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10

This is a reprint, with slight alterations, of a newsletter article I did a few years ago.  I'm reposting it after several recent conversations with people telling me that they don't like to-do lists and schedules and things because they feel restricted, boxed in, constrained.  But there's also a lot of talk about not getting much of anything done, and I really think the two things--resistance to structure and lack of progress--are connected.

I've noticed something about we creative types. We like to feel free and wild, flying around the
aether with our creativity spreading behind us like wings. Structure? Bah! We don't want structure!
We're free. You can't put us in a box!Jellyfish

The thing is, without structure we often lack focus and direction. We float along, shapeless, like
jellyfish pushed and pulled by the tides. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be a jellyfish.

Here's an important secret—structure is not our enemy. It's more like the skeleton we hang our
creativity on, the underlying form that helps us determine what direction our work will go in. At an
immediate, project by project level, structure is deciding that you'll work on a painting today instead of
a novel or work on photo editing instead of an art quilt. It helps us get things done by keeping us from
trying to do everything all at once.

There are also greater structures in our lives that help us feed and nurture our creativity, things that
make it easier to create when we want to. Some of these are the same things that help us get to work on
time, get ready for bed, buy groceries for the week. Our daily, weekly, monthly routines can become a
structure to help us shape our creative time and space.

Structure adds form and substance and beauty to our creativity.
Structure adds form and substance and beauty to our creativity.

I know the word “routine” sometimes has a bad reputation. We frequently use it as a synonym for
“dull” or “boring.” But having routines keeps us from having to reinvent the wheel over and over to do
the things we need to do. If you create and choose your routines with intention and thoughtfulness,
with an eye to making time and space for your creativity, your routines can become the structure that
lets your creativity thrive.

So how do you build a structure for your creativity? The same way construction workers build a house
—one beam at a time. This is especially important if you are a multi-creative. Don't try to force long
stretches of time to work on all of your creative pursuits every week. Start out either by choosing a
favorite creative pastime and working that into your life regularly or by finding a particular time each
week (for me, it's Thursday evenings) and dedicate that time to doing whatever creative thing pulls you
when the time comes.

Work this new piece into your existing structure—you're building an addition, not creating an entirely
new dwelling. Look at your routines and your schedule, decide what is and isn't working and tweak
things to make them work better, then find the places where adding in creative time will work best. I'll
go back to the Thursday evenings I mentioned as an example. For me, my regular schedule leaves me
with the whole house to myself on Thursdays after work, so this is a natural time to work on creative
projects.

Once your new addition has become a comfortable, regular part of your life, look around for the next
place you can add on to your routine. Eventually, as with building anything, if you work steadily and
thoughtfully, you will have a life structure that will leave you the time and space you need for your
creativity. You'll be able to do the things you want, and your Muse will thank you for it every day.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
There's still time to join in on the adventure in the
MuseCraft™ Explorers' Club!  Sign up today
and start down the path to your creative dreams.

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18

Okay, it's not really on my table, but it's what I was working on this past week (and some paintings, of course), so I thought I'd stick with the normal Monday routine a little and use my usual title.

Detail Collage
Details from a few of my favorite painted pages--in squares, of course, because I'm loving squares right now.

So, about that blog tour...I was invited to join in on the tour by Theresa of Indigene Art Forms.  This blog tour has been going on for a while, and everyone who participates gets to invite others, so there are lots of links to follow back through the tour.  Give yourself a little gift and follow the link path--there's lots of great stuff to discover!

For the tour, I'm answering four questions about myself:

What am I working on?

Right now possibly the biggest thing is my 100 Paintings Project.  I have always considered myself a writer who dabbles in art, but I am wanting to claim that title of "artist" for myself, and I'm starting with a big pile of paintings!

I'm also working on a really fun coaching circle (MuseCraft™ Explorers' Circle) that will be starting in July--I'm really excited about this--it's going to be a creative adventure!  What could be better than that?  Info and sign-ups are almost ready to fly out into the world--I'll keep you posted.

What else am I working on? (Because I'm always doing bunches of things, it's just in my nature.)  Working on a new blog posting schedule and a couple of cool ideas for blog challenges for late summer and fall.  Working on some downloadables that I think are going to be great fun.  And working on, or at least thinking about, restarting my newsletter.

