Instinct? Or Over-thinking?

How do you know when to listen to your first thought — your instinct — and when to think about things first before you make a decision? How do you know if you are giving a project due consideration or over-thinking everything?

Getting lost in the psychological maze occurs more often than not. And its especially rough when you are working in a creative sphere.

That nasty little devil big mouth sassy bored opinionated faerie often sits upon my shoulder. Yours could be a little angel, a seasoned sprite, a naughty muse, or a shadowed spectre. It doesn’t matter who second-guesses you. They’re always there, hanging around.

Do any of you sell your artwork? Do you sell at art fairs or online or at a gallery? Did you have a lot of paperwork to fill out? Did you wonder if your wares would impress the masses along with friends and neighbors?

Self doubt sucks.

Whether you’re sending something to a publisher, submitting something to a contest, applying for a booth, or being critiqued for a gallery showing, it all tests your confidence, your imagination, and your business sense. 

These are good things, of course — but they do test you.

You can apply the same doubts to applying for a new job, changing your hair color, or starting new classes. Any time there is something you want and/or need to move forward to get it’s stressful. Any time there is something “more” that is within your grasp, it’s stressful.

Any time you have to work towards a goal, it’s stressful.

How many times does someone have to say they like your work before you believe them? How many kudos and pats on the back do you need before you believe in your work, your art?

I come from a history of self doubt. I’m so much better these days, but somewhere in my past I fell down and didn’t get right up. And not getting up for a long time skewered my view of myself and what I could do.

But as I got older I found I wasn’t such a bad flower after all. I fell in love with writing, with my family, and with art. It was all new and glorious and, I tell you, I’ve never looked back.

But preparing to show my recent art wares to the world is stressing me out. That little faerie keeps bugging me, telling me no one will like my work. 

It wouldn’t matter if I were preparing to take a final in college or submit a story to a publisher. If I were putting together a proposal for work or submitting a bid for a house. I’d still think I thought too little or too much.

Don’t let your self-doubt stop you from doing what you need to do to get where you want to go. Let that faerie/angel blabber away, nod and say I hear you, then go with what you believe. With your gut feeling.

Tomorrow is waiting.

 

 

Am I/I Am Overthinking

Sometimes I wonder just what kind of writer I am. I make myself laugh. In weird ways.

I’ve been writing all my life. I’ve written mostly fiction, although there have been a few non-fictions along the way. I have no problem inventing people, places, and situations in the fictional world. Even fiction in a non-fiction real world don’t hold me back.

Except this stupid novel I’m still trying to get off the ground.

I have actually started writing, having done a lot of basic research, and using everything from Google Maps to traveler’s websites to be as accurate as possible.

The story is fiction. About a non-fiction person. Me. Going on a vacation. Fiction. To a real place — Paris. Non-fiction. Visiting romantic restaurants and museums that really exist. Non-fiction. Running into manifestations of people who have passed on. Fiction.

In the past I have written about not being able to kill off people in my novels. I dunno — it’s just not me. Fine. Now I have to write a fiction book about things that never really happened as though they really did happen. But I want them to sound real.

Somewhere I’ve gotten lost between fiction and non-fiction.

I have no problem making things up if my work is considered fiction. The sky’s the limit. Right?

But when I really want to be as truthful as can be, I feel like I’m fibbing if I don’t exactly explain what this museum looks like or that restaurant feels like.

Why can’t I just pretend and be done with it?

Does it really matter in the story if Rue Saint-Guillaume actually intersects with Rue Perronet? I mean, I have one story about a woman being transported from Earth to a different part of the galaxy, for Pete’s Sake! Why does it matter if my character goes to a real live close restaurant or happens to walk a block or two to a place that, on a map, is three miles away?

I think I’ve got to get back to the basics of fiction vs non-fiction. That one is one and the other is another and you are either/or. That unless it’s 100% true it’s fiction. And no one cares.

As long as it’s readable and enjoyable, no one is going to care. After all, that’s how ~I~ read books. How do I know if the Barrymore Theater on Broadway is on 47th Street or 45th Street? Do I care, when the heroine is kidnapped by a Phantom of the Opera wannabe?

I know I overthink everything. I think many of you do, too. Not on purpose — it’s just that you want whatever you’re working on to be as perfect and “right” as it can be. Are you cheating on your stitching? Are you calling your work one thing when it technically should be something else?

Let it go. I have to just stop thinking and start writing. And you have to do the same thing. Stop overthinking everything. As long as you finish what you started, no one will know — or care.

