#IWSG: My Biggest Writing-Related Regret

IWSG

Hi everyone. It’s the first Wednesday of the month and this means it’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) to meet. I have been doing pretty well in the writing department over the past month.

My Morning Pages, which I started last Saturday, are going strong so far, although I’m resisting getting up for writing them sometimes. I am not as strict with myself as Julia Cameron expects. I mean, I can’t handwrite at all, so I am typing up my pages. I am also not being strict about the three pages (750 words) per day. So far, yesterday, I almost got there. The other days, I barely got to 500 words if even that.

Then again, I’ve been blogging quite consistently over the past month. I wrote 23 blog posts in December, which means I reached my goal of publishing 300 posts in 2021 (in fact, I published 303). In January so far, I’ve been posting everyday and I am still quite motivated to continue doing so. There are a few blogging-related challenges that provide prompts, such as #Bloganuary, #JusJoJan, etc. I don’t intend on participating in any of these challenges every single day, but to use them as springboards towards creativity.

Now on to this month’s optional question. This month, we are asked to share our biggest regret in our writing career. I don’t quite consider myself as having a writing career per se and, as such, my biggest regrets involve things I didn’t do rather than things I did. Like, in late 2020, I fully intended on writing a story for Chicken Soup for the Soul about the impact of care homes closing to visitors due to the pandemic on me and my husband. I never did. I could, of course, still write the story and share it on my blog, but that would be different to submitting it to Chicken Soup.

Behind the fact that I never wrote, much less submitted the story is a fear of rejection. I tend to think my work is not good enough. Then again, if I don’t try, I will never succeed.

In my Morning Pages, I keep writing that maybe I am not supposed to do The Artist’s Way at all, because I am already public with my writing and my crafting. I am not a shadow artist in this respect. Furthermore, as Julia Cameron says, it is audacity, not talent, which gets some people to become published creatives and others to stay in the shadows. I tend to interpret this to mean that, if I am audacious enough to publish my work online without having done the program first, it must mean I’m not talented. That’s probably not what she means.

My Hopes for 2022

Hi everyone and a very happy 2022 to you all. Today, like each year, I am sharing some things I hope to achieve in the coming year. I don’t usually call them goals, let alone resolutions. I mean, I used to have a ton of New Year’s resolutions when I was a teen, but these went out the window come Blue Monday. Not that I’d ever heard of that date at the time, but it was still what happened. So, hopes. Here are my hopes for 2022.

1. Get to a less stress-filled (I originally typed “less stress-free”), relatively healthy diet. I already eat relatively healthily at least if I look at my hopes for last year, in that I consistently eat two to three servings of fruit each day. I have also ditched the cookie with my morning coffee. My idea of experimenting with eating bread rather than crunchy muesli for breakfast, went out the window pretty soon and I’m not likely going to give it another try.

That being said, I could still improve on my lunches and make healthier snack choices. Besides, I would really like to stress less about food. For this reason, my staff got in touch with the dietitian, who is going to E-mail her a list of tips and recommendations based on my current food list this coming Tuesday.

2. Remain stable mentally. I am pretty stable mental health-wise already. I hope I will remain relatively sane as I adjust to my increased topiramate and later my decreased aripiprazole in particular. Of course, my aripiprazole taper might not be over with by the end of this year.

3. Keep writing consistently. I started a morning writing ritual today. Officially, I decided on Morning Pages, which dictates you have to write three pages. Then again, this is done by hand and I cannot do this anyway. I’ll be content if I can keep up the writing habit each morning even if I don’t make it to 750 words.

I did pretty great on my blogging over 2021, having written 303 posts over the year. I’d really like to write at least as many posts this year.

I would also like to broaden my horizons where it comes to my writing styles, writing more creatively.

4. Expand my creativity. Particularly, keep up with my creative hobbies. I did quite well on those over the past year too, having rediscovered polymer clay. I’d really like to improve my skill, but, like last year, don’t intend on doing the work all by myself.

I would especially like to discover some things to make myself rather than just copying from YouTube. Of course, I already select my own colors and do some things differently than in the tutorials, but I’d really like to expand on my creativity.

I will continue to do my own version of The Artist’s Way. I mean, I can’t take myself on artist’s dates completely solo because I can’t leave the house independently, but so what? My inner artist wants to be released just as much.

In line with the above, I’ll also experiment more with making my own essential oil blends and such rather than just copying recipes I find online.

5. Get back into the reading groove. This was a massive fail in 2021. One of my bookish resolutions for 2021 was to read 20 books. Well, I didn’t even reach half of that. See, I should’ve called them hopes rather than resolutions. Anyway, I’m not setting a number for myself right now, but I do hope to read some more than I did last year this year.

