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?
March 25 2017

Preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo

With Camp NaNoWriMo right around the corner I have to admit I’m not as ready as I thought I was going to be at the beginning of March, not nearly as ready as I hoped. With that in mind I created two videos to help 1. motivate myself, 2. hold myself accountable, 3. share all the Camp NaNoWriMo love with others, and well, to be honest, 4. because maybe there is someone else out there that could benefit from my ramblings.

I’m going to include both videos here, and come back tomorrow with a post sharing my new writing space. 😀

Continue reading

February 8 2017

New Outline Series for Witchy Business Novel

Last week I created the first video for my new outlining process of my “Witchy Business” novel. Since I am changing POV, and a few other things, and quite a few people asked questions about how I use Tarot and the Hero’s Journey to outline, I thought I’d work on my novel and make it a video series at the same time.

Today I posted the third video in the outlining series.

This week I’ll concentrate more on an actual blog post for this, but for now I have:

Hope you enjoy the videos.

September 21 2016

NaNoWriMo Preparations Have Begun

Hello all. Welcome to NaNoWriMo Preparations… Last year I stumbled upon Arwen’s 33 Days to Finish Your Novel. I wanted to try something different and outlining my novel via Tarot and the Hero’s Journey sounded interesting, creative, and fun. I watched a couple of her videos, read her information about the course, and signed up. It’s one of the best things I’ve done for my writing.

Thanks to Arwen, I outlined my novel Witchy Business for NaNoWriMo last year, and I went on to outline yet another novel, both of those are works-in-progress. And now it’s time to prepare for this year’s novel. Out came my notebook with everything from Arwen’s course, along with Corrine Kenner’s book Tarot for Writer’s, two or three of my tarot decks, a notebook, my writer’s bullet journal, and my Writer’s Bible, pens and highlighters, colored index cards. And what do you know… I’m ready. Oh, and the coffee–that’s a must.

And away I go with the start of my outline. I’ve been busy the past two days. I have gotten my supplies together, started my character sketch, started the first part of my outline. Tomorrow I start working on my MC’s GMC (goal, motivation, conflict). After that it’s the Antagonist and his GMC.  First index card with tarot card (a copy of it) is pinned on my tri-fold board–my storyboard no longer looks like a blank canvas.

I feel like I accomplished something today, even though it took me friggin’ forever to get the second part of my NaNoWriMo Prep Pt 2/Beginning of my Outline edited. Grrrr! I really need to figure out the editing software that I purchased so I can quit using Movie Maker. That, or I need to win the lottery so I can afford an iMac. 😀

I’m really excited. My outlining is going well so far. 😀

Category: #amwriting, #writestuff, Around Here, Life, NaNoWriMo, Outlining, Planning, Tarot, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Life, Writing Process | Comments Off on NaNoWriMo Preparations Have Begun
June 6 2016

Ways to get Inspired, stay motivated, and Get Shit Done

get shit doneOver 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.Writing Desk
  • 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.artist's way
  • 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.june 3rd and 4th
  • 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).june 1st and 2nd
  • 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.amwriting april 22
  • 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).Camp nano 2016
  • (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.2nd week of june

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

 

June 3 2016

Happiness is…

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.”

So I’m trying to do just that. 😀

 

May 31 2016

Fighting Fear, Procrastination, and Self-Doubt

“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.

Category: #amwriting, #writestuff, Anxiety, Goals, Life, Procrastination, Self-Doubt, The Artist's Way, The Right to Write, Writing, Writing Life | Comments Off on Fighting Fear, Procrastination, and Self-Doubt
May 2 2016

Introduction to The Right to Write (by Julia Cameron)

I’m on day 2 of the exercises in the book “The Right to Write” by Julia Cameron and so far I am enjoying it–the Invitation (this is the part where she has written a bit and invites you to do the next part) and the Initiation. Today’s exercise took all of maybe 15-20 minutes, and most of that time was spent reading the Invitation. Yesterday’s exercise took longer but not a long time.

Why read a book about the “right to write?” Because there are times when I feel like I don’t have the right to call myself a writer. When I don’t feel like a true writer, that perhaps I’m not talented enough, or not productive enough, or just not worthy…The self-doubt is real, and I have yet to meet/talk to a writer (or an artist or musician) who doesn’t at one time or another, or at varios times, have self-doubt.

