Week Four of the Artist’s Way

These are notes I wrote during/after week four of The Artist’s Way. For those not aware, The Artist’s Way is a book (25 editions now!) about unlocking your creativity (and I’d argue, living an intentional life). Each week there are things to do, and tasks. Yes, those two things sound the same, but somehow aren’t…..

Anyway, here are some notes I took at the end of week four.

I found the week without reading to be difficult. It is amazing how much I reach for my phone to read news or Twitter (which for me is mostly news) or Facebook. Also, I felt like was replacing reading with a bit of TV.

On the other hand, I did a lot of work on paper terrain (note: I build terrain for role playing games). And, I built the raised garden beds. So that’s a plus.

The exercise of the ideal place was interesting. I’m clearly happy with where an how (mostly) we are living. The fantasy spots are like 3-7 day things, not places I could be all the time.

Also, the exercise of what I’m like at 80 was good. It’s clear that travel and health are goals for me. I’d love to see more of the world and be healthy enough to enjoy it.

The one thing in my life I should change is taking care of my body. Go see the doctor, the dentist, and someone about my shoulder and back issues. That came from my letter from older self some, but also from answering that one question (note: I don’t know what question I’m referring to!).

I missed my morning pages one day, as we slept in and then I want to the golf show with my neighbor. It was good just spend a few hours out with some guys. I’m not sure I did an artist’s date this week. Unless we count al the work I did on terrain. Which felt more like part of my routine now.

Final Week Four Thoughts:

I don’t feel the progress I did earlier in the process. But, growth is not a linear thing, so that’s not really a surprise to me. I definitely hated not reading, but I do think it helped me start breaking my phone habit (note: I plan to watch this habit the coming weeks, and see). Which is good. I also feel like I’m working to squeeze the tasks in so in this coming week, I’m definitely going to do a bit every day, give or take. That should help me feel more progress. Lastly, the strong emphasis on God in week five makes me resistant to the process, but we’ll discuss that later.

I’ve got notes, but they aren’t here yet

I’ve started a new journal, in addition to the morning pages. It’s where I am keeping my thoughts on the Artist’s Way, and my progress (or not progress). But I find that writing them after, or even during, my morning pages is more helpful than typing them up. So, they are there now, rather than here. But, I will type up the ones that might be of interest (like how the book is working for me, rather than my output from tasks).

Also, I’ve got a long list of house projects to work on. That might, or might not, turn into a feature of the site. We’ll see.

I’m considering doing “We Aren’t Experts” reviews, but I’m not certain on that yet. It would be me and friends doing things we aren’t experts at, and reviewing them. Like, all the bourbon and whiskey videos are done by real experts. Is that good? Or not? I’m not sure yet.

Week Four of the Artist’s Way

So, ya, I get up this morning, and Julianne reminds me that this is the week we are not supposed to read at all!

We are working our way through The Artist’s Way, and one of the tasks this week is to not read at all. Now, this is unrealistic. Julianne needs to read to do quotes and to respond to customer emails. I am looking for work, so I at least need to browse my emails to see if anyone is responding.

The question is, what all do I allow myself to read? I pondered that while writing my morning pages, and the list seemed to get quite long. Quite long.

  • Emails about jobs I apply for
  • Emails about phone call consulting (though, let’s be honest, this never seems to happen for me)
  • Job postings
  • Instructions for a papercraft I am building
  • Instructions if I buy a camera this week
  • Reviews if I buy a camera this week
  • My novel I’m re-writing
  • My PDFs I’m writing
  • Research related to my PDFs
  • Quotes I am getting for some work around the house
  • Any texts I receive
  • Mail that might be important
  • Emails from family

Given the length of the list of things I will allow myself to read, I’m thinking about not applying for jobs, not buying a camera, and not doing the papercraft project. Of course, that means I wait another week to start filming for youtube….which probably isn’t an issue. I could also just not work on my PDFs and my novel. That’s an option.

I find it odd (or maybe intentional) that this practice comes the week after The Artist’s Way has us examine our bad habits (like watching tv we don’t really like). I was planning to replace some of that bad tv watching with reading. Oh well. I’ll update this post as the week goes on, to self-assess my ability not to read.

The Artist’s Way and Me (and J)

Julianne and I have been working our way through The Artist’s Way. It’s a book about unlocking your creative self. There are some good and less good parts of the book so far. I won’t review the whole book here, as we are only in week 3 of a 12 week process, but I did want to get some preliminary thoughts down on both the book, and what it has (or has not) done for me so far.

