Morning pages and my old friend, The Grumps.

Every morning my goal is to write three pages of thought stream. Sounds easy enough, but I can’t tell you how hard it is not to sensor myself! Even in a piece of writing that no one will see, I judge. I worry. I think too much.

It has gotten better especially when I wake up too late and run out of time to finish before an impatient toddler wakes up! On these days, it is easier to just rush through and not think about it!!

It has been such a great way to get the crazies out and get through to the real stuff that is in my head. My day goes better because my thoughts are clear.

So here is the thing, on the days when I do my pages, I can be positive! It turns out that letting all the crap out of my head leaves space to be positive and grateful for this life. It helps me smile more and frown less and hopefully laugh more with my beautiful family.

I am a worrier by nature, but this simple act of writing every morning helps me be a nicer and kinder person to everyone, including myself.

I don’t like new years resolutions because I find it so hard to stick to something (that is for another story!), but my goal this year is to keep up my Morning Pages so that I can share the best part of me instead of the part that is clogged up with grump.

More writing, less grump. Here’s to 2013!

Advertisements

Through my Window

Through the back window of our London house, I can see snapshots of other people’s lives in the windows of their homes.

I can see the young couple who fight in the kitchen over who is washing and who is drying, who takes the garbage out, who stays home for the delivery man.  I can see the mum who planned a birthday party for her daughter, where a guy from the London Zoo came over to the house with different lizards and chameleon type creatures.  The children tried to act like they were too cool to show their excitement, but I could feel their eyes shining.  I  see the single guy who eats alone every night, but has started working on a rooftop patio conversion.  I see the old lady who watches the news every night and then falls asleep on the sofa.

Everyone packed so tightly into the converted apartments of the Victorian home, where only a wall divides you, but you barely know each other exists.  If this were a game, I would pluck you all from your homes and place you where you should be.

The old lady invited for dinner by the family with two children.  There she could tell them how she once was a marine biologist, studying the lives of dolphins.  Now that would impress them!

The single man invited to a house party at the home of the fighting couple where he meets his future partner – the brother of the woman – and they soon celebrate their first anniversary on the newly finished patio.

If I could, that is what I would do for you.

Learning from a Master

“If you hear a voice within you say “You cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
― Vincent van Gogh

I am sure we hear this voice all the time. In fact I just spent a day trying fight past those words just so I could get done real words down on my page.

This Spring, F and I had a rare trip together without Little Bee. Of
course I missed her, but she was in good hands. My mother took care of her for two nights while we adventured through the city of Amsterdam. Pure heaven to be free of little feet for a few days! The freedom was good for my creating soul and I did lots of writing while free of household worries and to-do lists. And the long wine filled dinners with my handsome date, helped a bit too!

We visited the Van Gogh museum and I learned so much about this amazing artist that I have loved for so long. The thing that remained with me was his determination to get better. He refused to believe that he could not paint. His early works were highly criticised, but he kept on at it until finally he was a master. He maintained that the more he did the unfamiliar, the better he would get. The only way was up, basically.

Now why do I want to be perfect the first time? What makes me so special that I don’t need to practise?

The masters of creativity were great because they believed that they could succeed through hard work and determination.

And they never listened to the voices that told them that this plan wouldn’t work.

Thinking vs Doing

I am so guilty of trying to write instead of just doing it.  

So many bloggy folks are doing Nanowrimo and I got excited and wanted to join in!  I even told my hubby to do it too!  Well, he got on the case….he actually got writing.  And he doesn’t even want to be a writer….he is a business dude, for goodness sake.  He is in the middle of starting a business.  But yes, he got on the case and frankly, I am jealous that he is writing with abandon.  Not worrying if the right word is on the page, but just getting it all down.  He is going at it like the business guy that he is.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be started.  Perfection can wait.  It is a project to be completed for him.  Just like a business.  

Bleeeahhh.

I guess I want to be like that.  I don’t want to worry about each word.  But I am a writer, a worrier, and an over thinker.    I can take a few lessons from him, but in the end, I have to accept that I do it my way, otherwise I just end up getting so disappointed at myself.  I am impressed at how he taps away at the keyboard, words flowing out all over the place.  I can only try to take what I can take from the way he does it, and that is, perfection will have to wait.  Getting it out on the paper can only bring more satisfaction than letting it sit in my head.

Just. Do. It.

Okay, I will.  

Tomorrow.

 

 

Hats

There is a lovely, little place in my head that remains forever muddled. That is because it is the real me. I don’t mind being a bit muddled. But lately, it has become a thing.

On the outside I have a great husband, a beautiful daughter and another baby on the way. I am a teacher taking time off to raise my kids. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, an in-law, a sister. I am a lot of things I didn’t use to be.

I used to be just a girl trying to figure it all out. Just me, on my own. Responsible for just myself. And that muddled, little place that was the real me was still a little hard to figure out, but I think I was getting there. But lately, all these other hats have made it even trickier to get to that little part that is the old me. So forgive me if sometimes I don’t act like I used to.
It’s just that I am finding my way past all the hats.

The Universe heard me?

Sometimes things do start to fall into place if you ask and listen carefully enough.

