Jazzy Finds: Spring 2015

I survived the winter in New England…barely. I have not felt like doing much of anything except staying in the house, eating, and watching a disturbing amount of cooking shows (meals I will never attempt to make myself because I hate cooking). Well, I did read and write poetry, so I guess you could say I was somewhat productive. As always, I found some great people and places to share with you.

#1 = Wellspring House

Wellspring House

This lovely carriage is called Wellspring House, and it is located in Amherst, MA. I was fortunate to stay here for a week to work on my writing project. This six room house is owned by a retired English professor who wanted to provide an affordable place for artists to get away from their busy lives and work. In addition to having a cozy room with a large wooden desk to work, guests are able to utilize the kitchen, library, and meditation room. I enjoyed conversing with the other house guests when we happened to cross paths in the kitchen. I also explored the little town, which included a hardware store which also serves as a sort of convenience store (they serve ice cream and other things you might expect to find at a gas station) and a charming, one room library which was only open three days a week during very odd hours. My time at Wellspring was productive and relaxing – I highly recommend treating yourself to a retreat such as this if you get the opportunity. Although, you should make sure it looks like the picture above instead of like this…

Wellspring House in Winter

 

…which is exactly how it looked while I was there. I forgot to mention that we were also able to use the fireplace, and I sidled up to it with a book as often as possible. Check it out here http://www.wellspringhouse.net  Continue reading

On Writing: Summer Writing Woes

Photo courtesy of Central Home/Pinterest

Photo courtesy of Central Home/Pinterest

My writing habits got woefully off track this summer. I wrote….some, but the weather was just soooo nice, and we had suuuch a hard winter that I just had to get outside, and there was just soooo much to do, and I neeeeded a break.  Is my whining working yet?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Although I didn’t get as much writing done as I would have liked to this past summer, there is one ritual I maintained even during the most enticing days of summer – I woke up at least an hour and a half early to have time to myself before my day started. During that time, I would at least write my morning pages (for the uninitiated, morning pages are three pages of stream of consciousness freewriting proposed by Julia Cameron). The great thing about these pages is that they let me know what I am thinking about writing, reading, experiences, my responsibilities, and just life in general. The thoughts are not always fun or productive and sometimes they lead absolutely nowhere, but more often than not, they yield solid ideas for taking action. For example, I have written about needing to write more in my recent morning pages, and my exploration yielded the following actions to try:

1. Use morning pages to write about my current project to get my mental juices flowing

2. Work on one project during that time (I always have more than one writing project in play to keep me from getting bored)

3. Read something for inspiration everyday

4. Plan/schedule an artist date once per week (this is another suggestion of Julia Cameron’s – to do something fun once a week by yourself for at least two hours to inspire your inner artist; I’ve been doing this off and on for about three years, and it has changed my life)

5. Make time to just think (this is to remind myself to just be still and take time for daydreaming or pondering ideas I find intriguing)

6. Meditate before bed (while I used to enjoy doing this as part of my morning routine, it takes too much time away from my writing – I’ve decided to try flipping it to bedtime)

In case you are interested in learning more about Julia Cameron’s suggestions to do morning pages and artist dates, I have included her website http://juliacameronlive.com/ (there are two videos under the tab about the artist’s way video program).

These are the tips I have come up with so far to get my writing back on track.  What tips and tricks do you use to keep yourself writing on a regular basis?