Anyone been wondering what happened to me?
OK, probably not. As my last post indicated, I’ve been neck-deep in National Novel Writing Month, which was a resounding success. (If you don’t count the 5 pounds I gained from fortifying my spirit with chocolate and snack mix.) I made it to my 50,000 words on November 27th, as planned, and I’m pretty pleased with the results. I think my book was better than last year, most likely because I came up with a very loose plan before I started.
So what’s next? I went from my summer motorcycling & writing project, and my SARK class, into birthdays and travel and then NaNo. It’s been a very busy 5 months! December is always busy as well, with the holidays and all, but for me it’s more about trying to figure out what’s next for me.
I decided December would be about personal growth, and planning for the next year. I am working through a couple of insight and learning-based programs, getting the house stuff caught up from my writing weeks, figuring out my goals for my writing and my creative work, and nurturing my body and spirit with more reading and eating healthier. I think it will be just the break I need.
(Frank will laugh at this part and say, that’s not a break!)
Maybe it’s not a break. Maybe it’s just a change of pace, and that’s what I need. Either way, I’ll tell you more about the specific things I’m working on over the next few weeks.
Welcome to the eve of National Novel Writing Month!
In November of 2010 I attempted my first NaNoWriMo. After having signed up in 2009 and not writing a single word, I worried that perhaps I was not up to the task. Surprisingly, I was wrong! My novel was written, enthusiastically at first, and desperately nearer the end, but done nonetheless. When I think of it I say “WHEW!”
Since last year’s NaNo event, I have done a lot of work in the name of becoming a writer. I have blogged, read books on writing, read a lot of fiction and non-fiction, and spent several months working with my writing coach, SARK. Overall, it was a huge year for me. I am not only a more confident writer, but I have also purged many of my personal demons through the introspective nature of my approach to writing. I’m like a different person this year.
So tomorrow I will begin to write again, as a new person and a new writer, with a fresh new spirit. My plot is outlined, and I’m looking forward to reading it as I write it!
Wish me luck!
As I mentioned in my last post, I attended a workshop at the Infinity Foundation in Highland Park, IL this last weekend. It was called “Make Your Creative Dreams Real with SARK” and it was amazing!
To begin, Infinity Foundation has a lovely facility and their staff was friendly and helpful. This was a fairly small group, I’d guess no more than 40 of us at the peak of the day, in an intimate carpeted classroom. I arrived just a few moments before Susan, so I ended up running into her in the hallway before the event started and we had a big hug and oooos and ahhhs, and she remarked that she felt like she already knew me! Imagine how I feel, having read all her books! I was delighted from the very beginning!
The entire workshop was glorious, with wonderful energy and I was inspired to make further progress on the the gains I’d made from the previous session of the WINS class. Susan and I have a lot in common, and as a result her way of dealing with things feels very comfortable and right to me, so I really got a lot out of it. It’s kind of hard to describe!
I got my book signed while I was there, which I will treasure always, and we got an adorable picture taken:
Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy and I
I feel tremendously blessed by the whole experience, and also thanks to Frank for driving me 9 hours there and 9 hours back in a single weekend! Thanks sweetie and happy birthday!
A few months ago I shared that I was diving into a writing workshop with one of my favorite authors, Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy, also known as SARK. The first three-month session is coming to an end, and the benefits I have gained from the course have been enormous.
The biggest benefit has been in accessing and understanding my inner critics, and what she calls my Inner Wise Self. The concept of inner critics, or censors, is pretty common in creative circles, and they are a real challenge for me. I’ve started to learn to separate those voices and manage them, which is absolutely amazing. I’ve found that most of my fears are coming from these inner critics, whether related to writing or not. This has improved my creativity, but also my satisfaction with life in general.
Accessing my Inner Wise Self has been an eye-opening experience as well. This is essentially the REAL me, the one that doesn’t have all the hangups, false or limiting beliefs, and fears that I feel on a daily basis. This connection has changed my life as well, making things feel less overwhelming and far more reasonable and fun.
