Planner Up!

bujoI know I need a routine. It gives my day some structure so I don’t just fluff off a whole day. I’ve done that before. More than once. It’s not a good feeling to realize it’s 10:30 at night, time for bed, and I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing.

That’s what not having a steady, full-time (or even part-time) job can do to you. Er…. To me.

To help establish and maintain a routine, I need some kind of planner system.

I’ve tried the DayPlanner system that you can buy at office supply stores. I use it for a while, then stop because it doesn’t really work for me. It’s not flexible. I can’t add things to it.

Then I tried coming up with my own system.  I called it the KNOWS – Keep a Notebook Organizational Working (or Writing) System.It worked, to an extent. I could only use it for one project at a time, though.

I needed something I could customize. Something flexible. Something that I could use for more than one project at a time. That’s how I work. More than one project at a time. I typically have one big project — a novel, perhaps — and several smaller ones — articles, blog posts, etc.

Someone online mentioned this thing called the Bullet Journal. I watched the video by Ryder Carroll and I knew it was exactly what I was looking for — and trying to create myself. Someone had already developed the system, tested it, put it in place, and knew it worked.

After I watched the video, I went to the website and read everything I could to learn how to set it up. Then, in January, I started it. I used it for a while, but since nothing was really happening, I let it slide. Now, since I’m getting back into a routine, my Bullet Journal (aka BuJo) is back. And I’m making things happen. Which is really how it should have been in the first place.

If you decide the Bullet Journal system is for you, I’ve been collecting resources and have run across some great ones. My Bullet Journal is evolving from a plain vanilla notebook that I’m not all that inspired by to something decorated and showcasing me and my life on the page. I like that. I’ll be glad to share my resources with you. And even tell you how it works for me.

But for now, I figure we’re good to go.

Oh, and what kind of notebook do you use? Whatever kind you want! The one in the picture above is my current personal BuJo. I’m working in a larger black one (that I will soon decorate on the outside as well) for my work life (writing, editing, photography, speaking, etc.). It’s so customizable, there is really no wrong way to do it. And that makes it fun.

Until later.

Making My Way Back

fruitI have been trying to figure out how to restart this blog and to explain my absence from it. Then I realized I don’t really have to explain, but I want to. Some of you came here to regular (or semi-regular) posts, then I was gone all of a sudden. Some of you may have stumbled upon a dormant blog.

My last post was in January. It was an attempt to restart then, too.

For a long time, I tried to blog because it was expected. it’s what a writer needs to do to build a platform, to gain an audience. It felt forced to me, so it fell flat. Unfortunately, it probably sounded forced to you, too.

I apologize for all of that.

Now I am returning to the blog. While I hope you are here to read it, comment on it, and ask questions of me about whatever I post, I am doing it for me.

You see, for the past year, I have been dealing with some health issues that had me keeping my foot propped up for 8 of the last 10 months. In that time, I haven’t done much writing. I’ve done a lot of reading. I’ve done a lot of crocheting. I even learned to knit, which is something I have wanted to do for years.

I started a separate blog for the health stuff. It stalled too, although for different reasons. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be that personal. I wasn’t sure that I wanted people to know that I am diabetic and I struggle with that sometimes.

I realize, though, that is part of me. And the tagline for this blog is “Wandering on the creative journey.” That is part of the wandering. That is part of finding my way. That is part of finding me and making my way back to who I am, who I was, and — more importantly — to who I want to be.

I am trying to take a more healthful approach to life. I’m walking more. I’ve joined Weight Watchers. My blood sugar is consistently under better control. It’s still not perfect, but I’m working on it with my doctor. I got a FitBit for my birthday to help me stay motivated.

I will write about creativity and things I am doing. I will write about how things are going in my personal life and wtih my health. Since I am doing this for me, it will not be with any real regularity. There will be some weeks with daily posts. There will be some weeks with no posts. Most weeks will be somewhere in-between. And that’s OK.

I give myself permission to take things slowly and do what needs to be done.

The picture with this post? That was my breakfast this morning. A fruit salad of a green apple, some strawberries, and a couple Clementines. I also had a piece of toast. I should have included something with protein, maybe some peanut butter on the toast. I’ll do that next time. I enjoyed it, though. And isn’t that important too?

I think so.

Until next time.

Restarting

I have decided that I am going to restart this blog. I am going to cover a wide variety of topics. We will still talk about creativity and the creative journey, but over the past year, I realized something both simple and profound.

All of life influences and informs our creative journey. You can’t look at just one part of it at the expense of everything else.

I am a photographer, writer, editor, fiber artist, cook, and teacher. Some things are still in progress. Some things are in the middle of being done. And still more things are finished.

It’s all a process. We might as well have fun doing it.

Weekend Schedule

Creative Commons via catchingcourage.com
Creative Commons via catchingcourage.com

Earlier, someone on Facebook asked what people’s plans are for the weekend. After I posted, I realized this weekend is fuller than most. It looks to be a good one, though.

