Tag Archives: creative

When Life Throws You a Curve Ball


It’s crazy. Just when I have plotted out my life for the next umpteen months and settled back to work the plan, Life throws me a curve ball. It shouldn’t surprise me.

Enough seasons have passed through my earth-bound existence that I should know better than to think any long-term plan will play out exactly as I have envisioned it. It must be the optimist in me, for I keep planning.

Or maybe it’s my insanity. You know the old definition of lunacy: doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different outcome.

However, my recent roadblocks are just that–little obstacles. The unanticipated hiccups don’t really change my plans. My destination is still the same: write books. Now, I will have a few detours through unfamiliar neighborhoods. That can be a good thing, right? It adds color, dimensions, flavor to my collection of life experience.

I’ll stop rambling and be more concrete.

I make my living by farming. I make hay, cut wood, and grow vegetables for selling. This year I planned to add the sale of landscaping stone to my product line. Due to another hiccup in my life plan, my way of making a living was to be more important than ever in 2013. But. . . .

Karma has other plans. I have torn my rotator cuff. I am scheduled for surgery soon and will be convalescing for six months afterward. No farming this season. No farming means no income.

Thankfully, there is nothing wrong with my brain. So I have to ask myself, is the Universe clearing a path for me to write?

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As a Writer, What If I Am Just Average?


On WordPress, I continue to be amazed by the collection of talent. Sometimes an author’s writing floors me with its power, cleverness, raw emotion or beautiful use of language.

I am none of those things. I am a nerd who can correctly string together a series of words. As a writer–as a word artist–I am average.

How then do I expect to compete in the commercial marketplace? The same way an average employee competes in the workplace. By showing up. By giving my best effort. And like a tidal wave, by sheer volume. A dose of self-promotion is important, too. If I don’t market, I won’t sell. (Please don’t stop reading here. The best of this post is yet to come.)

I’ve said this before and I will say it again: throw enough at a wall and something will stick.

Part of succeeding as an average writer is finding my audience. I do that by writing in all the ways that appeal to me–short stories, haiku, flash fiction and novels. (In 2013, I hope to add internet content to the list.) Then I analyze. Of those things I like to write, what are people reading?

I need to look at my statistics. What do statistics tell me about what readers like in my work? Is it my true confessions? Is it self-improvement or how-to articles? Pop culture? Or factual pieces? Humorous stories? The off-the-wall?

Success is finding the match of my abilities with a need in the marketplace.

Ask the reader.

So I am asking you right now. What do you like best about this blog? Why do you stop by? Is there something which you’d like to see more often? Any answer is a helpful one. Silence hurts. So tell me something, anything, that will make this blog a better experience for you. Even if it is what you don’t like. Say, “Fay, dump this. Keep that.” Bring it on. Help me get better.

For me, that’s what it is all about. The best part is serving, helping, pleasing you, the reader.

The next best part is getting good enough to earn a paycheck! But that’s another post for another day.  🙂

A Series of Thoughts on the Power of the Mind, Part 1


Back in May, I read a post on the blog Course of Mirrors called “. . .on awareness. . .” (To read it yourself, click here: http://courseofmirrors.wordpress.com/2011/05/14/thoughts-on-awareness/ )

The central assumption of the article is that there are psychological laws as immutable as scientific ones. Roberto Assagioli, M. D. has included a list in his book The Act of Will. Assagioli and the blogger Course of Mirrors discuss how the mind (through psychology) affects humans, and specificly the writer.

The mind is powerful. That is why I posted several quotes on New Year’s Eve about the power of preparation. If you re-read those quotes before pondering the postulates I present (how’s that for alliteration?), you’ll begin to see the importance of the mental connection.

So, today I want to emphasize the simple mind-body correlation.

Chris Teo, Ph. D. says:

“Philip Parham wrote about two men who contracted tuberculosis  around the same time. They both went to the same sanatorium. One went home after  eighteen months, fully recovered and healthy. The other man was dead within six  months. The disease was the same but the outcome was different. Why? William  Osler, a famous American physician said: ‘What happens to a patient with  tuberculosis depends more on what he has in his mind than what is in his chest.'”

and

Dr. Robert Good, a leader of psychoneuroimmunology said:

“A positive attitude  and constructive frame of mind all improve our ability to resist infections,  allergies, autoimmune disorders and cancers, whereas depression and pessimism  decrease our ability to do so.”

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/320854

In the post from Course of Mirrors, the author writes:

Having experienced Feldenkreis work — and practices deriving from it  –  after doing a gentle physical exercise and repeating it in my imagination only, with eyes closed, the same physical reactions happen in my body. This  explains why active imagination can affect mind and body at a deep level and change physical symptoms as well as states of mind.

When I hit my toe, elbow or head on an object, I repeat the exact contact and, in my imagination, send the impact back. There remains hardly any pain and the usual swelling is mild or does not occur at all.

