November: A Sense of Autonomy

How did it get to be the end of November already??
The year is just flying past, and the Artist’s Way chapter 11 is already inviting me to take a look back over how far I’ve come.

Before the year’s end I want to read through all my posts again, but in the meantime, I’ve considered how much change has occurred since January. Looking back, it’s actually quite a lot, although it didn’t seem so at the time – rather like not noticing the rings forming on a tree trunk.

Tree rings

I have a blog. (But you knew that.)
I write regularly. It started as morning pages and irregular blog posts; now I post regularly and have a whole day each week set aside for writing.
I take myself seriously as a writer. It isn’t just a hobby I do in my spare time when I feel like it.

I feel less anxious and guilt-ridden about Getting Things Done – still something I struggle with, but I’m learning to lighten up, without becoming totally irresponsible.

I am more generous with myself. Giving to others was a no-brainer, but with myself I played the “I bet I can carry on without that” game, instead of actually considering whether it was a good idea. For myself I had an automatic ‘no’. I was Scrooge.

Scrooge Head Maquette

I don’t mean to suggest that more is better and you should fulfil your every whim, but sometimes you lose more by going without than you gain. In the spirit of which, I had an enjoyable struggle with the AW exercises on self-nurture, over six months and during one week.

In the longer term, I plan to reward myself for finishing the current WIP draft with a new fountain pen (droooool). I also want to learn to crochet.

While I was off work sick, I managed to read nine Agatha Christie novels, three Ngaio Marshes, and two Patricia Wentworths. This was so relaxing and refreshing I had the brilliant idea of setting aside a day every now and again to do nothing at all but read. Perhaps once a month?


My nurturing week includes classic things like a movie or an icecream, and simple things I enjoy like having a nice sit-down afternoon tea, or going to a charity shop to try on hats. I may also buy a magazine – no magazine in particular – and go through it for pictures to put in my scrapbook.

The Artist’s Way also challenges us to reconsider our understanding of God, particularly in the area of creativity. I have realized lately that I need to learn to trust God more and trust his dreams for me.
After all – look how far he’s brought me already.

Looking back down

Exercise 5 invites us to list the ways we will continue to change as we allow our creativity to grow and flourish. My very scientific projections suggest that I will become more relaxed, more joyful, more enthusiastic, more energetic, more generous – and more productive.

A little scrap of joy to end: sometime in the last month someone somewhere entered the words “blancmange pen” into their search engine – and they found me. My life has not been in vain.

Until next week, whether life brings pens or blancmange,
Sinistra Inksteyne hand250

Crunching the Numbers Again

I have a plan.
It’s not much of a plan, but (as they say) it’s better than a kick in the head.

The plan goes as follows.
Monday 16: write outline of novel.
Monday 23: do in-depth character work.
Monday 30: write more detailed outline.
October, November and December: WRITE ENTIRE NOVEL.

I know it’s not earth-shatteringly brilliant, but really, have you ever been kicked in the head?

Russia Vs Montenegro (Head Kick)

The first timeI calculated how fast I needed to write this first draft to finish it by the end of the year (this year, smart aleck) it worked out as 2,500 words a week.
Now I figure having three months to write the first draft means I need to write about eight thousand words a week. Over a thousand a day.

Naturally, I may not be able to write it all on a Monday (hand cramp can be an issue after the first couple of thousand words), but then, writing a little instalment every morning may serve to keep it in the top of my mind better.
It’s just unfortunate that it takes me so long to get into the swing of the story – I’ve just got my hands full of threads when it’s time to set them down and head off for work.

Busy Hands & Active Mind

Perhaps I need to develop a key – something that tells my subconscious to snap to it, this is writing time. Perhaps a rather swashbuckling hat. But which?

The jester’s cap? Certainly uninhibited, but the bells could prove distracting.
Distraction wouldn’t be a problem with the bonnet – rather like wearing blinkers in that respect – but it does tend to the missish in personality.
The little furry hat is personable, to be sure, but one does tend to forget that one is wearing it.
Perhaps it will have to be the black felt picture hat, with red roses and a plume of peacock.

charcoal drawing: girl with a big hat

If nothing else, it should provide some protection from the kicks to the head.

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Do you have a key or cue to your subconscious that it’s time for the creativity to flow? Do you have a plan that seems like insanity itself? I’d love to hear from you!