Where’s My Map?

Where’s My Map?

SeattleMap 2

Do you ever feel like you’d just love a road map that tells you exactly what to do, step by step, to get where you want to be?  I do!  I know that living a creative life and building creative dreams doesn’t work that way.  But oh, sometimes I really want it to!

I’m still working on how I want my coaching and creative lives to look.  I didn’t do anything with it last week as I had a suddenly, extremely ill kitty to worry about.  She’s out of the hospital and mending but not great, but we’re feeling hopeful now so I’m stepping back into my meditations on changing my world.

I’m figuring out how a move toward more writing-centered focus (which includes journaling, which I deeply believe is important for all creatives) will look, what my website might include, what I’ll want to write about from this new focus.  I’m figuring out how I want my shift to look and feel while I’m in the middle of it, because how the shift happens is important, too.

So how do you make a major shift in your life focus?  I like to do it Kaizen-Muse™ style (of course).  I’m starting with Small Questions to help me figure out my first Small Steps (my two favorite KMCC™ tools!)  Right now I’m asking “What does the website of a writer’s coach look like?” and “What does it talk about?”  I’m tinkering with questions about how talking about general creativity will still fit into the mix, but I don’t have a good, solid question for that yet.

If you’re looking to make a shift in your creative life (or any part of your life), I recommend starting with some good questions–questions about what things might look like in your world as you make your changes, questions about how the old will fit in with the new.  Ask your questions, and then go about your business.  You don’t need an answer right away.  Ask your questions once a day, maybe at the same time, maybe as part of a tiny ritual (I like to write mine down sometimes–in my journal, on an index card, on a sticky note).  And then don’t push for an answer.  Keep asking.  Your brain will take hold of the questions and run with them, and answers will come.  Just listen.  That’s what I’m doing right now.  I don’t know if, once I have some answers, I’ll write about it or just make my changes.  You’ll probably figure it out based on what you see here.  I do know that I’m excited to make these changes, and I hope you’ll come along for the journey.  I think there’s lots of great writing to do in the days ahead.

Miss Caisha 2

This is my darling girl when we were visiting her in the ICU veterinary hospital last week. She was already starting to feel a little better, and she’s home now, but it’s been very scary and stressful. So I couldn’t resist putting her picture here to show off the adorableness and remind myself that things are better.

 

Painting My Way Back to Writing

Painting My Way Back to Writing

Collage of Me

If you’ve been reading along this year, you know I’ve been focusing mainly on painting and art journaling.  I’ve been really enjoying this immersion into visual arts, but lately I’ve been feeling the pull of language and words and story and writing.  It seems that I’ve painted my way back to being a writer!

I think having multiple creative pursuits is a good thing.  I think it keeps your mind fresh, it gives you a break from your main focus, it’s good for your brain.  And in my case trying out diving deep into just one area of my creativity really brought home to me what my first creative love is.  All of the focus on painting and art journaling gave me a creative breather and opened up some space for introspection and inner conversation on what really lights me up and brought me some good, exciting understandings of myself.

So I’m going to be focusing more on my writing again, but I won’t be giving up my other creative activities.  I will be looking at them more as the hobbies I practice in addition to my primary creative work from now on.  That feels right and comfortable for me.

What’s that going to look like around here?  I don’t know yet.  I don’t see myself not talking about art journaling, photography, painting, etc.  So that won’t go away.  I do want to start building up a coaching practice that’s more focused on writers and writing, although I am planning plenty of journaling talk and possibly some journaling classes. I deeply believe that everyone, not just writers, can benefit from some form of journaling, and I believe there’s space for all types of creatives here, not just writers.

That’s what’s on my mind right now.  I am feeling in transition, and I wanted to share a little bit about what feels like the beginning of something new.

What’s going on in your world right now?  Anything new coming up on your horizon?  I hope you let yourself be open to what might be coming your way.

Little Steps

Little Steps

Footsteps

I am still working to get back to some sort of normalcy, maybe a little bit of a routine, maybe something-or-other to focus on.  I’m also putting some thought into changes I might want to make around MuseCraft™.  I’m looking at the things I really love and playing with ways to bring my coaching and creative life and deepest interests together.  We’ll see how that goes!  I’ll definitely keep you posted.  Hopefully this will bring a return to blogging weekly–right now I’m going with what feels comfortable as I figure out what’s next.

