About Me

My photo
Redbanks, South Australia, Australia
Contact me if you'd like to know more about this writing group. My email address is jeebers@aussiebb.com.au

Ananka - one of our Pharaoh Hounds

Ananka - one of our Pharaoh Hounds
Ananka knows how to enjoy life - catch and eat birdies!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Our lovely schnauzer Aust Ch Holkschter Rangler Jane is gone. I came home yesterday to find she had died. Goodbye, and thank you.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Poetry as Therapy

I have written about this before in many places, and spoken to many people about the benefits of sorting out your head through creative writing. I know it has worked for me, and I know it has worked for other people.

At my writing group we have people with their own skills and their own issues. All of us use our writing to look at the world and at our own lives in some way.

That is what creative writing is, looking at life as we see it and sometimes gaining more control. Some see it as comedy, some tragedy, and these viewpoints affect the kind of writing we create. It doesn't matter whether what we write will ever become a best-selling novel or a much acclaimed poetry collection. What matters is that we are becoming surer in what we think, and we become more whole as human beings.

A website I recommend to others go is one that a writing group member has mentioned several times to the group. I visited the site recently and I was impressed. Anyone interested in writing poetry, even if they don't have any deeper issues they wish to explore, can do the poetry writing exercises and perhaps create something new and special in ways they may not have written before.

The website is Poetic Medicine Institute. It works for me and it can work for you too. We all find our inspiration for our creativity in our own ways and this website has certainly helped me with my creativity. I wrote a poem within a few minutes of looking at the first poetry exercise, and I went places with the poem I would not have gone if I had just sat down with only pen and paper to write it, with nothing there to guide me. Having a list of words to choose from, words given to you by another, leads you to new places.

I strongly believe these new places are already there in our heads, hidden until a light is shone on the darkness and the words can come out and begin to make connections. Connections lead to more connections and can lead to clarity, or at the very least the connections will lead to things to think further on. They lead to becoming more whole as a human being.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thought for the Day

What you think you know and what you actually know may be two completely things.

I am studying and one of my fellow students has very strong opinions on things. She thinks she knows lots of things and doesn't mind telling us what's what. If I thought she was wrong, and respectfully told her so, she would argue with me on the matter for as long as I wanted the argument to continue.

The argument wouldn't actually go for very long, because I have realised there is no point trying to make this person see any value in my point of view, because they think I am wrong, and they are right. This would possibly be a worry for me, if I hadn't had my viewpoint endorsed by others more knowledgeable than both me and the other person.

My point here is this. If you find yourself having pointless arguments with others, get endorsement first and if people who know agree that you are right and the other person is wrong, give the argument away. Some people are so ignorant that it would take a lifetime to teach them how to think, and unless you are getting paid to teach them, forget it.

Find a better way to spend your time - banging your head against the brick wall of the other person's ignorance is a waste of your time and theirs.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Creating my Way to Laziness

One of the problems with being a creative person is that you can come up with millions of reasons why you haven't done what you are supposed to have done.

If you have the creative/lazy combination, like I do, it is difficult to settle down and just get stuff done. Writing a list and prioritising things can help, but my lists sometimes end up being poems I don't care enough about, and then I get guilty, then I start doing something else, something else and something else. In the end nothing really happens, and another day fritters away. Sometimes that poem can turn into something useful though, so it's not a complete loss.

If you really care about getting a thing done, you have to be prepared to ignore the things that interfere with that one thing. Ignoring things can have side-effects, so make sure the one thing is important enough to you to make it worthwhile.

If the one thing you want to get done is say, finishing a craft project, and the thrill of finishing it will be something wonderful, go for it. But if getting it done will just be ho-hum, another rubbish thing crossed off the list, well, why were you doing it in the first place? People these days are always busy. Rushing off somewhere, doing a million things, but so little of the rush and bother is worth the effort involved. Think about what you are doing with your life. Are you benefitting from what you do? Rethinking how you are living can lead to progress.

If you are a wife and mother, as I am, feeding the family is important, and that must happen. Writing my novels is not as important as nurturing my family is, so writing doesn't happen. But what does happen is millions of little bits of nothing. As I am writing this post, I'm thinking that I could easily be spending this time working on the second draft of "Eth dil (working title)", hmm.

I think I've written nearly enough of this post, to summarise: If you are going to be creative in avoiding work, you are destroying yourself. Know what means the most to you and your life, and do that first.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

How to become a writer

What are your writing goals? Make a list of them.
People write for different reasons. If you want to become a writer, focus on your own writing goals, not your teacher’s goals, or your parent/spouse’s goals. If you want to be a writer, you are the one who has to do it, so the goals that will work and the ones that you want to achieve.

It is like giving up smoking, most people don’t manage to quit smoking until they decide for themselves that they want to quit. They decide to give it up, giving themselves good reasons to do it, and it helps them focus on their goal when the going gets tough.

There are many reasons people may want to become a writer. Some enjoyed writing at school, then gave it away when life took over their spare time. Some people have a message they would like to share with others. Your reasons for wanting to write will help you decide on the writing goals that matter.

Your own goals are personal to you, and are the goals that will matter the most to you. This means that your own goals, not anyone else’s reasons, are the ones that matter.

How can you organise your life to take your writing life forward?

Are there things standing in your way, that impede your progress? What can you do to clear the way?

Make a list of the things that get in your way when you want to write, then list ideas that will help you deal with those impediments.

Time is often stated as a reason people cannot write as much as they want to. So write time in your list and then think of ways to get more time. Do you commute to work? You can write as you ride the bus or train.

Do you have appointments that take up your time? You can try having a notebook with you all the time, and write in the snippets of waiting time you have.