Things are going to be really exciting around here starting in the next couple of weeks, and I am thrilled that some of my ideas are going to get out into the world to share with everyone!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I'm still in the fairly early stages of my visual art work, but I think that some of my creativity coaching experience and my writing experience are making their way into my art and helping to put my own personal stamp on it.  In coaching I work with making small changes a lot, and I find that I approach my paintings that way, adding a few dots here or lines there and then letting it be until the next idea comes.  And from my writing I seem to have brought the idea of leaving some things to the viewer's imagination--I'm finding that I really like a small amount of detail and a lot of hints of things.  I may branch out and do things like more shaded and detailed faces, etc., but right now I'm really enjoying what I'm doing.

Why do I write/create what I do?

My writing and painting tends to be about mysterious things--fairies and magic and secret things that are hard to see.  I like to explore the ideas of hidden realms and magic in our own world in my writing, and this is starting to emerge in my painting as well.  I don't have an explanation for why I love these things, though.  I always have (my mother will tell you that by the age of two I had to watch every monster movie that came on, and I never missed a showing of Alice in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz.)

I think we are born with a pull toward certain things.  We often learn to cover it up, ignore it, pretend it isn't there, but our hearts have things they gravitate toward, and mine loves all things strange and weird and inexplicable.  And I think it's very important to listen to what pulls your heart, and if you can't hear it or feel it any more, I think it's incredibly important to excavate for it.  As Rumi said, “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”

How does your writing/creating process work?

It works best in small bursts.  I am rarely the sort who sits down to work and stays there for six hours.  I lay down a layer of paint then wander off to do other things while it dries, then I come back and do the next bit--sometimes that means painting for ten minutes, other times I might be there an hour depending on what I'm doing.  But bits and pieces and spurts work best for me.  For writing, too--I write best when I set a time for ten or fifteen minutes and then sit back for a minute or two (or five if I need more coffee or tea), and then do it again.  I guess I'm a sprinter rather than a marathoner.

So there's a little bit about me.  Now the super-exciting part of the tour!  I get to introduce you to some great fellow creatives who agreed to join in on this journey.  Go visit their blogs and see what they're up to, and make sure to check in next Monday (June 9) for their blog tour posts.

Adriane Giberson

Adriane is a creative human living in BC, who has on occasion been called a Renaissance Woman. Ever delving into the mysteries of the life of art and the art of living & sharing the journey via the interwebz.

You can find Adriane online at http://adriane745.wix.com/theartsyfartsychick

Paula Kumert

Paula is a memory keeper, making time and space for her creativity in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

You can find Paula online at http://keepitsimplemakeitgreat.blogspot.com/

Barbara Martin

Barbara is a writer, artist, and all-around creative making lots art and hosting meetings and workshops for fellow creatives in Oregon.

You can find Barbara online at http://www.barbaramartinart.com/

 

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4

I am
I am liking affirmations more and more every day.

I confess--I used to kind of hate affirmations.  I wanted to do them and be all enlightened and zen, but they didn't click for me.  They felt silly and fake and I felt silly and fake saying them.  I'd try them out, but instead of feeling buoyed up or motivated, I would feel annoyed.  "That's not true!" I'd think.  Then I'd go off and do something else, often the very thing I was trying to affirm myself out of. Then I started my Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching ™ training, and I learned how to actually use affirmations (thank you to my wonderful mentor coach Lisa Dieken for helping me with this!).  Admittedly I don't use them that much still (by now, not using them is a habit), but I like them now and feel like I understand them much better.  I have learned how to help my clients find good, useful affirmations, and I'm enjoying honing my skills in creating them. If you'd like to try working with affirmations, here are some tips to help make them more effective:

  • Create your own affirmations rather than using ones written by someone else; use words you would actually say in conversation
  • If you do want to use an affirmation written by someone else, change the wording so it sounds like something you would actually say
  • Put reminders around to help you remember to use your affirmations so you give them a real chance to work for you
  • If an affirmation isn't feeling right for you, change it or use another rather than try to use one that doesn't feel like you
  • Once you have the wording down, work with an affirmation for at least two weeks before you decide whether or not it's working for you

You might also want to browse through a few of the millions of online pages and articles for more in-depth info on affirmations and how to use them.  And keep an open mind.  You never know what might happen with the right words and attitude!

