Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Tag

Now For Something Completely Different

Lately, my posts have been about me, my struggle with anxiety and sleeplessness, my elation over my new house, my continued attempts to be positive and find at least one good thing in every day. Those are good things, mostly. Also, predictable and likely boring.

So today, I’m writing about something different: me. Oh, right. That’s not different at all. What is different is the aspect of me that I’m writing about: writing.

I’ve revealed here before that I’m working on writing and being creative, generally. I even crowed about one of my short stories being selected for publication in an anthology to be released this coming spring. Writing beyond this blog and unrelated to my profession is, to use a hackneyed phrase, a passion of mine – a quiet, unassuming passion, but passion nonetheless.

It’s an area of my creativity that is fraught with complex emotions. As a student, the mechanics of writing, especially sentence structure and composition, were challenging for me. I encountered a lot of harsh criticism that I really didn’t understand – much of it seemed to tell me to do what I had already done, without acknowledging that what I’d written already met the edicts my critic was imposing. I felt stifled and inadequate, though without any clear reason why my writing failed to please.

And then there’s the self-criticism, borne of insecurity and reflecting that formative experience, that’s at least as harsh and confusing as any external commentary. Constantly worrying about whether someone will “get it”, will appreciate the thoughtfulness and creativity I’ve poured into a given piece, has been a significant hindrance to my creative productivity.

Putting something out there for someone else to consume and comment is a risky business. Egos can get bruised, feelings can be crushed, confidence can be scorched. All for the thrill of taking thought from ether, putting it into words in an order and structure unique to its form, and setting it free to become an entity unto itself. Big payoffs and big disappointments abound. Which it will be is a mystery until it happens. Sometimes it’s worth the risk. Other times…not so much.

When I get lost in the conundrum of weighing those risks, I often resort to the safety of retreat. Simply putting the questions – what if, why, when – out of my mind and focusing on the how. What is the next step? If this story or essay or blog post is going to happen, what’s the next thing to be done? That works for most writing problems I encounter. Giving me a finite goal and a short horizon to view usually lets my brain work the problem.

That trick doesn’t seem to be effective on a real block, however. When I’m struggling to plot a story or even come up with a creative idea, “the next thing” is hidden and out of reach. It’s maddening.

I’ve been battling such a block for a while now. At first, I thought it was a combination of work stress and personal disappointment after a fairly ignominious and humbling dating experience. But as I have experienced a lot of emotional highs and great blessings since, prompting a few good blog posts and a lot of easing of stress, the expected lifting of the block hasn’t occurred. I keep starting to write and either I spend hours with nothing but a blinking cursor on a blank page, or scribble frantically and end up with nothing but some disjointed, crumpled handwritten notes to show for it.

So, in an attempt to break the block, I’m combining tactics: naming the demon to sap it’s power, while narrowing the focus to a single step. This blog admitting to the problem is the naming: I have writer’s block.

The single step I’m contemplating to break that block is writing by hand. It’s not a new, revolutionary tactic. It’s been done throughout history, literally. Since humans began recording, we’ve been writing by hand. And yes, technically, even electronic writing is mostly done by human hands on a keyboard (though dictation by voice isn’t “by hand”, it still usually requires a human action to get started). But there’s something alchemical about taking a pen in your hand and moving it across the page in a rhythm of strokes to form words. For my brain, this magical transmogrification of the staticky, noisy thoughts into ordered, coherent thoughts is activated by the physical movement of the pen in my hand in a way that doesn’t happen with my fingers on a keyboard.

Maybe that’s got something to do with the fact that most of my work is done by computer keyboard. Maybe the change from typing to old-fashioned writing shifts my brain to another gear? I don’t know. But I’m not going to question it. I’m just going to do it.

