Under Construction

construction-1174825_1280Life Changes Constantly

The next time you visit my blog you will see an “Under Construction” on the home page.

This is good news actually.

For the next couple of months, I will be rebranding my blog and giving it a facelift.

In the meantime, please stay tuned as I may send out action items to my email list as I create fabulous new content.

 

Thank you all for your support during the past 18 months.

I hope to see you on the other side.

Feed Your Creativity

unnamed-7I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity lately.

How does it work?

Can you force yourself to be creative on command?

Where does inspiration come from?

What do you do when you are not feeling creative at all?

What is a creative life?

All important questions often with unsatisfying answers.

A short answer is that each person must answer the questions about living a creative life for themselves.

The long answer, especially for people who want to live a creative life, is that there are no answers.

To ask myself these questions, I find that I, myself, don’t have answers. The inspiration for the work I do comes from so many different places. For instance, the story I am currently working on came from a bedtime story I told my grandson and I’m not even sure where the inspiration came from that night.

On days when I am feeling decidedly uncreative, I find that naps help. When naps aren’t working, I have a few other things that I try to jumpstart my creativity:

1. Read – Often this is a nonfiction type book because if I fall into fiction, I may never crawl back out again.

2. Seek out nature – I may take a walk, find some water or just wander around my yard, I find my head clears, and I can work again.

3. Story Prompts and exercises – I don’t use these very often, but I have been pleasantly surprised because they work.

4. Spend time with others – Just getting up from my desk and interacting with IRL people seems to reset my brain.

5. Take a break – There are times when nothing works except to walk away and not even think about the work for a while. Your WIP will be there when you get back, and everyone needs a break.

Other writers have different tactics, and I am always interested in what they do. The one thing that I have discovered is that those who are focused on their work don’t wait for inspiration. They show up to the blank page and just work.

Most of the time this works for me too.

I’ve been reading Gabriela Pereira’s DIY MFA book and following her blog posts. She describes her oracle box which has several items to help her stay inspired. Some of the items included in her oracle box are dice for different writing exercises, a word box with different words written on pieces of paper, and an image box filled with photos from magazines or postcards. All of these help her to stay inspired.

I believe I am going to create an oracle box and fill it with those things that inspire me. I’ve already started with a Pinterest page called Story Inspiration. I now need to round up some other things to fit into a box.

How do you stay creative?

Resistance is Your Compass

unnamed-6 Resistance

 

This post has been a struggle to write. You might say I’ve been resistant to the very thought of resistance.

Tonight at dinner, my grandson was resistant to eating dinner. Even though he’d asked for and received what he wanted, he’d decided in the meantime that he wanted something else. The ensuing negotiation was interesting:

“Caleb, you asked for a grilled cheese.”
“But, I want a sub sandwich.”
“If you eat this, we can have that tomorrow.”
“Why can’t I have what I want?” This one had large tears in the eyes.
“Because this is what we are having for dinner.”
“But I don’t want that.”
“You only have two pieces. You can eat those.”
“No, I don’t want to.” More tears.
“Caleb, if you don’t eat then you can’t have dessert.”
Even more tears, because there is nothing he likes more than dessert.
“Take a bite.” He takes a mouse-sized nibble from the corner of the triangle.
“Really? You can take a bigger bite than that.”
He shakes his head.
“How about this? If you eat just one of the triangles, you can have dessert.”
(He had eaten some chicken just a bit before this so he wasn’t starving.”
“You mean if I eat just this one, then I can have dessert?”
“Yes.”
He takes a bite and chews. “I don’t like this part.” He pointed to the crust.
“You don’t have to eat the crust.” This came from Mom.
He takes another bite and then proceeds to peel the crust from the sandwich.

It took 10 minutes for him actually to finish the 1/4 of a sandwich I’d made and even then, I helped with the last couple of bites.

I guess the reward was worth it: homemade hot fudge brownie Sundays. He finished it without speaking.

Sometimes I feel as if I am dealing with my inner child being resistant to whatever task I’ve set before her. It is a matter of finding which buttons to push to get the job done.

In her book, DIY MFA, Gabriela Pereira states that there is no writer’s block only resistance. Discovering what that resistance is key to making the words come again.

Where does your resistance lead you?

My resistance often helps me to focus on some issue buried so deep I didn’t know it was there.

For instance, I had been working on a story this spring and was about a quarter of the way through it. This story was one of those that had been on my mind for the past year, and I was excited about it.

Then, I took the Storytelling Superpower Quiz.

My superpower is Survivor. What that means is the character’s I write about often come from a survivor archetype.

Somehow I took this personally and that created a wall of resistance.

I realized all of my characters, including the one I was currently working with, were survivors. I thought that made them weak.

At that moment I didn’t see the positives of writing from a survivor archetype. Great stories come from a survivor archetype. It has taken me some time to understand both the archetype and my response.

Although I’m not working on that particular story, I haven’t given it up completely. I’ve also IMG_0316begun a new story inspired by the reluctant diner above.

Learning to work with resistance has had a positive effect on my writing.

Well, at least I am writing again.

What does your writing teach you?

Family Friday Updates

sparklers-923029_1280My, how time flies!

Today is July 1st, and everyone is gearing up for the long holiday weekend.

Updates have been long overdue, and since I am on an illness imposed rest period, I thought it was time.

 

This summer has been full of intentions:

I intended to plant a garden. The reality is more that Rob planted tomatoes and potatoes. Both are doing well, but there is nothing else growing except weeds, which are prolific this year.

I intended to finish my third novel and begin editing one of my other novels. Yeah, life has been interesting, and I haven’t worked much on my fiction writing. I have been working on some other things which I will announce soon but not so much with my fiction.

I intended to begin walking every day simply for peace of mind. Well, I’m not sure I need to say anything else about that.

I intended to make it down the river in my kayak, and that hasn’t happened – YET. I still have hope that it will happen.

The goals I’ve had to create to cope with life right now are so much vaguer than I usually create:

1. Do one thing each day to move my career forward. I’ve decided that this means just about anything I do that has to do with writing or learning about blogging etc. This seems to be working.

2. Step out of my comfort zone. More on this one at a later date.

3. Be serious about my creative life. Again, more about this one later.

Summer got busy about a month ago, much busier than I had expected. As usual, things have changed at work which is a struggle. And, we have guests this summer.

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The kids have enjoyed the bigger yard and play area that Papa made for them. Also, pancakes for dinner is a yummy experience!

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I have accomplished a few things. The outside of my building is painted and a small flower garden planted in front. It is quite nice to sit in there with all the windows open; at least until the sun sinks into the west. Then, the heat becomes overwhelming. But still, my writing shed is my favorite place to be.

 

I’ve also discovered furniture painting and will be sharing more about this part of my life. The projects that I have waiting for me keep increasing, and since the summer has gotten so busy, I’m not keeping up with them. Though not part of my intentions, I am excited about this.

Here is a piece I painted in a recent class: img_1118

Rob built a water feature in our yard. It has taken most of the spring, and the plants are now growing well. Evenings are nice to sit out and listen to the babbling brook, even if the river is nowhere in sight.

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Though the summer isn’t over, it feels “too late” for some things. “Too late” is a strange feeling when there is still two months to go before Labor Day. Although summer usually goes fast, when things are chaotic and busy, it goes so much faster with no way to slow it down.

How is your summer going?

Are you accomplishing much or simply hanging on
as the time flies by?

Did you set any goals for yourself?

I hope so.

I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July.