When You’re in a Rut

For me, it’s gets very frustrating to feel stuck in a situation. This applies to any aspect of life; from school to your livelihood. Thankfully, there are few places where I’m having this stagnant feeling. But in the places I do feel it, it hits me hard. I’ve written about writer and art block, but this rut feels a bit different. There’s something stifling and suffocating about a rut. Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out how to get out of it.

One major thing to remember is that it’s temporary. There is a phrase that I’ve heard in books, movies and television shows that ties to this; I’m relatively sure the phrase stems from a religious background, but I digress. The phrase is: “This too shall pass”. This can be said about ruts. Now, I know it feels like you can be stuck there for what feels like forever. But, it is a temporary thing. There are several things that I have done to try and push past a rut.

One of the things that I do, may sound a bit strange to do when in a rut. That thing is to just take a break. For me, I feel stagnant and like I’m in a rut when I’m overwhelmed. When too much is going on at once, it can make me shut down, thus putting me in a rut. So taking a breather can help with crawling out of that rut.

Once I’ve taken a break, I don’t jump straight into what was causing me to feel so off. An example is in my novel. I have been a rut with this for quite some time. Now that I feel more ready to write, I focused on other works. This isn’t the first time I’ve been in a rut when it came to writing my novel. The last time this happened, I decided to work on short stories, scripts and even fanfiction. I only dabbled in those for a few months or so, but after I was able to finish the first draft of my novel. I hoping to be able to get through a second draft , or even a final product.

Those are the main things that I do get through a rut. I hope these help someone who may be going through the same issue.

When Life Give You Lemons…

via Daily Prompt: Juicy

… You make lemonade right? This juicy and refreshing beverage in the better half of the very well known saying; “When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade”. I’m sure we are all very familiar with this saying and have used it on different occasions. But it’s made me really think about the idea of positivity, or rather, forced positivity. Are we really happy when we force ourselves to be? I’ll be discussing that now. To preface, I don’t know the answer, this is just my opinion.

My initial reaction is to say that forced positivity isn’t the same as just being positive or happy. Let’s use the lemonade quote as a reference. So someone has just thrown some lemons your way with the expectation that you make yourself a batch of lemonade. But there’s a lot that is missing. The most basic being that you don’t have a pitcher. You have no water, sugar or anything to cut or juice the lemons. You have no means to make this lemonade that you’re expected to make. That’s the same with positivity. You’ve been dealt a very hard and unfair and you’re expected to make good of it. However, you haven’t been given any tools or means to truly deal with these issues. This is the problem I have with forced positivity. It does little to genuinely help someone. It even comes with a sense of being condemned if you don’t adhere to this forced positivity.

Though I still stand by the previous paragraph, there are positives to the idea of making lemonade. There’s another popular quote that I think can be connected with the lemonade quote; “fake it til you make it”. I believe that things like confidence and positivity don’t just come out of nowhere. I mention this YouTuber a lot, but Anna Akana covered this in a portion of one of her videos. She said that she would laugh until she felt less depressed. This can help with forcing yourself to become more positive even if you aren’t quite as happy.

These are my views on the concept of forced positivity. I hope this helps someone or makes someone think. Thank you for reading!

Self Love

So today is Valentine’s Day. It’s a day that means a lot of things for a lot of people, which comes with an expectation for said people. There is an expectation for love to be spread, and that is something that I am very fond of. We see a lot of negativity, so a day that is focused on love is a positive to me. But what does this day of love mean to someone who is single? I can tell you my point of view, seeing that I’m single and have been for a while now. Self- love has a significant meaning on this day. Similar to how love shouldn’t just be expressed on Valentine’s Day, self- love should be something that people partake in on a relatively regular basis.

Now just to preface, this isn’t to say that you should coddle yourself on Valentine’s day just because you’re single. This isn’t a pity part, just a different way to partake on this day of love. So the first thing that I do, in regards to self- love, is to simply relax. Love is a lot of things and one of them comes from a place of serenity. True, sometimes relationships are stressful, that includes with a significant other and with one’s self. That being said, the act of love should be relatively stress- free.

