Tag Archives: passion

One Down and…

Things are Blazing

Okay, maybe not quite that extreme, but I’m extremely pleased with myself after these past few days.  Not because I got so much done, but because of WHAT I got done.

I just sent that sponsor post out to our fearless leader (and now suddenly have ideas for a few others…  maybe I’ll prep a few if my characters will give me a few more days of nudging them aside to do so).


I’ve also been (finally) rockin that creativity goal of mine this past week.  I need to remember to start carrying pencils with me for my doodles—otherwise I get a lot of art that looks like this:

a ballpoint pen, a writing/drawing journal and time at a B&N cafe

a ballpoint pen, a writing/drawing journal and time at a B&N cafe

But if I’d stopped or put off drawing for when I had the correct tools, I’d have never met this fellow.  Not sure WHO he is yet, but definitely feeling he has a story to tell.  And I’m fairly sure he’s Hastor…


Who do YOU think this is?

Row80 Check-in & Assessment

So how’s that for a week?    I’m thinking good things.  Not ideal things.  I know I set aside some work I should have done to push past the block that was my sponsor post.  Some call it prioritizing…  I guess I should call it that too.

Sometimes it’s hard to admit I’ll never be Wonder Woman.  Wondering Woman, yes…  I’ve got that down well, but I am no Lynda Carter. *pouts*

    • Goal: spend ~three hours a week delving into writing craft related learning
    • Progress: I’ve been reading John Steinbeck’s Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters.  A lot of process and general perspective on writing, and maybe 3 hours of this so far
    • Goal: Hand-write new words daily! (the Five Sentences thingie)
    • Progress:  *hems and haws*  I wrote a lot of handwritten stuff (not only on my new phone love the handwriting app), but not much of it was story related
    • Goal: typing two pages a day of old notebooks into the computer
    • Progress: I managed two days of typing and not a full two pages each
    • Goal: maintain local critique group submission of excerpts and critiques during non-NaNoWriMo months
    • Progress: behind; I owe a submission and one more critique
    • Goal: return to regular posting in the WIPpet and WeWriWa blog hops
    • Progress:  managed a WIPpet but as I noted last Sunday, I’m not rushing to jump into the WeWriWa
    • Goal: sponsor duties for the ROW80 twice a week
    • Progress: on track
    • Goal: Explore my creative side daily
    • Progress:  *high fives self*
    • Goal: Daily languages (except Sundays)
    • Progress: done, though Saturday became my Sunday
    • Goal: daily exercise amounting to a minimum of 30 minutes a day
    • Progress: Doing pretty good.  I missed … no days
  • Temporary! Goal: write and submit my sponsor post
  • Progress: THIS IS DONE *happy dance*

And before I start trying to post happy dance pictures of me trying to Zumba (cheers to you, ReGi), let me end this.   It’s been a…  pretty good, and very interesting, week.

Just Wasting Time

On a scale of 1-10, I’d have to say these last few days have been floating around 5.  I got most things done.  I’ve also been so very easily distract-able that most any effort I’ve made seems small in comparison to the amount of effort I’ve spent in redirecting myself to get the things done.

And…  despite what I thought on Sunday, it wasn’t squirrels.

Some of it has been good-old self-discovery and analysis.  Good things really, and part of why my pittance of accomplishment doesn’t bother me all that much (because I really fell down on my ROW80 goals since Sunday!).

Yesterday while writing my 750 words entry (ended up 2.5K WOOT!), I glanced at the accumulated art supplies around my office and wondered why I never use them; or if I do, it’s for a quick “try this”… which usually ends in disappointment because I’m an obsessive perfectionist.

Which brings me back to the title…  I have a ton of art supplies I never use, I have a ton of stories I don’t show anyone…  I say I don’t like to cook, but the truth is these things flow from a fear of waste.

Art supplies are—I was always told—expensive.  Don’t waste them.  Use scrap paper to practice on.  What’s wrong with a #2 pencil or a ballpoint pen?  You want markers?  Here’s a pack of 36 colors for a dollar.  Never mind that most don’t work…

Apologies to my writing friends who've seen these

Apologies to my writing friends who’ve seen these but this IS that one page

It took me three years before I felt comfortable enough to make my first drawing in a sketchbook I’ve got in my supply bag.  Three years…  I’ve since drawn in it twice in six months, both pictures on the same piece of paper.

I’ve sketched things on a napkin (ruined in my purse two days later) and the backs of a few pieces of junk mail (some where in the house!).  But a dedicated, special for me place to hold my art?  Not really.

Poster paints and craft paper and years of sun-damage

Poster paint, craft paper and years of sun-damage

I have a paint set I opened the box of, looked at all the pieces and then set aside when I have time to take an art class so I can learn how to use the correct brushes and such.  Then there are the stacks of unopened canvases…  Despite this excess, I only allowed myself to use 99 cent bottles of poster paint and a 59 cent set of dried water-colors on craft paper since my son was born.  It’s not that I don’t like painting.  I don’t feel qualified to do it based on my limited grade-school art experiences, and I know I’d be wasting real supplies.

A real indulgence--a (THE) Paint and Sip project I did as part of a fundraiser for my son's school

A real indulgence–a (THE) Paint and Sip project I did as part of a fundraiser for my son’s school

And given the years when I would cook something I knew was past its expiration date or badly freezer burnt because I couldn’t bear to toss it (both my parents are avid volunteers at their local food pantry; my son has asked for a food donation to give to one of our local pantries for every birthday party he’s had since he was four….  I could not throw away food).  I wouldn’t make anyone else eat it; I accepted my punishment for forgetting it in the back of the freezer or the cupboard.

