How to Create Space for What You Love (Even if You Hate Your Life Right Now)

 

man creating with paint on canvasI admit it: I hate my life right now. I am feeling overworked, underpaid, and asked to take on more each and every year. Part of it has to do with recent leadership changes where I work. In the last three years, the college I work for has had three different deans. Each leader has his or her own priorities and initiatives, and the faculty and staff are faced with making sure the previous initiatives continue and starting the new ones that the new leader wants to implement. On Tuesday, I will be having a difficult conversation with the Administration, explaining that I need my nights and weekends back and asking what can either be dropped or shifted to someone else.

Continue reading “How to Create Space for What You Love (Even if You Hate Your Life Right Now)”

If You Aren’t Sure What to Write Next, Read This

I am between projects right now. It is a foreign feeling for me. Normally, I race on to something else before finishing my current project, constantly scanning my environment for the next amazing thing to do or activity to try.

This year, I decided to try something different. I set an intention to finish what I start. It is more difficult than I imagined. Now, before starting something, I actually have to commit. No more leaping out of something because I’m stuck, bored or both.

woman watching sunrise with raised arms

Continue reading “If You Aren’t Sure What to Write Next, Read This”

Overcoming Writer’s Block: My Journey as a Writer

Woman sitting on the table and writing something in her noteboo

Even though I have been writing and journaling consistently since I was eight years old, I still have problems with writer’s block. Take today, for example. I want to write this post but have been staring at my computer screen for almost an hour, trying to figure out what to write next.

Writer’s block never really goes away, for me anyway, and it can happen for any number of reasons. Typically, I find that writer’s block results from allowing external opinions or circumstances interfere with our writing practice.

This is a lesson I have had to learn over and over again, starting most memorably fifteen years ago when I decided to put writing first after finding inspiration and my voice while completing Julia Cameron’s creative unblocking course The Artist’s Way. The course was a revelation to me, and I got serious about my craft as a fiction writer and poet and applied to MFA programs in creative writing. I didn’t get accepted. I was devastated. I stopped writing for awhile but eventually took a creative writing course at my local community college and found the will to continue.

After working consistently on my craft for another three years, I got accepted to the MFA program at Columbia College in Chicago. I was ecstatic! FINALLY, I was going to earn the terminal degree that told the world I was a writer. The only problem? It didn’t work out.

Continue reading “Overcoming Writer’s Block: My Journey as a Writer”

5 Ways to Stop Sabotaging Your Writing Dreams

young-african-american-woman-writing-in-her-journal

Okay, I admit it: I am writing this blog post for myself today, just as much as I am writing it for all of you, my lovely audience. Why? Because even though I have made a career out of writing, there are still plenty of days when I doubt my own abilities and talents, and I recognize the need to talk myself back into what I know, based on the hard lessons about writing and life that I need to learn and re-learn.

Today is one such day. While journaling this morning, I kept thinking about how uncomplicated my life would be if I could only stick to my blog on web development. I mean, as a career, it makes good money, and so does my blog on the topic! So I go back to developing websites, only to sneak off and work on a novel or screenplay in progress when I should be blogging about “The Best JavaScript Courses of 2018” or piloting a new course on the Python programming language. Continue reading “5 Ways to Stop Sabotaging Your Writing Dreams”

How to Earn Money Doing What You Love

black woman painting in studioRecently, I was on vacation in New York City and discovered a book in the NYU bookstore that I was really excited about. It is Jonannah Negron’s How to Be an Artist. I saw the book and just knew I had to have it. Usually when I get a feeling about a book, it’s dead right. My intuition was right on this book, too, except for one thing: Negron says that all artists need day jobs.

That really bothered me because she is assuming that you can have EITHER your art OR your freedom. But what if you want both? Do you really need to choose?

NO! One hundred times over. No. You don’t need to choose. As an artist, you CAN have both. Continue reading “How to Earn Money Doing What You Love”

In Defense of Passion: Why We Should Make Time for What We Love

two-people-standing-over-a-sign-that-says-passion-led-us-hereOne question that has plagued me throughout my adult life as a creative person is, should I follow my passion?

When I was in my twenties, the answer was a resounding YES. It was easy enough to make that decision in college when I was a student and didn’t have to worry about things like health insurance or saving for retirement. I felt free to follow whatever interested me and did.

It got considerably tougher to do that once I was out of college and in the “real world,” trying to make a living. And yet, I eventually found my way back to writing. In this post, I will discuss my own journey with the hope that it will inspire you to always make a little time for your own dreams. Continue reading “In Defense of Passion: Why We Should Make Time for What We Love”

The Book That Finally Helped Me Write a Novel

writing with fountain penLet’s face it: writing a novel is hard work. And, one of the things that often makes it harder is books on how to write novels. Yes, you read that correctly. I honestly believe the sometimes reading a book about how to write a novel actually gets in the way.

Perhaps you’ve read this elsewhere—and because I absolutely believe this to be true, I think it bears repeating—there are two kinds of novelists:

  1. Writers who write by the seat of their pants (sometimes called “pantsers”) and write each day without planning their novels.
  2. Writers who plan each part of their novels before they write it, complete with character sketches and an outline.

The trick is knowing which kind of writer you are before you purchase a book that will help you write a novel. Continue reading “The Book That Finally Helped Me Write a Novel”