I’ve got a brand new notebook, sized just right to keep with me everywhere, and a pen. I’m going to commit to writing down thoughts and snippets and ideas as they occur, not obsessing over order, chronology, neatness or coherence. I’m just going to write what occurs to me when it occurs to me for an entire month. Then, the following month I’m going to take the time to read through the notes, mark what I think goes together, and decide if it can become a finished work. If so, I’ll also decide when and how long I’ll take to pull it together.

That’s the plan. Let’s see if I can pull it off. But I’m not going to be a stickler about precise dates or number of words to write or topics to cover. I’m going to let my spirit be free in this experiment. Even that’s a stretch for me, the linear-thinking, logically-driven, ordered lawyer. But this isn’t about the lawyer in me. It’s about the creator in me who longs to be legitimately regarded as a writer. To achieve that, I need to write. And to write, I have to kill this block.

Wish me luck.

Finite Incantatum

Well…not quite as magical as Harry & Hermione & Ron and all that. But pretty dang magical to me. And I’m happy to call it done.

I finished the first draft of my first novel!!

Again, I may never publish it, but I set a goal and achieved it. I completed writing a novel before my 50th birthday. I successfully moved an idea from glimmer of thought to fully realized story all by myself. It went from nothing to something through my intellectual and emotional labor.

To me, that’s an achievement, and I’m proud of it and of me.

It’s not hugely long, but still qualifies as novel-length. It needs editing and revision, but it’s a complete story with all the elements of the fiction genre to which it belongs and all the sections of the story arc are there.

So I’m slotting this into the ‘win’ column. And a win is a very good thing.

Creative Piece #1

One of the goals I set for this year, keying off of the primary objectives I carried through from last year, was to publish on this blog at least one creative writing piece per quarter. It’s part of the Nurturing My Spirit/Creativity objective. I believe that feeding my creative spirit helps make me a better version of me.

But sharing the outcome of creative activity requires risking vulnerability – what if everyone hates it, what if it’s no good and so bad that everyone laughs? Those are real fears. But I can’t let fear win. Taking the risk and sharing, knowing that someone (even people whose opinions matter) might laugh or worse, is the price of progress and growth.

So, here’s me taking the risk. This is a raw, unedited piece that came to me last night as I lay, not sleeping – again – in my cool, dark bedroom, trying to still my mind and rest. It has no meter or rhyme and barely qualifies as creative. But it is the work of my mind and I’m counting it toward this quarter’s goal.

In the still, cool dark

Sometimes I need to just be

Still and quiet, breathing

Lying down or sitting up

Simply existing in the moment

Sitting calmly in the quiet

Experiencing the cool darkness

Not thinking, not planning

Simply being someone apart

Silence is rare

There are hums and clicks and groans

Sounds normally lost in the noise of life

Simple silence requires effort

Alone in a cool, dark room

Listening to the sound that’s not quite silence

Breathing, existing, knowing without thought

Simply dwelling with myself at rest

Stillness is not the same as peace or rest

But taking refuge in being still brings both

Courageously occupying the void of thought and sound

Being, simply at one

Something old and something new

Well, I made it through the gauntlet of the end of quarter/year and the latest court filing deadline. Barely. It was a grueling last few months and a particularly grueling last two weeks. With the lone exception of New Year’s Day, I have worked at least 12 hours a day, every day since Boxing Day. The atmosphere has been saturated with stress and pressure and the pace has been brutal. Between sales people’s unreasonable demands and my boss’ periodic fits and tirades, I was a nervous, anxious mess by the time I collapsed into my bed late Friday night after getting the two briefs filed on time with the court after no less than 12 re-writes over the last week.

But I guess there’s one good thing to come of that horrid mix of anxiety and stress: I finally slept for over 9 hours – the first long sleep I’ve had since at least August. I can’t say it was entirely restful, as it was punctuated with several stress dreams, but at least my body was horizontal and my brain mostly unconscious for that many hours in a row. That’s something.

I followed that with a day spent in my PJs, doing nothing more strenuous than reading ebooks on my Kindle app and watching football playoff games on TV.

