Thursday, February 25, 2010

Just Another Day in Paradise

I have recently reacquainted myself with one of my most prized tools as a writer, my critique group. Scheduling conflicts have lead us astray for the latter half of last year, but we are reevaluating and changing days and it looks like we may have found a happy medium.

Our little group originally consisted of 6 writers in varying genres but with a common denominator, we love to write and are passionate about getting our stories down. Our stories range from novels, short stories, thriller, science fiction, crime, fantasy, articles, business writing, throw in some poetry and snapshots of life and we have it all.

Having a critique group is priceless. Everyone brings varying degrees of input and insights. A great group can help by asking you the questions you didn't think of in the first place, further fleshing out characters and scenes, and helping you find markets you didn't think of for your work.

I get the best of both worlds. I get a fantastic critique group complete with masterful brainstorming sessions. Meeting over drinks or dinner, we throw ideas around, play what-ifs, brainstorm plot and characters.

With such a crack team, I know our writing will be better than it ever could have been working alone. And the fabulous support system it brings isn't so bad either.

I left our meeting yesterday invigorated and ready to plot and work that short story that has been brewing in my head onto paper, and better equipped to say what I wanted to say on the first draft instead of playing my favorite game of chasing my writer's tail/tale (ha, works both ways).

I sprained my ankle last night. Slept horribly in pain without any meds or ice or anything needed to fix a sprain. I headed to the ER this morning to spend money that I don't have and to get info that I could have retrieved off of my wonderful computer. Life is grand indeed.

Pain induced combined with sleep deprived, I made poor decisions which may affect my already straining working life. But I can't change that now. What's done is done and will have to be dealt with as it happens. I can just pray for mercy and hope for the best.

If there is anything worse than being at home, bored, tired of reading, tired of sleeping, miserable, elevating/ice packing/compressing a swollen foot, I just don't know. Relief came by way of the wonderful FEDEx man who delivered a package of art supplies I ordered last week.

With an elevated foot and using my "new to me" wonderful drawing board that my mom picked up at a garage sale for $1, I worked on my current art work in progress, my self portrait. I just wanted to tell my artsy friends out there about a product that I love, love, love.

Tim Holtz distress ink crackle paint is a must have. (I'll add pics later once my invalid stage ends). I'm a fan of using crackle paint, and the old way that I did it included mixing a cheap crackle medium with the acrylic color of my choice and painting it onto the page. Other than having to wash the mixer, there really isn't any other steps than that and its super easy.

But the ingenious behind Tim Holtz products never fails to astound me. The paint is thick and gooey and the end result crackle affect alters in size based on the amount of paint applied on the area. It dries quickly and works favorable with a heat tool. Tim Holtz distress ink pads can be added (once fully dry) to enhance the antiquing affect and look of the cracks. Truly fabulous. I love love love it. Get it online at or

Art heals in more ways that we ever know or understand. Looking back at my original art journals, the pain flows off of the pages. I sometimes wonder how I lived with so much anger and hurt. My more recent books are fresh, healthier, happier.

Yet sometimes I feel that opening myself up to art may have stinted my writing capabilities. My words are not as sharp and great as they used to be. Maybe I'll have to sacrifice my old writing style for my art. Hopefully, there isn't a limit to the amount of creativity available. Either way, this is something I will deal with as it comes.

I'm a writer, an artist, and a liver of the creative life. What will you create today?

**Note: I have not been paid for or by any company, etc for posting this blog. All products discussed were purchased by me with my own hard earned cash from the retail and home health businesses.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Turning Tides

It seems I only post when I have some bad news to share. Or maybe its just that there is only bad news going on in my life. Anyways, this was a rough week. I found out that I will be losing hours at both jobs. 15 hrs from my main job and still not sure about the second one.

I've been searching everywhere looking for the next career path for me, and I just haven't found anything. Its hard to find a career path in life when all you know for sure is that you want to eventually be able to write and create art full time. Distant dreams that require more work on my part if I ever hope to fulfill them.

Going to college is a constant goal of mine because I have a constant need to learn new things. Being a college graduate is a goal that I set for myself a long time ago. I wanted to be the first in my family to graduate and that alone is the only reason that motivates me to finish my degree. I am 6 classes away. So close and yet so far. I will graduate one day; in what, it doesn't really matter. But one day I will be able to say, "I started, I stopped, I tried again and again, and I did it. I graduated!"

But regardless, the fact is that my college choices do not affect me in terms of setting the path to lead to my "dream job." I can be a writer and an artist without ever receiving the slip of paper that says I stuck it out, against all odds and without any financial aid. But I want to be a writer and an artist that completed a goal of graduating from college that she set for herself so long ago. But for now this dream is on the back burner as I struggle to find a place for myself in the working world.

Reviewing past choices, I realize that I may have been hasty in my past decisions. But either way, whats done is done and this is the path before me. Sink or swim time.

I had an appointment with a business this week regarding possibly exhibiting my artwork. After being stood up, I had a momentary period of bitterness and depression. But this is only a minor dip...I will find a home for my art soon.

I visited with my critique group for the first time in eons. It felt wonderful. I missed those guys and gal so much. Their input really makes in difference in my writing. We are two short from where we started, and I miss those guys a bunch and pray that life will somehow bring them back to us. But as with all other aspects of life, what will be will be.

I feel that the new amount of "free" time I now find myself with will aid me in my goals. I have a career plan but now I need to work on my writing portfolio. It's time to get things in order. I have a few short stories percolating and a few submissions to send off. It feels so good to be back to my writing. I'm taking an online course on drawing and I love how casual it is. I put creating art to the side while I work on getting my house and art studio back in working order.

Artwise, I'm working on a project called Paint and Pass with 4 fellow artists and friends. I finished my portion of the piece and sent it to the next person on the list. I can't wait to see the finished product which will look great on my wall!

I can now find a balance between my health, home, and career goals, thanks to this new found free time. I can have time to truly work out, work on the relationships that I've neglected this past year with the ups and downs in my life, and sit butt to chair and write, draw, paint, create.

February is a busy month for me. I have so many deadlines for the end of the month, and I'm not quite sure if I will meet them. I mailed off one set of ATCs but I have 3 more sets due by the end of the month. I have a week to go and I better get a move on it.

There is a perfect short story competition that is unfortunately too close to meet, but the theme is one that I'll add to my to do list as its one that I know is a story for me.

My goals are to finish things. Start smaller instead of bigger. Get one level done and accomplished and then move on, "inch by inch, page by page" is my new philosophy.

Good times are up ahead. I put my faith where it belongs and know that I will be taken care of. All I can do is the best that I can do and know that the rest will come.

So I'm off to do a bit of writing before work. The tide is about to change for sure. I can feel it! Happy creating!