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Posts tagged ‘transitions’

Your Creative Intentions: The Monday Post ~ August 10, 2015

Andy Warhol quote

A regular creative practice — a daily practice, if possible — is key to staying in touch with how you make meaning. Key to living, not postponing. (Let’s all agree to give up on “someday.”)

What are your plans for creative practice this week? Given the specifics of your schedule, decide on a realistic intention or practice plan — and ink that time in your calendar. The scheduling part is important, because as you know, if you try to “fit it in” around the edges, it generally won’t happen. An intention as simple as “I will write for 20 minutes every morning after breakfast” or “I will sketch a new still life on Wednesday evening” is what it’s all about. If appropriate, use time estimates to containerize your task, which can make a daunting project feel more accessible.

Share your intentions or goals as a comment to this post. We use a broad brush in defining creativity, so don’t be shy. We also often include well-being practices that support creativity, such as exercise and journaling.

Putting your intentions on “paper” helps you get clear on what you want to do — and sharing those intentions with this community leverages the motivation of an accountability group. Join us!

If you would like to contribute a nature image for a future Monday Post, please send an e-mail to creativereality [at] live.com !

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If you’re an artist or writer with little ones, The Creative Mother’s Guide: Six Creative Practices for the Early Years is the essential survival guide written just for you. Concrete strategies for becoming more creative without adding stress and guilt. Filled with the wisdom of 13 insightful creative mothers; written by a certified creativity coach and mother of five. “Highly recommended.” ~Eric Maisel. 35 pages/$11.98. Available for download here.

Robin: Missing Germany


 

As a Valentine’s gift for my hubby this year, I put together a photo book of our time in Germany. My hubby and I have very different takes on the experience. His time in Germany has been the most fulfilling time of his life. I feel very proud and happy to support him. At the same time, I would say it was one of the toughest periods of my life.
 
Something silly started to come to the surface as I was putting the book together. This realization that I have not really picked up a camera since I have gotten home to Arizona. I have a few theories. One is I felt so isolated in Germany. I felt like the camera was some sort of reminder to look for the loveliness. I also think I was keeping some record that I was still a part of the world.
 
A new theory is that the place IS beautiful. The seasons changing, the greenery, the history, the architecture all seems to sit in STARK CONTRAST to our residence in the United States. I will admit it. The desert DOES NOT inspire me. My creativity is more of a discipline here.

 
So what do I do with that?

Miranda: Those pesky little transitions

As most mothers are painfully aware, transitions can be difficult for children — and mamas. I’m not talking about those big transitions like starting school, or moving — I’m talking specifically about those little daily leaps from one activity or focus to the next.

I’m hoping that my dear Studio Mothers community can help me with a particularly sticky transition that crops up in my schedule tree times a week. On the days that I work, my sitter leaves the house at about 4:40. I’m usually working frantically right up until the last possible moment. Then I emerge from my work space and greet my little guys (who I have likely seen at several intervals during the day).

Here’s the thing: Ironically, I almost dread this moment. I’m happy to see my little boys, and they’re happy to see me. We share hugs. But the transition is hard. I’m still in work brain, and I have a hard time switching gears. The boys are hyped up because the sitter is leaving and Mom is taking over. It’s a transition. And the big question looms: What do we do NOW? There is often a full hour or more before I need to start dinner. We usually just spend that time hanging out in the playroom, if we don’t have to get in the car to drive an older sibling somewhere. But that hour always feels awkward. I feel like I should be doing something really cool with the kids during that time. Craft projects are pretty much impossible right now, however, as the older of the two boys is 4.5 and the youngest is 18 months. We can’t yet play a board game or do anything particularly structured. I also often feel anxious about preparing dinner; will my little one “allow” me to cook? Or will he be hanging on my leg, crying for my attention, making me wish we’d just ordered pizza again?

I would really like to develop some kind of ritual for easing back into the mom role. Maybe that means stopping work five minutes earlier and getting myself sorted out and mentally prepared. Maybe it means some kind of “thing” that I do with the boys — something that I can look forward to, and they can look forward to — that will ease the transition. Maybe I need to plan that pre-dinner hour in advance, so that I feel like we’re using the time to the fullest.

One thing is for sure: I need to learn to wrap up any loose ends BEFORE the end of my work day. If I try to sneak back onto my laptop, or check mail/facebook/twitter on my iPhone, I always feel guilty and/or disaster ensues. I don’t WANT to do that. So I’m not going to do that anymore. (Stake in ground. You are all my witnesses.)

Do you have any thoughts about ways to make that time the BEST hour of the day — something I really look forward to — rather than something I feel ambivalent about? I’m hoping that if I turn this hour into what I hope it can be, dinner preparation will be easier too, because the boys will feel like they had my full attention before I start cooking. The whole evening will probably flow more smoothly if I get things off to a good start at 4:40.

Any ideas?

Cathy: Uninspired

I don’t know if it’s because I’m still waiting for some feedback on my manuscript, or because of the weather and time of year, or because I recently completed my first larger scale writing project since my thesis in college about 20 years ago, but for a couple months now, I have felt completely uninspired to write.

In the past, when I have felt this uninspired, I generally have felt depressed or frustrated by the absolute emptiness of my head. This time around I just feel pooped which can be attributed to the lack of sleep with a toddler who still wakes three times a night at least. The other feeling I have is vaguely satisfied, generally upbeat. Now, again, I’m not sure if this has anything to do with the manuscript or just maturity level over aged forty.

It’s summer and all the kids are as around as a teen can be when all his friends are back from their extended vacations that did not coincide with his visit to his father the previous month. S is always around, hovering upstairs drawing and reading or tapping me on the shoulder and Momming me repeatedly; and of course, Baby C is generally underfoot, when she’s not on top of something like Honey’s closed laptop on his desk. So, for me to sit in front of the computer is generally a continuously interrupted thing to do times three. During the school year, I generally have the mornings to myself, with my mother-in-law out doing her exercise thing (which is better than I can say for myself in that arena), and of course, C is still with me constantly.

I think some of this lack of inspiration is just the simple down time from writing something that was a huge deal for me to finish, so to speak. A first draft is a first draft, after all, and I am very aware that what I wrote is not a completed novel. But I wrote the story from beginning to end over one hundred pages. To me, that’s a big deal, not the page number, but the story arc, the things that the main character, who felt like one of my own kids, underwent and his growth and transformation.

I think this month especially has been one of considerable downtime, maybe a fallow field. Usually, when I lived in New England, anyway, the inspiration really starts popping like corn as soon as the first hint of autumn is in the air. So I wonder if some of this is just the dog days of a hot, humid August for me.

S’s eleventh birthday is on the 26th. This and Kenny’s advancement to high school and C’s toddlerdom have really had me considering the constant mutability of time. It seems not so long ago that my boys were C’s age, reaching those initial milestones. Time is simultaneously standing still and speeding by for me. I am constantly considering what is important to pay attention to in the long run, as my children are representing three distinct developmental stages.

I am also in the process of applying for positions outside of my home after a considerable amount of time in which I focused on my kids, my recovery after bedrest pregnancy and my manuscript. In some ways it was a necessary luxury, as Kelly mentioned in comments on Brittany’s recent post that must end. I took offense to the term luxury when Kelly used it, but I can see now is that it is a luxury to be able to be home, to be available to see the magic daily that is the kids growing and changing before my very eyes. Maybe some of the lack of inspiration can be attributed to refocusing on the outside world after being very insular for a long time.

While I have been very philosophically minded, I have not felt the urgency to write that has largely defined my life. This is the first time that to be so uninspired feels like a good thing.

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