My Nanowrimo Blog Post – Check it out!


Hi All! I wanted to check in to link to this article I wrote for the Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) blog community! I’m so excited to have been published there, and I hope you’ll check it out. I look forward to returning to blogging stronger than ever! #crazylife #2020to2021

In the NaNoWriMo blog post, I reference imposter syndrome. As an unpublished writer, I often feel this way. I beat myself up for the time I’ve wasted and feel like I’ll never be good enough because I compare myself to writers like Bandon Sanderson and Neil Gaiman who have it all together! I’ve talked about writer’s block in the past here, so I definitely know the struggle.

Recently, I’ve been kinder to myself. I’ve realized we all forge unique paths, as writers or anything else we want to be. There’s no use in focusing on what you haven’t achieved, especially when it comes to writing. There’s plenty of time to start now and make your mark!

I’d love to hear about your writing struggles, so please feel free to comment!


Moshing Taught Me These Essential Life Lessons

Essential Life Lessons from Moshing and Heavy Metal concerts
Fans at a Slayer Concert – Photo by the Author

Lights go out. Electricity permeates the room. Hundreds of sweaty humans are crammed into a poorly ventilated venue. Mass-produced, overpriced draft beer sloshes from the 16 oz plastic cup of a random drunkard plodding his way through the crowd. The curtains drop and a night of epic battle begins.

Your spirit reverberates with double bass drums. Bodies slam and arms or legs flail. Screeches, growls, and devilish wails assault your ears.

I know, it all sounds fabulous.

Many of my fondest memories are from the mid-90s when bands, like Pantera, Sepultura, and Fear Factory were at the height of their careers. I still feel their music vibrating within my chest.

I recall coming home with black eyes and purple, squishy bruises on my knees and flashing them around like badges of honor. My mom says she didn’t worry about my injuries. She was more worried about the men who felt inclined to grope me (but that’s another story).

Even so, I’ve decided it’s time to hang up my steel-toed boots and retire from moshing. It was fun while it lasted, but times have changed, and so has my body (read: I’m getting old).

In retrospect, I’ve put together a list of 7 essential life lessons I learned during my moshing career, and I hope they will help you too!

#1 Pace Yourself

Concerts last about three or four hours depending on how many bands are on the docket, so you don’t want to tire before the end. Pace yourself! The same idea can translate to your life.

Find what works best for you to use your time most efficiently, and do it at your own speed. Stop worrying about what Dave and Sally are doing. They have their own paths, so there’s no sense in comparing their path to yours.

Most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourself mentally and physically. Challenging yourself is fantastic, but it will lead to burnout if you take on too much, too often.

#2 Prepare for What May Come

Because the hits will keep on coming!

Life, like a mosh pit, is continuously in motion. There will always be some level of uncertainty, but you can alleviate some of your stress and anxiety by brainstorming.

Ask yourself questions, like “What are the potential outcomes in this situation?” and “How would I handle each?”

Adaptability also plays a crucial role in handling the unexpected. To practice adaptability, seek out new perspectives. Because screw the status quo!

Human brains become complacent once they get used to handling routine tasks. So next time you perform a particular task, consider how you might do it differently. You may just find a more efficient process.

Certain outcomes will always be out of your control. In these cases, you can learn how best to respond (with mindfulness), so they cause the least amount of disruption in your life.

#3 When You Go Down, Don’t Stay Down

You may trip, you may fall, or someone else may shove you down, but when it happens, make sure you don’t stay there. You might get trampled if you do.

Life is like this too. The little things can chip away at us, or one big, dramatic incident can bring us down for the count. Whatever you do, though, don’t stay there. Drag yourself up by your bootstraps and keep on keeping on. Your future will thank you for it.

#4 But It’s Okay to Reassess Your Strategy

You’ve tripped over a pile of tangled bodies and face planted into the slick, dingy concrete. That’s going to hurt later. You might want to sit this next song out.

That’s okay! You need to take some time to reassess your life. Acknowledge that it’s best to do so periodically instead of waiting for one of those aforementioned dramatic incidents to arise. But how do you do it?

Make time to reflect and assess at regular intervals. Reevaluate your goals. Examine what has been working for you and what needs improvement. Are you on track? If not, what can you adjust? Have your goals completely changed?

You’ll save yourself weeks, months, if not years, by going through this process. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with a little transformation. Reinvention is good for the soul.

#5 There’s Always Going to Be That Asshole

You know the one. You’ve taken a quick breather along the outer circle, but before you can brace yourself they casually creep up behind you, shoving you violently and sending you to your peril.

It’s no different in real life. Wherever you go, there they are. They’re the Internet trolls, the micromanagers, and the upstairs neighbors stomping around like Clydesdales in the middle of the night. You can’t always avoid them altogether, but you can learn how to spot them and refrain from reacting to their sinister tactics.

Trust they’ll get their karma someday.

#6 Sometimes You’ll Need Support (or to Offer it)

You can’t always go it alone. Sometimes you’ll need to hook arms with the biggest guy in the pit and skip around together like bosses. When one of you falls, you help the other up, and you extend this kindness to the rest of your Metal community.

Lifting each other up is the epitome of mosh pit etiquette!

You need this in your life too.

Humans crave connection. A great community, or network, will get you much farther than you could ever go alone. The best communities combine a mixture of family, friends, and colleagues who offer their support and camaraderie to help you rally.

There are enough naysayers in this world. Find some solace with your people.

#7 And Finally…

Don’t forget to have fun! Sometimes we need to burn off some of that pent-up energy and allow ourselves to let loose.

Moshing was like that for me. It was a true joy. And that’s backed by science.

So dance while cooking. Sing in your car, while picking a booger. Hike Mt. Everest and come back with frostbite on the tip of your nose and fingers.

Just don’t take your life so seriously that you’re unable to play. You don’t want to look back in 40 years and regret the experiences you didn’t take.

Resistance: The Artist’s Way Week Nine

Resistance is a creative U-turn

It’s time to get inspired and get ready for success…or failure in Week Nine Part Two of The Artist’s Way Challenge! In part two of each week, I’m sharing the creative exercises from The Artist’s Way and some of my experiences with the process. Activities like these encourage self-discovery and guide us in working through our creative blocks and U-turns.  This week’s key topic was fear, or resistance, and remembering to give ourselves a little compassion.

When we contemplate fear, we tend to attribute it to failure, but that’s not always the case. Success can make us tremble too, as heftier expectations often follow in its path. Resistance is an equal opportunity afflicter.

To recap, week Nine of The Artist’s Way course was, “Recovering a Sense of Compassion.”

Cameron wrote,

“This week finds us facing the internal blocks to creativity…We will explore and acknowledge the emotional difficulties that beset us in the past as we made creative efforts. We will undertake healing the shame of past failures. We will gain in compassion as we reparent the frightened artist child who yearns for creative accomplishment.”

