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Posts Tagged ‘writing’

At the “Writing in the Garden” workshop. I’m the gray-haired lady with my back to the camera.
Photograph is courtesy of Blue Cottage Agency.

It is inspiring to spend time with people who are fulfilling their passions for creative expression. I am fortunate to be experiencing more than my share of art immersion this week.

I am still pumped from spending yesterday at the 3rd Annual Writing in the Garden Workshop in Minnesota. It was attended by writers of various interests and genres.  Some are working on a project – others are published authors.  Everybody was friendly and eager to learn.

The workshop was led by writer and teacher, Angela Foster and historical fiction author Candace Simar.  Check out Candace’s recently published book, Blooming Prairie, Book Four of the Abercrombie Trail Series. 

On Monday this week I joined some other members of the Kanabec County Art Association at a weekly get-together, where we work on our art projects or just enjoy each others’ company.  I have found that artists are generally sociable and knowledgeable because they are interested in so many different subjects.        

Are you realizing your dreams for creativity and personal expression? It is not difficult or expensive to seek out camaraderie and educational opportunities with like-minded creative people.  If you need a pick-me-up find a class, workshop or organization that appeals to your interests and check it out.

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Today I am sharing excerpts from my journal, about some of my goals for 2012: 

  • “Write my first book — Motorcycle Memoir – draft by 8/1/12.” 
  • “Focus my positive energies in ways to enhance the lives of myself, Cliff and others.  Journal to help me with context and staying on track.” 
  • “Work on organizing/clearing stuff out of house.  Keep only what we need and love.” 

I added quotes, including this one:  “The love you take is equal to the love you make.” — Lennon & McCartney

I wrote the journal entries yesterday while travelling home from a weekend in North Dakota.  Within an hour of writing the words above (and more), the Beatles song The End, with the lyrics I quoted (from the Abbey Road album, recorded in 1969) came on the radio.  I felt like I had called it to me.  Those are certainly words to live by.

I would like to thank Dorothy Sander, who generously invited me to be a guest blogger.  The result was this piece I wrote about  Lifetime Learning: Summer Camp for Adults.  If you have not yet checked out Aging Abundantly, I can highly recommend it for its inspiring and honest articles on subjects that matter to women. After Dorothy posted my piece, it was linked to, as Summer Fun for Boomers, by ThirdAge.com, a website for boomer women. 

I am grateful for this recognition and opportunity to share my writing. Thank you!

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Here is the guy I fell for! This photo shows Cliff on his bike, with our travel trailer, taken in the early 1980s.

I am living in the 1980s, as I remember my past in order to realize my dreams for the future.  I am writing my first travel memoir.

Traveling Together: Cliff and Me and the Motorcycle Make Three is about the journeys I took with my husband which generated stories of love and adventure.  During the past few years I have been composing my account of these stories during writing classes. Now I am putting the chapters together to become my first e-book.

I am well on my way to completing this memoir. My plans are to publish this as a Kindle e-book before I publish the book I have been working on: Realize Your Dreams: An Action Plan for Life Transformation.

Last week I had the great privilege to participate in a writing workshop called Pilgrimages: Mindful Travel Writing & Memoir at Madeline Island School of the Arts, where I worked on this memoir.  It was taught by Catherine Watson, an accomplished travel writer and inspiring instructor and mentor.  I was part of a small group of students who poured our hearts out, writing in a supportive environment. My thanks to all involved. Did a mention that it was a fantastic experience?

The reason I was able to participate in this workshop is because I was the recipient of an Individual Artists Grant, which I would like to acknowledge with gratitude: “This activity is made possible by a grant from the East Central Regional Arts Council with funds generously provided by the McKnight Foundation.”

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What have you failed at today? Did you go outside your comfort zone and try something new? Then celebrate your failures!

If we don’t make the effort every day to choose actions that will bring enjoyment into our lives, the moment will pass. Then we are just another day older and no closer to realizing our dreams. What stops us from taking action? Is it the fear that we could fail in our efforts?