I’ll be doing another session of the writing course, and I’m going to Chicago in a couple weeks to do a day-long workshop with SARK based on her book “Making Your Creative Dreams Real: A Plan for Procrastinators, Perfectionists, Busy People and People Who Would Really Rather Sleep All Day.” I’m looking forward to meeting my mentor in person and the roadtrip with my sweetie will be an added benefit. That weekend is also my 40th birthday, so it’s a self-nurturing sort of birthday present for myself!
The most important thing to come out of all this is that I’m feeling more and more like I’m actually a writer. I think the fortification of my confidence and encouragement I’ve been receiving is just what I needed.
Not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this but I absolutely love Sharpies. I’ve recently taken to doing all my first draft and free-writing in Sharpie on Tops Docket Gold white letter-sized legal pads, and it’s working great for me! I even have an adorable bag I carry them around in!
So you can imagine my surprise and delight in finding out that I was selected by Klout to receive a Sharpie perk!! It took a few weeks to arrive, but it was worth the wait.
I should mention that Klout has some adorable branding going on and it’s not lost on their packaging. I opened up the box and here’s the first thing I saw:
Funny stuff! But just look at what’s inside the shippping box!
Look at this beautiful packaging. I think I actually picked it up and hugged it. It was full of Sharpie products, including the new fabric markers I’ve been dying to try.
This was absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to try some of the non-marker products that were included too, such as Sharpie’s new liquid pencils, and their colored ink pens!
Thank you to Klout and Sharpie for brightening up my weekend. If you haven’t already registered for Klout, you can register here. It can be associated with a variety of social media accounts including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr and more. Maybe you’ll get a perk, too!!
Sometimes you simply have to put pen to paper.
That’s not always easy, but it’s never really harder than picking up the pen and starting to write. But why is it hard to get started? There’s so many reasons for me to feel like I can’t do what I’m meant to do.
“I don’t have time.”
“It’s not going to be good enough.”
“I don’t have a clear vision of what I’m going to write.”
That’s the big one for me.
Of course I have self-doubts, everyone does. I’m afraid of failure, but I’m equally afraid of success.
As a Scanner I’m afraid of committing to something, because I often change my mind about what I want to do.
The thing is, I’m not trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I already know what my strengths are, and that I need to use them.
And writing is a perfect fit.
I’m meant to be a writer. That’s just how it is. And my fear of how I don’t have a clear vision of what I’m going to write doesn’t change that, not one bit.
I AM a writer, so if I just start writing, something valuable will always occur.
Because it’s meant to be that way.
Or my Inner WILD Self, as mine seems to want to be called…
The Inner Wise Self is a concept that SARK uses in her writing, and has encouraged me to try for myself. The Inner Wise Self is basically the part of me that loves and supports me as a writer, unconditionally, and without the fear and anxiety associated with me and my Inner Critic.
For me, it’s a little bit like automatic writing, or channeling. The words flow quickly and with little to no thought on my part, but yet they are MY words. So far I’ve only asked an open-ended “what do you have to tell me” as a prompt, with excellent results. Soon I’ll be trying some sessions with more direction.
I asked my Inner Wild Self what do you have to tell me today?
Today you need to hear that you are loved. You need to hear it every day! Sometimes you can’t see it. It’s OK, we love you anyway.
Your critic loves you too, you know. She’s just trying to keep you safe. She looks and you and your life and says, haven’t you suffered enough? Sit down, eat a cookie, watch TV. That way you’ll be safe. She doesn’t want you to take risks.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have cookies and watch TV. Just realize that you’re not living your dream that way. Not entirely. You have to find a balance. You have to MAKE balance.
You’re doing great! Some days are up and some days are down, I know. I’m right there beside you through both. I want you to rest when you are tired, and dance under the enormous sky when your heart has been rejuvenated!
Today you rest, but we can still work. I’m grateful you are letting me speak to you this way. It’s lovely to be able to tell you these things! I hope you see how much you have to offer. I hope you can see how far you’ve come. You’re like, 90% of the way to where you want to be. This is the path! You made the right choice to do the class and find a new approach.
You are making waves in your own ocean. You are creating an ocean breeze in your own cabana. You are riding on horseback through the woods of your soul…your spirit is opening up to possibilities. You feel it, don’t you? Your heart soars. On the cusp, you are. One the wing of the plane, your parachute readied.