Progress – October 15, 2018

Here we are, halfway through the first month of the last quarter of 2018. I can’t believe this year is rapidly coming to an end.

I was looking at my projects this weekend. I don’t think I’ll have any more publications this year, but there will be several novels released in 2019. I currently am actively working on 6 novels and one story which I’m not sure if it will be novella length or a full novel. Several of these stories I hope will be released next year.

My son was in a play this last week and so it was a week with an odd schedule. My youngest came to watch Adrian’s play, which allowed me to see him for a bit. I kept myself flexible in order to keep myself working and getting things done.

And yet…

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Rockin’ Life page 5 has been posted

I sometimes feel like I might be being a little too blunt with Rockin’ Life. I know I’m assertive and I’ve had some people take that as aggression. I just can’t understand why anyone would want to be “normal” or “average.” What is that anyway? Who makes the benchmark on an ordinary, average life? Is keeping up with the Joneses normal?

Here’s a case in point: The Lego Movie. The hero just wants to fit in, to not be alone, to have friends. Everything he does is geared to being part of the crowd, which he isn’t. He’s following other people’s formula’s and trying to be one of the gang. As the movie progresses, we find out that his being just like everyone else and wanting a place in the world is what makes him special. Really, being a nobody who wants to be just like everybody else is a superpower? Being average is okay? According to that movie it is. I left the theater feeling depressed. My kids were saying how spectacular it was and were all excited — “When’s the second one coming out?” — and I just wanted to crawl inside my car and cry. School makes us all sheep, we struggle to find our place in the world, we want to be liked, we want to possess things and keep up with our friends, we get jealous when someone has something we don’t. I know. I’ve felt these things too. I remember being the outside, the ghost no one paid any attention too. I understand what the invisible girl in Buffy the Vampire Slayer went through as she faded away. But then I realized that I wanted more. I didn’t want to be average.

I want to be a ROCKSTAR!

To hell with average. Blah! Oh, and while we’re at it, I have no desire to save the world either. I believe we’re all here for our own lessons, whatever they might be. For a deeper understanding, go read Mike Dooley’s work — he’s got a great way of explaining it.

But what I do want to do is SAVOR the world. We have a truly beautiful world and we should enjoy it. In joy.

If we’d all wake up and realize that we are to be rockstars “in joying” ourselves while we learn how to be the creators we are, that’s when we’ll save the world and we can all savor together.

Show up!

This was once again a reminder for me. Show up!

You must show up for things that you want to do. You have to. If you want to do something but aren’t showing up to do it, then you are just dreaming.

Are you dreaming and not doing?

Do you realize that if you’re dreaming, you’re not taking action? Okay, yes, you probably know this on a “no duh” level, but do you understand it through and through? Do you get it way down deep in your gut? There is a difference. Many “change your life” books tell you to start living your dream to the extent that you can, so you can live “as if.” Well, if you’re not showing up, you’re not taking those steps to live as if you were already where you want to be.

More importantly, if you aren’t choosing to show up for the things you want to do, you are choosing something else. Are you really sure you think you want to be doing the things you believe you want to be doing? Really? Or are those other things in your life more important and more what you really want to be doing?

Showing up is the proof.

Make a Wish

3″x 3″ acrylic on wrapped canvas  Dawn Blair ©2013 Available (until sold) at http://www.zibbet.com/dawnblair
3″x 3″ acrylic on wrapped canvas
Dawn Blair ©2013
Available (until sold) at http://www.zibbet.com/dawnblair

 

Everyone faces challenges of one sort or another. The highs and lows of life may erupt within a day. But you always have the ability to “make a wish.” You can always desire a change, prefer that things were different. But it doesn’t stop there. Action, movement, going forward needs to proceed the wish. If it doesn’t, you’ll remain stuck and wishing.

A key will only unlock the door if you turn it.

Who’s breaking eggs now?

I’m currently sitting at Barnes and Noble reading the new issue of ImageFX. What lovely art they have in this issue.

Something interesting that has caught my eye is the Editors’s Letter. Editor Claire Howlett writes about doing what you love in this issue. She also mentions to readers that might find themselves letting lack of confidence or life get in the way. Of them creating art that they should pick their art tool and start creating, allowing themselves to learn from their mistakes and refers to the old proverb of needing to break a few eggs to make an omelette.

It gave me pause to wonder if I’ve been making an omelette this year or allowing myself to fall back on easy habits because it’s easier than expanding myself.