First…..the book is nice and easy to read. It’s written, I’d almost say, conversationally. It definitely is not a sciencey book, but it’s also not over the top like I feel some self-help books are. The first edition of the book came out something like 25 years ago, but it doesn’t seem dated to me at all so far. I’m going to start with my two biggest issues with the book (so far) and then jump into the good stuff.

The biggest issue I have with the book is that it bills itself as spiritual, but is really more Godly than spiritual. As an atheist (or agnostic), it can be a bit too much GOD for me at times. Fortunately, Julianne took the time to re-write the part we are supposed to read every day, and made it much more universal in nature. If you own the book, and want a copy of the new language, contact me and we’ll figure something out.

The next biggest issue I have is that I feel, and I could be reading this wrong, but I feel that the author thinks everyone has the same experience as her and her other readers. Maybe I’m just in a different place, but I don’t feel that I am surrounded by people that are blocking me. I don’t have any enablers or really negative people. I’m not surrounded by anyone that wants to make the world all about themselves, and to keep it chaotic. But, at least so far in the book, I get the feeling that is a big part of what I should be working on.

Those are the two places I have issues, but neither has gotten in the way of me finding the book helpful so far. The book asks you to write three handwritten morning pages first thing every day. This sounds tedious, but I don’t find it so at all. At first the thoughts were random, stream of consciousness about the silliness of the process.

Then they changed to be about some insights I was having about my past and creativity. These insights were helpful in breaking some minor bonds holding me back. Eventually the book also suggests some topics to include in the morning pages, and I have found those to be helpful. Lastly, I have practiced writing fiction in my morning pages. Mostly I’ve tried to write better beginnings to books, things that will catch a reader and want them to read more. I’m confident this will help my fiction writing.

The next big thing you do every week, not every day. Take yourself on an artist’s date. By yourself. Do something artistic, or go to a concert, but mostly do something. The first week I went to the dollar tree store, bought some things I can convert to role playing terrain, and also bought some things I could make into a nice flower arrangement for Julianne’s desk.

Finally, every week you have tasks you need to do. I’ll say that some of them are more valuable than others, at least for me. You aren’t expected to do all the tasks, which is good, because a: I have a terrible memory for the past and b: I don’t have, as I said above, a lot of people in my way.

What I’ve learned is that mostly I have me in my way. Now, part of that is some things from my past, that I need to work through. But mostly it is me, and how intentionally I live my life (or not). Today, for example, I’m writing this blog as an intentional moment, a moment that likely would not have happened only 2 weeks into The Artist’s Way.

I’ll post more on the book, and what I’m learning as I go. But so far, I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting to be more creative. I think I’d recommend it to anyone wanting a more intentional life in general, but we’ll see about that in the coming weeks.

random stuff

I’m closing in on releasing my first PDF for DnD …… I predict I make about $1 per hour worked on it….

Julianne and I worked on some remodeling last weekend. We don’t usually work well together on projects like that, as we do things differently. This time we spent a very large amount of time talking and working things out, rather than just assuming how the other would do things. I think our communications have really improved the last couple of years.

I really want to publish a novel or short story(ies) next year. I am going to pick up the novels very seriously in January.

I will also pick up the job search in January. I really need to do some soul searching the next couple of weeks to figure out what that phase of my life looks like.

I have a few other PDFs in draft form. I expect to publish two more DnD related items in January/February. The editing and proofreading take a lot more time than I expected. It’s much easier to proof other people’s work, than my own.

I sent two texts yesterday, trying to build a DnD group. I really want to play. Another thing I’ll emphasize in January, I guess.

So much for writing here!

Ha. well then…..

I haven’t been posting here, it seems. I wonder if it will change this time. Things I might write about:

  • Writing, I’m currently working on PDFs I plan to sell.
  • Lack of working hard on the job hunt
  • Movie reviews
  • Smoking food
  • Remodeling the house
  • whatever I’m doing that day
  • gratitude, though likely that stays on Facebook
  • Can I get back into guitar playing?

Still thinking……

It’s funny, or something. My youngest son is starting the job search process, and I might be a bit frustrated at his pace…..and yet, I’ve done little other than update my LinkedIn profile a bit. Of course, I’m not starting my work life, but trying to figure out how to spend the last decade or so of it…..