As of today, I’m behind on my NaNoWriMo project since I haven’t done any work on it today. I’ll use tomorrow to catch up on today’s words and also add tomorrow’s. I have a writers’ group meeting I’m going to and then an interview with a doctor in the emergency department at the hospital for an article I’m working on for the paper.

What about Sunday?

I’ll do more NaNo writing, go to a baby shower, and go take pictures at a Lego Town building party. It should be fun. Monday will be back to work on more paper stuff, so I’m not going to have any down-time from the weekend. Sometimes that’s not necessary though. Here’s hoping this will be one of those times.

WIP Exerpt

When I’m occupied with thinking about current projects, sometimes it’s hard to come up with a blog post. So today, I’m cheating. Here’s the opening of my NaNo novel. (I’m currently calling it Eureka Steam, but that will likely change.)

—–

Shelly Parks reapplied her maroon lipstick and studied her reflection in the restroom mirror. I should be the one babysitting for Paige and Ricky instead of the other way around, she thought as she pushed the door open. She almost ran into someone before her eyes adjusted to the dim light in the bar.

“Sorry.” She backed up a step and stumbled.

“Careful.” He caught her elbow and held her upright until she felt stable. His deep voice since shivers down her spine.

“Thanks.” She smiled in spite of herself and straightened her hat. Who knew a few gears could be so heavy? “I…I knew I should have stayed home. I’m no good at places like this.”

He laughed and gestured to the rest of the room with his left arm, wrapped in armor. “Who is? But that’s the fun of it.”

“Maybe.”

He let go of her elbow.

You didn’t have to do that.

“How about a dance before they do last call?”

“I…”

“Don’t dance? Me neither.”

“Okay.”

He tipped his hat to her, adjusted his monocle, and offered his unarmored arm.

She accepted and walked with him to the dance floor, hoping her skirts wouldn’t trip her up. One song ended as they got to the edge of the dance floor. After a short pause, another started. “What is this?”

Her companion laughed. “It’s steampunk music.”

“It sounds…weird.”

“Some people think so.”

“How do you dance to it?”

He pointed to a couple nearby, moving with exaggerated stiffness. “Like them.”

She shrugged. “I can do that.”

They danced to that song and the next one before he led her off the dance floor. “I’ve got to go. Early morning tomorrow.” He glanced at a clock above the bar. “Today.” He grimaced.

“Me too.”

“Thanks for making tonight more enjoyable.” He paused.

“Shelly.”

“Shelly,” he repeated and smiled. “Maybe I’ll see you around.”

“I certainly hope so.”

“Mitch.” He saluted her and left.

The next morning, Shelly poured herself a cup of coffee and wished she hadn’t stayed out quite so late. She took a sip as her phone rang.

“Parks residence.”

“Shelly, you need to come to the store,” her shop manager Meagan said. She sounded frantic. “I’ve already called the police. They’re sending someone over too. Someone broke in overnight.”

“You’re sure?” She put the coffee mug down. The ceramic clunked on the formica.

“Uh-huh.”

Oh, hell! Most of her inventory was in the shop. She had hoped to spend the day in her clay studio, but it didn’t look like that would happen.

“Are you coming?”

“Yeah. Give me about 10 minutes and I’ll be there.”

“OK.”

She hung up, hurried to the bathroom, and looked at her reflection. “Nice wash job, Shel,” she muttered. Maroon lipstick was smeared around her mouth and she had raccoon eyes from the dark eye makeup. She washed her face, put her hair in a ponytail, and dressed in jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt.

In front of the shop, she turned her flashers on and put the car in park. The “Shelly’s Shack” sign on the open door framed a hole. She shook her head and walked in.

“There she is,” Meagan said.

“I’m sorry I’m late.”

“It wouldn’t be late if someone hadn’t busted in your door, now would it?” a familiar voice asked.

She felt the same tremors down her spine as she had the night before. Mitch? She rounded the corner.

“Good morning, Ms.—Shelly?” Mitch looked up from his notepad.

Funny. Last night I never noticed he was bald. “That’s me.”

“You two know each other?” Meagan asked.

“We met last night,” Shelly explained. “I’ll tell you later.” She turned her attention to the police officer. “We went to the bank last night at closing, so there wasn’t much cash for anyone to take.”

He nodded. “Whoever it was… Well…. I think it was personal.” He moved away from the display case in front of the cash register. The pottery there had been shattered. “I need you to go over your inventory and see what else was damaged or taken.”

“I will.” Shelly blinked. Who? Why?

“Okay. I just need your contact number and I’ll be done here.”

She gave him her home and cell phone numbers. She watched him write them down and leave.

“Shel?”

“What?”

“You okay?”

No. “Call Paige. I think I need her help.”

Treat #1

A few years ago, I did a presentation on creativity tips to the Torchlighters Toastmasters group in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I had the entire presentation written out. It lasted less than 10 minutes, so the accompanying notes/article isn’t very long.

But here it is. One of the promised treats for your Trick-Or-Treating Halloween pleasure.

Four Tips for Overcoming Creative Roadblocks