Television is a great time stealer. Do you really need to spend so much time string at the screen. That notebook can come in handy here too. Sit in front of the screen, sure, but have pen and paper there too. You might find a story idea in a mouthwash advertisement. Write it down, it could be the beginning of a novel or short story.

Now that you have your goals on writing in front of you, and your ways of organising your life mapped out, it is time to get writing. It can be difficult at first, and many people have found help in finding a writing group.

If you think this may help you, seek out a supportive group reasonably close to you, or at least easy to get to. The people there will understand what you are trying to do, because they are dealing with the same things.

Finding other writers and realising they are people like you, makes it easier to believe you too can become a writer.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Do you Really Need to Clean the Bathroom?

Writers and procrastination go together - it's called "letting your subconscious mind work without you watching, while you do boring, dreary crap housework stuff".

I just made that up and pasted it to Facebook, so I claim the copyright on it. If someone steals my words and I see them on the internet, it’s still good though, ‘cos it’s always good to connect with other people. That is the reason why I write. It’s probably why most people write. If it was purely for the money, well, anyone who thinks you can easily make lots of money by writing I hate to say, you are wrong.

Only a few people make lots of money with their writing. Most of the people who make money from writing are already famous for other reasons. Publishers prefer to publish books written by already famous people because it saves them money on promoting the book. The fame does the work for them.

Famous people are probably the people who don’t have the procrastination issue that ordinary writers like me have. They have trainers and life coaches and managers keeping them focussed. They aren’t allowed to procrastinate because other people’s livelihoods depend on them doing stuff. They probably have half an hour wool-gathering time in their diary, and that’s when they do the chill out muddle-head think time that other, ordinary people do, when they are scrubbing the bathroom taps with a nail-brush.

We get side-tracked from the writing we’re meant to be doing, and just meander around a bit. That’s when the subconscious mind gets busy, but it isn’t the sort of thing that shows to onlookers. It doesn’t shoe to the person doing it either, not straightaway, but that’s where those amazing zany ideas come from that totally blow you away when you read what you’re written when the words just flow. That is when the daydreaming and the unnecessary housework thoughts bear fruit.

But, there is also the other side of the procrastination. Cleaning the bathroom and assorted make work jobs happen often for 'blocked' writers! A lot of the time, the silly curtain washing stuff and so on, is just because of fear. It can be a scary thing to write a novel, not knowing if anyone will ever want to read it. Not knowing if it will even be good enough for you to ever read again. Doing housework that doesn’t really need to be done is a way of hiding from your writing, even though the writing is what you should be doing.

You might tell yourself you have plenty of time to do it later, but as Charles Richard, a Canadian politician famously said, ‘Don't be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week's value out of a year while another man gets a full year's value out of a week.

So, no matter what you do, you have your allotted number of days, and it is up to each person to make their best use of those days. If you can’t write unless the bathroom is spotless, well, so be it. But if you are just using the bathroom cleaning as an excuse for your fear, or perhaps laziness, get over it and get writing, that’s what I say!

Use the days you have, and use them to do what you really want to do. The thing that means the most to you should get the most effective time spent on it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Law of Attraction

I'm not talking her about how to get a new love, but something every bit as fundamental. The Law of Attraction is all about the idea that you get what you want, by not wanting it, but assuming you will get it.

That's a simplified version, but it covers the essentiallness of the idea. Look here for a more in depth explanation, and you will be amazed, as I was, at the sense of the whole thing.

I suspect that is how my dogs work. If they hear the crackling of plastic wrapping, they assume there is food there for them and they come rushing over to get it. It doesn't always work, but it works often enough for them to know the law works perfectly sometimes.

If they didn't rush over to get the food, they certainly wouldn't get whatever it is, and they might miss out on some ham, or cheese, or whatever it was in the wrapping. They have seen this proven often, and know it is true.

If you drag yourself around, lamenting your lack of money, money will certainly not come to you. If you walk around, expecting to get money, you could well get some. You might find money that's been dropped, or you may see an ad looking for what you want to sell.

The Law of Attraction means if you believe it, it can happen. I will never become a famous writer by complaining about my lack of success. If I get down and write more, my chances of making it as a writer are much greater.

Hold onto what you want, believe you will get it. That's the Law!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Singing in the Rain

Well, I'm not singing, but it sure is raining here. Not that long ago we had dust storms, now the season has well and truly broken. Everything has turned green, except for the deciduous trees, which are lovely Autumn colours.

I am not going out in the rain - I don't want to get a chill and end up susceptible to the bugs that are out there! Maybe I should be singing in the loungeroom though. A friend has reminded me via a study by "Chorus America" that Choral Singing is good for you!!! Everyone join a choir!

Many thanks to Angus for that. The study, here, has found various health benefits as well as benefits to the greater community.

My friend is showing this information around because he is a choral director and wants people to join up. When I remember how much fun I had in the school choir at Primary School, I am tempted to join Angus and the others. Even though I am certainly not a good singer, I know I would enjoy singing with the others.

The only reason I would begin going to church, I think, might be for the singing. I know that having a baby to sing to was one of the most fun parts for me in being a mother. Of course, now that my son is fifteen, he tells me to shut up if I begin singing a nursery favourite. I can sing my head off if he's not here though!

I found myself singing under my breath this morning, a snazzy little tune about a chuffaluffa steam train chugging along a track. I was a bit wobbly with the words, but I had a good time anyway. I heartily recommend a good sing-a-long with friends to cheer you all up.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Creative Writing - Good for Your Health

"By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be." -Mark Victor Hansen

How do you find your way toward Good Health?

