06 July 2016

IWSG - doubt

After a long time of not writing posts for it, I am back for this month’s IWSG.

I wanted to write about doubt, you know, that thing that sneaks up on you the moment you feel you are doing something right.

I have recently realised/accepted that the right thing for me is to work on multiple projects at once. The projects are all so different that it is easy to keep them apart in my mind.

With one of them I am so stuck that I need a post-it session to plan the next part of the book. With the other two projects (calling them A and B) I write the one that screams the loudest on the day. It works for me. It works very well. I have a steady daily output of words,

something I hadn’t expected before I let myself do this. You see, I was of the: ‘start a project, then finish it, then start a new one’-persuasion until quite recently. I decided to make a change when I realised I hadn’t done any writing for weeks and had enough ideas to carry project A forward and I’d rather write than stare at my screen wondering where to take the stuck story now. And then the day before yesterday (see my previous post) I suddenly had an idea for a book that has been on the back burner for ages, aka project B.

I saw one of the main characters and I knew something of his story. It was so exhilarating that I had to type it up and before I knew it I had 1500 words and a pretty good idea about the rest of the book. Today, I have no idea what I will write other than this blog post. It doesn’t matter. One single bit. What matters is that I write.

The part where my insecurity comes in is where I keep thinking that real writers don’t work like this. That I am an amateur and will never finish anything. That I, basically, suck at being a writer. But the thing is, ever since I made that decision, I am writing again. Loads. Every day. I think I need to accept the kind of writer I am. That my brain loves to work on several projects at once. And that is a good thing!

04 July 2016

On pain

I am here in bed, feeling my body as a whole.

Now, after a week of constant flare ups, my pain levels are at moderate. That is, in my world, a GOOD thing.

I have learned over the years to not let pain keep me from creating. From pain always flows the most meaningful art, to me. From pain always come words of urgency and depth.

Pain isn't a blessing in itself, but getting to know myself through it, is.

And now I am in a moderate pain phase I realise how much, at times, I become it. What I mean by that is that I am often defined by it, shaped by it in ways that limit me.

I am, in some ways, a recluse behind pain walls, afraid to step into the world because it might bring more.

That is what is making me sick of pain. It was never meant to be a prison. And as I write it, I know I shouldn't see it as such.

Pain is a teacher, first and foremost, and I get to sit in the classroom and learn to be myself. To learn to give the frustration, anger, sadness and every other emotion under the sun and moon a place in my life. To stop burying them, but live through them the best way I can.

Because when I do? I can create. Today I wrote a scene and a half on a story that I suddenly thought about. A story that has slept in the dusty corners of my writing folder for longer than I care to admit.

It is a children's book. A book filled with magic. A book that, after writing on it today, is showing me something I thought I had lost. Magic.

I believe in magic. I believe in the wonders in nature that can show me that everything is possible.

Even believing in yourself despite all the arrows seemingly pointing in another direction.

And if that is what my pain can give me, I can accept, love and embrace my pain. Because, man, what an awesome gift that is.

All in all, my pain has taught me a big lesson this week, if I can't be fully in it, dive deep in all the beautiful ugliness it holds within, I am losing sight on myself.

And that is worse than any pain in the world.

18 June 2016

My Journaling Journey

When I was a young girl I kept a journal, usually in thin sheet exercise books I bought in a store on my way home from school. I wrote in it every day, hidden under the covers of my bed with my trusty flashlight. My journal was my home. In it I shared my innermost secrets, my fears, my doubts, my crushes, my broken heart, my love for a singer in a certain band. I wrote my poetry and tentatively dove into writing short stories.

As an adult I kept up with my journaling habits on and off, sometimes not journaling for months, then furtively filling one notebook in one week.

When computers entered my life, I started to keep an electronic journal, and when blogs were born, I started to keep a blog too. I missed pen to paper, though, so when Moleskines started to get popular, I jumped on the bandwagon. I jotted down my poetry and random ideas in various sizes of notebooks, always keeping one with me, just in case.

And then, about two years ago, I discovered Midori Travelers notebooks. It was through a random post on Instagram, I believe. I joined a Facebook group devoted to them, ordered my own Midori, and I started to journal in earnest.

I kept my lesson from my teenage journals in mind: I didn’t want to focus on negativity. This was the reason I destroyed my early journals when I was in my twenties. I just couldn’t stand reading all the angst. I tore out my poetry and stories and destroyed the journals.

Now I needed my journal for a completely different reason. I knew I needed to free up my creativity. I knew I needed to play.

The first booklets in my Midori I filled with mostly writing. Then art started to slip in. I discovered great inspiration in books about creative journal keeping by people like Danny Gregory, Hannah Hinchman and Dan Price. Soon I started to doodle.

I kept art pens with me along with my fountain pens, and as my pages filled, my creativity expanded.

I started to create my art in different ways, I began to play with watercolor and with pastels, and I explored doodling buildings, and then coloring them with my watercolors.

I started to call myself an artist with conviction now.

I wrote in my journal almost every day, I explored each new pathway that opened up with vigor, I added bright and wonderful colors with washi tape and I doodled silly lettering.

Journaling became play. Play became my life.

I filled my journal pages with endless poetry, sometimes writing so fast and furtively that my hand writing was barely legible. I pasted in pictures torn from magazines and ticket stubs from movies.

I expanded my horizons.

I know that every day I start with journaling is a good day, a day of adventure and play and art and creativity and so much joy.

This is a habit that I can see myself clinging to for the rest of my life.

Because it heals.
Because it helps me create.
Because it is pure play.
Because it is my life.

And you, you should go to the bookstore and pick out a journal there, with paper that feels soft and thick enough to take anything you throw at it.

Pick a pen that makes you happy to write with, and pour your happiness, playfulness and creativity onto the pages of your journal.

Don’t worry if you make mistakes. It’s your journal, it is meant to contain everything that makes you grow, and as it so happens, mistakes help you grow just as much as successes do. Just turn the page and start anew, each time you play in your journal.

Decorate your pages with your beauty, your love, your life and know that each time you write, doodle, play, create, share your thoughts, you change yourself. You become more yourself. You discover more and more about who you really are. And your creativity has a blast. What more could you ask for?