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Hauntings and Heroes

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Almost six months since the launch of Writerly Kits; the third kit is out; and oh, what a learning curve.

Need a brain workout? Start up a new business!

It’s been a roller coaster, but each time the kit is put together and sent out, I feel pretty good about it. When writers share how the kits and contents are working for them, I do feel like I’m on the right path.

I know the challenges of starting and finishing written works – both my own, and my clients. I also know that those stories haunting to be told can only be told by the hauntee!

And most of all? I know the almost indescribable feeling of holding that published book in hand. I know – that’s lazy of me. I really ought to take more time to describe the feeling. For now, here’s a little link to a brief moment when a box of my books arrived!  Right here.

All of this is why I am passionate to support writers to get to their books. And now I’m happy to reveal Kit # 3 –

Hauntings and Heroes.

May it support writers to get their damn books done, too.

 

This classy and magical kit arrived at the perfect time of year to for writers to make friends with their creative monsters and the book that haunts to be written.

What’s Included:

Birchwood Writerly Box: a treasure all on it’s own. Designed and crafted by Kyle Rankin at Kamloops Makerspace. Supporting our creative community!

100 Demon Dialogues by Lucy Bellwood: This illustrated book is so inline with our Novel Minds Process – the process that uses your imagination to explore, discover and play with the characters in your head. Writerly subscibers will love, and relate to, Lucy’s demons so much that I’m sure they’ll soon get to love the nasty little inner critics in their mind, plus give much more credit to the hero who can get them to their creative process more often and more easily! Also, the cover of this book is extraordinary: Inspiration for future covers for the writers.

Author’s Letter from Lucy Bellwood: Such an authentic letter from one writer to another, about her life as a writer. Written from a geranium-studded balcony as she tours with her new book.

Almost Blank Notebook: During Nanowrimo, or anytime, practise the technique of Lucy Bellwood. Comes with random quotes. We trust that synchronicity makes sure the quotes are the right ones for each kit recipient.

Singing Wands: Pure magic to clear the way for writing or for life. Each one unique in it’s look and it’s sound. Incredibly grateful that the creator, Bip Nelson, supported our writers in this beautiful way.

Porcelain Writerly Candle Pot: Made with love by the curator, who is also a ceramic artist. Our writerly ship, cogs, damn book done may be found on each one, highlighted with 24 kt fire-on gold. Nothing like lighting a candle to mark the start of a writing session. Comes with silver and gold teacandles.

Raven Keychain: A charming bronze keychain with a quote from Alice in Wonderland. A nice reminder that you are a writer, no matter what is going on in your day.

Inky Sisu Editing Tips: A great collection of tips from professional editor, Leena Niemela, to keep in mind as writers head into their writing, plus what is handy to know when it is time to get their book edited.

A pen, of course! From our ever growing collection of ‘great pen’ finds.

Wellness Teas: A collection of organic teas to provide a little balance to all the coffee writers are likely to drink during Nanowrimo!

Best Damn Licorice Ever: I was stunned by how delectable Panda All Natural Licorice is! For those who don’t love licorice, we recommended it be used as a bribe for beta readers, editors or small children.

Theobroma Chocolate Bar: Yummy and organic, a treat to celebrate writing times! Or, you know, maybe the minute the kit is open.

S.I.P.s: A collection of unique writing tips, triggers, and inspiration to keep you writing, especially handy when one feels stuck.

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Imagination Gone Wild

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gone wild themeWow, time is flying and I’m planning the second Writerly Kit!  Imagination Gone Wild.  Those following here can already imagine how much fun this is for me.

I get to use my imagination creating all that this kit is.  It’s like I’ve found the perfect work: Doing the things I love: coaching, creating, imagining, sprinkling with magic and supporting others to live that life/passion/idea, AND write that story, that matters to them. Sigh.

As long as I keep reaching people, (oy, that’s the marketing end. Not quite so fun, though, Instagram is more interesting than I first suspected), Writerly Kits really is a great place to put my energies.  Imagination as our second theme is also a perfect fit. I’ve been an advocate for imagination, in work, play, story, art, since the 80’s!

Here’s the tidbit about our latest theme. Enjoy!:  

As creative folks, I know you already have a good imagination. You already do think outside the box. But, we do end up creating a new box – it’s a weirder shape than the average box  but it, too, can use some wild ways to take it up a notch;  for writing our books, for making it easier to get to our writing, and even more, to enhance all we do in our lives.  You and your imagination are going to have an extraordinary time together.

You’re going to need the unusual coffee included in this one, and the very original and unusual magical item.

I’ll say no more.

