Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Perfectionism. What is it? To me it is a condition where an artist can't create because he is so afraid of getting it wrong, he freezes. I've suffered from this for as long as I can remember. When I sit down at the keyboard, it is painful for me to put words on paper because I hear my mother, "if you can't do it right the first time, don't do it at all." That was the mantra around our house. I heard it so often, it's as ingrained as my breath. I am currently in the middle of editing one of my books and another project. I procrastinate because I am so afraid to see what I've written, it almost makes me sick. Amazingly enough, when I do finally get to the pages, they're not half bad. Yikes! We'll see how today goes.
I encourage all of you who have prefectionist tendency to set it aside. Do something spontaneous, totally out of the ordinary for you. You never know what or who you will discover.
Til Tomorrow~

Monday, January 30, 2006

Today I wanted to write about the importance of examining and experimenting with different artistic techniques and approaches. Since I became a creativity coach, I have been preaching how writers should check out other art disciplines like painting, sculpting, etc. I do several thing. I weave and do charcoal. Sometimes I try my hand at oil painting and I would like to do more but currently time doesn't permit me to indulge as much as I would like.
This morning I watched Carol Duvall. She had a polymer clay artist and a scrapbook artist on her show. I was mesmerized as the guests completed beautiful projects from clay and paper. What struck me however, was the methodical way they did their work. They broke things down, were very organized and succinct, and moved from step to step to step.
As writers, we need to be just as methodical. When I first started writing, I admit, I threw words down on paper. It was great for the creative process, not so great for the final draft. Today, I start out with an idea, get it all out in a rough draft, then go back and begin refining. Many years ago, I read an article on editing by Lois Duncan. She said after she wrote her rough drafts, she got down in the floor with her piece, scissors, and tape. She cut up her manuscript, arranged the pieces where they fit together and made the most sense, and taped them back together.
On more than one occassion I have used her method. It's like putting together a great big jigsaw puzzle. With the computer it's a snap to move the paragraphs around once you get back to the keyboard.
Just like craft projects, writing is a step by step procedure. You do one thing, then another, then another.
Writing is a craft and the more you practice, the better you get. I'm off to practice today. Tomorrow we'll talk about warding off perfectionitis.
Til Then~

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sunday is here. Another week beginning. I didn't get much accomplished last week. Much change all that starting tomorrow. It has taken and is taking me forever to get my energy back. I seem to be doing more than my fair share of sleeping. Good grief.
I hope this time next month to be moving and a'groovin'. Will keep you posted on my progress as I go along. :-)
Til Tomorrow~

Thursday, January 26, 2006

It's a little past 4 AM. I woke up and started thinking about my writing projects. I have so many I want to do, but it seems life always gets in the way. I try to squeeze out enough time in my day. There never seems to be enough. It's at times like these that I think about the Brontes, Jane Austen, Sylvia Plath, and Jack London. If you've not read the biography written by Irving Stone about Jack London (Sailor on Horseback) you should. Sometimes it is difficult to find, but well worth the search. After reading that, look for London's "Martin Eden". Some scholars say it is his autobiography. ME is about an author and the inner struggles he faces and works through. Both books are compelling and I read both at least once every two or three years.
On the creativity front, my daughter and I have started a card project. In the issue of Sketchbook where my article appeared there is an article about creativity cards. You make one a week for a year. At the end of a year, you look back and see how your creativity has grown or changed. These cards aren't huge-3X2-just a little larger than playing cards. I am enjoying the process. I have to think about my design before I actually move to the design table. Don't have enough time to do it right. Isn't that always the way it goes?
I encourage you to think about your own creativity cards. It's a way to keep your mind toned.
Til Tomorrow~

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Looks like my new website is almost ready to go. I signed a contract to get it built on November 5. I know it's been 12 weeks. The important thing is it's almost ready. I'm excited about it and plan on doing quite a bit of advertising. Got to figure out a few more things, but at least the major part will be done.
Yesterday, I went to weaving class. I am still recovering so I got pretty tired, but am doing better. Today, I plan to check on the site and work on a few manuscripts.
I've also made an "executive" decision concering entering a certain contest. I was going to enter, but then started thinking again about how I'm not writing to enter and win contests, but to get published. In the time and effort it would take, I could have the pieces out to editors, so....
Speaking of editors, I better get some things ready to go.
Til Tomorrow~

