27 February 2010

The Artist's Way check-in: week four

  1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? (Tantrums often show up as skipping the morning pages.) How was the experience for you? I did my morning pages five days this week. The experience was good. The morning pages are very cathartic for me, and I'm able to think out problems and situations to find good solutions.
  2. Did you do your artist date this week? (Does your artist get to do more than rent a movie?) What did you do? How did it feel? I did play, but I didn't have an official artist date.
  3. Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it? I did experience it, but since it's of a more personal nature, I'm not going to share it here.  Sorry.
  4. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant to your recovery? Describe them. Nothing comes to mind.
My week of reading deprivation is over!  Hurrah!

26 February 2010

In like a lion: writing about weather

Weather is still a hot topic for discussion here in central Florida.  Despite being nearly March, Orlando temperatures are lower than average, and it's on the minds of everyone, and affecting their daily lives.  For writers, the weather can be a jumping-off place for a scene, or a way to immerse readers in the setting and story.

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25 February 2010

Use your writing time wisely

Many people have a glamorized vision of a full-time writer's life.  They see people who lounge around in their pajamas drinking coffee and staring out the window.  Unfortunately, writers can fall into procrastination traps just as easily as people in traditional jobs, and they don't have managers and supervisors around to check up on them.  Full time writers have to figure out their own ways to use their time wisely and stay productive, even when temptations arise.

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23 February 2010

10 on Tuesday: things I've learned about myself through morning pages

Part of the process of The Artist's Way is "morning pages."  That means that every morning, before I do anything else, I write three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing longhand.

At first, I just did the pages without really thinking about the content.  Now, though, I'm seeing the real purpose of them.  If I let go and really write, my heart takes over, and I learn things about myself.  Problems are solved, true worries surface, and my creative self makes herself known.

Here are some things that have been revealed to me through the morning pages (in no particular order).

  1. I'm worried about my heart.
  2. Great things happen when you trust your creativity and God (or creative flow or whatever you believe in that feeds your creativity).
  3. I'm excited about the changes I'm making in my life. (Details to come on my personal blog.)
  4. I love staying home with Bean!
  5. I'm happier now than I was before I started this process.
  6. I need a vacation.
  7. I don't take care of myself as well as I should.
  8. I have champions in people I didn't expect, as well as creative "enemies" in people I didn't expect.
  9. My handwriting gets messy when I'm trying to keep up with my brain.
  10. I've felt very out of control for a long time, but it's getting better.

22 February 2010

What is National Novel Editing Month?

Editing is a task many writers dread.  After all, the writing is the fun part.  Creating new worlds and characters, coming up with dialogue, and resolving conflict are all part of the excitement of the writer's world.  But once the story is on paper, it requires editing in order to make it the best it can be.  Fortunately, there's support for editors to help encourage them to reread, revise, and rewrite their novels!

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This Week's Task List

  • Continue working on rewrite of NaNo novel in preparation of NaNoEdMo
  • Continue working on coffee house book writing
  • Continue working on grant application
  • Environment task (#1) for Week 4 of The Artist's Way
  • Time Travel task (#2) for Week 4 of The Artist's Way
  • Life Pie task (#5) for Week 4 of The Artist's Way
  • Artist's Prayer task (#6) for Week 4 of The Artist's Way
  • Closet task (#8) for Week 4 of The Artist's Way
  • Situation task (#9) for Week 4 of The Artist's Way
  • Reading deprivation task (#10) for Week 4 of The Artist's Way (if needed)

No reading allowed?

I'm in week four of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.  As part of the process this week, I won't be reading.

All week.

At all. ::shudder::

I know, but I'm trusting the process in this.  I won't be reading any blogs this week.  I'll have a lot of catching up to do next Monday!

19 February 2010

The Artist's Way check-in: week three

  1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? How was the experience for you? If you skipped a day, why did you skip it? I did my morning pages six out of seven days!  It was cathartic for me to write every day. I'm starting to learn where some of my creativity blockers are, and where some of my stress sources are.
  2. Did you do your artist date this week? (Yes, yes, and it was awful.) What did you do? How did it feel? I did not, in fact, do my artist date this week. Big whoop. Wanna fight about it?
  3. Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it? I did not.
  4. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? Describe them. See answer #1.

Write yourself warm

All over the United States, people have been watching the weather with interest, waiting for the meteorologists to tell them when temperatures would start easing up the thermometer.  Here in Orlando, for example, there have been record cold temperatures.  Fortunately, writers can use their talents and imagination to stay warm.