Extra Questions:  Do you work with affirmations?  What has been your experience with them?

EDIT: I forgot one of the most important points!  But I'm correcting that.

  • Make sure your affirmation is something believable.  For example, if you don't have enough money for the bus right now, saying "I am rich" is probably not something your subconscious is going to believe no matter how you phrase it.  If you are aiming for something very far from where you are, build up to it in increments.  Start with something like "I can pay all my bills," or my favorite money-related affirmation, "I have plenty of money."  Something like "plenty" is good because it can be interpreted many ways and so can be easier to believe but is still a strong word.  If you use an affirmation that you absolutely can't believe in, it won't take you anywhere, so if you aren't finding any belief in you for your affirmation rewrite it and try again.
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4

Which way should you go?  What should you do with your life, your self, your dreams?  Where's that darned map?

How about a road sign?
How about a road sign?

There is no right way.  You probably already knew that, though.  We would really like there to be a right way, and we'd like to know how to find it, though, because if we could just find that one right way then maybe things would be a tad easier.

The good news is that while there is no one right way, there are many good ways to get where we want to go.  Some will be better for you than others, so there might be some trial and error involved, but that can be fun if you let it. (There are wrong ways, too, and you'll feel that in your bones, in your heart, in the back of your mind.  Listen, and step away from those. Find a different route to try out.   Just don't keep searching for the one right way--that takes up too much of your time.  You could be out having fun instead!

But if there's no right way to get where you want to be, how do you know what you should do?  How do you decide which path to follow, which course to take, which idea to run with? A lot of that answer is subjective and depends entirely on you.  Lots of journaling and soul-searching will help.  But here are a few other things that will help.

  • Decide on what it is you want.  If you want something that's multifaceted (you want to be a writer-painter-dancer-computer programmer, for instance), try to prioritize the different parts of the dream and decide what you most want to work on right now
  • Make a list of possible ways to get where you want to be.  Find ways that feel good to you and really appeal to you and seem like they could be right and seem like you would enjoy going that route.  Don't pick classes, books, paths to follow because lots of other people have liked them, recommended them, said they're a sure way to make a million dollars. Pick what calls to your heart.
  • Go over your list and read each possible plan.  Eliminate any that feel iffy or don't quite feel right.
  • If you still have multiple items on your list and none of them are calling to you more strongly than the others, just pick one.  I know!  It sounds random and risky. What if it's not the right one?  See above.  Then just pick one.  Draw straws or flip a coin if you need to.  The important part is to pick just one thing that you're going to do to move you forward in your dreams.

Once you've decided on a path to follow, promise yourself to give it a real go.  Don't second guess yourself and keep looking at other courses or methods or groups that might be better.  They, or something much like them, will be there later if you want them. For now, run with your choice.  Give it time and attention and love and affection and energy and everything you can.  Give it everything you've got and see where you can go once you pick a direction.

Good luck!  Have fun!  Drop me a note on your journey and tell me how your dream is coming along.

 

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4

Do you ever read articles or books on productivity?  They talk about time wasters--surfing the internet, checking Facebook and Twitter, playing computer games--and tell you to get rid of them.  There are even apps and software that will block you from the internet or certain websites, things like that, all in the name of getting more done.

Time on My Hands
Gotta keep your eye on the clock

Have you ever tried any of the productivity techniques and apps and suggestions?  I have, and I noticed something odd.  I didn't start creating more.  I think I might have even started creating less.  And I felt stressed and pressured.  Overall I didn't feel like it was a good experiment.

 I think trying to corral myself that way and keep to a schedule and get things done all the time was stifling me and my creativity.  I think creative people (maybe all people, because we're all creative, after all) need more space--mentally, temporally, sometimes physically.  We need time to stare at the wall or off into space, doodle and hum to ourselves and let our daydreams run wild.  And I'm not the only one who thinks we need time for dreaming.  This article by Jonah Lehrer has excellent information on why daydreaming is important.  This one by Susanne Gargiulo is also very good.