There are many ways to move toward good health. There are also many different kinds of health. The most obvious type of health is physical health. Creative Writing can help you figure out ways that you can improve your physical health, maybe not directly, but indirectly - you can write lists of the different aspects of physical health that you can work on, such as exercise, nutrition, finding time.

Spiritual good health is certainly helped by using Creative Writing. You can explore you own spiritual beliefs with your writing, using poetry, essays, stories. Many people write their way to good Spiritual health through their journalling, which is a non-threatening and non-judgmental way of exploring your ideas.

Emotional good health is also helped with journal writing. Working your way through issues that are causing emotional strife can lead you to solve these problems, and so show you better ideas for your emotional health.

If you follow Mark Victor Hansen's idea of recording you dream and goals, you will be putting in place plans that can solve so many issues that have been causing you trouble.

Once you start getting your thoughts down on paper for yourself, you are on your way to overall good health. If you keep a journal, those thoughts will always be there to show you what you've been doing wrong, how you worked out ideas to make things better, and the good results of your work.

Begin a journal today, and you will be on your Personal Path to Better Health.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Frittery Will Get You Nowhere

Do you ever find yourself frittering away your time, going from one thing to the next without ever achieving a thing? Well if that is how your days go, welcome to the lives of so many others.

In the modern age, there are so many things available for us to choose from – hobbies, so many different hobbies!, movies, books, sports, courses, radio, TV, restaurants, family, friends. There is barely time to get through the morning paper, get to work, shop, get home, watch TV, eat, housework, visit family and friends.

It’s no wonder our heads are in a whirl trying to sift through the clouds of should do this, must do that, have to do, and so on.

“Know what you want to do, hold the thought firmly, and do every day what should be done, and every sunset will see you that much nearer the goal.” Elbert Hubbard

Elbert Hubbard was born in 1856 in America. He did many different things in his early life, but went on to set up the Roycroft Arts and Crafts community, which was a hub for many of the great and creative people of his time. This group included writers, philosophers and free thinkers.

Elbert focussed his main energies on this group, publishing a great many works of biography, history and great thought.

Elbert didn’t fritter his time, he maintained his focus on the things that matter to him, right to the very end of his life in 1915, when he and his second wife, Alice, both died when the boat they were on, the Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-20. So ended a great thinker.

You can take something from this life. Elbert Hubbard accomplished much, because he didn’t get distracted by the little things in life that didn’t help him achieve his goals. His idea of holding to what must be done, every single day, to achieve what you most want to achieve.

Elbert Hubbard is remembered now through many pithy quotes, that relate to life now in the 21st century as much as they did last century and the century before, when he lived.

What is it you most want from your life? Hold to that thing, work toward it every single day, and every day will bring you closer to what you most desire.

Whether your desired thing is good health, a happy family life, publication of a book, a career in acting, hold to that thought, and work toward it. The skimpy, time-wasting items in life will seem less important then, and you will be able to focus on the main goal of your life.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

How to Motivate Yourself

People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily. -Zig Ziglar

That's an interesting quote to think about. I found it on this website today, and I've been thinking about it off and on ever since. We often talk about needing to get motivated to do something, or we talk about what motivates us.

But so often people drift through their days, worrying or stressing about the things in their life they've left undone. They think, if they had something to motivate them, they could get things done that need to be done.

On this website
they talk about Seven Rules of Motivation. I found it interesting, that the main thrust of what they were saying was that things that do do that interest you are more likely to get done. Your interest in the subject keeps you motivated to keep working on a project, task and so on.

I particularly liked the idea of breaking a major task down into smaller goals. Achieving small goals can keep you on the path of achieving a major task. I have an ongoing issue with my family dining table. There are three of us in the family, and at the moment, we all have piles of papers on our side of the table.

Actually, I've just looked at the table - the only paper on my son's side of the table is money, and he knows how to deal with that, he's a teenager - he'll spend it!

Anyway, my husband and I are both guilty of storing papers on the table, to be looked at "later". When will "later" be? Well I hope for me, "later" will be tomorrow morning. I'd like to be able to clear lots of the papers away, action them and so on but...

I need motivation, today, tomorrow, and every day, if I am ever going to actually be able to see the dining table under the mess of papers. What could motivate me to do something about it?

I've looked at the Seven Rules of Motivation again - maybe the key to my issue here is breaking the thing down into smaller goals. The idea of clearing the whole table is so daunting, I avoid thinking about it. What I can do though, is make a goal of clearing away one thing, every time I walk past the table.

That doesn't seem difficult, just one little thing cleared away at a time. I think I've found the answer. I'm looking at the table right now, and I can see an item that I can put on the recycle pile right now!

There!! I've done it!!

The next time you have an issue with motivation, think about the seven rules, and don't expect to stay motivated without doing anything to keep yourself motivated - motivation is something you have to do every day, just like bathing, if you want to keep clean of problems

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Break Out of Your Passivity!

Do you use the Internet? Do you read websites and have opinions about what you read?
Are you on Facebook, or MySpace, or Mylot or Orble or any of those kinds of things? Do you Twitter? If you are a member of one of these sites, are you an active member?

By ‘active member’ I mean doing quizzes, leaving comments, ranking the sites anything more than just passively reading. If you use the Internet a lot, maybe have your own blog or blogs, you probably know how hard it is to get people to break out and actually do something more than visit a site, then move on, without doing anything more than passively reading content.

If you want to get more out of the Internet, I challenge you to put more into the Internet. It doesn’t have to be a one way street. If you start leaving comments on blogs, for instance, I can almost guarantee you will get more satisfaction out of your experience.

