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Category Archives: Random acts of Blogging

Your story deserves to be told…

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If it’s there in a never-ending loop tape of the exciting “Oh, I could add this twist to the story! ” and the less than exciting, “You don’t have time. You need to be making money, or, I dunno, doing dishes,”

Or, “This is going to sell!”  and  “Nobody is ever going to want to read this,”

Or, “This is good. This is so good” and “I can’t write worth sh*t,”

Or, “~deep philosophical thoughts~ ” and “If it was meant to be done, it would be easier. Give up.”

Then you are a writer whose story deserves to be told.

With coaching, and with this more recent almost-launched project, Writerly Kits, I’m pretty happy to help redirect the thoughts, the lack of time, and the fear that keeps getting in the way and share tools that’ll help you get to your written works more often.

Meanwhile, once in awhile, you could just imagine the feeling you have when you are in the flow of writing – your writerly self will like that.

And then there’s also this;  Write, anyway. Even just a little.

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Tucking Unboxed Thinking into a Box.

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I’m boxing up unboxed thinking! Like magic, this idea found its way into my thoughts and it has me so inspired. I’m soon launching ‘Writerly Kits’; a subscription box service for writers, emerging writers and wanna be writers.

For the writers here, my vision for you…
Be the bold, brave, kickass, sometimes doubtful, often procrastinating, writer that you are…. but be the one who has all the tools to master the bold, brave and kickass, and who has the techniques to quiet the parts that are getting in the way. That’s what Writerly Kits is bringing to your life. That, and organic specialty coffees or teas to drink only while writing, chocolate to celebrate even getting to one paragraph, and other treasures to remind you that you are truly a writer.

We have a mailing list to keep writers updated. Go here to sign up.

Why this? People can justify personal coaching for life changes, and for that I am grateful, but few writers can justify private coaching to get their written works rolling. Yet, in my coaching practise, more often than not my clients (who arrive for other reasons) reveal a secret wish, a hidden agenda, to write.

On the street, among friends,and posting online, I know of so many people who are haunted to write, but they simply do not get to it. Perhaps you are one of those people. If you and I happened to have a conversation about wanting to write a book, do know that a little piece of me feels sorrow – knowing that without some kind of support, you might not actually get to it.

I know the contentment of completing a book that has haunted me – it’s a rare feeling, like it only belongs to those who finish their book. I want writers to feel that feeling.

If this is you, (a person wanting to write/ finish/ share that book) you’ll know how much holding a story in our mind takes up so much thought energy. Not getting to it at all causes so much regret. And these stories that are not yet told? Our world needs our stories – fiction, memoirs, self-help, poetry, songs, screenplays. Stories are the way we best hear, learn, and process our own thoughts.

And why now?   My blog followers and friends know that I’ve had a challenging number of years. Not too long ago, I finally finished years of medications – important meds to prevent a recurrence – but that played havoc mentally and physically (and damn it, financially.)  I am delighted to be free of pain, and have my usual thinking energy back. I’m thrilled I can enthusiastically get to the things that have been on hold. This project, Writerly Kits, screams “YAY!” to me.  It allows me to play in all my realms of interests and expertise, and that feels so good. From the imaginative process used for Novel Mind clients, to scheming up exciting themes, to creating content (written, graphic, and even, yes, there’s a clay project in the works ), to building a community, this box is like ‘living the dream’ of the unboxed unboxing others with a box!

It’s a pretty box, by the way. Just wait until you see what’s inside.

The Art of Deadlines

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This is what a deadline looks like:

If not for a group of friends who randomly agreed to take the gallery space for a show, when the original artist was no longer available, well, none of these would have happened. We learned about the opportunity in November and it was almost a no-brainer that we would say yes. Each of us already know that there’s nothing quite like a deadline to make sure we make stuff.

The Muse Guild’s ‘Muses and Mysteries’ show opens tomorrow night. And yes, all 12 of us made stuff.

I can’t count how many times I’ve coached a creative soul – performer or visual artist – and suggested, “What if you just book a show?” Initially they kind of freak out; “But I need a body of work!”

Well, no, you need a deadline.  You can be pretty sure the elusive-until-now, body of work, will happen.

Thinking about it, it might be the only way I’ve created: Announcing my home shows, booking an art show, off the cuff announcing what I would create when asked by a curator what I would make if I had a space in their gallery…. hmm.. yup, always a deadline.

My book? My client’s books? No, booking a Book Release Party before writing the book hasn’t happened. But, just a sec, those books, they take a long time to write. I wonder, would booking a Book Release Party before the book was done speed up the process?  Damn, I think I’ll try that!

My Dirty Kitchen.

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Came across this article I wrote a while back. It’s worthy of sharing again, I think!

