Sunday, August 30, 2009

Don't Quit Your Day Job


Creating and Creating a Schedule

Well now that both of my kids are back to school, my writing time will severely dwindle down.

I didn’t reach my writing goals over the summer, but once again, I can say I wrote more than I ever had before. For awhile now, I’ve decided that increasing my writing input should be my only goal. It’s easy to get in a rut and as long as I can say I’m increasing my input, I can stay motivated.

However, the more I entrench myself in my writing, the more I see that constant production is vital. I’m writing for three blogs right now and in the world of blogging, constant and timely content are crucial. As much as I hate to admit it, I think I need a schedule. I’ve tried to stay away from scheduling my writing time. As the mother of two teenagers, and working a full-time office job, I have enough my time scheduled for me. Writing is joy for me and I certainly don’t want it to feel like a chore. Still, if I’m going to take my writing seriously, it’s probably time to start treating it more like a part-time job.

In the past, my efforts to schedule my writing time have fallen flat. So many other commitments constantly come into play. One of the tips I read in all the writing books is to stick to the time you set aside like any other appointment you may have. This is easier said than done.

If you already work full-time, the rest of your day is somewhat limited. It can also be difficult to know from day to day what’s going to completely come out of left field and suck up your whole evening. Sometimes my son doesn’t need any help with his homework, other times we’re up way past everyone’s bedtime trying to get it done. The mail could yield an incorrect or confusing bill that causes me to be on the phone with a customer service rep for hours, (this actually happens to me quite often) or I’m a taxi service for my children for the evening.

As much as I would like to say my writing time is sacred, truth be told, I can’t take care of my personal affairs at the job they pay me to do, so it does have to come off my writing time, like it or not.

So I will have to ponder this one in the coming weeks. I’m going to closely observe my non work hours and see what I can reasonably expect of myself. I’m open to any tips or suggestions!
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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sculpting a Life: Susan Gallacher-Turner's Turn in the Pacific Northwest


('The Red Fairy' Mask)

Masks: Why do I love them?

I love making masks. I’ve made masks out of paper, plaster, felt, clay, copper, brass, aluminum and screening. I’ve made masks of cats, dogs and frogs, wolves and polar bears, birds and bugs. The sun and the moon. A dragon, phoenix, and thunderbird. It doesn’t matter to me what kind of mask I make, it’s always a fascinating process.

Why do I love masks? I’m not sure. All I know is that making a mask is like searching for an answer to a question I don’t even know I have. It’s relaxing. It’s playful and joyful, mysterious and magical. Its peaceful solitude and energizing connection all at the same time.

Maybe I don’t have to know why. I can just love making masks. Period.

You can see my other masks on my website at www.susangt.com and visit my other blog, Susan's Art & Words at http://sculpturepdx.blogspot.com Read more!

Wild Woman of Queens: Notes on Urban Creativity from across the East River.

Heart by Sandra Lee Schubert 2009



End of Summer Prompts

I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork. Peter De Vrie
WEEK TWO- TAKE ACTION PROMPT:

Remember the first person or thing you loved. Was it a parent, toy, character, pizza? Take five minutes and write about that first love.

Take five minutes and write about the love that got away.

List 25 things you associate with the word heart. As an example - Valentine's Day, weddings, surgery, chocolate, babies, exercise. Looking over the list choose a couple to explore. Write the word on the top of the page and begin to free associate. Let the words flow without editing for at least 15 minutes. Look over what you wrote. Were you surprised by what you wrote? Disappointed? See if you can expand on it or pull a line or paragraph and create something entirely different. Try this with several of the words on your list. You may find new thoughts and ideas emerge from your list.


Sandra's e-course leads people to be their creative best through telling their stories and talking to interesting people on her online radio show- Wild Woman Network: Radio for Creative Vagabonds, Thinkers and Innovators.


She is a creative vagabond, a poet, and a writer who co-facilitates the Wild Angels Poets and Writers Group at the historic Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine.Writing for Life: Creating a Story of Your Own. Visit her blog: Email her sandraleeschubert(at)gmail.com or @writing4life via twitter.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wild Woman of Queens: Notes on Urban Creativity from across the East River.



Sandra Lee Schubert



End of Summer Prompts

You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair “the sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.

