Balancing Creativity and Work

Balancing Creativity and Art is a Matter of Being Greedy

Balancing Creativity With The Rest of Your Life Isn't easy, but it's necessary

Balancing Creativity With The Rest of Your Life Isn’t Easy, but it’s Necessary

When it comes to completing art many creatives get caught in the incubation phase. You might say, “I’ll get that idea written down just as soon as they find the time to do it.” Then, at the end of the day, you’re left without the idea. Most likely it left your head while you were doing something else. You’re also left wanting “to find” more time. It feels like everyone gets your time, but you.

In the quest “to find” time, creatives most wish they could give up their jobs. It is the place you spend most of your time. However, there are these basic needs that call to us like power, food, and shelter. Our job is mainly the reason why we’re not living in a ditch. There are other things that can stand in the way of creativity such as family, illness, child care, or school.

Stop Trying “to Find” Time

In each of the above instances there is someone, or something, that you decide is more important than writing, sculpting, or dancing.  In due time, as an artist, you begin to look back at every direction that other people are pulling you in. You soon, bitterly, realize that you were pulled in every direction, but the one you wanted to go in. Many are left scratching their head with the horrible feeling of “How did I get here?”

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Woodchip of Wisdom: Great rewards arise when contributing to the world in a capacity you love.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

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Many artists come up with a simple solution. “Just find more time.” Geekdad offers up a few personas to undertake when trying to accomplish this goal. You could be the conquistador, or weekend warrior, or even a time opportunist.  This idea is well and fine, but it doesn’t offer up a permanent solution. Even if we do quit our jobs, or fight to find time on the weekends, you can always have something come up that will take you away from your writing, art, or dance.

Don't Find Time. Take It! In the Woods Publishings

Don’t Find Time. Take It!

The solution is found in the problem. As a writer, I find issue with the overuse, or lack of use associated with words.  True meanings get muddled in complacent, easily acknowledged answers. “To find” something implies that you have lost it to begin with. As the only representative of the fourth dimension, it is virtually impossible “to lose” time. So, I suggest, instead of using the verb “find” in our solution, because it makes no sense at all, I suggest the verb “take.”

Now, It’s Time to get Greedy

This solution may sound a little counter intuitive to what most of you were taught growing up. It makes you sound mean and almost nasty about being an artist. However, if you spend all your time “finding time” you may never actually get around to doing any art at all.

One of the things I first learned about being creative is that you don’t “find” the time to be creative. You “take” it. You consciously decide that you will sacrifice A, B, or C so that you can sit uninterrupted and work on your art. Tiny Buddha suggest as her number one way of “finding” time to produce art is to Just Say No. “It isn’t selfish to honor your creative self; it’s self-care.”  Taking the time, you need to make sure your art happens doesn’t make you a bad person.  It makes you a better creative artist.

Take Time for Your Art. No one Else Will.
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Get Lost In the Leaves.

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Creative Self-Validation

Creative self-validation comes from within

Creative self-validation comes from within

The dream of many of creatives is to have their work viewed and revered by hundreds, if not thousands, of spectators. As a writer I often spend time hoping that I might stumble into a coffee house, or a store, and overhear two people discussing one my stories.

I have been fortunate enough to be recognized by two (that’s right two) people. “Hey, you’re Woodchips of Wisdom.” It made me feel pretty good. However, it doesn’t happen for every creative artist in the world.

Some people never have their art, or their writing looked at by more than two people. There are many artists who don’t want more people than that looking at their creations, but this post isn’t for them.

This post is for the creative artist who is ready to share their art with the world

According to Gary Allen Fine, in an article published in Theory and Society, self taught art

Your Art Has Value Because of You

Your Art Has Value Because of You

has authenticity as a defining characteristic. This confers value on the art and its creator. It is a form of identity art where the defining charactacteristics are as important as the creator’s story.

Your art has intrinsic value simply because it is a reflection of yourself. You may have gone to a class, or twenty, but that doesn’t mean that you didn’t practice and refine your art on your own under your own supervision at some point.

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Woodchip of Wisdom: Great rewards arise when contributing to the world in a capacity you love.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

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This is the validator. The fact that you believed in your art enough to let it reflect you and your situations. You weren’t afraid to externalize a thought, or an emotion, that would have otherwise stayed bottled up.  Your art is validated in the birth that you give to it. It was your hand that validated its need.

In her blog Gwen Seemel states that outside validation is a necessity.  That we as social animals require the validation of our society in order to keep producing for them. Others agree with her on her blog stating that they would not continue on with their art unless that received some form of outside validation.