I hope my grandchildren will always be able to imagine many perspectives of the same situation, that they learn not to be judgmental, and that they learn to consider many possibilities. Quite simply, I hope they remain the creative thinkers that they are born to be.  And I hope that one day my grandchild tells the story of “The Dirty Kitchen” revealing how her Nana is incredibly amazing and creative. I hope that the idea that her Nana might be a slob doesn’t even cross her mind. Storytelling is the key to this one and it goes a bit like this:

dirty kitchen story image

Once upon a time there was a very dirty kitchen. “Oh my!” the kitchen cried out as they watched their homeowner slip out the door balancing a baby shower cake, “she left us! We are the messiest dirtiest stickiest kitchen ever!”  

“We need help,” announced the pots and pans in a very tinny sort of voice.

They opened the window and the faeries flew in exclaiming, “We’ll help!” 

“Is our homeowner a slob?” asked the teeniest tiny of the sticky forks.

“No, no,” answered the faeries, “she’s been very busy with making things and with people and workshops and, topping it off, with making a fancy dancy baby shower cake.. well, she just hasn’t had time to clean you up.”

“I’m happy to be part of her fun and imagination and creative play!” admits the icing coated counter top. The rest of the kitchen, including the dirty dusty dog print covered floor, cheers.

And so the faeries with a wave of their wand fill the sink with soapy warm water. The gluey gooey pot leaps in and does a little jig that sounds like this: kaswish kaswoosh. The faeries rinse him off and magically dry him and plop he finds his place in the cupboard.   

The story does go on and on as each character in the kitchen gets swept, washed, or wiped with the grand finale that the homeowner comes home, with her little granddaughter in tow, to find a lovely clean kitchen.

Easy to guess how this story began.  Even I was a bit shocked when I looked at my kitchen as my granddaughter said, “oh, the kitchen is very dirty.”  Pretty bad when a 3 year old notices. I could have succumbed to feeling like an incompetent housekeeper, but the more valuable and truthful perspective was that I had in fact pulled off some wonderful things in just a couple of days. I admit I was partially inspired by not wanting her to tell everyone “My Nana has a very dirty kitchen” in the same way she told EVERYONE “My Nana smashed into Auntie’s car.”  I thought it would be better for my granddaughter to consider how the kitchen came to be so dirty and our storytelling adventure of “The Dirty Kitchen” evolved.  In creating the story together I’d asked my granddaughter “why was the homeowner soooo busy that she didn’t get to clean the kitchen?’   It was a joy to watch her think that through and name all the things her Nana does. The story inspired both of us to clean the kitchen and it has since become one of her favourite bedtime stories at Nana’s house.

Storytelling is a great way to introduce new perspectives that focus on ‘what’s right’ instead of ‘what’s wrong’, encourage imagination and of course, feel better about a dirty kitchen.  All you have to do is say “Once upon a time there was (include topic)” and whisper to your child, “what happens next?”

by Janet L Whitehead  –  copyright 2012, 2017

Miracles: Art creating itself.

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23826140_10155914672615891_6496158457849454641_oThis happened today.  I did not make it. It made itself.  My yupo paper was tucked upright in the side of a container, along
with my alcohol inks. Today I got the container out and noticed the red alcohol ink container had leaked.

Imagine my astounded surprise when I pulled out the yupo paper and this is what I found.

I have no explanation for why the ink creeped UPwards on the paper, nor why it dried so beautifully, nor why it chose to create a series of dragons and other critters. I do know a book is going to happen from this!!

Ah, the miracle of it all.  I hope art creates itself for me more often.

ps. I’m crazy happy to announce good things happening in my creative world. Of course, it’s not all this kind of miracle – though, sometimes when I get to work with people, we do see some pretty profound magic.  

One good thing?  New business evolution. Please stop by my new coaching, courses and community site  – novelminds.ca   It’s still in progress but I’m excited about the courses and community that will begin in January.  There’s a place to sign up for my as always infrequent newsletter if you’d like to stay updated and inspired!  Maybe we can work on getting your art to create itself too. 

Musings and Mud still exists in a whole brand new way – my written works and art projects and meanderings and faeries have their own space. It’s kind of fun to have a space just for that.

Another good thing?  I’ve donated my pottery studio to Kamloops Makerspace – a fantastic place full of creative and innovative people and things.  I’ve been teaching classes, new and experienced potters are getting to hang  out and inspire each other, as well as with techies, carpenters, wood carvers, electricians, digital artists, fabric artists, etc etc. It’s crazy amazing. Kamloops Makerspace.  If you aren’t from around town, Makerspaces are popping up world wide. There might be one in your community, or perhaps you’ll be the one to get one going!  

