Tag Archives: writing motivation

Artist’s Way: Week 2 Check-In

2 Apr

1.) How many days this week did you do your morning pages?

I’m proud to report that I successfully penned all three of the morning pages each and everyday. I started out in week one at over 30 minutes a day, but I’ve been able to breeze through the morning pages more quickly. I feel that I’m voicing less complaints. I wasn’t really surprised by anything other than how I still tend to drift off half-way through and that the first page seems to take the longest. But once I get started, CHOO CHOO! The train just keeps on rolling baby!

2.) Did you do your artist date this week? 

I didn’t execute my artist date until Saturday, but it was certainly more effective than last week’s trip to see The Lorax. This week I chose to “return to innocence,” and visited Blockbuster, Toys’R’Us, Queen City Comics Bookstore, and Markheim Pet Store. Each of these four stores resonates with my past, and outside of Toys’R’Us, I haven’t been to any of them in over 5 years. Between all of those places, I spent countless time in there as a child, so it was interesting to waltz in as an adult. Sadly, each of the five places had underwent a massive overhaul. Blockbuster lost the blue and the VHS tapes, Toy’R’Us overhauled the entire store down to the placement of aisles and content, Queen City Comics looked clean and organized, and Markheim being in a new location lost the appeal I remember from my past. As a children’s book writer it’s important to remember how a child thinks and what they desire. Thereby visiting relics of my childhood, I was able to tap into my inner child. Job well done! I felt I would miss my childhood after this artist date, but instead I was actually holding strong in my adulthood, which for me was an unexpected positive outcome. The results haven’t been immediate, but the memories I was able to extract are pouring a foundation on which to place my creative desires on.

3.) Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? I started the tasks on Saturday as opposed to the last day like I did in Week 1. I haven’t seen my devotion to the process waning in anyway. If anything, I’m starting to believe in this course more than myself, but ultimately that won’t hurt me as this course is designed to help me. I should have devoted more time to the tasks, and I also didn’t integrate the tasks into my morning pages. I find it hard to stop the stream of consciousness and integrate elements from the book. I will probably always struggle with that, because once I have to turn off my switch and consider passages and elements from the book, I will lose that robotic writer mood. Though, I am starting to realize that I don’t have to be “in the mood” to create. Once I start, it’s hard to stop. For someone who needs to write more, this is a wonderful lesson to learn and integrate into their daily life.

BONUS: In regards to the Night Pages, I’m sad to report that I missed one of the days. I only came through with 6 out of a possible 7. While I didn’t do a lot of doodling, I was able to focus on the writing and fill most of the page with reflective and productive. I’m still satisfied with my decision to commit to the night pages. In regards to the tasks, I also fell short this week as I truly only competed about 4 of them. Looking ahead to week 3, I’m confident I will be able to understand and enjoy them more. I just need to start before Saturday.

Artist’s Way: Week 1 Check-In

26 Mar

1.) How many days this week did you do your morning pages?

I’m happy to report that I rocked out the 3 required pages for each and everyday. Though, on Saturday, I cheated (in a way). I wasn’t able to write them when I first woke up, so they were rather penned throughout the day, and it was HELL!!! At all costs, I’m committed to devoting 25 to 30 minutes in the morning to these pages. I’ve done morning writing before with my dream journal, and it definitely puts you on a path of success. Though, one must understand that its not the words you write which is the ingredients of that success, it’s the writing endurance you build, the devotion, and confidence that comes from routine writing.

2.) Did you do your artist date this week? 

I’ve been going on artist dates before I knew they existed. Perhaps since the process became official, I didn’t amp it up. I chose to see one of my favorite picture books morphed into a motion picture, with Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax. I had to wake up early in order to catch the film and therefore was not in the right mindset. There was just 3 guys in the theatre, a Dad, a son, and me. I fell asleep mid-way through the film and missed the Lorax’s grand entrance. Thanks to illegal yet readily available bootlegs I was able to later catch up on what I missed. I didn’t take away a lot from the film, but it was certainly a feast for the eyes. I enjoyed seeing how vividly cute the characters were. The film also positively models how a moral message can be embedded within a story while not eclipsing the entertainment value. While it’s easy to spy a movie, I think for future artist dates I need to step out of my comfort zone and do stuff I haven’t done before. The first thing that comes to mind is going for the first time to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. I don’t have get a million dollar idea from the artist date, but I want experience something new to add the vault of memories. Something different preferred. Inspiration can come from running, biking, and showering.

3.) Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? 

I feel I should have started the tasks a lot earlier than the last day. As the program dictates, we are to complete 5 of the 10 tasks. While, I technically did that, if I had planned in advance, I could have put more effort into each one. While I’ve always been against people who say this, I’m on board with the slogan, “the more you put in something, the more you get out of it.” The morning pages and artist date won’t be a problem. I also don’t want to wait until the end of the 12 weeks to get productive. I will be patient with successful results, but I’ve been at the gate long enough. I’m prepared, knowledgeable, and ready to submit picture book manuscripts and article queries. Let’s do this!

