W. W. D. D.

I’m feeling inspired and challenged this weekend by the ever-fabulous Dita von Teese.

The initials that entitle this post stand for my new mantra: “What would Dita do?”

It’s not that I want to be Dita, but I have long admired her fabulous style and poise, and the depth, integrity and graciousness with which she lives her truth.

I’m currently reading her book: Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour. I spotted it in our local library and thought it might help me with my difficulties with stage make-up. I don’t usually wear make-up, so preparing for dance performances can feel a bit of a trial (and don’t ask about my attempts at false eyelashes – no, really!)

What I’ve gained so far has little to do with make up, and everything to do with how I live.

I have been firmly reminded, in a way I can no longer ignore, that my life is entirely what I make it: my daily decisions and choices today shape my future.

I find this awareness both terrifying and strangely exhilarating – a heady mixture of responsibility and permission.

If we create our own lives by our choices (large or small, deliberate or unconscious) then the implications are enormous.

We have the power to create our future right now.

Let me write that again:

We have the power to create our future right now!

How cool is that?!

It’s like the ultimate in creativity! We each create our own life…

Okay, we may not have the power to employ ourselves in our dream job, or to throw off disease and disability – I will wholeheartedly acknowledge that each of us starts from a   different place.

But!

We do have the power to choose whether we apply for that dream job – or set up our own business and employ ourselves.

We do have the power to choose how we react to our situation: do we bury ourselves in a traumatic past or seek to rise up and look to the future? Do we go along with what everyone else does or find our way? Do we keep doing what we’ve always done or try a different way?

The choices are ours – large and small – every day…

I don’t know about you, but I find that idea incredibly exciting.

… even if it means I have to accept that I’m also shaping my future when I choose biscuits over dance practice… Exciting is not the same as comfortable 😉

So, I am feeling inspired and challenged.

How will I choose to live? What do I want my future to look like? What do I want the future me to look like? (It seems that part of the answer to that last question involves more lipstick than ‘past me’ expected!)

I can take small, but deliberate, steps towards answering these questions every day.

And so can you!

What will you choose?

What future will you shape?

W. W. D. D.

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A partial list of things I will do to avoid writing…

  • search for books about writing
  • fold socks
  • re-order my Pinterest boards
  • re-assess all of my 843 Etsy favourites
  • actually do housework
  • make cups of tea
  • sort through my pen collection
  • play Battle Cats on my phone
  • cruise Facebook and Twitter for clickbait
  • mine cobble for 3 hours on Minecraft
  • re-arrange the bookshelves
  • commit random acts of tidying
  • eat chocolate
  • play Solitaire on my phone
  • hunt for more biscuits
  • put away the clean towels
  • read tweets about writing
  • dust stuff
  • attempt to nap
  • play Forest Life on my phone
  • ponder the deep recesses of my soul (AKA gaze into space blankly)
  • take photos of clouds
  • think about taking photos of clouds
  • sort through photos I’ve already taken of clouds (and decide not to delete any)
  • read books because that’s almost the same as writing, isn’t it?
  • write a (partial) list of things I will do to avoid writing

Some ideas for your weekend

If you need a break from working on #25, here’s some other ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

My thanks to the fabulous Rachel Brice for sharing this on Facebook...:

Inspiration: drought or flood?

 

Photo4269

Sometimes it seems the well of inspiration runs dry. Other times one feels swept away by a flood of ideas.

Personally, I don’t particularly enjoy either situation!

I find myself either bored and frustrated and restless, or overwhelmed and confused. Neither is particularly useful for actually getting on with creating stuff.

So what to do?

My main answer is notebooks! Well, that and lots and lots of handwriting.

I try to jot down the ideas when they flood my brain, so I have a reservoir ready for the dry patches.

When the floods hit, I make lists and jot notes and handwrite myself to solid ground.

And when the waters recede out of sight, I handwrite until the words flow easy again.

I find the action of handwriting loosens things up and steadies me. (There is a possibility I’m a bit odd!)

I do sometimes wonder if there are ways to balance it out. Is a steady flow even possible? Or is this inspiration business strictly tidal?!

What do you find?

Are there techniques you use to manage your flows of inspiration? Or are you up and down like me?

If you do know ways of managing the flow, I’d love to hear about them… There’s the comments section below and the Facebook page – or if you can squeeze your insight into a few characters, tweet me!

How to handle the odd weeks

Sometimes in this living creatively thing, everything goes pretty smoothly. We set goals and plan and then actually achieve our goals round about the time we said we would. The kids play nicely (or at least bicker quietly) so we are able to our own thing for a bit without constant interruptions. The cat leaps up on your desk beside your laptop, not on it, thus not erasing your day’s work. The weather is okay. The washing gets folded. Work is busy but relaxed. We actually manage a consistent practice of dance or sketching or meditation or whatever. All is basically well.