There are several things that a person can do to and for themselves when single on Valentine’s day. Something that I found that I really enjoyed last Valentine’s Day was to bake pastries. Yes, it was initially a means to present myself with chocolates and sweets. It’s rather surprising how intimate cooking can be, as well as relaxing. So the process of making these sweets was a form of self love in itself. I intended to enjoy them on my own. However, something that really heightened this process of self- love on Valentine’s Day was when I shared what I made with family and friends. Remember, that Valentine’s Day isn’t just about receiving, but also giving (yes, that sounds like a clichéd line in a Christmas movie). Being able to give, is a form of love and that is healthy and pleasant for both parties, the chocolate may not be though.

Being comfortable alone is an essential part to self- love. After baking, I watched TV on my computer. Sitting in my room may sound a bit sad, but it was honestly so pleasant. I have long since become comfortable with myself, excluding times when anxiety rears its ugly head but that happens both in and out of a relationship. Anyway, you don’t have to only sit alone in your room. Taking yourself out on a date is a very pleasant and nice way to practice self- love on Valentine’s Day when you’re single.

Understand, these tips aren’t for “surviving” Valentine’s Day with out a significant other. That mentality is rather harmful to truly partaking in self- love. So, I hope you guys have a happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Learn to Love Your Work

Many of us are used to having insecurities and self doubt in regards to our creations. I’m someone who often has a sense of self doubt with my work quite often. I question if my writing portrays my story as well as I wanted it to. I feel underwhelmed with my art at times as well. However, I don’t spend time lovingly developing a story and characters and laying down the ground work for art to simply hate it in the end. With all the work that is put into your work, loving it is essential. Of course, this isn’t something that comes quite so easily for everyone, myself included. There are few things that I do to keep from being quite so judgmental of my work.

One thing that I do to appreciate my work more is to understand that perfection isn’t the goal. Having an idealistic concept for my work does little to boost my confidence. An arbitrary sense of perfection would make it hard for me to truly love and appreciate my work. One’s idea of perfect typically seems completely different with one’s skill and creation. This difference could easily leave someone feeling disheartened, a feeling that I was familiar with. But learning to not make perfection goal is one of the best things that I did. This has helped me with learning to love my work.

Another thing I do is to develop my style. This helped me in both my writing and in my art. Having a style makes something that is uniquely me. This sense of self helps with truly appreciating what ever it is that you create.

I hope these ideas help!

Am I Still Overwhelmed?

So several months ago, I wrote a post (this one to be exact) where I talked about being overwhelmed and how/ if it affects my work. At the time that I had first written that post, I had been very stressed out and overwhelmed while trying to make posts and work on my novel. It also didn’t help that I was only a month into my first semester of graduate school. So what has changed? Though anxiety is always present, I’ve found myself to be far less stressed, creatively anyway. I post far more frequently than I did at that time. I’ve also finished the first draft of my novel and am in the editing process. Being able to overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed started with subtle changes. They were little things that I changed were so easy to do and felt natural. So natural, in fact, that I didn’t really realize just how relaxed I was becoming until I really thought about it.

One of the things that helped me work through the feeling of being overwhelmed was to make to- do lists. The method I used was one that I saw from a YouTuber; Anna Akana. The way that Anna would make the lists was to cut out mundane activities like chores do that the focus was on what was essential. This was extremely helpful. It helped me organize my thoughts so that I was less stressed. It also made it possible to focuse on my writing in a timely fashion that didn’t put too much pressure on me.

Another thing I did was to get back into meditation. I had taken a course for meditation/ yoga in my senior year of undergrad. Incidentally, that was also when I learned to be less stressed, even with the abundance of work that I had at the time. I implemented the same practices around Christmas time. Since then, I’ve felt less overwhelmed. 

I credit these two things to how I was able to get out of my writer’s block. I hope this can help someone else that might be having the same issues!

