It's been a busy few days with lots of creativity happening. I feel like I'm in creative overdrive!  Do you ever have times where you feel like you're turned up high and you find yourself creating and making things and doing thing, and it all seems to flow nearly effortlessly?  It doesn't happen to me all that often, but I love when it does.

Over the weekend I created an art journal spread on the background I had been so busily admiring last week.  I made a terrarium, and I already have ideas for several more I'd like to create, and I painted another art journal spread.  Here's my harvest:

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So far for me these highly prolific, creative, productive times seem to happen randomly, but I'm wondering if there's some way to call them to me.  I'm interested in what kinds of circumstances might help us get into that flow.  Any thoughts on that?  Do you have anything that you do that seems to really boost your creative flow?  Anything you think might help even if you haven't tried it yet?  I'd love to hear your experiences.

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4

It's Sunday--time for a ROW80 check-in.

Tracks

 I didn't get quite as much done this week as I thought I could.  I was prepping for and then teaching a Swords for Scribes workshop yesterday, and today I've just been tired and have not done much of anything.

Since Wednesday, I've done Creative Practice every day.  It's really becoming an important anchor in my days and a way to get my thoughts ordered at least a little bit.  I've done a little bit of Inner Excavation work, mostly reading and taking a few photos (you can see some in this post).  I've added a few sentences to my short story and haven't gotten to the critiquing I need to have done by Wednesday.  And I didn't manage to make time for #wordmongering.  I also lightened up on my yoga for a few days because I was in a lot of pain, and after the busy, active day of teaching yesterday I didn't have energy for a walk today.  I did check in on my ROW80 blogs.

And yet, although this isn't the greatest check-in I've ever had, and I didn't get to everything I had planned, I feel like I'm on track.  The things that didn't get done got set aside consciously because I was having a rough physical week and didn't have the energy to do it all.  I chose to let some things go for a few days, and I know exactly how and when I'll be picking them back up.  This feels really good, and it makes me feel that I'm not only on track with my goals but on track with building a life I want to be living that will feel good for me.  So I count this week a success!

How about you?  Are there things that you might set aside for a short time if you are feeling overwhelmed?  What can you do for yourself to make things easier?  Easy is good!  Treat yourself to some ease when you can.

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5

Astronomical Clock Prague
Time to check in on the ROW80 goals:
  • Fiction Writing: On Monday I wrote a couple of sentences of my story, so I hit my bare minimum.  Last night things started flowing better.  I wrote three pages, so I'm still on track to get a first draft done by Sunday night or Monday morning.  I do need to get to the reading and commenting for my writers' group, though, so I will be scheduling some time for that tonight and tomorrow.
  • Row80 Blogs:  Checked in on my peeps and one other blog.
  • Creative+Practice: This is Week 6, and I have not missed a day!  I find myself looking forward to it, and it has become something that I just assume has to fit into my day so I make it happen.  This week we're starting to play with paint and colors on the pages, and I love that.  I'm feeling like I'm spending a little more time with my C+P and giving it more attention by taking the time to paint a little, color a little, decorate a little, and I am getting more of the brain sorting benefits from giving that little bit of extra time.
  • Inner Excavation: I just started Week 3, and I am in love with this chapter!  I may be staying here for a while.  I am enjoying this work and the community.  It is making me feel very connected to my intuition and inner self, and I needed that.
  • #Wordmongering:  Um...I am going to try again tomorrow night.  I don't seem to manage to pick a good time when I'll be uninterrupted to do this.
  • Yoga:  Still doing the three days a week.  Yesterday, I got Permission to Curve by Anna Guest-Jelley of Curvy Yoga.  (It's on sale through Friday for 50% off, too.)  I am reading through it and may change or add to my routine soon.
  • Walking:  Planning for a short weekend walk, probably on Sunday

In MuseCraft™ happenings, I'm working on my coaching program for writers, The Writer's Muse.  I'll be opening up spaces for individual coaching in mid- to late-September.  If you're interested in a spot, or if you'd like to try out a short (around 15 minute) consultation session (I will only have room to do 10 of these, so if you want in let me know soon), send me an e-mail: kim@musecraftonline.com.  I'll be getting pricing info up later this week.  Also, keep an eye out for info on group writer's coaching which will be coming in October if all goes as planned.  I'll be getting an official post up about all of this soon, but I thought I'd offer a sneak peek.

That's it!  I'm off to do my yoga now to help me have a good check-in on Sunday.  Happy writing!