Is this license to sit in our pajamas scrolling through Facebook all day?  No.  At least not every day.  We don't want to box ourselves in and smother our creativity with over-productivity, but we also don't actually want to just do nothing.  So what do we do to find a good balance between those?

That's where my creative time wasters come in.  Creative time wasters are things that help me free my thoughts, help me get in some daydreaming down time and feed my creativity at the same time.  They help me get to that mindless state that lets my creativity get going, and they also help stir up new creative ideas.  Here are my favorites:'

  • Coloring.  I especially love Dover's Creative Haven coloring books which are made for grown-ups
  • Dancing.  I do this a lot in the kitchen with headphones in singing at the top of my lungs.  Very freeing, and very stirring, and it really clears the mind.
  • Pinterest. I spend my time there looking at things that are related to whatever my current creative interest is.  Art journaling. Writing quotes. Photography. Surfing.  But spend some time browsing randomly, too, because you never know what will spark something in you.
  • Walking.  Getting out, moving around, letting your body move gently and your mind wander while nature works her magic on you.
  • Reading.  A good novel or two is an excellent way to relax your mind. It moves you away from your own creative projects and lets them percolate in the background while you have grand adventures.
  • Drawing.  Sketching, doodling, Zentangles, anything like that will help your mind relax and your thoughts wander, plus it's creative all on its own.

What about you?  What creative time wasters do you love?  What helps you let your mind wander and get clear so there's room for inspiration to get in?

 

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6

cover18

 

Today I have the great pleasure of taking part in a blog hop to introduce Wild Woman Waking, a book of poetry by Morgan Dragonwillow with photos by Tui Snider. The thing is, that statement doesn't come close.  This book is filled with deep, heartful poems that reach straight into our hearts and minds, expressing so much that we all think and feel.  And the photos are exquisite and rich and visual poems all on their own.  And at the end?  "Recipe for a Poet." I think I might have the ingredients! I love that this book is born of a creative collaboration because I love creative connections. Read Morgan's words on the journey to this book, and then check out the other links in this blog hop. And don't forget to grab a copy of Wild Woman Waking for yourself! (Grab one in March and Morgan will donate $1 of royalties for Women's History Month.)

The story behind the book:

How We Met

Tui and I met online during #Relish11, a blogging challenge during December to reflect on the past year, facilitated by Rebecca Murphy. I was looking for something to blog about because I really didn’t have a clue. Tui had a post talking about the different blog challenges for Dec. 2011 and I found her when I either Googled #Relish11 or found her tweet about it, not sure which. I of course fell in love with her photos and style of writing and began chatting with her through comments on her blog and in turn she visited my blog and shared comments. She let me know about the #commenthour chat on Twitter (that is no longer available) and I happily joined in to chat with other bloggers and to share my blog.

Teaming up to Write

One such chat we began talking about our writing and how most of us had books that we wanted to write but I don’t think any of us were writing seriously. Julie Jordan Scott mentioned the Row80 group of writers and I joined up as well as Tui.

Tui and I had a natural way of getting along and seemed to have many things in common, such as our quirky and eccentric ways; of course our creativity and writing was at the core of our similarities and both of us not always believing in ourselves. We were natural cheerleaders for each other. Thankfully we teamed up and became writing buddies helping to keep each other motivated in our writing endeavors.

Deciding to collaborate on Wild Woman Waking

I love photography and especially artsy photography. In my first book, Dancing within Shadow, I created my own art and photos to go along with the poems. I had discovered another poetry book that shared poetry and photos together and I really liked the idea. That book was created through collaboration and I started thinking about who I would love to collaborate with. Of course Tui’s artsy photos came to mind and, thankfully, she agreed.

At first she was sending me photos for me to write poetry but before too long she decided she would rather I choose from all the photos in her instagram. Some of her photos I created poems for and some I matched up with the poems I already had until I felt there was a flow that made each more powerful together than apart.

