June 6, 2010

You wanna know how I'm doing?

The first block of Merrilee's workshop is over and she gave us some questions to evaluate our progress. I have a small break from finals, so I'm answering them now before life gets crazy again.

1. Creativity

1a. Am I doing my daily creativity exercises? No, I don't have the time right now.
1b. How full is my notebook? I have two pages front in back in a 70 page college ruled notebook.
1c. Do I look around me and collect inspiration as I go about my day? I actually do. I have some ideas based on Bleeding Violet about an Urban Fantasy set in my hometown in California. I also have an idea about an Asian girl adopted by some crazy American family based on this episode of Toddlers and Tiaras that I was watching while writing my paper. This is actually one of the easiest things about the creativity workshop.
1d. Am I looking for inspiration, instead of waiting for it to appear? I'm not looking for inspiration in a sense that I'm actively seeking it out. Instead, I'm gleaning inspiration from the things I do normally like watch TV and read books. I guess this would be a yes, since it's a little bit of both.
Yes: How does this make me feel?  Do I feel more creative?  Do I feel more connected and focused?  Is my creativity becoming a part of my life? I feel indifferent. This isn't really anything that I don't do already, but now I'm more aware of it and I'm keeping track of all the ideas that I've come up with so far. I don't feel connected since I'm sure what I'm supposed to be connecting to, but I don't feel focused on anything either. Creativity is always a part of my life, but it's just a matter of the other things going on around me that push creativity to the back burner.

2. Focus

2a. Am I examining ideas that excite me? I will eventually. I make notes on them, but I can't focus on them right away.
2b. Have I found a particular genre or topic that really means something to me? Not really. Considering my goals, I'm starting to like urban fantasy a little bit more. Strong female protagonists are what I'm really interested in. I usually write from guys perspective
2c. Is my exploration leading me to new outlets for my creativity, or do I feel like I am going in circles? I don't know. I guess it depends on the project.
2d. Am I finding it easier to concentrate on a project on-demand, or do I get distracted easily? I get distracted easily.
What’s stopping me from concentrating on a single project for a short period? Nothing really. I've been working on some writing projects that are actually fun and have been inspirational. Unfortunately, I don't think I can use this for the creativity workshop since it doesn't really follow the rules of what Merrilee wants us to accomplish.
Am I slipping back to old, familiar projects because it’s easier? My old projects are actually harder because I don't have a focus. These projects are much easier because they have a common goal and a common focus. 
Do I feel frightened by new projects? No, I'm excited by all the possibilities. However, it may be a case of knowing which stories have more priority than the others. So far my CRWT 172 revision expansion is most important because I feel that I can finish this story sooner than the others that have plots that take more than one book.
Do I feel that the new project won’t lead anywhere? There a few. I know the ideas I write down are stories that I'll get to eventually, but I have to prioritize which ones are going to be sustainable opposed to the ones that I have to spend a lot of time thinking about.
How can I change so that my new projects will feel meaningful? I'm not sure there's much to change. The stories that are meaningful are the ones that I will work on. I can kind of gauge when I will run out of steam on an idea.
What do I need to modify to improve my focus? I do need to set aside some time for writing instead of trying to multi-task between things. I have this program called Freedom, which shuts off the internet for a designated length of time. So far it's been working a little bit if I don't have the TV on. My netbook doesn't have any music on it, so I need something for background noise.

3. Productivity

3a. How many stories have I started? Ugh, I guess two.
3b. How many stories have I completed? Zero
3c. Am I writing as often as I could be? No. I know I'm making excuses when I talk about school. I make time to read it, but I need to make more time writing as well.
3d. Do I bring the story to mind every day, even when I’m not writing? Yes. I'm constantly writing chapters in my head while I'm driving.
What’s stopping me from writing when I can? Homework, getting sidetracked on the internet, watching TV.
Have I forgiven myself for having other demands on my time that I cannot control (work, children, school)? Sort of. I feel as a creative writing major, I should be writing everyday, but unfortunately, I haven't finished my psychology requirements. I also don't work that much, just enough to give me something to do and a little extra cash, but it's not like working is my livelihood. I need to be disciplined enough to balance between it all because I can think of a time when I'm not going to be in school. I have to get this down now before graduate school and all the various degrees and certificates that I want to get. I need to treat writing like my job and give it the same attention.
Am I taking each day as it comes? I have to. It's the only way I can live without having insomnia over the future. Things have gotten better since I changed my major.
And I making the best use of the time that I have? I could be doing better with writing.
Am I making steady progress towards my writing goals? Slowly, but surely. I have many goals so I want to accomplish.

How can I change my writing habits to meet those writing goals? Write more.

4. Goals

4a. Am I meeting my goals? In some ways.
4b. Do I remember what my goals are? Yes.
4c. Do my goals reflect my desires and where I want to go as a writer? Yes. I want to get three written books this year. I have one almost completely planned out, but I need to write.
How does this make me feel? Okay.

Am I being positive about my achievements, or beating myself up for not doing better? I'm just taking it day by day. If I don't get something done, there's always tomorrow.  
Am I fired up and ready to do more, or content with my steady progress? I'm ready to do more. I'm excited because I'm almost finish with this quarter. My last spring quarter ever!


Merrilee said...

"I'm not looking for inspiration in a sense that I'm actively seeking it out. Instead, I'm gleaning inspiration from the things I do normally like watch TV and read books. I guess this would be a yes, since it's a little bit of both."

It's definitely yes. Some people never open their eyes long enough to think about what they are seeing.

You're doing well to push on through exams! Keep going! :)

Najela said...

Oh cool. I'm glad on the right track. Thanks.

I have one exam left and I'm done for about two weeks until summer school starts. I hope to make up for lost time.

Meredith said...

Najela, I'm sure you're on the right track! I'm impressed that anyone would even consider writing three books in a year, and I think it's wonderful that you are so dedicated to your writing goals now -- before you have to deal with all those major life responsibilities that are such a time suck.

Keep on writing. I'm rooting for you to succeed. :)

Najela said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I'm trying to get these done. This workshop is helping out a lot, even I'm not focusing on specific goals, it's kicking my butt into gear.

Thank you once again for the comment. =)


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