Stephen King (1947 - ), On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, 2000

WEEK ONE- TAKE ACTION PROMPT:

Write. Write again. Write one more time. Each day write 50 words. Pick a topic or not. Observe - what do you see? Touch - what are the sensations? Listen - hear a piece of conversation and then write a story about it. You can write more but not less. Write with a friend. Go to the park and write for ten minutes and then go play. Write waiting on line. Just write. Don't think about it too much and don't worry about editing it. This is not your great novel. You are laying tracks, building the foundation, and developing the sense that writing is something you can do.


Read books like King's; pick up Ray Bradbury's book, Zen in the Art of Writing, or One Writer's Beginnings, by Eudora Welty. These books are great sources for observing how a writer takes from life and recreates stories.


Wherever you are in life; honor your journey. Create your environment to support your creative self. Surround yourself with people and things that feed your muse. Share your work with others and you may find that you are a happier and more satisfied person. Discover the brilliant, talented and wonderful person you are.



Sandra's e-course leads people to be their creative best through telling their stories and talking to interesting people on her online radio show-
Wild Woman Network: Radio for Creative Vagabonds, Thinkers and Innovators..


She is a creative vagabond, a poet, and a writer who co-facilitates the Wild Angels Poets and Writers Group at the historic Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine.Writing for Life: Creating a Story of Your Own. Visit her blog: Email her sandraleeschubert(at)gmail.com or @writing4life via twitter.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Don't Quit Your Day Job


Creating and Gearing Up

Well that’s it. My daughter goes back to school mid-week and then my son officially starts next week. I can’t believe summer is over. In a lot of ways I feel like I was just starting to get into a groove and hone down a writing schedule.

One of my biggest hurdles is that I’m not a morning person. I’m dreading the fact that I’ll have to wake up an hour earlier each morning. Also, having a more hectic morning and commute isn’t too appealing either. I have two children that are also not morning people, so they are very difficult to wake up. We’re always rushing out the door and dropping off at two schools, by the time I get to my job, I’m often exhausted and frustrated.

It’s already a challenge to write while having a full-time job, but once school starts, I fear that my computer will sit here collecting dust. Even over the summer, I didn’t accomplish nearly as much writing as I had planned. I didn’t work on my novel at all, but I did manage to maintain my other two blogs and work towards creating an on-line presence.

We all know how tough the writing world is today. It’s not just about writing. We have to Twitter and Facebook. I’m constantly trying to figure out how to best utilize Google Blogger and I’m trying to promote my blogs, so that I may eventually get an audience.
Sometimes, I wonder how I’m supposed to do all this and have a job too, but since my writing is currently paying zero, I have to figure out a way to do both.

Each school year I hope my kids will pick up the slack and handle their own work load and schedules. For the most part my daughter, beginning her junior year of high school, takes care of her own work and projects with minimal help. My son, who’s starting the 7th grade, often needs continuous follow-up and checking in to make sure he stays on task. This can be very difficult to keep up with. Trying to keep up with my own responsibilities and his, really wipes me out. Each school year, I hope this is the one where he’ll take the ball and run with it.

So today will be spent running around town to get school supplies, clothes and shoes. This is my last week to clean and get the house organized. I guess this is also my last week to reassess what work for me with my writing this season. What can I incorporate into my day and what we’re my pitfalls that still need work? It’s a continuous process and challenge. I know that even if I quit my job and suddenly had my whole day laid out before me, it would still take skill and planning to find a writing schedule that keeps me challenged and productive.

I’ll try to go into this with a positive attitude. I continue to work hard and seek out solutions to my time-challenged dilemma. Since I keep working at it, this school year has to be better than last year, right?


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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Wild Woman of Queens: Notes on Urban Creativity from across the East River.

Election Day c 2008 Sandra Lee Schubert

Big, Bigger, Biggest


The summer is almost over. I suck at summer. One step out into the heat and humidity of a New York City summer and I'm back in the house faster then you can say air conditioning. There is so much to do here in NYC and I am absolutely stopped in my tracks by its heat.

My resistance can be epic. The tortured artist model has nothing on me. The personal development books have picked my pockets, stuffed my bookcases and my brain, but have done nothing for my life. Is it their fault or the fault of my own psyche? I'm thinking the only one at fault here is me. Let me tell you what I learned this week.

My biggest advantage, and greatest pleasure, is interviewing wonderful guests each week on my radio show. I get to speak to interesting people doing great things. This past week I spoke to Greg S. Reid who was recruited by the Napoleon Hill Foundation to recreate the original concept of Hill's great book, Think and Grow Rich.

