Working My Way Out

Working My Way Out

I’ve been working my way out of a writing slump.

Lately, it has been difficult for me to find the energy and motivation to write or practice lettering, which has left me feeling stressed and overwhelmed. It is especially difficult not writing. I always feel a little off when I haven’t been writing enough.

Besides feeling like everyday life is seeming to take a lot more energy than usual, I recently applied for a pretty big promotion at work. I just had my second interview this past week and am waiting to hear back. Between applying for the position, preparing for the interviews, and now the anxiety of waiting to hear the decision, this has been taking up most of my mental energy and focus for the last couple of weeks, along with a few other things that have had me stressed out.

In my head I know better. I know that more emotionally off I’m feeling, whether angry, sad, anxious, or stressed, the more I should be writing. But that’s often when it’s the hardest to write.

I haven’t neglected writing entirely, but finding it difficult to focus, have been writing much less. The less I write, the less easily the words come out. The way I’m feeling reminds me of a fountain pen left too long without being used. The way the ink refuses flow through the nib, I’ve been struggling to form words. Last weekend I plotted some of a story I’ve been working on for several months, but the words only trickled out. I did not feel the catharsis I feel after a great writing session.

I keep trying, though, and slowly it’s getting better. I know that’s way out.To keep writing. And this is what I’ve been trying to do. Just the way the ink in a fountain pen writes flows more freely and writes more smoothly the more you write with it, I know the words will come more easily and more freely the more I write.

I’m learning to accept that there will be times like this where I find it hard to write. And sometimes things come up, and life truly can interfere, but going through periods like this doesn’t mean I’m a bad writer or am doom to be unsuccessful. I have to be willing to actively work through these times, finding ways to motivate myself and get the words flowing, which I am learning to do. I may never be able to avoid these times completely, but I do think that learning to work through blocks is a skill that be improved with practice and perseverance. I keep trying, and I do think my periods of total non-writing are shorter and fewer than historically. And continuous improvement is the best I can ask for.

Word Art Wednesday: What I’ve Been Doing

Word Art Wednesday: What I’ve Been Doing

Word Art Wednesday is my new project designed to help me practice my hand lettering and calligraphy skills.

The goal is to post examples of my lettering and calligraphy practice once a week. Every Wednesday I will show off what I’ve been working on for the previous week, good or bad.

I came up with the idea as a way to encourage myself to spend time every week on both my writing/blogging goals and lettering/calligraphy practice, allowing them to reinforce each other, while I work on improving my skills in each. I also hope that having a visual representation of my progress will keep me motivated and help prevent me from being discouraged during those inevitable moments of doubt when I think I’ll never improve.

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Hand lettering and calligraphy are old hobbies of mine. Hobbies that I haven’t thought much about in a long time, until recently. Sparked by an idea for a gift for a friend, my interest has been reignited. And as often happens, I’ve been so enraptured by it that I have barely been able to focus on anything else.

And for this, my writing has suffered, and I’ve neglected this blog.

have been writing these last couple of weeks, but not as much as I would like. And I haven’t been sticking to my posting schedule for this blog. I’ve been unable to focus.

I decided I needed a way to stick to my writing and blogging goals, while still allotting some time each week to practicing my calligraphy and hand lettering.

I have a tendency to become deeply enthralled in something for a brief period of time, before abandoning it entirely.  I don’t want this to happen. I enjoy lettering, but I’m not especially good at it. Besides, I haven’t done it in a really long time. I need to practice.

That’s why I’m starting “Word Art Wednesday”, which would probably be more adequately called “Word Art Practice Wednesday”, but that’s a little cumbersome.

 

The idea is to bring the two things together, to allow them to work together and reinforce each other. By working my new hobby into my blog, I hope I can work it into my writing plans and goals for the blog, without too much added stress and anxiety.

With that said, here’s what I’ve been working on the last couple of weeks.

Calligraphy:

I’m using a fairly wide nib, which is recommended for beginners because it’s easier to see what you are or aren’t doing properly. The font I’m working on is Roman minuscule, modern 2. I chose lowercase because for some reason I was finding that much easier than uppercase. I’m pretty happy at the moment because I’ve been practicing for just about two weeks and I feel like I’m already improving. This week I plan on working on some capital letters as well, so I can write proper sentences.

Lettering:

I’ve been doing a lot of doodling and experimenting with pens, pencils, and fonts, mostly. This is a small (and the best) sampling of what probably appears like bunch of random scribbles to anyone but me. There are many options with lettering and I’m still working on what direction I want to start with.

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/8263540@N05/9169068026″>Pen and Paper</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Designed a Custom Header (And a Featured Image)

Designed a Custom Header (And a Featured Image)

The Creative Stretch

Creativity is more than painting a picture or writing a story. It’s more than art. More than a way of thinking. It’s a skill. The same thing that allows us to daydream on the bus or design a building can help us find unique solutions to everyday problems, big and small.

Creativity is something we can improve, just like any other skill. It’s something all creative types, and perhaps everyone in general, can and should practice.

I like to practice creative thinking, not just by focusing on writing (my main creative outlet), but also by finding other ways to be creative. No act of creativity is insignificant, and something as simple has decorating my nails in a new and unique way or coloring page in a coloring book has value to me. Continue reading “Designed a Custom Header (And a Featured Image)”

(Reflecting) On Blogging 101

(Reflecting) On Blogging 101

I admit I’ve been distracted this week. In fact, I’ve been sitting on this post for days. I can’t help it; I was lost in an amazing book. (The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi, more about that later).