Morning Pages

During my long hiatus, I kept up with my morning pages like a champ, but last week I missed writing them for five full days! I truly forgot too. I wasn’t just avoiding them, consciously at least. I suppose I can chock it up to the craziness of the holidays to some degree, but it’s still disappointing since I had only missed two other days total since March 23rd! But as usual, all I can do is move forward. Blast you resistance!

My Artist Date

For my Artist Date this week, I finally closed out the balcony garden after a somewhat extended year. We had a few stretches of warmer days there for a while, so I tried to allow the peppers I had left to mature, and I ended up with a few medium-sized ones. The cherry tomatoes produced up the wazoo for the last two months of the year, so I ended up with two full bowls of those.

After harvesting, I cut up the remaining leaves and stems, dumped the dirt, and then swept the balcony to a squeaky clean. It looks like one I can relax on now. I just need a cute bistro table.

I made an awesome poblano cream sauce with some of the peppers but had to tame it down by mixing in some ricotta cheese. Apparently, I accidentally threw a couple of my hot ass jalapenos in the mix. I’m a huge fan of spicy food, but my jalapenos were like habaneros this year, so a little bit went a long way!

For the tomatoes, I used a good portion to make a frittata and I’ve been using the rest as a topping for certain dishes, like the poblano enchiladas and salads. I love producing my own veggies. I can’t wait until I have a bigger space for it someday.

Task One: Read Your Morning Pages

In task one, Cameron asks us to read our morning pages and notice any consistent complaints or behaviors. This doesn’t have to be completely negative, of course. Maybe by sticking to your morning pages has allowed you to overcome some undesirable habits or traits.

Most of my complaints this year, at least since July, have been health related. During the year of COVID, I developed adult asthma, and I’ve yet to find the source of it. It has caused much concern and lamentation, and led to additional social distancing, which I was doing much of already. I more or less ruled out COVID as the cause, as I tested negative during the worst of my symptoms and later, with an antibody test.

I’m not going to lie; I was actually disappointed to discover it likely wasn’t COVID that caused these issues. More than anything, it meant I didn’t have a clear answer to this random development. I have an appointment with an allergist next month, so hopefully I’ll be able to find some answers on that front. I’ve never had any major allergies, but I know our bodies can change.

Prior to the pandemic, I felt as though I needed a life reset, and this year has given me that. I’m glad I was prepared for it financially too. Other than my health, I’ve tried my best to better myself with the additional free time I’ve had. I’m not quite where I’d like to be, and I vacillate between hope and defeat, but I’m no longer stuck in a place I don’t want to be so that’s something.

Task Two: Visualizing Your Ideal Goal

Here, Cameron asks us to visualize our ideal goal again.

I’m still experiencing a lot of resistance in relation to my goals. My health issues haven’t helped. I was previously 100% healthy, so dealing with a longer-term condition has not aided in my productivity this year. I’ve found it extremely difficult to focus on anything, let alone my writing. I certainly have a new appreciation for people dealing with chronic health issues who can push through it and remain consistently productive.

That said, I’ve spent time visualizing my ideal goal of becoming a bestselling novelist, and I’ve also spent time considering what I need to do to get myself there. Consistency is obviously huge. I need to learn to push through those difficult moments, maybe even use them as fuel in some way. There will never be a perfect moment for me to start or continue on my path, so the only way to get there is through daily practice and a growing passion for the process. I’m tired of allowing myself to get sidetracked.

Task Three: Creative Priorities

I’m planning on writing the typical resolutions post, though I’m not going to call it my New Year’s resolutions. I don’t really need resolutions as much as I need a revolution.

The only way to achieve long-term change is to develop and maintain consistent, daily habits. It’s best to develop and maintain these habits by creating them through baby or micro-steps, and that’s my plan. Resistance is much harder to overcome if you try to change things overnight.

I have a lot of creative goals for the coming year, including developing a consistent writing practice. The end of the year is a great time to review what has and hasn’t been working for me, and what I need to adjust moving forward.

Task Four: Creative U-Turns

Fear (resistance) still has its grasp on me. Cameron uses this example in the section on creative U-turns,

“A performance artist is offered a space to use for work-shopping his new material. He does it once, doesn’t like his mixed reception indicating more work is needed, then stops working on new material at all.”

She may as well have been talking about me. I’m constantly letting reception, more like a lack of as opposed to mixed or bad reviews, derail my efforts. Maybe this is the universe’s way of trying to encourage me to develop consistency. Even if my work goes viral, I’m still going to have to write the next thing. I can’t live on one piece, no matter how positive or negative it’s received. That’s why focusing on the process is so much more important than the end result.

Final Thoughts (Check-In)

We want to believe that once we attain our goals, everything will be sunshine and roses from then on out, but that’s not always the case. Experiencing success or failure isn’t always as straightforward as we’d like it to be. It can be downright complicated.

Success feels fabulous! But with it comes increased pressure to perform and produce. That’s great for people who thrive on challenge, but for a budding artist, it can be anxiety inducing and stop them in their tracks. Resistance erupts in many forms.

This is where compassion comes into play. We need to be kind to ourselves. We must find ways to relish in the process. When we face moments of self-doubt, finding joy in the process or journey can help us come out the other side with our creative hearts intact.

Where can you offer yourself more compassion, especially after this wacky year we’ve experienced? If you’d like to follow along with The Artist’s Way Challenge, you can find some of my previous posts below:

Do the Work: Recovering a Sense of Compassion

At some point, we need to do the work

Let’s do the work in Week Nine, Part One of The Artist’s Way challenge! This week our aim is “Recovering a Sense of Compassion.” We’re often so busy berating ourselves or talking ourselves out of potentially great ideas that we miss out on opportunities to move forward.

And it’s not just failure that holds us back. Success can give us a fair share of the heebie-jeebies, too.

Cameron writes,

“This week finds us facing the internal blocks to creativity…We will explore and acknowledge the emotional difficulties that beset us in the past as we made creative efforts. We will undertake healing the shame of past failures. We will gain in compassion as we reparent the frightened artist child who yearns for creative accomplishment.”

There are four sections in this chapter, plus a variety of exercises to work through at the end.


There’s a difference between being blocked as an artist and being lazy, and that is fear. Fear has us turning molehills into mountains. It has us telling ourselves that because we didn’t make it to the top of that mountain on our first attempt, we must not be cut out for this life. Fear convinces us to run away from both success and failure.

Writing a novel seems impossible when you view the finished result from your favorite bestselling author with its shiny packaging and flawlessly written prose. That’s why the best thing we can do to overcome fear is to start with baby steps, micro-steps even. Create your project word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph. You must start before you can climb that mountain, and there’s no sense in getting overwhelmed. Start with Atomic Habits.