But today my body rebelled at being in bed after about 6 hours and my mind was in agreement. So I rose, showered and dressed like a normal person. I count all three feats as accomplishments. I could have forced the issue, argued with both mind and body, and spent another day as a slug in my PJs. Instead, I’m conscious, dressed in can-be-seen-outside-the-house clothes, in public, being productive. That’s a lot for the first free weekend I’ve had in a month!

Speaking of clothes, I made a silly impulse buy on Amazon the other day and it arrived yesterday. I’m wearing it in public today as a silent (though not subtle) statement of my rebellious independence. (Never mind that I’m about to turn 50. I didn’t get a rebellious phase in my youth, so I’m making up for lost time. Sue me.) Here’s a pic of the utterly ridiculous, shiny statement piece:

Rainbow Unicorn is my spirit animal.

So I’m out in public, wearing my essential self emblazoned as a mascot on my chest, writing fiction (not this blog, a story I’m working on)in a coffee shop like a real writer.

I choose to view this as me embracing the old and new, seizing the opportunity of the new year to advance my goals. I’m being creative, both in my expression and in my writing. I’m choosing activity over sluggishness. I’m choosing socializing (albeit lone and passive) to hemitude. And I’m posting about it all. The personal growth goal trifecta.

That’s good enough. I win.

Starting Again

Happy New Year, all! At this start of a new month and year, my hope for all of us is for more kindness (to ourselves and others), less stress and anxiety, and more living in every moment.

For myself, I’m not going to over-burden this transition period with resolutions and lofty goals that will inevitably bring pressure and guilt. Rather, I’m just going to acknowledge that this is another beginning, just like every day is, really. And with every beginning comes an opportunity to start anew, with whatever activity or goals I choose to engage.

Like I said a couple of days ago in my Q4 report card post, I’m not sure if using the report card posts as an accountability device is still motivating for me. But I’ve thought quite a bit about what goals to carry into this new year. Last year I worked on (1) weekly blog posts (and making them substantive); (2) nurturing my spirit (especially through being creative); and (3) work-life balance (with a focus on in-person socializing). These three primary goals and ‘stretch goals’ cover the areas of my life where I think there’s most room for improvement.

And personal improvement, being the best me I can be, is the point. Of everything. (For me, at least. You decide for you what the purpose of life is all about.)

So, should I keep at the same goals? Yes. Any adjustments? Yes. Just small refinements, really. And those adjustments are a new start.

First, I want to keep the weekly posting goal, but I want to add an element of creativity. As I discovered over the last year, I thrive best when there is a creative challenge in my life. And although I didn’t have a lot of success with learning silver sand casting, I did do well with writing last year. In addition to blogging here, I worked on creative writing outside of my blog. I have kept these efforts to myself for a number of reasons, but mostly out of fear. And since fear is something to eject from my life, I’m going to try to get beyond that block.

I think it could be cool to combine these elements for a twist to my primary blogging goal. So, in addition to keeping up my weekly posting streak, I want to post at least one creative piece per quarter. I’m going to be as lenient on myself as possible on what counts as creative and I won’t be prescriptive about length or subject matter of these pieces. Creative writing doesn’t have to mean narrative stories nor even fiction; creative essays on non-fiction topics count. The only metric is whether I have the courage to push the “publish” button on at least one original work of creative authorship per quarter.

Second, I’m keeping the spirit-nurturing/creativity goal as-is, but I will count the creative writing posts on the first goal against this goal as well. Double counting seems fair in this instance, given the extra hurdle of having to overcome fear into the bargain.

Finally, I’ll keep the work-life balance/socializing goal. These are some of my biggest struggles. And I did pretty well last year in being intentional about tackling this aspect of myself. I don’t want to stagnate, so adding a twist seems like the right thing to do. But I also don’t want to put so much pressure on myself that I stall or regress.

