Monday, February 22, 2010

Week 8 Check-In


If you are reading this after last week's post thanks for hanging in there with me, Dear Reader. That last post was a doozy, wasn't it? I am happy to report that the Pity Party is over.

I am finding that my tolerance for myself is pretty low these days. I get more easily frustrated with myself in terms of feeling bad about things that really don't warrant the amount of time spent on them (like worrying about how many calories I am eating, how many calories I am burning, if I look like I have eaten that many calories and not burned them off, ad nauseum).

Wondering why I struggle to refer to myself as a "writer" is quickly becoming one of those things. It is now clear to me that it's really in my head. The hang-up is all mine. No one has given me a scathing review (yet - I should be so lucky to be reviewed!) and my parents didn't try to brainwash me about the merits of being a lawyer, doctor, or attorney. They really just wanted me to "be happy" - that's what the sixties did to some folks.

My conclusion? The only way to get around this block I have is to go through it. Define, for myself, what being a "writer" looks like and make it happen. Why not?

Last week's theme was "Recovering a Sense of Strength" and as I write tonight's post I can see that is beginning to happen. Granted, every day is different. Shoot, every hour is different! But I am feeling more confident about my writing, more sure that I will be able to finish a project and more and more hopeful that some day, some how, someone will read this blog who is not related to me by blood or friendship and they will post a comment saying "Hey, I am stoked to read your blog! You Writer You!"

Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

Back to Week 8: Recovering a Sense of Strength. Part of the reason I am feeling is stronger is this - Not long after posting my pitiful "What is my problem" post I printed out the 23 pages of a project I have been thinking of and working on a teeny tiny bit at a time since 2006. Mostly it is a few half drawn chapters and several pages of ideas/outline. I printed it out, took a deep breath and read it.

Lo and behold - I liked what I read! I liked something I had written! Truly, I thought I would print it out, read it and be like "Oh my Gosh, this is horrible!" But there were a few bits in there I really liked and it still draws me in. It is a story I want to tell. And now it is my next project.

I have a plan and a timeline and I am feeling pretty jazzed about that. Once I conclude the 12 weeks (+) of The Artist's Way I will focus on this project primarily with the objective of finishing it. I have so many ideas and stories that I have started and never gone back to or tried to finish, so that is the goal. Work at it and finish it. To prove to myself that I can.

Then I will be one step closer to being (my definition of) a writer.

Write On,

Monday, February 15, 2010

What is My Problem?

Hello, Dear Reader,

I am supposed to do my check-in this evening. I am postponing it until tomorrow so that I may take this time to ask a very important question:

What the Hell is my PROBLEM?!?!

OK, before you all start posting madly with a veritable grocery list of possible answers (the downside of only having people who know you well read your blog...) let me limit your responses by way of a story.

Yesterday I met a woman. A very interesting, energetic and confident woman. A writer. I love talking to writers - shoot, creative people in general. Lately I have been noticing there are so many of us out there, it's really refreshing and wonderful. Inspiring. But I digress...

Somehow it came up that I also am a writer. A mutual friend joined into to mention that I "even have a blog." Of course, my first instinct is to blurt out that well, yeah, I have a blog, but no one reads it. Or I only have 7 followers and they are either friends or family or something equally idiotic. (True, but idiotic, nonetheless. And I am immensely thankful for all 7 of you, BTW.)

The good news is I didn't say any of those things. The bad news is I apparently "shrunk" and "withdrew" when the second friend told the new writer woman that I, too, was a writer. It was so obvious and pronounced that WW (WriterWoman) commented that someone must have really come down on me about being a writer at some point or given me scathing feedback, or something equally traumatizing because my reaction was so negative. Obviously and physically negative. She said I literally shrank into my seat and withdrew when referred to as a writer. Especially one with a blog.

Gawd! When (and how) will I get past this nonsense? It bothers me. Do I need to schedule time in a mirrored room where I do nothing for an hour other than look at myself and say over and over "I am a writer, I am a writer, I am a writer"? Desensitization therapy for the writer with low writer esteem?

The thing is, I can not determine where this hideous (for really, it is hideous) reaction comes from. I know my father would have loved to have been a writer, my step-dad writes (extensive journaling and poetry) my mother appreciated creative folks (though being a Capricorn she definately leaned toward the Practical, with a capital P.) I don't recall any real bias against artistic types in my family. The only other thing that comes to mind is the fact that my father and my auntie are both talented artists by nature who, for whatever reason, were unable to realize their artistic dreams...

Hmmm...there might be something there. Frustrated artists, people I love and admire dearly... Pressure to succeed? Fear of failure? Or worse, Fear of Success?? Just throwing ideas out there folks!

Help me out you armchair therapists! What is my problem?!?!?

It seems like something I need to address - for once and for all. I mean, I AM a writer. I freelanced for two years, wrote regularly for local weekly and daily newspapers, had articles published on-line and in national print magazines (three different ones!) The editors I worked with liked me and my writing as evidenced by the fact they kept giving me assignments. One newspaper even offered me a staff writing job (which I turned down.) I have had three poems published in two literary reviews (first 13 years ago and then again last year.)

What would have to happen for me to own being a writer? How do I define one who is, in my warped mind, a "real" writer? What are those boxes that need to be ticked off before I will own the title of writer? Because until I "own" this I fear I will be constantly battling myself to great detriment.

Got some serious thinking to do.

Write on,

I am a writer. I am a writer. I am a writer. I am a good writer.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

End of Week 6: Recovering a Sense of Abundance

Dear Reader,

Let's jump to the chase: I don't think I have ever had a "sense of abundance."