I look at the art in the issue and see these artists on a totally higher level than I am. I wonder if I didn’t get my children’s book finished this year because I’m scared the art won’t come out as well as I want. Have I expanded my painting? Okay, I can answer this question easily enough! No, I haven’t. I know what I’d like to paint, but I haven’t allowed myself to grow and make the mistakes that I need to in order to take my art in the direction I want to go. I talk and I think and I talk some more about it, but in the end I don’t actually sit down and allow myself to make composition pieces or studies for this direction. It’s easier to sit down and write. After all, I have a book due out next year that I need to get done. Writing is easy. Even when I’m neck deep in getting myself out of a plot issue, the writing is still easier than trying to do something new with my art. Not only have I not broken eggs this year with my art, but they’ve been rotting on the stove.

Am I being too hard on myself? Possibly. But if I don’t push myself to work, no one else will. Trust me. It’s one point the editor forgot to mention — you can let yourself be a victim of life’s circumstances and call it lack of confidence or the trials of life, but in the end if you don’t take 100% responsibility for your life and the time you’ve been given, then you are allowing yourself to live a life that doesn’t matter to you. Is that really what you want? Is that really what I want?

Go break a few eggs.

Sometimes I wonder if this blog is a pep talk for you or if it’s really for me. Hmmm…

Dreamers, dream!

I’ve been feeling a little guilty since my last post. After all, who am I to shoot down someone’s dream?

I still think I was mostly right. Feel free to disagree if you want.

Let’s say, however, that I wanted to get a painting into the Louvre or the Smithsonian. Straight up, let me as you if you think my art is going to qualify to belong in either of these museums. So, what do you think?

No! Not a chance.

At this moment, my art isn’t worthy to belong in any museum. I haven’t gained the right to be there. I do feel that some of my pieces are beginning to be worthy of a gallery.

So it’s not a matter of don’t dream big. Heck, I hope all my readers do have big dreams. Imagination inspires (and I like to preach that). Just remember that those big goals do have a path that needs to be walked first before you reach them. That means starting small in your own backyard. Now go for it.

eBay auction for 2/10/10 and new Etsy listing

What kind of world are we leaving behind for our children, when our lives are filled with “have to’s” and “should have’s”? Everything is so rushed. Everyone wants cheap instant gratification. Too many people feel like they’ve ruined their life and they don’t know how to fix it so they might as well waste time and coast into the grave. Or they figure they’re too old to do something with their life. You are never too old to start something new, learn something, mentor someone, change someone’s mind, make someone feel special, or do what you love. As long as there’s energy in your body and willingness in your mind, you are still on the journey of life. Make it what you will. (Hint: that means you shape your life, your happiness, your state of being – YOU, not anyone else.)

Tomorrow’s eBay auction:

Against an Orange Sunset

This is a 10×8 acrylic on wrapped canvas. The colors are stunning and I’ve been told that one of the clouds looks like an angel with wings spread wide.

Against an Orange Sunset
10X8 acrylic on wrapped canvas
© 2009 Dawn Blair

I might get really ambitious and list an ACEO tomorrow as well. I just haven’t decided which one. I’ll have to think about that for a bit.

I’ll also have a new listing on Etsy called Fading Day. Here’s your first look.

Fading Day
12x9 acrylic on wrapped canvas
© 2010 Dawn Blair

This piece has free U.S. shipping. I should also mention that it’s the “big brother” of Gathering Around. I liked that painting so much I wanted to do it a little bigger.

Thank you for supporting my art. I hope you keep dreaming big!

Preparing for 2010

I like to do something special to usher in the new year. Last night, my boys and I celebrated the eve of the last day of the year. We stayed up to midnight to see in the last day of 2009 (Okay, yes, we’re an odd threesome, but we enjoy ourselves).

Today I’ve been out catching up on some of my favorite blogs, listening to their ideas for the new year. Sue Smith has inspired me to rip up some of my old paintings tonight. And I laughed with Ren Adams who has a view on life very similar to my own.

Tonight, New Year’s Eve, I’ll do something to help focus on my goals for the new year. You’ve heard me talk about my goals for 2010. Not resolutions. Like Ren, I don’t do resolutions. Resolving to do something means you were fighting with it in the first place and now have to fix it, that a rule has to come into place to make you conform.

People hate the term “goals” too. Some say that you shouldn’t have goals because if you fail, then it does nothing but cause guilt. Don’t resolutions do the same thing? The little voice yells at you when you don’t live up to your end of the bargain.