Don't Stop Exploring

Don’t Stop Exploring

While I do enjoy some taking the time to praise, or criticize me I have to disagree with these sentiments. Some creatives would give up if they never heard “boo” about their work, but I hesitate to call these people creatives. Others continue on boldly into the wild frontier that is their imaginations with no fear of what may come out of the end of their pen or paint brush.

True validation comes from within. You have to believe enough in yourself to even to begin creating. Once you’ve done that there is no stopping your imagination. So, do as so many do and continue to create. Paint as if you’re being praised. Write as if you’re being paid. Sculpt to awe and inspire.  If you maintain this internal form of creative self-validation then someone will come along and praise you, or pay you, or even be awed by you.

Create not because of how it makes other feel. Create because it is what you were born to do.

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Force Your Art Tear your Mind

burned-outThe belief has been long held that you shouldn’t force art. This notion has extended so far into our psyches that Vice Chair at IBM Academy of Tech Susan Puglia has been quoted “You can’t force creativity, problem solving, and invention. It’s a process that starts from within you.”

In recent years there has been an outcrying against this idea. Chuck Wendig has been a propoent that art is, and must, be forced. He contends that inspiration should not be equated to a light bulb going off over your head, just as a single match does not make a bonfire. You mush throw it into the wilds and help it grow.

Are either of these opinions right?

Fear sets in with the notion “Should I force my art? Will it be any good?” Many of you may have turned to this post in the hopes that I can guide you over that terrifying blank screen. That post will come at a later date.

For now I would like to focus on letting go.

I am writing to a different artist, The perfectionist, in the hopes today that, even though your creative work will never be “finished”, you must let it find a life of its own.

pulling-hair-outArt is often equated to children. Forcing anyone, or anything, to be something it isn’t can be a hair pulling experience both for the one pushing and the one being pushed.

The potter may spend hours on a single corner. The painter endlessly dabbing on those finishing touches. The writer will rewrite the same sentence over and over again looking for the perfect word combination.

Each in the pursuit of artistic perfection. Some can even be plagued long into the night trying to get the threads all wrappd up on an artistic endeavor. It is those of you that I am talking to.

Many say that to solve this problem you must tuck your art into a drawer and then come back to it after an extended period of time. Ludwig van Beethoven offers some good adive in the direction this blog has taken. “Don’t just practice your art, but force your way into its secrets.”

The easiest way that I have found to get my child to tell me something is not to berate her until she breaks and hands over the goods. (Unless she’s in trouble, but that’s not really relevent here.) In order to get my daughter to trust me with her secrets I must let her be herself. As she plays with, either her friends or her toys/books, ideas pop into her head. She then has to run over to me and tell me exactly what she was thinking or feeling.

She does like to interrupt everything, but taking the time to listen I have collected quite a bit of knowledge about my daughter.

Equating this to art would be the potter walking around with his creation, or the painter letting others look. The writer would have to let someone else take a peek at what their writing. People will form their opinions and in response the art will have found a voice to work through. Your art will begin to show you things about itself. Things that you as the artist were blind to becasue you had become focused on detailed perfection.

Release your art to its life just as it has released you to go and continue living yours. The greatest gift you can give your art would be to give it siblings.

Thanks for reading,
F.B. Wood

cover1P.S. If you would like more words of inspiration try  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

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Writing Changes

thomas-edison-55052Thomas Edison invented over a thousand light bulb designs before discovering the light bulb as we know it today. When asked about his failures he simply replied, “I haven’t failed. I just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”

My journey over the last two and a half years has been an amazing one. Blogging on the internet has become an amazing outlet for a writer like myself. I enjoy sharing my thoughts and ideas with all of you. But it is your comments I cherish most. They are the interactions in a community that we create together.

My undergraduate degree is almost complete. My scholastic endeavors have gotten me over my fears of technology. They have instilled in me a new confidence in my writings. I have been challenged time and time again only to rise to new heights.

And now I have to face the biggest challenge of my college education……letting go.

1418174_10202419380191654_234476514_n This website was a direct result of my schooling. It was created as part of an independent study and I was given a grade on the first four months of its existence. (I got an A in case you were wondering) It yielded positive results. My site began to see traffic and my books ended in some of your homes. (Another thought I highly cherish.)From there I began to add more and more and more facets to this project.

But I didn’t know where to go from there. I thought if I just kept blogging my books would draw the readers they deserved. My entrepreneurship classes have now taught me otherwise.

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Woodchip of Wisdom: Great rewards arise when contributing to the world in a capacity you love.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

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Currently if you think of our site what comes to mind. It’s personal. It’s positive. It’s well written. Those are all good, but you need to be able to sum up you website’s purpose in a single catch phrase.  People like to keep things simple.

