Sunday, 24 August 2014

Moving Through Challenges, Lessons Learned

Image by FidlerJan courtesy of

Isn't it funny how, when you're going through a challenging time, things come to your attention that could possibly provide a way through?

I had three things show up this week.

Monday, 18 August 2014

The Value of Having Fun

Photo taken by my husband  :)
 Grumbling turned out to be a very worthwhile exercise, believe it or not. It helped me to work out why my writing's ground to a halt.

An imbalance between Responsibility and Fun.

I've not pencilled in time for fun for a LOOOOOOONG time. Because Fun just doesn't seem as important as other things. Fun can wait...

Hang on, what's Fun again?

Even my down-time has taken on a note of desperation - "Quick, I've got half an hour, RELAX!, connect to heart, NOW NOW NOW QUICK" - yeah. Not so good.

Pure and simple, I've allowed the daily grind to grind away at my ability to let my hair down and have fun.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Starting Over - this time with Heart

From this...
Grumpy Cat
By Yesterdaywastomorrow (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I'm a grumbler, I've noticed.
When something doesn't go the way I want it to, I get cross and cranky.
When I set goals and don't meet them, I feel ashamed. And disappointed. And sad.
And then cross and cranky.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Goals & the Value of Slowing Down

First, let's take a look at my goals for last week to see what I've accomplished:
  • Keep up to date with the DIY MFA prompts
Day 1 went fine, Day 2, sort of. And after that - the less said the better.
  • Comment on my ROW80 team's blogs
I'm doing that tonight, commenting on both Wednesday's and today's blogs.

Which leads nicely into something I read in a newsletter I'm subscribed to.

Writing is a luxury.

If it's not what you do for a living, then it's a luxury.

You'd think- I know I used to! - that it would be so easy to just pencil in a half hour or a couple of hours or whatever to sit down and write. But it just doesn't work like that. Not in my life, anyway. Sure, I can pencil in writing times, but that's no guarantee they're going to happen!

So that's why I tried the ol' 15-minute writing experiment. If I can't get a 2 hour session, then let's get at least one 15-minute session per day.

Which will segue nicely into one achievement (of sorts) that I didn't plan for this week.

In the one and only 15 minutes I had this week, I wrote the grand total of two ideas on a scene beat sheet for my opening scene.

(Why am I back to the novel again after walking into a brick wall with my hero? Well, it occurred to me that the hero doesn't really come into the novel in a significant way until Sequence 2, so there was no reason why I couldn't go back and write the new scenes for Sequence 1.)

Jim Denney explained why it's hard to write when anything emotional crops up. (Go check out his book Writing in Overdrive. It's a gem.) And I can't think of anything more emotional than where I'm at in my life right now.

Goal setting

So where does this leave me in terms of ROW80? If I can't guarantee regular writing time, how am I to achieve any goals I set? There's nothing more disheartening than setting goals and not being able to reach them.

I'm very slowly making my way through a Waldorf online course at the moment - should have considered that when I set those goals! - and one of the aspects of Waldorf in early childhood that I love is the idea of a daily rhythm, of slowing down, of being in the moment, of the child knowing what's going to happen throughout his day and feeling safe and nurtured in his world.

Slowing down is the key. It's why I go to the Community Fires. It's why I'm drawn to the Waldorf early childhood ethos. It's why my hero's words - I can't be what you want me to be - has started me off on a spiritual journey.

This was going to be a short post, believe it or not, but the words and ideas are spilling out so I'll let them go free. Stream of Consciousness-style.

Anyway, I haven't a clue where my writing fits into a 'Live in the Moment' life that is slow and mindful. Maybe I need to go to a quiet place, get slow and mindful, breathe deep and just ask the question and see what answer I get.

I'll make THAT my goal for this week.

Please check out the other ROW80 writers to see how they're doing this week.

Shan's comment below reminded me that I actually do write every day - I keep forgetting about my journalling! I'm a writer. Maybe I'm not a novelist, but I AM a writer. :)

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Something Unexpected

Claude Monet, Impression, soleil levant, 1872
Impression, Soleil Levant, 1872, Claude Monet, via Wikimedia Commons

A week or so ago, while trying to figure him out so I could start plotting the next set of index cards, my hero said "I can't be what you want me to be."


That statement ground my writing to a halt. It made me question why I write and what exactly I was trying to make the character be that he couldn't be.

I learned a lot about what I write and what drives me to write it. And in learning about why I write, I learned something about what it is I seek in my own life.

I also learned that before I can write this story, I need to journey towards what it is I seek in life.

That makes sense, doesn't it?

Stories are powerful. They're just as powerful for the people who tell them as they are for the people who receive them.

I haven't stopped writing altogether, though. I've written this post. I'm doing a LOT of journal-writing.

I'm also doing a writing challenge for the month of August - the DIY MFA August Challenge - Conquer the Craft in 29 Days. Participants receive one prompt each day for 29 days in August and each prompt has been picked by Gabriela to cover a different writing craft area so that we should all be writing better by the end of August. You can find a checklist of the different prompts on the page I linked to above to see what's coming up.

I've covered Day 1 (Yay) and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's prompt.

Goals for the coming week:

  • Keep up to date with the DIY MFA prompts
  • Comment on my ROW80 team's blogs
Check out the other ROW80 blogs and have a good week. :)