Building a stronger, braver, more fun brain.

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I’ve just posted a number of alcohol ink items I’ve recently made, to the photo gallery on my new Musings and Mud site. This is funnier than hell. Who posts beginner pieces of art on their website?  Me, apparently.

Maybe this can inspire you, and keep reminding me, to be okay with being a ‘janet of all trades.’ To be okay with experimenting in new mediums that may never make you money, that may never make you famous, that may never ever ever get posted on the Alcohol Ink community on Facebook. (Have you seen the extraordinary work of those people? Oh. My.)

There was no plan. Just pour and move inks. But, wait! There’s a ship! There’s legs!

(I know some of the pieces look decent in the photos. The pendants. But, trust me, they aren’t that great. This was one of those rare occasions where the artwork photographs better than in real life.)

But, oh my gom, the joys of beginner’s mind!  
“Have ink. Have paper. Have brass.
Pour.
Oh, look how that colour mixes.
Cool.
Oh my god, stop! Stop flowing that way!
Ugh!
Oh look at how beautiful areas are when they dry. So unexpected.
A little more gold. Oops.
Thank goodness nobody is ever going to see this.
This is fun!

No, no, don’t use your fingers.
No, don’t wipe them on your once favourite hoodie. (now officially ruined.)  
Oh, wait, this is beautiful.
I could pour a little alcohol here… cool!  It makes distinct lines… “

Okay, you know the routine. You’ve been there, right? I got to escape into colour and flow and creative thinking. Just a break from the day. Wrong. This process does SO MUCH MORE than give you a break!
This process keeps the door open for our whole mind to function better.

First it lifts our spirits.
Often it lets in humour.
Then the naysayer part of our mind steps aside, thinking: ‘Whatever – she’s just playing.”
Next the rest of our mind starts firing with all kinds of new connections and ideas.
All of that doesn’t stop when you stop creating.

Our logical mind is, well, logical. It is busy helping us make decisions that it thinks keeps us safe. It runs on what it knows from the past and will purr along repeating the same old shi.. stuff as we go through our day.

It needs reminders that we can think differently. That we can make new connections and find new ways. If it’s hard for you to justify creating, and especially justifying making stuff in new mediums, you could remind yourself that you are retraining your brain. Giving it a good ol’ workout. Building a stronger, braver, more fun brain. The logical brain likes that kind of talk and will be more supportive.

And for me, as per my memoir, Beyond All Imaginings, it keeps me open to the magic that exists in our world.

Beyond All Imaginings – Phew!

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bai-front-coverPhew!  Beyond All Imaginings, my wildly magical memoir is published. It’s been a work in progress for quite some time. And some of that work in progress was my mind asking, “Really, Janet? Are you really going to share your story with the world?”

But then, last year, I was nagged/haunted/obsessed with the idea that it was time to put the story out into the world.  It wasn’t easy. After all, there will be some who will think me crazy. Or so I thought, anyway.

So far, nobody has claimed  me ‘crazy,’ though I suspect someone will and that’s okay now because the book is out there, doing more than I could have imagined.  Beyond All Imaginings is just my story, but it is opening doors of possibilities for others. I get teary at the beautiful stories and reviews shared back from readers.

I get teary at the synchronicities that are happening for readers, and for me as I sign personal copies. Magical connections are continuing beyond the story itself, it appears. It’s like the book has taken on a life of it’s own and I get to be a spectator.

I’m not the best at promoting (have you noticed?) – but I am very grateful this story got told and I can share it. Especially right now, when the world needs a little more magic.  Right now, if we can all open that door just a little more, perhaps we can start to make things going wrong in the world right.

What’s the story about? I’ve still not come up with an ‘in a nutshell’ synopsis. So I’m sharing the back cover story…  

This is the true story of magic and altering time and people who died and beings who introduced themselves as faeries… and this is a story of pottery.
It’s about smashed fingers, smashed dreams, smashed faeries and the value of throwing up your arms and saying “whatever.”
It’s about impossible things being possible and Rolling Stones playing on unplugged radios.
It’s about the tragic loss of loved ones and the heart-wrenching grief; and the magic of faerie-like beings showing up in my clay, on my pages, and in my home – which they did very much to my dismay, at least at first.
And a mystery; these same faeries insist on blowing themselves up!
This is the story that blurs your boundaries between reality and fantasy and leaves you wishing you could find your way into my world, albeit without the tragedies.
As you can imagine, this has not been a simple story to write. Hell, if it were fantasy it would have been easy… but this is my life.

Curious? Click here to read ‘inside’ on your favourite Amazon site.  Oh heck, I’ll share some reviews below.

If this story is calling to you and you might like a personally signed copy, please send me a message.  janet@novelminds.ca

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