What Do you Want Your Life to Look Like?

After reading Katharine Grubb’s, When the Timer Dings, the questions she asks and the exercises she presents to us have been lingering within me.

Have you ever taken a long-term approach to what you want your life to be like? Why or why not? 

This question is not for the light-hearted. You have to really take a look at what is important to you. Do you want a life that is comfortable where you get up, go to work, come home, have dinner, sit in front of the TV until it’s time to go to bed and then do it all over again? I’m not saying you are doing the above at the moment, and honestly, I have been doing this for about two weeks and desperately trying to break the cycle and I have been taking steps to change this bad habit that has somehow sneaked its way into my life.

I have been looking at a long-term approach to what I want in my life for most of my life. Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to be a writer, tell stories, write plays. Maybe even act out the stories or have actors act out the possible TV shows or movie ideas that were rolling around in my mind. I’ve daydreamed about a life where I was writing and working with other writers and creative people to 1. get my work published and 2. to help others write and share their stories. This has always been the life I’ve wanted.

There have been some moments in my creative life where I have achieved certain aspects of this life. I once was a resort manager of a meditation retreat center and I booked different workshops that inspired the creative soul. The Painting Experience, writing and yoga, and then in the offseason I would open the center every Monday or Tuesday for a few hours in the morning for people to come and work on their craft. Be it writing, painting, sculpting, music, I was creating a space where people felt safe to be creative and work on their passions. It was so effortless and like writing that ‘gap’ that many creative and spiritual mentors share when you are doing something you love, time seems to exist. What a feeling!

As time and life moves along, I got caught up in the ego’s trap where I kept thinking ‘okay, you should be doing this or that. You should be making X amount of money at some random job.’ then my true self would pipe up and ask, why do I need to be making a certain amount of money at some random job that I might not even like when I want to be writing and one day be paid for my creativity? A very good question.

What am I doing now to approach my long-term life goals? Why is so important to feed the creative soul that cries out to be heard? I am listening to my true self – it’s not that I haven’t been listening, I have honestly been tuning out my genuine self for random reasons that only I can be accounted for. Now, once again, it’s time to kick the ego to the curb.

I wish you well ego. I hope someone else adopts you, I’ve had enough and ready for the next step. ~ Marion Ann Berry

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

Do you love your routine? I sure love mine.

Do you have a writing routine? Are you taking your creative life seriously? Do you shut the door to your writing space, corner or wherever you write? Do you turn off the phone, social media and other distractions to sit down and do what is needed to get where you are going? Are you surrounded by supportive people who applaud your passions or suck you into binge watch Netflix?

Some routines and habits are good and a few of them can be hurting us and our creative life. I am pretty good with my life goals and use to be very stubborn with my writing time. No one was allowed to talk to me when I was writing. I can’t remember when I started this notion, but lately I’ve been much more open to people coming up to me to say hello, or ask about the stickers on my laptop or the book I maybe reading. Human interaction is not as scary as I once made it out to be in my head. Gotta love the ego sometimes.

Why am I asking you about your writing or creative routine? I was flipping through Jen Sincero’s, You are a Badass, I stopped on page 147 in Part 4’s section, How to Get Over Your B.S. Already, there are a few steps on how to get out of your own way and get on with the life you know you should be living but you and the ego are not seeing eye-to-eye.

5. Get out of your routine: Talk to strangers, wear something different, go to a new grocery store, make dinner for someone you want to get to know better, change toothpastes…walk taller, notice five awesome things you’ve never notice about your home, your beliefs, your mother, you face. Do things that pull you out of your routine and you’ll be amazed by the new realities that were there all along that suddenly present themselves. 

Yes, I agree to certain things to pull me out of my regular day-to-day rut that I’m involved with five days a week at the hotel life. It’s not really a rut, it’s currently the routine I’m working with and that’s okay. I’m working on it.                                           I like the idea of wearing something different, and I’ve changed my toothpaste, it’s better than the one I’ve been using for years. A small thing but a great change.

 

I love my writing routine. Sunday mornings my friend, award-winning author, Jacqui Nelson and I get together and write, drink coffee and talk about writing. Sunday afternoons I continue the creativity by either baking for the week or back to the page and tinker with my blog page. Sunday evenings I leave open to cook an elaborate meal or try a new recipe. We may watch a movie or spend time outside because it is currently summer and if you can, get outside and get some natural vitamin D.

