Making Time

Demanding Yoga Mat is demanding
                                                       Demanding Yoga Mat is demanding

There is a yoga mat calling my name. There is also a nearly completed manuscript, a publishing deadline, a birthday for an ever growing kid/adult in my house, and mountains of housework calling my name.
I considered changing my name to “Hey” just to make things easier. or “Bass Fishing in the United States” to make things more difficult. In the end I chose to set everything on a schedule of sorts. My schedule may consist of many ishes. like 9-ish, 10-ish, etc. but I get points for a schedule right?
I know meditation and yoga are good for my overall thinking and mood. I also know that if I don’t do things, they don’t get done. So for now the Yoga mat is begging, the birthday boy gets priority, and the rest is still on a deadline I didn’t create.
I am in the process of making time, finding twenty minutes to meditate is not difficult and I am deluding myself to think otherwise. I will become the master of my time management. Migraines or not, things have to be completed. So for now I will include a picture of the yoga mat while it is still yelling, and a second picture of the less demanding but oh so good salt water taffy.

Sweet innocent Taffy
                                                                              Sweet innocent Taffy
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Writing in New Bohemia

There is a major disconnect in the writer world. Drugs and drinking are held up like some sort of magic ladder to becoming famous. Growing up you are told the funny side of a famous old writer who wrote a masterpiece while on LSD. I see writers still trying to emulate this. There really is another way.

I found a magic fountain, it isn’t a new one, it was just new to me. I began doing Yoga and Meditation this summer. I still feel the writer pains, I still feel the demoralization of critics, trolls, and well meaning advice. The magic comes in by choosing to change my natural default setting. When I meditate I work on my self, not on the forces I can’t control. People are going to hate what I write. I can’t change that. Instead I work with what I can. I look at what they say, break it down to what they are really saying between the curses. Then I meditate or do yoga depending on how much I am worked up.

Writing comes from emotions. Sometimes, this leads to something beautiful. Even the happiest stories often come from a place of pain and wishing. The writer loses someone close to them. They write a story of redemption where their character defeats the odds that took the person they loved. The reader is overjoyed with the story of hope. They may never know the real story that is behind it. Most readers won’t even care.

Letting life happen, however it will, isn’t easy but it is simple. The only pain that reach you, is the one you let in. Things will happen. People will betray you. Acceptance is key. You need to let things come. How you deal with them is the only way they really can affect you. Write from your heart, write from your pain, write from any emotion that pushes you. Don’t let the pain become you, leave it on the page. No one will buy your story of every character dying, unless you magically became Shakespeare. There is too much perceived and real pain in the world. We as writers have a duty to take our pain and finding the outside perspective to find some kind of silver lining. The reader deserves to feel better by the end of the stories we write.

Putting Yoga and meditation into my life changed my writing. It has created a new atmosphere. I am able to write more prolifically. I have even found time to sleep again after years of insomnia. There is a reason so many writers are called Bohemian. It isn’t about becoming a poor artist. It is about the mind of the artist taking life’s pain and transforming it into a positive energy.

I am not sharing this because I am all-knowing. I am not an expert. I am only sharing what works for me.

Retaining Your Mental Faculties

My Mental Breaks
Sylvester the Party Cat

Sometimes, things run like ice on a hotplate. What do you do when they aren’t?

I have been writing at least five days a week for a year straight. I wasn’t aware this was something unusual. A friend who is starting NaNoWriMo for the first time asked how I managed to not fall off pace. I thought about it for a while before answering her. I hadn’t really thought about falling off pace. I just saw what I wanted to do and did it.

I realized after some reflection that I had built in breaks and helpful mental habits that kept me sane through this process. I play with the cat every day, and as you can see he is a real party animal. I play with the kids when they aren’t being teenagers full of the indignation of youth. I meditate every day to clear my head because it is good for my blood pressure. Most importantly, I actually talk to my wife. Not just about how her day was, but how she is feeling, what funny thing did she see at work, What made her day good/bad, etc.

Does this mean I am perfect? Not by a long shot. I get distracted by oh shiny internets all the time. I have just programmed myself to shut all of my devices off at the same time every night to write. If during my writing I have to look something up, I have a tab on my desktop that only opens duckduckgo.com so I am not blasted with messages from the social media I love so much.

All of these things started as something different. The single tab was originally just a bookmark I threw on my desktop for no particular reason. The cat has been my sparring partner ever since we rescued him. The meditation was to lower my blood pressure without so many medicines. Somehow all of the things fell together into a lucky, perfect storm for writing. So basically I am sharing my good fortune.

During NaNoWriMo I will not actively be participating this year, but I am going to take several of my friends struggling to find the time to write between house chores, kids, spouses, work, and every other thing that tends to demand their attention. I will be helping them with whatever works for them and sharing these same things with them. Write when you can, play when you need a break, just don’t let the breaks become your days. I wish everyone participating in this great month of writing a high word count, many met goals, and really fun characters to play with.

At the end of the day, it should be about if you are pleased with your outcome. If not make small changes. Large changes fall away, small ones are easier to stick with.

A Simple Thank you

Charles Colp
Meditation

There are days that the emotions we put into our stories take their toll. A writer I am happy to have found, reminded me of the pitfalls that we hear of too often. By definition writers can be tortured souls, enlightened beings, and sacks of meat in the same window of time. We find the joys of life and find the words that fail others, we see the evil people and can describe the depths their souls are willing to plummet, and we can acknowledge the man who sat aside and did nothing because every decision was too painful. We can find an empathy in these conditions even when we don’t have them ourselves. Someone who has never entertained murder, cannot imagine what havoc this could play on the human psyche, except an artist. A writer is the artist of words and emotions.

I have met people who can write the darkest of passages and continue with their lives as if it truly doesn’t matter but these are rare. One of my favorite authors of a positive, selfless view of the human condition, took his own life in depression. Words have power, far beyond their meanings. They have the chance to shape a better world, to titillate us with stories of monsters we couldn’t imagine and the heroes that oppose them. Some are forever damaged by the ranges they allow themselves to feel. Others turn to drink and drugs to soothe the noise inside. These are the ones we all know and can recite by heart. True geniuses of the written word who sank into a bottle or learned to loathe their own being. It is the curse of creativity.

There is another way, though it takes discipline. It takes resolve. I was reminded yesterday by the aforementioned writer whose brilliant, simple answer reminded me of a path I have neglected too long. I forgot until tonight, how well simply being, meditating with no other thought in my head, can clear the excesses of the process and strip it down to what I needed. Insight is not free, it costs dearly, but you can pay it back with time, oneness, and peace.

I know many will take this as a bubbly cheer-leading post and resume that shot of whiskey. I write this more for myself than anyone else. Everyone here has something that works for them. Yesterday I was reminded of what dulled the edges of a sharp, sometimes barbed tongue for myself. It would be selfish of me not to share. That is one thing I have never been accused of and never will.

Tonight I meditate, thanks to another struggling author through her selfless words and quicker jokes. We all have lessons in life to learn. I am glad to find mine when I need them most. Thank you.

 

Charles R. Colp