While working on the self-guided course in “The Artist’s Way,” I learned that the self-doubt, procrastination, self-sabotage, writer’s block, etc., all stem from fear. FEAR! I worked through some things but I know that I only scratched the surface of things. Instead of going through “The Artist’s Way” a second time I chose to use this book–“The Right to Write.” I loved what she had to say in the introduciton of this book. If you’re interested, here’s my video about her introduction:

April 13 2016

Writer Wednesday | Building your Writing Habit

Camp nano 2016One of the things I’ve struggled with the most in regard to my writing, other than self-doubt/fear issues, is building my writing habit. Making and sticking to a routine, a schedule. Part of the reason is that I’ve flip-flopped around between being a day writer and being a night writer, trying to do one or the other, and finally I realized, thanks to the Artist’s Way and a lot of trial and error, that I’m a bit of both.

Here are a few tips to help build a writing routine, and I’ll talk a bit about what has and hasn’t worked for me, and why, along with what I plan on doing in the future.

  • LOCATION/Time: Find a place that you can make yours. Whether it’s in a corner of a room, a room of your own, the back porch, the car (no joke, I read about a woman who writes in her car), or where ever. Make it a dedicated space. A place that you feel comfortable writing in, and then place a few things, or bring them with you, that inspire you. Maybe it’s your favorite pen and notebook. Or maybe it’s your favorite hat, sweater, candle, chair, blanket, picture…. Then pick certain times, and yes, I said times, plural. We’ll get to that in a bit.Writing Desk
  • Start small. Make Goals. Big one’s like yearly goals, then break that down into quarterly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals, daily goals. With your goals made, you can make a plan. Figure how much you need to write based on those goals. For example, write make my 40K word goal for CampNaNoWriMo I need to write 1333 words each day for the month of April. If I make that goal, I’ll have a little over 100K for my novel…THE END (well, it’ll be the end of the book but not the end of my writing because there will still need to be major editing, revising, rewriting… All that good editing stuff). If I miss a day, not a good thing, or if I only write say 500 words on a day then I know I need to make up for that. What I’ve done by breaking my goals up into smaller goals is make them into tasks that are manageable.
  • Create a Writing Plan: My writing tasks, thanks to breaking my goals down into manageable tasks, is to write 1333 words during the month of April, or maybe it’s to write 500 words a day the entire year, or maybe it’s to write 1000 words a day during the week. I’ve also set up some kind of schedule (LOCATION/TIME) for my writing. If the house is only quiet from 4am-6am or 4pm-6pm; or if the ideal writing time is before work, or right after work. You know what your life is like, when the peak times are for you to write. If you’re not sure try different things until you find a time that will work for you.
  • Write in increments. For example, I write my morning pages, then I take a break from writing and draw. Then I go back to writing and write for 30 minutes to an hour. Then I take a short break, usually 15 minutes and start a load of laundry, make myself a fresh cup of coffee and grab a banana (one of my favorite snacks). That that has done for me is get my out of the chair and moving around. I’ve gotten a healthy snack, done something on my to-do list that I need to accomplish that has nothing to do with writing, as well as clear my head a bit. Then I go back to writing , or I’ll do something that is “writing related,” like look up character names, or find a picture of a setting I like, or research a fact, or write down notes for a video or blog post, then I go back to writing and write for another 30 minutes to an hour. Then it’s time for another break. Time to put those clothes in the dryer, wash some dishes, check the mail, or go for a walk. Then…I go back to writing or doing something “writer related.” I take a long break in the afternoon, usually, and film a video, edit a video, upload; and/or cook dinner, clean the house (I love doing 30 minute daily cleans); eat dinner with Mr. Rockstar, watch a little TV. Then I go back to writing and usually write for 30 minutes to an hour before I go to bed.
  • Distractions: Get rid of them, minimize them. Put your phone on vibrate, or better yet silent. Or leave it in a different room. Or you can use a program like Write or Die. Turn your WiFi off. If you’re like me, you’ll put your Scrivener Project in the compose mode, open up Rainymoods.com, light a candle, grab a cup of coffee and write. get shit done
  • Triggers: Speaking of lighting a candle, grabbing a cup of coffee, opening Rainy Moods…those are triggers for me that it’s time to write. I also prefer to write at my desktop, but there are times when I get tired of sitting at the desk and I use my laptop, with my comfy lapdesk thingy, and I lounge on my bed and write. I also go outside and write at the picnic table in our backyard (if the weather permits), or I’ll go to Starbucks or a park. I also wear my NaNoWriMo or CampNaNoWriMo t-shirts when I’m having a particularly rough day and I need to feel more motivated.
  • Word Count Trackers or Logs: Or productivity logs/trackers. If you really want to know how productive you are, keep a log of when you start writing, when you finish, make sure that if you do something else you log the time and activity. Did you pause in your writing to check Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? Did you stop writing and watch YT videos? (I speak from experience, lol!)