Recently Sara Blakely, the young billionaire who created the Spanx shapewear enterprise, appeared on the CBS morning news show. She said that while she was growing up she was expected to fail at trying things. At dinner conversations her father would ask, “How did you fail today?” She might reply, “I tried out for cheerleading – I was terrible at it!” And he would cheer her on. She became comfortable with failure, and certainly wasn’t afraid to try something new!

True confession: One of my biggest failures happened a few years ago when my husband and were traveling in Italy (I was the trip planner). We purchased train tickets with our destination being Cortona in Tuscany. We ended up in Crotone, located in the instep of the boot-shaped Italy. Ooops. I celebrate this mistake because we were traveling on our own, not part of a tour group, we were out of our element and loving it, and we saw a part of the country we otherwise would not have visited. I will be writing about this adventure–and many others–in a future travel memoir. If we hadn’t been willing to risk failure, we never would have had the experiences we did!

I look to other writers for inspiration and valuable information. Today I read a posting titled Why It’s OK to Be Naive  by Nick Thacker, who was the guest writer on Jane Friedman’s blog. He writes, “Our fear of failure leads us toward procrastination, lack of motivation, and, well, failure. But by being naïve and reaching for the most out-of-reach goals and successes we’ll at least be motivated by the fact that we’re part of the few who can say we’ve tried it.”

Want to realize your dreams? Then go for them! Success or failure–either way, celebrate the outcome.

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2012 comes to us with opportunities and probably some baggage.  What will the year ahead bring? Or, maybe a better question is: what will each of us bring to 2012?  How will we navigate the highs, lows, waves, sunny skies and whirlpools?

I have taken the first step to write my life’s next chapter:  I resigned my job this week.  Am I crazy? In this economy?  At my age?  I am not ready to retire.  But I have enough self-awareness to know when I am in a situation that is not right for me.  I am ready to change direction.  And I am well aware that I am more fortunate than many because I have a partner (my wonderful husband) who supports this move.

As I pursue job openings that look like a good fit for me and my qualifications, I will spend my time working on my own projects:

  • Develop myself as an artist, doing the coursework in Julia Cameron’s book: The Artist’s Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity (see Resources section).
  • Research what is needed to self-publish a Kindle book.  I am writing a guide encouraging midlife women to live with pizzazz!  I’ll provide more information as this project grows.
  • Revitalize and rework this blog to become the platform for my new thoughts and endeavors.  I’ll remove some old blog entries and write some new ones.  Some of my previous posts will be revised to become part of my book – along with a whole lot of new material I’ve been working on.
  • Tackle some home projects that have been put aside for too long – organize and declutter my home, cook healthy meals, commit to financial planning, and more.
  • Lest this become too much of a “To Do” list, let me add the more unstructured ways I want to spend my days: painting, dreaming, writing poetry, making connections with other people – in person and online, and learning – always learning.

What will you bring to your 2012?

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As I wrote in my last posting, I am currently an unemployed job-seeker. Instead of going to a place of employment every day, I go to my computer and check websites for intriguing new job listings.  When I find a good match for my skills and experience, I submit an application.  Then I wait.  Follow-up.  Wait.  Keep looking. Over time, this can be a discouraging state of being, and some of the unemployed give up.

People are often so defined by their work, and get their personal sense of success from it, that it can be a blow to their self-esteem to lose a job.  That is one reason that I am taking action during this temporary out-of-work time to stay connected with people and to keep learning new things.  When I went back to college a few years ago, I discovered that the most rewarding benefit of returning to school is the sense of accomplishment and confidence that comes from it. 

I have been taking writing classes at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.  One of the classes was The Art of the Blog, and you are reading a result of that class right now.  I am also writing about the travels my husband and I have taken over the years for my current Essays on Journeys class. I also joined a local writing group. This is just another stage of my ongoing midlife transformation. I find that this investment in myself helps to keep me engaged in interests other than just looking for work, and enables me to meet new people with similar interests.   I am confident and enthusiastic about what is going on in my life.  That is not only good for the way I feel about myself now, but I am pretty sure that when the right job comes along, my future employer will pick up on my positive energy and want to hire me.

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