Friday Favorites: The War of Art

janav Creativity, Friday Favorites, Productivity, Resources, Writing 0 Comments

Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art is not just for writers. It’s a book for anyone who wants to overcome their Resistance to doing anything, whether it be a creative art form, exercising, starting a business, etc. As he says at the beginning of the book, “There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t, and the secret is this: it’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.”* I don’t know as I agree that the writing is the easy part – it’s …

Overcoming Resistance

janav Creativity, Productivity, Writing 0 Comments

Confession: I struggle with Resistance every day. Part of the reason I keep so busy is that otherwise, I’d get nothing done. You name it, I resist doing it: exercise, writing, working, chores, calling people, cooking…. Sometimes I think I’m a sloth in a human body. Once I’m doing whatever it is I’m resisting, I’m usually fine. I get in the flow. I just do it, and it’s almost never as bad as it was through the lenses of my Resistance. Then once I’m doing it, I resist moving on to the next activity. I know this one, I’m comfortable …

Befriending Your Work

janav Creativity, Productivity, Writing 0 Comments

Every so often, I catch myself saying, “I should write this weekend.” Or, “I have to finish that chapter.” It’s easy to get caught up in the crazy “to do” lists we have, and add our creative work to them. There can be a fine line between making writing a habit and making it just another thing we “have to” do, or “should” do. But that kills any enthusiasm or motivation we may have. Sometimes it’s a matter of reframing how we think of writing. Yes, it can be hard, and it’s also something we love to do. When it’s …

That Back to School Feeling

janav Creativity, Writing 0 Comments

Right about now, it’s almost impossible to ignore the back-to-school crush. These days, for me it’s more about preparing to receive students than send them off, but I still get a slightly giddy feeling seeing all the school supplies laid out – notebooks, binders, pens, pencils, folders… it brings back all the memories of the first week of school, when we were all excited to be back and everything felt new and fun. As adults, we don’t often get that feeling. But this week, I invite you to return to that “back-to-school” space, where a fresh start is possible as …

DIY Writing Retreat

janav Creativity, Productivity, Writing 0 Comments

I just returned from a fabulous weekend in Vermont, where I actually managed to get some writing done, despite the lure of friends, gorgeous hikes, great food, and lots of shopping (for birthdays and Christmas – and some goodies for myself, of course!). The weekend was partially intended as a writing retreat, but it was somewhat ad hoc except for Saturday morning, when we had a more formal writing session using prompts, and gathered to read our work aloud or just talk about the process afterward. I love doing mini writing retreats. If you don’t have the time or money …

What Can Writers Learn From Olympians?

janav Creativity, Writing 0 Comments

I have a confession to make: I’ve been struggling to get up early enough to get my writing time in. Why? I’ve been staying up until midnight to watch the Olympics. Although it’s been tough on my writing, it’s been really inspiring to watch the amazing athleticism on display. It’s fun to root for the favored U.S. athletes, and I also love it when someone from a smaller nation with many fewer training resources comes out of the blue and medals (hello, first swimmer who medaled for Kazakhstan!) Like 99% of other people, I sit there and say, “I could …

7 Ways to Get More Energy Now

janav Creativity, Productivity, Time Management, Writing 0 Comments

When you ask most writers what they’d like more of (besides money) they’ll say: time. “If I only had more time, I could write more.” But more time isn’t always the answer. Let’s face it, we all have 24 hours in a day. And we all have plenty of “stuff” to fill those hours. It’s important to be mindful of how we spend the time we have: do we spend a lot of time on Facebook or other social media? Do we suddenly get the urge to clean the house just at the moment we’ve promised ourselves we’d write? It …

Friday Favorites: Artist Date

janav Creativity, Friday Favorites, Resources 0 Comments

This past weekend, I took myself on an Artist Date. I went to Figment, a multi-media, interactive art event held at the Greenway in downtown Boston. There were all kinds of things to do – I added to a collective mosaic, abstract-painted in a group, contributed to a large chalkboard with the words, “Before I Die, I Want To…,” watched jugglers, listened to a HONK! Band (made up of various instruments and crazy costumes), watched kids making art, saw body-painted women posing for sketches, walked through the Silly Walks zone… it was a lot of fun, and reminded me that …

Try This: Haiku

janav Creativity, Try This, Writing 2 Comments

While on vacation recently, I spent a lot of time writing haiku. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it’s a Japanese form of poetry that has very strict syllabic limits. The first line is 5 syllables, the second is 7 syllables, and the third is five syllables. Seventeen syllables total. They often mention the season or some natural element, and have a cutting juxtaposition that is meant to make a new connection in the reader’s mind. I was reading Matsu Basho’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North, and got inspired since I was also pretty far north, in …

Write It Down, Make It Happen

janav Creativity, Resources, Writing 0 Comments

I came across this article a while ago, about how one of my favorite authors, Octavia Butler, wrote out her success before she had it. She wrote exactly what she wanted to accomplish: the awards, the bestseller lists, and why she wrote. If you haven’t read anything by Octavia Butler, she wrote science fiction as a black woman in a world of mostly white, mostly male writers. She succeeded in topping numerous bestseller lists, and won major awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship Genius Grant – the first science fiction writer to do so. (Read the article for a fuller list …