But, again, fear should not be the decision-maker. So I’m going to add a twist, but I’m giving myself the entire year to accomplish it: go on one real date, in person, with someone whom I find attractive.

Oh, geez. Just writing that makes me cringe and want to delete it and pretend I never wrote it or even thought it. But I won’t. Publishing this post, putting that out in the universe, is as much an accountability device as the report card posts. Now that it’s out there, my personal integrity will require me to follow through.

But since accomplishing that goal requires the consent and participation of another person, I am only concerned with having the courage and taking the initiative to ask someone out on a date. I won’t count it a failure if I get turned down, or if it doesn’t go well if the date does happen. The point is simply to beard the dragon of being vulnerable enough to issue the invitation. Once that challenge is met, the rest (whatever that turns out to be) will follow. The real challenge for me is getting past the fear and inertia to begin at all.

So there you have it: my goals for this year are largely the same as last year – blog weekly, be creative, and socialize in real life. The added challenges of publishing some of my creative writing on this blog and going on at least one real date seem like tall orders. But since I’m turning 50 this year, I’m gifting myself this internal kick-in-the-butt as a gift of tough-love. Ultimately, I know myself enough to know that I won’t do either of those things without a motivator. And fear of public failure is definitely a motivator.

Again, happy new year, my friends! I hope you have an easy, comfortable, relaxed start to this year and that every day greets you with hope and possibilities. Let’s start again today and give ourselves permission to treat every day as a chance to start again as often as needed.

Q4/Full-year Report Card

It’s the end of the fourth quarter already! Wow, what a year! It’s had it’s ups and downs, but it’s been full and interesting.

And now it’s time to check on my progress against the goals for personal growth that I set for myself at the beginning of the year. You can see my prior quarterly report cards here and here and here.

Quick reminder: these goals and my efforts to achieve them are for me, and this report card is an accountability device that helps keep me motivated, not a means of passing judgment or a tool for overly-harsh self-criticism. I try to be fair and gentle with myself when rating my performance.

Last quarter I regained the Honor Roll after a slip in Q2, and re-committed to my original and stretch goals for Q4. So let’s see how I did. I’ll be grading on three main topics (Weekly Posting, Creativity/Nurturing My Spirit, and Work-Life Balance) plus the stretch goals (More Substantive Blog Posts, Writing (replaces the Sand Casting goal of the first half of the year), and More IRL Socializing) on an A through F scale.

Q4 2018 Report Card:

Weekly Posting: A

Substantive Posts: A

I posted every week and they were mostly substantive posts exploring topics that have meaning for my life and my journey of positivity. The fact that I continue to struggle to remain as positive as I want to be is merely indicative of the circumstances of my life (sleep deprivation, high stress, etc.) and should not diminish my grade for this goal. I’m posting, that’s what counts. This is a solid A.

Creativity/Nurturing My Spirit: A

Writing: A

As I said last quarter, I changed the creative activity from sand casting to writing. Whether that’s cheating is debatable. However, that writing is creativity is not. So, in addition to my intentional spirit-nurturing through more frequent contemplation of the sky, and the art project I did to create gifts for my staff (stone-inlaid keychains), I’ve been writing. Although I ultimately gave up on doing it exclusively by hand on paper – my laptop is a much better tool – I’ve made time to pursue it, which is a big achievement for me. I’ve finished one long-ish short-story and am in the middle of what is shaping up to be a novella-length story. I’ve got ideas for more, too. I’ve even done some very preliminary research into writing retreats that might give me some inspiration and better skills to tackle this thing called being an author. Yikes! But whatever comes of it, I’m engaging in the activity and that deserves an A.

Work/Life Balance: A

IRL Socializing: A

I definitely earned an A. Despite work demands being at an all-time high in terms of both volume and stress levels, I’ve again this quarter been good about prioritizing myself over the urgencies that result from others’ failure to plan. Too, I traveled to see a friend just for the pleasure of her company, made an effort to reconnect with several local friends in honor of the holidays, and even did a quick-turnaround trip to visit family for Christmas. I’ve spent more time in social situations this quarter than in most recent years combined! The intentional, purposeful action to visit and socialize despite my inherent reticence is the whole point of this goal. And I nailed it. A.

