Try This: A Week Without Technology

janav Creativity, Productivity, Time Management, Try This, Writing 0 Comments

In Week 4: Recovering a Sense of Integrity in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, she asks people to refrain from reading for one week. It is difficult, perhaps impossible, and I find most people who come to that task of that chapter don’t try very hard, or at all, to do it. However, reading this article in The Guardian: “‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia,” made me think again about the power of technology and social media in our lives, and how ubiquitous – and addictive – it is. When Julia Cameron originally …

Writing From the Heart

janav Creativity, Writing 0 Comments

First of all, apologies for the long hiatus – I was moving my mother, and that meant also having to clean out all of her stuff and sort it into donations, storage, sell, or move. I’m pretty ruthless and unsentimental about “stuff,” my own or anyone else’s, which is a good thing since it all had to be cleared within the month. Add this to the start of the semester with classes, events, etc. and September was a very full month indeed. There is still a lot to be done – it looks like a moving truck exploded in my …

You’ve Got to Move It, Move It

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I spent last weekend at the Barrowman Writing workshop, which was a ton of fun and different from other workshops I’ve attended. I wanted to do something fun, to step away from post-MFA seriousness and agent/editor pitch workshops where I get ten conflicting opinions on my work and a lot of “I really like it, but…” (I’m not going to take it). That is a part of being a writer, but this weekend reminded me that taking writing seriously doesn’t have to be a slog of: draft, edit, submission, rejection, repeat. About all I did know of it was that …

Questions to Ask Yourself When You’ve Lost Motivation

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When you feel unmotivated to work on a project, are procrastinating endlessly, and just can’t seem to get unstuck, it may be time to pause and reflect on what’s really blocking you, and to reconnect with feelings of possibility and accomplishment. Try this: Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Breathe deeply several times. Allow your mind to slow down, and your body to relax. Bring to mind a current project where you are feeling unmotivated or stuck. Keep breathing. Without judging, note how you’re feeling, emotionally and physically in your body. Then ask yourself the following questions, allowing yourself space …

Friday Favorites: Hitting the Third Rail

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I haven’t done a Friday Favorites post in a while, because I haven’t been reading that many books on craft. My view is that craft books are useful, in small doses. Sometimes they are good for inspiration, and sometimes they are good to help with a specific issue you are having in your work. It’s important not to get so heavily invested in reading about writing that you fail to actually do the writing. I’ve had a couple of books kicking around for a while, and at the urging of some friends who have read them I decided to pull …

Plan Your Summer Writing Retreat

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Summer can be an ideal time to plan a writing retreat. For many of us, it’s a slower time, and a time when we can make a little space to focus on our writing or other creative projects. You can plan a half day, full day, weekend, or longer if possible. You can do it solo, or with a friend (or several). You can even do it virtually, with regular email or Skype check-ins. Last summer I wrote a post on this that I will re-post here since I think it’s still a good reminder, and since we’re on the …

Life Happens: Keeping Your Creative Spark in a World of Distraction

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Last time, I talked about the dangers of distraction, and how being constantly busy and distracted can actually alter our brain function. It is good to be aware of the distractions in our lives, and the ways we can unintentionally sabotage our ability to work deeply. But what can we do about inevitable distractions that life hands us? Like it or not, most of us can’t opt out of our families, jobs, and other commitments (although we can think about limiting those other commitments, learning to say No in order to protect our time to create). Retreats and residencies are …

Are You Damaging Your Ability to Be Creative?

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The fact that many people in this culture are insanely busy and distracted is not news to anyone. According to this article I recently read, the constant attachment to smartphones and our need to feel productive by doing something at all times leads to a lowered ability for focused, deep-thinking work. It also means less time simply spent daydreaming and ruminating, activities which are central to our ability to be creative in all aspects of our lives. Think about it: how comfortable are you these days with just sitting there, letting thoughts flow? How likely are you to check your …

Your Summer Plan

janav Creativity, Productivity, Time Management, Writing 0 Comments

Many people count Memorial Day the official start of summer; others follow the meteorological calendar (or Summer Solstice) or start of the school summer vacation. It depends on your lifestyle. For me it never really feels like summer until after the MFA residency ends, which this year is July 1. However you count it, this time of year signals a change of routine for many people. For some, it means more free time, for vacation or flex schedules. For others, it’s busier because kids are around more, or other things take precedence. At any change of season, it can be …