Discipline for the Creative Mind

How can you discipline water? Fluidity? Like trying to make water into a shape but without applying it to a rigid container? Making the inner creative mind to be disciplined is a bit like that.

Applying pressure has the opposite of the desired effect, the more pressure, the less ideas and the further you get from The Famously Creative Flow.

The way is digging the path in front of the water for it to stream through it. There is a commitment to the digging, to creating the path, to the process and the general direction, eventually, once you have created a good height difference and a worthwhile gap for the liquid to trickle into, it will come, it is inevitable. Yet, one must remember that it has its own laws of physics to follow, which may seem inscrutable to the digger, you can’t see the lay of the land where the water is coming from, or predict the weather patterns that will create the rain. But it will come, one way or another, if you keep digging.

You won’t be able to choose what comes, in which way, the amount of it, the quality, the purity… you are but creating the vessel. You can only keep digging, and believing and never stopping, because if you stop, the water pools.

This is the creative process way, inspiration is the water, and keeping at it, writing, painting, sculpting, singing, playing, is the digging of the path. We, creators, can get better and better in using the tools of the trade, the techniques, and dedicate more and more time; increasing the amount of captured inspiration and the flow of it more consistent, but in the end… we have to submit to what comes to us and not compare to anyone else, no processes are ever the same.

This is what I am doing. I have achieved, last September, something I’ve been working towards for a long time: I am working four days a week, at work, and writing (digging) one day a week, at home, plus parts of the weekend, and sometimes after hours…

It’s been six months that I’m taking a day a week for writing. Two writing days have never been the same. I spent most of today preparing the way, writing on clarity of what I’m doing, of my process, on research to support my created world, reading inspirational quotes for writers, and going to the toilet every ten minutes and then, it poured! Deep and meaningful facts and I needed to find out about this world I’m creating on paper, I mean, on virtual paper. Over 4,200 words without blinking. And until it came, there was only dry earth…

I’ll finish with one of the quotes I dug today:

“Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say.” Barbara Kingsolver

What are Kindle Singles? Is my book one?

I have recently self-published a Kindle book composed of four short stories. My initial idea was to publish it as Kindle Singles.

I am not sure that Amazon is very good at communicating stuff, of I’m not very good at understanding them.

I had a completely wrong perception of what Kindle Singles are. I thought they were shorter books and that you should add them to this category if your book was shorter than the usual novel length. In my imagination, it was your duty to classify a book as a Kindle Single, if they were smaller, so the client could know what they are buying.

I didn’t realise Kindle Singles are something else altogether. Yes, they are shorter books, novella size, but they are hand picked by Amazon to be classified as so. If your book is chosen, you benefit from Kindle Singles promotions, which gives your book a bit more visibility. Therefore, being a Kindle Single is something special.

This means that you have to apply, to send your work to the Amazon editors and wait six weeks for them to evaluate it. Then you might become a Kindle Single. 

Just when I was about to submit it I read “no collections accepted”. I sent it anyway, probably part of my Brazilian DNA that would not allow me to give up without a try, an attempt of bending the rules.

It didn’t work, so “Sideways Reality”. [at Amazon AU, US, BR] is not a Kindle Single, but I’m still proud to call it my own!

50 Thousand Words to Nano Victory

2013 nanowrimo winner certificate

Link: nanowrimo.org 

Last November (2013) I did it. I have ‘won’ the NaNoWriMo. I have written 50 thousand words in a month. I did expect to feel happy and a sense of achievement, but I didn’t expect to learn so much about myself while doing it.
The book is not ready, not even as a first draft, but the produce of that month is an infrastructure. It made me feel ready for the next step. I’m still searching for the elusive structure and coming to terms with my narrator. The challenge is that this narrator has to be strong enough to provide colour to the story but not too strong to detract from the main character.
This year is my final year on my Masters of creative writing and the two subjects left are projects where I intend to nail this, and having over 80,000 words written (counting 2012 nano’s plus many pieces I have written for subjects) should give me a good place to start.
What I learnt from the marathon was the capacity to write no matter what, tired after a whole day of hard work, uninspired, sick, write in the morning, in the afternoon, at night. I went through the fallacy that you need inspiration to write and found a well of capacity to do what it takes.
It also introduced me to something that I find hilarious: writing groups. A group of people who get together at a pub, sit down and write together. They barely say hello, there is very little chit chat, often I only learn the name of one or two people in a group of fifteen.
We meet, we put our individual music inside our ears, and we write alone, in a group.
I found groups that keep meeting even after the marathon and keep going to them. Something about having others like you doing the same as you do, having a time allocated and putting the energy to the task makes is highly productive.