Therapeutically, if a tense or hurtful part of the body is listened to and  allowed a voice, the result can be  instantaneous,  much like when you lower yourself at eye-level to a toddler who has a tantrum, and do nothing else but acknowledge the rage, surprise, surprise, the tantrum stops.

What seems like magic, is actually simple and applies both ways: physical activity influences mood and mind,  active imagination influences mood and body.

If researchers, patients and physicians believe that mind set–or use of the mind through thought process or imagination–alone can make a physical difference in our bodies, then we, as writers, should consider how to harness that tool for our work.

Get Money for Your Creative Project


Let me introduce you to Kickstarter, the venture capital site for creative projects. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  www.kickstarter.com

Kickstarter says it is “a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.

Since our launch on April 28, 2009, over $350 million has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, funding more than 30,000 creative projects.”

How does Kickstarter work?

Thousands of creative projects are funding on Kickstarter at any given moment. Each project is independently created and crafted by the person behind it. The filmmakers, musicians, artists, and designers you see on Kickstarter have complete control and responsibility over their projects. They spend weeks building their project pages, shooting their videos, and brainstorming what rewards to offer backers. When they’re ready, creators launch their project and share it with their community.

Every project creator sets their project’s funding goal and deadline. If people like the project, they can pledge money to make it happen. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, all backers’ credit cards are charged when time expires. If the project falls short, no one is charged. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing.

To date, an incredible 44% of projects have reached their funding goals.

Can Kickstarter be used to fund anything?

We allow creative projects in the worlds of Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater.

Everything on Kickstarter must be a project. A project has a clear goal, like making an album, a book, or a work of art. A project will eventually be completed, and something will be produced by it.

Do backers get ownership or equity in the projects they fund?

No. Project creators keep 100% ownership of their work. Kickstarter cannot be used to offer financial returns or equity, or to solicit loans.

Some projects that are funded on Kickstarter may go on to make money, but backers are supporting projects to help them come to life, not financially profit.

What are the fees?

If a project is successfully funded, Kickstarter applies a 5% fee to the funds collected.

In the US, pledges will be processed by Amazon Payments, while in the UK, pledges will be processed securely through a third-party payments processor. These payment processing fees work out to roughly 3-5%. View the US and UK fee breakdowns.

Who is Kickstarter?

We’re 46 people based in a tenement building in New York City’s Lower East Side. We spend our time making the site better, answering questions from backers and creators, and finding great new projects to share with you. Every day is an adventure — we get to experience projects as they happen! Say hello or come work with us!

Music as Muse


First, this blog writer never assumes that what is espoused here is the be all, end all for all people. On the contrary, I espouse what works for me–for the moment, when I am in the mood and not being lazy.

That said, I thought I’d share how my muse works to spin a tale from music. I use YouTube links for songs because:

  •  it’s easy to access for everyone
  •  it’s easy to replay the songs over and over
  • lyrics are provided
  •  the YouTube channel deals with the copyright issues

I listen to a song three or four times in a row. The first couple of times through I read the lyrics as the song plays. Inspiration can come from either tune or lyrics.

If I know the song, I sing, too. The point is to turn off the conscious part of my brain  and turn on the subconscious part. I integrate as many senses (hearing, feeling, speaking, dancing) while listening as I can. The more visceral the music experience becomes, the more likely I am to get images in my head.

(This ritual beats soaking my bare feet in a tub of fresh chicken blood under the desk; I read one famous author does that when writing.)

Then the writing starts. More than half the time I get halfway through the story and hit a wall about a conclusion. I repeat the listening ritual, and the end comes. I write it.

As I’ve said innumerable times, I have an active imagination. In my subconscious mind, stories are everywhere, under every leaf, around every door jamb, behind every melody. In any given day, a complete novel floats through my head. The problem is my memory doesn’t hold a candle to my imagination. So in the time it takes me to say, “that’s a cool story,” it’s gone for good.

Oh, well. I guess I can’t have everything.

Right now I am enjoying writing short shorts because I can capture them on paper before the music drifts away.

Good For What Ails You


One of my favorite bloggers is T from aslongasimsinging.wordpress.com. He explores man’s inner workings and darker moments with finesse and clarity. Further, he is a damn good writer.  A masterful wordsmith.

Anyway, while reading a recent post (http://aslongasimsinging.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/adventures-in-paradise/#comment-1649), I came across intelligent advice for almost any situation where one is experiencing loss, consternation, indecision, pain or any other strong internal conflict.

T says:

When you can walk it off, do. But when you can’t, rest up first. Have yourself a good cry. Get well. And then walk.

Although this advice was given in the context of making one’s way through the roadblocks in the life maze, I find it is also helpful to me as a writer. I have been rejected, demeaned, frustrated, confused, scared, burned, broken and any number of other paralyzing traumas over the course of my writing career. In the past, some of these situations or feelings made me lay down my pen for months or years at a time.

Always I was able to resurrect my desire to create through doing something akin to the advice shared by T’s character. Maybe his technique can work for you next time something strangles your creativity.