Then there’s the other times…

This week so far has been one of those weeks for me. I call them ‘odd weeks’ not because they are actually that unusual (alas), but because of how they leave me feeling: off kilter, grouchy, unfocused, just a teensy bit (!!) resentful, and definitely NOT ‘even’.

So, apart from turning into a snarky grouch, how can we handle the ‘odd weeks’?

Well, I may be pretty experienced at suffering them, but I’m much less so at managing them graciously!

However, I am learning a thing or three as I go…

1. Identify the source/s of the oddness

Are you getting enough sleep? Did you eat or drink too much of something that disagrees with you? Has something changed at your day job? At your partner’s day job? Is it a full moon? Are there road works outside your house? Are your kids home sick? Or all of these plus some more (you poor soul)?

For me this week, it’s a combination (isn’t it always) of a child home sick for two days, and changes at work, and disrupted sleep. This all lowered my energy levels and my productivity, leaving me feeling generally grouchy AND under-achieving…

2. Once you know the source, it will hopefully be easier to figure out what to do about it.

Trying to fix it without knowing the problem is a lot less likely to succeed!

Solutions are generally something you’ll need to tailor for yourself, because we all do work and react differently. While obvious things like watching what you eat, or trying to get regular sleep, or phoning the council to find out when the road works are due to end can help with some things, others are more complex to handle.

This week, I’ve identified that it is the disruption to my routine that really kicks off the whole downward spiral. Without that I can mange the other factors.

This is actually something I’ve known for a while, and I have tried different fixes over the years with limited success. I’m thinking I may need to get a bit more formal in my fixing, so I’m considering preparing a plan for coping with the disruption: My plan is to jot a rough outline on an index card which I can grab and refer to on days when I’m home with sick kids, or working half days round sick kids, or it’s school holidays. That way I won’t have to think so hard (I hope!) I haven’t actually done this yet, but I figure it’s worth a try. Have you ever tried anything like this? If so, how did it work out for you?

3. Review how your fix actually worked

Hopefully it worked, and keeps on working.

But if it didn’t, there is no sense trying the same thing over and over (note to self!) Give yourself a break! Try taking a few moments to brainstorm some other possibilities; talk to a friend or colleague about how they cope; ask the social media hive mind for ideas; Google it!

We don’t actually have to do this alone. It is okay to ask for help, or for ideas, or for support.

So that said, given my previous ‘fixes’ haven’t fixed anything, anyone got any ideas? Or want to share a story of your own attempts at fixing disruptions? (Or shall we just join hands and skip around the oddness and hope that embarrasses it into leaving?!)

4. In the end, odd weeks (while frustrating) are okay

It can be hard to remember in this constantly ON, high pressure society, but we are actually allowed to have off moments and odd weeks. The world is unlikely to come to an end because the washing didn’t get folded or someone had to wait an extra day for an email.

Take a deep breath, then another one, and let it all go.

After all, if it wasn’t for a little oddness, we’d only have two things in this list!

Turn up at the page

Or ‘a note to remind myself’

 

Sometimes the words flow like water.

Sometimes they stick in the fingers, defying all efforts to force them out.

Turn up at the page.

 

Sometimes Awen flows like rivers, flooding the soul with inspiration.

Sometimes there is a drought.

Turn up at the page.

 

Sometimes the muse visits.

Sometimes she is delayed elsewhere (perhaps stuck in traffic).

Turn up at the page.

 

Sometimes the keyboard glows with meaningful words.

Sometimes the blank screen glares accusingly.

Turn up at the page.

 

Sometimes every word feels effortless.

Sometimes no words come, however hard the struggle.

Turn up at the page.

 

Whether the words come easily,

Whether the pen runs dry.

Turn up at the page, my friend.

Turn up at the page.

 

Look after your future self

This poster hit me like a meteorite (but without the enormous crater and dinosaur extinction):

"Do Something Today That Your Future Self Will Thank You For" Framed Print

Such a simple concept, but oh so powerful!

I don’t know about you, but I find it very easy to get caught up in day-to-day needs and desires and to-do lists, and lose sight of the little fact that I’ll (hopefully) still be here in 10 or 20 or 30 or even 50 years…

but I don’t want to be right ‘here’ then…

I want to have moved on and done great things…

which isn’t going to happen unless I actually DO some things now…

All this doesn’t necessarily require grand gestures. Small steps work too. Dreaming big is all well and good; planning is fantastic; but nothing quite beats ACTUALLY DOING STUFF! [emphasis to remind myself 😉 ]

What small things can you commit to today to help out your future self?

Pick one or two and get to work!

My ‘small things’ for the moment are

  1. commit to doing some dance practice every day
  2. do at least one thing every day to help move my career/work life forward. Today that involved reading through the ProBlogger jobs board. I have made a short list of simple things to do to help #2 along, and I’ll keep refreshing that as I work through it.

Please share your ‘small things’ here or on the Facebook page: that way we can cheer each other along.

And feel free to remind me about mine… but right now I need to dance a bit 🙂