Simple Beginnings; Ways to Start a Novel

I know for me, when I read a novel, I feel myself becoming amazed with the author’s work. I know for me, I become enthralled with an author’s ability to write such likeable and well rounded characters. An author’s ability to write a believable world that feels real is something that I love. And when an author is able too mix those together with an amazingly strong plot to make an interesting story that a person can easily fall in love with is something that always leaves me in awe. So when I see all of this in a story, I tend to wonder how they went about making these. It’s easy to assume that this all started with an elaborate and intricate method to form these amazing stories. As I went to start my own novel, I definitely was overwhelmed when thinking about how difficult it would be to even start. Imagine my surprise when I realized that it was actually quite simple.

There are many ways to start a novel. As of right now, I can only genuinely advocate for what I’ve done. Granted, I’ve only finished the first draft of my novel, but the things I’ve done to work on my novel in the beginning have helped me as I continue.

Thinking

One thing that has helped me is simply taking time and thinking about my novel. For me, the idea for my novel came from a dream I had five or more years ago. Granted, I’ve taken time to just think about how I want to develop the dream into a story. I think about where I want my plot to go and how I want it to develop. I think about how I want my characters and the world that they live in to be portrayed as. Just simply sitting back and casually thinking was actually extremely helpful in my process.

Outlines

I will always stand behind the usefulness of outlines! Outlines, for me anyway, have been helpful in many aspects of my life. Be it education, creativity and even in daily planners (I write a lot of things down lol). For writing, it’s a surprisingly simple for me to be able to keep my thoughts together once I’ve written it down. As an aside, writing plans also subconsciously forces me to keep to the things I needed or wanted to do.

Just Do It

Yes, it sounds quite overwhelming to just dive into it. However, the longer that I held of starting on my novel, the longer it took me to get where I wanted in my process. It doesn’t have to be something as difficult as forcing yourself to hammer out an entire first draft to your novel in a single day. It can be as simple as doing the things I’ve already listed or even what works best for you.

I hope these ideas have helped anyone in their process to their novel, or whatever it is that you’re working on!

 

 

How to be Creative

Day #3: Make a fifteen step list titled “How to be ______”. Naturally, I chose creativity. These are some of the things that I feel has played a role in my creativity.

Image result for creative work space

1.) Try something new. The first method to get into creativity is to get out of your comfort zone. Often times being in one spot is synonymous with being stagnant. That can stifle creativity.

2.) Expose yourself to several forms of creativity. This will give you a chance to see where your strengths lie and what it is that you enjoy the most.

3.) Try several forms of creativity. Once you’ve been exposed to these things, give yourself a chance to work on them. Say you go to an art show, and you really enjoyed the paintings. Well, give that a shot!

4.) Let your ideas grow. Often times, I find that noting down my ideas helps me develop them.

5.) Don’t be afraid to fail. For one, understand that failure isn’t necessarily an end all. Getting an understanding of something new can be very difficult. Just give yourself a chance.

6.) Perfection isn’t the end goal. Similar to not being afraid of failure, perfection isn’t the only benefit for creativity.

7.) Don’t compare yourself to others. Drawing inspiration from others if one thing, but to diminish your forms of creativity isn’t helpful.

8.) Enjoy the journey. Creativity is a very fun experience. Taking it too seriously can be very stifling. Relaxing and just enjoying yourself will be more helpful in expanding your creativity.

9.) Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. This is similar to taking it too seriously. Trying to do too much at once can be very stressful, even more so if the concept of perfection is the only thing in mind.

10.) Show love through art. The beautiful thing about creativity is that it can help bring people from any background together.

11.) Express yourself. Another beautiful thing about creativity is that it can’t help express your personality in a way that words can fall short.

12.) Accept critique. Though comparing yourself to others isn’t helpful, critique is. This is especially if this comes from a someone who want to see you excel. Understanding where you have trouble can help better yourself.

13.) Don’t give up. This involves all things that you may view as important to you.

14.) It’s not all about success. As someone who is currently riding a novel, I tend to fall into this mindset. I find myself stifled when I think of the prospect of my book being a flop. But that’s not all that matters. I’m writing this to express my creativity. Even if it’s not a financial success, but it’s still beneficial to get my form of creativity out there.

15.) Have fun. This is the most important part to creativity. Above all else, just enjoy it!