You will connect with people, begin to learn more about them and the other people who visit the website. You can meet the most amazing people online. Some of the people you meet may not be the sorts of people you’d like to meet in the street, but they can still be fascinating.

I recently read a blog all about pregnant women and tattoos. Apparently pregnant women shouldn’t get tattoos on case of harm to the baby from the inks used. The same goes for breastfeeding women. If I hadn’t been connecting with that website, I would never have learned about that fascinating fact. I didn’t leave a comment there, but the next time tattoos were mentioned on a blog I was reading, I made a comment.

When you make a comment, you can begin a conversation that continues on from the original blog and can go in all sorts of interesting directions. It’s worth it, you can always be expanding your mind and learning new things.

So there’s my challenge – make a comment and begin a dialogue, and find a friend, perhaps. It could lead to wonderful things. Don’t be a passive consumer, get active!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Let Your Inner Child Loose

If you are constantly shutting away your inner child, you are doing yourself a disservice. We all have an inner child. Some, if not most, of the writers for children let out their inner child when they are writing their books for children.

If you never connect with your inner child, you are ignoring some of the most wonderful things that are going on around you, simply because you can't recognise them as wonderful.

Children gain much joy from seeing a rainbow, and tracing its arc across the sky, trying to work out where the pot of gold actually is, and wondering if there really is a pot of gold. If you look at the sky and see the clouds and not the rainbow, if you never wonder about the pot of gold, you have lost contact with your inner child.

Children are quick to wonder, and speculate, and make things up. Children don't have any need to immediately discount a fanciful idea. They are willing to take the fanciful things and make them even more fanciful. Children don't have to earn a living, or cook the tea like the adults around them have to. A lot of adults think the children have it easy.

But children do have to go to school, and get through the crowded curriculum, attend to their after school things, learn about everything in life. The children of today have to work in their own way too.

The young people, though, believe in things, hope for things, that adults won't consider. If a young person believes they can be the best goal keeper ever, well, they might be able to achieve that.

As adults, we forget how to believe in our possibilities, if we forget about our inner child. The next time it rains, and the sun comes out again, go outside. Spend some time looking at the rainbow, and wonder a little about that pot of gold.

Monday, April 6, 2009

There is a hospital in the US, Shands Healthcare in Florida, that has, over the last eighteen years, embraced Art and Creativity and used them to help the patients and staff.

There is a little girl, waiting for a heart transplant who has her room filled with art works she has created herself. Other patients are involved with theatre, dancing and a whole range of other artistic pursuits. Patients are benefitting, and so are the staff. Obviously healthier patients makes a nurse's or doctor's job easier, but some of the medical staff are getting involved in creative writing too.

Dancing can help to get overly high heart rates down, and can help patients with dementia and other mental illnesses, by aiding them to keep greater intellectual, emotional, and motor functions.

Art works in the form of paintings have been a part of modern hospitals, and can help give a soothing feeling to patients, visitors and medical staff. In hospital patients often feel out of control and getting involved in various artistic endeavours can give them back a feeling of being in control.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ideas for a better life

Ideas for a Better Life
These ideas can lead to a wonderful life. If your life seems bad, and you act that way, there is no room for change, no road to make it better.

Ideas for a Better Life

Even if your life isn’t wonderful, act like it is.
Every now and then ask yourself, ‘How can I help people?’
Smile at strangers, especially babies. A smile from a baby is a precious gift.
Helping with no thought of reward is a reward itself.
Every now and then, go outside and just ‘be’ with the sky.
If you see someone looking lovely, tell them.
If someone offers you a compliment, just smile and say ‘Thank you’.
Try to look at things through the other person’s eyes.
Never complain unless you’re prepared to help make it better.
Assume everybody is at least as nice as you are.
Try to make your best behaviour your only behaviour.
Bad things are lessons in life, embrace them and learn.
If you have nothing to do, do nothing. It is a gift.
There are no problems, only challenges and chances to learn.

Stewing – Good for Fruit, Bad for People

Some people worry and stew over issues, and never focus on getting to the main cause of their problems. Stewing is great for fruit, but it is bad for people. If a person is stewing over an issue, they tend to go over and over it, never going toward a solution.

Another way of dealing with problems, a method that has been found to be effective in a huge range of situations, is to actually write your thoughts down. Journal writing has been going on for centuries.

Journal writing is not just keeping a diary. People from many different cultures have written in journals for many different reasons, including personal reflection, record keeping, scientific observation, cultural analysis, and travel documentation. These journals are an amazing record people’s lives from the past.

So if you begin keeping a journal, you can be creating a resource for the future, both for yourself and for those who come after you. A journal is different from a diary in a few vital ways. A journal can take up pages and pages, it is not limited to one page with the date and available space dictated. A journal is for whichever days you have the time to write, and you won’t have accusing blank pages if you can’t write anything for a while. Many attempts at keeping a diary are abandoned because of those empty pages that say you haven’t been doing what you should.

A journal though, is a place where you can write down thoughts as they occur to you, you can burrow deeply into your thoughts and you can travel far and wide with your thoughts. As you journey, you will make discoveries about yourself and others, and about your life. You might realise you are in the wrong relationship, you might re-discover the love you have for your partner.

It will be all written down for you, and for you alone, unless you want to share. It is important to put a date on your journal entry, so that in the future, when you go back and read what you have written, you can remember the circumstances you were facing when you made the entry. It can be empowering for you to go back and read, and realise you solved whatever the problem was with the knowledge you gained through your journal.

