Out There…

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I had one New Year’s resolution this year. On the 2nd of July, I will be officially half way to goal. My resolution was no television for a year. I can only assume this statement forms the collective gasp among some of you the same way it did when I shared the news with colleagues at work. At first there was disbelief closely followed by a million justifications why people have to watch <insert favourite show here>.

The culling of television from my life hasn’t really been that big of a deal. Every Christmas holiday season for the past several years, free to air has cranked out worse garbage than normal. It was easy to not even engage. Over the years, Tele and I have become a bit codependent. I’ve used it as an escape, believing the lies about chilling out, switching off, winding down, tuning out, even to the point of believing that it was good for me.

In past years, I have been seduced by the ads, the promise of new seasons, new series and multiple month lead ups to old favourites returning. I’ve fallen for them all. Except for this year. By the time any New Year’s Eve rolls around, my Tele is already on its seasonal sabbatical. At the end of last January, Tele and I had to have words.

“ I think we need to break up,” I said , late one night.

“It’s not you, it’s me…” I explained.

And that was it. I haven’t pushed its buttons since. It still sits in the corner, blankly staring at me from its ancient and out of date frame. I’ve been secretly wishing it would stop working for years but it just won’t quit, and, as with most dysfunctional relationships, it forced my hand. I quit for both of us.

So want to do at the end of a long hard day, I hear you all ask?

Since Tele and I broke up, I’ve filled the space with creative pursuits. Suddenly there are hours to fill. It’s blissful. It’s amazing how quickly end of the day fatigue dries up when you  engage creatively in a project you love.

I invite the muse over each night and more often than not she shows. Mostly she brings pencils, brushes, paints and paper. Sometime she offers poetry. On other nights, prose. And sometimes she just tells me to go to bed early and read just for the love of it. So wise for someone so flighty at times.

This year, so far, I’ve filled journals with writing, painted over 70 pieces of art, filled numerous sketchbooks, ventured into the world of online creativity with courses and workshops. And I have shared a lot of this. In sharing came the encouragement I needed to submit. To trust in what I was doing.

I wasn’t sure I was ready to put myself “out there” but sometimes you just have to do it and grow from the experience. About two months ago, many of you know that I submitted eight pieces of my work to The Style File. For those who aren’t familiar with them, The Style File showcases the work of different book illustrators through portfolio pages, displaying illustrative style and technique. This was a big step for me. A month or so after submission, I received the reply that my submission was successful.

If I’d never created some space in my life, I’m not sure this would’ve happened. Devoting my evenings to improving my craft and practicing daily has shown me that diligence does pay off.

Technically, I still have six months to go and so much in my head that I want to get down on paper, in word and in watercolour. My old mind numbing nightly ritual has been replaced with a new habit. A productive new habit. It’s been the best New Year’s resolution  and the only one I’ve ever kept, which tells me it’s here to stay. I’m grateful for all the encouragement everyone offered. It changed everything.

 

 

Why Bother?

I sat down this morning to write and this nagging voice whispered to me Why bother?  I pushed it away and picked up my pen. I started journalling. I asked myself why is it I am so compelled to write and why do I make it so hard for myself to achieve the one thing that I love. I pondered the question for a while and came to the conclusion that I love to write because I love the feeling of having written. And this conclusion gave me the permission I needed to get on with the draft – to write and allow whatever to hit the page because I can always clean it up later. And that’s a whole lot better than having nothing there at all.

The whole writing thing speaks to me of discipline, creativity, and the possibility of laying down words that may move someone on some deeper level. I don’t know why I think it is so hard to sit and write. I can belt out a stream of consciousness garbled random word vomit with not an ounce of trouble. It is cathartic. There is no one to judge it – not even me because once it is out, it need never be referenced again. But when I am working on my novel, suddenly the rules change. I get antsy and nervous and feel like a fraud- like nothing I write will ever be good enough. Today, I just pushed through my monkey mind. I kept going, writing word after word – like a journal entry – not judging, just letting it hit the page and settle. I spat out 2000 words.  I love the feeling of having written.  That’s why I bother. Because at the end of the day – I love to write.

Getting to the heart of my WriMo challenge

 

 

It’s NaNoWriMo time and already, I am getting sucked into the distraction of all things WriMo. There are so many articles and hype popping up about participating, it’s hard to get back to the whole reason I signed up – which was to get writing. So I have banished such nonsense and established timeframes where I will write and only write, in order to give this book a chance at seeing the clear light of day.

 

I have my detailed scene map already sorted but for this story, I am going to start in the middle, with a scene that tugs at my heart strings. It’s the one that is speaking to me right now. So that is where I will begin. Deep in the heart of my story. Now for a cup of tea and then to settle in for the next couple of hours to explore, write and get this baby breathing.

 

Word count: 0

 

 

 

 

Getting there…

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I’m officially a quarter of the way to my goal of 60,000 words. There has been a lot of trial and error finding a routine that I can squeeze in around working full time but I think I finally have found a way to move the story forward on a daily basis. I struggle so much between writing long hand or writing straight to the computer. When time is against me, the time it takes to decipher handwritten scribblings can be nothing short of painful to me at the end of a day when I am already tired and lacking focus. The thing is, I love that organic process of writing by hand. Of just letting my thoughts dribble down my arm to my fingers and then on to the page.

The past couple of weeks I have spent my lunch break writing by hand into my notebook. At night, I have been writing it up, and shaping the story as I go. I’ve also experimented with just writing straight onto my iPad and then copying and pasting this into the story when I get home. It is much quicker and easier but to be honest, it’s bogging me down creatively.

There is something about writing to paper that I love. And having worked both ways of late, I know now that convenience and speed isn’t going to give me the story I want to tell. And I feel it in the telling. It’s just not the same. So for now, it’s back to paper and pen and long nights deciphering lunchtime scrawl. And I’m actually kinda glad…