Cameron makes the argument here that enthusiasm is more important than discipline when living our art. Our inner artist longs for playdates and time to goof around. It wants to have fun, to be silly, and to feel joy.

Much like any other idea or process, I think this one is subjective, and we all need at least a bit of both. Without the discipline to sit ourselves down to work, we risk not creating or creating only when we feel motivated with a visit from the “muse.”

But if we’re not feeling enthusiastic or motivated, how do we get ourselves to sit down at all? This is the lament of all people experiencing writer’s block, and it’s a bit of a catch-22. I think the only way to overcome it is to keep showing up every day (Do the Work) and to refill our well when it runs dry (Get Inspired). Discipline AND Enthusiasm.

Creative U-Turns

Even experiencing success can send us scurrying home in fear because change isn’t always so straightforward, even when we want it. Oh, the joys of self-sabotage!

There are a lot of factors at play here, and our lizard brains aren’t afraid to bombard us with every single one of them. What if that’s the best I can do? What if my next project fails? How am I ever going to be as successful as [insert hero here]? Why didn’t I start sooner? Success brings a whole new set of stakes. It becomes a call to courage.

As for failure, sometimes accepting it is easier. It certainly keeps the pressure off. No one is counting on us to produce the next fantastic thing if we’re not putting ourselves out there.

They say the greatest thing about change is that it’s one of the few things in life we can count on for sure. Use that, especially if you feel as though you’ve failed. There’s always time to turn things around. There’s always time to reinvent yourself.

Blasting Through Blocks

Cameron suggests that to work freely on a project, we much be functionally free of resentment (anger) and resistance (fear). Next, she offers five considerations we can ponder before beginning a new project:

  1. List any resentments (anger) in connection with the project. For instance, this person never pays me on time, or I’m upset that I wasn’t the first person considered for this project.
  2. List any resistance (fears) in connection with the project. For example, I’m afraid everyone will think this is stupid.
  3. Is anything else bothering me about it? Really?
  4. What if I don’t create this project? No one can think it’s stupid if I don’t write it, but maybe it won’t help someone it could’ve helped…
  5. Make a deal with the creative force, like “if you take care of the quality, I’ll take care of the quantity.”

Week Nine, part two will be up shortly! Until then, you can find my previous Artist’s Way posts below:

Creative Desires: The Artist’s Way Week Eight

It’s time to shed our old emotional wounds and embrace our creative desires in Week Eight Part Two of The Artist’s Way Challenge! In part two of each week, I’m sharing the creative exercises from The Artist’s Way and some of my experiences with the process. Activities like these encourage self-discovery and help us understand our heart’s desires. This week’s key topic was artistic loss, and how we often let old creative wounds disrupt our confidence and flow.

To recap, week Eight of The Artist’s Way course was, “Recovering a Sense of Strength.” Cameron wrote,

“This week tackles another major creative block: time. You will explore the ways in which you have used your perception of time to preclude taking creative risks. You will identify immediate and practical changes you can make to your current life. You will excavate the early conditioning that may have encouraged you to settle for far less than you desire creatively.”

Morning Pages

I had been doing well with my morning pages during my recent hiatus until November 26th, when I missed five days in a row. What an unprecedented failure! I’m not sure what made me forgot them for five full days, but I swear I wasn’t trying to avoid them. I completed them today as soon as I realized it, though, and I’ll just have to be more vigilant.

The pages have really been my favorite part of this process. I’ll definitely continue writing them long after this challenge is through.

My Artist Date

For my last artist’s date, I finally completed something I’ve been “meaning” to do for months. Earlier in the year, I sorted through all my clothing, sending a fair amount to Goodwill, but I failed to finish the job. By the time I got down to my rack of dresses (yes, an entire rack), I was tired of trying everything on and abandoned the project.

Wednesday, I awoke with renewed energy and was productive all day. I considered cleaning the house because I love coming back to a tidy home after I go on vacation, but I decided it would be more important to check off one task from my list for good. Besides, I vacuumed Tuesday, so I at least had that to come back to.

It ended up being fun realizing how well some of my dresses are fitting me right now and how long I might need to go on a couple of others. Plus, I ended up parting with ten, which is huge! I want more days like that.

Task One: Name Your Dream

In task one, Cameron asks us to name our dream. There are actually six parts to this task:

  1. “In a perfect world, I would secretly love to be a______.”
    • This one is self-explanatory. For me, it’s becoming a commercially successful author, but I’m not sure this creative desire has ever really been a secret.
  2. “Name one concrete goal that signals to you its accomplishment.”
    • You may share the same goal as someone else, but what outcome would make you feel as though you’ve achieved success? Cameron calls this the “True North” on your emotional compass. For me, this would mean being traditionally published and getting paid top dollar for my work.
  3. “In a perfect world, where would you like to be in five years in relation to your dream and true north?”
    • In five years, I want to have published at least one novel to acclaim. How about you?
  4. “In the world we inhabit now, what action can you take, this year, to move you closer?”
    • I’ve been reading a lot of material lately, like writing reference books and short stories, so even when I’m not writing, I’m still learning ways to go about it. I’m also trying to analyze as I read, instead of merely reading for pleasure.
  5. “What action can you take this month? This week? This day? Right now?”
    • I’ll never know everything about writing, as none of us can. But each time I expose myself to a new writer or concept, I increase my overall understanding and perspective. I’m still struggling with building a consistent writing practice, even with all the time off I’ve had this year. I can offer a myriad of excuses why, but that’s all they would be.
    • But it’s just as important to discover what doesn’t work, and I’ve done a lot of that. The best thing I can do now, however, is stop allowing myself these excuses, most of which arise from my fear. I need to focus on my “Why,” and move forward, even if I must remind myself of this daily until it gets through to my thick skull.
  6. “List your dream. List its true north. Select a role model. Make an action plan. Five years. Three years. One year. One month. One week. Now. Choose an action.”
    • This one is a culmination of 1-5. I read about something similar in a book called Build Your Best Writing Life by Kristin Kieffer. She referred to this as a writer’s “Road Map.” I need to spend more time building my road map. So far, I’ve talked a lot about how much I want to write for a living, but I’ve yet to set any clear and specific goals. I think doing so would go a long way in helping me create a consistent writing practice. I just need to work through my fear of failure.

Task Two: New Childhood

In task two, Cameron asks,

“What might you have been if you’d had perfect nurturing? Write a page about this fantasy childhood. What were you given? Can you reparent yourself in that direction now?”

I think about this sometimes, but ultimately, I find such thoughts and activities to be ineffective. We can’t change the past, so dwelling on it doesn’t make much sense. Sometimes we can use the past to understand what led us to our present state, but there is danger in using it as an excuse. I try my best to embrace the mindset of “where am I currently and what can I do to change the things I want to change?”