And even if YOU do care, don’t. Don’t they say the best non-fiction is usually fiction anyhow?

 

 

 

Fuzz Brain

thDo you ever have days where you feel…fuzzy?

Not cuddle fuzzy, not peach navel fuzzy, but cotton-candy-in-the-head fuzzy.

I suppose it’s best to count out major contributors, or at least fit them into the symphony’s score. Medication. check. A little, not much. Sleep. A little, not much. Stress. Much, not a little. Sugar. Cut way back. Alcohol. None. Smoking. Never. Other recreants. Not for 40 years. Blood Pressure. Surprisingly normal. Blood Sugar. Low as well. Cholesterol. Working on it.

So all second tier maladies accounted for. First tier…cancer, leukemia, dementia. All being watched.

So why the fuzzies?

I used to think that when I couldn’t quite focus it was because messages and stories were coming through from astral places. Not like direct alien vibrations, but, you know — inspiration from beyond. No matter what your belief system, there’s always someone from the beyond sending you positive vibes –Grandma, Jesus, Shakespeare. You can’t rationalize it — it just is.

So when the fuzzies used to come I had a hard time focusing on anything constructive. Like work. Or responsibilities. It’s like the fuzzies opened a hole to another dimension. One where logic is more like paper chains hung in the trees…pretty, but not practical.

It’s hard to think when your mind is full of cotton candy. You look one direction…it’s niiice. You turn around…it’s niiice. You look up in the sky, it’s…well, you get it. It’s like being high without drugs, religion, or the Patronus Charm.

During these  lost and found fuzzies inspiration is there for the taking. If you have the energy to take it. What I mean by that is that there are no rules in the fuzzies. Every design, every plot, every daydream has merit. Fireflies become faeries. High school teachers become drug dealers. The rosey pink of sunset becomes the daytime sky of an alien world.

I’ m not saying you can create the next Rembrandt masterpiece or write the Great American Novel while fuzzy. But when inspiration eludes you, there can be redemption in the clouds.

For example.

Tonight I was in the funky fuzzies. Spent 2 hours going through the same 6 folders looking for a piece of paper I knew I’d seen in one of them earlier this evening. I mean this is a big duh. How can you not find what you just saw? Fuzzies. After hours of curling one piece of paper after the other, I finally found what I was looking for in the folder with the receipts jammed into it.

So crabby as well as fuzzy, I posted such on Facebook. As I perused the mental states of all my friends, I came across a post about gorgeous blingy gladiator up-the-calf sparkle shoes. And I thought…Sunday Evening Art Blog! How cosmic was that?

Of course, cosmic can always be equated with chance, luck, calculation, physics, or a dozen other flow charts. The point is that even when you are wandering through the Cotton Candy Fuzzies you can get input for your creativity. Just pay attention. Know inspiration can drop in at any time and be ready to take note. Write it down, bookmark it, write it on your arm in eye liner. Just keep the message and come back when the fog has lifted.

The test, of course, is not to bring the Fuzzies into work tomorrow. If I’m not careful my whimsical nothingness will get lost in the stacks of data I’ve yet to enter.

Talk about the bottomless well…

 

Bird Brain

crowI was driving to work this morning when I passed a bunch of crows on the side of the road (who ever decided to call a group of crows a ‘murder’ anyway?), doing whatever crows do. A few seconds later there was a single crow on the side of the road, doing the same thing.  Now, being the kind of gal I am, I started to wonder — what was that single crow thinking?

Now, I didn’t necessarily want to become on of those people who anthropomorphize (give human characteristics and emotions) animals. The crow was probably not thinking at all. But let’s let reality fly to the wind and let fantasy take over.  I started thinking of what he/she might be feeling:

(a)  oh…woe is me….no one wants to pick the gravel with me…no one likes me…I’m sooooo aloooonnnneee…

(b)  man,  I am so glad to be away from that group of big mouths. They’re such know-it-alls. I don’t need crows in my life like that…

(c)  won’t you flyyyyyy……freeeee bird…..

(d)  what do you mean there are other crows around here?

When you start to think about things like this it starts to look like a Rorschach Test — everyone sees something different.

Me — I kinda wanted to pick all of the above. A … no…B! Mmm…I’d like it to be C. Or most likely D.  I’m so confused! Just like my life!  When I’m feeling down, I would pick (a), cuz I’m convinced no one likes me; when I’m peeved at the world it’s definitely B; when I’m feeling great there is no other choice but C; but most of my life it’s probably D, cuz I often don’t know what’s going on around me.  It may see confusing, but it IS fun.

What do YOU think the crow is thinking?