NanoWrimo Progress
(Orble Votes: 28)

Doubt is a Disease

It is like a disease, this sensation of not being sure and I wonder if everyone suffers from it one way or another.
Self-doubt it can be called but it is not a precise name. The doubt is not if you can do something, I have plenty of confidence in my abilities, what I sometimes lack is the confidence that I will do it.
It is like when you are going to meet an ex-lover you really don’t want to be involved with anymore. You know the pain but you also know how good it feels to be with him. You know you can avoid having a fireworks-unforgettable night followed up by a predictable heartache. The question is if I will avoid it.
Or when you have to do your tax declaration. You save the time, you keep the night free of any other appointments, you put in your calendar, let your friends know not to call you. But can you trust yourself not to sit on the TV, or read a book or play with your phone, or even with yourself? There is so many more interesting things to do!
During the day in question you feel half happy because you have made it all possible and you know you will do it, but another half of you is secretly suffering this self-doubting disease. Will I? Will I get home and sit on my computer and do it?
These examples were two of my victories, I have done my taxes and have avoided the ex-boyfriend but another one is afflicting me: NaNoWriMo.
A month to write 50,000 words. I know I can. I have the material, I have the voice, the narrator, the character.
I have the story, the inspiration and the will. But will I?
Am I able to wake up earlier or if I turn around and go back to sleep, will I get home after work and find the energy to write? Will I know what to write first, second and third?
Will I find a way to get the other things going at the same time or will I find distractions even within my passion? Like writing some other text to submit to an Anthology. Or will I have this fantastic inspiration to write the most amazing short story? Anything rather than concentration on this one book of 50,000 words.
Can I trust not only my will, but my barely-held-together mind?
We will see. It starts at midnight.
(Orble Votes: 22)

The success of a failure

They say everyone is a winner, I feel like one even though I was very far from 50,000 words. There is this website http://www.nanowrimo.org where people log themselves in to launch full on into a competition, except they are really just competing with themselves. Nanowrimo stands for national novel writing month and it runs every November. the name is actually wrong because what started with a North American website where about 40 registered over 10 years ago, today it is fully international with more than 300,000 registered in 2012.

You sign in and every day register your word count, attempting to reach 50,000 words by the 30th of November. I’ve made it to about 7,000 words. I won’t stop writing and participating in the event gave me inspiration and ideas. I’ll just need more time than a month.

The best I took from it was that, for the first draft, it is smart to turn the internal editor and critic off.

I also feel good I actually intend to do something about my writing and not just put it into a drawer once it is done. I’ve met a few winners who have been doing this for a few years, and every year, after writing 50,000 words, they put it somewhere and forget about it.

That is why I think, in my failure, I feel successful, because my writing will see the light of day.

(Orble Votes: 16)

Twelve Million Steps

Since the 8th of November 2010 I have walked 12,161,788 steps. Twelve million steps! It is a great example of what you can build one step at a time. In Portuguese there is a saying which would translate: “grain by grain the chicken fills its belly”. It is very hard to translate idiomatic expressions, but this one is a good one, meaning by eating one little grain at a time the chicken feeds itself to satisfaction.


If I had said to myself today I would have to walk that much in less than two years by the sheer sound of the numbers I wouldn’t have believed I would do it.

The reason I found this number is my iPod. It has this fitness function that I keep always online. I certainly have walked more than that because sometimes the gadget is turned off, runs out of battery or is not in the bag, but that doesn’t happen very frequently.

I have a high average of daily steps, I walk a lot by choice and love and I would say I reach the ideal of around 10,000 steps per day. I do have low days, when I spend all day at home writing, but I also do some longer walks, like the Seven Bridges, sometimes the MS walk, and City2Surf.

I’m thoroughly impressed with myself just because it sounds so cool to have walked that much, even if it is a normal amount per day, almost anyone could do it, I’m happy I did it.

(Orble Votes: 29)

Creating an App, Learning to Meditate

My friend and I have created an iPhone app called Minute Meditation.
I find it funny the way things happen almost as by accident. I always thought myself to be too agitated to meditate. Didn’t ever believe I was going to be able to. But now…
My friend was feeling stressed a while ago and decided to go to this meditation retreat operated by Brahma Kumaris. She enjoyed it and came back with this technique of doing minute meditation. One minute per hour during some hours of the day. She said there was a website that reminded people but it wasn’t working.
I was having some ideas to create apps and we decided to try this one.
Being the writer of the duo, I was in charge of writing the descriptions and tutorials for the app and to do that I got from her a book and a CD.
I felt really inspired doing this. The idea of getting little pockets of peace to people’s day sounded great, and to really get into it I started reading the book and listening to the CD.
It got me. Now I know why I was driven to do this: to learn to meditate myself!
Our App is at the Apple Store and it is called Minute Meditation.
(Orble votes: 21)
PS: The app never worked so we had to pull it down. Read more at: http://taniacreations.com/2015/09/12/the-failed-minute-meditation/

Be Brave and Publish Your Books

I used to be afraid of publishing my books. I am not anymore.