Like Edison, I can now say, from first hand expericne, that I know a few things you should not do with your website.

It was brought to my attention that the only way to achieve my goals is delination. My gut reaction was to gouge out eyes and cut off tongues. I’ve worked on this site for so long what am I going to do with all the posts?

The answer: Keep them.

In the Woods Publishing will now be a blog for writers/creatives by writer/creatives. We will be giving burgeoning writers advice on the process and offering an outlet for them to publish their works. The blogs will have a more narrow approach focusing on topics such as fleshing out character, looking for places to submit, and fiction cover letters.  Fantasticalites will continue to be published and so is Concert House Rocks.  Both will become bound volumes, available for purchase, in the future.

In the Woods Publishing looks forward to aiding the creative community with the written word.

wtfBut you may ask what about “Inside the Cube” and all those personal blogs about you guys?

Inside the Cube is now slated to become its own entity. There is a big market out there looking for advice on human relations within the work place. A site for coping with working adults by a working adult. We want to focus a new website geared specifically for this market. The beauty of it is that there will be cross promotion between the sites in order to sell the availble books from In the Woods Publishing.

As for the personal blogs you guys are just going to have to ask us in person about how are lives are going or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

As a working father attending school these changes will not happen over night. I have two years worth of blogs to re-file.

This will be the last of the posts of this personal caliber. Fear also washes over me at the idea of revamping the website, but

Change wouldn’t be change unless it terrified you to some extent. 

Phoebe and meThanks for the last two years.
I hope you continue reading through the next twenty and beyond,
F.B. Wood

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5 Ways My Second Pregnancy is Already Different Than My First

Angry MommyI’ve been told that no two pregnancies are the same. I believed it, but I had no idea what it meant until this time around. So, here are few differences I’ve noted:
  •  It took much longer to conceive. With my first go round we weren’t trying and at 6 weeks it was quite a surprise to get that BFP on the HPT. So, when I threw away the pill this time we expected it to go bang. We ended up trying for months. After waiting 6 years to come around to the idea of adding to our family someone somewhere decided we needed to wait longer. Even though I knew I was pregnant my first two blood tests came back negative. The third one resulted in a fight witht he nurse, but I guess number three was the charm!
  •  My symptoms are more severe. Nothing as intense as hyperemesis gravidarum, but I still had to dig back through my old pregnancy journal I kept with Phoebe. I had minimal morning sickness that went as quickly as it came. No other symptoms to speak of. Right now, there are days I have to fight back the urge to vomit while there is still food in my mouth. I have developed the nose of a blood hound. I find myself avoiding the break room at work at all costs. All I lust after is sleep. All I want to do is marry my bed and never leave. Don’t get me started on the horrendous mood swings that seem to come out of nowhere, horrifying my poor unsuspecting husband and daughter.

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cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: Travelers are we. All on the path with different destinations.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

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  •  My boobs are bigger than before. Like so big they visibly jiggle when I laugh, but they are killing me every second of the day. Not the perk I was expecting. I did the smart thing and invested in some comfy nursing bras early, but even if I so much as brush up against one accidentally I’m cringing. My husband has also taken to sulking sometimes.
  • Family/Coworker reactions have been different. With my last baby my family wasn’t exactly over the moon (I was 23 and still in college), but my coworkers were ecstatic (which helped get me through the pregnancy blahs). This time around my boss and co-workers aren’t exactly thrilled since I will be needing to take maternity leave and my family is stoked this time, but are on the other side of the country. Being so far away from folks, it makes it difficult to share any kind of excitement about the pregnancy.
  • My maternity care/birth plan will have to be different. I had an amazing Midwife and water birth with my first baby. Upon moving to Nevada two years ago, finding a free standing birth center operated by Midwives was on the top of my Google search – to no avail. Due to the restrictive permits and guidelines within the state there are no free standing birth centers in Nevada. There are Midwives here, but most are split on either hospital only or home birth only, severely limiting my options. I’m still mapping out my birth plan with the help of an awesome local Doula.
hot mamaEven though this pregnancy is, and will continue to be, different than my first, my hubby is still right there next to me and committed to being the best birth partner that he can be. Plus Phoebe is ready to help anyway she can.
Thanks for reading,
Joy
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Forget Batman! Let’s idolize Bruce

anti BatmanLet’s face it no one reading this post is going to dawn a cap and cowl and jump rooftop to rooftop fighting bad guys and protecting the innocent. It would be an amazing experience, but you would have to pursue a lifetime of training just to stay alive.