Monday mornings I’m in my writing room for most of the day. I love connecting with other writers and reading their blogs and doing some research on possible new ideas. I tend to leave the house to go for a walk or go to any appointments that I need to attend to in the afternoon. Later in the afternoon I will head back to my writing room and settle back onto the page for a bit until my partner gets home from work, I welcome the break and love to hear about his day, it’s important to us to connect. He understands my writing life and he is the one who gently reminds me to get to the page and I love him for that.

 

Throughout the week I have slipped into a routine that I am trying to break. I was good at coming home to work at least ten to fifteen minutes on writing, but not in the past month and that bad habit is about to change. I’ll be here on the page a lot more.

What does your writing routine look like? What habits do you want to change to get to the page more often? I’m going to embrace my partners encouragement and head to my writing room, shut the door and write.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

 

One Writer Working Through some Life Questions

How many times can you push your snooze button or ignore the one thing that you value the most important to you? How many times will I tell myself enough is enough? Enough of the procrastination! Creativity does not deserve this kind of treatment and either do I. (Insert stomping of foot here)

The past week I’ve been thinking about those first few questions in Katharine Grubb’s, When the Timer Dings. I wanted to honestly answer them.

  • Do you see a separation between what’s most important to you and what you’re actually doing with your time?
  • Are you satisfied with your productivity on a daily basis?
  • Do you think that the things you are getting done are really the things that you value or not?

Did I mention these are not the easiest question to ask yourself when you know the answers and don’t want to face the truth. Okay, so let’s get to it.

Do you see a separation between what’s most important to you and what you’re actually doing with your time? Hell Yes! Let’s take writing this blog for a moment. I typed out the question for the second time and I instantly thought how I should go to my 365 writing club tracking sheet to post my daily word count. Ding-ding! Writing this blog, writing all together is the most important thing to me and what do I end up doing instead? Head to another side project just because I think about it, which leads into the next question:

Are you satisfied with your productivity on a daily basis? Hell no! I was driving on Friday afternoon when I started to feel down right bad about how I didn’t do any writing before work when I normally start a blog or at least look and fiddle with my work in progress. I did nothing. I got up, went to the gym, came home, showered went for groceries, came home, meditated, made my dinner and went to work. I filled my day with puttering away, avoiding the one thing that I crave to do, except I completely ignored it on another level than I’m use to and that’s not a good thing. The only positive realization was that I am aware I’m ignoring my passion but what I can’t ignore is how I feel when I am right here on the page. At peace. Why in the hell would I want to not be here all the time? Good question.

The last question: Do you think that the things you are getting done are really the things that you value or not? No.                                                                                       The things that I’m getting done are definitely auto pilot items, doing laundry, cleaning the house, yes they have value, we need clean clothes and the house needs to be in order – if the house is in order then there is no way the ego can say, ‘oh maybe you should wash the windows before you get started on the work in progress, maybe clean the bathroom before you start that blog… ‘It’s good to be aware of the ego and the little games it tries to play to redirect the attention to the things that really don’t matter.

The important things like writing a blog post for Monday Blogs is of value for me and I want to write it in a timely fashion. It’s funny to me that I was so organized during the April, A to Z blog challenge and was able to write five blogs in a few days to be ready, scheduled to post each day and now I struggle to even get one blog post written for Monday morning. I want to say yes to the fact that I’m satisfied of my productivity. This is me moving forward with my commitment to creativity, to my true self.

 

If you have time, sit with the same questions to see if you have areas in your life that you need a little tweaking. I know I’ll be reviewing the questions again as I move forward.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

Practicing Patience

Pa·tience
noun
the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

Patience is something I’ve been working on possibly majority of my life time. I’m pretty tolerant most of the time, and it’s not tolerant per-say, it’s just me going with the flow, and while others huff at the person in the grocery line counting out their exact change, I’m practicing eyes open meditation and witnessing human behaviour. I’ve been told I’m grounded and have a calming presence. This is my true self, however my serene composition changed during our move.