I met a wonderful illustrator who wants to work with me on two of my stories.  I am so excited about it because he loves the same authors and illustrators that I do and he wants to create the same sort of books that I want to.  It is just such a great match.  His art is whimsical and wild and he cares about representing all kinds of children in books, brown, green and purple.  He cares about the quality of the words in the story and the play of art mixed with words.

My imagination is running away with me, thinking about all the book magic we could create!

This all happened because when the Estate Agent, who was showing me flats to rent, asked me my occupation, for the first time in my whole life, something told me to say, “I am a writer.  I write children’s stories.”

The Estate Agent, who I will call Danny, got quite interested in what I was saying and mentioned that he had a friend of a friend who was trying to get into illustration and would I mind looking at his portfolio.  Would I mind?  Would I mind?  Errrrr.

I would love to, I said.

And he was awesome.

And all because I just put it out there, I was sent what I needed.

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”  Paulo Coelho

 

I have been writing! Gasp!!

I really have!  There were a few wobbly days….and those were the days when I missed my Morning Pages (free writing).  Getting those out of the way really clears my head to be able to write down what I really want to say.  I have been lost in a world of pirates, princesses and a naked tree, actually!  (Er, yes, I am writing for children!)

When I first made the commitment to write, I found it so hard to get the up momentum to start the actual writing.  I guess I felt frozen. Now ideas are really flowing well (touch wood).  I am excited to sit down at the computer and spill all that is in my head.

I guess what “they” say is true.  The more you write, the more you write!  I think I found it hard because I was writing stuff that I didn’t think was good.  I want to be good right away….I am impatient about getting through that practice stuff….the learning stage.  Odd, coming from a teacher, I know!  I want to be great right away.

But lately I have just been trying to get it all down, un-perfect, un-edited, even though this is hard for me because I need things to be neat and tidy.  Then I will come back to it in a week or so and see what I have written and it seems to either be total crap, or sometimes, it’s something I quite like!  So far, this is working…..

A date with myself.

ImageWhat a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.  Some oil pastels, butterfly shaped card, glitter, leaves and feathers…….oh, and a cup of green tea.

Artist’s dates came into my life this year (that story another day…) and they have really changed the way I think about creating.

I used to really get down on myself for not having something to write or getting on with this storybook that I wanted to do.  And then I used to sit and think and think and think about why I couldn’t trust in my own writing, even though I had so much that wanted to come out.

Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way course suggests going on a creative, playful date each week with just yourself.  The idea is that if we let our minds wander and play, creativity is set free.

Sometimes we do a gallery, sometimes a walk through a pile of leaves, sometimes a good rummage in a charity shop for beautiful, forgotten things, and sometimes, like today, it involves glitter glue and sequins!  Although I can’t do it every week, and more often than not, I do it with my Little Bee, it always leaves me feeling calmer and happier and ready to play with words.  

The one where she realised the beginning of a truth…..

I did start writing yesterday.  And it felt great, kind of.

And then I read this post by Autumn.  It was about being authentic and being yourself and letting it all shine out, even if you might not please everyone with the outcome.  And I wondered if I too was writing what I think people wanted to read about.  A story that had a good plot and interesting characters and those kinds of things that check boxes.

Autumn wondered if writing was best coming from a raw, gritty place deep inside.  From the things we don’t let out or let shine in case of offending others.  It was a great post and really struck something inside me.

There is a reason I started writing in the first place.  I was once a lonely, scared eleven year old girl who felt invisible.  I had a home life that felt out of control and the only safe place was my room, with my pen and a notebook.  Writing was the only way out of a life that I didn’t really think I was destined for.  I wanted more and I wanted out.  So I wrote about the person I wanted to be and the life I wanted to live.  I wanted to be far away from the sadness and the anger at my home.  Writing was my way of coping with everything else that was out of my hands.

I guess I did escape it all, but in the process lost the real part of my writing.  As soon as I was “happy”, then I stopped writing about the raw stuff that made me write in the first place.

If i find the spirit of the girl who started writing in the first place, I might be able to access what I need to be writing about.  It might be amazing, but it might not be the kind of thing that everyone (by this I mean, my family) will want to read.

But I said I would try not to be a people pleaser any more and I guess this is part of the way forward.

So, back to the drawing board I go.  See you in a few…

Getting it all down!

I have had an idea for a story to write.  Actually two different ideas.

Now why am I so afraid to open a document or a notebook and write something down?  It seems so huge.  A mountain I just can’t get a foothold on.  I know I need to take little baby steps.  Maybe plan a character, sketch out a story map.  This time it isn’t like a blog post where I can sort of ramble on, it just feels too official.  This is how I felt when I started my dissertation….but by supervisor helped me break it down into smaller steps and then checked to see if I was doing them.  It worked for me.  Someone checking in to see what I was up to and kicking my butt when they thought my writing needed it.  Maybe it is deadlines that I need. Oh and someone to kick my butt.  Still working on that one.

Dwritewords has suggested that I do Camp Nanowrimo….(thank you for sharing that!) and I think I will.  Deadlines may work for me.  Now that I have some ideas about what I want to write about, I could make it happen by the end of the month.  I will have to admis that t won’t be perfect and it might even suck, but I will never get better at writing if I just keep thinking about it and never doing it!

Off to fill out my profile!  Yet another way to procrastinate “real”writing!  Tee hee hee.