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16 February 2010

10 on Tuesday: songs I sing to Bean

(in no particular order)

  1. Rock-a-bye, Baby*
  2. The Garden (a hymn my grandmother sang to me)
  3. It's Time to Go to Sleep (a song I made up for Bean when he was very, very little and couldn't sleep)
  4. Down to the River to Pray (from the O, Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack)
  5. Lullaby (Good Night, my Angel) by Billy Joel
  6. I'll Fly Away (from the O, Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack)
  7. Away in a Manger
  8. The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson
  9. Colors by Kira Willey (Yes, that is definitely the song from the old Dell commercial. Big whoop. Wanna fight about it?)
  10. It's Okay, Wyatt (this is another song I made up for Bean; when I sang it, he immediately stopped crying)

*I sing a different last line to this song: "But Mama will catch you, cradle and all."

USF's Lit2Go

I wrote an article recently about reading as writers.

One of the reasons it's important for writers to read is to learn new things, as well as deepen their understanding of familiar things.  Reading also opens you up to a whole world of experience without even leaving your local library.  And, of course, reading literature is a great way to do that.

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15 February 2010

This Week's Task List

I got a bit of a late start today.  Thankfully, Hubby's home from work today so I should be able to get caught up pretty easily, which will be put me in a good position for the rest of the week.  At least, that's what I'm telling myself.

  • Work on grant application organization
  • Work on the coffee house draft
  • Power through the chapter 2 rewrite of Pondered
  • Childhood room task for week 3 of The Artist's Way (#1)
  • Childhood traits task for week 3 of The Artist's Way (#2)
  • Inner Compass task for week 3 of The Artist's Way (#7)
  • Five people who are dead task for week 3 of The Artist's Way (#9)
What do you have going on this week?

14 February 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

The Artist's Way check-in: week two

  1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? (We're hoping seven, remember.) How was the experience for you? How did the morning pages work for you? Describe them (for example, "They felt so stupid. I'd write all these itty-bitty disconnected things that didn't seem to have anything to do with one another or with anything..."). Remember, if you are writing morning pages, they are working for you. What were you surprised to find yourself writing about? Answer this question in full on your check-in page. This will be a weekly self-scan of your moods, not your progress. Don't worry if you pages are whiny and trite. Sometimes that's the very best thing for you. I did morning pages about half the mornings this week, but the mornings that I did them, I found them incredibly helpful.  Afterward, I feel more relaxed and that I've let go of things that have been bothering me.  Sometimes my morning pages are disjointed and they almost don't make sense, while other times they flow and feel more like traditional journaling.  I seem to write about some of the same things over and over, and so far I feel like I haven't gotten anywhere by writing about them.  I expected I'd write about writing in my morning pages, but usually I write about life things, and most often the things I write about are worries, problems, or frustrations I can't seem to let go of.  When I let myself write about my worries and frustrations, I always feel better afterward.
  2. Did you do your artist date this week? Remember that artist dates are a necessary frivolity. What did you do? How did it feel? ::blushes:: I did not do my artist date this week.  Oops.
  3. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? Describe them. I feel like I'm more connected to my creativity.  I think, through the morning pages and tasks I'm doing each week, I'm surrendering myself to being a "big double-u writer" so I'm feeling much less guilty about taking time for my writing.  The affirmations of "Creativity is the creator's will for me" and "Through the use of my creative, I serve God"* have helped me immensely this week.  I've felt guilty in the past for taking time to write because I always felt like I should be looking for a "real" job or that writing should only be a hobby.  But now I see the real purpose of creativity in my life, and I don't feel guilty about it anymore.

*Julia Cameron uses the term "God" to tap into the spiritual journey of this process, but is not necessarily referring to the God of the Bible.  In her introduction she says:
Because The Artist's Way is, in essence, a spiritual path, initiated and practiced through creativity, this book uses the word God. This may be volatile for some of you--conjuring old, unworkable, unpleasant, or simply unbelievable ideas about God as you were raised to understand "him." Please be open-minded.
Remind yourself that to succeed in this course, no god concept is necessary. In fact, many of our commonly held god concepts get in the way. Do not allow semantics to become one more block for you.
When the word God is used in these pages, you may substitute the thought good orderly direction or flow. What we are talking about is a creative energy. God is useful shorthand for many of us, but so is Goddess, Mind, Universe, Source, and Higher Power.... The point is not what you name it. The point is that you try using it. For many of us, thinking of it as a form of spiritual electricity has been a very useful jumping-off place. (Cameron, xxi-xxii)

13 February 2010

Be true to yourself

The publishing industry goes through trends.  Some people try to buck them, others try to set their own trends.  And still others try to use the trends to their advantage by writing within them.  But that isn't always the best idea in writing.

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08 February 2010

Clutter-free desk, clutter-free mind

Writers are often told to simplify their writing lives to avoid distractions.  If you write on a computer, for example, remove game programs and internet access.  Turn your phone ringer off during your writing time.  Writers even sometimes rent a writing space outside of their homes to get away from home distractions.  But what can you do if your writing space is the distraction?

