I missed Sunday's ROW80 check-in because I was really sick over the weekend with some sort of stomach bug. I don't really have much to report, but I don't like to miss too many check-ins. I start feeling really off track and out-of-touch when I do.
I haven't written anything, not even a quick journal entry on the back of a collage card (haven't done any of those either) in a week. The end of last week was hectic and stressy for no reason I can pinpoint. Then, after being sick for three days and missing work on Monday, I returned to work yesterday only to have my clutch go out on my way home. I got home hours later than I should have, and my anticipated evening of journaling and relaxing was gone. And now I have no car.
My thoughts are scattered all over the place. I can't settle down enough to think let alone write anything down today. Right now I feel so far away from my writing and any of my creative work that I can't even remember what my goals were for this round. What a difference a week can make.
I have a plan, though. Tonight I'm going to make an art journal page to hold my goals, and I'm going to hang it above where I put on my makeup so I will look at it every morning. Then at least my goals will be back fresh in my mind.
I'm going to reinstall Scrivener and start getting to know it better so I can start using it well and know it well before NaNoWriMo hits. And I'm going to use it to get restarted on Ordinary Girl.
I'm going to sit down with my journal and write one page. Just one page. I don't need anything more from myself. Just one page, just some words, just to get myself back.
It's ROW80 check-in time again. This week I have been continuing my quest for an intuitive practice. I have also had a sinus headache for days, and it is making my head as floaty as these clouds.
I know, that sounds awful. And I've been quite out-of-sorts and grumpy and kind of depressed for a few days, too. But in amongst all of that I've had some interesting, good things going on inside my head. I've come up with the seeds of some coaching offerings for writers (way too soon to share, though--sorry!). And I've been drawn back to my first NaNo novel which I did a complete start-over on a couple of years ago.
The novel isn't finished at all, and I've been stalled out for over a year. And suddenly I can't stop thinking about it, toying with some of what has happened so far, asking questions about what might happen next. I'm feeling like this is a pretty clear sign that it's time to reconnect with this story.
I'm going to keep my main focus on the writing practice and journaling I've been doing. I feel that I'm getting a lot out of these, and as I become more regular with them (right now I manage to remember to do it about three times a week) I think my brain will start offering up even more exciting tidbits. I can't wait to see what I come up with! But I am going to add "work on Ordinary Girl" into the mix for this round.
I'm not sure how this work is going to look just yet, but I can feel that it's time to get back to this piece. So far I have never managed to make it all the way to the end of a novel-length work, so I'm not entirely sure what to do. I think I'm going to do what I'm doing with the writing practice and just do a little bit as often as I remember that I want to do this work. I'm going to try to stay away from too much planning, because I think I get too hung up on feeling that I have to have a good plan in order to write. I'm going to go more intuitive with this fiction, too, and see how that goes. It's like a grand experiment! (Picture me cackling like a mad scientist over my notebooks.) In this, too, I can't wait to see what I do!
I don't have a lot to report for this ROW80 check-in. The time between Wednesday and now has been filled with preparing for our first Swords for Scribes workshop and then teaching the workshop yesterday. It was a great workshop, and the writers had a lot of fun and got some good words down, too, but all the workshop stuff didn't leave time for much else the past few days.
At the same time, my mind has been wildly active during this time. I think the return to writing practice and journaling is already starting to let my thoughts flow more smoothly. I've been having lots of great ideas and realizations and plans.
One of the things I realized was that as a coach I would like to offer more things that are specifically for writers. Now that the idea popped up and I've said it a few times, it seems so odd that it took me until now to figure this out. Of course I should offer classes and coaching specifically for writers! I am a writer, I love writing, I've been teaching writing and participating in groups and workshops for decades. It's my "thing!"
So in the coming weeks I'm going to be putting in a lot of time with these ideas and coming up with some coaching and other offerings to help my fellow writers along the path. I'm loving that plan and can't wait to have more to share.
"Your story is important. Finishing it is important. The workshop – the critique and feedback – this is important, too...But it is not of primary importance. Your finished work is simply the performance piece of your writing life... There is so much more to your writing than the finished piece...Practice. It’s actually how we learn how to do what we want to do."
Yes, all of this. I am focusing on this and plan to write more about practice in the coming weeks. Focusing on practice, returning to creative practice over and over, is not as easy as I seem to think it should be. There are so many messages from all over the internet about getting thngs done, working faster, finishing your novel in 30 days, being more productive. It is hard to remember that practice is an essential part of my creative life. It is hard to pull back from the noise of "do more now!" and just practice. It is hard. I am doing it. I think that makes this a pretty good week.