Overall Grade: A+

I said in Q3 that “I’ll count it a win if I am not completely consumed by deals and litigation deadlines and holiday prep to the point of becoming catatonic. If I can stay on top of the work load, keep up with the few friends I have, and keep writing, all without imploding or exploding, I’ll happily end the year with another set of A’s.” I did all of that and, I think, with a quality that exceeds the “merely”, “just” and other limiting qualifiers stated and implied in that Q3 prediction. I worked hard on these goals all year and in Q4 particularly.

I’m proud to have stuck with the campaign, achieved some really good results on challenging aspects of personal growth, and set myself up for continued achievement in the coming year. Whether I continue to use these report card blogs to monitor and encourage my personal accountability next year is still up in the air. But I’ve developed some mental and emotional muscle memory by being diligent in this process, so I’m not too worried about regressing if I choose to move on to something else. The habit of intentional growth is in place now, and of that I’m proud and grateful.

I hope the holidays have brought you joy and an opportunity to show your love and gratitude to the people in your life. My hope for each of you in the coming year is that you find ways to live well and to love without reservation. Happy New Year, my friends!

2nd Quarter Report Card

As you may recall, I have been working on a weekly posting goal all year, plus a commitment to positivity and some other personal growth goals. At the end of March, I posted my Q1 report card. As I said then, these goals and the effort to achieve them are for me, and this report card is an accountability device that helps keep me motivated. But because the objective is entirely personal, I try to be fair, yet generous, with myself when rating my performance. Last quarter I got all A’s and made the honor roll. I also set some stretch goals to keep me from resting on my laurels.

So let’s see how I did in Q2. I’ll be grading on three main topics (Weekly Posting, Creativity/Nurturing My Spirit, and Work-Life Balance) plus the stretch goals (More Substantive Blog Posts, Practice New Sand Casting Skill, and More IRL Socializing) on an A through F scale.

Q2 2018 Report Card:

Weekly Posting: A

Substantive Posts: D

I’ve kept the posting streak alive and I’m proud of that. But this quarter I had a lot of fluffy, list-y, place-holder posts. And there was the unintentional teasing of a weighty, substantive post about gender issues that mostly fizzled. While I did do a fairly substantive post on the general subject, it wasn’t the post I wanted to write. I know I can do better. So A on the main goal, but a nearly fail on the stretch goal.

Creativity/Nurturing My Spirit: A

Practice Sand Casting: F

This main goal, being a compound topic, is inherently squishy when it comes to ratings. My objective was as to encourage a bit of self-focus, self-care. That’s a struggle for me in a lot of ways, but it’s an important antidote to the stress I deal with in my job. So, the way I see it, anything that makes my heart lighter counts for this goal. And although I have not practiced sand casting even once this quarter, I did a lot to make my heart happy. The big one was getting to give an epic gift to my brother and sister in law. That was a month ago and we’re all still floating in the clouds with delight over it. Several other small gestures of kindness, both given and received, add to this tally. So I’m giving my self an A for Spirit Nurturing, but a big ol’ F for actual practice on sand casting.

Work/Life Balance: B

IRL Socializing: F

Being social is just hard. For me, anyway. I find crowds exhausting and small talk insipid. My small pool of friends are all very kind to accommodate these personality flaws and don’t demand a lot from me socially. But I really have to get better at this. I’m doing fairly well with keeping up with our monthly supper club outings and joining in when unscheduled gatherings happen. I’ve been to my family’s studio a few times to hang out, and even went out with a couple of friends this past weekend. But I’m not finding new friends and I’m not initiating the outings, usually. And my most frequent interactions with people other than family or work colleagues is still via text. So, a solid B on the main goal, but an F for the stretch goal of seeking out IRL social contact.

