In a year from now…

First day of holidays and it’s time for self reflection and thoughts of the future.

It’s hard to think what my life will be like in a year’s time, but I do know that it will be very different from now. I look forward to sealing the letter and opening it in a year’s time. I wonder how much will have come true? And if I care if it hasn’t? Will something better have happened in my life?

I’ve also taken the time to write a letter to myself about the highlights of this year so far. There have been a lot. It will be a joy and perfect reminder to also open this letter in a year’s time to remind me how much I’ve traveled, to show how far I’ve journeyed, and that I have grown even though at times it might not feel like it.

Time for some dreaming as I write.

Lilliana Rose 🌹

www.lillianarose.com

Doorways

Looking through doorways before some journaling and wondering where they may take me in my imagination.

An inspiring environment to do some journaling.

Flower treat

A treat for myself for getting through my presentation at the AAWP conference today. I had minimal notes and just spoke for 20min taking a storytelling approach. Nothing like pushing oneself! And I survived question time after. I think the audience was kind to me!

I really enjoyed sharing my journey writing about my memories from my great grandma who was a homesteader of the prairies.

Fountain Pen Joy!

I treated myself to a new Lamy fountain pen. I can’t stop using it and I’ve switch to more handwriting just so I can use it!

This treat to myself is definitely paying off in creative currency! The ideas and flowing along with the words.

The iced latte is a change because it’s a hot spring day and I’m in need of a cool drink as well as my daily caffeine hit!

Lilliana Rose

www.lillianarose.com

Forget the To Do List

After years and years of making lists, I’ve come to the realisation that I’m not a list person. While that’s the advice given and share in the motivational world, make a list get it out of your head, it doesn’t work for me. I prefer to keep it all in my head.

I might forget particular jobs this way but even with a list I’ve let some projects go unattended, especially since I have so many lists each for the different areas of my life.

Blank to do list
blank planner

By not making a written list, I can adjust the order of the jobs as I need to in my mind depending on other priorities that might come up during that day. By having this flexibility it means I can allow my intuition influence over what gets done as suited for the day, my mood, and what else is happening in my life. It’s a more harmonious approach, my anxiety levels are reduced, and I don’t feel like I’m forcing myself to get things done or that I’m weighed down by shoulds and should nots. This way my mind can rearrange the to-do list in a flexible and intuitive way, the way I like to approach life.

Of course my ego protests. It voices its doubt, and that there’s no way this creative approach will work. I’ll never finish projects or make progress and it will, as in my life, will be a mess. This is life. A mess. For sure, there are times when lists are helpful. But when my life is just as productive and less stressful when I take a more fluid approach, I notice that maybe these goal driven approaches aren’t for me.

While I do have a strong logical brain, I also have an equally strong creative brain. Based on how unpredictable life can be, how chaotic it is, and how one is really not in control, it makes sense to be able to switch between the two, and give the creativity, the intuitive side just as much value as the logical and planned side.

My dad always kept the details of the farm and breeding of the sheep in his head. There were a few notes in the dusty Elders notebooks in the ute. Your mind is good at remembering what’s important but it’s not usually a finite situation. There’s a limit for how much can be remembered at one time, maybe this can be extended or maybe not. But this is the amount of memory space you have to work with. Over loading it will only lead to a form of shut down. So by working with what you’ve got can actually be expansive. It’s a more feminine approach. Women do it all the time, and no it’s not necessarily about multi-tasking. But more understanding what you’ve got to work with, head space, time, personal energy, environment, other people and then making the best of that in an extraordinary fluid balance that may change without warning or throughout the day multiple times.

It’s not surprising I’m finding I work better this way. After all a big tell tale sign is how I approach my writing. There’s two main ways, connected by a spectrum, pantser or plotter. I’m a pantser. I fly by the seat of my pants when I write the story and characters all come out organically and I don’t plan (like a plotter). It means I often think of plot twists and points on the fly, and come up with ideas spontaneously rather than getting weighed up in the planning. This style isn’t for everyone. What’s important is to recognise what works for you, and then go with that. There are times when you need to switch between the two approaches left or right, logical or creative, planned or unplanned, or maybe even straight ahead in the unique balance which works for you.

the to do list
writing the daily list

Are you a list maker? Does it improve your approach to getting jobs done, and reduce stress levels? Or do you find it easier to have the mental fluid list and do just fine that way? Let me know if lists work for you or not in the comments below.