Task Three: Color Schemes

In this task, Cameron asks us to pick a color and write a few sentences describing ourselves in relation to the color we’ve chosen.

I’m honestly not sure of the point of this exercise. Maybe a study of our preconceived notions about color? My favorite color is purple, which is most often associated with royalty and majesty or magic and spirituality.

Lately, I’ve surrounded myself with a lot of blue, a color associated with stability, loyalty, and calm. Blue makes me feel calm, so that makes sense.

Task Four: Five Things You’re Not Allowed to Do

In task five, Cameron asks us to list five things we’re not allowed to do, such as kill our boss or walk around naked, and then do one of those things on paper (write about it, paint it, etc.).

I did not do this one. I waited too long in between posts and it fell through the cracks.

My creative desires lead me to reconnect with nature, like that found in Hocking Hills
My creative desires lead me to reconnect with nature, like that found in Hocking Hills

Task Five: List Twenty Things You Like to Do

Here, Cameron asks us to list twenty things we like to do (it’s okay to use the same list as previously or list twenty new things). Next, we are to answer the following questions for each thing on the list:

  • Does it cost money or is it free?
  • Expensive or cheap?
  • Alone or with someone?
  • Job related?
  • Physical risks?
  • Fast-paced or slow?
  • Mind, body, or spiritual?

One thing on my list was hiking, and I chose this as an example because it was the activity I took part in most this year. It was free everywhere I went, so cheap. I never did it alone, but I should have; I would’ve liked to have hiked more often. It’s not job related. There was no major physical risk on the trails I hiked because most trails are easy to moderate around here. I tried to keep a faster pace so I could consider it exercise, and I believe connecting with nature is great in all three respects (body, mind, and spiritual).

Task Six: The Ideal Day in Your Current Life

Here, Cameron asks us to plan the perfect day in our current life.

The perfect day in my current life is any day in which I feel productive, and there’s not one specific thing that makes me feel that way. I feel productive when I’ve written a blog post and completed my morning pages. I feel productive when the apartment is clean, the grocery shopping is complete, and I’ve had some physical exercise. Finally, I feel productive when I’ve saved enough time to partake in my creative desires or a mindless activity, like painting, reading, or even watching a new movie or show on Netflix.

Task Seven: The Ideal Day in Your Desired Life

Next, Cameron asks us to plan the perfect day in our lives, the way we wish it could be.

I don’t have one ideal day, as I could do several things I would deem satisfying, especially in my desired life. I know any ideal day would include writing. I’d write something I’m proud to share with other people, something they would find it helpful, or at least entertaining.

Other than writing, it would depend on my mood. I might seek to travel to Madrid, where I’d enjoy a relaxing day drinking Spanish wine and devouring tapas. Or I might stay closer to home and find a moderate hiking trail just outside the city to reconnect with nature. Maybe my creative desires would lead me to attempt a difficult or involved recipe. Heck, maybe I’d even sleep.

Task Eight: Choose One Festive Aspect From Your Ideal Day

Finally, Cameron asks us to choose any aspect from our desired life and allow ourselves to live it. Travel is kind of out at the moment, with Covid running rampant and winter coming upon us. I have been attempting new recipes throughout the pandemic, though. A couple of my recent favorites are a Mushroom Risotto dish and a Key Lime Pie I made for Thanksgiving.

My creative desires lead me to fancy recipes, like Mushroom Risotto
My creative desires lead me to fancy recipes, like Mushroom Risotto

Final Thoughts (Check-In)

There was a long break between Week Eight, Part One, and this Part Two post. I lost some of my writing confidence, so I needed a break. I don’t have much confidence to start with, so it’s easy to lose.

I’ll tell myself I don’t need an audience right now, that I just need to keep writing to improve my skills, but sometimes I feel like I’m writing into a void and it’s hard to convince myself it’s worth it. I’m trying to change my mindset. I don’t want to need recognition to feel confident. I want to focus on my why and encourage my creative desires, to take my ideas and run with them, no holds barred style.

I’m human, though, and it can take time to work through our emotional lack. I just need to keep reminding myself that I’m enough, and I’ll have more success the more I put my writing out into the world. If I stop writing every time I lose confidence, I’ll never be able to build my empire!

If you’d like to follow along with this process, you can find some of my previous Artist’s Way posts below:

Week One, Part One

Week Seven, Part One

Week Seven, Part Two

NaNoWriMo 2020: I’m Here For It

NaNoWriMo 2020 Participant Badge

I’m finally taking part in NaNoWriMo in 2020 because I figure there’s nothing to lose.

If you’re not familiar with the term, NaNoWriMo refers to National Novel Writing Month, an annual writing challenge, which began in 1999. During the challenge, participants attempt to write 50,000 words toward a novel during the month of November. October is usually spent planning out the details, but if you’re coming in late, don’t fret. There’s nothing wrong with jumping in and writing blindly. The point of the challenge is to set aside your inner editor and get a first draft on paper. You can save the editing for December.

Notable traditionally published novels from past NaNoWriMo challenges include Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

I’ve always loved the idea of NaNoWriMo, but the task seemed daunting. Broken out, 50,000 words is an average of 1,667 per day. These days, I can easily hit this many words between my morning pages and whatever writing project I work on, but time is easier to come by now. At one point, I worked three jobs at about 70 hours a week, so 1,667 words felt like scaling Mt Everest.

A novel seems like a huge undertaking, but I need a project like this right now. I need to prove to myself that I can commit. I’m constantly second guessing my writing ability, something I’ve discussed on this blog before (Writer’s Block). I care too much about my first draft being perfect and about what other people are going to think about my writing (or me). I’m tired of living like that. If I’m going to call myself a professional writer, I must commit to creating works I can publish. I’ve got to stop being so tentative about my writing, and giving up because only five or ten people have read my blog posts. By the way, shout out to my readers! I really do appreciate you.

I’m giving my project a working name of Legion. I’m still running through some last-minute plot details, but I know it falls within the Young Adult genre. It has supernatural elements, like magic, as well as revenge, loyalty, betrayal, and love.

I’ll be sharing updates through the month on my progress, and I’ll be getting back to finish The Artist’s Way posts soon.

Have you ever attempted NaNoWriMo? Do you plan to attempt NaNoWriMo in 2020?

