Sunday, September 13, 2015

Fall Seven Rise Eight

Recently, I was given a gift from a friend to honor my courage and creativity. They believe that my posting of my creations takes courage. No, not really. It’s more about proving I did something for myself. But…I am weak. I have moments where I honor myself and create art. Moments where I feed my soul. However, those moments are few. I haven’t gone to the art studio in months. The majority of my time is spent battling the demons in my head.

The voices of the demons are loud. They beat me with the constant waves of shame and lack. I am not enough. I have failed my children. My home looks like I am a hoarder in training. I haven’t planned the meals or shopped for groceries. I have not done all that I should for my family. I am incompetent because I cannot do it all. If I choose my art and feeding my soul, then I am a failed wife and mother. Those are jobs that I agreed to so I can NOT abandon them. Therefore, I, myself, must be last.

I know other women battle the same fight. Just today, The Huffington Post posted a debate on “Can Women Have it All?” On a personal note, my friend, Raychel from Reasons Like Season, states “I do not know how to manipulate how I perceive time and my own shortcomings or how to find more peace within myself.” She says it so nicely. I’m not that nice to myself.

My internal critic bashes all my attempts to do things for myself. I have too many responsibilities. I am the keeper. The house will never be clean; the laundry will never be done; my children need me constantly. The bottom line is that I do not believe myself to be worthy of self-care because I am incompetent in completing my responsibilities. I am not worthy. I have not earned the right to take time for myself. The work must be done. It must be completely done or I will be stealing from my family.

Right now I am drowning in those voices. They are winning. They have knocked me to my knees. I will need to regroup and claw my way to standing. I know it will take some time. I have been in this rodeo before. It will take meditation and courage to gather my shattered strength, but I will rise again. In my soul, I know that the voices are false. I know that they lie. I know that I am doing the best that I can. Still I have a bit of a tear in my ear and lump in my throat because you should never speak it. Never let the friends see your weakness. Today the voices hold me down. So today I will do the best that I can. I will accomplish something (laundry and dinner are good).

When I get tired and the voices get loud, I can’t drown them out with my positive thoughts. The waves of self-criticism crash against my strength of purpose and I lose my footing. Today I am under those waves. Fall Seven Rise Eight. Tomorrow is a new day and I shall rise. I will silence the voices-or at least make them turn that volume down.

Wish me luck. Keep me in your thoughts and Dear Raychel-I will keep you in mine.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Found Treasures

A small selection
of Found Treasures
I was cleaning the other day. Shocking I know. It’s so much easier to blind myself to the clutter, but there I was going through my archeological dig-the papers get older the farther down in the pile. It was strangely productive.
While going through a cabinet and throwing out random stuff that I kept for no reason that I can fathom at this time, I found actually important pieces of writing that I thought I had lost many computer crashes ago- along the vast expanse of time. Treasure-I found treasures! These printed documents were like ten years old. I read them with new eyes. Some of them were surprisingly okay. I could see where I was going. I liked the plots and themes. Sometimes we need a little distance from our creative projects to truly see them. I remember thinking that I suck, but I kept at it. A lesson I should keep for myself today. Keep moving forward even if they are minute baby steps.
An Outline for
Planning Journal

I am now rejuvenated, and as I pick a written treasure to work on, I am inspired by my younger self. She was living in a home of young boys and she wrote the beginnings of novels. She was sending out articles to magazines. She actually was paid for the publication of some of them.-all this in the mind-numbing chaos of homeschooling boys aged from 7 to 12. So my telling myself I don’t have time to be creative or write or sculpt is just an excuse that I make up to tell myself. An excuse I use to allow the day to day to impact me. I allow my time to be swallowed by the daily grind. I have chosen to be passive. No more! I will take the baby steps-a new one each and every day.

Werewolf Novel
I joined a second writers’ group. My first group is a support group for our creativity. It grew out of an Artist Way workshop. We have been together for ten years, but I haven’t finished anything. We get together once a month and make creative commitments which sometimes we complete and sometimes we don’t. It’s all about unconditional support. Now, my new group is all about getting it done. We also meet once a month, but the difference here is that we meet to work. If nothing else-once a month you will sit at the computer and work for three hours on the writing of your choice. A working group with no excuses is just what I need right now. My goal is to finish something…okay not specific, but I do have word count goals for each month. I am showing up to the page.
Map for Fantasy Novel

You see the found treasures were not just the documents, but a look back on the motivated woman that I used to be and a drive to find her again.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Choices Make Us

Every choice along the path of our life leads us down our path. Sometimes I stop and think about the choices I have made and where they have led me. Now, don’t get me wrong-my life is pretty good. I’m just thinking about my younger days and the choices that I made in High School and College. Oh it may have a thing or two to do with my son being a freshman in college and going through some life choices.