Well sure, some of you might have known me long enough to remember when I had an abundance of bad for me boys in my life. And there may have been times when I had an abundance of bad taste, or made an abundance of bad decisions, but I don't really think that is the type of abundance I am supposed to be reclaiming (at least I hope not! Shiz, that would suck, I have worked so hard to get out of that space.)

I believe this is a positive flavor of abundance I am supposed to be enjoying, reclaiming, staking out for myself. An abundance of free time, of love, of attention, of...OK, I'll go a head and say it - money.

I think the main thing I learned this week, in thinking about abundance, is that I equate money with abundance. And I sure ain't had an abundance of that. But as I thought about it futher I realized that none of my peers growing up really did either. (If I grew up with some bonafide blue bloods and didn't realize it - email me - I am actively accepting patrons for my art!) 

I don't really know what that means in the grand scheme of things other than to realize that I am not alone in feeling a lifetime of financial hardship. Never having "enough" money - or rather feeling llike I never have enough money. There is a difference between not having the money and just feeling like you don't. And I do realize that in many ways I am financially better off than most of the world.

That said, I would like to experience financial security. The kind that allows for healthy college funds for the kids, a nice vacation at the holidays and one over the summer, cars that work well and when they don't it's not the end of the world to take it in to get it fixed. The kind of security where property taxes or income taxes don't wipe out your savings.

Am I asking for too much? Sometimes it feels like I am.

Maybe it would be enough to not operate from an attitude of scarcity. Would simply having an attitude of abundance be enough? Would simply believing there is enough time, enough love, enough money make it feel like there is? Or alter my brain chemistry so I believe there is enough? Or change reality so there is enough? (I am beginning to sound like I am channeling The Secret...)

So that was the gist of Week 6 - the halfway mark on the 12 (+) week journey of The Artist's Way. I did my morning pages, I did 90% of the tasks/exercises, I had my artist date, and sadly, did not experience any synchronicity. I am still waiting.

May you have a week abundant in synchronicity.

Write on,

Monday, February 8, 2010

Thought for the Day

"Expect the Universe to support your dream. It will."

What would happen if you were able to operate under that assumption? What would change in your life? Ruminate. Discuss. Share.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thought Provoking Quote for the Day

"Becoming a writer is not a 'career decision' like becoming a doctor or a policeman. You don't choose it so much as get chosen, and once you accept the fact that you're not fit for anything else, you have to be prepared to walk a long, hard road for the rest of your days." ~ Paul Auster

Dear Reader,
I am close to accepting the fact that I am not fit for anything else. I must begin to prepare myself for the long, hard walk....
Write on,

Monday, February 1, 2010

Week 5 Check In

Helloooooo Dear Reader!

Well, here we are at the end of two-week-long week 5. Week 5, if you recall, was "Recovering a Sense of Possibility." I, once again, (I told you you would begin to notice some patterns...) took the liberty of mulling, chewing, masticating (same thing, I know...sheesh!) and stewing in the deliciousness of this subject for an extra long time. Two weeks. Honestly, I think I could have milked even more out of it for another week, it was that good!

I have to say "Yes!" I do feel a bit better, I do believe there is possibility out there, I do believe I have a shot at writing a lot, writing well, writing for publication, getting paid to write and then even being able to call myself a writer without making scrunchy face. Because really, Scrunchy Face is no bueno.

Week 5, I was warned, would find me "...examin[ing] the cost of settling for appearing good instead of being authentic. You may find yourself thinking about radical changes, no longer ruling out your growth by making others the cause of your constriction." Now, I don't know what specifically Cameron was referring to, but I like to think that finally cutting my hair super short again (after 10 years of pretending to grow it out) can be stretched to fit into the "radical" category (Hey, I'm talking Baby Steps here people!) I think of myself as a short haired person. Others still think of me as a short haired person even though it had been a decade since it was short. This is just a part of who I truly am, right? Right.

Another concept that Cameron brought up in Week 5 is the idea of "creative solitude." Creative solitude is an absolute requirement for the Artist (caps mine.) She says, "An [A]rtist must have downtime, time to do nothing. " I find that time not only hard to come by, but when I am presented with a snippet of time where I might actually do nothing I am unable to sit still! How vexing! To crave something so deeply and strongly and then not be able to actually do it (or NOT do it, more accurately) when given the opportunity.

It's creative constipation!

I could easily spend an entire week on the concept of creative solitude, why we artists need it and how we are able to so easily and readily high jack it from ourselves. Because really, that is what we are doing. High jacking ourselves with guilt and a laundry list of shoulds and, well, laundry! Or sweeping, or paying bills, or cleaning the frickin' toilet. How have we (and of course, I am talking about myself here) gotten to the point where scrubbing the toilet is more important than taking 15 minutes to sit and watch the clouds go by outside, or the rain fall, or the flames of the fire?


I am ranting a bit here. I realize I have gone off the Week 5 path a bit, but I also think I have - by engaging in unrehearsed blogging- uncovered a spot I need to write more about. Maybe all this vinegar (ahhh it begins to make sense, doesn't it?) is a clue. So I am going to cut this blog short - because I could go on and on about Week 5, there is soooo much good stuff up in here - and take this rant off-line, go dig a little deeper, see where it leads me.

In the meantime, I will leave you with this gem of wisdom courtesy of Toni Morrison, and printed in The Artist's Way:
"We are traditionally rather proud of ourselves for having slipped creative
work in there between the domestic chores and obligations. I'm not
so sure we deserve such big A-pluses for that."

Write on!