Learning not to listen to the Critics

It is a shame that so many of us that like to create and write, whether poetry or novels, have a history of others telling us why it isn’t possible, or telling us that we just aren’t good enough. About a week ago I reached out to someone that I thought I had a lot in common with. It didn’t turn out well because she kept trying to tell me what I wrote wasn’t poetry, that it was written from the ego, that I needed to learn to connect in and write from the universe. I fell apart. I began doubting myself, even as friends told me that she didn’t know what she was talking about. They told me that my writing was beautiful and that it was her narrow idea of what poetry “should” be, as so often others want to tell you what your art “should” be. I know that I write what I am guided to write. I connect in to my muse, my higher self, and the Divine in many different ways. In fact I have made an art of it long before this person came along and tried to tell me my words weren’t poetry.

Let your light shine!

If someone in your life has told you that your writing/creating isn’t good enough, look at what they aren’t doing because they are too afraid to even try. Or do they themselves feel inadequate and have to push you down to pull themselves up? And then tell yourself it doesn’t matter what someone else says, it only matters how it feels when you are creating. Do you enjoy it? Do you feel connected to your muse when you are in that moment and inspiration is flowing? Then please keep going, keep creating, the world needs your creations.

Hopefully you will find that special person or persons (if you haven’t already) that will cheer you on and your creativity. Someone like Tui, Julie, Beth (both of them), and all of the other wonderful women in my life that cheer me on when I am doubting myself and that I cheer on when they need a little love and support for their wonderful gifts and talents.

About the creators:

Morgan Dragonwillow Head shot

Morgan Dragonwillow is a shadow poet and recovering perfectionist that strives to inspire other poets and writers. She especially enjoys helping those that have had trouble letting go of the fear holding back their words from landing on the page. It thrills her to her marrow when her words inspire someone to write; it is one of her greatest joys. Morgan released her first poetry book, Dancing within Shadow, in March 2013. She is intimate with shadow and dances into the heart of it. She believes that diving into what most people try to avoid makes great fertilizer for all types of creativity, especially writing and poetry. She writes poetry to be able to say things, feel things that she can’t seem to express or feel anywhere else. Morgan lives in Marietta Ga. with her partner, their Pekinese, and their long haired Tabby. She loves creating of all kinds but words are her passion. You can connect with Morgan from the links below:

Morgan Dragonwillow's Amazon author page
Morgan Dragonwillow's Shadow Poet & Author Page: Dancing where others fear to tread.
Facebook Author Page
Pinterest
Twitter

sm-head-shot-tui Tui Snider is a writer, travel blogger, and photographer specializing in offbeat sites, overlooked history, cultural traditions, and quirky travel destinations. Her articles and photos have appeared in BMIbaby, easyJet, Wizzit, Click, Ling, PlanetEye Traveler, iStopover, SkyEurope, and North Texas Farm and Ranch magazines, among others. She also wrote the shopping chapter for the “Time Out Naples: Capri, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast 2010” travel guidebook. Unexpected Texas is her first book. For Tui, travel is a mindset. Her motto is "Even home is a travel destination," and she believes that "The world is only boring if you take everyone else's word for it." She has worn a lot of hats in her life - literally - and is especially fond of berets. Her first book, "Unexpected Texas" is a guide to offbeat and overlooked places within easy reach of the Dallas - Fort Worth region of North Texas. You can find Tui all around the web.  Feel free to say hi!

Tui Snider's Amazon author page
Tui Snider's Offbeat & Overlooked Travel blog
Facebook author page
Instagram
Pinterest

 

Don't forget to check out the blog hop: And click here for prizes! We have prizes for you as a thank you for participating! Morgan will be giving away personal poems, soul messages (you can read one here), and paperback copies (which aren’t for sale yet) of Wild Woman Waking! The Winners will be announced on Monday, March 24th, 2014. Enter for your chance to win!a Rafflecopter giveaway

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4

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.

Now this is easy!
Now this is easy!

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?

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It's funny, every year as Thanksgiving and the winter holidays approach, I start feeling the pull to be healthier, eat better, get some exercise.  Maybe because I realize somewhere deep down that it's really easy this time of year to get caught up in the busyness and let self-care slip away.  And I know, even when I don't act on it, that caring for myself is the starting point to living my dream creative life.

