This is the background of a winter holiday spread I just started. I love the soft gold and bright red together. They really do make me feel cheery. Do you have colors or color combos that cheer you up?
This has been a bit of a slow week. I’ve been preparing to travel then actually traveling, so I haven’t had much time for anything else. This will be a light ROW80 check-in, but there’s been some progress at least.
I’m still reading through Rock Your Plot. Even though I’m still reading and haven’t done any of the assignments yet, I had a pretty major plot breakthrough, so I’m feeling quite excited. I still have this huge, gaping hole where the midpoint should be, though. I’m hoping something stirs up and helps me fill that in soon.
I am not sure if I’ll get to a check-in on Wednesday. Holiday season and traveling take their toll. But I hope I’ll have progress to report next time.
What do you do to fit in writing and creative work during this time of year?
I am feeling the turning of the seasons and the year, the turning of the wheel, the turning of time. I am feeling it very heavily right now, and I feel like this is a time for changes. I just don’t quite know what all of those changes are yet.
I have been going slowly this week, unwinding from a couple of months of too many committments and not enough downtime. I’m getting ready to travel to see family, so I’m trying to get some energy built up for that, too. None of the changes I’m contemplating will happen until after the beginning of next year, anyhow, so I can let myself take my time. I have to remind myself that I don’t need to rush.
Meanwhile, I have been making progress on my revised ROW80 goals. I made an abrupt change in my outlining plans when fellow ROW80-er Shan Jeniah Burton commented on using Rock Your Plot by Cathy Yardley to plan her NaNo novel.
I have been enjoying the other craft books I’ve been browsing through and intend to return to them, but this one…this one grabbed me and pulled me right in. It’s set up just for me! There are specific assignments very noticeably marked to help me slow down and focus on just the task at hand, and that seems to be a huge part of why this book is feeling so good for me. So I am continuing my plan to create an outline for my novel, but I’m changing the way I’m doing it (and it feels good, which is so very important!)
I got back to checking in on my ROW80 team’s blogs, and that was lovely, seeing what everyone’s up to and not feeling rushed while reading and commenting. More of that laid-back stuff, please! I have decided that I’m not going to volunteer as a sponsor for the first round of 2014, though.
I am making a real effort to see what my creative process looks like with as few outside restrictions and schedules imposed on it as I can manage. Knowing how you really work, what really feels right for you, is important for your creative life. If you haven’t checked in on that lately, try to give yourself some time to see what really works for you (and make sure it’s still the same–don’t just assume that if you’ve done this in the past everything is still the same).
For the coming week, it’s going to be more of the same. Working on my outline, checking in on blogs, figuring out what’s right for me. I hope to get to check in on Sunday, but since I’ll be traveling I can’t promise. But I’ll be back soon.
What are you planning for these early days of December?
I wrapped up NaNoWriMo 2013 on Friday. Then it was a holiday party and the Thank Goodness It’s Over NaNo party. Not much time for anything to be on my table this week.
But this gives me a blank slate, a new place to start from to get back to writing on my own schedule and getting to paint and art journal more. Looking forward to it!
December 1. NaNoWriMo 2013 is behind me. I am so relieved! This year, I really felt constrained by the need to start something new on November 1 and then by the need to write quickly, not stopping when I really needed to work out some details. I won, but the event felt much more like a chore than an adventure this time around. I am looking forward to working on my novel on my own schedule, with my own rhythm, in a way that will make it a better piece of writing even in its roughest form.
Today is also the start of the last month of Round 4 of ROW80. I’m feeling excited about the possibilities opening up for my writing life right now, but I’m vacillating between excitement and worry that I won’t be able to figure out how to make it work.
Here’s my revised goals list for December:
- Complete an outline for Inheritance using K.M. Weiland’s Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success
- Create a scene list of what I’ve already written so I can figure out where the biggest gaps are
- Create a writing schedule for finishing the first draft
December is going to be busy–traveling to visit family, holiday parties and dinners–so I think this is enough. If I have time, I’m also going to read Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story, also by K.M. Weiland.
I’m also going to get back on track with checking in with my ROW80 team because I fell behind during NaNo, and I’m going to get in at least a little bit of art journaling when I can.