(Actual contents aren’t posted until boxes ship out the end of August, so subscribers have their chance to explore their writerly kit. Don’t we all just love surprises? )

www.writerlykits.com

Join me on instagram?  @writerlykits

 

My sincere apology to creativity, imagination and mystical tall ships

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“I’m so sorry. I am truly at fault here,” I say to imagination and creativity.

Creativity, and it’s biggest player, Imagination,  has spent lifetimes being dismissed, discredited, and at best, something you do when you’ve got everything else done, even though our creative mind is as much a part of our lives as breathing.  Would we give breathing so little recognition for it’s value?  Creativity could even use a new word to help people to pay attention.  You know how ‘God’ –  a tiny three letter word- can evoke so many stories, so much controversy, so much doubt, so much questioning and so much yearning,  that some people have trouble, or might even step right away from, defining and engaging with what God is for them. Sometimes I think God needs a new term. Like, “Universe” or “GOM – (Grand Old Magic)”

Ya, creativity is like that, needing something new.  It’s even easier to not define creativity… all the systems already did that for you- usually with a final touch suggesting creativity is a nice hobby and imagination is for kids.  Eek!

But what is really scary for me is that I’ve played a role in keeping creativity and  imagination in their ‘place’ in the general thinking of the world. This is not true of how I’ve interacted with the process of creativity and imagination on a personal level, nor is it entirely true of how I include it in coaching personal clients….and yes, I know, it’s obvious that I care about creativity and imagination,  but damn, I haven’t shared exactly how powerful, how magical, how therapeutic, how impossible becomes possible, how spiritual and how magical things can be when the creative thinking  and doing and being processes get the time and space they deserve.  And magical. Did I mention magical?

I’m sorry.

I know this stuff. Yet, knowing what I know, I’ve been resistant to share it all, because a lot of people will think I’m crazy.

“Really, Janet?  You think that’s been getting in your way?” asks some part of me.  Yes, I think I’ve been letting that get in the way.

I’m going to change that.

After all, mystical tall ships saved my life, faeries got me through grief, and a  leprechaun changed the direction of my entire career.

They deserve better than they’ve been getting.

 

 

Turning Chemo Good with Bad Poetry.

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Yesterday’s poem:

C is for Chemo
H ell, that just kind of sucks
E is for Elmo
M y he is making big bucks
O. Whatever.

Trying again today…

There once was a concoction called chemo
It’s a bit like that fish they call Nemo
To do good is his plan
Ya,  some things get out of hand 
But happy endings are the result of his schemo.

okay.. that’s improving in attitude..

Later:

Like a swashbucklin’ Cap’n Jack Swallow,
Causing havoc that’s a bit hard to follow,
But despite his drunken swaggering way,
He akwats wubs… or I could actually put my fingers on the right keys and say,
He always wins in the most adventurous ways.

 

Definately a movie theme happening here.

My ‘signature’ poetry is bad.. You should see what
my family have put up with on birthday cards.
 I’m proud of how bad it is.
I welcome your small and crappy really bad
poetry or even good poetry!

ps. the series of events that leads me to
write bad poetry is here if you’d like to
know what the heck has led me to write
bad poetry about chemo!

I’m going more eccentric to prove my weirdness.

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Below are snippets from a very long and  interesting report about  Creative People on the Scientific American website.  I’ve chosen snippets (in italics)  for my personal commenting pleasure and humour. The snippets are not a summary of the report which is written by a professor and author who specializes in creativity.   For those interested in scientific studies, do read the article.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-unleashed-mind&page=5

The Unleashed Mind: Why Creative People Are Eccentric

Highly creative people often seem weirder than the rest of us. Now researchers know why

By Shelley Carson  | April 14, 2011 |

…may believe in supernatural phenomena such as telepathy… Not all schizotypal people have a personality disorder, however. They are often very high functioning, talented and intelligent. Many of my students at Harvard University, for example, score far above average on schizotypal scales, as well as on creativity and intelligence measures…

Yes, my creative and adventurous friends… we may all be schizotypal. Who knew there was a name for us that sounds like a psychosis because we can get overwhelmed by all the information we process, and we believe in ♫ wooo wooo♫ more in life than what we can physically see and prove?  That pretty much covers everybody I know.  Wait a sec… maybe if we know things like telepathy are true, rather than just ‘believe‘, we fit in some different category that probably still sounds like a psychosis.  (Yes, there’s a telepathy game at the end of this post)

… found that study participants who score high in a measure of creative achievement in the arts are more likely to endorse magical thinking—such as belief in telepathic communication, dreams that portend the future, and memories of past lives. These participants are also more likely to attest to unusual perceptual experiences, such as having frequent déjà vu and hearing voices whispering in the wind.