Monday, January 23, 2006

I've been working on marking things off my to-do list. It was actually things I needed to get caught up on. Not quite there yet and then as is usual, had to add more to my list. Argh! It never ends.
Went to lunch with my friend today. We had a good time, talked about writing and all the ills and rewards the art brings with it. Both decided it was something we continue to want to do. Funny how writing gets under your skin like that. I was griping one day about something involving the publishing biz. My daughter asked me why I continued to put myself through the torture if it was so painful. It struck me, I couldn't stop writing if my life depended on it. Writing is as much a part of me as breathing. I become very nervous without a pen handy. Words are like a lifeline to me. Even when I'm not consciously thinking about it, I'm writing--a letter, in my journal, thoughts, phrases I've heard. It is something I will always do no matter what else happens.
Off to get some writing done today.
Til Tomorrow~

Saturday, January 21, 2006

As usual I am behind yet again. I have been dreaming 'pie in the sky' dreams. You know what those are. When you think you may win the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes, so you sit and ponder about what you're going to do with all the money. Well, I know for a fact I don't have a snowballs chance in hell of winning and it makes me mad to even think I would sit and waste so much time thinking about it. Things like that don't happen to middle-class, hardworking, honest people. They just don't. People like us have to work like slaves to make a living from one paycheck to the next at the mercy of those we work for. Sure we have dreams, a nice house, nice vehicle, trips, etc., but the reality is luck doesn't smile on people like us.
I've bought tickets for drawings before, never won. Even entered and paid $100 for a house in New Mexico once. Before the contest deadline, someone bought the house, so the couple returned all the entrants money minus $20 for processing or whatever.
See, over my 45 years, if I've learned nothing else, I've learned you've got to work for what you get because that's the only way you're ever going to have anything and even then you've got to be diabolical, cheat, or ruthless and I (we/my family) don't have it in me. So back to the grindstone.
Til Tomorrow~

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Am trying to get ahead of the game this morning. Woke up about 3:30 AM, which is typically as of late. Not feeling so hot this morning, but there are always things to do in a writer's world.
When I first started writing, my mentor told me to wait a few years. I'd get so busy, I wouldn't know what to do with myself. At the time, I had a lot of free hours even with two little ones. Now, they're grown and gone and it seems like the 24 hours in a day have turned in to 2. I just don't know where the time goes anymore. So much more I want to do and accomplish.
I have decided on my life goal. I believe it will set the course for the rest of my life. I want to educate people about writing and publish, but more than that, I want to motivate them and inspire them to write their stories. If not for a mass audience, then write down the details of their lives for future generations. We've lost so much over the years from people not writing. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, a spiral notebook would do. I just want individuals to leave something behind for future generations. I want the future to know the past. More tomorrow.
Til Then~

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wow! Seems like I am always in catch-up mode. Don't really know why that is. It's not like I play around all day and do nothing. Didn't sleep well last night and got up at 5 this morning. I guess this tends to be the life of a writer though--feast or famine. I try not to worry about things I can't control, but it seems I do. If I don't have work I worry about getting work. If I do have work, I worry about how I'm going to fit everything in. It's a catch-22. I wish I had something steady, so I could organize my life. Maybe that is what I'm trying to be taught. You can't order life and everything can't be lined up in cure little rows. Oh that it could be.
Off to control what I can control today.
Will write more tomorrow.
Til Then~

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I find I am continaully amazed at people--myself not being an exception. For years, I have harped about the papparazzi who harrass celebrities. I despise reporters who get in peoples' faces and won't leave them alone. Yet last night, I was pulled in to a disturbing incident around our dinner table.
My husband and daughter are fascinated by all the happenings of Hollywood and watch that show Entertainment Tonight. There has been quite a bit of discussion for some time about Brad Pitt and Ms. Jolie. Now personally, I think people should butt out of their business. Let them name their baby whatever they want to name it. Let them go, do, and marry when they want. Good grief. In other words, let these poor people have lives. They deserve to have some privacy-celebrity or not.
Anyway, I don't know how it got started, but somewhere between the egg drop soup and the chow mein, this young couple was brought up. Before I knew it, we were in a heated discussion about whether Ms. Jolie had three children Mr. Pitt was adopting or if it was two. Were they secretly married already or would they marry before the baby arrived?
When my daughter started saying her friend Tiffany was going to have her baby around the same time B & A's would be born, it hit me up beside the head. My family had become the thing I loathe--meddlesome people who talk about the celebs.
I was so disgusted with "us". I couldn't believe we were talking about this.
I know some of my friends would say it was no big deal, but it felt all wrong. I don't think it's proper to be discussing someone else's relationship and family and not even know them. That's just not right.
As I was tossing and turning at 2 in the morning, I decided to move on and try to do better. I for one, know I wouldn't like people across the world talking about intimate issues in my life around the dinner table. These people need space. If nothing else, as fellow human beings, we should give them that kind of respect.
Til Tomorrow~