So, overall, I’d say I’m passing, but not honor roll this quarter. I’m going to keep the same goals and stretch goals for next quarter and see if I can’t get back on the Dean’s List. 😁

I hope your summer is full of fun and satisfying personal accomplishment. Be well, my friends.

Enough Already!!

Writing meaningful, substantive things about topics that are close to my heart and mind takes a lot of energy. I have been doing some thinking and some reading and some more thinking. And the post that I want to write, that the topic deserves, is still working through my mental process that is sometimes opaque even to me. But I have confidence that it will come together. 

So, what to post this week? 

Well, the answer is disappointing. I’ve been wracking my brain for two days on that question. And every time I start to think, my mind is filled with a persistent, nearly impenetrable, buzz of white noise. All thought is drowned in it, leaving me feeling dumb.

Looking around me, trying to find something to comment on, the only thought that occurs to me is: enough already! 

I’m frustrated at the writers block. I’m frustrated with slow progress on some projects at work. Im frustrated with a creative dry spell that has me puzzled and unable to finish a new art endeavor that I’m working on. And I’m frustrated with the weather. 

That last one is absurd, I know. No one controls weather, so it’s futile to be frustrated. Still, it’s the middle of April and there’s snow on the ground again. All last week it was beautiful, starting to get warm, starting to get green, birds returning, flowers coming up…it was all a tease! As soon as the weekend rolled around, the temperature plummeted and it rained then snowed. Again. I’m so over winter it’s not even funny. Enough! 

Here’s a picture of my backyard yesterday afternoon:


But I’m not going to let the frustration ruin my outlook on life, nor my happiness. 

Time for a new goal. This week I’m challenging myself to focus on the good things, the things I can do something about, and the things that have meaning. For every grumbling, frustrated, negative thought, I’m going to actively look for at least two good, positive, or happy things to refocus my energy and reframe my mind. 

If you’re having the same problem, I hope you’ll find a way to reframe your outlook. Happiness is too valuable to squander in frustration. 

First Quarter Check-Up

At the end of last year, I set a goal to post something to this blog at least once a week. At the same time, I’ve been working on a couple other personal goals that I haven’t published yet. Working on myself is something that doesn’t come naturally and I sometimes need to set milestones to keep up the motivation. So I’m borrowing a device I’ve seen it n a couple of other blogs: a self report card. 

Since I set these goals for myself, and the self-improvement I hope to achieve is for myself, I intend to rate myself fairly, but allow myself leeway or the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the close calls. You see, publishing a report card and posting about my human failings is all a means to an end: spurring myself to be a better version of myself each day. And the way I figure it, if the world witnesses my less than optimal performance as a person, I should at least get the benefit of the world as witness to my improvement. Of course, the risk is that they’ll, instead, see me fail at improving. In any event, the value is in the attempt. 
For this report card I’m rating achievement against three goals:

  1. Post something at least once a week 
  2. Do something creative, or at least something that nurtures my spirit 
  3. Strike a better balance between work and my private life 

Although I actually started working on all these things last year, I’m only rating myself from the beginning of the year. Conventional wisdom has it that the most effective goals are bound in time and objectively measurable. By measuring from the beginning of the year, I stop myself from dwelling on things too far in the past, essentially starting from a clean slate. And by focusing on specific actions (even if there isn’t an obvious numeric dimension to be counted), I give myself the best chance of making incremental progress. That should help keep me motivated. 

So here’s my report card for the first quarter of 2018:

Weekly Posting: A

There are one or two close calls, but I’ve essentially posted at least one article a week since the beginning of the year. While there is at least one that’s little more than a place holder to avoid a miss, I’ve been intentional and thoughtful about writing, which are habits I really want to cultivate in myself. This is a win. 