And I finished it today, so here we are.

But even still, I’ve spent a lot of timing reflecting on the Blogging 101 course I’ve been spending time on this month. Continue reading “(Reflecting) On Blogging 101”

Lessons in Invisibility

Lessons in Invisibility

This is what I’ve learned:
Rule 1: Stay out of the way. If someone bumps into you, you’re cover is blown.
Rule 2: Don’t bump into anything or knock anything over. It doesn’t matter if they can’t see you, if you start making a ruckus.
Rule 3: While we’re on the subject, be quiet. Wear clothing that doesn’t rustle too much, walk gently, and don’t breath too heavily.

I’m upstairs in the bedroom when I hear noise in the kitchen. I got home from work early and came up to change. I finish dressing quickly. This is perfect. I prepare myself. I check my reflection in the mirror and it isn’t there. It’s weird not having a reflection, but that’s how I know it’s working. Continue reading “Lessons in Invisibility”

What 734 Words Can Mean

What 734 Words Can Mean

Last week was a good week for me as a writer.

I wrote a blog post for the first time in over a year! Even more exciting, I wrote a short story for Yeah Write, a weekly writing challenge. A whole short story. From beginning to end. I actually got to the point where I could go back and revise and edit. Revise and edit!

It’s short, less than 750 words (per the submission guidelines). But the shortness was the point. I have struggled so much with finishing things that the relatively small word limit appealed to me. Seven hundred and fifty words seemed long enough to be able to develop a well thought out story, but short enough to be feasible. It took some of the stress off. Continue reading “What 734 Words Can Mean”

What the Music Man Can Do

What the Music Man Can Do

The warehouse is dark, but with the goggles I’m able to see as clearly as ever. There’s music playing. It keeps the others out, the subliminal commands hidden in the frequencies, the commands that alter the minds of those that hear it. They can’t come in. Noise canceling devices don’t work. He does something with vibrations and frequencies. They told me, but I didn’t really catch it all.

But I can’t hear it. I can only feel it. I follow the vibrations through the building. I know the sound will lead me to him. As soon as I step in the room, he knows I’m there.

The music throws me back a bit. The force is more than I expect. I’m largely immune to the soft mind control of this Music Man’s powers, because I can’t hear the frequencies– the ones he uses to manipulate others, to plant suggestions into people’s minds. But I’m not immune to the physical manifestation of his power, the part of his power that allows him to change the speed of the vibrations and amplify them into a kinetic force. Slew tried to warn me, and I knew it was coming, but this isn’t really the kind of thing you can prepare for. A week ago I didn’t know any of this was even possible. Continue reading “What the Music Man Can Do”

Where I Left Off

I wanted to start to a blog because I wanted a reason to write.

But not just to write, because I always have a reason to write. I wanted a reason to write something from start to finish. I wanted a reason to share what I wrote.

I wanted to start a blog because I liked the idea of it. I liked the idea of composing a completed piece of work, of revising and editing it, of posting it for others to see. I liked the idea of a blogging community. The structure. The accountability. Continue reading “Where I Left Off”

Books worth reading this holiday, recommended by Bill Gates, Susan Cain and more…

Books worth reading this holiday, recommended by Bill Gates, Susan Cain and more…

There are more books that I want to read than I could possibly read in my lifetime, but I’m always looking for good recommendations.

ideas.ted.com

At the end of 2014, find repose by exciting the mind. Some of the world’s leading thinkers offer the books that inspired them and their work. Skim the list for your favorite speakers, or get nerdy on a topic you’ve always wanted to know more about. Below find 52 books, recommended by TED speakers.

Creativity

Creative Confidence, by Tom Kelley and David Kelley
Crown Business, 2013
Recommended by: Tim Brown (TED Talk: Designers — think big!)
“‘Creative confidence’ is the creative mindset that goes along with design thinking’s creative skill set.”
See more of Tim Brown’s favorite books.

Creating Minds, by Howard Gardner
Basic Books, 2011
Recommended by: Roselinde Torres (TED Talk: What it takes to be a great leader)
“Gardner’s book was first published more than twenty years ago, but its insights into the creative process — told through the stories of seven remarkable…

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On Fear, Self-Doubt, and Making Changes

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photo credit: Frodrig via photopin cc

Fear

Sometimes at night, just after I’ve lain in bed and am about to fall asleep, a terror takes me over. I think about how I abruptly moved 3000 miles away to the other side of the country, away from everything and everyone I’ve ever known. I think about how I didn’t so much as post this decision of Facebook, only telling the people closest to me, the ones I saw on a regular basis. I forget that, while it was a quick and easy decision for us, this was something my boyfriend and I talked about and planned for months before we moved. I forget because nothing went as planned, and sometimes I wonder if we made a mistake.

I think about everything I had there that I don’t have here–a slightly better a job, a car, friends. I think about all the people I left behind. I think not only about how much I need them now, but how much they might need me. I know they’ll survive just fine without me, but I feel like I should be there for them. I wish I could be there for them, for the big moments in life. I wonder if I made a bad decision. Continue reading “On Fear, Self-Doubt, and Making Changes”