Thanks for stopping by,

Lilliana Rose

www.lillianarose.com

 

Tying Knots

When I was in primary school the fad was to make friendship bracelets. A quick lesson from a classmate, a selection of a few colours of embroidery thread I convinced mum I had to have (lucky my mum was a big supporter of craft activities), and I was set to make the bracelets. I taught myself new designs, the patterns formed in my head (there was no Internet to look up or YouTube videos to watch). Each night before bed I would make a new bracelet. I made a lot of them.

For the life of me I can’t remember how to make them. I do remember I enjoyed knotting the thin threads and making up my own designs. As an adult, I thought I’d try and connect back to this childhood joy. Right now, macramé is back in fashion, and I thought I’d make my own hanging pot.

I bought a DIY pack and followed the instructions. It was much more difficult than I thought it would be. I had to undo the knots and start again at least three times, and I made such an error I had to contact the lady I bought the kit from for some more rope.

What was going on? The mistakes I were making was unbelievably stupid and why wasn’t I picking it up like I had when I was ten?

Adult brain.

I was second guessing without realising. I wanted to get it perfect the first time. I just wanted to get it done, and I was fixated on the end result.

When I was about ten, I didn’t have any of these expectations. I simply gave it a go. It’s this approach I’d like to get back to, but it’s not easy. My adult brain too easily interferes. Also, my adult brain learns much slower than when I was ten, a child’s brain is like a sponge and simply soaks up new information, and my adult brain is overloaded.

Wanting to give macramé another go, I booked into a workshop. Sometimes it’s much easier to be shown, and have a teacher there to help you out when you are all knotted up. Plus, there are a few tips which can help out, and keep you from getting over tangled.

finished hanging potplant.JPG

During the workshop, I connected more with how I approached making the friendship bracelets when in primary school. Also, I found a meditative state when I knotted. Maybe it was because I had more confidence because I wasn’t second guessing myself. While knotting, I worked at my own pace and rhythm. I found a way to relax, to have fun, to play, and reconnect to my inner child, whose approach to learning is something I should apply more in my life. This is what I’ll be attempting to do when I make up the DIY macramé hanging plant kit I have sitting on my kitchen table. I might be tying knots, but I’ll be having fun.

Where to Start?

Where to start a story may seem a stupid question to ask. Of course you need to start at the beginning when telling or writing a story. It’s important because this is when you hook your audience. The problem is, the beginning may not always be clear, or there could be multiple places where a story can start.

Writing isn’t like drawing or painting, where you can start at the top, middle or bottom of the canvas. On a canvas, you can see where you are going, and the space to be creatively filled is clearly defined. It doesn’t work like that with writing. With a story, there’s the start, middle and end, and you can begin at any of these points and write out of order. Sure, writers usually start writing at the top left hand side of a page, moving across to the right (when writing in English) then down to the next line and so on. But this top of the page could be in the middle of a story, or a new scene, or the start of a chapter. There are so many more choices when constructing a story, many which are hidden. The writer is working with the unknown, and may have an idea where to go, but there could be multiple ways to get there.

At some point, the only decision that can be made is to choose a point in the story and write. The structure will become clear the more that is written. Like all good travellers, the writer might get lost, have to back track and take another path. I’ve thrown away 30-40,000 words before in a story and re-written those words, and now I’m planning on doing a complete re-write of these 70,000 words. What a waste?! Not really. I needed to write in order to find the start and I was learning about my writing style that was best suited for this particular story (I have a different one for each story). It had to be done. This is going with the flow, my inner creative flow, and writing to see what takes shape. If the story ends up not going in a direction I feel is suitable for the story or characters, then I change. I may even abandon the story for a while to retrieve later, or use some parts in a different story.

That’s writing, a lot of hard work, persistence, trying new approaches, changing direction and not giving up. There can be times to persevere, but if it begins to feel like a block then I might jump ahead to another scene, or write another story, or take time to journal, or have a break. I never know what creative paths I’ll end up going down if I let go (just a little) and relax, trust myself that I’ll find a creative solution.

The more I write, the more I become aware of my journey, what is working, what isn’t and then I can adjust accordingly. Some loose suggestion of where to start will involve emotion, action, and a hook to draw in the reader. Once I’m writing, then I’ll begin to connect to the setting, characters, and emotion, then I will have a better idea of the direction the story is going in. At this point, I can reflect if this is the best place for the start, or if there’s somewhere else. The story can be re-structured when editing, but first there needs to be words on the page.

Finding the best start to a new story becomes a matter of jumping in, get writing, stop thinking of the outcome, and don’t question yourself. And that in itself is a very good place to begin a story.