Saturday, January 29, 2011

I Am A Work In Progress

Work in Progress From A Long Time Ago
felt, thread, stuffing

Where have I been?

Freaking out doing a lot of work. Spending time being stressed out even when I wasn't getting work done. Oh, I've also been sick. And I've also been decompressing after a crazy November and December.

What it has come down to is an entire January that has been almost devoid of creative projects.

Now that my freelance project that I was working on has come to a close, I find myself excited to return to my writing and my art and my blog and my shop.

The ideas are starting to come back. The energy is starting to return. The joy I used to feel doing creative work is starting to come back. I think I had forgotten all about that when I set myself stiff schedules and requirements and things that I HAD TO DO EVERY SINGLE DAY.

I don't know what direction I might be going in. I'm thinking I might want to start painting again, but not a painting a day. I've been feeling the urge to work more in depth on paintings. Larger. More planned out less instinct driven. And then there's that novel that is waiting to be taken seriously again.

Writing makes me feel good. I am ready to write again.

But not right now. I still have my day job to get ready for. So. I just wanted to drop in and tell you I wasn't missing. I'm coming back.

I'm excited to see what the coming year will bring.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Goals, Guides and The Process


Fuzzy doesn't like the camera. Too bad. She's very photogenic. Her name is also Fanny. It depends on who you ask.

I've been kind of sick lately. A 24 hour flu. You'd think the sucker would be over after 24 hours, but the weakness and dizzy head remains, slowly fading away. Well it's a week later, so let's see how long I remain up and functional today. I got smart and decided to write a blog post before my energy disappeared. Yay. I must be getting better. It's no biggie, just interferes major time with my productivity.

So here I am.

I've made a little bracelet out of bead thread and silver beady things. I made a folder for Ivy out of a happy meal box. Per her request. I've cut out dozens of felt circles in anticipation of stitching up little charms. I even appliqued a tiny red heart on one and tried to embroider (but made an ugly disaster of it) another one. I have no photos of any of these.

I've thought about my plans for the year, my "resolutions" if you will. Last post I talked about theme words... Organize, Enjoy, Say Yes to Life. But the truth is, I have goals that I need to accomplish. The major one... finish this novel and send it out and find an agent and get published.

I'm finding it hard to focus only on the theme words when I have this big honking goal hanging over my head.

I need to work on this goal, that is it. But it isn't a resolution. Resolutions are like bullies. They say you must do THIS thing. ALL the time. WITHOUT fail, or you are a loser. And that actually sets you up to fail. Witness all those lapsed gym goers, yo-yo dieters, people with chewed fingernails, furtive cigarette smokers, and novels languishing in trunks under the beds.

If you really want to achieve something, to make a change in your behavior, you have to think long term. What do you want at the end of the year... not what do you want right now. You have to allow yourself to be imperfect and to backslide, and to have lazy days, even weeks without sitting down to revise the fourth draft. Because of course, you have the flu and kids and must also take care of yourself, not just your goal.

So you set yourself up with smaller goals, that over the long term, will add up to the major goal.
Goals that are not overwhelming. Goals that are specific and measurable. Have fruit for desert instead of cookies, rather than lose 20 pounds. Take a yoga class, not "be fit." Write a query letter, not "be a best selling author".

So that's what I need to do. Look to make smaller goals that fit in with my larger goals.

Not coincidentally, I hope to make my smaller goals and my larger goals fit within my guiding words for the year. I will do so now, breaking down the goals into tasks that will fit within the guiding words.

ORGANIZE: organize my writing space, organize my agent research, keep in touch with critical readers, set up a daily writing schedule, keep a writing log, follow a time table.

SAY YES TO LIFE: actually start writing instead of hiding from it because it is scary, believe that I will be published, look for people who can help me, recognize and accept opportunities that come my way, look for the good in my book and emphasize that, show people my writing, take advantage of the free time I have to work on the things that I really want to do.

ENJOY: allow myself to enjoy the good things about my book, remember to enjoy my writing time because I actually love to write, develop rituals surrounding my writing time to recognize the specialness of it, look back at my life and recognize how far I have come, write a new resume or curriculum vitae celebrating all that I have achieved, write an author's bio as if my book were already published, set up a rewards system for writing/publishing goals achieved (perhaps rewards towards that new camera I want), accept the process for what it is and learn to enjoy it.

Let me tell you.

That little exercise actually has gotten me thinking about writing. Not only that, but it's gotten me excited for the process of revision, research, and querying.

You see, I don't want to just be a published author. I don't want just to have a novel written. I want to enjoy the life I am living while I go about doing this. I want to live this life, the one I have, not the one I will have once I achieve some goal, once I have beaten some resolution.

Try this exercise. Think of the guiding words for your year... the words reminding you of the life you want to live, the person you want to be. Now think of the goals you want to accomplish. Now try to find ways that your goals can be achieved THROUGH your guiding words.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy 2011. To Life!

I haven't done much this past week. Relaxed. Slept. Spent time with the kids. Worked when I had to. But I took a break on projects and being creative.

So here's a photo from a couple weeks ago, right after it snowed. The snow is all gone now, washed away in a warmth and rain.

I have some goals for the new year, but one of the most important goals is to enjoy the life I have and not always be doing stuff to get somewhere that I'm not.

Enjoy Life. Celebrate.


Life is not perfect the way it is. There are always going to be things I want to do and have done. But this is the life I have and it deserves to be enjoyed.

In order to do that, I do think I have to reduce some of my own anxiety and pressure on myself. Accept what is there. Have faith that everything will work out. I've thought about what I need for this, and I'm pretty sure it's organization that is missing. So.



Now it may seem that Enjoying Life and Organizing Life are opposite goals. One is about being free and one is about constraining.... however, this is my life we are talking about and I have to be honest about who I am and where I am and what I need.

I have goals. Real goals. Big goals that take a lot of work. And I have a complicated family with their own needs that I am kind of in charge of (hey who made up THAT rule?) and I have to manage them, too. That's more work. But I don't want to just work and work and work and then work some more.

So if I think about it, to organize my day and plan where things need to be done, that would help. I would be able to know what needs to be done and how much time I have, and when there are deadlines and how it all fits together. This would allow me to relax, because I could trust in things being done.

The question is, do I make my big major goals into my "New Year Resolutions?"

Somehow, I think those are too difficult to maintain for a whole year. Better is to focus on a way of being. Enjoying. Organizing.

Maybe what I really need to do is to say yes to life.

Whenever I've had breakthroughs in my life, it has always been around saying yes, instead of saying no. Being brave. Stepping outside of my comfort zone.

So here are my big three goals for the year.

Say Yes to Life.

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