Many creative people have kept journals, including perhaps the most creative person ever Leonardo Da Vinci. He kept his journal as the place to try ideas out, to see them in two dimensions so that they could later become three dimensional. Where would the world be now if Leonardo hadn’t kept a journal? We would be a poorer place.

You may not have the mind power of Leonardo Da Vinci, but, with your journal, you can become a more thoughtful and more creative person. Your journal can be the first home for new poetry, you can try out new characters or story ideas in your journal. Some people plot out ideas for craft projects, which become an invaluable resource when starting new projects. You have a record of what did and didn’t work, so you don’t need to make the same mistakes again.

If you have personal problems you are worrying about, your journal can be where you try out ideas, rehearse conversations you might have. Your journal can be where you make a list of the worst thing that might happen, given the current situation. Sometimes, when your problem is written down in your journal, you might realise it isn’t as bad as you’d thought, and others have problems far worse than yours.

A journal doesn’t have to be ornate and fancy, but some people like the idea of having a very special book to be their journal, to emphasise the importance of the journal in their life. Some others keep it simple believing the words they write down are the most important thing. Both types of journal are correct – the journal is so personal to you, you cannot be wrong in the type of journal you want to write in. Lined pages, if you are not into drawing, make the writing and reading of your journal easier, but blank pages are ideal if you draw diagrams and word webs. Check out the stationery section of a store and find the journal you want.

Try to set aside a certain time for your journal writing, but don’t stress if you can’t write. And if you sit down with your journal there open in front of you, and then can’t think of anything to write, write that down. Then if you think you are wasting you time and you are stupid, write that to. Start a conversation with yourself, arguing whether you are or aren’t stupid. You might be surprised at where you end up going with that discussion. Just get in the habit of simply opening up your mind and writing down the words as they come. There is nothing lovelier than re-reading you words months or years later and realising the wonder and beauty of your words.

Keeping a journal is a promise you keep to yourself, that you think your own words are worthwhile and precious. That thought is a nurturing thought and your self-nurturing is vital in maintaining your idea of self-worth. You are special, your journal proves it, in your own words.

Give journal writing a place in your life. You deserve it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wondering What to Blog About

Some days are filled with ideas, some days are not. Today brought one of the not filled with ideas moments to me when I decided it was time to finally create a new post for this blog.
I'm feeling tired, a little concerned about on of our dog's health, and worn out after a lawn bowls game.

I also am contending with on and on barking from another of our dogs, and warfare happening on the TV screen about five metres from where I'm sitting (my son is home from school and killing the enemy, in his loving kind of way).

I didn't feel up to writing a lengthy piece on creativity, but I had to do something.

So I opened a blank page on my computer and started typing in phrases, just as they occurred to me, based on the theme of creativity and wellness. I did a couple of very scratchy Google searches first and got typing.

This is what I came up with, all within the space of about ten minutes.
  • Arts and good health
  • Creativity may ward against Alzheimer's disease
  • Dancing your way to happiness
  • Literature, thinking and health
  • New ideas, new ways of living and thinking
  • Creative crafts to help with arthritis
  • Sick of the daily grind of “What’s for tea”? Get creative, you’ll enjoy the cooking more, and they might get a pleasant surprise
  • So many writers are mad – does literature lead to insanity?
  • Creativity can help with depression
  • Creative people are fun people
  • Ideas are never totally bad, bad ideas lead the way to good ideas
  • Strengthen you child's chances in life, nurture them and nurture their creativity too

If I can do this, this quickly, imagine what you can do with more time and more research. Any one of my points could lead to something much, much bigger. And every person would come up with different results, because we are human beings, we are creative creatures!

Let you mind go free and ssee what you can come up with.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Does This Appeal to You?

"You must take action now that will move you towards your goals. Develop a sense of urgency in your life." -Les Brown

I don't know much about this Les Brown person, but I know he's a motivational speaker and best selling author, so I guess he knows something of what he's talking about.

I read this quote on this website - the quotes change daily, and I don't always pay a lot of attention to them, but this one just jumped out and nipped me. I think that is because I did something yesterday that may finally lead to meeting some of my urgent goals, that I've just been floating past for years now.

A job, a paid job, is very important in our society. If you can't give a good answer to the question "What do you do?", then you're often deemed to be nobody. Up until now I've given answers that don't usually make people think more of me. And up until now, I haven't been pulling my weight on the family finance situation.

But yesterday, I had an interview with a person from an employment agency, and together we decided I will train to be a trainer and assessor at TAFE. I finally think I know the answer to the question of what I want to do when I grow up.

Of course, I'm a forty-five year old wife and mother, so I guess I am finally grown up, but still...

Anyway, this is what I'm going to do, and this morning my son congratulated me for making the decision. He's fifteen, he already knows what he's going to do when he grows up. When I was his age I wanted to do 'something with animals'. Well, I'm a dog breeder and owner, but that's not enough to be a career and the wages aren't great!

I love helping people, I'm not afraid to speak in public, I love giving my own opinion. I'm going to be a trainer, and it feels good!

Monday, March 9, 2009

I do heaps of stuff, some of it I can't tell you about.

I take care of the animals, human and canine, and dream a bit, think a lot, write stuff. The things I think about would make you blush, or if they wouldn't make you blush you should be ashamed of yourself!

My money's on the shark

Teeth, it's all about the teeth

Sharks have killer teeth.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Creativity and Lawn Bowls

Can you see a link between the two? Creativity is letting your mind go free and come up with new things, it is seeing new links, making connections you've never thought of before.

I was playing lawn bowls this morning, and I feel I had moved into new territory. When my skipper showed me, from the other end of the rink, what she wanted me to do with my bowl, I stepped onto the mat and imagined the shot I would have to perform, where my bowl would end up, and what the result would be.

