Tag Archives: struggle

Our First Chuck: Jason – Orlando, Florida

28 Apr

This week’s Chick Story comes from our very first “Chuck”, the multi-talented Graphic Designer who created our wonderful logo.  Like all those Chicks out there, we welcome all those Chucks, too–fellow aspiring artists of every stage and path who are actively seeking greater creative fulfillment.

Where to Start? – An Artist’s Struggle

A blank page. A dry canvas. Fingers lying gently on piano keys, unsure of which one to press first. An empty screen with nothing more than a cursor, mocking you with each blink; it waits impatiently for text to appear. Standing on an open stage yearning to perform; yet your body remains frozen as your mind draws a blank. Even the most creative minds come across moments like these. Is it due to a lack of imagination? Or is it perhaps a lack of motivation to propel you forward? For me, it is the exact opposite.

As most of us do, every morning I go through my usual routine:  wake up, get ready for work, grab something to eat (if there’s still time—never happens), jump in my car and go. On my journey, I come across things that inspire me, things that fill my head with so many ideas and possibilities. It could be the color gradations of the rising sun tempting me to do a painting. A radio ad or song may come on which makes me think of a song to write or gets me in the mood to create a voiceover reel. Whatever the case may be, I find myself constantly being tugged in multiple directions, not knowing where to begin. I like to think of it as “Creative Overload.”

Now I know this happens to everyone for the most part, and it doesn’t always come attached with creativity. We all have so many tasks and responsibilities that we find ourselves stressing over what to do next,  so then we try to think calmly and remember that old Russian proverb that goes, “If you chase two rabbitsyou will not catch either one.” So you think, okay, one thing at a time. Got it. Well, the only problem is when you add creativity into the equation it no longer becomes a “chore” or an “obligation.” Creative ideas become plans in your head that are backed with passion and conviction; some ideas are difficult to prioritize as they all seem so vivid and wonderful.

So which dream do you fulfill first? Which idea do you make a reality? With each new one, another emerges that seems even better than the former. Like an untamed tree the branches of possibilities become too many too quickly. I tell myself there’s so many that I just can’t choose one and the end result is: I have nothing. Sometimes in order to have something we need to accept the fact that we won’t be able to do it all, but if we choose just one idea and shut out every other idea for that moment, we’ll end up with something finished. It’s truly amazing how it’s simpler to focus on a single project and get it done, than it is to keep coming up with excuses why you have nothing to show the world. It all starts with that single idea and that blank page—that dry canvas—that empty screen.

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Cure for the afflicted?

7 Apr

It’s a problem that affects thousands of people each day. It’s something that isn’t frequently talked about in “proper” circles, nor is it something that can be easily cured with a doctor’s visit. It is a constant, throbbing reminder to us that we may fail and never recover. Relief from this affliction is so near that it’s almost within our grasp, yet it slips away each time we stretch out our minds for it.

It is…Writer’s Block.

I sadly find myself suffering from this condition in of all things – this blog. I sat down a few nights ago to write my next blog entry, thinking that just by sitting at the computer and opening up Word, my fingers would magically type out a fantastic post. Obviously this should happen, since I am way overdue on submitting a post but have been writing practically every night on a new novel with no roadblocks.  So it shouldn’t be too hard to come up with something to blog about.

Wrong.

Of all the things I am working on right now, blogging seems to be the most challenging.  I enjoy reading my fellow Chicks’ posts; however, each one is a reminder to me that I need to submit an article as profound as Eva’s, as poignant as Peggy’s, and as inventive as Tracey’s.

Ain’t happenin’ tonight, though, so I thought I would post about what is keeping me from posting. Maybe by posting this article, I will finally find some relief from this affliction.

Any fellow blocked artists care to share your experience on how you got “unblocked?” Only in the mental sense, of course!

Grout of Control

28 Feb

Last night I spent five grueling hours cleaning my kitchen tile grout.  With a toothbrush.  After nearly fifteen years of marriage, my husband knew exactly what this meant: I was feeling completely and hopelessly out of control.

Like most “average” adults who have successfully survived childhood, I come from a dysfunctional family.  I can say this with the greatest love and respect for both my parents.  Whatever they did wrong in raising me, I now allow them to blame fully on their parents.  And I reserve the right to do the same. That’s part of the circle of life, right?