BONUS: The reason this course speaks to me is because I’ve already been going on artist dates before I knew what they were. I already made several attempts at daily journal entries, stream of consciousness writing, and dream logs. I feel that if I just do the bare minimum that I’ll be back where I started. So in order to “up my game,” I’ve added a task called “Night Pages.” I went out and bought a snazzy sketch book I titled “Midnight Yawn: Night Pages.” Everyday, before midnight, I must begin to recollect my thoughts of the day, do some doodling, voice concerns, write some jokes, and all together do a one page version of the morning pages. I haven’t been as dedicated to the night pages as I was to the morning version, but I see progress and feel that overall it will aid in my rediscovery.

A Writer’s Drink

6 Nov


My Writer's Drink

Liquid is Mother Nature’s gift to our ever-decaying bodies. Over 70% of the planet is water, and over 55% of our bodies are composed of water. We love H20! At least, we did. Sadly, our complicated man made existence has brought forth the invention, mutation and remixing of nature’s purest beverage.

Different drinks for different peeps. A variety of sips for complex needs. Some wake up to a caffeinated cup of coffee. Others fight the urge to sleep off a term paper with a trilogy of Red Bull. While others go “bottoms up” to stir up the nerve to flirt with the girl in the ocean blue glasses. And I can’t help but giggle at the image of a herd of senior citizens drowning in prune juice. We love drinking! Each one of us has an army of liquids to help us to endure this thing called life.

But what should a writer drink? Immediately, Jack, Johnny, and Jameson come to mind. One can’t hide from the stereotype of a writer drunk with ink and alcohol. For me, a specific image flourishes. Ted Cole, played flawlessly by Jeff Bridges in 2004’s “The Door in the Floor,” stares at the surrounding nothingness of his lamp lit bedroom. His right hand jangles the ice cubes in a lake of malt. The moist glass pounds on the wooden desk and his fingers dance on the alphabet. Under the shell of night, his mind releases its creativity on the typewriter. Throughout the duration of this creative ordeal, his favorite drink is by his side.

I used to believe the notion that alcohol aided the writer. After knowing every bartender in town, and emptying my Tylenol bottle on countless mornings, I’m certainly a poster child for the stuff. But with nothing published, let alone a manuscript sent forth, the results are sobering.

Sure alcohol frees our inhibitions, and a writer needs to live fully in order to have something to write about. Though, if he/she is never calm enough to re-enter his/her shell, when will they write?

My search for the opportune writer’s drink continued. What about coffee? Well, personally as an idealistic youngster I swore to never take a sip of those caffeinated beans until the age of 35. I obey my inner child, and have yet to rock a cup. Even if I did I’m certain the results will mirror that of its younger sibling.

Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar are merely sugar filled soda on crack. This new breed of beverage is all the rage, with more brands than farm animals in picture books. The ensuing hyperactivity may keep me productive, but a writer needs to focus on writing. After a triple-sized Monster, I’m only 264 words in and then next thing I know I’m tweeting about my inexperience as a bird watcher, writing “Happy Anniversary of Your Birth” on Facebook walls, and my tongue bears the burden of removing the muddy cheese powder from my fingers. When I wake up the next morning, sure there’s no need to reach for the Tylenol but those 264 words are all alone.

Maybe I don’t need a drink? Nonsense. Everyone has a liquid sidekick, and if I’m ever going to establish myself as a writer, I need to exclusively quench my thirst.

“A cup of tea?” Too boring, and I’m scared of sprouting a gardening hat to join Gladys and Edna in their “Who has the best lawn” discussion.

“How about Prune Juice?” Not funny, my bowels are nowhere close to checking into the retirement home.

“Iced tea? Lemonade?” Intriguing, but a tad lame.

“Hot chocolate?” What if I’m writing on a beach? Plus, the warmed milk inside sends me off on a 5-hour nappy-poo.

“Apple juice? Orange juice? A juice box?” Juice is just too innocent, and acidic.

The truth is there’s simply too much going on in any said beverage to aid me as I pound away on the keyboard. I need something that will ultimately keep me writing. Distractions are the enemy. It’s like I need a chilling glass of nothingness!

“That’s it!” Mother nature was right all along. It’s water, iced water to be exact. After awakening my body with a mid-summer’s run, my mind was still jogging with ideas. Immediately I attacked the keyboard. But wait, I’m thirsty. Hmm…what do I choose? Well, I throw a party of ice cubes in a tall glass and let the faucet do the rest. I return to work. The liquid quenches the thirst, and the ice dulls my senses. Sure water may be a tad on the mundane side, but it isn’t distracting. If the liquid your drinking is more interesting than what you’re writing, one of them needs to go. So 99% of the time (when I’m a good little boy), iced water is my writing sidekick. A trusted companion aiding me down the pages of a Word document. And just like Ted Cole in “Door in the Floor,” the jittering cube filled glass lands on the desk, but most importantly my fingers continue to land on the keys.

Drinking and driving may be a big no-no, but drinking and writing is a win-win if you find your match. Happy writing/drinking everyone!