And that’s a wrap

Well, tomorrow I have to get up and commute to work downtown, and get back to real life.

In the end, I made it to page 305. I had started at page 231 this time, so that’s a decent page count. I can’t be upset with that. And I did finish a painting and deliver it. That was a first!

I do wish that this could be every day. That I was able to make money doing this. But I am not there yet. I haven’t published yet. Maybe someday I’ll be able to do the full time artist thing, but until then, I will dedicate time to it when I can.

When I was taking life drawing classes, the teacher said that people often don’t consider art as work. They think of it as play, something you just can rhyme off the top of your head. But it’s not true. It is work. I would often be exhausted after three hours of trying to put on paper what I saw with my eyes. It’s a fully physical and mental experience. It’s all consuming and draining. Because you are channeling with your body what is there in front of you, while colouring in the grey spots with your emotions, experience, philosophy or the complete opposite of your point of view.

As Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

There were days when I sat at our current version of a typewriter – my laptop – and I couldn’t find the story. I stared at the words and was blank. Then there were days when every word was like pulling teeth. Especially that one scene I was trying to make horrific and courageous and difficult. Each word I wrote that day was so exhausting. It was heart wrenching.

Then there was that one perfect day when 16 pages came spilling out of me in a torrent of writing.

I didn’t want to spend time painting towards the end because I wanted to write as much as I could. But I needed to, to keep the creativity flowing around those blockages. I needed that other outlet. Changing locations helped a lot. Just taking myself out for lunch on Friday jiggled some more words loose and I had another great burst of writing – a really interesting overnight scene that added complexity and mystery to one of the main characters, hopefully making the reader wonder.

Would another week, or another 4, have made a difference? I technically can take as many as 12 weeks with this leave, if I can handle the pay cut. Maybe. But maybe I would have spent more time doing other things, taking advantage of the time and completing regular tasks. I did too many errands during the day, just because I was home and not respecting my own working time. Although grocery shopping on weekdays was far superior to the busy crowded angry weekend experience.

I would like to get away next time – to not be at home, but somewhere else specifically for writing. Whether that means going to a cottage or going to a different country, I think it would break that habit of “oh, I’ll just pop by the [X] store and pick up that thing.”

Also,I desperately need to stop going on Facebook when I’m blanking. Seriously. Ugh.

On another note, tonight is the super moon lunar eclipse, and we have some clouds blowing through. I got to see a few phases but always ended up with a cloud when I wanted a picture. But I saw the first chomp out of the left side, the tiny sliver and the red phase. Another cool way to finish off my time. :)

Final Creative Friday

Alas, the day has come. This is the final day of my eight weeks of being a full time artist. To celebrate, I took myself out for a sushi lunch at my favourite sushi restaurant – a little six table, plus lunch bar place in my neighbourhood, Sushi Umi (for the record, that’s 2 pieces of hamachi and 2 pieces of sake sashimi {with a free third piece of the sake sashimi because that’s how they roll}, plus a spicy tuna roll and the Yummy roll which is filled with all sorts of deliciousness and topped with tempura tai and avocado). If you get a chance, do go there. The people are wonderful and the sushi is delicious.

I’m determined to make it past page 300 today (in a word processor – not sure how that converts to actual printed novel pages). I am in Act 4 of 5, and expect the story to flow much more easily, I think. I already have the skeleton of these next two acts sketched out.

I will definitely look to do this again in coming years. Maybe another two years from now, I’ll be in the position to be able to justify it.

The adventures continue this year. I might try to fit in NaNoWriMo this year since I had that idea for an entirely different book – more of a hard sci-fi too. Completely different from my current adventure fantasy-horror that I’m writing.

Then there is our Christmas honeymoon coming up too, heading to Paris, France for Christmas and Reykjavik, Iceland for New Year. :)
Back to working downtown on Monday. It has been worth it.

Canvas prep is messy work

Outside again, on my comfy blanket in the shade and the gorgeous breeze. Finished a weird chapter that will likely change significantly after editing but that is for later. Starting a new chapter to try to get them to their next destination and thought I’d give myself some time outside before my social evening #2 starts.