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Since I've been talking about this here, I thought I'd share some of what I've been doing in the Inner Excavate-Along with Effy.

Back Then 04

The poem reads:

Back Then

Times were different then
Times were better
We tell ourselves
These stories of the past
Hiraeth
Unattainable
and
Unreachable
I do not know what I am homesick for
I only know I haven't found it yet

Hiraeth is "a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past." (Darned if I can find where I got that particular definition from.  If I find it again, I'll link to it.)

It's a feeling I get a lot--I think it is tied in to my creativity somehow and makes me long for the story places I create or something like that.  It's a concept I think about a lot, and it seemed perfect for a chapter where we were examining the past.

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8

Today's ROW80 check-in brought to you from a couple of my favorite sci-fi shows and as much humor as I can grab to help me settle my whirling thoughts.  (Bonus points if you read that subject line in "Bones" McCoy's voice.)

In today's check-in reminder post, Kait asks if we lost our stride over the long holiday weekend.  My stride?  Maybe.  I thought it was my mind that went missing.  I suspect this happens to a lot of writers when they are starting a new project, trying to fit it in with everything else already on the table.  There's not enough time!  Or maybe there's just not enough organization?

Typewriter

Right now, I am feeling anxious and behind.  I think it's actually leftovers from having a lot to do in a short time over the weekend.  That and leftovers from being really anxious about sharing my work with my new writers' group.  But my first story is shared with them, even though it wasn't the story I originally thought I'd be sharing, so things are good.

When I took a look at all of my notes and partial stories for Division Zero, I didn't have enough time to pull anything together that would be sharable even as a first draft.  So I shared a story set in the same made-up city, a story that I actually want to get into shape and submit.  So I shared something I wrote last year rather than anything newer, but it was a real share, not just any old piece of writing just to have something to send to the group.

Still, all that trying to pull things together in a short time during a really busy weekend has left me unable to settle down.  I have to breathe and remind myself that everything is okay.  Everything I needed to do got done, and the only thing I'm a little behind on is Inner Excavation, and I plan to give myself some time to play with that tonight and tomorrow.  The anxiety is really an after-effect, and it would be awesome if it would go away.

It's funny.  I used to have confidence in my writing.  I was shy and uncertain about a lot of things, but I knew I was a good writer.  In February, 1993 I walked into a room full of other writers, about fifteen of us all told, and I read a first draft story to them with no hesitation.  I did tell them up front that it was a first draft, but I wasn't scared to share my work.  Last night (okay, since Sunday night), getting ready to finally send off a story to my new group, I was an anxious, jittery wreck.

Maybe the difference is that back in 1993 I was in school for a post-grad teaching certification in English.  I had recently taken a short story writing class and was doing a lot of writing for school.  Maybe my confidence came from all the positive feedback I always got in school and workshops.  Maybe I am anxious because I've been away from sharing my work with anyone for almost a decade (I did share a few first-draft short stories last year, but not with specific in-person acquaintences and not with the intention of getting feedback).

It feels good to be sharing my work with a group again.  Uncomfortable right now, but that's at least in part because I don't handle change very well.  But I can feel that once I get into the rhythm of this every-other-week group and have it as a regular part of my life, my writing is going to soar.  I'm excited.  Scared that they will think my work is awful, but really excited to be making this real, concrete commitment to my writing.

Okay, on the the check-in details:

  • Fiction Writing--I got a lot done since Sunday.  I got a lot of my Division Zero notes together, rearranged the order of some of the stories, got two-line character sketches done for all of my people, revamped and outlined the first story in the series.  I also re-formatted a story from last year and got that sent to my writers' group.
  • Row80 Blogs--I've been checking in on my assigned numbers, but this week I didn't get to any extras.
  • Creative+Practice--continuing this daily and still finding that I look forward to it and am pretty easily making sure to fit it in each day.  It's a great way to do a little something creative and also get my jumbled thoughts a little bit in order as I do the daily journaling.
  • Inner Excavation--I am behind on this.  This is Week 3, and I am still in the beginnings of Week 2.  I hereby give myself permission to just do some writing for Week 2, skip the visual art portion for now, and move on.
  • #Wordmongering--I haven't done any this week yet.  I plan to get in on it tomorrow (tonight I'm giving to my Inner Excavation work)
  • Yoga--Continuing a three-day-a-week practice.  Some of the poses are still pretty hard, but I can feel a few of them getting a little easier as my muscles get stronger, so this is good.  I am not really noticing any pain relief yet, but it's only been about a month.
  • Walking--Nothing to report here as my intention is to do a short walk on the weekends and sadly it isn't the weekend yet.
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5

I can't believe it's already Sunday and time for another ROW80 check-in. These long holiday weekends go by so fast, and they really mess with my ability to tell what day it is.