I spent two weeks cooking various apple and crab apple recipes--and ended up tossing jars of work because I was the only one to eat it

I spent two weeks cooking various apple and crabbie recipes–and ended up tossing jars of work because I was the only one to eat it

For a long time, I felt I couldn’t write for the same reason.  But…  unlike painting, which I enjoy but even feels like dabbling, or cooking, which can feel fulfilling as a hobby, a creative game to play when I need to stretch myself, I needed to write stories.   If I didn’t write something, I curled up on the couch hugging my knees and muttered to myself.*

This doesn’t mean I felt my writing was good.  Only that I needed to do it.  And yes, I have noticed some improvement with the years of practice.  I’ve noticed some deterioration though too.  This is one of the reasons I’ve set myself a goal to typing in old notebooks.  I don’t know what happened, and I’d like to understand it.  But for all that crappy writing from the past, my newer stuff feels like it has lost something.

I’m trying to understand it, and a lot of other things about the person I keep becoming.  That’s one of the reasons I keep coming back to the ROW80; it gives me writing and self-study…  and so far it’s a lot cheaper than therapy.

So, my check-in for today is to add another “goal”.  Or maybe a permission…

Yes, I give myself permission to mess up something.** 

I give myself permission to ruin something.  I even give myself permission to toss things.  I accept that I cannot hold onto everything. I accept that not everything I make will be good. I will ruin things, I will make mistakes… I will make beautiful things and I will make absolute shit.

I will just do it.

*Really.  Ask some of my former roommates if you don’t believe me.

**(Yeesh… my whole body shivered as I typed those words, my fingers felt twitchy, almost numb).


ROW80LogocopyIt’s time for the final ROW80 check-in of Round 2.  Let’s hear it for a successful Round of Words!

Hip, Hip….


Actually it wasn’t all bad.  While I didn’t always achieve my goals, I did meet a number of them.  And I learned a lot about things I like to do, and how I was sabotaging things I loved doing with things I felt I needed to do.

For example:  I loved trying MOOCs and learning new thing, and for the last few years, I was taking them and having a blast.  I didn’t always finish the classes I signed up for (and none of them on time), but I picked at every one I did and worked at my pace.  And it was wonderful.

Beware of ... (cred swissbanana)

Beware of …
(cred swissbanana)

Then…  I started teaching and felt I needed to keep adding to my skill set to be a better mentor and resource for my students.  And…  *steadily increasing whistling sounds… ending in a WHOMP*  Not only did I fall out of the wagon, but down the slide of the canyon wall we were racing next to.  Yeah…  it wasn’t fun anymore.  It wasn’t for me, and…  it was for a place (and several people) I’d begun to resent for their constantly increasing expectations of my performance (no, not the people I actually worked with daily).

So…  was this the best, most productive Round of Words?  Actually I think it was problably the most productive one I’ve ever had.  It just doesn’t show in the numbers.

  • Writing — over the round I averaged 823 words a day on my story (65842 actually) and countless others on blogging; if anything, I think blogging has taken most of creative output lately.  I don’t like that part of all this reporting, and I’m testing out ways to streamline that process.
  • Time with characters/storyworld I’d made amazing progress here, having fun with my characters, talking with them about their bunions and chatting over campfires as they endured their travels and dealt with annoying relatives, bandits and lovers…  but these last two weeks?  Poor Alanii’s been hanging out at the bottom of a canyon mid-avalanche for almost a week now, ‘Listii is passed out on the training hall floor from a psychic-backlash, and Atyr just realized the woman she was struggling with is dead (and she doesn’t know how).  I really need to spend some time with these folks, don’t you?
  • Pushups/general fitnessInconsistent is the only way to score this goal…  I certainly didn’t do something every day.  Most days I was active in some way, but I’m still abysmal with my push-ups, and despite my best efforts, I still struggle with the two-hour run of karate and then weapons class on Saturday.  The knee does not like me then.  Not at all…
  • Camera time dailyI started this goal a bit late in the Round, but I have stayed with it, and have even created an awesome (imho) mini blog-hop called the First Friday Photo via my ‘name’ blog The Garden of Delights.  Check it out!  Also, new sign-ins start tomorrow so we can actually have our posts ready for the First Friday (especially with the 4th of July in the US happening)
  • French and German daily 10 minutesmost of the time I’ve stayed on top of this.  I missed a day here and there, and once I missed a week…  but in general I did great with this.  At the beginning of the round, I was doing Italian, Irish, Portuguese, Chinese, Polish, Danish and Japanese for my Mixed Language Arts class in 10min spurts throughout a day.  This lasted about two and a half months before I just could not maintain that pace anymore…  especially when it seemed my students weren’t putting in even half that effort.  Feeling like your efforts are going for nothing or aren’t at all appreciated can be brutal on achievement
  • MOOCs — I made a good start at the beginning of the round, but as soon as I made this a ‘goal’, I fell hard.  The fall I don’t think was so much related to setting a goal however as the gradual decline of satisfaction in the work world I was trying to justify my attachment to MOOCs to.  In other words…  the next MOOCs I sign up for, I’m signing up for because I want to learn something, not because I think I need to do it to help and support others.

And that’s my ROWnd 2.  How was yours?  Do you plan on participating in Round 3?  Haven’t made you mind up yet?  New to a Round of Words?  If so, check out our blog.  We’re an awesome bunch, as you discover by checking out all the cool folks at this week’s linky.