Thinking Too Far Ahead

One problem I have when I’m planning to do something is thinking too far ahead. The constant “what ifs” can get downright ridiculous.

This especially happens for me with writing. I’ll just begin planning a novel, and before you know it, I’m worrying about what other people might think of a novel I haven’t even begun to write yet.

That’s where mindfulness comes in. Why not just take one thing at a time and be right where I am, instead of being far away in a future that might never happen? Thus, both mindfulness and writing are two areas where I want to put in more time. Worrying about possible futures, on the other hand, should take less of my time.

So, today I will aspire to be more mindful, do more writing, and be more mindful about my writing.

Getting back to writing (again)

When I started this blog, I was hoping to keep writing at least weekly if not daily. However, I tend to go through phases where I write a lot followed by phases where I write very little. Maybe it just depends on what’s going on in my life at the time, but I’m definitely happier when I’m writing.

The question is, how do I keep up the writing on a more regular basis? Writing at around the same time each day helps with making it a habit, but one of my problems is finding the right regular time to write. I’ve been working on a meditation practice, which I usually do in the morning. I find that I have trouble getting up early enough to get both meditation and writing in, though. It might be best for me to write in the evening, but my schedule changes more in the evenings. Or maybe it would be better to just work on getting myself up earlier in the morning. At least weekends are easier.

So, finding the right time to write every day remains a challenge. Still, I’m aiming for my current bout of writing to be more than a phase.

Restarting a journey

Several years ago, a friend recommended the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron to me. It’s a 12-week program for creative recovery. The first time I did it, I only got through the first couple of weeks. The second time, I got through 4 weeks. The third time was the charm; I finally did the work for all 12 weeks. It has a lot of great exercises, and I’ve kept up doing the morning pages (three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing each day) most of the time, though I’ve neglected to do them for a few months here and there. I then would always start doing them again, though, and I’ve been writing them regularly for the past couple of years.

A few months after I had completed The Artist’s Way, I started another book by Julia Cameron, The Vein of Gold. It includes some of the same tools as The Artist’s Way, including morning pages and weekly “artist dates” (doing something fun by yourself for at least an hour). It also includes daily walks, which works well for me, since I walk quite a bit anyway.

However, then I started on the first big exercise of the book, the Narrative Time Line, which is writing the story of your life. I started with the first five years of my life and didn’t get past that. I couldn’t remember much, and now I realize that I struggled with this because I wasn’t being honest with myself about my childhood. I was trying to paint too rosy of a picture of it, so I kept getting stuck.

Now, I’m again embarking on The Vein of Gold, and I’m starting my work on The Narrative Time Line. A lot of self-reflection, classes, meditation, and therapy in the past few years have helped me to be more honest with myself. So far, the Narrative Time Line is going much more smoothly because I’m not trying to only remember happy times from my childhood. I’m remembering the painful experiences as well. This might not be easy, but I think this will be a great journey for me.

Waterfall


“All that hiking, and this waterfall is just a trickle.”

I stared at my friend. Fine, there wasn’t a ton of water in this waterfall today, but it was still a lovely waterfall, and this canyon was so beautiful.

“Why are you always so negative?”

She shrugged. “You’re the one who likes hiking and waterfalls so much. I’m just along because you dragged me here.”

I sighed. I knew I needed to find better friends to hike with. In the meantime, I was fully planning to enjoy this hike and any waterfalls we might find, regardless.

A year later, I hiked to the waterfall with a friend I had made in a hiking club.

“Look at this! Isn’t this amazing?”

That was more like it.

Getting back to writing

It’s been quite awhile I’ve posted anything, but I’m getting back to writing more regularly now. I’ve still been journaling every day, and I’ve been doing writing exercises off and on.

However, now I’m getting back to more fiction writing, and I hope to be posting quite a bit more. I got back to submitting short stories to literary journals, and I’m planning to continue learning and improving my writing.

Trying the blog thing (again)

I’ve tried starting blogs a few times, and I usually get about as far as one introductory post and then perhaps a picture or two. This time it will be different (really!).

Anyway, on to the actual introduction to my new blog. My name is Julie, and this blog will be focused on the joys of writing and will include my thoughts on writing, my writing progress (and I’m hoping there will be a lot of progress), inspirational quotes from writers and others that seem to pertain well to writing, and some of my actual writing. There might be a few other random thoughts and photos as well.

I enjoy nonfiction writing, but I really love to work on short stories and novels. When I was in college, I majored in journalism, but I always enjoyed my few creative writing classes. My current day job is copy editing and proofreading scientific journal articles (I’m always pretty embarrassed when I discovered that I’ve spelled something wrong or made a big grammatical error in anything I write).

I’ve done NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) several times and won twice, but I have yet to actually finish revising one of those novels. I’ve taken more writing classes since college, and I always feel that I still have a lot to learn. However, I think that my biggest obstacle is self-confidence. I need to learn to believe in myself to put more of my work out there.

I hope that everyone who reads this blog enjoys it. Please let me know your thoughts on anything I post. (Constructive criticism is good, but I would prefer not to read “This sucks!” Please at least tell me why it sucks.) Here’s to writing about writing!