Inner Strength: Recovering a Sense of Strength

Inner strength is reflected in and out - ballet dancers showing their power

It’s time to recapture our inner strength in Week Eight, Part One of The Artist’s Way challenge! This week our aim is “Recovering a Sense of Strength.” In this chapter, Cameron has us focus on artistic loss. We often hide our emotional pain by refusing to acknowledge how an incident has affected us. If we don’t affirm this old pain, however, we’ll continue to allow it to block our artistic growth. She writes,

“This week tackles another major creative block: time. You will explore the ways in which you have used your perception of time to preclude taking creative risks. You will identify immediate and practical changes you can make to your current life. You will excavate the early conditioning that may have encouraged you to settle for far less than you desire creatively.”

There are Seven sections in this chapter, plus a variety of exercises to work through at the end.


As artists, we all experience loss in relation to our art. It may stem from a harsh review, a book that didn’t sell, or an injury which prevents us from performing. Either way, it can make us feel hopeless or humiliated, and thus prevent us from moving forward.

Often, we experience loss in the form of criticism. Constructive criticism is golden because there’s truth behind it. It may hurt our egos, but it will hopefully lead to a light bulb moment in which we recognize its intention: genuine interest in our improvement.

“There is a sacred trust inherent in the bond between teacher and student.”

The other kind of criticism, even if well intentioned, is cruel.

Imagine feeling proud of an assignment. What if you turned it in, and your teacher gave you an F with his or her only explanation being that you did a terrible job or lacked genuine talent? What a personal attack! And to make things worse, he or she offered no specifics as to how you might improve.

It’s easy to understand how this absence of constructive feedback might send a young and hopeful student into a shame spiral and possibly make him or her reconsider ever trying again. Heck, I still feel this way sometimes. Our inner strength can take a beating.

Stop destroying dreams!

The Ivory Power

Encouragement. It’s an easy thing to give, but some of the aforementioned criticism tyrants are so lost in their own creative defeat that they know no other way than to take others down with them. Often, these tyrants are on the academic end of creative pursuits. Cameron puts it this way,

“To be blunt, most academics know how to take something apart, but not how to assemble it.”

We’ve all encountered someone like this, such as a respected teacher or professor with a cutting remark about our latest assignment. The boss at our first job who yells at us for letting someone walk out on their dinner check. But we can’t control other people. We must acknowledge these old wounds so we can begin to heal and reclaim our inner strength.

Gain Disguised as Loss

It’s all about perspective. We can dwell on our losses and brushes with failure, or we can take a good look at them and ask ourselves,

“What can I learn from this that will help me on my next project?”

We’re always going to run into obstacles. Life is like that. The only thing we truly have control over are our reactions. So before you accept your next creative defeat, ask,

“What can I do next to make this work?”

Be open to the possibility that things won’t always go as you planned, and that sometimes, that ends up being a very great thing. Working through obstacles develops our inner strength better than anything.

Age and Time: Product and Process

This section includes the classic,

“Question: Do you know how old I’ll be by the time I learn to play the piano?”

“Answer: The same age you will be if you don’t.”

Our age, our time, the amount of money we have (or don’t). They’re all just big excuses for why we stay blocked. We use them to avoid the uncomfortable truths about our creative desires, like the feelings of failure we might face as beginners or the discomfort with how long it will take us to be “good.”

When I’m feeling hopeless, I collect stories, like this one from Writer’s Digest to help me realize it’s never too late to jump back in: Confessions of a Late Bloomer.

Filling the Form

“Blocked creatives like to think they are looking at changing their whole life in one fell swoop.”

Here, Cameron is suggesting that blocked creatives set the mark too high. Instead of starting with one small step, like coming up with a great idea, we demand immediate fulfillment. We want that book to be written already! I feel this one, although I suppose this year has been kind of perfect when it comes to life changing events. The pandemic has upended my life in countless ways.

“Instead of writing three pages a day on a screenplay, we prefer worrying about how we will have to move to Hollywood if the script gets bought.”

I feel seen. It’s time to take one small daily action.

“By altering the launch trajectory very slightly, a great difference can be made over time.”

Time to live that rocket life.

Early Patterns, An Exercise

In this section, Cameron offers some fill-in-the-blank style questions to ponder. There are 20, so to move things along I’m only including a couple:

“The thing that ruined my chance to be an artist was______.”

For me, it was repeatedly hearing people say things like, “It took me 15 years before I made any money from writing or acting,” or “Only a small percentage of writers actually make enough money to live off their writing alone.”

“The negative lesson I got from that, which wasn’t logical but I still believe, is that I can’t______and be an artist.”

Creative pursuits have always been attractive to me, but I’m also very security conscious and I appreciate living a certain lifestyle. Unfortunately, instead of writing on the side, I abandoned it all together as a waste of time when I felt like I couldn’t make money from it.

So I guess that’s the negative lesson I received, that artists don’t make enough money until or unless they’re one of the greats. That’s why I’m going through this challenge. I’m trying to embrace the mindset that I should love the process and write for myself first. Plus, acknowledging my fear and previous losses is a great way to develop my inner strength.


Finally, Cameron asks us to choose five affirmations from a list and focus on them this week.

I chose:

  • I am a talented person
  • I have a right to be an artist.
  • I now share my creativity more openly.
  • I now accept hope.
  • I now allow myself to heal.

Week Eight, part two will be up shortly! Until then, you can find my week seven Artist’s Way posts below (and if you’d like to, go further back from there):

Week Seven Part One: Embracing Failure

Week Seven, Part Two: Make a Connection

Make A Connection: The Artist’s Way Week Seven

It’s time to make a connection in Week Seven Part Two of The Artist’s Way Challenge!

In part two of each week, I’m sharing the creative exercises from The Artist’s Way and some of my experiences with the process. Activities like these encourage self-discovery and help us understand our heart’s desires. This week’s key topic was creative connection. Cameron emphasized developing our ability to hone active and receptive skills, like learning to take risks and listening to what inspires us.

To recap, week Seven of The Artist’s Way course was, “Recovering a Sense of Connection.” Cameron wrote,

“We turn this week to the practice of right attitudes for creativity. The emphasis is on your receptive as well as active skills. The essays, exercises, and tasks aim at excavating areas of genuine creative interest as you connect with your personal dreams.”

Morning Pages

I posted nothing for three weeks because I was on the struggle bus. I had no connection. I’m trying to climb out of my confidence crisis by telling myself I’m writing for me right now, but sometimes it’s hard to get past your mental goblins.

I missed a day of writing my morning pages, September 29th. On another day in this early October, I got distracted and forgot to finish my pages.

But as I’ve said before, all we can do is move forward and be better.

My Artist Date

For my artist dates during this time, I’ve been taking a lot of pictures of clouds and food. I’ve become quite the amateur nephologist. I’ve been doing a lot of cooking too, and I finally went to TJ Maxx and Home Goods for the first time since the initial quarantine. I used to like to go there periodically to check out their kitchenware and general home knick-knacks. Here are some of my favorite pictures from during this time.