Previously, I've gone through this process, or to be more truthful, I have tried to go through this process, only to end up with a pathetic attempt at it that leads to nothing good.

But today, on the mat, it all happened. I put the bowl exactly where my skip wanted it. We'll ignore all of my other bowls of the day, some of which were good, some OK, some terrible. This one bowl was just perfect. It takes many more bowls than just one perfect one to win a game. You have to imagine you are getting somewhere, otherwise your bad shots will bring you down and perhaps lead you to leaving the game of bowls.

The skipper has to have knowledge, but also imagination, to be able to know what needs to be done from the other end of the rink. The team members all have to imagine a result that leads them to working at making their game better, bowl after bowl, hour after hour, week after week.

There's also the fun of deciding what to blame when the bowl doesn't go where you wanted it to go. The wind, the green, the moron in the rink next to you who stood in exactly the wrong spot and so ruined your concentration.

And if you decide the fault was yours, you have to have the creativity to see beyond your failure, to the glorious time in the future when every shot will be the best shot, and you and your team will be the winners!

It's a funny old game, lawn bowls.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Evil Side of Creativity

We're all creative people here, aren't we? And we're proud of our creativity and nurture it too, but do you ever think about the Dark Side of Creativity?

Because, of course, there is always a Dark side to everything. Confused? Well, what I'm talking about are the uses of creativity that don't bring light or goodness or understanding to the world.

Advertising. Politician's spin. Media advisers. Journalists.

All are creative users of words, but they toy with the dark side, and sometimes teeter over into pure black. When a politician puts their spin to an issue, or the spin their media advisers have advised them to use, that's when creativity can be used for bad purposes, if not actual Evil.

Should this worry us? It worries me. I want to be able to believe things when I am told them with seeming sincerity. I rarely believe pollies.

Advertising, well, the Romans had that one sussed our thousands of years ago - Caveat Emptor - let the buyer beware - it seems to have been coined just for today's advertisers, doesn't it?

Does anybody read the newspapers anymore and expect to read things that are true? By the time the journo and sub-editor are finished with facts, they often take the truth right out of it. And so many times journalists take the easy way out and rely on media releases, without bothering to do any checking. Who knows what the real truth is?

When I write, I'm not always writing strict truth, but I aim to have a inner core of truth in everything I write. The facts might be slippery, but the aim and inner meaning are true. That is my aim.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

How do You express Your Creativity?

I write, I cook, I crochet. I'd like to know how others express their creativity.

I feel that finding outlets for creativity can lead to a more fulfilling life in a variety of ways, ranging from mental health to spirituality to employment. Many people who work in demanding jobs find release in following their creative inclinations.

Some people take shopping to creative lengths and indulge in creative retail therapy, others paint, or sculpt. We are all different, we all have our own methods.

So what form does your creativity take?

Artworks? Craft? Writing and Poetry?

Here's your chance to tell others about the way you let your creativity loose!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Let your mind look away

I wrote three poems last night - two haiku and a longer free verse poem. The first haiku I'd been thinking about for a couple of hours as I fed the dogs, my husband son and myself, and then drove off to last night's workshop, so the writing of it was planned in a way.

The other haiku was written quickly, in response to the writing workshop activity I was supposed to be doing with a partner - on the night it was not supposed to be a haiku the participants were supposed to be writing, but some ideas for a story. My partner wrote some useful notes and I wrote a haiku on the topic (sort of).

The free verse poem is a follow up to a conversation I'd had a couple of days earlier, and also linked in nicely with another poem I had written a month or so ago.

So? This is meant to be about creativity, not poetry. What's my point? you may ask.

My point is that if you stop watching your brain intently, you may come up with sometimes startlingly creative things. The first of my haiku, penned in a rush because I didn't have much time to spare, is every bit as good as haiku I've spent much longer over.

The second haiku was an amusing take on the exercise my partner and I were meant to be doing, and made me smile, even if the tutor wasn't as amused.

The free verse poem has some fine lines in it, and once I've had a chance to think further about it (or sleep on it), I think it will be a fine poem.

I was not thinking hard about the poetry I was doing and my mind was thinking about the set exercise we were doing as well as subconsciously thinking about the poems. My point is that when you look away, the subconscious mind can sneak out and do its work - you can be surprised and delighted at what you can come up with if the look away for a little while.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Creative thinking

Having a creative mindset can lead you to amazing paths to travel. If you are stuck in a rut, it's time to get out and get creative.

How? you ask? Well, if your life has lost it's zing, it may be the time to have a re-think about your thing. We all have our own thing that we do. I write, that's how I find my creativity taking off.

Others have their own thing. Sometimes when my writing isn't working for me I might try a little crochet, and I find the mindless repetition of it sets my mind going in creative directions again. I've talked about crochet and creativity elsewhere, and others have found my thoughts on that interesting.

Sometimes just changing simple things can lead the mind somewhere else. If you always go to work by car, why not give public transport. Or if you always visit the shops at lunchtime, why not try a museum for a change.

Getting out of ruts can be that simple, and the rewards can be immense. If you find an interesting thought, why not follow it for as long as you can. It might lead you to a dead end, but it might lead you to a wonderful new thing!

You might find the way challenging, but so often, challenges can help you to grow in fantastic new ways.

Be prepared to try things, be prepared to change your mind, be prepared to go where your creativity tells you to go.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Innate good nature of humans

Reading the stories about the wonderful things people are doing for those hit hard by the bushfires in Victoria strengthens my feeling about most normal human beings being innately good.

