Thursday, March 02, 2006

a little help?

"I arise in the morning, torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day." - E.B. White

When I came home from my training session the other day, it was getting pretty late. I had seen the sunset as we drove home but I hadn't been able to really appreciate it. Mark met me at the door and said that he had taken a picture of it for me - for my blog! xo (I think I must be a little bit obsessed.)

It's been a funny week. I've gotten lots and nothing done, I've felt yucky and headachey and then silly and sassy, and I'm not quite sure what is going on. I also realized this morning that despite all of this time on my hands, I have not done any real writing since last week. I am coming to know the signs and symptoms of that now. I have only recently been doing enough regular writing to realize what's happening when I get twitchy. I've been getting glimpses of storylines and whole pages of my books but for some reason I am not stopping and writing them down. I have a deadline for some of my part of our website and I haven't been able to focus on that either. UGH. My kingdom for some clarity!!

So here I sit, mug of jasmine green tea at my elbow, pencil case of Sharpies and coloured pens (another love affair of mine) on one side of my computer, and a to-do pile on the other. I am determined to work through my pile so that tomorrow I can focus on doing some me-writing. I have been digging deeper and deeper into what I really want to say in my work, and I'm enjoying that process, but maybe that's also part of why I have stopped. I don't know.

If you please, I'd love to hear your thoughts ~ How do you deal with inertia? How do you keep focus when there is so much to focus on? How do YOU do it?!


shepherdgirl said...

I have a million things and ideas in my head all the time. it's exhausting. But I've been a full time self supporting artist since 1996 and I can tell you how I do it - just sit down and start. It's a discipline. All this talk out there in the blog world about art being free and fun and doing it for fun is only partially true, in fact, it kind of gets my goat - I have a note on my wall that says "Art is work" - work does not have to be a chore or dreadful. Work can be your bliss, but is a discipline. You don't get there by not doing it, or just thinking about it, or seeing it and talking about it. I encourage you to take a baby step and sit down for one hour, even if your pencil just scribbles words or something - just START. I read your blog quite a bit, and think you write very well, it engages me, and in the clutter of blog land, I don't say that too often...

Bohemian Girl said...

i echo Shepherdgirl's comments about discipline and just doing it...even if that means scribbling something with pencil to get your juices flowing.

(sort of like the Artist's Way idea about morning pages...)

for also helps me to write a list. but i am a list freak. then it feels so damn good to cross those buggers off when i am finished.

another thing i agree with Shepherdgirl on is your writing...mesmorizing.

Jamie said...

What a beautiful sunset. Thanks, Mark!

I think it's really important to create a structure that works for you, something that honours how you work and also provides some discipline. So for me, for example, morning pages are nighttime pages because I prefer to clear my head before sleeping.

For my creative stuff I have a two-fold approach. For the inspirations and thoughts that show up, I'll do something, anything, to catch that idea. I might write it in a notebook, email myself, make sure I say it outloud, leave a message on my voicemail. I feel by making that effort I'm telling my creative brain that its thoughts are valuable treasures that I want to hold onto.

The other thing I do is set aside some specific times where I am going to do the work. Sometimes it starts off with flagging, resistant energy but almost always once I've started I am raring to go and glad I did it.

I'll be interested in what you discover works for you :)

la vie en rose said...

tell mark thank you!

chest of drawers said...

I was really frustrated on the days that I was working because I wasn´t getting things done at home or at the sewing machine. but now I don´t put the pressure on myself. I allow some time for work, some time for creating, some time for housework. When I´m paralysed by the chaos around me I force myself to tackle it one step at a time and soon I am in control again. You have been using your energy for something else this week so take the pressure off yourself, concentrate on that project and then go back to the writing when you´re ready.

melba said...

I really can relate to the quote by E.B. White. Today I felt a bit overwhelmed because I want to do SO MUCH...that I was kind of paralyzed and didn't feel motivated the way I usually do. I also have stuff I don't want to do like taxes and other paperwork.

My routine is so different everyday because I live with two toddlers and Sean's retail schedule is different everyday that I can snap out of a funk pretty quick.

Everyday. That is the best advice I have been something creative everyday oh, and realize the importance of white space and time to just be still.

M said...

Inertia is a tough one...maybe trying what SARK suggests, doing "micromovements". Tiny little steps that get you moving again, help you feel confident, and more proactive. The Artist's Way is a good guide as well. I think just showing up is the biggest step and you seem to already being doing that! Or at least want to. I agree with the other Ladies on here, your writing is wonderful. Inspiring me daily, thank you!

Cate said...

I really enjoyed reading all of the comments on this post (hope you don't mind:). It's always fascinating to me to hear about other people's approaches to their art.

I feel like I'm at a spot similar to the one you're at. Seeing the words and pages, but not stealing the time to write them down. I'm also not feeling very passionate about anything right now, and I think I'm using that as a cop-out.

I can also relate to the "symptoms" that you get when you haven't written for awhile. "Twitchy" is a good word for them. For me, the word is "frenzied" (i.e. unstable?!).

Congrats. on knowing what you want to say in your writing. I hope tomorrow brings a heaping spoonful of "me writing!"

Sharon K said...

Just came across your blog and the sunset is beautiful. You must have a good husband to take the photo for you. I have only been blogging a month, come and see my front porch

Jamie said...

I've been reading all the comments. It's awesome to hear everyone's wisdom. I have to laugh about getting "twitchy" when you're not being creative. When I'm not creative, you can change those first two letters to a "b"! hehe

Laini Taylor said...

Hi Meg! Good question -- like Bohemian girl, I am a list-maker. It helps clarify and prioritize my many ideas. Often there's something I really need to get to, and because I need to get to it, I just don't feel like it. Even if it's something fun, like designing my new holiday line, because I had a deadline it felt like "work". Until I got started. I usually find that if I can discipline myself at the beginning, once I really sink my teeth into a project, it begins to excite me. So the most important thing is what kid's book writer Sid Fleishman calls "the fanny principle" -- get your fanny in the chair. i.e. just make yourself start, and hopefully you'll lose your reluctance in the momentum.