Greg took this on as an incredible adventure; selling his home and car to fund the project. He was talking about hanging out with the people who are doing big things. When he wanted to learn how to write a best selling book he spoke to the people who had best sellers. Greg did not play small- he went for it a large way. At some point I revealed my own limiting belief system when I revealed it on my show to him. My thought was to make the idea of dumping all your dead ending friends in one swoop more palatable was to work your way up the success ladder by a slow dump along the way. You could add a friend who was slightly ahead of you and comfortably build your path to success. Oh, boy don't ever play small with someone who plays big. Greg told the audience he would not support my limited thinking. Thank goodness you can't see a red face on radio.

The thing is I got the message to play big several times in the past week. The universe was knocking my brain really hard. And the truth is I have been playing/living/acting in a small way. I act like I am in learning mode all the time. Of course I am always learning but there comes a time to break from the comfort of it and apply it in the world. We all have to let the world see what we are doing. The big reveal comes with the possibility that what you have learned and done just plain sucks. So you work on it more. I work on it more.

My lesson(s) for the week: Playing it small will keep you small. Hang out with people doing great things. Be brave, be bold and step out into the world.


Sandra's e-course leads people to be their creative best through telling their stories and talking to interesting people on her online radio show-
Wild Woman Network: Radio for Creative Vagabonds,Thinkers and Innovators..

She is a creative vagabond, a poet, and a writer who co-facilitates the Wild Angels Poets and Writers Group at the historic Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine.
Writing for Life: Creating a Story of Your Own. Visit her blog: Email her sandraleeschubert(at)gmail.com or @writing4life via twitter.

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Sculpting a Life: Susan Gallacher-Turner's turn in the Pacific Northwest



Making art: Where does it come from?

Sometimes I don’t have a clue. Strike that…many times I now realize, I don’t have a clue. I pull out the clay or copper or aluminum mesh. I push. I pull. I paint. I write. Then it goes out into the world in some form or another, a gallery show, a commission, or a play. Sometimes it sells and sometimes it might be displayed in my home or stored in a closet.

One piece I created about 9 years ago features a copper mask/face on the front layered with oil paint mounted in a black wooden box. The box opens to reveal a copper repouss√© of a woman in a cloak, her arms raised with a sun on her right and a moon on her left, waves indicating water are below her and the tree of life forms a border around her. On the left side of the box is a copper piece inscribed with the words, “From fire to water to life.”

I was compelled to create this piece, but always had a deep discomfort with it. The mask/face on the front scared me, but I loved the goddess repoussé on the inside. The kite shaped black wooden box, made by my husband, was beautiful. But after I showed it, I was happy to put it in the closet. There it stayed for many years.

Last year, as I was setting up for Portland Open Studios, my husband pulled it out of the closet. I didn’t really want to put it out but he insisted. So I reluctantly hung it up on a wall for display intending to take it down when the tour was over. But something funny happened along the way, I realized what this piece was all about and made my peace with it. This piece is about my Dad.

My Dad had glaucoma and was forced to retire, when the large automobile corporation discovered his disability. His anger and grief led him in a downward health spiral. After he died, I created this piece. The ‘kite’ shape is actually a coffin, it even opens up like a coffin with hinges on the side and inside, the poem I wrote and the repouss√© are all about freeing him from his pain and letting go.

Seems obvious, doesn’t it? But I didn’t get it. And if my husband hadn’t insisted that I take it out of the closet and hang it up where I had to look at it for two weeks, I’d never have figured it out. As artists, writers, musicians or anyone who creates, the why is always a big question. Sometimes, we know. Sometimes, we don’t.

For the past year, I’ve been doing interviews and podcasts with artists and writers. What I’ve learned is that the drive to create is fueled in many different ways and that some artists do know where that fuel comes from, and some don’t. But sometimes, if we’re lucky, like I was, you get to figure it out. Patrick carves wooden sculptures based on his desire for stillness. Kelly paints her memories of landscapes. Nicky sculpts and welds her way back from cancer to health.

You can hear these podcasts at www.voicesoflivngcreatively.com or read the articles on my other blog at http://voicesoflivingcreatively.blogspot.com

These podcasts will give you the opportunity to hear these artists personally explain their work. Their stories are unique and inspiring and these interviews give you chance to understand where their art comes from.


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