This picture looks like the hills of Southern Illinois just south of Carbondale where I went to S.I.U. on the 10-year "never graduate or they'll make you get a job" plan. I used to like to take bicycle out on the paths through the hills and woods. I like to look at this picture and pretend that's my bike there, and I am off looking at a cave or rock formation.
I love getting comments on this blog, and I got a good one yesterday. It's published somewhere on here I think so I guess it will be okay if I reprint it here to share:
"Don't drink much anymore, maybe too young to die but already too old to die young....Great, visually attractive blog you have here. I'm supposed to be writing, have a 300 page memoir in need of a publisher or agent, and don't seem to be producing much these days, have to work to make the landlord's mortgage payment, keep the credit card companies at bay, subsidize fat bonuses for executives, and make sure the bombs keep falling....this, not writing could drive me to drink, illegal drugs or suicide, although the final option is highly unlikely, no matter how bad it gets, I have to find out what happens in the next episode..."
By D Mage on Writers Drink Too Much and Then They Kill Themselv... on 6/10/11
I can really identify with what this person says. (Thanks for the compliment on the bloc's looks. She's do for another makeover soon.) It's tough when your day job interferes with your passion. I really believe writing is sort of like drinking/drugging in my experience. If you don't write every day, things are not good in your world. If days and weeks go by, God forbid months, and you are only signing checks as far as writing goes, you get in deep shit.
When I don't write for even a day, I get down. I don't get seriously depressed, but I don't feel the surging of the spring of joy I like to have in my emotional fountain. I am just not right. I get irritated by store clerks, annoying phone calls, and focus on what my son who lives with me, age 21, isn't doing. As usual, I am in shit when I start wanting to control other people. It's usually when I am mad at myself for breaking my vow to myself that I will write 1,000 words a day.
Until two days ago I was really feeling bored, restless, negative. I was finding easy rationalizations for why I wouldn't write an overdue article for my alternative health job. Worse, I would not make myself write the articles on intuition and mind programming that I am hired to do. I wouldn't allow myself to go out anywhere or go get together with a friend. I couldn't do that or I'd be breaking the unspoken rule that if I am not writing, and I stuff that I should definitely be writing, then I am not allowed to have much joy or loosen up and have some fun. It's sort of like calling in sick for work. You hang up from talking to the job and start feeling, "Yeah, I am a little sick. I have a tickle in my throat and my tooth hurts." This way you don't feel quite as guilty for leaving the coworkers short-handed or missing a work deadline. Am I right?
So sometimes I must prefer spending my day feeling bummed, negative and guilty. Maybe it's my Catholic upbringing and I just feed the need to feel guilty once in a while. I mean I don't deserve to have a clear conscience. I don't put on stockings and skirt in the morning and report to my job in the cubicle working for the man. I haven't worked outside my home for years. I am sleeping when the employed people in the neighborhood have their lights on because it's some ungodly hour in the morning and they have to get ready for work. Some of them may be trying to get in some writing before they have to shuffle down to the job and put their creativity and inspiration on hold for eight or nine hours. Then they go home and they're too tired to write, or it's time to give the family some attention and time.
And all I have to do is write an article on mind programming, and I stubbornly refuse to do it because I am a life-long rebel and usually refuse to do what I'm supposed to when I should be doing it. No, I enjoy feeling free and joyous at times because I don't have a job to bring me down, but rebel because money is dirty and I'm getting paid to write or I'm not writing what I want to write but what someone else wants.
Childish and not pretty---those are the facts of my twisted thinking. I'm lazy and I procrastinate because I'm convinced I write better when tomorrow is the deadline and I've got nothing to submit. This is a lie. I really write during these all-nighters with acid in my stomach from the 12 cups of coffee I drank, sweating real B.O. sweat, and feeling that I need some drugs, some old-fashioned speeders to help me accomplish the task That was how I got through college as a straight "A" student: writing all-nighters fueled by white crosses.
Anyhow, before I went on an ADD distraction detour there, I was saying that I was recently feeling lousy because I have all these big plans to write a daily reflections sort of book, my articles are due, and I am still not submitting to major magazines so I can get some good clips for my portfolio--also so I know that I'm worthy and capable as a writer.
Wouldn't you know it? Synchronicity saved me again. I do try to keep in mind what the Divine wants me to do with my life, what my soul's mission is (to benefit others through my writing), and to be mindful and listen to the still, small voice of intuitions. As a result, I often get synchronicity shooting me signs, opportunities, reassurances and support among other things.
This time I was at the library getting books on developing intuition, when I happened to see my old friend, "The Artist's Way--A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity," by the brilliant and wise Julia Cameron. I also spotted her "Walking in the World," which I hadn't read. There was nothing for it but to add these two to the 25 other library books I currently have checked out. (Most are on grant writing though so I don't them as part of my greedy total.)