It is such a simple reasoning and yet, it evaded me like the vampire avoids the cross. I was so scared of criticism, of not being approved for publishing, of not being sold or not being liked that I stood frozen.

Suddenly (with a lot of internal mental work) I realised that nothing matters except putting the books out there.

If I don’t get a publisher I will pay for the publishing myself; if it sells, awesome, if it doesn’t, I’m a published author. At the very least I shall sell a few books to friends and family If people like it, great! If not, at least I have written and published a book, not everyone can say that.

Thinking of the books as stepping stones, as possibilities, as one of the ways that my writer career could climb, I can be happy with any results that come from them. Treating the books as my sole chance of success was absolutely killing my will to get published.
So you see, it is easy, forget all the reasons you have for not offering your book for publishing and send it out today.
A few months back I had two books that were written but needed revision to be ready for publishing. I then decided to take time and do just that. I have accomplished my tasks and completed them, they are fictional novels, written in Portuguese; one is about a colourful Brazilian guy who dates an Australian girl and the other has true tales from my grandfather’s life as a fictional ghost.
I have sent them to copyright; then distributed them to some chosen editors and finally promoted them at a specific website which distributes the books to potential publishing houses according to the book style and the editorial line of the publishers.
Now I am waiting for answers, let’s see how it goes. Wish me luck!

(Orble Votes: 82)

Floating in a Natural Aquarium

I took this picture myself!
There are rivers, as clear as air, in a city called Bonito, state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil.
Bonito means “beautiful” and it certainly is. It is a world capital of eco-tourism, a place where you can enjoy more than 40 different tourist natural attractions including horse riding, waterfalls, diving, and boat trips among numerous others. But the best of the best are the “floatings” as they are called. You float down river, among the fish which are protected, and feels like you are swimming in an Aquarium.
Imagem 117
I have spent a week in the region, have floated down 4 different rivers enjoying immensely each experience. Each time, after walking in the forest and seeing wild animals and being taught about the region’s flora you float for around 40 to 80 minutes in the clear water. We were lucky to have contracted food for after the efforts. It was delicious! Always homemade cooking in the wood fire stove, very tasty!
I have also climbed 866 steps to see a gorgeous waterfall and visited the “Hole of the Araras”. A natural hole where bands of highly coloured birds live.

Imagem 055

It looked like the fish were floating in the air…
It was a magic week. If you had to visit one place on Earth before it ended, you should definitely put Bonito on your short list!
(Orble Votes: 127)

Job Search Hints and Good News

Do the unexpected. At the very least you will ride some pretty fancy lifts. I’ve been going to the recruitment agencies and I have good news: some of them really have people there.
The next morning from my last post I got to create some new crazy strategies, I got to think that letters with ridiculous sayings were not enough. Maybe I should do something in person, like enter the agencies singing (even though I cannot sing), the traditional wearing a watermelon around my neck or my favourite dream obsession: running naked in the middle of George Street, in this case with a body paint saying: hire me!
But by the end of the day I simply did what people seem not to be doing: visit the recruitment agencies. I realised that because mostly they don’t accept any walk-ins anymore, candidates simply stopped doing this walking around trying to talk to a consultant.
For me, the last two days have been amazing, I managed to shake hands with recruiters that actually have an open position that interests me and be interviewed by some nice people that didn’t have the job now but may have it soon. I also got a bunch of business cards; at least they give me a name to put on top of my e-mails with my resumes.
Of course I found some empty offices, got to the position of being inside a lift that doesn’t accept when you press the button. It is such an embarrassing feeling! You go inside a building, confidently go to the lift, the door closes, you press the button, it doesn’t lit, you do it again, and just one more time to be sure. Nothing happens, you press the button to open the door and leaves hoping no-one saw you.
The adventure is to ride all kinds of lifts though. I loved the one that didn’t have any buttons inside. You pressed the level you wanted to be taken in a panel outside in the hall and the panel would tell you which lift would take you there, you then ride the lift to your floor alone. Very fancy!
The best until now was that one of the companies I visited was great, the receptionist was warm and saw me as an actual person, not only a candidate, an unfortunate looking for work in times of crisis, or an annoying walk-in that doesn’t know people don’t do that anymore. She really talked to me, printed my recent resume and said a consultant would see me.
It was that then Magic happened. The consultant looked at my resume and her eyes started shining. She said it was amazing that I had walked in on her with an exact resume that would match a position she was just receiving. When she told me about it my eyes got to shine also.
I am now waiting to see how it goes but it already gave me hope and a warm feeling inside…
(Orble Votes: 58)