What about you? What will you do in December to keep connected to your creative work?
There are other things, of course, but that’s the big one. Too much going on this year, and NaNo has been tough! But I’m going to hit 50K on Friday, and I’m thankful that I was able to get things together enough to make that happen.
I’m also thankful that every time I do NaNo I find out a little bit more about my own writing process. I think over the past two years the combination of ROW80 and NaNo has brought me to a place where I am starting to believe I can figure out how to finish a novel. And that’s huge for me. HUGE.
I’m thankful for finding a great critique group that expects to see pages from me every other Wednesday. I’m still stumbling a bit, trying to get a rhythm in my writing life, but having people waiting to see something from me is an excellent motivator.
So that check-in… I am standing at 43,414 words right now. I was behind for most of November, but I caught up yesterday. I haven’t written today, but I will. I intend to hit my 50K on Friday, a day early, so I can have the day off Saturday to lounge around and get ready for a holiday party that evening. And then on Sunday I will be posting revamped goals for the rest of this round and also for the completion of my novel. Overall, a pretty good check-in today, I think.
Now if someone would just finish those sweet potatoes, bake my pumpkin bars for me, and fill in these gaping plot holes, I’d be golden! Happy Thanksgiving!
I’ve been writing and writing for NaNoWriMo all week (I even missed the ROW80 check-in yesterday!), so I haven’t made any new art journal spreads or anything like that. So this week I’m sharing the new OTTLite on my table and the fantastic washi tape spool my partner made for me (he made it in October, but it’s still pretty new to me).
Do you ever catch yourself wishing that things were easy or saying things like, “Why can’t this be easy?” or “I want this to be easy!”? What do we mean by that? Do we actually mean that we want a life that is effortless, where we never have to exert ourselves or stretch ourselves in any way? I don’t think that’s actually what we mean when we’re wishing and hoping and longing for easy. I think if we didn’t have things to work toward and strive for, we’d get bored. I don’t think we really mean “easy” at all.
So what do we mean when we wish for easy? I think we might really be longing for a clear path–knowing where we’re going and the steps to take to get there. I think it’s the uncertainty of what comes next, of what our next move should be that makes us wish for that chair on the beach and effortless days.
I think when I find myself complaining that something is too hard, that I wish it (whatever the current “it” might be) was easier, I’ll remind myself that easy isn’t what I’m looking for. Instead of asking how things can be easy, I will ask myself “how can I clear the way to move forward?” Semantics, yes, but I think it’s important.
Does this relate to my ROW80 check-in and NaNoWriMo? Oh yeah. I’ve been whining to myself for the past two days that this next section is too hard, I want it to be easy, why won’t it be easy? Today, just a little while ago, I realized it was the wrong question. I don’t actually mind spending hours writing, staying up a little too late, skipping other things to get in some words. So it’s not easy I’m looking for. What I’m really needing is a focus, a plan, a clue. So the question I need to ask myself is “how can I figure out what I need to write next?” “How can I make the next section make sense as a lead-in to what’s going to happen after?” “How can I plan things so I don’t have so many stops and starts and stuck places?”
Maybe just writing along getting all the thoughts down, knowing the basics of what I’m going to put in that spot before I get started is a form of ease. I don’t know. But I do think I need to be focusing more on how to know what I’m going to write when I sit down rather than focusing on how I want things to be easy. Because the truth is, I don’t care that much about easy. I just want to get my words flowing again.
What would you like to have going more smoothly in your life? What would you like to get unstuck? How can you clear the way for yourself to do the things you want to do?
This one is also from No Excuses Art Journaling. It’s a collage of November colors and images to set the mood for the month. The course says to do this collage at the start of the month, and I did begin it then, but I just finished it this weekend.
The text is from “Ode to the West Wind” by Percy Bysshe Shelley:
O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing
That beautiful box you see was a birthday gift from my friend Laura. I’m going to use it to put little bits of art supplies in. And the little pile of stuff in front of it is treasures I pulled from the pocket of an old coat. I like to have pretty, interesting things to look at while I’m creating.