Meanwhile, to help me find my next steps I’m taking Whitney Freya’s 21 Day Painting Meditation Challenge. It’s a low time commitment, no pressure, doesn’t require me to pull out all of my supplies.  It seemed like a good way to get back to some art journaling and creative play.

I also signed up for an October writing class at StoryWonk. Sufficiently Advanced Magic: Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy.  I’ve been feeling a pull to get back to story writing, and I love using classes to get into (or back into) a creative project.  Plus, I just love Lani and Alastair at StoryWonk.  I’ve been listening to their podcasts for years and adore how much they love storytelling.

That’s everything I’m letting myself get involved in right now.  I think when you’re returning from a big, life-changing something-or-other it’s important to remember to go slowly, take the smallest steps you can, take lots of breaks.  I remind myself of this.  I’m reminding you of this.  Slow is fine.  Slow is perfect!

So, until next time–go slow, go easy, enjoy the journey!

Re-entry

Re-entry

Turtle

I am finally back from my long trip, trying to find my way back into everyday life like a turtle returning to the sea.  Or maybe like a small child dipping her toes into the cold water, not really sure she wants to jump in.  But unlike the child, or even the turtle, there’s not much choice when the ocean you are dipping into is life itself.  Picking up and carrying on is the only way to go.

When I left on August 17, I mentioned here that I was called away on a family emergency.  My mother, who has had cancer for the past three-and-a-half years, was in critical condition.  I flew home and spent the next 11 days with her at the hospital.  On August 28 she went on to whatever comes next for us all.  Then came a whirlwind of funeral plans and the funeral itself, packing her belongings and emptying her apartment (my poor family–aunt and uncle and cousins–got stuck with so much of it as I had to return home too soon!), and then a cross-country drive in her car.

Now I’m home, and trying to get an idea of what life is now.  I don’t have any creative plans or goals or challenges to share about right now.  I have only been back for a few days after three weeks and a major life change away, so I am still getting my bearings.  But blogging is a thing I do, and I want to get back to the things I do, to a life not centered around crisis and sorrow.

For now I’m going to continue reading a lot.  I’m going to snuggle my kitties at home and the dogs here at work.  I’m starting a new knitting project, a knit-along that started September 1 (SweaterBabe’s Mystery Scarf Knit-Along).  Knitting is calm and soothing, and also perfect as we move into the cooler Autumn weather.

I’m not sure exactly when I’ll be getting back to anything like normal.  Maybe never–maybe I will find myself making lots of changes and stirring things up now.  Life will definitely be very different.  I used to talk to my mother at least twice a day and often more, small and frequently silly conversations sometimes only two or three minutes long.  Now I will be looking at what will fill those spaces.  For now I’m just being, but I did want to let everyone know what’s going on with me.

Enjoy the slow ride into Autumn!  Take care of yourselves!  And thanks for your patience as I slowly get back to the world.

Journeying

Journeying

I’m going to be away for a while–I have to travel for a family emergency. I’ll be dropping my August challenges, although I might pick the Life in Black and White challenge up again for the last few days if I get back home in time.  In any case, I’ll be back with things on my table and projects moving along as soon as I can.  Until then, keep exploring and finding what’s just around that bend.

North Head Lighthouse Path

On My Table–Challenge Progress

On My Table–Challenge Progress

I’ve been keeping up with my August challenges but not doing a whole lot else.  Lots of stuff going on, keeping me a little bit overly busy.  But here are a few recent shots from the Life in Black and White challenge just so you know I haven’t been hiding out in the closet.  Two of the pics are even of the beginnings of a new art journal spread, so I’m moving right along.  I’ll get back to  that taking pics and writing about it thing again very soon!

Life in BW Collage 1

The Eve of August

The Eve of August

August Challenges

I love August!  I have loved August since the first year I went to school (in the Chicago suburbs where I grew up, school starts in August rather than September).  There’s always been so much promise in the start of a new year for me, kind of like in January, but for me I feel that new year vibe even stronger in the Fall.  I love new classes and subjects and schedules, all bursting with good new things to learn and try and practice.

I think my love of that back-to-school wave must have been seeping in even though I didn’t realize it, because this week I signed up for three creative challenges for August–one for writing, one for journaling, one for photography.  I should find plenty of new things to try with these!

Writing: I’m signed up for DIY MFA’s Conquer the Craft challenge, which is actually a 29-day challenge.  I’m going to use it in conjunction with a group I signed up for called My 500 Words that focuses on–I bet you know this one–writing 500 words a day.  After August I plan to do it only one weekdays/work days, but for August I’ll use if for the 29 days of Conquer the Craft.  This might even fit in with my #Just10Minutes practice, at least on some days.  If I’m on a roll, I can write 500 words in 10 minutes, so I might try to push for it a few times just as an extra challenge.

