What “The Artist’s Way” is doing for me

I’m on week eight of The Artist’s Way now. So I thought I’d share what this program is doing for me as an artist, writer, etc. It’s the “etc” that I didn’t know was there. There are many issues TAW brings up that you never quite knew were there. I knew some of the issues obviously, that I was a blocked creative and that this needed to be fixed. I also knew this was likely due to a few life experiences that stood out in my mind. But I had no idea how far this would take me and I love it!

I’m great at morning pages and awful at artist dates. I choose to do my pages on 750words.com.

Yes, I’ve dealt with some of those unsavory life experiences and early childhood scars that became on barriers to my creativity. Fun stuff!

I’m allowing myself to play again. Play guitar, play in general… I’m unemployed, so you’d think this wouldn’t be a problem. But like a typical blocked artist and recovering addict, I quickly moved to fill up my schedule. I have a part-time job at a recovery center, I have my own freelance writing business now, and I am still running You Deserve Reiki.

I have found my creative energies seeping into YDR. I have redecorated my therapy room:

Much creative energy has gone into redecorating the Reiki room at White Dove, including the energy it took to manifest that lovely Mayan tapestry on the wall!

Much creative energy has gone into redecorating the Reiki room at White Dove, including the energy it took to manifest that lovely Mayan tapestry on the wall!

I have new ideas for the blog. They are not posted yet. I’m deciding to take the blog into a new direction and write more posts about self-care, which is the idea behind me getting into Reiki in the first place three years ago. Self-care is the idea behind the name, “You Deserve Reiki.” I also believe self-care is essential to our survival as human beings! So more posts about it are about to happen. I can give people Reiki, but I think I will give clients more if they receive some self-care ideas as well.

Like I mentioned, I am giving myself more time to play guitar. I am even seeking out some lessons.

My guitar is a pink Dean rescued from a pawn shop on Bell Road in Phoenix for $169. I love her.

My guitar is a pink Dean rescued from a pawn shop on Bell Road in Phoenix for $169. I love her.

I also found this fun app I am just getting into called Yousician.

Thought I'd try a new medium for learning.

Thought I’d try a new medium for learning.

I haven’t gotten too far into it yet. I think when I do, it will require some in-app purchases. That may be OK. The point is to have fun and enjoy playing the guitar without my pesky perfectionist tendencies popping in. Also, the point is to get back into playing like I did in college when I was 18 — right before quitting the guitar altogether for a full-time radio job. I had to drop out of guitar class because of the hours I worked, so I put it down completely. Total black and white/all or nothing thinking! I got carried away in career, life and addiction. Now it’s 18 years later. I AM GOING TO PLAY GUITAR NOW.

Another screenshot of Yousician, which is kinda like Guitar Hero.

Another screenshot of Yousician, which is kinda like Guitar Hero.

There are other silly things too. I’m putting a lot of creative energy into a new wardrobe because I have a new life that requires a dress code for my job at the recovery center. I’ve also lost 30 pounds since September by eating an auto-immune-friendly, anti-inflammatory, mostly-Paleo diet. I’ve had a lot of fun hitting thrift stores to create a new look. It’s risk-free since I’m being thrifty about it. I’ve found some really awesome clothes for a fraction of what I’d pay for brand-new. It takes the anxiety out of rebuilding a wardrobe since I don’t have to worry about the money aspect of it. This is all a part of self-care too — especially the diet which is presided over by a doctor.

I put a lot of energy into organizing my writing space at home. Sometimes, the closest thing to an artist date for me has been coloring a mandala (adult coloring is a trendy new thing now) or watching Orange Is The New Black on Netflix. Giving myself time and space to play has been one of my biggest challenges!

One of the most important things is the writing. That’s the reason I am doing this. I am tackling issues about the creative writing (or lack thereof) in my life. Now I’m actively working on one of my three novels. I just started a short story. I’m always writing poems. In an effort to get more serious and focus about where this is all going, I also purchased a stack of books from Writer’s Digest.

Do you see where this is going?

Do you see where this is going?

I fiercely defend my writing time. I’ve turned inward a lot because of this. I’m hyper focused on myself in a selfish way. But recovery is a selfish act. Yes, this is creative recovery as described in TAW. But I see this also as a larger part of my recovery from addiction as well. There was a point where I lost myself. More likely, I lost myself again and again over the years. Now my job is to get myself back more and more (I thought I had already but more was revealed). My job is to give myself back my hopes, dreams, my ability to play, and those original yearnings I had towards fulfilling my purpose.

Soon to be writing for Inside.com!

I am proud to announce you’ll soon be seeing my name pop up on Inside.com and the Inside app (for iOs, Blackberry, and Android). Time to put that news writing and journalism experience to work!

I made this video about it because I’ve been making lots of videos for my Wichita radio listening audience on my Facebook fan page since I’ve been off the air in January. Making videos and talking to my listening audience on social media has been tremendously creative and healing for me in my time of unemployment — which I now consider the greatest adventure of my life.

