Every month I create a list of writing goals, many of which I end up 'carrying over' to the next month. But at the end of July, I was surprised to see that without thinking about it too much, I've achieved all but three of my nine goals. One of the goals I enjoyed reaching the most, was my first 'reunion' poetry performance in a long while, with the Writing Sisters Collective at the Brighton Poetry Society evening. Not too bad, considering the amount of personal upheaval in my life at the moment.
Yes, I am going through big changes in my domestic situation, which I don't yet feel ready to write about on here. But an unexpected direction in my writing this month has been starting a new children's story, called 'Petra the Pixie'.
I wrote a children's book called 'Journey Through The Elements' a few years ago, inspired by walking through a beautiful woods near Kirstenbosch in Cape Town, South Africa. I literally 'spoke the story aloud' to myself as I walked, and then came home and wrote it down. It took a couple of years to finish, and then a while later I developed an alternative, much shorter version for younger readers called 'The Lonely Oak'. One of my incomplete goals for July was to rework this story. However, I've been inspired by Ruby and the Star, a beautiful story written by one of the moms at my mothers' writing group, and am now thinking about different directions that I could go in trying to reach an audience with 'The Lonely Oak'. Right now I'm looking for an illustrator - any takers?
'Petra the Pixie' was birthed out of a writing exercise, adapted from one by Julia Cameron (author of 'The Artist's Way' and 'The Right to Write' among other amazing books): Imagine you're sitting against a tree. A storyteller is sitting on the other side - what do they look like? What kind of story is he or she going to tell you? And...you've guessed it...simply write the story.
In fact I started writing the story during one of J's naps, sitting against - yes, a tree - in Hove Park, after attending an NCT summer picnic. It's about faery dust and the wishes of children, and it's a lovely bit of escapism from the rather raw reality of my life at the moment.
In trawling the web for writing exercises for my group, I've come across some lovely work by others. I'll leave you with these questions from The Writing Nag, a rather useful blog I discovered recently. It's about how to fine-tune your creativity by getting blocks out the way; becoming more organised and just getting on with it (never my strong point).
1. What one thing could you do this week to feel more organized? feel less stressed? help your finances?
2. What have you been procrastinating? Why? Can you schedule this task or ask for help in getting it done?
3. What are you missing in your creative life?
4. When I think about ____________________, I feel overwhelmed.
5. I'd like to call/email/write _________________.
6. If I was my boss, I would have fired myself for _____________.
7. One habit that I could change that would positively impact my writing (or whatever form of creativity is your bag) goals is __________.