We had our services moved to our new home, and the internet was to be changed over on Monday between 9am – 6pm, the technician would graciously call to say when they would be arriving. Thanks. I went about my day and by 2:00pm they showed up to do a five-minute job and when I tested the wi-fi I shared it wasn’t working. Now, I should share I have a third-party internet service that Telus happens to partner with. The technician said, I don’t know much about this third-party set up you’ll have to call them, I’ve done my job, it shows that there is internet, sorry. Ummmm, that was not cool. I asked him to test it further and I would call the internet provider to see if they could help, a 45-minute wait time, yeah, you can see my grounded self fizzle away.

I witness the ego try to flip out and make a fuss to get something, but I don’t have any control over the internet or what is or is not to be done. I’m not a technician, I’m reliant on the experts as people count on me at the hotel life because I’m experienced at certain things I do. So, what did I do during one conversation with a very nice man on the other end trying to help me and then he says, ‘it’s Telus who needs to fix the problem, everything is working order on our end.’ My alter ego, Sis, who I describe as my sassy-pseudo guardian angel, flies off the handle. I tell this service technician that I can’t see over the phone that we are not happy with either service and it shouldn’t be taking now two days to figure out this technical hiccup. My tone was stern and I felt my true self shutter with disappointment as I spouted off to someone who is only doing their job.

By Wednesday evening my husband had enough dealing with the he-said,she-said conversation with the internet provider and cancelled the service and signed up with another internet service provider. No one offered any deals to stay, no apologies, nothing. We will need to wait until Monday afternoon to have someone stop by the house to hook up the internet between 2-4, a much better time frame and my husband said the service technicians were very apologetic for the internet not working and were sorry they couldn’t come sooner. We made the right decision to move on with the new provider.

Now, a week without internet services and though it is annoying I can’t update certain things on my laptop, it’s been okay to be unexpectedly unplugged. We, my husband and I, have been listening to our favourite CBC radio shows while we unpack boxes and create the space in our new home. It may not be convenient for us not have access to Netflix or get lost in scrolling on Twitter or check our emails every so often. It is interesting to stand back and watch the ego try to take control when it can not. The true self steps up and takes a deep and breath and I, exhale.

Until Next time, keep on typing.

Surviving a 5 day Instagram Challenge

Here I am on the sofa surrounded by boxes in our old home with anticipation of moving to our new home on Sunday. It’s very exciting, yet I have this feeling of anxious due to neglecting my writing this week. Every day we have been packing and cleaning so that we don’t have to clean for hours on Sunday which makes sense to both of us. I wanted to write this post before we move as I’m not sure when the internet service technician will be showing up on Monday, they said anytime between 9am and 6pm and will call an hour before they show up. Really? Does this happen to everyone else? I don’t remember this wide time frame the last time we moved, or maybe it was the same and I’ve forgotten about it because really in the big picture of life, it doesn’t really matter. The ego is freaking out because I have blogs to post, an Instagram challenge to work on, the file of excuses rushes out to see how I will react. I am aware and that’s all that matters.

I was just stacking boxes in what was my writing room and came across a quote from Stephen King, that I had on my wall for some time that makes me smile and say, yes, this is what I must continue to write:

The realization that stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it & sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.

This quote sat up and slapped me in the face when I first read it and still gives me a good shake of reality. I was packing up my writing filing cabinet that is filled with stories that I have started and some are finished but haven’t been looked at since they made it to the filing cabinet. I flipped through some of the stories and had fond memories of when I started the story, how I was so excited about the idea and now I’m wondering why in the hell did I leave it sitting in the filing cabinet to collect dust? That’s not what creativity deserves, that’s not what any of us deserves. I did pack the story into a box and have vowed to read the story once we moved and give the attention the story deserves. I’m making a commitment to myself, creativity and to you. In a month from now I will be honest if I followed through with my promise, creativity deserves the truth.

Have you revisited any of your stories that have been placed in a file drawer or closet waiting to be read again? I’d love to hear about them and how you reconnect with them. The story that I will read again is a romance, it’s about two Vancouver Canucks Hockey fans falling in love. She has recently had her heart-broken and not looking for love and he is ready to fall in love, will they find love?

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

Practicing Creativity

We are in the middle of a move, well more than in the middle. We are moving next Sunday, May 28th to a new place in Oak Bay, Victoria, BC. I am sad to be leaving our current home, it’s in the heart of a unique area called Cook Street Village, an 8 minute walk to the Ocean. It is quiet, peaceful and down right fantastic for what my husband and I needed in this moment. My husband actually found our current home, he has this great talent to find what we both need with ease. It’s one of the many great things I love about him.

