Creativity & Motivation

The Fear of Being Wrong

The scene I finished yesterday is called “Reincarnated cactus” and it’s 2200 words of pure Julianne and Kris interaction, which I very much enjoyed writing. Today I fell just short of 1000, but another scene is done. All of it is headed to Patreon with Friday’s update.

I finished reading two books last night: The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Mason.

The biggest thing I took away from The Creative Habit is the notion of keeping boxes for separate projects. I like this idea so much that I ordered myself some Bankers Boxes off Amazon.

All of my books already have their own notebooks, but over time, each project accumulates isolated notes and scraps and Post-Its, and because I don’t like mess I end up throwing everything away, or stashing it somewhere never to be seen again. Having a box seems like an obvious solution to what I now realize is a problem, but it never occurred to me before. I always think of boxes as things you use to store things away, not something to be actively used. So, I’m excited to give this a shot.

Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits.

I read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg over the summer, and since then, I’ve been working to build better habits, starting with a good morning routine. I had a really good one going for a while: journaling, yoga, meditation, writing. I was doing it all, every day, and it was great.

Problem is that as an insomniac, I often have trouble waking up early, since “early” is when I usually manage to fall asleep. The later I woke up, the later it would be by the time I got around to writing, and the less time that left me to write during the day. I skipped yoga one day, and that was it. My whole routine fell apart.

The one thing that creative souls around the world have in common is that they all have to practice to maintain their skills. Art is a vast democracy of habit.

Since writing is my One Thing that I have to do every day, my current routine is stripped down to the bare necessities: wake up, make coffee, write. Eat lunch. Write. It’s working well. Eventually, I’ll tack on something else. Meditation, probably. Then yoga.

Since I made “giving fewer f*cks” one of my resolutions for the year, I figured I should get some insight into how to go about achieving that, so I bought The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck back in January. I finally finished it last night.

What I took from it boils down to this: We’re all going to die, so we might as well be selective about the things we give a f*ck about.

Death is the only thing we can know with any certainty. And as such, it must be the compass by which we orient all of our other values and decisions. It is the correct answer to all of the questions we should ask but never do. The only way to be comfortable with death is to understand and see yourself as something bigger than yourself; to choose values that stretch beyond serving yourself, that are simple and immediate and controllable and tolerant of the chaotic world around you. This is the basic root of all happiness.

This is mostly a book about putting things in perspective so that you don’t make yourself more miserable than necessary.

Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different.

I don’t know that I’ve ever felt uncomfortable with being different. For me, it’s always been more about giving up the fear of being wrong.

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”

–Joseph Chilton Pearce

So that’s what I’m working on.

Next book: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil Degrasse Tyson

May you rest in peace, Stephen Hawking  — The world will miss you

Creativity & Motivation

Coffee Stars

30 Day Drawing Challenge: Day 4 — What I Wish Upon A Star…

Screen Shot 2012 03 16 at 12 22 53 AM

Today was a very long, exhausting day.

On this day:

  • Lots of Ikea furniture was built.
  • A lot of cleaning was done.
  • Detergent was spilled.
  • A fancy dinner was had.
  • But mostly lots of cleaning.

Time for bed.

Good night!

Creativity & Motivation

Step Into My Notebooks Or My Brain? Maybe Both (Q&A/Photos)

Q. U seem to have a lot of notebooks. What kinda stuff do u write in them? Can we see?

A. MY DEEP DARK SECRETS. Err. I’ve gone through this, haven’t I? Randomly? I feel like I have. Well, that’s okay. My notebooks are filled with wondrous things. Mostly Rayne/TBSOL/YA novel-related. And sometimes I just scribble really random things that I later look at and go “Whut?” And sometimes my random scribbles turn into blog posts. But sure, I’ll take some pictures for you, nosy person. I mean…curious and loyal reader.

[continue reading…]

Creativity & Motivation

Uses for Notebooks: “Time was when readers kept commonplace books…”

Whenever they came across a pithy passage, they copied it into a notebook under an appropriate heading, adding observations made in the course of daily life. Reading and writing were therefore inseparable activities. They belonged to a continuous effort to make sense of things, for the world was full of signs: you could read your way through it; and by keeping an account of your readings you made a book of your own, one stamped with your personality.

Robert Darnton
Extraordinary Commonplaces

I came across that article last year when I was stumbling around, searching for purpose and it seemed to me like a great and wonderful idea. I grabbed one of my new Moleskines and set out to write things down.


A year later, this notebook has become one of my prized possessions. I take it everywhere with me. In it there are quotes, thoughts, observations and snippets of life; like a scrapbook of words. Whenever I’m feeling down, or low on motivation, I pick it up and start flipping through it. It never fails to lift me up and inspire me.

Creativity & Motivation

Where I Get My Ideas (or How a Gnome Helped Me Come Up With Rayne)

30 Day Questions Challenge – Day 23: Where do you get your ideas?

I woke up to that question in an email the other day, and my answer was this:

Ideas tend to pop up randomly in my head. I think? I don’t know. They’re just kind of there. Then they keep piling up because I don’t get to them fast enough, and then they get annoyed. Then they start honking. There’s a lot of honking in my head. That … does that sound dirty to you? Like I’m talking about boobs? I’m not talking about boobs. Did I answer the question?

Anyway, I started thinking about it, and I realized I hadn’t been perfectly honest. How I get my ideas varies from project to project, but I can certainly tell you how I came up with Rayne, for example. Rayne – for those who don’t know – is a paranormal romance series thingie I’m working on or will be working on once I’m done editing TBSOL.

The Incredibly True Adventure of How I Came Up With Rayne:

photo 1

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Creativity & Motivation

My System for Organizing Thoughts and Ideas


First, I must say that I am not, by nature, an organized person. In the past, I’ve tried a lot of different approaches to getting organized and failed at them all. During my frequent “must become organized” phases, I’d download countless iPhone and desktop productivity apps and I’d use them once or twice before ultimately forgetting all about them.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve realized that getting some stuff organized wasn’t ever going to work for me. It wasn’t enough to put “write 1000 words of TBSOL today” on my to do list, because there were too many other factors contributing to my lack of productivity. I talked a bit about this in my Searching for Purpose and Something Happens Here posts, but this post isn’t really meant to be about my life’s philosophy. It’s also not a post about productivity (because I’m still not where I want to be with that).

Instead, I want to talk about how I go about organizing my thoughts/ideas/etc.

Until recently, I didn’t take the time to write important things down. I have always kept a notebook in front of me and with me, but other than jotting miscellaneous info, I’ve never been consistent at getting things out of my head and onto paper. The problem with being inconsistent is that I’d have one notebook in which I’d write down everything and then I’d forget that I wrote anything down and it would be lost amidst a lot of unimportant information.

Recently, I decided to solve that issue.

Here’s my current system: [continue reading…]

Creativity & Motivation

In search of purpose

Lately, I’ve been focusing most of my energy into finding my purpose, which I think sounds a bit dramatic and over the top, but it really just boils down to finding what makes me happy and living my life in accordance with that. I have never been the sort to wander through life listening to other people’s desires. I am very much the sort of person that does what she wants to do and follows her heart.

ImageThe times when I’ve done as others wished me to do have been the times I’ve been the most unhappy. I have a lot of trouble going against what I feel is the right thing for me, which is not to say that I move through life living as selfishly as possible. I mean only that I don’t let my friends or my family or society as a whole influence the choices I make.

I understand the norms and I understand the things that other people value as important, but these things – going to the best school possible, getting the highest paid job possible, attaining financial stability and therefore success – have never been my focus. I have always felt that my path was somewhere else entirely.

The problem is that until very recently I hadn’t stopped to wonder what that path is. I have listened to my heart and made decisions based on what felt right to me at the time. But I have always felt like something was missing.

I have known for most of my life that I wanted to be a writer. When those around me stressed out about what they wanted to do with their lives and what to study and what to become, I felt sad for them. I couldn’t relate. I was 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and I already knew what I wanted to be because I already was what I wanted to be.

I knew that supporting myself financially might be a struggle and I was prepared to work at whatever job I needed to work at because the job itself didn’t matter. What mattered was that I was a writer and nothing would ever keep me from that.

Moving to France

I made some important, life-changing decisions when I was 24. I decided I would put my fears aside and follow my heart again. I’d fallen in love with someone in a different country, in a different continent, even, and I knew I had to choose between being miserable and apart, or taking a chance and being together. So, I took that chance and moved.

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