Thursday, June 10, 2010

Week Five in Review:
Late, but still chugging...

 The Guest post:  The Zone by Karen Collum

Totally inspiring!  I identify with her thoughts on so many different levels. I'm very familiar with The Zone as I watched my daughter run the hurdles and high jump in college on a full Track scholarship. It was amazing to watch her as she entered The Zone.  I remember very well the almost trance-like routine that she entered into before, during and after each event. It was actually quite magical!  We knew better than to try to communicate with her when she was in this state of mind as it would completely throw her off her mark.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if others could recognize when I am in my zone and be so accommodating as to not interrupt my train of thought?  Now that would be magical! Until reading Karen's post, I never identified that as a writer, I also enter into The Zone.

"How are you doing?" assignment: Completed

1. Creativity

1a. Am I doing my daily creativity exercises? Yes and no. Most often it isn't a cognitive activity. I can do better.

1b. How full is my notebook? Not full enough if you count what's on paper.  If my notebook could be what's in my head, it's time to get another one.  OK, I can do better.

1c. Do I look around me and collect inspiration as I go about my day? YES!  YES!  A resounding yes! (and it is so delightful!)

1d. Am I looking for inspiration, instead of waiting for it to appear? Again yes. But if I were to be truthful, it just seems to appear. Not much effort required.

Yes: How does this make me feel?  Do I feel more creative?  Do I feel more connected and focussed?  Is my creativity becoming a part of my life? It is an amazing feeling of connection to my universe.  My view of the world around me is more focused.  My kids would tell you that I am a little different but then they've always thought that of me.  :)  I'm quite enjoying the freshness and newness my creative thoughts bring.

No: Why not?  What’s holding me back?  Am I afraid?  Am I resisting change?  Am I worried about what other people will think of me?  Is my creativity a priority to me?  What do I want from my muse?  What steps can I take to achieve my wants?  How do I want to feel, and how can I achieve that?

2. Focus

2a. Am I examining ideas that excite me? Not to the extent that I'd like to. Not enough time, so they get put in the notebook.

2b. Have I found a particular genre or topic that really means something to me? Yes I have.  Two actually.

2c. Is my exploration leading me to new outlets for my creativity, or do I feel like I am going in circles? I'm enjoying the fresh ideas and look forward to their creation.

2d. Am I finding it easier to concentrate on a project on-demand, or do I get distracted easily? Sometimes I feel too focused, and need to bring balance back into my life.  Then there are times that I feel a little burnt out and just need to step away for awhile. The on demand aspect doesn't work well for me, but because I'm thinking more creatively it hasn't been such a problem of late.

Yes: What has changed in the last week?  What actions have I taken to improve my focus?  What works for me?  What physical or mental changes have I made to improve my focus? I think the act of doing has had the greatest influence on me.  Most mornings I wake up with new ideas spilling out of my mind and find myself a bit frustrated that I don't have more time to develop them.

No: Why not? What’s stopping me from concentrating on a single project for a short period?  Am I slipping back to old, familiar projects because it’s easier? Do I feel frightened by new projects? Do I feel that the new project won’t lead anywhere?  How can I change so that my new projects will feel meaningful?  What do I need to modify to improve my focus?

3. Productivity

3a. How many stories have I started? Five

3b. How many stories have I completed? Four completed, except for final edit of one. Two of which the word count is just enough but not much. (translation: very short)

3c. Am I writing as often as I could be?  Yes on some days. No on others. I can improve.

3d. Do I bring the story to mind every day, even when I’m not writing? Yes, I do. There are days that it seems to take over a measure of my thoughts that actually becomes quite exhilarating and fun.

Yes: How do I feel about my productivity?  Am I excited by my progress? How does this line up with my desires?  Are there new goals that I could make to reach those desires?  I want to progress faster, but in order to do that, I need to be more productive.  I've altered my goals to allow that somewhat.  All truthfulness, I'm actually moving about as fast as I'm able. I need to remember that my life was full before adding writing to my list of to do's.

No: Why not?  What’s stopping me from writing when I can?  Have I forgiven myself for having other demands on my time that I cannot control (work, children, school)? Am I taking each day as it comes?  And I making the best use of the time that I have?  Am I making steady progress towards my writing goals? How can I change my writing habits to meet those writing goals?

4. Goals

4a. Am I meeting my goals? Some more than others.  I have actually changed things up a bit since the course began

4b. Do I remember what my goals are? Yes.

4c. Do my goals reflect my desires and where I want to go as a writer? Yes, for now.  But I remind myself that I've just escaped from the closet and need to take it one step at a time.

4d. Am I keeping my goals in mind whenever I get excited by a new project?  Could do better here. The excitement of the project seems to over-ride all sense of duty.

Yes: How does this make me feel?  Am I being positive about my achievements, or beating myself up for not doing better?  Am I fired up and ready to do more, or content with my steady progress?  There was a point where I was beating myself up, I don't enjoy being behind.  Changing my goals to be closer to what I want to achieve and what I realistically can achieve at this stage of my progression has helped tremendously and has allowed me to feel content with steady progress.

No: What is preventing me from working within my goals? Do I need to revise my goals, or is there something else stopping me? Are my goals not in line with my desires?  Have I made goals to fit my own image of where I want to be, or am I making goals to meet the expectations of others?  What part of my goals is not working?  How do I make changes to help me achieve what I want?

Enough Introspection!
I'm off to begin Week Six before it is long gone.

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