Sunday, May 3, 2015

TSS: May 3, 2015

I can't believe it is the first weekend in May!  Don't get me wrong, I am ready for warmer weather and longer days, but I wish time would slow down just a bit.  

Last week I shared my April writing challenge, mostly stream-of-consciousness stuff and not focused on a particular project.  I maintained my morning pages routine (as recommended by Julia Cameron in her popular book, The Artist's Way), I began a gratitude journal, I hand-wrote my prayers, and I kept an ongoing personal journal.  In the end, I wrote approximately 105,000 words for the month - and decided that was proof enough that I am a writer.

Since I found the challenge personally satisfying, I decided to develop one for May.  This month I will focus on scrapbooking, both as a means to document our family history, values, and beliefs, but also a way to cultivate play and creativity into my life.  

In preparation of my May challenge, I checked out several scrapbooking books from the library to jump-start my creative juices.  Most of my reading this week centered on skimming those books.  The ones I found most useful include:

Find Your Groove: A Guide to Discovering Your Scrapbook Style (by Kitty Foster).  While I could easily identify my style before reading the book (Classic, Clean Lines) ... there is an interesting quiz that covers all aspects of style (such as preference for color, number of embellishments, degree of randomness, etc).  I particularly enjoyed how the author created the same page in each of the seven different styles.

I learned that maintaining the same style throughout a scrapbook album does not mean boring or monotonous pages.  I gleaned several new ideas that I am anxious to incorporate in this month's creative moments.

Clean and Simple (volumes 1 and 2) by Cathy Zielske.  THIS is my style, and I poured over every single page!  The author is a graphic designer by trade, and she brings her talent and expertise to the scrapbook arena.  I not only "scraplifted" several page ideas to copy later, but I also learned basic design elements that I can use to develop my own future layouts for years to come.

Using a spare notebook I had lying about the house, I created my own "idea" book using the notes and images from these resources.  On days when I feel less-than-creative, I plan to reference this book for a quick jolt of inspiration.

Aside from scrapbooking, I also managed to finish Dani Shapiro's memoir, Slow Motion.  Last year I read her book, Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  She referenced this memoir several times in that book, which inspired me to want to read it.

Ms Shapiro focuses on a small portion of her life in this riveting tale.  Both her parents were involved in a horrific car accident, which resulted in eighty broken bones for her mother and a severe brain injury for her father.  At that time, the author is a twenty-something struggling actress who is living a life she desperately wants to escape.  Through the tragedy of this accident, she finds the courage to walk-away from the bad influences of her current life and become the person she was meant to be.

I enjoyed the book so much that I immediately put a hold on her next memoir, Devotion.

I will not take time and bore you with all the lessons I learned through my April Writing challenge.  I will say, however, that I gained clarity on a number of subjects, and believe I have some direction for future writing endeavors.

While I would be lying if I didn't admit having desires to become a published author, I do know that if I write just for myself, I will be satisfied and fulfilled.

So I am anxious to take the next baby step on this writing journey... which includes maintaining a more consistent blog schedule.  I enjoy this format and writing for an audience.  And I am grateful to those of you who choose to read it.

To that end... I did write one other post this week, Saturday Snapshot.  I hope to incorporate photography more into my daily life, and this post talks about the lesson learned while taking a walk through my neighborhood, camera in hand.  In essence, I learned that we must not only be ready to Seize the Day... but we must also be willing to slow down and Savor the Moment.  In other words, I need to learn to live in the present.

The Week Ahead:
I promised myself that I would return to my morning walk routine once warmer weather arrived.  Well, the time has come.  I was a bit overzealous on Friday and have nursed sore muscles over the weekend.  However starting tomorrow, I hope to get back into the routine of walking 2-3 miles at least five days a week.  I always feel better afterwards... it is just getting over the mental block of putting on those running shoes.

Scrapbooking is of course a priority - culminating with a monthly crop at my house on Friday night.

I am drafting a blog post for Gateway of Hope ministries on the theme of Balancing Life... which will be posted the following week.

I hope to begin a character sketchbook to help me flesh out more well-rounded fictional characters.  I have not given up on NaNoWriMo 2013 middle-grade book, First Impressionism, but I need to hone some basic skills before I am ready to revise.

Our Kansas City Royals continue to do well, and I try to watch them play when televised.  To help pass the time, however, I started knitting.  I am not brave enough to tackle anything complicated, but I do enjoy knitting cotton dishcloths in a variety of color combinations.  If any of you knit and know of equally simple projects... I would love to hear!

And perhaps between rain storms (forecasted for 4 out of the 5 weekdays) I can take myself on a photo safari and work on those camera skills.

It is a full week filled with lots of good fun.  I hope you are equally excited for this first full week of May.


  1. You are really putting a lot of challenges on yourself. I hope they don't create any stress on your life. This year I decided to decrease my reading challenges so that i could focus my reading more on what I want to read and less on what I thought I should be reading. It seems to have helped reduce a smidge of stress. Good luck with your goals.

    My Sunday Salon

  2. Sounds like you've got a good week planned. I loved your post on Saturday. We were out of town and I was reading on my iPad. I do not like commenting with the iPad, so no comment on the post itself. Good luck with your walking. One day at a time, right? Nice to see you posting again. :-)

  3. Anne - I must admit your comment took me by surprise. I thought I had scaled back my stressful life... but after reading your comment and reflecting a bit more, I realized you are right. I struggle with the idea of productivity = self-worth. And while I have made some progress in changing that paradigm, I obviously have a ways a to go.

    I thank you for showing me that I am still expecting too much from myself and I need to slow down even more. I GREATLY appreciate it!!

  4. Kay - thanks so much for your encouraging words. Yes, one day at a time, one baby step at a time :)

    It feels good to be back. I hope to find a consistent blogging schedule soon!

  5. I'm so impressed with your April writing, Molly. Yes, you definitely are a writer!

    We spent most of the winter in Florida this year, so I never got out of my morning walk habit. It seems I have renewed enthusiasm now that we're home and mornings are cooler. I enjoy time alone with nature and audiobooks more than I can say, and always feel better the rest of the day.

    Knitting is a hobby I would like to get back into... it's been decades and I'm not sure I even remember how to read the patterns. Will have to start small and simple :)

  6. I like how you are constantly revising your life goals. It is probably time for me to work on setting some goals for summer.

  7. Writing is such a tough thing. I think your outlook is great though, because we should write for ourselves first before thinking of what we want to do with them later. I used to be a consistent blogger, but now I just blog whenever I get that blogging high. It seems to work for me.

  8. Wow you fit a lot into your day with plenty of goals. Your scrapbooking plan for this month sounds like an interesting idea. I still need to get stuff out of bins in the basement from a move like 6 years ago. How do you keep your productivity up and your life balanced? cheers. and thanks for stopping by my blog too.

  9. Now that I know where to find you again, I'll start reading and commenting. ;)

    I sure am enjoying the pocket method of scrapbooking. I don't use purchased Project Life inserts, but make my own with my Silhouette, which are more creative and beautiful and certainly more unique. (And far more vibrant, I've noticed--I did purchase some inserts at one point and saw how faded or bland they are by comparison. They need to be, in order to work unobtrusively with multitudes of layouts.

    But the pocket method has sure taken a load off my shoulders insofar as having to come up with a creative, overall design for each two-page layout. I really like that about it.

    It truly does save time.


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