“Mom, should I get the sedan or the V6?”

Flashback to my first car choice: baby blue Karmann Ghia convertible vs a brown Toyota corolla 4-door. So which one do you think the practical younger me choose. Yep, brown corolla. I choose and my choice continued me on my practical responsible track. I’m not saying that the convertible would have changed me into a summer loving beach bunny, but I think I might have had a little more fun driving my friends around. Who knows? Maybe I would have been a slightly different me. Maybe I would have found my artist self sooner. Maybe I would have found the joy in life sooner. Maybe I would have turned out exactly the same.

“Son, get the V6. That way you will never look back and say, ‘What if’”

There is a V6 Impala in my drive. Well, on the rare occasions that he is actually at home for a moment or two between his school, work, and adventures. I think there is a lot of fun in the car.

I think this is something that we aspire for our children. That they will learn from our mistakes. May their choices will be different and, hopefully, lead to a better and brighter future. I guess my children are at the age of choices. My youngest didn’t tell us about the Chinese trip from his school. I found out at Open House Night. I signed him right up. We will struggle with the finances. We will make it happen. I choose to not go to Europe with my high school class for the same reasons my youngest gave.

“Mom, it’s too expensive. We don’t have the money.”

What a sweetie! But again here was something that I regretted. I have yet to travel to anywhere that isn’t attached. (I have been to Canada and most of the continental US) How often to you get a chance to travel to China! This will happen. My husband and I were able to make it so. He leaves next week for a major long plane flight and the trip of a life time!

I wonder how these choices will change the paths that my sons are on. I’m sure the experiences will open opportunities and doors. The journey of life is never ending. My own journey still has many opportunities and choices yet to come. I will get my travel sometime soon. I have a plan and my goals are written in words and pictures. I have the Europe trip on my wall with my visual journal. My husband and I are thinking of taking a cruise. We will have adventures and joy. Life is amazing.
It’s all good. Carpe Diem!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Visual Mapping

Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions to improve ourselves. We look at the bright New Year and think of all the wonderful things that we can accomplish. I think the main reason that we fail in these endeavors is that we hide them away after we write them down. That Resolution written on that piece of paper or on that journal page will be hidden from view for the rest of time. How often do you return to your writings?

I’ve found a way that works a little better for me. I make a visual map of the things that I would like to have in my life for the New Year. I use magazines to clip images from. I use skills from kindergarten. I cut; I paste; I put it all on a piece of colored construction paper. It’s a fun afternoon. I sit surrounded by a mass of images ripped out of the magazines. After I’ve gone through the magazines ripping images that strike a chord in my heart, I go through them a second time and sort them into categories. The categories change, but some are pretty common: family, friends, career, wealth, and anything else that I feel like calling to me.

Now, don’t think that I do this every year. That’s my goal, but I don’t get to making time for myself that often. I did get to the process this year. I managed to set aside time because I invited a group of friends over to make dream boards. Since they were all coming over on a specific Saturday at a specific time-I had to be there and I had to make my own to show them how it was done. I harnessed my habit of only doing things for other people. I made the day all about my friends. I was just tagging along. Step one-admit you have a problem. Now, I have a new set of collages to show me the way to a better life-or the one that I desire. Mostly it’s about focusing on something like making time for friends.

I almost forgot to tell you the most important part. You have to hang to collages where you can see them every day. I hang mine on a bulletin board in my kitchen. I see those images several times a day. I think it’s a great way to activate your subconscious to lead you in the right direction.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


So, it’s been a month. I know it was December and the holidays, but that is just an excuse. I found all kinds of things to sidetrack me from my writing progress. First off, in decorating for the holidays, I found some old writing hidden away. Some of it was actually pretty good and worth working on so…I stopped working on the novel. I was having trouble battling that critic. Last I posted the novel was: “I’ll keep you posted. Word count: 20,141.” Now, the word count it 20,632. Yep, still hitting the wall on that one.

But the things I found were so amazing. I can actually turn a phrase now and again. Then my critic says-no you suck. Okay, what did I find all tucked away in a binder. I found several books in progress: A Life Planner Journal, Personal Essays on Being an Imperfect Mother, a picture book: Bubbles Everywhere and my articles on birthing. What a gold mine-right! Shut up critic. It’s not your turn.

I started December by working on my found book: Life Planner Journal. I know and it was pretty complete. I finished retyping it into word. Now it just needs an edit, the sample documents, and some images uploaded. As I type this, I feel that inner critic. Who are you to help people with a planner? Why should anyone listen to you? You don’t have it all organized. You don’t stick to your plan. You missed New Year’s deadline you set yourself so you FAILED. I know, but isn’t that the point. It’s all a process. I didn’t fail. I worked and let the critic slow me down. So I switched gears. I’ll come back to this one soon.