Mostly I’ve been trying to figure out what is next. I really think I might need to talk to someone about it, but I’m not sure yet. I told my wife that I was waffling on this whole process. Just like I’m waffling on how to build the back entry way to our house, wood (or similar product) cement, or stone……they all have advantages and disadvantages.

Back to my work dilemma. Just when I’m ready to give up on the site, another site reaches out and offers a partnership. Which I’ll do, I like their tool….but I don’t know if it matters. To keep that site going I need help. Real help. People that will write and answer questions and be interviewed. Right now, it just isn’t there.

Published a Blog Post On Another Site

Today I published a blog post on Twins Daily. It looks at MLB trades in the month of June since 2013. Not surprisingly, there are not many June trades. Basically, I wanted to know if there were many trades before the July 31 deadline. It was too much typing, imo, for one post, so I split it 3 pieces. June. First three months of July. Last 10 days of July. We’ll see if anyone reads it…..Of course, the BBC code I copied in didn’t save the first time, so a couple hundred people looked at a blog post with two non-tables worth of data. Sigh.

I also met with the siding company, to discuss and plan out our new home siding. Only a few questions remain, including when we can get the asbestos abatement team out here to finish the work they have already started. (on a previous effort, just that more walls need to be taken off).

I spent a good deal of yesterday working on my novel, including re-reading and documenting details. This morning I watched a video on having a series bible, and it turns out I’m pretty much doing what Vivian suggested there. But, as usual, I did take some nuggets from her great video. I also watched her video on what she spent to get her book published…..over $4K….so, ya, gotta keep thinking about this!

About to start working on Julianne’s monthly email so it can be sent out. Then probably more on the novel, we’ll see.

Here is a short rye whiskey review:

Pikesville Rye. It is made by the same people that make Rittenhouse. The bar tender told me it is the same mash as that, but it is distilled to a higher alcohol content. And you can tell! It is hot on the nose for sure. I think if you are drinking it neat, you should probably add a cube or two. It’s got a nice caramel taste, and I definitely got some mustiness on the finish. It’s a good sipping whiskey, but only if you like your sips to have a bit of forwardness in the alcohol.

Polish Food and More

I’m likely to blog nearly every day, at least some, going forward. So, here’s today.

On the job front, I’m still waffling over what I really want to do. Of course, I’ve mostly done other things today, so it is a bite sized waffle….

I ate at the Polish food cart in Portland today. EuroDish has amazing reviews online, and my wife had been told it was a great place to eat Polish food. I got the number 1 combo, with a sausage, pierogies, and a slaw salad. It was lunch time, but it took less than 7 minutes to get my food, so the wait wasn’t too bad. The food was kind of bland, though. I’m not sure I get the hype. That said, I went once, and I will give it one more try. I’d rate it a three out of five on Google based on this one visit.

I did finish writing my first blog post for Twins Daily. Once I figure out how to format tables, I’ll publish it. We’ll see if anyone reads it….It is part one of a three part series on trades in major league baseball. I’m looking first at when trades happen, and a bit on what it costs to get good players in trade.

Nathan left town today. It was a good visit. Julianne and I did not once bring up his permanent job search. Not sure if that is the right strategy, or the wrong strategy. We’ll see.

Time for a Change

Well, after doing our budget, and after looking at my interests, and my dedication to https://www.laidoffbetteroff.com/, it’s clear I need to do something else.

What is that something else, you may ask? Good question. Here are some of the things I am considering in this decision:

  1. I need more interaction with people. I just read how Stan Lee went into the office in the morning, got his energy up, then went home to write. That’s probably some of what I need, more extrovert energy.
  2. I want to write fiction. So, there needs to be time for that. Really, there needs to be time for living, so no back to 45-65 hour weeks, unless it is for 3 months at a time or something.
  3. I want to make the world a better place, so I either need to work for a non-profit, or have time to volunteer.
  4. Recalling my Strengths Finder results, and looking at myself, it’s clear I need to build things, and strategize, rather than run operations over and over. I can run things, it just can’t be the same thing every day, year after year. Strategy, Implementer, hmmmm, I can’t recall. I may have to visit the site….
  5. I would like to continue blogging. Not sure why, but this appeals to me.
  6. I like taking photos. I like traveling. I like eating out. I like going to wineries. I like hiking and golfing and skiing. I like spending time with friends and family.
  7. While I like leading people, I’m not sure leading a huge team is in my future. I doubt I want to go to a big, giant, company again. But leading a small team? that would be good.
  8. I did like working in IT, but I doubt I’ll ever be a developer. But helping IT, that was good.