons.
  • I reached 1000 subscribers on YouTube…
  • I was the beneficiary of several happy mail items… Y’all… that was so wonderful. 😀 And much needed and appreciated.
  • And, I renewed the Hosting for this website and have been blogging much more… I still need to work on blogging more often…
  • Last but not least, I checked several things off my “bucket list” this year.

Goals for 2017:

  • 2000 subscribers on YT
  • To blog every day, at the least every other day.
  • To grow my Patreon page
  • To make enough of a passive income that I am supporting my creative life myself (supplies like notebooks, pens, camera, lighting, watercolors, washi tape, etc.; Website Hosting, increasing the internet speed so I don’t have “weak connection” anymore, books, tarot cards,  a tablet selfie stick, etc…).
  • To make enough income from my creative life that I do not have to work outside the home.
  • To clean and organize the attic, my craft and art supplies, and the kitchen cabinets.
  • To paint our bedroom wall and draw/paint a mural on the wall.
  • To follow my path spiritually… to learn and grow spiritually.
  • To finish the Witchy Business Novel and the Broken novel, and to have at least the first round of edits done.
  • To write every day, at least 500-1000 words per day.
  • To draw/paint every day.
  • To be more organized and have more focus.
  • To practice kindness, positivity, and courage on a daily basis.
  • To have a regular schedule: bed by midnight, up by 8AM.
  • To be healthier (which includes 10+K steps per day, eat healthier, etc)

 

My list goes on…

And I’ve started implementing things this month to help me accomplish things in the new year. I’ve created a Spirit Omni Journal, which is a Stalogy 365 A5 Notebook. I’ve started setting up my new Omni Journal for next year, which is an Enigma from Taroko Design.

Here is the video where I talk about this:

 

 

 

November 19 2016

Coffee Chat Saturday: Let’s get real…