I’ve heard it said that instead of goals, they should be intentions — that way if you what you want to happen doesn’t, then it just wasn’t meant to be. Sure, blame the higher power for the misfortune in your life! Don’t get me wrong. I do believe everything happens for a reason even if we can’t see it at the moment. But if I intent to lose weight and I keep shoving chocolate in my mouth, who’s to blame for me not meeting my intention? Me!

So, I’ll keep using my term of “goals.” Yes, I set goals. If I don’t make it to the mark, at least I ran the race. And, it’s fair play if I start running the race and change direction. If I take a wrong turn, it’s only smart to turn around and get back on track. The same can be said for chasing the wrong goal. It’s okay to change goals. We do all the time. Think about the four-year old who wants to be a nurse, or a cowgirl, or an actress. Sometimes you just have to try on different suits to see what fits you the best.

My own favorite ritual (which isn’t original) is to go into the new year doing what I’d like to be doing for the next year. Like magic, it helps me focus and guide the subconscious.

Well, I have a few more hours left in 2009 to work on the plans behind my goals for 2010. Having made my goals earlier in the year, I have several things already in place toward those goals, but there’s still some more planning to go on some. After all, without that plan, you’re just letting life happen to you. Instead of just intending on having a life, gather the strength inside yourself to live the life you want to live.

What can you do in 15 minutes per day?

If you had only 15 minutes per day to dedicate to your creative outlet, whatever that may be for you, do you believe you’d get anywhere? 15 minutes of painting, or writing, or sculpting, or sewing, etc. Do these small chunks of time really add up to anything? Of course they do! Just like if you walk down to the library from your house; you still make the journey one step at a time. Think of 15 minutes as a single step. Let it take you from starting your project to a finished novel, painting, statue, dress, or whatever.

For this week, just try doing what you’d like to be doing for 15 minutes a day. Wake up 15 minutes early or stay up 15 minutes late. Whatever it takes so that you can be dedicated about your 15 minutes. See where you are at the end of the week. I bet you’ll be closer to your goal than you think. Let me know how it goes!

Dangerous Writing

No one thought writing could be dangerous. They were all wrong.

Well, okay, the actual writing shouldn’t be dangerous for the author, but it should be dangerous for the main character. Very, very dangerous.

When I say this to some writers, I get a look that says, “I don’t write THOSE kinds of stories.” Well you should! Here’s why:

A story is how a character faces danger. Your main character has to have a goal, whether it’s a long-term or a short-term goal. Whatever keeps your character from getting this goal is an obstacle. In trying to get around the obstacle, the character is in danger of being overcome by the obstacle. Therefore, your character faces danger.

Any type of book, from romance, to fantasy, to western needs to have obstacles for the main character to overcome.

For example, you might have a handmaid who wishes to marry the prince, but she knows that if she expresses her love for him, she’ll be kicked out of the castle. Since she has no family to live with, she’d be out on the streets. So, her dreams must remain her own. The handmaid’s goal specifically might be to have a better life than her parents did. Her danger is getting thrown back into the same lifestyle that her parents lived in. She faces danger of discovery every time she sees the prince. And what if someone — a rival — found out about her secret love and intentionally tried to foil our precious little handmaid? What if the prince was a womanizer to begin with and our handmaid found herself betrayed, possibly pregnant? What if the queen found out the handmaid was pregnant and she wanted another child and offered to buy the babe from the handmaid — enough to make sure the handmaid is herself treated like royalty for the rest of her life. Could the handmaid give the queen her baby and let the child be raised as the prince’s sibling instead of his child?

While none of this puts the handmaid in an immediate life or death struggle, the handmaid is facing danger at every turn. You don’t have to write the shoot-’em-up high action stories to have danger. But when you stop asking yourself what pebbles are in the road to keep your characters from getting their goals and start thinking of it more as “what danger are they facing?” your story develops with more tightness. It’s not just a random event any more. It’s a real threat. And it makes the “What if” game more fun to play. I thought of my sample above on the fly, but as I was writing it, I saw the plot start to take shape. It’s fun crafting the story.

If you want to read more about how to create danger for your character and see more examples of how to do this as well as learn how to tighten other elements of your story, please check out my book, The Write Edit. You can order it right from my Morning Sky Studios website for under $10. Don’t forget about your other writing friends too! It would make a great Christmas gift for those authors in your life.