Our goals have shifted and our move came at the perfect time, like every manifestation, you have to be ready to receive once you put it out there to the universe that you are looking for a change and you provide some guidelines. You may not get what you first put out there, but you will get what you need.

During this transition I feel a bit in limbo. I’m not writing as much as I intended to and I feel the effects. I’m a bit more snappy with people when normally I’m pretty calm and like a duck let the water roll off my back. Somewhere the ego wiggled its way in as I have put creativity on the side lines for a brief moment; Seriously only a day or two I haven’t been with my writing as much as I usually am and bam, the ego finds its way in and I am reminded everything happens for a reason. I look around my writing room and notice the books that I have left out for comfort as we pack up our home. I pick up Natalie Goldberg’s, Writing Down the Bones and flip through and stop at a page that I have underlined and probably have used in a previous blog post.

Writing as a Practice; Like running, the more you do it, the better you get at it. You practice whether you want to or not. You don’t wait around for inspiration and a deep desire to run. It’ll never happens, especially if you are out of shape and have been avoiding it. But if you run regularly, you train your mind to cut through or ignore your resistance. You just do it. That’s how writing is, too. Once you’re deep into it, you wonder what took you so long to finally settle down at the desk. Through practice you actually do get better. You learn your deep self more and not give in to your voice that wants to avoid writing. 

Thank you Natalie. I needed that reminder. Not that I don’t know this very concept of practicing your craft to enhance your skill levels. I am also a runner and when I was training for my first marathon there was training, essentially a lot of practice that made it easier each day to get one more kilometer in than the day before. When I sit down to write my true self and the practice of being here on the pages takes over. I am the vessel of creativity to share a story.

I am the only one who can change my habits and I am aware that the practice of writing every day, beyond my morning pages, is essential to the craft, to creativity. Do you have a daily practice of writing? How do you get yourself to the page each day? Is it for ten minutes, a half hour, or half a day? Today, I’m writing for the morning and then spending time with my husband, it is the Victoria Day, long weekend, the sun is out and it’s a perfect time to take my artists on an artist date.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

Back to the Writing

A week has gone by where I wasn’t sitting with my laptop close by to make sure my A to Z challenge posts where being worked on. Making sure the pictures were set and saved for the next day and all those other little things that we writers tweak to drive ourselves to the breaking point from time to time. I feel this a good obsession.

This week I’ve been provided with new ideas, character names and a writing project that has been waiting for me to start. My life is about writing. I am writer who is a manager at a hotel where the situations on any given work day provides me with a lot of material  to draw from. Working in an industry with a lot of different around makes it easier to get to the page and put those words down. Then there are times that it’s not always that easy. I can count on many occasions when I had every intention to do some work on my writing and I end up sitting on the sofa binge watching NetFlix, or down the rabbit hole of Instagram. It amazes me how quickly an hour flies by when you are procrastinating. Then on the other hand when I’m writing and an hour goes by and it feels like a minute, that’s where I want to be, in that writing zone, in the gap of true awareness, the place that I know I need to be in. It feels like, Home.

I have been packing for our upcoming move and usually my books are the last to be put away, but this time I’ve packed up the books that I know won’t feel so desperate to be close to and keep the ones I need out within arms length. Natalie Goldberg’s, Writing Down the Bones is sitting on my writing desk and I stare at it, I must have kept it out for a reason. I flip quickly through the pages an there is what I need to read;

Writers end up writing about their obsessions. Things that haunt them, things they can’t forget; stories they carry in their bodies waiting to be released.

Ummm, hell yes! I am obsessed with writing about writing and the pure act of writing. When a new name for a character is revealed to me, I can feel myself becoming obsessed about them. Who are they? What do they look like? Where do they work, live. Are they in love, have they loved, are they falling in love? So many questions run through my mind all awhile I’m doing a new employee orientation at the hotel life. It haunts me that I can’t let go of this new character in my life. I’m obsessed to find out about then and how they fit into my work in progress, or are they for another writing project? They are here for a reason and I’m here to figure that out, or at least be part of the process of finding out why. I love the creative process.

What are you obsessed about? What are you carrying around that needs to be let go?

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .