Author of Dark, Paranormal, Suspense,& Romance: You never know where the words may lead.
Footsteps of a Writer is a path from aspiring writer to published author and beyond. You will find writing tips and motivations, book reviews, author interviews and guest posts, personal insights into my writing life, and more.
As an artist, your brain works differently than others. You have a strong desire to produce and to explore the unknown. Allow yourself the freedom to indulge your artist child in more than one way.
If you are a writer, have you always wanted to try drawing? A painter, have you always wanted to try creating a poem? Do you have a strong desire to explore the unknown - Tarot, spiritual guides, or astrology?
Take today to explore the other possible outlets for your creativity. It doesn't matter if it seems something you can't do. Anything is possible if you have 'wanted' on your side. Make a list of possible outlets and ways that they could be explored.
Creativity becomes a spiritual adventure. Your project opens yourself up to better understanding and clearer thoughts. Your morning pages are a form of meditation and centering.
An artist's altar is a place to relax and unwind. It can be a room or even a corner. Supply your altar with scents and sounds. This will become a place of meditation. Crystals are a good item to project communications with the creative forces. Music can soothe your soul and open your mind. Candles can add to the atmosphere, while burning incense can sooth you further.
Today, build your own artist's altar. Create it with you in mind. What scents bring images to your mind, what music makes you want to dance, or even cry? Once created, spend at least an hour today enjoying your new space.
(Note: this sound similar to a room/area we created early in our journey. Consider adding to your already developed area or creating an entirely different one for this step. You are the artist, it is your choice.)
There is a physical side to creativity. To nourish the mind, the physical body should also be nourished.
Exercise is moving meditation. Walking, swimming, hiking, dancing, whatever gets you in a clear state of mind.
During the time that you are physically meditating, your mind will open up and let vibrations enter. Creativity will be restored and flourish.
Stuck on that last chapter of your book? Not sure what to paint next? An image keeps popping into your head, but you just quite grasp it? Take a walk and allow the universe to help you out.
Today, take a long walk. Let your mind wander. If you feel you just can't leave that desk and take the chance of missing out on inspiration, take a notepad and pen with you. When lightning strikes, stop and jot your thoughts down.
Creativity is a spiritual practice. It's not something that can be perfected, finished, and then set aside. As you reach plateaus, you will find another direction to go or another project to begin. An artist is never satisfied with one accomplishment; there will always be the next. And, once again you will be a beginner.
Creativity is not a business, although it can generate business. An artist should not mortgage his/her future too heavily on it. Buying that sports car may be a great delight, but when you find yourself having to write to pay for it - your new ownership becomes a burden on your artist's child.
It is important to continue to meet the inner demand of your own artistic growth, rather than stifling with outside obligations. In other words, don't take on more than you can handle.
Have you over extended yourself? Are other obligations getting in the way of your creativity? Do you blog daily, leaving only one day a week for you creativity? Do you write non-fiction articles and push her creative child to the side. Are you an architect, drawing buildings and bridges during the day, and telling your artist child you are too tired to play in the evening?
Find a way to prioritize your obligations. Remove some if necessary. Make time for your artist child. Don't quit your job and stay home with your artist child; the bills have to be paid. If you can lessen your bill load, this is another way to free up time for your child. Don't spoil your child, but give her/him the time required to allow for creative growth.
Take today to reflect on your obligations and find room for your artist child.
As an artist you may find that you need a different mix of stability and flow than other people. A 9 to 5 job may steady you and leave you free and clear to create, or it may drain you and leave you unable to create. You must find what works for you and accept it.
Being true to your inner artist often results in sell-able work, but not always. Your value and the value of your work should not be based on your works current market value. Money validating your credibility is hard to shake, but it must be done to find success.
Credibility lies with your God, and your work. If you have a poem that needs to be written, you need to write it rather it will sell or not. Create what wants to be created. An artist's career cannot be planned to unfold in a sensible direction dictated by cash flow and market strategies. Plans are fine, but too much focus on it will stifle the artist child within. A child wants now, not tomorrow or the next day. Create what wants to be created.
Have you had an idea nagging at you that you keep pushing away because you think it won't work or it's not marketable. Take today to explore the idea. There's a reason it's begging to be written. You may be surprised by the results once you see it before you.
Life will lose its pleasures and work will feel mechanical. During this drought, doubts will form life and grow rapidly.
Droughts do end and clarity will once again clear away the doubts.
But some artists get trapped in the dry season and have a hard time accepting the rain when it comes.
To avoid being captured within the dryness and doubts, continue to write even during the dry season. Your words may never see light, but it is important to keep at it. Once clarity has returned, you may be surprised at what you produced during the dry spell. Some creations can grow without water.
The morning pages are a great way to keep on top during the drought. If this is the only writing you do, it will be better than none at all.
I have had the honor of being nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award, not by one wonderful writer, but by two.
Barbara and Joylene, Thank you so much for the recognition and I accept with great joy. I am thrilled that you both follow and find my blog entertaining.
Now for the tasks at hand: according to the rules, I'm required to:
1. Thank the person who loved me enough to bestow this gift.
2. Share seven things about myself.
3. Bestow this honor onto 10 newly discovered or followed bloggers – in no particular order – who are fantastic in some way.
4. Drop by and let my ten new friends know I admire them.
Thanks again to Barbara and Joylene.
1. I began writing fiction at an early age, mostly short stories and poetry. This desire produced from a great love of reading and the want to give back what I received from the authors I read - An escape.
2. I became interested in the tarot early in life. My first experience was with playing cards. You'd be surprised how accurate of a reading you can get from ordinary playing cards, but Tarot Cards bring much more insight and are easier to read.
3. I am a big fan of Prince and the Revolution, not the artist formally known as.
4. My favorite writers are Stephen King, John Saul, and Dean Koontz.
5. I completed one novel four years ago. This novel sits in a box waiting for attention. But, the writing of the novel brought about great changes in me and my life. It may never see the light of day but it will never leave my possession.
6. I love to watch action movies and comedies, especially if they star Bruce Willis.
7. I am a cat lover, but do not own a cat during this time in my life.
I see nothing in the rules that say these bloggers have to be writers, so a few tarot blogs will appear in my list. I bestow this award onto, in no particular order, the following bloggers:
This is one block that most artists do not see as a problem. We have to work right? But are you putting in extra just to keep from having time to do what you love? Are you volunteering for overtime, just to stay busy?
Do you work outside of office hours? Do you cancel dates with loved ones to do more work? Do you postpone outings till the deadline is over? Do you take work with you on weekends? Do your intimates complain that you always work?
Do you try to do two things at once? Do you allow yourself free time between projects? Do you place your creative dreams before work? Do you allow yourself downtime to do nothing?
One way to achieve clarity about where our time goes is to keep a daily checklist and record out time spent. One hour of creative playtime can go a long way to offsetting the workaholic's tendency to keep their dreams at bay.
Because workaholism is a process addiction, an addiction to a behavior rather than a substance, it is hard to tell when we are indulging in it.
Begin a list of what you do during the day. Keep up with list for at least a week.
Do you see areas that can be exchanged for creative play? Are the distraction tendencies obvious? Did you watch television for three hours, when you could have been creating? Did it take you an hour to clean house, when it could have been done in fifteen minutes? Are there tasks that could be assigned to other members of the household to free up your time?
There are two blocks that you may not recognize as blocks. These are competitions and originality.
Entering competitions is fine, but don't write with the focus of being better than another. Each writer is different and each will find they are best at certain areas of the craft. Striving toward being the best that you can be is a great goal, but don't judge this progress by any others work.
This leads us to the second block, originality. There is no original story anymore. We are merely seeing the old brought into new light. If you worry about being original, remember that it is the process of creating that is original, for your way will be different from any others. You are the origin of your art.
Do you suffer from these blocks? If you do, take a moment and explore ways of overcoming these blocks.
I will confess I have suffered from both of these blocks to a certain extent.
Creativity is energy that flows through us. When we are clear about - who we are and what we are doing, the energy flows freely. When we resist, we often suffer from a shaky and out of control feeling. We want to shut down this free flowing vibe and recover a sense of control.
Each artist will reach for different blocks. As we become more aware of out blocking devices, the block will no longer work effectively. It takes grace and courage to surrender our blocking devices. They have become our companions, our crutch, and our friends when we experience the anxiety of being out of control.
Make a list of possible blocks. Which one makes you angry or upset at even thinking of giving it up? This will be the most important one to face and be rid of.
Possible blocks are: Food, work, sex, love obsessions, drugs, alcoholism, friends, family,. These blocks are where you turn when you become anxious or panicky. They are there when you need an excuse not to be creative.
List as many as you can think of and take your time to explore all possibilities.
1. I have a tendency to think about housework right in the middle of the flow of words.
2. I need a cigarette is another favorite interruption.
3. My coffee cup is empty is right there with that cigarette.
Some will consider the cigarette and perhaps even the coffee a type of drug. And these are items that can both block you mentally and physically.
I've tried for many years to get into the free course, F2K, and this year I finally made it. I've been told wonderful things about the courses at this site. I'll let you know of my experience. It is an eight week course and the talent 'so far' seems to be abundant.
I've also been trying to get a few of my rejected stories back out there in Editor Land. I should be posting submission updates soon. I'm even having trouble fitting this into my schedule.
The Artist's Way should be back next week, but I won't make any promises. It all depends on my work schedule, which changes from day to day.
Keep writing your daily pages. They are important and something you should continue even after you've completed your journey with the Artist's Way. Till next week, have a great week!
If you are a published writer, you most likely have a writing schedule with writing deadlines. It's hard to find the fun, when you are rushing toward that last minute when an assignment is due.
Take a moment and find the fun.
For at least 30 minutes, write something that is fun. This can be a poem, a short story, or even a character profile. Write this with no intentions of sending it out for publication. Write for the fun of it.
If your artist's way is of another creative venture, adapt this exercise. Artists - paint something with no intention of it being a master piece. Just have fun.
The point is to do this exercise with no goal in mind. Free yourself from obligations and just have fun.
(Note: anyone following this course along with the book will notice that some of these exercises are not included in the text. I'm adding them to the course to fill the seven days.)
Look at your work area. Does it say fun or does it say business? Writing should always have a fun aspect to it. Looking at it as work, takes the joy out of the day.
Add at least one fun aspect to your work area today.
1. Character photos
2. A Stuffed animal
3. Colorful story charts
4. A symbol to your writing, something genre related. Do you write children's stories? Add a fun toy to your work station. Do you write horror? How about a movie poster of your favorite horror flick?Do you write mysteries? Add a book by your favorite author to your work station.
These are a few suggestions. They are not for distraction but for motivation and a reminder that writing is fun and rewarding.
As mentioned during Day One, many artists find themselves taking U-turns in their creativity. They sabotage their chance of success for fear of failure.
Thank back at your writing and the steps you've taking so far. Have you taken a U-turn somewhere? Started a story but never finished? Refused to change something an editor wanted changing? Have you quit writing all together, because of someone else's opinion?
Name three U-turns you have taken and forgive yourself for all failures. Consider rather any of this U-turns can still be corrected. Can that unfinished novel be completed? Is the story you refused to change unpublished?
Pick one of your U-turns, retrieve it, and mend it.
Refuse to take anymore U-turns and face up to your fears. It's time to move forward and find success.
1. At a younger age, I gave up writing all together. I blamed it on time, situation, and whatever you can think of. It was fear of what others would think and of not knowing exactly how to go about getting into the field of writing. (Internet was a wonderful tool to pull me back in. Anything you need to know can be found from where you sit. Yes, it can be a distraction also, but that is where balance comes in.)
2. After I finished my first novel, I basically quit writing for the most part. I blamed it on not knowing what I was doing. I had this novel that just didn't seem to work. Looking back, I'm now aware of how much I learned from that piece of work, and that I should have dug right back in with everything learns. Instead, I bought how-to books and read. I ended up more confused than before. (This is when I began working with short stories.)
3. I attended National Novel Writing Month and created a wonderful story, but because of the rush it was a mess - scenes thrown out of place for the sake of word count, and thoughts thrown in for extra word count. The mess was so huge that the thought of weeding through it sent me yet again to the how-to books. I wasn't as confused this time, but I was still delaying the writing process and pretty much quit writing again.
Well, I didn't really think that I had U-turns but there are three.
I have begun weeding through the NANO novel, but its size continues to detour me. Baby steps must be considered here. I've also began writing again and polishing the stories that came before to send them out to market.
Have you made U-turns? Recognizing them can help you avoid the next U-turn that shows up in your path.
Name a goal, in present tense. Describe yourself doing your goal, the ideal scene. Read your description out loud and post it at your work area. Reread daily.
Collect actual pictures of yourself and combine them with magazine images to collage the scene as you have described. Post at your work station.
I've read this next technique more than once. Create a book jacket of your work in progress and cover a book by your favorite artist. Keep the book near your work station as a reminder of things to come. This is a great motivational tool.
For those of you already published, keep your published works in sight for motivation.
One must learn to call things and ourselves by the right name. Blocked artists are not lazy. They actually expend a lot of energy, just not productive energy. They use energy in areas of negativity. The blocked artist is not guilty of laziness, but fear. They fear what is before them, failure, and abandonment.
Most artist travel the road toward creativity with a sense of guilt. Guilt of letting others down, guilt of not doing what their parents wish, and guilt of not doing what needs to be done. This guilt drives an artist toward the belief that they have to be great artists. A second rate career will not do. This pressure causes fear.
The journey must be taken with baby steps and the artist's child should be rewarded.
Procrastination is caused by fear and the antidote is baby steps.
People sometimes say that it takes great discipline to be an artist. In truth, it is enthusiasm that keeps an artist working. Without enjoyment, one cannot push themselves to show up at the work place each day.
An artist needs to think of their work place as a play place. Make your work area fun. Remember you are working with your child within. Create your work area to make it fun for him/her.
Another disruption in an artist's life is creative U-turns. You sabotage your own work out of fear. You've reached the end of a project and all you need to do is edit the piece, but you don't. Your manuscript has been accepted, but some minor changes need to be done, but you don't do them. Fear causes these U-turns, along with anger and resentments.
This next exercise is to help you blast through the blocks, and function free of resentments and resistance.
Before you begin a project ask yourself these questions. When work becomes difficult ask yourself these questions.
1. List any resentments, or angers, you may have in connection with the project. It doesn't matter how trivial they are. To your child they are major.
2. List any fears about the projected piece of work and/or anyone related to it. Again, they can be dumb, but they are monsters to your child.
3. Ask yourself if that is all and list any additional angers or fears.
4. What do you stand to gain by not completing the project?
5. Make a deal. Okay creative force, you take care of the quality, I'll take care of the quantity. Make a copy of this and post it in your work area.
Angers/Resentments - It seems every story I write, someone has something bad to point out about it. Sometimes the critiques of others seem picky and irrelevant.
Fears - What if no one likes the story? What if I've written a bad story? What if I just can't write a decent story? What if I spend all this time on a dream that cannot come true?
Gains by not completing - No one will ever know I can't write. I can't be rejected. I won't have to edit. I'll have more time to do other things.
CREATIVE FORCE, YOU TAKE CARE OF THE QUALITY. I'LL TAKE CARE OF THE QUANTITY.
In the gains section, I almost wrote that I can't fail, but this would have been completely wrong. By not trying, by not going after your dreams, you automatically fail. Wouldn't you rather fail while trying, rather than never trying at all?
Okay, time to get some concrete actions down that move toward your stepping stones.
I've been thinking about this all day and how I've had so much trouble keeping up with a set schedule. I think maybe the problem is that I'm filling up all my free hours with tasks and then when I fall behind, there goes the schedule. So, it's time to make the tasks smaller, therefore eliminating the chance for failure.
I also have a goal to become more active in my tarot reading. So, I have two walkways to create. But here we will stick to the writing.
Baby steps = achievement
I'm not saying make the steps so small it's ridiculous, just small enough that you know you can do it. Once the habit is there, then you can increase a little at a time.
My action plan to my first stepping stone: 1 year - one completed novel, short stories in progress and in the submission phase
Weekly word goal - 1800 words
Editing time - 3 hours per week
Again, this may need work and could perhaps be easily increased. Over the next few weeks, it is my goal to produce a workable schedule that can be accomplished without too much stress. By allotting time to the areas of my week where I know I can find the time for quiet and solitude, I can reduce the chances of failing. Therefore, allow myself to move forward rather than walk into that stone wall of failure.
Those of you, who have to carve out your quiet time, do so carefully to avoid pitfalls. That Monday night show that everyone sits down to watch. Let the family watch while you silently tuck yourself away in your writing space. They will be busy and you will be free to create.
Good luck with your plans to reach your stepping stones.