Julia Cameron is famous not for the books, plays, and entertaining gigs she used to do, but for two other things that get written about in every book of hers, I think: The artist's date and the "morning pages." Julia is the one who helped me see how twisted and antsy I get when I don't write. She writes about the enormous difference in the lives of people who started writing three pages by longhand, absolutely stream-of-consciousness, every morning when they wake up.
So I was reading about all the bad things that happen to people who get out of their morning pages habit, and I realized I felt like dog dodo because I wasn't writing. Just wake up, grab your favorite writing implement and get anything from a journal to a notebook to a legal pad, and start putting down whatever comes into your head with no censoring or worries about grammar, punctuation and spelling. You are not supposed to re-read the pages when you are done. No second drafts of from the mind, heart and soul writing.
There's no wrong way to do these. Put down what's bugging you, your worries and why you're mad at yourself like I did this mornings. Even if something pops in your head that seems teeny weeny and too petty to write, put down that you are going to make yourself banana pancakes later in the morning.
Julia tells people how important they are for all writers and artists, anyone who wants to tune into more of their creativity, and people who just don't want to stay in shit all day. Read about it. You can go to The Artist's Way: Basic Tools Web site and download the first chapter. You can buy the book on Amazon for $15.99 hardcover, Kindle $13.99 or pick it up used for around $2.44. You should be able to get your library to get it for you, or maybe all the copies aren't checked out and it's on the shelf like it was for me, right when and where I needed it.
I needed to re-read it for a lot of reasons, but one major one was that I have been promising myself for months to go on an artist's date, but I just "couldn't" leave my work (Internet noodling). I tell you I am going to make a big, mean and menacing looking official sign to put over my desk that says, "Miss, step away from the computer." I may need someone with a gun to force me to step away as often as I should though.
An artist's date is a weekly one to two hour or more jaunt to some other place that you do solo. It helps put you back in touch with someone you haven't seen in a while: the real you. The kid inside you gets to explore, have an adventure, experience something they don't every day or have never experienced, and generally get their juices flowing again. We all need some time alone to get renewed and replenished, especially if you are blocked and not writing.
You set this artist's date on your calendar, and you keep this important appointment to "nurture your creative consciousness, your inner child." And it's just for you time. Don't bring a friend and go shopping because that's not an artist's date, although it's good to "get out and blow the stink off of you," as my dear, departed old Irish Dad used to say to us kids.
Make it a real adventure and take yourself off to some place you've never been: a museum, art gallery, neighborhood, a factory that makes something interesting like stained glass, or an ethnic restaurant you’ve never tried. Or you can keep it low-profile, and do something that tickles you when you let yourself slow down enough to be aware that your doing it. This could be like browsing the books at the book store, checking out what's new at the bead store, going to a automobile showroom or lot.. I don't know what in your world equals cotton candy at the carnival when you were five, but make a list of possible artist's date destinations and put them on your appointment calendar. Keep these appointments with yourself as you would if they were lunch dates with friends or a dental visit.
When synchronicity shined that big light bulb over my head, I realized how overdue I was for an artist's date. The kid in me doesn't like it when I keep breaking my promises to go. By the grace of God I was able to "step away from the computer" with my hands up and free from drafts I should revise. I took myself to one of my most favorite places, the Carousel Shop thrift store. I have wanted to go there for weeks and pick up some shorts and speakers for my computer. They didn't have speakers this particular day but often synchronicity sees to it that you find the perfect whatever it was you wanted.
The Carousel has a deal where you can fill up a regular size shopping bag with used books for a buck. I kept myself slowed down enough to look at every book. I was looking for books and magazines with pictures for the vision board I have started making, but I found a lot more. I also took my time looking at every craft and kitchen item in the store. I found the shorts I needed but in my distracted artist way lost them between the dressing room and the cashier so now I have a reason to go back.
Or you can break a dry period by writing out a weekly schedule and putting down what time you will report to the computer and for how long. Go for long walks every day or 20 minute ones, but get out of the house and into nature.
And don't forget to have a candle on your desk burning for the all the people you hope to touch with your writing by writing something they need or wanted to hear that benefits them in some way.
I broke my 1,000 word article cutoff promise to readers. This is over 2,000 words, but it was an important message to share with my reader who went to the trouble of leaving a comment and all readers.
Why don't you leave me a comment too? It doesn't have to be about the blog post for today. It can be about anything. Good quotes are also always appreciated and vocabulary words I may not know that might come in handy are a joy. Yesterday I learned the word "bedizen" from Julia. Here's the definition if you also don't know it. It's a good word to have in your toolkit:
Definition of BEDIZEN
: to dress or adorn gaudily
— be·di·zen·ment noun
First Known Use of BEDIZEN
Love, Freedom & Lots of Belly Laughs,
MsRefusenik or is it Maryellen today?