I've been thinking a lot about intuition and following mine, following my heart, listening to my inner voice. And on Sunday I got to attend a The Muse is In* workshop with Jill Badonsky, a long-time hero of mine and the founder of and my teacher in Kaizen-Muse™ Creativity Coaching.
*Jill has a new book out by the same name:The Muse Is In. I haven't read it all yet--I just got my copy on Sunday. But it's gorgeous! Full of color and whimsy and great advice and fun prompts. I think I might be in love.
Here we are, already at the end of the first week of ROW80, Round 2. I am liking where I'm going with this round, but I have been surprised to find that my simple, small goals are still difficult in some ways.
I've been doing some journaling and collaging some Found Intentions and a little bit of stretching and foot strengthening exercises. So basically I'm doing the things I've set out to do. This is all good stuff and all as planned, no surprises.
What is surprising is the loud voice in my head that keeps telling me that whatever writing I'm doing isn't enough. Journaling on the back of a collage card isn't enough. Two pages in my journal isn't enough. Ten minutes of writing isn't enough.
I am taking this voice as a sign that my small goals are just the right thing. They are helping me bring to light an inner voice that needs some comebacks. And it needs to be shown that what I'm doing is enough. Because it is. So this week, I will continue as planned. And talk back to that loudmouth in my head.
It was 1992. I was back in school getting a post-grad teaching certification and taking my first steps from being a storyteller and occasional poet to being a writer. I started taking some workshops. And I bought some books. And one of those books is still with me. It's right here next to me as I type because I think it's time for a re-read.
Re-reading this (and probably Wild Mind after) seems like the perfect accompaniment to this round of ROW80. Taking my goals back to the basics, simplifying, just focusing on the process of writing practice is what these books are all about. These books are where I first learned this stuff! It feels really good to be returning to this starting point.
I've been doing some very short journaling, mostly on the back of my collage cards, and it feels good to be connecting to my world with my words again. I know I'm on the right track for me, and I think that's a pretty good check-in for right now.
I wish to believe in magic. In fairies and miracles and bright, shining amazement floating in glittery bubbles of fairy dust. I wish to believe that there are secrets to the Universe, things I can catch glimpses of if I open myself up and look in the right directions. I wish to believe that I have magic inside me that I can bring out and share with the world if I keep trying. I wish to believe that there are ghosts and aliens and Bigfoot and wild, unknown things out there and that maybe I can see some of it while I'm here. I'm like Fox Mulder on the X-Files--I want to believe.
If I am going to be doing collages and taking photos of them here at work, I may start carrying my camera with me. The camera on my iPod doesn't do well with the flourescent bulbs and weird shadows in this place. But you get the general idea of what the collage looks like (the dots are actually red, though!). I have no idea yet what this means, but these are the things that wanted to get glued down today.
It's time for Round 2 of ROW80. When Round 1 ended last Wednesday, I really wasn't sure what goals I would set for myself for the new round. I knew I was going to join in again; ROW80 has become a part of my creative practice. It gives me some structure to hang my creativity on. But I am in transition right now, figuring out what direction I want to be moving in, and none of these amorphous ideas I'm having seem well suited to goal setting.
My overall intention for this round is to reconnect with my love of writing and creativity. This round is not about finishing stories or word count or anything like that. This round is all about practice for the sake of practicing and enjoying the process and nothing else.
Writing practice --just writing to play with words, describe what I see around me, sink into words on the page, as often as I am able
Movement practice--stretching, dancing, moving in ways that feel good to reconnect with my body and start to overcome the chronic pain I've been experiencing, as often as I can
I want to connect more with my intuition, and I think all of these practices combined will help me do that. Natalie Goldberg writes about how writing practice is like a meditation practice, and when I was doing it regularly I found that to be true. Working on collages for Found Inspirations feels very meditative too, both when I'm paging through magazines to find words and images that call to me and when I'm sifting through my clippings to find what calls to me for a collage. And stretching and dancing movements become meditative if you can let yourself just move without thinking about steps or specific exercises.
I feel like this is a good path for me even though these aren't particularly solid, typical ROW80 type goals. I know I am feeling pulled to do this very strongly, so I'm going to follow that pull and see where it takes me this round.