River Stones

What does it mean to really take care of yourself? It can mean many things and take many different forms. It won’t be the same for everyone. To find out how you might need to be taking better care of yourself, take a look at your life as it is. Where do you find yourself saying things like, “I wish I had time for X” or “I can’t seem to get things done,” or “I wanted to do such-and-such project, but I couldn’t find my materials, and by the time I gathered enough of them, I was too tired to make art.” Are there things you keep putting off, things you really want to be doing? Are you doing too many things every day that you really don’t want to be doing? These are signs that your self-care needs a boost.

Self-care might mean giving yourself time and space to follow your dreams. This often means we have to cut out some things in our lives, though, so be prepared. Even if they are things you want to toss out, there can be some stress and sadness and discomfort over the changes.

Self-care also means getting things done when they need to be done so you don’t stress yourself out with the pressure of waiting tasks hanging over your head. Stress and pressure crush creative dreams. Think about what “stress” and “pressure” mean, and you’ll know this is true—stress and pressure in the tectonic plates of the earth cause earthquakes!

Self-care means finding shortcuts to give yourself the time and space you need without compromising other things you need such as your health or the happiness of your family and friends. It can mean knowing when to just lie down and enjoy the sunshine or put your feet up and just rest. It is finding people and places and books and objects that help you achieve a sense of peace and pleasure.

So after reading this, maybe you’ve decided you want to make some changes and start taking care of yourself differently, more deeply. Good! As you get started, keep this in mind—don’t try to change everything at once. Learning to deeply care for yourself and nurture your Muse takes time. You cannot change every ingrained habit at once—the final result will be stressful rather than pleasant and will feel like a chore rather than feeling like a long, warm hug.

What are some concrete things you can do to start caring deeply for yourself and your Muse? I don’t have all the answers. I don’t even have many answers yet; I’m just starting out (re-starting) on this self-care journey myself. But I do have a few ideas.

One of my guiding words lately is "thrive." It's something we all need to focus on. Thriving. Taking real care of ourselves, not just the bare minimums. To help myself thrive, I'm starting out by focusing on eating, because one of the most important ways we can take care of ourselves physically and emotionally is by feeding ourselves good, nourishing, pleasing food (yes, pleasing--food should be a pleasure, but more on that another time). Of course, we don't want to spend hours every day cooking. So how do we thrive while still leaving time and energy and space for our creative pursuits?

I believe the issue of self-care and creativity is one I need to revisit often.  I'm going to use this reworking of an old newsletter article I wrote as a jumping-off point to start giving regular attention to--ME!  I believe that taking care of our physical selves (and this includes our environments) is a necessity because our physical selves directly effect our emotional, spiritual, and creative selves.

My first step on this path: starting a journal to talk to myself about self-care, how I'm feeling, how this is affecting my world, what I think I would like my self-care to look like.

What about you?  Would you like to join me in examining our physical sides?  What would you like to start with?

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1

My creativity resides in my hips and when I begin feeling stuck I know it is time (past time) to turn on some fun music and move to the rhythms. I am a writer and poet and I believe that movement is the most important part to keeping the words and creativity flowing.

When I think about my writing I think about the wonderful books I have read and the first and most significant is Natalie Goldberg and her book, Writing Down the Bones. I remember taking her book with me on a four hour drive and devouring every word. Lucky for me my partner back then liked to do most of the driving.

I still have that little book and I still often carry it with me for inspiration. She talks about sitting in cafes in Taos New Mexico and teaching others to write even before she was an author herself. She would go to craft fairs and sell prose for a dollar. I thought, wow, what moxie.  I could not imagine writing for other people. Well I could but only in my dreams.

About the same time that I read her book I read another fabulous author by the name of Gabrielle Roth. Her book, Maps to Ecstasy: Teachings of an Urban Shaman, stirred something in me that bubbled up and could not be contained. Dance. Movement.

Writing, dance, movement, writing, this marinated in my soul for years until I had the courage to act on it and began writing seriously the beginning of 2012.

I use dance and movement to connect to my muse, to my higher self, whatever you want to call it. Music and movement help me to open up and allow the words to flow.