Right now, New Year’s Day, I’m working on putting that huge document on Imperfect Mothering into the computer where I can figure out what goes where and where to begin the edit. It’s a jumble of topics. It is in desperate need of an edit, but all in good time. The first thing is to get an electronic copy. (I know I have a hard copy. These documents are from 2000 or so. Only the universe knows what computer they were originally typed or where a backup might be or on what media-disc anyone?) So away I type. Some of it is good. Most of it is crap, but an edit and more personal story will fix that right up. Oh and see me procrastinate. I’m writing to you, dear reader. The printed copy sits to my left starting at me with the date 6/17/2002 as the print out date. I think there are a few separate books in it. I just have to decide on categories. Or maybe I have to sort for chapters. I don’t know yet and that is okay. I don’t have to know right now. I’m rediscovering the life I had with wee boys.

The picture book is a story. I actually sent it out once upon a time to agents and publishers. Yes, I was brave- once upon a time. The thing that I found amazing was that one publisher actually sent it back. They paid for that. There was a personal note-not a form letter. Why did I stop? Oh right, that inner critic. Well, I can start back up where I left off. I have all the photos. I have the story. I can make a new book and send it out or just publish it myself on kindle. So there.

I think I’ll stop procrastinating and get back to it.

Happy New Year! May it be a productive and happy one. 2015 will be a great year.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hitting the Wall

Well, I’ve been working on this National Novel Writing Month project. I have been working on characterization of both the protagonist and antagonist. I’ve been using the book, The 90 Day Novel: Unlock the Story Within. It has been a wonderful. I love the writing prompts and the process of working on protagonist and antagonist through evaluating their motivations and needs. I’ve been writing and writing. Sometimes the words just flow and I’ve even had flashes of the ending of the story. I’ve seen the end in my mind. I know where it’s going.

I got to the 30 day prompt in this lovely book and I hit the wall. The prompt for that day was “Write the Story”. What!? You were telling me to hold the story loosely. I don’t have a plan. I’m stuck. I came to a screeching halt. My mind went totally blank. I didn’t expect such a response from my internal fear button. I hit that wall and stopped writing. I had the disease-writer’s block.

What’s the story?  What’s the plot line? How do I get here? How do I even start?

So I closed my word processor. I walked away. I was uncomfortable and I was ready to give up. I didn’t know where to go or how to begin. I felt like a failure. I can’t write a story. I don’t have the skill. Wait-what did you just say? Skill- well, a skill can be learned. I opened some books and began to read. The appendix of the The 90 Day Novel: Unlock the Story Within was very helpful in alleviating the fear. I am very grateful to the author for showing his process and bearing those first drafts for the world to see. The first drafts from the author were just like I write. He had a ton of telling instead of showing. I beat myself up for that, but hey maybe everyone does it that way. The rewrite was amazing. It showed the first vs. the published version of his story. There was an amazing transformation. I took that lesson to heart and felt the truth of first drafts are rubbish, but don’t stop. You don’t know what you have until you are done.

Now, I needed a plan for how to begin. I went to The Story Template: Conquer Writer’s Block Using the Universal Structure of Story. Yes, I can do this! Each part of the story is listed and brief descriptions are given. I have a plan. I can get a terrible first draft out. Then fix all the problems in the rewrite. Or maybe fix them in the second and third rewrite. Don’t stop. Never give up and never surrender. Look for a path through the darkness.

I’ll keep you posted. Word count: 20,141.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Progress of Sorts

I have been writing fairly religiously on my National Novel Writing Month project. I find that I rarely hit the average word count needed each day to finish on time. (The program shows when I'll finish which will be sometime early next year if I keep to my current rate.) Shut up and write on the novel. Procrastinating here. Yes, yes, I am.

So what am I to do? Baby steps! Keep showing up to the page-of course. If I need baby steps, I will take baby steps. I am feeling the whole internal critic thing happening. That critic, Mrs. Olson, keeps saying that I don't have a story. I have nothing to say. I feel the crush of the negative and fight to keep returning to the page. The only way to tell if there is a story is to actually finish. Don't give up. When you go through hell keep on going...You can make it through to the other side. You really don't know what you have until you put it away for awhile and then return to it.

In looking back over my previous year's work, I see that some of them are actually going somewhere. I could finish them and they might actually be worth editing. If I actually finish a novel or two, that might silence the critic for a day or two before she thinks of another way to attack me...oh I can hear her now. (So what you finished 50,000 words-no one's going to read it) My response will be: How do you know? I can put the work out there for people to see and then I'll know.

Here's to showing up to the page and continuing to believe in my own creativity. See you on the page.

Love and Light!