The other tasks this week are tough to write about as they were more about taking specific small actions than the typical self-reflection style task, but I’ll do my best.

Task One: Mantra Phrase

“Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong.”

Task one asks us to make this phrase into a mantra and post it where you will see it daily.

I somewhat agree with the statement, but the word, “precious” puts me off a bit. I want to treat myself like a badass woman! I’ll have to become one eventually, but I’m a work in progress and I’m okay with that for now.

Task Two: Listen to Half an Album

I’m constantly listening to music. It makes me happy and reflective and takes me back to times long ago when I felt things more dramatically, but life was still simpler somehow.

In task two, Cameron asks us to listen to one side of an album. I don’t have my turntable hooked up, so all my music is on playlists right now. I perform this task quite often, but I’m constantly returning to the same artists or playlists, and I need to branch out.

I’m going to make that a task for myself this week. Find one or more new artists or albums to explore.

Task Three: Savor Solitude in a Sacred Space

In task three, Cameron encourages us to spend some time in a sacred space, like a library, church, or somewhere in nature.

I spend time in nature each day (on my walks), but there are often too many cars whizzing by, and it gets frustrating. That’s why I usually escape into an audiobook. I’m headed to Hocking Hills this week, though, so I’m looking forward to hiking and fishing up there amongst some beautiful Fall scenery. I need to renew my connection to nature.

Task Four: Create a Wonderful Smell in Your House

Aromas are intoxicating. They can activate emotional response and conjure up long-lost memories. I’ve been cooking a lot lately because it’s like therapy for me. I love attempting new recipes and coming up with new creations.

In this task, Cameron asks us to create a wonderful smell in our house. I had some shrimp in the freezer I needed to use, so I made two delicious meals out of it last week. Here are the pics, so you know it happened.

Make a Connection with tasty food.

Task Five: Wear Something Nice for No Reason

In task five, Cameron asks us to wear our favorite item of clothing for no specific reason. I admit, I didn’t do this one. I’d planned on getting all decked out in my Dirndl for Oktoberfest, but it never happened. I made some fabulous jalapeno sauerkraut balls, though.

Instead, I finally fulfilled task two from week six, “pick five flowers or leaves.” I even made a fun color changing palette from it.

Make a Connection with Nature

Task Six: Buy Something Comfortable or Self-Loving

“Buy yourself one wonderful pair of socks, one wonderful pair of gloves-one wonderfully comforting, self-loving something.”

So I didn’t buy socks or gloves as suggested, but I bought this amazingly adorable cheese grater. I will use it to grate delectable cheeses because giving one’s self cheese is self-love.

Task Seven: Create a Collage

In task seven, Cameron asks us to create a college out of pictures from magazines.

I didn’t perform this task as laid out, but I have been working on my bar collage again. I went to my storage last week to search for some old mementos to add to it, and I didn’t find as much as I would’ve liked, but I found a lot of old concert tickets and some pictures I might add. It will be fun to begin work on it again.

Task Eight: Five Favorite Films

“Quickly list five favorite films. Do you see any common denominators among them?”

Highlander, Pride and Prejudice, Keith, The Fifth Element, and French Kiss.

I watch a good mix of movies. I love a campy horror film. Mindless action flicks are terrific when you don’t like drama, but you need a little adrenaline in your life. I also have a soft spot for romance, especially the sappy Hallmark Christmas movies types. My list proves this connection, and it also proves there can only be one.

Task Nine: Favorite Reading Topics

“Name your favorite topics to read about.”

When reading non-fiction, I enjoy exploring topics related to science, self-improvement, and creativity, hence my blog tagline. But really, I’ll read anything to gain knowledge. It’s important to keep learning. It keeps our brains healthy, and it’s good for our careers and personal lives.

For fiction, I relish the escape of the paranormal/supernatural, sci-fi, and historical fiction. I read widely, though. As a writer, I believe it strengthens one’s craft to read across genres.

Right now, I’m reading Phantoms from Dean Koontz.

Task Ten: Give Your Collage a Space

In the last task this week, Cameron asks us to find a “place of honor” for our collage from task seven. She also suggests doing this periodically or getting more specific with it by choosing magazine pictures that represent our dreams. This sounds like a vision board to me, which I’m on board with.

My bar collage already has a space set up for it over the cabinet in my “dining room.”

Maybe I’ll go to Half Price Books this week and price their old magazines…

Final Thoughts (Check-In)

When I first saw this week’s topic, I thought of connection in terms of interpersonal connections. I should’ve known it was actually about creative connections considering the entire point of The Artist’s Way.

The most important concept regarding creative connection is learning to enjoy the process. So many people give up on their dreams long before they’re realized because they haven’t learned to love their art for the sake of their art.

It’s difficult to put yourself out there. It hurts when you share something close to your heart but receive criticism, or worse, when you don’t even let yourself share because you’re stuck in your own obsessive loop of perfectionism.

If you’re too concerned with recognition, criticism, or comparison, however, you risk losing your creative self. I can think of so many writers and actors who gave up and “got a real job” because they never fulfilled their dream within a specific timeframe.

It’s not about time, though. It’s about loving what you do and deciding what kind of lifestyle you’re willing and able to live with. If you write or act because you love it, you’ll always have an inner drive toward working on your art. If you base that drive on when or if you’ll ever receive recognition or make enough money, you’ll eventually give up. It’s that simple.

We’ve passed the halfway point now, but if you’d like to catch-up you can find my the Week One, Part One and Week Seven, Part One posts below:

Week One, Part One: Creative Blocks

Week Seven, Part One: Embracing Failure

Embracing Failure: Recovering a Sense of Connection

Embracing failure - two wooden caricatures attempting to fit puzzle pieces together

I’m embracing failure after a too long hiatus, and now it’s time for Week Seven, Part One of The Artist’s Way challenge! This week our aim is “Recovering a Sense of Connection.” I feel like we could all use a bit of connection in one way or another right now, though this chapter is more about encouraging connection to our creativity than to each other. Cameron writes,

“We turn this week to the practice of right attitudes for creativity. The emphasis is on your receptive as well as active skills. The essays, exercises, and tasks aim at excavating areas of genuine creative interest as you connect with your personal dreams.”

There are Six sections in this chapter, plus a variety of exercises to work through at the end.


Consider how radio waves work. Waves are broadcast all around us, each with different frequencies. Our job is to learn to tune into the ones we desire. So instead of trying so hard to think up our next idea, maybe it’s time to listen to what’s around us. If we listen in the moment, we allow our brush to take the next stroke.


“For the perfectionist, there are no first drafts, rough sketches, warm-up exercises. Every draft is meant to be final, perfect, set in stone.”