Of course, there are sick people who do evil things, as appears to have happened recently. Only a truly sick person would light a fire on a day like that day when the bushfires started. I don't think there's any other way to think of those who commit crimes like this, apart from them being sick. They are lacking something basic in their nature, that doesn't make them see the madness of their actions.

I know a lot of people are talking about committing terrible acts of violence against these arsonists, if they are caught, but I can't see what good that would do. Evil act punished by another evil act, seems like, at best hypocrisy. At worst, well, more of the same is the best interpretation you could put on it, as far as I can see. I don't think that is the way for the bushfire victims to obtain 'closure'.

I know lots of others don't see these sorts of things the way I do. Many take an Old Testament 'Eye for an eye' view, but I don't see anything good at all in the Old Testament. It's made up of blokes doing bad things to each other and God carrying on like a mad thing.

I prefer Jesus, turning the other cheek, and other milder ways of dealing with unpleasantness. Is my way the right way? I have no idea, but I know that I feel like I am living on a higher level of spirituality that a lot of fire and brimstone Christians.

I am committed to trying to always be good, and do the right thing. I am an unbeliever though in Christianity, who believes in the wisdom of Mother Nature and the sanctity of the Earth. I firmly feel that, no matter what we do, the Earth will survive, in some way. I don't think mankind will last anywhere near as long as the Earth will, and I'm wondering how long the cockroaches will survive when most of the Earth is covered with water, it that's the way things might go.

Time will tell, and I know I won't be there when it all ends.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

How to get comments

I wish I knew the answer to this one. I love leaving comments, and getting involved in discussions on blogs, but I don't know the answer to the question of 'How do you get people to comment?'

If you have the answers, please, feel free to leave a comment here. If you leave me details, I'll check out your blog and leave comments there.

Of course it would be best if your blog is about something that interests me, but hey! I'm a writer, just about everything interests me. Creative people seem to have a huge range of things they're interested in.

I'm interested in dogs, poetry and any other sort of creative writing. I'm interested in family, healthy eating, politics, nature, creativity, story ideas, poetic forms, life, I could go on and on.

I'm not a Christian, I guess I'm agnostic rather than an atheist, I believe Mother Nature gives me my spiritual feelings. I believe in the innate goodness of humans, but I don't believe Christianity necessarily gives that innate goodness, I feel it comes from have inner goodness from living a thinking life.

I believe family and friends bring true meaning to life. I am now stepping off that soap box. It's late and I have to go to bed , ha, ha.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Get obsessed and stay obsessed

I remember reading a John Irving book, many, many moons ago - it may have been The Hotel New Hampshire. There were many stand out characters in that book, if that's which of his books it was.

The character that has had the most impact on me was not one of the major characters, but an important character never the less.

That character was Coach Bob. As I said, I'm not certain which book it actually was, but one thing stuck in my mind then, and is stuck in my mind still. The line of Coach Bob's that is still sitting there in my mind is what he used to say to the main character.

"You've got to get obsessed and stay obsessed!"

That's how I feel about my writing now. I'm obsessed about writing (my own and the work of others) and I'm staying obsessed. I will always be a poet, writer, and blogger and I will always help others with their own writing. It's my obsession.

I have run poetry competitions for the past five years, and I can't see anything that would stop me from running one poetry competition a year for many more years to come. Even if the money dried up, I would still continue in some way, because I am obsessed.

I hope you are able to spend some time in your life doing something you are obsessed about, whether it's looking after your kids, fixing up old cars or water colour painting, we all should keep a space in our life for an obsession.

I don't mean crazy mad stalking people or anything like that, but just something you care passionately about. It might be a football team, a person, but we all need something that brings meaning to our lives.

Take a look at the photo at the bottom of this page, that's one obsessed creature!

Creating a new person/persona

I was just fiddling with this website, and shifted my photo to a different spot(underneath my blog entries), and it got me thinking. Always dangerous, me thinking, you never know what might happen!

Anyway, it occurred to me that I've created a new persona for myself. I had an idea of myself being a thinner person, and hey presto! one year later, here I am, 15 kilos lighter and wearing size ten jeans.

Am I a different person because of my weight loss? No, not really, except I feel superior to others because I've done what do many people can't or won't do. But I feel sorry for people who want to lose weight but can't manage to do it. I've got lots of thoughts on this matter, and I reckon it's a complex issue.

The only thing I know is what worked for me, but I firmly believe that my method could work for other people too. I've written an ebook "How to lose weight and keep it Off" about it and it's for sale at a low price here

Basically, I think the problem lots of people have is they don't take a long-term view on the matter. It takes a long time for your waist to go from think to thick. It's going to take a long time for it to go from thick to thin. Weight loss is not about 'going on a diet' it is about changing your lifestyle.

I lost weight by paying attention to my body. Now, I don't eat if I'm not hungry, and I make better choices on what I eat. There are no excuses for scoffing a 'family' sized block of chocolate or a big packet of chips. You know that food will end up on your bum or tum.

Going on a diet implies going off a diet. Eating better food for the rest of your life doesn't mean never pigging out, it just means eating good food most of the time. And if you can get some exercise in there too, that's great.

I've done it, you can too. I'd love to have a chat about my journey and yours. Make a comment and we can talk. I've got lots of good food ideas!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Finding your inner child, playing games with yourself

I'm a writer. I write sensible things, trying to get my words published, trying to make money. Making money with your writing is hard work, and it's not an easy thing to do.

If I only ever wrote serious things, articles about kennel cough for instance, it might get boring or gloomy. But I write about all kinds of things, like motherhood, pussy cats, dogs and kids.