Being Creative/Nurturing the Spirit: A

This one is a double win. I’ve been looking up at the sky and intentionally taking advantage of any sunshine that happens in my vicinity. For example, when I was in San Diego in January, I took at least 10 minutes to sit in the sun every day. It was heaven. And every day that the sky is clear, wherever I am, spending a few minutes to watch the sky, whether to see birds soaring or contemplate interesting cloud formations, I physically feel my spirit lift. 

On top of that, I have completed a short, three-week course in silver sand casting through the local community college. My sister-in-law and I took it together. We had a good time doing something fun together. And we’ve learned the basic techniques that we can use to try it at home. But, honestly, the class wasn’t very successful. The instructor was unprepared and disorganized and there were way too many people in the class. But I did it and have a determination to practice it until I get at least one successful casting. This sparks my creativity and I’m excited to feel that again. 

Work/Life Balance: A

I work hard. My job is often challenging and sometimes requires long hours. And, truth be told, I enjoy the challenge and the recognition when I succeed. But I also know that my job isn’t everything. I’ve felt rather isolated for quite a while, because most of my non-work interactions have been remote, through social media and texts. But I’m working on it. 
Since January I’ve had more in-person social interactions than nearly all of last year. Between separate visits with three friends I first met online, monthly supper club dinners with some art friends, and a few game nights with a couple of friends I met through a continuing legal education seminar a couple years ago, I feel I’ve done pretty well with in-person socializing. And I’ve even had some really pleasant conversations with some new acquaintances entirely unrelated to any of my other social circles. All without puking or becoming completely withdrawn for days on end. I count this as a big success. 

So I’ve got straight A’s for the first quarter. Look at me, hitting the honor roll 30+ years after graduating from high school. That’s awesome.  

I can do better. Actually going out with someone for a purely social occasion, for instance. I can also try to deepen the substance and thoughtfulness of my blog posts. And following up with practice on the silver casting class is a must. We’ll see how I do next quarter. 

I hope you all are finding satisfaction in your own personal growth. Keep at it, my friends. 

Trying something

So, I’m not very consistent at blogging. Seems like I blog in explosive, sporadic, unpredictable bursts. Usually about things that are weighing on my mind. I’d like to improve that. Even if I never get to a daily publishing pace, I’d like to at least settle into a regular writing and publishing schedule.

Thus I’m going to try something. Word Press is offering a Writing 101 course to do just that: instill a regular writing habit. It also offers an opportunity to give and receive feedback and to participate in a writing community.

It starts today. Today’s prompt is to free-write for 20 minutes and today’s twist is to publish the stream of consciousness.

The course is for fun and to improve writing. But nothing is required, it’s not prescriptive. Obviously, the benefits I receive will depend entirely on what I put into it. I’m fearful that my writing will be even more boring when pushed into what is, right now, an artificial rhythm.

As you can tell, I’m using the Writing 101 adventure as my free write topic. Very meta.

And I’m pretty sure it’s also very boring.

But my problem is that I don’t find creative writing a natural activity. Though I do have a mild creative impulse, I usually have to have a goal, an end result in mind, in order to create anything I can view as worth while. Whether creating jewelry, sculpture, glass or writing, a clear concept is a requirement for my brain to do good work. I’m not artist enough to create out of nothing.

I don’t know why that is. All I know is that, without a topic or end in mind, a blank sheet of paper or blank screen fills my head with static and I can’t hear my own thoughts. Weird. It’s as if having a goal or concept removes a load of pressure. You’d think it’d be the opposite, that the concept or target would create the pressure of achieving the desired result. Kind of like performance anxiety.

Anyway, I’m embarking on this month-long blogging journey and hope to have a better writing habit afterward. And if I improve writing skills and get a little better at creativity in the process, that’s even better. I prob’ly won’t publish everything, but I’m going to try to stick with the daily schedule.

I hope you’ll enjoy a greater variety of posts and can be a little patient with my attempt to write better and more regularly.

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