This has been a great opportunity to return to writing. Period. I’m back to working on novels and poetry. I’m taking The Artist’s Way course. I’ve landed four freelance writing gigs so far in just three months. I’ve gone to work part-time as a Peer Mentor in Training at the Substance Abuse Center of Kansas’ Crossover Recovery Center. I’m also still running my Reiki practice out of White Dove. I’m busy doing such a ton of creative things that life is a joy!

So thank you for reading this blog, watching the videos, liking the page, and otherwise just coming along on the journey!

Follow on Twitter @heatherlarson 

A couple advancements in my writing career

The word of the year for me so far is “reinvention.” 

I’ve always been a writer. From horrible teenage journals in the 1990s to the journalism courses of my early 20s…there’s always been pen and paper in hand. Over time, my habits and talents have evolved. There was the SEO content writing period. Then there was my needing to be a journalist to legitimize myself as a “writer,” because if you aren’t getting paid it isn’t real, right? It doesn’t count…I think this is covered in the part of The Artist’s Way I’ve already read. Class begins Sunday and I’ve read up to chapter two already.

Let’s do this.

I went through my screenwriting phase — which I’d like to get back into by the way. If only my bills can pay themselves so I can do all this non-stop 24/7 with absolutely no balance, right? haha.

Here’s what’s next! 

I’m excited and feeling like I’m giving birth to more of a stable and exciting writing career than ever before. I’m finding new ways to build my platform and segue into being more of a healing arts writer. More on that to come. I’ve also found an exciting new opportunity I can’t yet talk about. Yes, I’ve written about health before as well as general interest articles for magazines and websites. It’s time to get back into that.

If you’re interested on what’s going on and what’s happening, keep checking back.

My other blogs: 

I’ve also got a couple other blogs I’m writing if you’re interested. One is about my work as a Reiki Master, YouDeserveReiki.com. The other is one I’ve had for years that encompasses all that I do — the writing, Reiki, radio, food, hobbies, music — whatever. Since it’s the grab bag of all I do it’s called Everything Heather.

Check me out on YouTube: 

I’m also starting out on YouTube. What’s great for me about this art form is I’ve made enough videos now since I’ve gotten off the air that I’m telling a story. It’s not a screenplay, poem, short story, or novel. It’s not a blog post. It’s an arc of videos I’ve been putting out since the first week of January. I’ve got (to my surprise) quite a loyal following of those who’ve listened to me on the air in Wichita for the past four years. I decided why not take them with me into my new, post-radio life? As I take risks and make journeys, I’m bringing people along in this story. As I make changes and start new, I’m bringing along an audience. It’s amazing how YouTube can do that for you. This is also helping me broaden my social media skills. It’s my personal opinion all authors can benefit from that.

As soon as something is published, I’ll post about it here!

Some of the old writing I've been sorting through lately. Yes, I wrote for "Veg News" back in the vegan days!

Some of the old writing I’ve been sorting through lately. Yes, I wrote for “Veg News” back in the vegan days! I even framed my article. 

 

I love the site 750words.com!

This is part of my efforts in working “The Artist’s Way.” I can’t handwrite three pages each morning. This is 2015; that’s not for me. It was OK in the 1990s, before everyone had a computer in every room and in their palm. Why buy paper or notebook to write something that’s only going to burn through my shredder immediately? Why kill trees over that?

To do the morning pages, I began trying to type them out. But what is the conversion there? What does three pages longhand turn into typed? I started Googling and discovered 750words.com immediately. It had popped up in my Facebook feed recently. It had been mentioned in one of those useless listicles that are so plentiful on the Internet today. It was useless because it didn’t sell me on what 750words.com is really meant to do!

I still found it anyway. Here’s a sweet infographic on why I like it:

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 9.22.03 AM

Look at me bang out my daily quota of brain drain in just eleven minutes without distractions at a whopping 70 words per minute. Usually I type around 50 words per minute when I do this. Today, my brain drain included about 17 different ideas I am passionate about for the future of my career. It’s easy to understand how I could drain so much of my brain so quickly. I’m passionate about moving forward into a better and more fulfilling future as I leave my past behind.

But the 750words.com experience gets better!

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 9.22.33 AM

The site gives you analysis of what your 750 words are about. I love that! I am highly analytical, probably to my detriment sometimes. Since I am aiming to live always in today and only in today, I am happy when it shows I am in “The Present.” For most of the last week, it has shot back to me that I was uncertain, so seeing that I am suddenly “certain” in my brain drain is pretty gratifying.

I love that I have this website as a trusty, daily companion to my TAW work. This is an exciting time in my life as I rebuild from a 16-year career in radio. I have the chance to return to my writing projects as well as my Reiki business. I have soul searching to do and this project is really helping so far. Even if you don’t do “The Artist’s Way” book or course, sign up to do 750words.com each day. I am finding it is helping me get past the censor. A few smart sentences have even emerged so far. The point is that it’s brain drain. The point is that I show up at my keyboard daily. This is why I was surprised when something clear and useful emerged yesterday. It may make it into a novel. Or not. The point is I am doing this. That’s all that matters!