We all deal with perfectionism from time to time. Many of us, myself included, have allowed perfectionism to derail an entire career for years or decades. Instead of enjoying the process, we constantly evaluate our work, rewriting the first line repeatedly or never getting past the first couple of chapters. Our logical brain takes over and convinces us to check our grammar or obsesses over a plot point we can’t seem to work out.

At some point, we must learn to let go. We must believe in our ideas and run with them without stopping to correct our mistakes. Embracing failure is encouraged when it allows you to move forward.


“The success of creative recovery hinges on our ability to move out of the head and into action.”

But taking risks is scary. Some of us prefer to play it safe and lead a life of certainty, one where we know what’s next and our success is all but assured. There’s nothing wrong with living a safe life if you’re truly satisfied with the status quo. Issues come when you’re settling for safety because you’re too scared to move past your fear. Here’s a great Medium article about the need for risk if you want more in life: The Fear of Taking Risks Never Goes Away.

Do you compare your shitty first drafts to the polished, finished products of the greats? Cameron writes:

“Usually when we say we can’t do something, what we mean is that we won’t do something unless we can guarantee that we’ll do it perfectly.”

We must be willing to fail. Embracing failure means we not only allow ourselves mistakes, but we learn from them. Sometimes failing sounds so final, but it’s really a great opportunity. When we fail, we find ways in which something didn’t work, and often that’s more valuable than assured success. It’s empowering to push past our limits, especially when we find a brilliant, new side of ourselves.


Jealousy is a common human emotion. One way jealousy rears its ugly head is when we become envious of those who have been brave enough to move beyond their fears. For instance, if you want to write a book, you may find yourself envious of another writer having sold their debut novel. Per Cameron,

“Jealousy is a map.”

Much like embracing failure, we can use our jealousy to help us understand what we want or where we lack skill, and then we can take necessary action. There’s room for all of us to succeed, so try to allow others’ success to empower you. Besides, life is better for everyone when we help each other out.

The Jealousy Map, An Exercise

In this section, Cameron asks us to create a jealousy map with three columns:

Who are you jealous of?


An action you can take to overcome your jealousy.

One of mine:

Who: Sam Maggs

Why: She’s a prolific writer and has tons of confidence in her field

Action: Stop making excuses

Archeology, An Exercise

Finally, Cameron asks us to complete two sets of fill-in-the-blank phrases about ourselves. Here are a few of them:

As a kid, I lacked______. My answer: someone to help guide me

As a kid, I dreamed of being______. My answer: a writer

I am sorry that I will never again see______. My answer: Pantera in concert

One thing I like about my town is______. My Answer: It’s close to a little bit of everything and it’s a great beer community.

I am taking a greater interest in______. My Answer: Inventing the life that I want.

Possibly, my creativity is______. My Answer: Able to grow.

Week Seven, part two will be up shortly! Until then, you can follow along with my previous Artist’s Way posts below:

Creative Blocks

Creative Exercises

Overcoming Self-Doubt

Making Time For Yourself


Reclaim Your Power

True Feelings

Living With Integrity

Self Sabotage

A Sense of Possibility

Money Mindset

A Sense of Abundance

A Sense of Abundance: The Artist’s Way Week Six

A Sense of Abundance includes wads of money

It’s time to adopt a sense of abundance and embrace the freedom money can bring in week Six, part two of The Artist’s Way Challenge! In part two of each week, I’m sharing the creative exercises from The Artist’s Way and some of my experiences with the process. Activities like these encourage self-discovery and help us realize our true potential. This week’s key topic was learning to allow ourselves a bit of creative luxury.

To recap, Week Six of The Artist’s Way course was, “Recovering a Sense of Abundance.” Cameron wrote,

“This week you tackle a major creative block­­–Money…The essays will explore the ways in which your attitudes limit abundance and luxury in your current life.”

To adopt a sense of abundance doesn’t just refer to our financial status. Money is a big part of the equation, but an abundance mindset also encompasses allowing the genuine joys and pleasures in our lives that what will ultimately lead to creative fulfillment.

The first few tasks have little substance this week, but I’ll do my best.

Morning Pages

My morning pages went well this week. Nothing special to report.

My Artist Date

For my Artist Date this week, I gave my balcony garden some much-needed love. I grew tired of staring up to the balcony when I left the house and seeing this colossal mound of tomato plant. They once were three, but they had wrapped around each other for support and become one. There was definitely a sense of abundance going around. I wish I had thought to take a before picture. It’s crazy how quickly they grow into their new homes and take over their spaces. They’re like weeds.

I trimmed all the suckers (non-flowered branches) and freed the plants to their own devices again. There were finally a few cherry tomatoes ready, so I picked those. I also discovered some additional Black Prince tomatoes within the intertwined stems. None of those are ready, but I’m hoping they will be soon, especially now that the weather’s much nicer.

Task One: Natural Abundance – Rocks

Please note, I haven’t left the house in a week and a half for anything other than my evening walks.

For task one, Cameron asks us to collect five pretty or interesting rocks because rocks can be a daily reminder of our creative consciousness. Unfortunately, my apartment complex isn’t very rocky, so I don’t see very many around here. I’m going to Hocking Hills next month, so maybe I’ll make up for this task then. I’m told Hocking Hills is beautiful and perfect for hiking or other nature-like activities.

Task Two: Natural Abundance – Flowers/Leaves

I see flowers and leaves on my walks.

For task two, Cameron asks us to pick five flowers or leaves. I’m usually more inclined to take pictures of such things, but I just plain spaced on fulfilling this one. I can still do this, though, either on my next couple of walks or maybe even in Hocking Hills. I bet there will be some cool leaves around once fall officially arrives.

Task Three: Clearing – Out with the Old

We’ve discussed this before, but I’ve recently gone through all my clothes and taken about three bags total to Goodwill.

For task three, Cameron asks us to get rid of five more ratty pieces of clothing. I discovered a sock while doing laundry that had developed a hole in it, so I promptly tossed it out. I’ll probably revisit this task when I’ve lost some more weight, but I think I’m set for now.

Task Four: Creation

For task four, Cameron asks us to bake something. This is a task I can get behind. I love cooking and baking. I don’t pull off every dish I make, but I enjoy the process, and I try to clean up as I go along so my kitchen isn’t a total disaster. And food always makes me feel a sense of abundance. Haha.

I get too wound up when it comes to writing. I’m so worried about coming up with something original or perfect that it sometimes removes the joy from the process. When I’m cooking or baking, I can enjoy it without worrying about the results, much like when I’m painting. Part of undertaking the Artist’s Way was my hope that I could embrace this same mindset with my writing, to let go of the desire for a specific outcome.

In continuing with the gardening theme, I made some pesto with the rest of my basil plant. It had been looking distressed for a while, so I harvested what I could and retired it for the year. It had about two cups’ worth of basil left on it, which ended up being the exact amount I needed for my recipe.