One week left in my eight wandering weeks. This time has flown by. I’ve gotten through almost 50 pages in my novel, written a short story that will be followed up with another, and started what I thought was a short story that is apparently another book. Plus, I finished and delivered a painting, and started a new one. Just today, I completed a doodle canvas and prepped six more smaller canvases. One will be a painting and the other five will be doodles.

I still have lots of other things I’d love to do (enumerated to my friend last night, it seemed suddenly like a tsunami of creativity). But reality does have to be acknowledged at some point. My job does still need to be done. ;)

Late writing with wine 

Just to end today on a more positive note – after some nature therapy and comfy blanket lying, I got through the emotional turmoil (for my characters) and mine subsided too. I started writing up a short story idea that is developing quite well. I’m even tempted to turn it into a novella in order to develop it that much further. We’ll see.

Good night… Dream of cheerful orange flowers and good red wine, a trusty purple pen and clouds drifting by…


Writing al fresco

Too many Things I Should Not Have To Deal With are popping up inside, so I decided to grab my stuff and a comfy blanket, and write out in the fresh air for a bit. Complete with a new jasmine white tea that I picked up this morning.

I’ve been feeling very pressured, stressed and frustrated for the past two days, and part of it is linked to work intruding into this time off. I am disappointed in this because I have taken a large pay cut, including other benefits, in order to have this time. I am not being paid right now. That is how I’ve “paid” for this time. I know it’s due to timing (particularly: bad) that this is coming up. And I know it’s out of respect that the work is even mentioned. But it’s an emotional response to it right now on my part.

I just finished reading Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking (see my Reading page) and in it she talks about the inner Fraud Police. These are the voices who taunt and torment you from your own mind, saying that what you’re doing isn’t worthy of respect and recognition, that you’re a fraud and shouldn’t expect to be able to do this creative work. That creative work is playtime and you should be Working A Job Like A Grown-Up.

Having work intrude on my creative time… Hell, having a lot of things intrude on my creative, unpaid sacrifice time, feels like the Fraud Police have become real. That the voices exist and are supported by those people who are causing the intrusions. And it makes me want to cry. I cried last night from the feelings, although I wanted to growl at them and drink whisky and tell them to fuck off. A part of it is that I have expectations of myself for these weeks and I feel like little things like errands are frittering away my time, like I’m not taking this seriously either.

Yesterday afternoon, I was slammed back into my stressed-from-work emotional eating, and I was shocked. I still have time and I’m already feeling the high blood pressure, tight chest, emotional eating stress of work that has caused me to pack on 40 lbs in the last few years.

I want to cry now as I sit in the park near my house trying to escape.

I’ll try to use the emotions to flesh out the turmoil my characters should be feeling. I don’t like crying in public.

Gritty downtown writing 

It’s muggy and it’s been hot for days. The sky is overcast and threatening to rain and I don’t have an umbrella. But I had to pop by work quickly to leave instructions for some work travel coming up in November that we need to get approved ASAP. So I went in. And didn’t stop to talk to anyone and said “I am not here…” to everyone who did see me.

I don’t think my Jedi mind tricks worked on them either. But I was in and out in half an hour.

But this way, I get to stop by my new favourite downtown coffee shop, Morning Owl, and enjoy their dark roast and do a bit of out-of-the-house writing. And hit my local art supply store to pick up a couple of appropriately sized canvases for upcoming projects.

Beautiful writing Friday

My handmade cup, full of Bengal Spice tea, and my pencil that travels with my novel notebook. The living room was my writing spot today and it was perfect and productive. Mostly.

A gorgeous breeze flowed through the house, keeping everything cool and summery. The air contained just the slightest hint of sunwarmed curtains, and they danced aside, allowing the outside air in.

Feeling better about my writing now, at the end of the day. There were a few moments of distraction and walking away, but the journey continues for my characters. I might even be able to put down some words this weekend.