Journaling: I’m also jumping back in on Lisa Sonora Beam’s ROOT 30 Day Journal Project.  I sort of participated in January, but I was still heavily in a Lull phase and didn’t get all the way through.

Photography: And finally I’m doing the Life in Black and White challenge. Thirty-one days of black-and-white photography.  Since getting a digital camera, and then an iPod Touch, I never shoot b & w anymore, and I used to love doing that with a film camera.  I’m looking forward to focusing on some photography plus getting back to black-and-white.  I even got two new apps for my Pod (Noir Pro and Hueless) to try out for the challenge.

So what about you?   Do you get the same kind of vibe I do when it’s back-to-school time?  Any plans to start something new this August? Tell me all about your plans–I’d love to hear them!

On My Table–A Glimpse

On My Table–A Glimpse

I didn’t have anything to take a picture of last week–lots of writing and class planning going on.  This week, though, I do have a little glimpse to share from my upcoming, self-paced Flash Journaling class:

Ready Cropped

It’s cropped and arted up with special effects, but this is a little glimpse of the kinds of things we’ll work on in Flash Journaling (coming out in September)

Right now I’m wrapping up the July newsletter (sign up over there to the right in the sidebar if you haven’t already) and working on a few more things, so I’m a little short on words.  I’m sure I’ll have more to say later in the week.   Meanwhile, join me on Twitter and Facebook and practice doing things in #Just10Minutes with me.  Let’s see what we can do!

Just 10 Minutes

Just 10 Minutes

Just 10 Minutes

What can you do in just ten minutes? What if I told you that you could write a book, paint a painting, clean your house, get in shape?  It’s true.  Ten minutes at a time, repeated over and over again, can get just about anything done.  And doing things in tiny increments takes off the pressure–it becomes stress free and even fun to see what you can do in ten minutes at a time.

I first started using a timer and ten minutes when I read Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones.  She recommends doing timed writings and trying out different time increments to see what works best for you.  (I found 10 – 20 minutes to be my zone.)  Then I started participating in NaNoWriMo where, to my delight, I found word sprints to join in on.  My favorites, the ones that got me to 50,000 words in 30 days six times, were the 10 and 15 minute sprints.

And then I found Kaizen-Muse™ and discovered that you can use these little pieces of time to do all sorts of things! During my trainings, Small Steps became my favorite Kaizen-Muse™ tool, and it’s still my favorite.  I am consistently amazed at how much can be accomplished in tiny chunks of time.  Give me a timer and turn me loose, and I feel like I can do anything!   I really do love my timer and my Small Steps!

And that’s what brought about this post and this new idea.  What if we all take those big, important, maybe feels too heavy tasks and ideas and break them down into ten minute chunks? What if we encourage each other to try doing just ten minutes of something we’ve been wanting to do?

Let’s take this to Twitter and Facebook.  Use the hashtag #Just10Minutes.  State your goal.  Share what you’ve done.  Get a boost.  Give someone else a boost.  Let’s take those dreams and get them started, together, in Just 10 Minutes.

On My Table–Plans

On My Table–Plans

I didn’t get to an On My Table post last week because the July 4 weekend was so full of fun GEAR Con hijinks I didn’t squeeze in any time for painting or arting at all.  To be honest, I didn’t do much of anything over the last week either because soaring temps left me flopped in front of the fan.

I did run across a need for a long range planner, and I couldn’t find anything to fit the bill, so I made this:

Planner 1

I really wanted a place to show the next several months at one time so I can see what I have planned (I have a few cool, self-paced classes planned and other fun stuff, too).  I want to be able to keep track of what kind of schedule I need to have going on, and I need to know further out than a month at a time.  Apparently I’m the only one who needs this?  Or I’m looking for the wrong thing, because I couldn’t find anything to download or buy a paper copy of.  So I grabbed some scrapbook paper and markers and made a thing!

The paper is pretty pink-flowered glittery stuff (the little ATCs are made from the leftovers after I trimmed the paper to size).  I used my favorite PITT pens and made some rectangles, and now it’s ready for me to start filling in the blanks and getting things ready to plan and schedule so I can send all sorts of fabulous stuff out into the world!  Stay tuned…this planner is the start of something wonderful!