They nailed me!  And my god, the studies are finding our poor ‘disinhibited’ brains are the cause of all this!  I suspect in India, they don’t do this sort of study. I suspect all of this scientific  research in North America is our left brain society trying to get back to our true nature of magical thinking in a way that they can justify, quantify, and linearize. Sadly, ‘justify, quantify, and linearize’ just aren’t the tools that find magical thinking.

(participants of a study were asked:) Do you often feel like a square peg in a round hole?” Participants who score high on the Creative Achievement Questionnaire have answered “yes” significantly more often than those who have low scores in creative achievement. In fact, one participant—a Hollywood screenwriter—answered “no” but then wrote below the question: “I don’t feel like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I feel like an octagonal peg with conical appendages.”

In my coaching practise, it’s a rare client who does feel like they fit.  The following is the author’s final paragraph.

Square pegs (and octagonal pegs with conical appendages) no longer have to work so hard at fitting in. It is high time. Indeed, we all owe a deep debt of gratitude to those whose creative work has been accomplished at the expense of square-peg feelings of alienation and ostracism. The creative efforts of eccentrics add richness, beauty and innovation to the lives of those of us who have fit somewhat more comfortably into our round holes.

Yes!! I do wish she had blurted out, “Creatives, don’t try to fit in anymore!”  That would be more empowering for creative readers who might otherwise think “but I do have to work hard to fit in, what do you mean it’s no longer so hard?”

And as for me, I do work at ‘fitting in’… not in all ways, but I watch that how I present myself online, professionally, etc, isn’t so out of sync with the norm that people won’t pause to learn more.  This article makes me think I ought to explore more eccentricities.. beyond wearing my oldest beat-upest slippers while coaching in person.

But alas, all my weirdness in its full glory is in my novel…  Almost done. Focus, Janet, focus… and in the meantime, I may just practise the art of eccentricity a little more.

Dang, don’t you just love being a creative, soulful and weird schizotypal?

 

How to get blog traffic from Farmville

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It all happened innocently. My intrigue with our addiction to farmville – including my own (which was a bit too brief to be included in a New York Times article.. but it did get me an interview!)..      No. Wait. Stop right there. It was not my addiction to Farmville that got me the interview. It was my blog posts about Farmville.

The posts were never meant to attract readers or a NY Time’s journalist.  I simply like to contemplate how our minds work, what empowers us, what distracts us (especially related to creative right brain thinkers).   That’s all.  Farmville quickly became a huge distraction to (at the time) 40 million + users a month.  How could this not interest me? 

Sure, the blog posts are entertaining, with tips and humour ( I know this because the NYTimes journalist said they are ‘entertaining stuff.”  How cool is that?) .. but there was never an intention to reach readers of my blog. 

Well, be darned if I don’t have 100 – 200 readers a day now.  

Point of story? Write from your perspective about very popular topics. There’s something you are already doing, no doubt, that millions of others are interested in.  And tag well. (How else will they know you are writing about this topic?)  For example, do you have something brilliant, controversial or unique to say about “New Moon”  from the Twilight Series?  Better yet, are you a vampire?  You could get a sh-t load of readers writing about that.

You’d think that millions of others would be interested in what I do in my non-farmville life.  Oh. I mean, my real life.  But alas those millions have not yet found my blog.  Maybe it’s all too general – this coaching, self discovery, creativity thing.  Oh my, I just had a most Brilliant Idea!  You’ve just witnessed the epiphany… .. must run, I’m off to create an facebook app for that….

(Update: If you are looking for the farmville posts, I’ve deleted most of them My apologies, farmvillains.  They were just far too random to hold even my attention on the blog!  ha!)

Revolutionary Road: Being ‘realistic’ is the end of the dream

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I wrote a research paper when I was studying to be a coach, called ” imagination vs. reality”.  I won’t go into depth here, but the simple fact is:   The moment a person says, “I have to be realistic” – they have allowed cultural and personal beliefs to stop them dead in their tracks in the pursuit of their dream, passion, and true purpose.  

Coaching ‘limiting beliefs’ is what I do.   ‘Being realistic’ is so ingrained in our society’s perceived values, that it takes some creative coaching to help the client skip past that limiting belief, peer into the possibilities, and find the ways to reach those possibilities.  It works.. it always works.  It’s a tough one to get past on your own – get a good coach to help you.

The movie, Revolutionary Road, is extraordinary on many levels – Leonardo Dicaprio’s performance is so deserving of an oscar, it’s hard to believe he wasn’t even nominated.  The story is one that every person who yearns to make changes, who is certain they are not living to their potential, or who have a dream that so far seems ‘unrealistic,’   will want to see.  Fair warning.. this is not a happy movie.  It is however, thought provoking with a very powerful message.

And it might just make you reconsider living realistically.

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