Monday, January 16, 2006

I have survived the weekend. I was sick, but am recovering. Worked on my website when I could. Got through I think at least half of it.
Turned my articles in. My editors loved them. That's always a nice feeling---when a plan comes together. It's especially nice when you feel what you've written is the worst thing you've put down on paper and you'd rather shoot yourself than let anyone read it. I seem to face that wall all the time. At times when I am working I wonder what the heck I think I'm doing. More than once I've said, "and you call yourself a writer". The other day I was sure I was losing my mind and had lived my life as a fraud for twenty years.
Just in time, I received several emails--one from my editor and two from readers telling me how much my work has touched and changed their lives. When I hear things like that I breathe a sigh of relief and realize my life isn't as pathetic as what I think it is. Ha!
A headache seems to be coming on, so I'll close for now.
Til Tomorrow~

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Today, I am working on my new website. It is going to take me some time to get use to all the changes happening, but once I make them, it should be exciting. I talked to my friend, Allison. She told me to calm down, things would get better, and easier.
I spent the past few days going from couch to bed. I have been very sick. Went to the doc finally. Couldn't stand it anymore. Now I am being pumped full of antibiotics. Shouldn't be long before I am on the mend.
Will write more later.
Til Then~

Monday, January 09, 2006

I'm in a much better mood today than I have been for a long time. I don't know if it's because I have the week ahead of me or that I had some time to be alone this morning to be quiet and just think. Whichever, I am feeling good about things and plan on having a very productive day.
I believe I have the Internet Creative Writing Class for my kids worked out. That's a plus. Today, I have clear to work on an assignment I've been avoiding for three weeks aaaannndd I almost have my class ready for Wednesday. It will be a miracle if I pull all this stuff off, but the way I'm headed (knock on wood), it does look possible.
With that said, I'm going to run. I've got my timer set and today I am working in hourly increments. I'll let you know tomorrow how today goes.
Til Then~

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Good Afternoon! Wow~ I feel pretty good about being here today. Last night about 8:30, our neighbor called and said someone had thrown out a cigarette and started a fire at the back of our property.
Now typically that wouldn't be a cause for concern, but lately we've had wildfires like crazy. Over 350,000 acres have burned in the state because of our dry conditions. I can't remember how many houses--over 250--and that doesn't include the outbuildings.
Anyway, the back of our property is such that if a fire caught and took off in the wind, the woods at the back would act like gasoline and our houses in this addition would be gone in a matter of hours. The fireman said we might have seven minutes, to grab and go.
I gathered up some of the current work, my kids' papers, and put them in the vehicle in case we had to make our escape.
Thanks goodness, after three attempts they got the fire put out for good.
We are in another high fire danger today. Will be ready again.
More tomorrow~

Friday, January 06, 2006

Hello All!
Didn't write yesterday. Was mired down in a tub of self-pity. Sometimes I feel like Sylvia Plathe. I have tried to be positive over the years, but yesterday and this morning, looks grim. I am to the point where I feel nothing will ever change, I will never have enough time to write, and never make those big sales that I want to. It's sad really. I feel if I could lock myself away, I could do what I wanted to do and that is write to my heart's content.
As it is now, I only have snatches of time here and there. I write articles, but even those are so disjointed because I don't have the time to spend sitting, meditating, and thinking about what I truly want to write. Yesterday it came to me that I truly never will because something in life always gets in the way. One has to work, make money, to support oneself, and that leaves nothing for creativity.
I spoke to a friend yesterday who was reading a book about Nathaniel Hawthorne. Even he was complaining about the time issue. I guess it's our lot in life.
Writers suffer. No one takes us seriously except ourselves and we are fighting constantly to create so people will.
Chew on that for a while.
Til Tomorrow~

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Hello fellow artists!
I am back and trying to gear up for this new year ahead of us. I have been faced with several developments and am hoping to work through a lot of things, get on track, and get this new website up and running. Yes, still working on it.
I have talked to several people who are dealing with depression. I don't know if it has something to do with age or just this time of year. It seems young people are not faced with the same problems the rest of us are. One friend suggested they are just too stupid to notice.
For the first time in many years, I don't have the optimistic vim and vigor I used to have. I have become a cynical person. To be honest, I don't think I like it. I'd like to see the world through rose colored glasses, think everything would be all right, and look forward to what can and will be accomplished. These days, I don't.
It's enough for me to get through the day, work on what needs to be worked on, and collapse in to bed. My view is if everybody I know is still alive, it's a good day. Nothing beyond that.
If that is being an adult, I don't like it.
I have no illusions about goals, men, or the future. Yes, I did throw men in there. That's another topic another day.
Keep your chin up for now. I'll write more tomorrow.
Til Then~