"You should get this book," my sister wrote at our THE SCHMEXY SISTERZ Facebook chat room. She then sent a snapshot of Elle Luna's The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion. Reading the blurb on Amazon, I was very interested in this dichotomy and what exactly they mean and represent. Eventually, I did pick up a copy from my local bookstore and dove right into it. It's filled with beautiful photography, inspiring quotes, lovely illustrations, and most important of all, insights on honoring our calling — MUST — and how to live a life driven by what moves us forward. Conclusion: It's a refreshing way of expounding on a classic war cry that many creatives continue to fear and turn away from. . . .
I’ve been freelancing for seven years. I freelance because it supports both my life and my creative writing. Writing poetry, fiction, fan fiction, game fiction, and everything literary in between has and will always be the end goal. There's this growing frustration, however, towards freelancing that's weighing me down. For two years, I wished, dreamed, and brainstormed for ideas on how to establish a more stable and sustainable source of income where I didn’t need to put in writing hours all the time. My first two products I signed up for an account on a platform called Gumroad, which takes the guesswork out of setting up a product for sale. I jumped at the opportunity and created my first product: Catching the Butterfly: 13 Ways . . .
Are the latest writing apps or the most professional-smelling notebook enough to get you writing? Personally, I think these things won't do squat if you don't cultivate and stick to a writing habit or routine. And I'll be the first to admit that it's one of my current challenges as a creative writer. There are plenty of science-backed articles and case studies on building and sticking to habits, but I'm fascinated by a couple of fun and creative writing exercises people have tried to build writing routines. They aren't bullet-proof solutions, but they're seen as opportunities to get the words flowing. In fact, some of these allow you to work hand-in-hand with a community of writers aiming for the same goals and yearning to share . . .
I love creative collaborations. They allow me to work with other creatives to get an amazing project off the ground. Some of the best creative projects were made through collaborative efforts. Refold and Project LOOP, for example, invite artists and designers to transform standing desks and skateboards into works of art. Collaboration is also my theme for this year. I want to connect and collaborate with other creatives on projects that put our work on the forefront and that can make a difference. Fortunately, I'm a part of three group projects, one of which is The Experiment already concluded with the release of our book. Working on The Experiment tested not just my creative skills, but my communication and project management skills . . .
I see the last day of the year as a perfect time to recognize achievements and failures before abandoning them completely come 01/01. Looking back, I announced and started many creative projects that, unfortunately, didn't make it to completion or saw the light of day. Here's a complete list: Animalia, my first poetry collection Poetry for Others 2014 Freelancer Magazine (back when I was still blogging for Filipino freelancers) Better Work Podcast (again, back when I was still serving Filipino freelancers) Catch30 Project - a habit-building and accountability project Five projects. Man does this sting real bad. But instead of moping about, I asked myself three questions: 1. Why did I fail to finish this . . .
I pulled out and read my copy of my undergraduate poetry thesis again. It's like sitting down and catching up with a good old friend. I read through the acknowledgements till the final page of my exegetic essay. I recalled the many weeks I spent studying scholarly texts and doing field work for the project. I re-familiarized myself with the traditions my poems drew from, reacquainting myself with the arguments of the scholars Berger, Glotfelty, and Malamud. Re-reading my thesis, I remember the bigger WHY behind my project and how this purpose helped me hold on to my goal of finishing and publishing my first collection of poems. https://www.instagram.com/p/Xhwl6ikJE3/ I believe this is something one must fully realize and embed . . .
The fresh page of a notebook, the blankness of the screen—both paralyze me like a stunned tabby cat many times in my life. I'd wrestle with the introduction or the first line of a poem until I'm able to flow steadily through the piece. Where it will take and leave me I'd have no clue. Some writers are the Hemingway's who go by the saying "Write drunk, edit sober." In my case, I have the tendency to write and edit as I go, which I will admit oftentimes makes me much slower in progress and sick with symptoms of perfectionism. I've never actively tried to change this habit, and probably never will. With a Gavel on Hand Writing the first line or introduction is a process I'd liken to breaking glass. The untouched paper looks and feels . . .
Poetry has given so much to our culture and society that everyone should get up and read their favorite ode or sonnet aloud. At the height of my discovery, I saw an announcement on Poets.org about an online celebration called Poets-to-Poets, in which young students from grades 3-12 can write and submit poems "in response to those shared by some of the award-winning poets who serve on the Academy of American Poets Board of Chancellors." These are: Poet Laureate of California Juan Felipe Herrera National Book Critics Circle Award-winner Edward Hirsch NEA and Guggenheim Fellow Jane Hirshfield Lannan Foundation Fellow Naomi Shihab Nye Pulitzer Prize-nominee Ron Padgett Jackson Poetry Prize-winner Arthur Sze, and . . .