Nevertheless, there were inevitably those times in childhood when I felt small.  Helpless.  Unable to make others happy, much less change them.  But somewhere along the way, I learned to turn my attention to a different world, the little one I could at least try to control.  I might clear off my dresser, enjoying the sensations of an ammonia-rich paper towel wiping away the marks–as if my own troubles–by the power of my own hand.  Or I might rearrange my bedroom furniture, afterwards closing and opening my eyes from various vantage points, pleased at the newness of my surroundings.  I found great solace in my space and even greater comfort in cleaning it.

Fast forward to yesterday.  I seriously considered renaming my two-year old “Bissell”, somewhere between finally vacuuming up the thousands of nearly microscopic beads he spilled all over my office floor and steam-cleaning the bronze metallic paint he stealthily applied to my window-seat cushions.  And don’t even ASK about potty training, because we’re making fabulous progress.  He’s all for it, when it’s time for bed.  Otherwise, he saves his most “high-impact” BM’s for when we’re running out the door and late.  Then there’s my sweet Cassidy, whose future middle school education has become the impetus for my husband and I to consider moving, as well as for my husband to mention the possibility of my returning to work–sacrilege!

I am not often at a loss for words, but there are simply times when I’ve said and heard too many of them.  That’s when I choose to retreat into silence.  So after the arrival of The Great Peace, that precious evening time after Avery is in bed, I quietly took up the grout-scrubbing.  I went to bed at three and woke up four hours later to the screaming sound of “Mom-MEE!  Poop-PEE!”  (Yes, he’s also fond of waking me up to tell me he’s just gone.)

Yet even amid the rush to get everyone ready for church, I admired my work.  The grout glistened bright in the light of dawn, not hindered by the morning’s crumbs or frustrations.  Its beauty eclipsed even the extreme tiredness of my body.  I had conquered the grout.  Here, at last in my week, was something I could control.  Now, if only the problem of Cassidy’s middle school could be solved so well.

My answer came soon after.  As the Chicks know, I sing in the Praise Team at Peace Church here in Hunter’s Creek. Well right there in the middle of singing the closing song today, I began to realize how up until now, my recurring life theme could be summed up as:  losing control, trying to regain control, losing control, etc.  Maybe I need to stop trying to control so much and just get used to living more out of control.

After all, the creative process–like the rest of life–is downright messy.  But maybe there’s a time for tidying up and a time for living in chaos, if you will.  In fact, it seems like the chaos time is the vast majority.  So then the key is how to live within it, how to find lasting peace, how to create, even if the grout is dirty.

Oh, and the title of that song?  “God Is in Control.”  Well, at least someone is.

For those who are interested, here are the lyrics by Twila Paris:

This is no time for fear
This is a time for faith and determination
Don’t lose the vision here
Carried away by emotion
Hold on to all that you hide in your heart
There is one thing that has always been true
It holds the world together

God is in control
We believe that His children will not be forsaken
God is in control
We will choose to remember and never be shaken
There is no power above or beside Him, we know
God is in control, oh God is in control

An Author? A Writer? What Am I?

26 Feb

I just stumbled upon this great question on the front page of WordPress.com: So Am I An Author Yet?

My natural curiosity just wouldn’t let me continue on with my own task.  I had to follow that link.  Because this is a question we who write struggle with constantly.   Er… I was going to say “we who have not been published” but then caught myself.

Why do I see myself that way — as someone who has not been published?  I have been published: one article in a national trade journal and a couple of articles in a now well-established and popular niche blog.   And yet, I feel the need to say “that’s all.”   Why??   It’s not a lot, but it’s a start, isn’t it?  Do I devalue it simply because it wasn’t a book or an article in the Atlantic or a national consumer magazine?

Am I an author?  Am I a writer?  What am I?  And who decides?  You see my struggle.

Anyway, back to that link…At the end of it I found a great post by C-C Lester.  She expressed the writer/author identity struggle eloquently and, ironically, it made me identify with her.  Aha!  I thought.  She’s one of us. In C-C, I recognized a kinswoman.  A woman-writer-perhaps-author chasing the muse, who also recently decided to share her story with the world via the blogosphere.   C-C and I, we may not know what to call ourselves, but we know that writing is an inseparable part of who we are.

An author?  A writer?  Who knows?  Who cares?  I write.  Period.

To read C-C’s post, click here: http://theelementarycircle.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/so-am-i-an-author-yet/

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