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So, what have I done since Wednesday?  So much!  And as always happens to me, doing a lot of creative work plus going to some creative events over the weekend has left me with a landslide of new ideas I want to play with.

For now, though, here's what I've done.  Maybe more on new ideas at a later time.

  • Writing--I've continued with Ordinary Girl a bit, but I am also dusting off my short story series from November to take to my new writing group.  I'm feeling a renewed excitement for those stories, plus I like going into a new group with short stories.
  • Continuing with Creative + Practice and really liking how it helps me create a transition point in my days.
  • Haven't done #wordmongering again since last Monday.  I plan to schedule it for Wednesday night this coming week as I will have the house to myself all evening.
  • I had to skip yoga on Friday because my hips, back, and left ankle have been really painful for a couple of days, but I did do some walking downtown on Friday and around a steampunk convention yesterday.
  • I haven't done anything on Inner Excavation the past few days, but I should be able to ease back into it tomorrow when I am back on a normal schedule again.

I have really enjoyed the past four and a half days, being on my own schedule, going to artsy things and creative events.  My mind is turning to thoughts of doing more coaching and really getting MuseCraft up and running so I can have that life all the time, but I'm not sure I know what goals to add in right now, so for the moment I'm going to stay in daydream phase on the coaching front, but I may be adding some things in later this round.

Meanwhile, see you Wednesday!

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6

It's time for another adventurous journey with ROW80!  I am so ready.  My bags are packed (with intentions, enthusiasm, small step plans, pens and notebooks, and a supply of snacks).  Let's go!

Parmiter Antiques Southsea Luggage used under Creative Commons license from geishaboy500
Parmiter Antiques Southsea Luggage used under Creative Commons license from geishaboy500

Besides ROW80, I am participating in Lisa Sonora Beam's Creative + Practice again this summer (Week 4 starts today).  And Effy Wild's Inner Excavate Along With Effy, a read-and-work-through of Liz Lamoreux' gorgeous book Inner Excavation (Week 2 of this starts today).  Overall, my goal is to get to some of each of these every week.  It's summer, and I'm all about ease and gentleness and going with the flow.

The really great thing is that since starting Creative + Practice, I've been writing (my novel) almost every day.  Not a lot.  Some days just the two sentences I've promised myself.  But even when I'm writing two sentences or for five minutes, I am seeing the words add up. My story is moving noticeably, and I am loving doing my writing.  And that is the most important part for me, the part I was trying to return to last round but which kept slipping away from me.

I'm going to list all the things I want to give attention to even though the list looks kind of long.  I know that several of these don't take a lot of time, so it's not a huge task to fit these in

So here are my goals as the journey begins:

Things I want to give time to this round

  • Fiction writing--at least two sentences, at least four times a week
  • ROW80--check in on my assigned sponsor blog numbers and as many more blogs as I can after each check-in
  • Creative+Practice--at least five days a week
  • Inner Excavation--something each week, what or how much doesn't matter as long as I do a little bit
  • #Wordmongering--I want to try out this Twitter sprint, so I will give it a try at least once a week (possibly starting tonight to see if Mondays might be a good evening for it with Wednesdays and Thursday being other options)
  • Yoga practice--continuing three days a week
  • Walking--I want to add in a short walk, maybe less than 10 minutes, once a week

I also want to have a way to keep myself accountable but in a fun, lighthearted way.  I am thinking of mostly using Twitter for this so I can connect with other people doing the same work as well as having a general place to put my intentions and progress out there.

Ways to keep myself showing up

  • Report on Twitter when I have done my Creative+Practice, writing, and any Inner Excavation work
  • Report on Twitter when I've finished checking blogs for the day (?)
  • Share ROW80 and Inner Excavation progress on the appropriate Facebook groups
  • #Wordmongering happens on Twitter, so of course I will report doing that there
  • Report exercise sessions on Twitter and/or the ROW80 Fitness Facebook group (maybe? and not sure if this should be each time I do it or weekly)

I think that's everything.  This feels pretty good, so I think I'll let it be my starting point and see how it goes.  And now, I believe this ship is ready to sail!

Miami Cruise Ship used under Creative Commons license from miamism
Miami Cruise Ship used under Creative Commons license from miamism
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