Tag Archives: art journaling

the thing about gratitude

15 Feb

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This is our family’s gratitude garland. We started it at the end of last December with just a couple of tags and a Sharpie. I was the one who insisted on it. I could feel my gratefulness slipping through my fingers, and it wasn’t a feeling I enjoyed.

The thing is, gratitude isn’t just a mindset I can switch into; it’s not sitting there for me to grab anytime I want it.

Gratitude – the kind that sticks to me whether my circumstances are rosy or not – that kind of gratitude takes practice.

I used to keep a gratitude journal. Everyday I’d scribble in it the things I didn’t want to take for granted. Mostly they were little things: The sound of Piper’s giggle, the smell of coffee, the way the kids had woken up happy and not grumpy. A haiku my dad had sent to me and my mom. The haiku reply my mom sent back.

Little things. The light on the kitchen table kinds of things.

Over time I grew more joyful and content. I was blessed. I’d recorded the blessings and they looked back at me, proving it.

IMGP0240 (2)Then I slowed down in my record keeping. Life got hectic. Occasionally I’d type out a quick list on Twitter using the hashtag #gratitudes. I fell out of the practice of a grateful heart.

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I don’t enjoy my life near as much when I find myself ungrateful for it. So the garland went up and is still going up, piece by piece. And my art journal/planner now doubles as a place where I keep the list going (an email from Clayton, cilantro in the pasta, kind words from one of the kids) so that my mind is constantly brought back to how blessed I am.

I’m not trying to sugar-coat anything; Life is often times downright awful.

But I find I can latch onto small gratitudes, even in those miserable times, so long as I’m well practiced in it.

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So, that’s it. That’s all I wanted to say.

Oh, and I gave the ol’ blog a little makeover. Do you like it? There are still some things that need adding and tweaking (Twitter feed, anyone?), but I’ve only had small bits of time to work on it. Hopefully I’ll be done with the revamp in another week or so.

Winter’s getting a bit long, and the edits on my book are getting more and more difficult. Maybe I’ll get on here a bit more often 😉

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grand plans & a grand way of keeping them

3 Feb

A writer friend was talking on Facebook the other day about we writers and the processes we go through writing and editing and editing again and again. Then submitting to agents, waiting, editing again, submitting again, editing again – and she laughed and noted that it must seem strange to the non-writers who listen to us with all our many updates.

She’s editing again? I though she did that already. She’s brushing up her query? But she “brushed up” her query LAST month.

Yeah, she brushed it up last month. And she’s brushing it up again now. And she probably brushed it up three times in between but didn’t want to admit to each of those times.

Give her a break.

Now, all of that said, I’m on my last round of edits.

Take that to mean whatever you will.

I’ve got a great method I wanted to share. It’s a slow method but the results have been worth it.

I start by going through all of the edits I put onto my hard copy for one chapter and change them in the Word doc. Once they’re all in I turn on my computer’s voice recorder and read that chapter aloud. I can pause the recorder and make quick fixes as I see them or highlight sentences I want to come back to. Then I listen. I find so many things I can improve this way. I make all of the changes I see to make until the chapter strikes me as perfect. Then I reread it for the recorder one last time. Voila.

I’ve heard countless authors talk about the importance of reading their work aloud once they get close to the final draft. They need to hear it in order to feel it. Recording it and playing it back for myself brings me to yet another level in listening, one in which I’m not even distracting by the reading. I can focus fully on the feel and the flow.

Now, I’m alright with this slow and steady pace, but I want to be sure that I’m querying before my baby #4 comes at the beginning of April. This gives me two months. If I can edit a chapter a day then I’ll have plenty of time to make sure my query is golden and to get all of my *dream agents* in a line as well. Most of this work has already been done, but I want things PERFECT, you guys.

That was a very wobbly lead-in to the next item on this blog post: my art journal/planner.

For those of you who like making art more than you like planning, you’re going to love this. For those of you who like planning more than you like making art, you might want to look away. The sight of a to-do list splattered with paint could prove to be too much for you.

An art journal/planner is pretty much the freakish offspring of -well- an art journal and a planner. Art journals are getting ridiculously popular on the internet and in the artsy circles. Just take a peek on Pinterest. There is no end to it. Now add in a planner, and that’s what I’m doing.

Here is a fun Facebook group if your interesting in getting started. I lurk over there. And here is a blog post better than my own.

Here is my title page:

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And here is week one for me:

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I had fun piecing it together here and there as the week went on, getting out some creative juices without needing to put in much commitment, time, or effort.

I used a mix of media: embroidery floss, mod podge, sharpie markers, pens, pencils, magazine clippings, paint chips, scotch tape, masking tape – even an old grocery list and coffee splatterings.

Here is what week two looks like today, Monday:

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I purposefully taped down just one side of my weekly planner page. This way I have room to make art under my schedule as well.

I’m most excited about documenting and preserving life with this. Writing notes when the kids say or do funny things, when Clayton and I share busy/sweet life with each other, when something worth celebrating happens (like the delivery of a new hoop).

What we’re drinking, listening to, dancing to, laughing at. Memorable things, mundane things. This is a place for it to be recorded.

This will also help me stick to my plans and goals, and give me space in the week to be creative.

Nice, yeah?

Okay, now back to editing…

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