Now I did mot start out writing poetry. Yes I wrote a few poems in high school and as a young adult but I did not take it seriously let alone have the confidence to continue with it. It was not until I saw a picture writing prompt on Shah Wharton’s, Words in Sync, that poetry began to stir within me once again. Stir, it began to boil. It took hold of me and did not let go.

I had forgotten for a time what poetry means to me; now that I remember I live and breathe it. I turn tragedy into words on the page. I take the bleeding gaping holes and mend them with my words.

 

MorganMorgan Dragonwillow is co-host of @StoryDam and creatrix of OctPoWriMo (a poetry month in October) Morgan Dragonwillow is intimate with shadow and dances into the heart of it. She believes that diving in to what most people try to avoid makes great fertilizer for creativity whether it is writing, painting, or using other mediums for art. She currently lives in Marietta, Georgia with her partner, their Pekinese and their fluffy, long haired tabby. You will often find her online #wordmongering with her #StoryDam team and writing community.

 

Morgan Book Cover
Morgan's new book, Dancing within Shadow - A Poetic Journey, is available on Amazon as a free dowload today and tomorrow (June 19-20, 2013).  Get your copy today!

 

 

 

 

Find Morgan online here:

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/mdragonwillow.writer
Twitter - https://twitter.com/MDragonwillow
Webpage - http://morgandragonwillow.com/

 

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6

I have a million things on my mind, and I want to write about all of them.  I want to do a Row80 check-in, I want to talk about JuNoWriMo.  I most especially want to talk about Lisa Sonora Beam's Creative+Practice class and Jill Badonsky's Creative Realignment Workshop, both of which I've stepped into this week.

I've been hesitant to talk too much about my flaws and failures.  What kind of coach falls prey to the same things she helps other people deal with?  Oh yeah.  A human one.  A human one who needs to remember what she tells people all the time--we all need to connect with mentors and teachers and people who support and cheer us on our paths.  We all need help.  So, here's a little bit about me getting caught up in a downward spiral and my journey back out.

Journal 2
My Creative+Practice journal, created (and not quite completed) last year but not used because I kept meaning to get to the work but wasn't doing it. I see a pattern...

This whole year, plagued by illness, injury, car troubles, and the accompanying money woes that go with all of that, I have been trying to make plans, jump into things, busy my anxiety and depression away.  Coupled with a leaning toward self-sabotage and procrastination, I've just been setting myself up for failure and a reinforcement of my "I never do what I should, never do anything right" feelings.

This week, though, a few things happened to push me into acknowledging that I've just been plunging into plans to try to shake myself out of my doldrums.

First, Lisa's class started up again, and I realized that it's an invitation.  It's an invitation to slowly build up to something lasting, something that can keep me afloat during dark and stressful times.

Then Thursday Jill did a call about self-sabotage and not showing up for yourself.  It was like someone shined a spotlight on my behavior.  It became so clear that I was making sure that I don't move ahead with my dreams.

At first I found myself starting to make all sorts of new plans to "get myself going" and things like that.  Then I stopped myself.  I asked one question: "What do I need?"  Not what do I want to be doing (writing, coaching, teaching), or what do I think I should be doing (cleaning and organizing, making better plans for my life). What do I need?

  • I need breathing space, calm, peace-of-mind
  • I need a support structure, regular practices that help me sort my thoughts and get that calm space I need
  • I need to care for myself

A huge problem of mine is impatience.  I want all of this right now.  My plan (oh, I just can't help myself--I love to make plans!) is to take things day-by-day.  I'm going to finish out this round and begin the next one with the goal of making one daily step, connecting with people here, on Twitter, on Facebook to have some accountability.

So what does this mean for ROW80 and JuNoWriMo?  Writing is in my soul, I can't stop thinking about writing and stories, so I'm not going to stop doing either of these.  I'm just going to really dial back my goals.  For the rest of this round, and for the rest of June, I am going to set the goal of writing at least two sentences every weekday.  Small steps, one of my favorite tools from my Kaizen-Muse™ training.  And they work when I remember to do them (have you ever noticed how hard it can be to follow your own advice?)

I've been rambling.  I hope you're still with me.  I hope you'll remember that even when you're not practicing your creativity, even when things are dark, this is normal, and you are not alone.  And if you want to talk about it, I would love to connect so we can help each other along.

 

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