6. Socialize more, be it online or offline. COVID permitting, I’d like to go to the rescheduled Cerebral Palsy Day in April and to a regional Eye Cafe. This is a meeting of the Eye Association, which I joined in late November. I may also want to join the regional CP Cafe, which is held online on January 8. In addition, I’d really like to join online and hopefully at some point offline meetings related to my hobbies.

7. Deepen my faith. My faith really went in deep ebbs and flows over the past year and that’s not good. Thankfully, I didn’t lose my faith altogether. In fact, I signed up for an introductory course on Christian doctrine at BiblicalTraining.org last Thursday to get myself back in tune with what I believe. I really hope to be working on my relationship with God through Jesus Christ more this year.

What are your hopes for 2022?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Also linking up with #LifeThisWeek.

Artistic As Always #WotW

Hi everyone this Christmas Eve. How are you all doing? I’m doing pretty well. I’m joining Word of the Week again with a phrase (as almost always) and (again as almost always) my phrase of the week is related to my creative endeavors. I’m trying to come up with original phrases to say I’ve been crafting and creating a lot again. Today my phrase of the week is: Artistic As Always.

Truly, I don’t think a single day went by that I didn’t do any creative activity. I mean, I haven’t been blogging as often as I’d like to, but I did a lot of polymer clay work. I created several charms, including a planet, a flower and a rainbow, which is currently in the oven.

I also created my first polymer clay cane. A cane is a log of clay with a design on the inside, which you can then cut into slices to use as beads or to decorate a vase or whatever. I decided to do a flower cane and to make the slices into beads.

I will combine them, some yellow beads I made today that are also in the oven and a flower charm I made last week into a necklace for a woman who lives in the care home downstairs from mine, who is obsessed with necklaces. I still need to create lots of yellow beads, but the woman won’t have her birthday till the end of January.

I also got some crafty supplies in my Christmas hamper from the day center. They are two silicone molds. When I saw them, I did worry they’re a bit too shallow and detailed to use with polymer clay, as they’re officially for chocolate I think. I created a butterfly with one of the molds, which is now in the oven too.

I do worry that the butterfly will be some kind of omen though. You see, a fellow client went into hospital with recurring seizures yesterday and I’m worried sick that he’ll die. Please all pray that he’ll recover.

In addition to creating art itself, I’ve also been busy exploring the artistic community online. I joined several Facebook groups for neurodivergent creators and artists. For those not aware, the term “neurodivergent” refers to people with a neurological or mental health condition, such as autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, etc. I initially worried the term “artist” or even “creative” was meant to include those creating visual artworks such as paintings or drawings only. Thankfully, I quickly found out the groups I am part of are inclusive of all creative outlets.

Lastly, inspired by a conversation in one of the FB groups, I decided to buy the books The Artist’s Way and The Artist’s Way Workbook. I haven’t yet been able to do anything in them, because I read books on my iPhone and using my Braille display only and, since the latest iOS update, these don’t work well together. That is, several times a day, seemingly at random, my Braille display will get stuck and the only way to get it unstuck is to reboot my iPhone. Not ideal when in the middle of a sentence in a book.

Overall, I’ve been really artistic over the past week. It’s been an intense week on other fronts too, but I may share more about that in a separate post.

Word of the Week linky

Gratitude List (October 2, 2020) #TToT

I already published a post today, but I want to write more. I originally tried to write this post using the dreaded block editor, because I’ve heard it’s being forced onto WordPress bloggers more and more. I however for the life of me couldn’t properly link back to the Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) page I’m joining in with. Here is my gratitude list, starting with…

1. The WordPress block editor not being fully forced onto me yet. On both PC and iOS, WP is trying to coerce me into using the block editor in all kinds of ways, but so far, I’ve found a workaround on both. I can only guess how long this is going to last, but I’ll keep using the classic editor at least for posts like this one for as long as possible.

After all, one issue I’ve found is that the block editor won’t let me write lists without converting them to HTML numbered lists, which seems to mean I can’t write multiple-paragraph list items like this one. I also greatly struggle with adding links, like I said. So, anyway, I’m grateful I can still use the classic editor.

2. A fries and snack vendor came by the facility on Sunday. It was a staff’s last shift before retirement, so she wanted to do something special. Another home had asked the snack vendor to visit us, so we decided to tag along. I had tons of fries and two snacks.

3. My mood being pretty good. Except when I was muddling with the block editor, that is. Overall, I feel pretty relaxed lately.

I am also so grateful that depression hasn’t sunk in as of yet. I often start feeling depressed by late September or early October. November is usually the worst. Let’s hope I can skip it this year.

4. Lots of engagement on my blog. I attribute this partly to #Blogtober20, but I’m also more able to interact with other bloggers and they engage with me in return.

5. Interesting journaling prompts. I got a subscription to Journey, a multi-platform diary app. I cannot really use the app, but I love to benefit from the prompts.

6. Relatively good weather. Yesterday was a pretty rainy day, but the rest of the week has been pretty much okay for fall.

7. My creative juices flowing. And my ability to handle failure if what I had in mind doesn’t turn out the way I imagined it. I mean, I’ve been trying to make my own air-dry modeling clay using baking soda, corn starch and water, but I probably used way too much water. I ordered new baking soda and will try again next week. This did give me an excuse to order new essential oils too, as those are sold at the same store.

That’s it for now. What have you been grateful for?

Pandemic Positives

Today, Fandango asks in his weekly provocative question wehther the need to quarantine as a result of COVID-19 has made you a better person.

Lockdown here started in the middle of March with restaurants acutely closing their doors, school closures and, a week later, a no-visitors policy in nursing homes and care facilities. I couldn’t see my husband for nearly three months. Then we could see each other, but we had to keep our distance as much as possible.

Life more or less returned to some sembleance of normal at the end of June. Still, people are scared. I, not so much, though I do take COVID-19 seriously. There are still certain restrictions, most of which don’t affect me too much.

The main thing affecting me was not being able to see my husband. This certainly made me appreciate our very special relationship even more than I appreciated it already. I mean, I chose to go into long-term care last year, of course not knowing that this would mean not seeing my husband for a few months. However, I doubt most marriages would survive even that decision, let alone the consequences. I attribute the success of our marriage mostly to my husband’s everlasting love, but I do deserve some credit for it too.

In general, too, the pandemic has made me more appreciative of what I do have. I am physically healthy and so are my loved ones. In April, a man at the home below me died of coronavirus. Though he was in his 70s, this shocked me a little. My father is in his 70s too, so I’m all the more grateful to still have him.

Other than gratitude, I think the pandemic taught me some level of creativity. Before the lockdown, I found it hard to connect to my husband when I didn’t see him. Now we call each other multiple times a week and text multiple times a day. Of course, I could’ve done that before too, but out of need grew the solution.

I also read somewhere that some people are particularly happier now than they were before the pandemic. I have to say so am I. The reasons may not be related to the pandemic at all, as I’ve also finally settled into the care facility and such.

In general though, I think the pandemic has had and continues to have negative effects on the world, of course. However, if it affected me personally at all, it’s positively. By this I don’t mean my economic, social or health status, of course. Though I’m still financially secure and healthy, no-one knows whether this will remain this way given the huge economic costs of the pandemic. I’ve just become a more positive (or should I say less negative?) person.

#IWSG: Ready, Set, Write?

It’s once again time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) day. I don’t really feel like checking in on it, but this at least is a monthly reminder to keep at least somewhat focused on my writing endeavors.

This past month was a mixed one when it came to my creativity. Early in the month, I was really inspired and really felt like writing fiction and poetry again rather than just blog posts. I did write one poem and read a ton of them, but my ideas for fiction never made it into actual stories.

I got ahold of a few interesting books on writing. One of them is called Ready, Set, Write and it inspired the title of this post.

Inspired by the advice in this book and others in the Adventures in Writing series, I started stream of consciousness writing in an app called Drafts. Several blog posts and the one poem I wrote this past month, were originally drafted in this app.

Still, I’m not sure I’m ready to actually devote much of my time to writing. It’s a great hobby, but like with everything, I don’t have the patience to practise and want to be at least somewhat proficient at it pretty soon. That’s probably why I keep disappointing myself.

On to the optional question of the month. This month’s question is whether you’ve ever been inspired to write a story based on a piece of art. I have not, as I am very artistically ignorant. I tried to blame it on my blindness, but then I realized there are other works of art besides paintings.

I did however very often base my stories on the fiction I read. This sometimes led to plagiarism. My best story yet, which should’ve become a young adult novel but never got finished, was inspired by a book about a teen whose mother had multiple sclerosis. It followed the same subject but its plot was very different.

How about you? Do you base your writing on works of art?

The Daily Four (September 9, 2019)

I am once again joining in with The Daily Four. I am a day late with this one, as I didn’t discover it till nearly 9PM yesterday, which is my usual bedtime. Here are the questions.

What truly motivates you to write?
My readers, I guess. Before I became a blogger, I had an online diary and even when I still kept my diary on my private computer, I always envisioned someone reading it. I rarely write without an audience in mind. It doesn’t mean I get depressed if my posts don’t get (m)any comments, but I delight in finding that people read my work.

Other than that, I’m motivated by an intrinsic will to write. Even in the times of my personal computer diary, I would be proud if I wrote an entry everyday for a certain amount of time. The longest I’ve gone without skipping a day, is probably like three months.

What’s cluttering up your life today and what are you doing about it?
I don’t really know. I’m not one to be bothered by physical clutter easily, probably because I don’t see it and as such, it doesn’t distract me. However, there may also be this thing like mental clutter, where thoughts clutter up your life. That definitely happens to me and I’m not sure it’s a thing, but I’m making it into one. Worries tend to clutter up my life in this way. So does thinking about what I should be doing instead of doing it.

Did you enjoy a creative childhood?
Yes. I was a writer from an early age on. I also enjoyed drawing when I still had enough sight to do it. My mother was the most encouraging of my artistic creativity, but my father encouraged me to think creatively.

Have you ever wanted to write a book or if you have written a book do you feel accomplished for doing so?

Yes! I wanted to be a children’s book author when I grew up and have quite a few unfinished manuscripts. One of them was pretty far along. It was called The Black Queen and was about a teen girl whose mother had multiple sclerosis. I must admit, my stories were full of plagiarism though and not very imaginative.

I still intend on someday writing my autobiography. However, I’m not sure whether I’ll do it, as it requires quite a huge attention span to sit and write a book.

Autistic Pride Day 2019: Reasons I’m Proud of Myself

It’s June 18, which means it’s Autistic Pride Day. I have known this for years, but didn’t realize it today until I saw another blogger share about it just about an hour ago. I don’t really know what to write about for today. I could list positive traits of autism, but others have probably already shared those. Besides, I don’t pride myself on my autism, despite not seeing it as a negative thing. I am proud of myself just for who I am. For this reason, I am going to list some reasons I’m proud of myself. Autism, after all, is part of who I am.

1. I am self-aware. I had a meeting today with a care consultant for a possible living facility for me. I was quite able to articulate my needs and strengths. I am increasingly aware of those.

2. I am resilient. Some people don’t think so, as I’ve had multiple mental health crises. However, I always veer back up.

3. I am determined. I don’t let others tell me what’s best for me. Again, this isn’t always seen as a positive characteristic, but so what? I think these people are just trying to get me to be submissive to their ideas of what I should be.

4. I am honest. I can be blunt, but I always speak my mind.

5. I am open to new experiences. This may contradict some common autism stereotypes. In fact, when I first heard of autism, it was explained to me as “being afraid of new things”. I am not.

6. I am affectionate. I do display affection in my own, autistic way, but I can definitely show love and affection for my husband and others I care about.

7. I am creative. Not in the sense that I can tell imaginative stories – my fiction has a horrible lack of imaginativeness to it -, but I think outside of the box.

8. I can be focused. That is, if something grabs my attention, I can completely hyperfocus on it. This can be a negative characteristic, but it definitely helped me during my school years and helps me focus on what I like now.

What are some reasons you are proud of yourself?

Confessions of a New Mummy

#IWSG: Creative Outlets Besides Writing

IWSG

I have a ton of things I want to write about, but somehow I can’t get myself to actually write. I started trying to use my new Mac Saturday evening. So far, it works but is still a bit hard to use. The WordPress app for Mac isn’t available in the app store, so it is a pain to install. I’m just using my phone now rather than WordPress.com in Safari, because at least I know how to work this.

It’s time again for our Insecure Writer’s Support Group or #IWSG check-in. This month’s question is about creative outlets other than writing.

I must say I”m not terribly creative. I don’t do any artsy things and am no good at music either. No, not all blind people are musically talented! I tried my hand at learning to play the keyboards and guitar for a bit, but didn’t like either. Granted, my guitar lessons were while I was at summer camp in Russia and the instructor spoke Russian and English only. This was before I knew English, so it took me half an hour to figure out what he meant by the “strings”.

If we expand creativity a bit to include crafts, I have tried a ton of them. I started out trying to make cards in 2012, not realizing how inaccessible this craft is to blind people. I should’ve known, since the blindness agency used to offer card making courses but specifically to the partially sighted only.

Then I tried mixed media, which was similarly inaccessible. Then came polymer clay, which should be doable but not by me. I tried to learn to crochet and loom knit too.

Lastly, I tried soap and bath and body product making. I still love that craft and would someday like to pick it up again, but I can’t do it independently. This is when I realized that the problem may not be exclusively with my blindness, but my cerebral palsy affecting my fine motor skills too.

So in short, no, I don’t do any creative things other than write. But I’d love to learn.