Nano Prep: Oct. 27: Rituals, Routines, Timing

I prefer to write in the morning, before I am “tainted by the day”. I get up, feed the cats (or nothing gets done), do my yoga and meditation practice, and then I sit down to write.

Then and ONLY then, am I free to start my day – breakfast, shower, other freelance work, catching a train to a site job, etc. On days that I write full-time, I do my first 1K of the day on whatever is in first draft, and then, after breakfast, blog, check email, and switch between other freelance projects, depending upon deadline and money. On days I work on a site, I do my first 1K before breakfast, and get out the door on time to get to work on time. It means getting up early; it’s worth it.

It’s fine to occasionally skip a day; it’s when you start skipping a sequence of days that you trip yourself up. It gets very easy to let the writing slip away, or use “life” as an excuse not to write. We all have to work when we’re tired or don’t feel like it or anything else. If you don’t treat writing as a second job, it will never become your only job. That doesn’t mean you can’t love it – you can and you should. But you can’t just do it when you feel like it.

I use my creativity altar as a place to brainstorm, or I go out in the garden and do some yard work. Weeding, folding laundry, and working out problems in the shower are my best places to work past “stuck.”

The ritual of lighting the candle at the beginning and end of a session helps me drop into my creative zone, and also rejoin the world in a positive manner.

Published in: on October 27, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Nano Prep: Oct. 27: Rituals, Routines, Timing  
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Nano Prep: October 25: Creativity Altar

The Creativity Altar is a useful, inspirational tool. It doesn’t have to be attached to any particular religious system, and the sky’s the limit on how you put it together.

I have a steady creativity altar in my office, set on a glass tray I received from my grandmother. It holds shells, candles, a small crystal ball, a smooth wooden Buddha statue, crystals, stones, and an assortment of other objects that symbolize creativity to me. When I sit down to write, I like to light the candle. When I am done with that day’s writing, I extinguish the candle. The ritual of lighting the candle helps me drop down into my creativity; the gesture of extinguishing it allows me to return to the world, leaving my sacred space of imagination.

At the same time, I often create project-specific altars. For instance, I taught a year-long novel writing class. At the beginning of the class, I set up an altar dedicated to that year’s work, also in my office. I assembled a group of objects to inspire me for the coming year, adding to the space as new objects appeared, removing those as things changed over the year, and, at the end, ritually disassembling the altar with thanks for what it meant to me throughout the year. The items were either returned to the earth, or used as inspiration for other projects.

Friends have multi-tiered creativity altars, where one tier has permanent symbols, with other tiers represent specific projects. See what works for you.

Some terrific books on this topic are:

MOVE YOUR STUFF, CHANGE YOUR LIFE by Karen Rauch Carter – the best Feng Shui book I’ve ever read. Fireside Press: 2000.

ALTARS: BRINGING SACRED SHRINES INTO YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE by Denise Linn. Ballantine Wellspring: 1999. (gorgeous photos)

SACRED SPACE. Denise Linn. Ballantine: 1995.

ALTARS MADE EASY. Peg Streep. HarperSanFranciso. 1997

Fri. Aug. 31, 2012: Year-Long Class Ends on the Blue Moon

Friday, August 31, 2012
Blue Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Today wraps up the year-long novel-writing class I taught, which began on September 1 of last year. Out of the sixteen who started the class, eight made it through. They were required to write 1000 words per day, every day, for 7000 words per week. They finished one novel, revised it, swapped manuscripts, did another revision, put together a detailed submission package, started a second novel (some participants finished their second novel and started a third), and wrote a handful of short stories. Together, we created an anthology, which will be released later this year, called DEATH SPARKLES. All in all, they wrote a great deal — which one HAS to do in order to be a writer — and learned skills that will help them in all aspects of their careers. Now, they are ready to go off and explore new ways of working, with a wide variety of techniques in their tool box. Several of the students are now on a regular publishing schedule with a combination of books, novellas, and short stories, which is what is necessary in the current climate.

I dismantled the Creativity Altar I set up at the beginning of class last year. I will put together a new Creativity Altar later today to symbolize the coming cycle’s work. I will post my final remarks, pull a few things from the site that I need for the anthology, thank them for their commitment, and then — we go our ways.

Friendships will remain, and new paths followed, which is as it should be. They need to go out there and test their wings without Teacher looking over their shoulder. It’s time for them to explore new techniques and possibilities.

Yesterday was spent almost entirely on the play. I still have to fix the ending, but I’ve got a glimmer of that, and I will fix it and send it off this morning. Either it will be accepted or it won’t. I can’t worry too much about it, but I would have regretted it, had I not submitted.

I also finished the materials for Confidential Job #1, and will do that write up today, and finish the article that’s due tomorrow, but I want to get it off my desk before the start of the holiday weekend.

I won’t be having a holiday weekend — I’m working off site a good deal next week, so I’m hunkering down over the weekend to get it all done before I leave. And, today, I have to make up for the work I didn’t get done on the Sustainability Workshop yesterday.

So it’s busy, a day of mixed emotions, but so many new vistas are opening, and I want to fully experience them.

Enjoy the Blue Moon! And the holiday weekend!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and warm

First of all, hop on over to A Biblio Paradise and celebrate the release of my friend Michelle Miles’s new book, ONE KNIGHT ONLY. Congrats, Michelle!

Tired, but it’s a good tired. Got some work done in the morning, Drove to Wareham. Didn’t find what I needed at Lowe’s, but at a combination of other stores, unexpectedly got almost all my fall/winter shopping done: three pairs of yoga pants (two eco-friendly and amazingly comfortable that can also double as “real people pants” to go out in with tunics or long sweaters), some sports bras, three shirts, a pair of subtle Glen-Plaid dress slacks, and a pair of shoes. The shoes are really for spring and summer — turquoise suede peep-toe skiimmers. I had my eye on them earlier this year, but didn’t want to spend the money. However, they were about 85% off — I got them for $6.29! So I’m a happy camper.

And, of course, stopped at the Lindt outlet to stock up on chocolate, what with a new book to start on Saturday and all! 😉

Spent most of the afternoon organizing the storage room. We’re getting an anergy assessment on Monday, and I have to get at least the storage room organized (the basement is a lost cause). Unpacked more than a dozen boxes, rearranged things, did four loads of laundry as I discovered sheets, towels, blankets, linens. More work on that today.

And I finally have the creativity altar for the Year-Long the way I want it!

However, that meant that I was up until midnight catching up with student work. I collapsed into bed, exhausted, and dreamed about a mishmash of everyone’s stories being one big tale.