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This Week's Task List

Since I'm doing The Artist's Way for the next eleven weeks, I've decided to start including those tasks in my weekly task list, as well.  Some of the tasks are somewhat involved in their descriptions, so I'm just going to list the tasks without going into details. Although, for those who have the book, I've included the task numbers so you can see which ones I've chosen for this week.

  • Outline essays for grant application
  • Finish rewriting chapter two for Pondered*
  • Write at least two sections for the coffee house book
  • Bean's six-month check-up (Tuesday evening)
  • Write morning pages every day
  • Take my artist for a date
  • "Basic Principles" task (#1)
  • "Where does your time go?" task (#2)
  • "Affirmations" task (#5)
  • "Life Pie" task (#7)
  • "Ten Tiny Changes" task (#8-10)
  • Weekly check-in (Sunday)

*"Pondered" is the project name for the rewrite of my NaNo 2009 novel, which I titled She Pondered These Things in Her Heart.

07 February 2010

The Artist's Way check-in: week one

  1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? Seven out of seven, we always hope. How was the experience for you? Unfortunately, due to some crazy things going on in my personal life, I didn't do my morning pages every day.  That's something I'm going to work on for week two.  The act of writing the morning pages, though, was a very good one for me.  I've already learned some important things about myself, and I can see a change in how I'm approaching my writing life.
  2. Did you do your artist's date this week?  Yes, of course, we always hope.  And yet artist dates can be remarkably difficult to allow yourself.  What did you do?  How did it feel? Yes, I did.  This week, I spent an hour and let my young, inner child artist "play."  It was wonderful to let myself relax and not worry about what I should have been doing for that hour.  I think it was a good first date with my artist.
  3. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? Working with the blurts and affirmations was good for me this week.  In dealing with blurts and my monster hall of fame, I realized that there are people in my monster hall of fame I didn't expect would be.  It's been good for me to see how certain people have been supportive (or not), and how to deal with that in my own self-confidence as a writer.

05 February 2010

Coffee-Stained Pages: The Artist's Way

I've started working through The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron this week.

A friend and fellow writer, Shannon, told me she was starting it this week.  I've had the book for years and have never done it, so I agreed to go through it with her.

04 February 2010

So I've decided to apply for a writers' grant

A couple of years ago, I came across a grant for women writers and visual artists.  I applied for it, not fully understanding the undertaking.  But I was excited, and figured I had as good a chance as anyone else.

Since then, I've been getting email updates from the organization, and I've decided that I'm going to apply for the grant again this year.  My situation has changed, I know much more about the organization, the grant, and the application process, and I figure I still have as good a chance as anyone else.

The application process is quite involved, and I'm putting quite a lot of my heart into it.  I've started working on it, and I'm altering my writing schedule to give me time every day to work on the application.

I don't know what's going to happen.  I don't know if I really have a chance at the grant or not, but I feel like I have to try.  So I am.

Wish me luck!

03 February 2010

AROHO's Orlando Prizes and eMessage Competition

Any woman who writes short fiction, sudden fiction, creative nonfiction, or poetry are eligible for upcoming the Orlando Prizes and eMessage Competition from A Room of Her Own Foundation (AROHO).

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February events

It's always good for writers to know what writing/reading events are going on in their local area.  Events can be good opportunities to network, let people know you're around, and learn.  Here are some upcoming events in the Orlando/central Florida area you may want to consider attending.

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02 February 2010

10 on Tuesday: Harlem Renaissance writers

In honor of Black History Month, I present the following Harlem Renaissance writers, listed alphabetically:

  1. Countee Cullen
  2. W. E. B. DuBois
  3. Jessie Redmon Fauset
  4. Langston Hughes
  5. Zora Neale Hurston
  6. James Weldon Johnson
  7. Alain Locke
  8. Claude McKay
  9. Jean Toomer
  10. Carl Van Vechten
There are many, many other writers of the Harlem Renaissance worth reading, and many, many, many Black writers throughout history worth reading.  This is just a very small snippet of writers.  Enjoy!

01 February 2010

Agents applaud Macmillan

After negotiation between Amazon and Macmillan, and lots of discussion and speculation among agents, readers, and writers, it seems an agreement has been reached that has made many industry agents happy.

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This Week's Task List

I'm adjusting my schedule.  I'm going to start getting up early to write rather than staying up late.  Bean usually gets up between 5 and 6 a.m. for an early morning snack, so my plan is to stay up when he gets up (even though he goes back to sleep for a little while, usually) and write until he's up for the day (usually between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.).  We'll see how it goes.  Here's what's on my task list for this week:

  • Pondered (NaNo 2009 novel) rewrite
  • coffee house book draft
  • finish converting writing documents to Google Docs
  • start sending pictures from my hard drive to Google Docs (yep, they do pictures, too!)