My Artist's Date Basil Pesto

I tried out my Microplane Grater/Zester to shred the cheese, and it amazed me how well it performed. There’s so much cheese now! I had only used it a couple of times previously (for zesting), but now I’m sold on its full capabilities.

It was fun mixing up a new recipe again. I love creating sauces, dressings, and soups because they’re so easy to put together. Plus, you have the added health benefit of knowing what’s going into your food. I’ve been eating reasonably healthy lately, but it had been a while since I’d taken the time to put something together from scratch.

Task Five: Communication

Hmm. For task five, Cameron asks us to send postcards to five friends, people we would love to hear from. I straight-up failed at this one too. I’m not even sure I have five friends right now. Only a handful of people have kept in touch with me during the pandemic, and I don’t even keep addresses on file.

I’ve been a bit of a hermit lately, but it’s mainly because I’ve had some unexplained health issues, which has made me wary of going out as much. I’ve even been getting my groceries delivered this month. Or maybe I just have too many excuses. Ha.

Task Six: Favorites

For task six, Cameron asks us to list our favorites in ten different categories. They were:

  • Cars – There are many beautiful and fancy vehicles out there from brands, like Aston Martin, Ferrari, Mercedes, and Mclaren, but I’ve yet to see anything more beautiful than the 2004 Saleen S7 in dark red. The curves ❤
  • Dogs – All dogs come from Heaven, but Mastiffs and Dachshunds have a special place in my heart.
  • Flowers – Stargazer Lilies. Beautiful and exotic.
  • Trees – Speaking of a sense of abundance, I love spending time in nature. Plant life is so unique and plentiful. Redwoods and Sequoias live for thousands of years and tower over everything in their path. Japanese Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) only bloom for a couple of weeks in Spring, so they’ve come to signify new beginnings and remind us that life is short, and thus we should celebrate it. When the Rainbow Eucalyptus sheds its bark, it reveals a vivid green underneath. As it matures, the green moves through different colors of the rainbow-like a live painting. Here’s a list of some awesome trees. Overall, I don’t have a favorite tree, but I love how Spanish Moss adorns Live Oak trees in the South.
Spanish Moss on a life oak tree
So gothic and whimsical.
  • Fruits – Apricots, Figs, Mangoes, and Nectarines when they’re properly ripe.
  • Vegetables – I love eating my veggies. They’re good for you, and they can be so versatile. If I had to choose a favorite, I could probably narrow it down to peppers, but I’m not sure I could choose a favorite type. I love them all from sweet to hot.
  • Desserts – Key Lime anything. This one’s easy. I love dark chocolate too, but there’s nothing like fresh key lime in a cheesecake, tart, or pie.
  • Entrees – I like how simplistic and versatile stir-fry dishes can be. Any kind of BBQ is delicious, especially veggie kebobs and brisket or pulled pork. Sushi is probably my favorite meal, though. If you want to get specific, I love it when sushi places can make me a Spicy Scallop Handroll.
  • Musical Groups – Pantera will always be my all-time favorite. They remind me of the good times in my childhood, and I’ve never lost my love for heavy metal music. These days I listen to a lot of symphonic black metal, but I’ll listen to anything, and I actually mean it. I have dance party mixes for when I want to feel upbeat (and convince myself to clean the house), and sometimes I just need to throw on some 1950s and 60s rock-and-roll or doo-wop to connect with my inner old woman.
  • Colors – Purple. Think the flat purple on the Minnesota Vikings helmets.

Task Seven: Reread

For task seven, Cameron asks us to reread the Basic Principles and our own (or her) Artist’s Prayer each day. Here is my Week Four link, which includes Cameron’s Artist’s Prayer as well as my own: Artist’s Prayers.

Task Eight: Clearing – Environmental Changes

We need to change our home environment sometimes. We definitely need to make changes when things get cluttered and unorganized, but sometimes we need to make changes just for the sake of it. I find this especially true during the pandemic, when many of us are spending more time at home because of remote work or fewer social engagements.

For task eight, Cameron asks us if we’ve recently changed our home environment and encourages us to do so if we haven’t.

I changed nothing major in my environment this week, but I tossed out some outdated spices and other majorly expired items in my pantry. I can’t stress how superior fresh Ginger is when you’ve been using an old ass jar of the spice for too long. Thanks to my favorite spice dealer, The Spice House in Chicago!

Task Nine: Acceptance

What does flow mean to you?

For task nine, Cameron asks us if we have noticed any new flow in our lives and reminds us to say yes when freebies come along.

I’ve experienced no new flow in my life recently, but I would never say no to a freebie. I’m open to a sense of abundance!

I’m basically living the same pandemic lifestyle as I have been since earlier in the year. I’ve also spent the past few months trying to figure out what I want from the next chapter of my life. As far as working goes, I know I would prefer not to go back to the typical 9-5 lifestyle. I enjoy working remotely. I love the freedom of working for myself. The lack of traffic is also a plus, and I still get to listen to audiobooks when I’m on my walks, so I’m not missing the literal car time.

I know that I need to take more accountability with my writing. That’s the most challenging part about working for yourself. You must make your own decisions, create your own goals, and meet your own deadlines. That’s the flow and balance I’m trying to reach.

Task Ten: Prosperity

Have your thoughts about money changed at all? Money isn’t everything, but it’s a big part of feeling a sense of abundance.

For task ten, Cameron asks us if we’ve noticed any changes to our financial situation or our perspective on money.

Mainly, I’ve come to accept the financial uncertainty I’m currently living. I know I haven’t been consistent enough with my (public) writing to see any significant economic benefits. Lately, I’ve just been studying topics and testing various ideas to see what works. I haven’t figured out how to make much money from my interests yet, but I expect that will come with time and a solid plan. Half the battle is figuring out what you really want. Goals don’t matter unless you take specific actions toward them.

Final Thoughts (Check-In)

I’m not going to lie. I enjoy the luxury of having nice things, and because of this, money has been the primary motivator for me throughout my life. This hasn’t always been a positive thing, but I like the experiences money can bring. It offers us freedom in seeking the experiences that bring us joy.

I used to crave stability. One thing the pandemic has taught me is how freeing it can be to trust in yourself. I was always so worried about where my next paycheck would come from before, and now I understand it’s much more important to enjoy what I do. I guess I’m learning to enjoy the process, as they say.

Money isn’t evil. There’s no limit to how much money you can make if you decide what you want, set the right goals, and take the right actions. A sense of abundance is available to all of us. We don’t all have to be CEOs either. It’s okay to want whatever you want. We need to overcome the perception that money or time is holding us back from our true potential. So stop selling yourself short and stop accepting a life of scarcity.

You can find my previous Artist’s Way posts below: