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TAW Day 4

The 4th day of my new Artist’s Way journey and the first day of July.

What do you do when you try to listen to your ‘inner artist child’ and all she wants to do is play???

Or perhaps all the others on this journey are better children than I am.

Today I have one last day of massive manuscript cut & paste transfer which should bring the manuscript up to 50,000 words. From there on it’s the fine tuning & writing in from all the stuff in messy handwritten notes & messier in-head thoughts. But in a way I”m looking forward to that too.

I did my morning pages and that was very good. I’ve found my creative champions–

Category 1: people who’ve actually helped/encouraged/given me money/read my stuff/staged my stuff/published my stuff/loved me even though they had NO IDEA what I’m trying to do

Category 2: people who’ve inspired me through time by what they produced/wrote/created/lived

Category 3: people who are inspiring me now in the step by step day by day art of living and committing to living creatively. And two of them are actually in this same Artist’s Way journey with me… three of them actually! (Thank you J & J & W!!!) and I just keep telling myself if they can keep walking the path with such good attitude despite all the other stuff they are doing and living with so can I.

That’s the best part about a joint journey, I think. That you don’t have to do it alone.

I really need to get this book completed and off to the publisher before the 20th or so of July. I’ve already gotten extensions & I know they’ll be nice enough to extend further if I tell them the product will be better but I’ve got all the 24-hour scripts coming in after the 24th-25th competition.

I really love the process of reading those scripts and I want to enjoy it again this year but I know I won’t if I’ve got UM (Unfinished Manuscript) thoughts hanging over me. And I would really like to get a couple of days off in between that, the judging, and getting on with the next manuscript, (now tentatively titled God’s Rottweilers) which was supposed to be finished when? Oh yes, yesterday… and the longer, even later Man Groves in the Lion City which has already had it’s first reading & I need to incorporate the comments from my sweet patient readers before I forget them/lose them/decide to rewrite the whole thing from scratch which alas has also happened to me before.

And I swear I can feel my bum growing just from the amount of time I’ve spent sitting instead of moving around and I haven’t been back to Back On The Mat in… let me see omg 2 weeks. I’ve been blaming the early morning rain (because I can’t walk the doglets at 7am I walk them after the rain which makes me miss my mysore window) but I’ll work something out.

Meanwhile artist child has got free rain, ocean & other nature sounds to play while I sit here at the computer. It seems to lull the dogs to sleep which is good.
Bless the people who take the trouble to record & post these sounds for free!

And ‘she’ got herself some lovely fragrant peonies for the work desk even though Monday’s flowers are still alive and well…

Fragrant Peonies

Monday’s flowers still here…

The little hard red buds reminded me of coloured jelly beans


Artist’s Way Week 1 Day 2

Did my morning pages for TAW & worked a little on my monsters for the Hall of Infamy. I was surprised how easily I located 3 monsters and how I believed their views of me for years!

But instead of writing the nasty letter I wrote them a joint ‘Thank You’ note.
Because I’m glad to be who I am and where I am now.

Some of the things said to me were just petty meanness (1) based I think on her own feelings of inadequacy she switched between trying to push me to achieve what she hadn’t and punching me down when she thought I was getting too full of myself (ie succeeding at what she hadn’t). As a result I always thought it was bad to be ‘smart’. “Think you’re so smart” was a standard scolding. And when I did well & there seemed nothing else to say she said “You know how small Singapore is? The rest of the world doesn’t care who you are!”

For (2) I don’t know what it was. Certainly I don’t like her now but at the time I was open to working together. Before my ‘thank you’ letter today I wrote a long long letter to this one & it’s in my folder (I got 2 lovely 6 pocket folders and made Week 1 Week 2 etc labels for them) itemizing exactly where and what she did that I think was unfair and unjustified and just plain unprofessional. Of course I won’t be sending it but just seeing these things on paper and writing them down made me realise I’m not at fault. She behaved like a real cb. I don’t wish her ill but I don’t ever want to work with her again. But I realise my first reaction to what happened–“I am never going to write for theatre again” was a bit extreme.

On the other hand if not for that I probably wouldn’t have decided to try writing novels and I’m really enjoying this new experience! So yes, thank you to her too.

For (3) the problem was I didn’t want to do a writing project & said I was trying to take some time off for my own writing. He told me novels wouldn’t sell in Singapore, nobody wants to read novels these days. People only want to buy cookbooks and textbooks. (He was asking me to work on a text book). He also told me I was a snob and elitist because I didn’t want to work on his promote ‘good English’ project. I didn’t want to because I believe language grows and evolves and I’m fascinated with how it does. He said that because I speak and write ‘standard’ English I’m reluctant to help others do so because it would be competition for me.

Huh what?
Anyway he gets a portrait in my hall of infamy. But a thank you too, because that meeting made me think seriously about language and speech patterns and where I stand in all that. I want to go in as an observer and recorder and listen and watch and learn all I can because people and their patterns of love, life, hope, work, wants, dreams, driving, drinking, death and desires are all so very fascinating.

One of the Artist’s Way affirmations (well that I adapted for myself) that really worked for me was that I am just transcribing stories already in the universe. I still have to think about structure and character and presentation but I’m doing that with my audience’s receptivity in mind, not inventing crazy stories out of nothing but selecting threads I want to echo or sing out and then packaging them in ways that they can travel safe to their new channels ie new people.

And yes, I got up to 40,000 words today, went walking, went cycling, had brown rice with carrot-potato curry & garlic-tiwan choy for dinner… I should cut up the papaya in the fridge it’s ripe but I’m so tired that I think it’ll have to keep till tomorrow!

Day 1 of TAW Journey

Did my morning pages, took care of the fish, turtles, plants and walked the dogs… these are things that I want to keep up whatever else I’m doing with my life.

Oh and of course the re-editing of Dead No Bodies. I want to add another 5000 words to the new draft (5) but I keep getting distracted.

Is this a side effect of letting the ‘inner child artist’ out to play? She doesn’t want to work/write she wants to water colour guppies and make up a list of stuff to do on the trip like: walk through Haw Par Villa, visit the Asian Civilisations Museum, buy, paint & eat mangoes, lychees and durians,

But I do want to keep up with my writing and reading schedule. I want read ‘proper’ stuff except inner child wants to read poetry and greek tragedies and architecture magazines and simone de beauvoir.

I also want to keep up healthy eating/sleeping/exercise (it’s on the contract). Today I woke naturally just after 6 am which means about 7 & 1/2 hours sleep. Rice & bean stew in the crockpot for dinner–I’ll probably add some fresh greens towards the end.

And exercise… that’s the toughie. I’ve been for one 30 min walk with the doggies and there’ll be one more probably longer in the evening if it doesn’t rain. In addition I want to do either a 30 min self practice or spend 20/30 minutes in the gym. We’ll see how that goes.

But for now, enough distractions–back to Scrivener!

Buffy’s Prayer

May The Artist’s Way Circle
attract all that need it the most.
May we forever be connected to our
higher power as we proceed on this journey.
May our inner child come
out and feel free to play.
May we go along this journey and our
relationships to each other grow and prosper.
We may not know for certain where the path will lead.
However, we trust following our higher power
will lead us to the right road.


I’m not part of the Artist’s Way Prayer Circle–one new thing at a time, I think (& I’m already starting on my first ‘group’ journey!)

For now I’ve got my morning pages notebook ready & ‘warmed up’ to it by doing my morning pages for the last 3 days.

I also made a nice contract for myself using stickers of books and flowers–it’s true that when you put more effort into something you respect it more. I hope to carry that lesson over to my writing too.
For now I like how the contract focuses on taking care of our sleep, diet, exercise as well as pampering ourselves for the duration of these next twelve weeks. After all our bodies are the tools are spirits get to use and work and play around with for now!

I think I can keep up with my body’s sleep & diet requirements but I would also like to get back into a regular yoga practice. Not too much too fast but maybe starting with two days/week then to three & maybe after a month at this level back to five/six mornings a week.
The difficulties I foresee comes from
1) Which comes ‘first thing’ in the morning–yoga practice or morning pages?
2) I would like to spend more time in the gym working on my core (I did shoulderstand as a computer break today & could Feel the wobble!) & my stamina. Much as I would like to believe it, walking a ‘huahua & a moodlet twice a day probably isn’t enough to get me back in shape for 75 minutes on the mat!

I know. The only way I’ll figure out what works for me is to try them out & see how they work for me.

But I’m also going to get started on my ‘God Jar’ so maybe all this will work out beautifully after all?
Maybe even in the next 12 weeks!
And so far I’ve been keeping up with my 5000 words/day ‘collage’ process trying to cut & paste stuff that does work into draft 5 of ‘Dead No Bodies’. And I discovered a drawing site that I’m letting myself play around with. No, I don’t have to ‘work’ at drawing/painting/collage I can have fun with these things without feeling I’m wasting time. I think I forgot that somewhere along the way.

Walked the dogs late today, not till almost 6 pm (morning walk was 8 to 9am and they didn’t get a midday outing today) but it was wonderfully cool in the park by then & we did some jogs & some sprints & snuffled some new cut grass so I think we’re all happy now.

Really excited about Monday!

This Monday I’ll be starting the Artists Way 12 week journey with my facebook group

It will be my first time working with a group. Haven’t been very good about group work previously but maybe an online group will work better? (no need to spend time deciding whether to get drinks or trying to dispose of food provided by well meaning members!)

I’m hoping that by the end of these 12 weeks I’ll be able to sit down write systematically rather than play Bejewelled or Zombies till I feel in the right ‘mood’ to write.

I also hope that when I do write I can get out of the ‘mechanistic discipline’ mindset that too often takes over when I’m self-imposing deadlines–which seems to be the only way I can get things finished!

Just found The Artists Way on Facebook!

& I’m signing up for the next ‘journey’ starting 28 June. I have NO IDEA how it’s going to work but I’ll do the 12 week journey and see.

I first discovered The Artists Way in 1995–was Peggy gave me a copy of the book and it was a great journey guide through the early years of writing.

I tried to keep up with the morning pages etc but gradually let that slip along with the rest.

It was a privilege to be able to afford ‘dedicated’ writing time, I thought, so I ought not waste it on stuff like blogging & going on ‘artists dates’.

But maybe that’s become a problem in itself.

I just connected with Tarn How (“you’re trying to work on 4 books?”) & told him it was worse than that right now, incredible as that might sound:

The writing situation now:
1) Man Groves in the Lion City (all titles are tentative) got draft 3 to readers, halfway through rewrite on comments put it aside for…

2) Guarding Dogs which I was very excited about, good energy, finished 1st draft in (for me) record time of 4 months, in second draft…

then spoke to Ruth from Epigram who said she was willing to read a mystery story so I said recklessly “I have! I have!” & dug out:

3) Dead No Bodies
4) Falling From Clean Windows
5) Killing Mothers

which I thought were all semi-ok light fiction, read through them & found them horribly horribly cliched, dated, pretentious, affected, limited… & am now re-editing draft 5 of Dead No Bodies hoping to send it to her without too much shame…

Sounds horrible right? And while trying to write all this I’m getting distracted by idea for a condo murder… tied into adultery, gambling debts & the possibility of everything being solved by a 90 million dollar en bloc sale… how like that!!?

But what is amazing is I’m feeling good, had a bit of a cold for 3 days but that got me back to reading which turned out to be good too, next week (or sooner) I’ll get back to yoga practice in the new shala I LOVE both for my favourite teacher Celeste & the location (lots of parking), & of course there’s walking the doglets twice a day.

Good Stuff

The writing is going well though slowly. Had to ask for an extension because there seem to be so many more things surfacing that I want to include/edit/delete!

The great news is that my favourite yoga teacher is now working out of her own shala in Tiong Bahru! I thought she would be ensconced in Pure Yoga forever (I know it’s a place that does good stuff but I tried it & it doesn’t suit me).

Now she’s back in Back On The Mat, with 6.45 am mysore classes Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri and 8 am mysore Sat/Sun. The official ‘opening’ isn’t till June 15 but I’ve gone for two practices so far and I’m already feeling better!

went to West Coast Plaza to get fruit & wholemeal pitta but got tempted by these!

Treated myself to a library visit & some desk flowers… maybe I’ll do this once a week!