Mostly I write to suit myself, following my own creativity, and that way I don't get stale. If I'm bored with my what I write, I bet anybody reading my words would be bored too. That would have to be my number one tip in making your creative writing better - write about what you're passionate about.

If you love the football, write about football. If you're passionate about politics, write about that. There are a million people already writing about these things, but you are unique, so your words will be your own. If you follow your passions, you will be writing with you unique voice.

If you just latch onto the latest hot topic, hoping to get it published, you'll have problems because you won't have a deep knowledge of the subject and so you'll end up saying the same old thing that's been written over and over again already.

If you go with what you love, you'll bring your own different angles into your writing, with fresh ideas and things that may never have been said about your subject of choice.

I've been a dog breeder for twenty years and I love to garden (well, I like plants - I don't like hard work ha ha), I've known many dogs and I've spoken to lots of people with lots of dogs. Because of this, I have very strong ideas about dogs, what has worked for me, what hasn't worked. I'm passionate about dogs, and so a lot of my writing is about dogs.

My most successful piece of writing in terms of money is one of my shortest pieces of work. I wrote the text for a child's school reader about seven years ago, about 200 words or less. I was lucky and the publisher I sent it too published it.

That text is "My Dog" - a simple little book that earns me at least $100 every six months seven years after it was published. I've earnt more from this book than most Australian writers would earn from one book, well over $2,000.

My point is, write not just what you know, but what you passionately care about. I'm passionate about literacy as well as dogs, combining the two paid off.

If you think about what you care about, and write about that, it could pay off for you too!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Are all writers procrastinators?

A provocative question perhaps, but I wonder whether it's true. Maybe it's just me. I have called myself the queen of procrastination in the past, only to have others try to claim the title.

So that's why I ask the question. Writers are creative people, and if you have a creative mind, there are probably a million things in there, vying for the top spot. I've written about creativity and procrastination and a dead mouse and still hold the views I expressed there.

Today there's another mouse in the mousetrap in the kitchen and I know I have to do something about it. I'll do it later. I've got some creative writing to do.

Thinking about the question again, I guess it may be that the uber successful ones aren't procrastinators. The successful ones are busy with their writing careers, ie they're writing, not putting off writing. That may be the difference between success and starvation. You get in there and work.

The word work though sounds so dry and dull. I'm a creative person, I don't do work, I commune with my muse and float up high in the sky with clouds and birds, thinking lofty thoughts and sometimes writing them down.

I don't actually do that, I'm little more grounded and sensible about my creative writing than that. Sometimes I even get my act together enough to send stuff off to publishers. I have a fine collection of rejection slips.

I've had my writing for children rejected by the very best of the childrens publishers in Australia. I haven't sent anything for children off for quite some time though. Maybe a year or more? Maybe I should look into that, and send something off. I'll think about it later. I've got other things to do today.

Get my hair cut, have a drink with a new writing friend, get rid of that dead mouse!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Who's too fat now?

When I was a teenager, my big brother, in the loving way that big brothers have, called me fatso. He may have been joking about it, he may have just been in a bad mood, he might have been having trouble dealing with his little sister starting to look womanly. I don't know, and it's too late now to ask him.

But because Jeff, who I adored and looked up to in so many ways, called me fatso, I thought of myself as fat. It didn't help that my best friend was slim with legs that went all the way up to there, while I was short and not super slim. I was fat, end of story.

But it wasn't the end of the story, it was just the early to middle part of the story. I learnt about healthy eating, and exercise. I learnt about loving myself and caring for myself. I found ways to make myself proud of myself that had nothing to do with body shape. I discovered my inner creativity and I learnt that I could write creatively, while so many people can barely write a shopping list.

I learnt to like myself, to love myself, and I learnt to listen to my body. I started listening if my body said I wasn't hungry. I'd eat a much smaller meal then. And because I was listening to my body, I was more likely to choose food that my body needed, not food my mind wanted. I discovered that I too could be slim, and not be saddled with the fatso label all of my life.

I have to add here that it wasn't others calling me fatso, it was that nasty person that lives in my head and hisses at me when I'm feeling low. Now though, I reached my ideal weight, I feel terrific, and I just laugh at that nasty hisser.

I'm the weight I was always meant to be and I feel great! Click and you can feel great too!

What's filling your life with gloom?

Everybody has things in their mind that brings them down. It may be that excess flab that just won't go away. It may be a friend who is anything but a friend. It may be a crummy job, the ogre of credit card debt.

We are all individuals and we each have our own bugbears to deal with. Sometimes you might feel you are the only one struggling through life, but that is simply not true. There are very few people who live the good life, day after day. Beautiful models get zits sometimes, just like the rest of us. The most beautifully groomed person can have an off day and just hunch around in an ugly grouch.

To rid yourself of these things, you need to look at life in a different way. If your friends are downers, start hanging out with people who have more fun. If that credit card debt is your problem, follow up on the many free help either online or with your financial institution (they don't bite).

Ignoring things will only ever work for a while, eventually you have to face up to things, and they may have grown in size as you hid from them. But if you can find a creative way to look at your problems, you'll win in more than just one way. Creativity opens up your mind and allows fresh light in. If you can solve a problem in a creative way, it makes you feel extra clever, because you worked it out in a special way, better than the mundane methods, whatever the creative method it is that you discover.

The best thing you can do is rid your life of these things that keep you stuck down in the dirt, that stop you from soaring above the crap that life wants to throw at you. If you can embrace creativity, you can find the life that works for you. It may not bring you wealth (it might though!), but it will bring you satisfaction and a sense of fun and wonder.

Embrace life, embrace your creativity!

Waiting for night to come

Waiting for night to come
I love sunsets