    Word Count tracker, and April's Calendar
    My Camp NaNoWriMo Spread, including a word count tracker, April’s calendar, tasks, and some inspiration.
  • (Last but not least) Get your ASS IN the CHAIR! If you don’t sit down (or stand if you’re lucky enough to have one of those standing desks) and write you won’t get the words written. Write. Write! WRITE!
  • Self: Improvement, care, etc. If you want to be a better writer, then write, but you might also want to check out what successful writers have done or are doing. Read books about the craft of writing, memiors about writers, blog posts from successful writers. And, you’ll want to take care of your self. Along with taking breaks, you’ll need to get some exercise, sleep, nourishment (perferrably healthy foods/snacks), and hydrate.
  • AND REMEMBER: what works for one person/writer might not work for you. FIND out what WORKS for YOU.

And, one of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard lately is: When you’re done, once you’re spent, and you know it’s best if you stop, then stop. TAKE A BREAK!

Category: #amwriting, #writestuff, Around Here, Camp NaNoWriMo, Creativity, Goals, Health, Living a Creative Life, Planning, Productivity, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Life | Comments Off on Writer Wednesday | Building your Writing Habit
April 7 2016

Camp NaNoWriMo Tips

Camp nano 2016For the past three years I’ve been participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, and in NaNoWriMo for far longer than that. I enjoy the Camps because of how much more laid back it is than November’s NaNo, how it’s a virtual camp with the cabins so you have other writer’s you can talk to about your writing, writing in general, and other writerly things. But I also like participating in the camps because I usually try to finish up things that were already started. It’s all part of my “having follow through,” and living a “creative life,” as well as my “getting organized and staying organized.”

I’ve often said that I’m a work in progress, that life itself seems to be a work in progress. Part of the reason I’m participating in CampNaNoWriMo this month is because I’m trying to finish my WIP. There are a few things I like to remember, they’re my tips for Camp:

  1. Remember it’s supposed to be FUN!
  2. It’s a first draft, or finishing up a draft, (or if you’re lucky, editing a draft). No one else has to see it. You don’t have to share it with anyone. And you can edit it later, or do more edits later. There is an invisible permission slip that comes with writing a first draft: It’s okay if it’s shitty. First drafts are supposed to be shitty, just ask Hemingway.
  3. You get to choose your own word count. So you can be the tortoise–slow and steady wins the race, or you can be the hare–and try to get all the words out on the page, or you can be the salmon and swim against the tide. Whatever works for you. My word count goal for this month is 30-40K.
  4. When you choose your idea you loved it. During this month keep that in mind. Why you choose the story…Why you loved the idea.
  5. The NaNoWriMo Forums, they’re great for advice, for ideas, for socializing, for information. And other writer communities such as #writestuff, #writetube.
  6. BACK UP YOUR WORK!!!
  7. Self-Care is important! Don’t forget to hydrate, exercise, eat healthy, and get enough sleep. Yes, I’m a coffee addict, but I also drink water, sweet iced tea, hot tea; apple, grape, and orange juice; Dr. Pepper, and hot chocolate. Often when I am stumped I’ll take a walk outside, take a long hot shower or bath, go for a drive, go somewhere else to write. Sometimes I take a break and read.
  8. Write! Get your (my) ass in the chair and just write.
  9. Morning pages are a great way to kickstart the creative juices.
  10. Make it a goal to wear your NaNo and Camp NaNo t-shirts and use your NaNo/Camp NaNo coffee mugs during the month.

I hope you’re having fun and that you get all the words written this month. Time for me to get back to writing. I have at least 1000 words to write today.