Many of us pursue a lifetime of bills just to stay alive. So, I say forget Batman. His is a mantle of justice and equality by any means necessary. It is not the cap and cowl that up holds this ideal, but the man that wears it.

So, let’s take a moment to examine Bruce Wayne. He spends his available time walking and talking amongst some of Gotham’s finer citizens. Many of them maintian the opinion that he is a spoiled spoon fed child living off of daddy and mommy’s old money.

Bruce maintains and perpeturates this opinion. Even though we know it isn’t true.  He is there for his friends when they call. He donates vast fortunres to chairties. He even maintains businesses, that only break even, just so people can have a job.

So, WHY?  Why let everyone think somethings true when it isn’t?

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cover1Woodchip of Wisdom: Big thoughts lead to big reality. Bad thoughts lead to bad reality.

Find more encouragement in our enlightening coffee table book  Daily Woodchips of Wisdomby Frederick and Joy Wood.

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Some would call this decption or maniputlation. Something that shouldn’t be practiced in mainstream society. So, why would this be a good thing. Bruce Wayne lies, by detail omission, to every person he meets.

An ancient chinese proverb says “It is a wise man that plays the fool.”

Bruce WayneSome people look in the mirror and see what others see and believe it. While others see what others see and use it as a mask. A shield to hide behind. You know how people will react to you in given situations. You can anticipate this to either make your life easier, guide people, or do what Bruce does, extract information.

Playing the fool doesn’t mean you act silly or blurt out ridiculous sentences. Playing the fool is an act full of questions that allows others to guide you to an answer.  Or in some cases the fool’s questions guide the other person to an answer. As the fool it is your part to show others what they don’t want to be or how they shouldn’t think.

We all want what we want. We even use other people to get them to achieve those actions for us. It is the over use of this common practice that gets so many of us into hot water. Without offering anything in return for the actions you are just needlessly using people.

Bruce Wayne’s sense of justice would never let him do this. There is always something better coming to the people that Bruce interacts with and he knows when enough is enough.

So, PHOOOEY to Batman. His actions serve no purpose in the real world. It is Bruce’s master use of suggestion that is a talent to be admired in this world. Knowing how to help people whether they realize they are being helped or not. It’s not manipulation if everyone benefits in the end with a smile.

tough thoughtIf we were to ask Bruce what is hardest about this his response would most likely be maintaining balance. You don’t want to let on too much, but you still want to make everything okay for everyone in the end.

Fools help people to realizations with backward means, but that doesn’t make their advice any less wise. 

Thanks for reading,
F.B.

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Adventures in Baby Growing

Infant Phoebe on the right.

Infant Phoebe on the right.

Seven years have passed since I found myself staring down at a solid blue plus sign. After the birth of my daughter in 2009, I suffered from a massive post-partum hemorrhage that no one saw coming. One moment we were celebrating and in the next I was goin into shock. Feeling fuzzy and listening to that distinctive ringing in my ears.

      Coming around to the idea of having another child has taken several years. I still have the a strange feeling about someone else’s blood as it courses through my body. Yet, the shock and pain from the transfusion are a foggy memory.
      I was ready to try again. And lots of trying it took. I thought, “I’m still young,” There were no troubles conceiving the first time around. (Other than we weren’t trying.) Why would this time be any different?

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Check out Smithing the Word By F.B. Wood featuring suspense, sci-fi, and stunning poetry.
Follow us on Twitter @Inthewoodspub or
Follow F.B. on Twitter @FrederickWoodII 

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      “Endometriosis.” It was the doctor’s offical diagnosis for my cramps in 2012. For those of you unaware that, right there, was a strike against my fertility. Even for healthy couples it can take up to a year to conceive. This was new to me. I was still under the impression that if my husband even looked at me when I wasn’t on some form of contraceptive that I would find myself knocked up.
      Worry overtook me around the third month. I’m 29. That’s awfully close to 30. This is that dreaded time when a woman’s egg count can begin to significantly decline. Obsession could only began to describe the dilligence I took when tracking my ovulation, measuring my basal temperature, & downloading every fertility app I could find. Even my dear hubby made some changes in order to protect his swimmers at all costs i.e. less drinking, less bike riding, and no hot baths.
   wtf   Nothing was working.
      Research increased, diet changes occured, and I went so far as to learn uterine massage. Finally, I gave up trying to make the optimal conditions happen. I said, “Screw it,” and tossed all my charts, tracking measures, basal thermometers out the window where they littered the streets and were swept away by the wind. (Not literally, though.)
      Family was in town for spring break at the end of March. That was reason enough to take some time off. Come April, Aunt Flo missed her visit. I didn’t think much of it because I’m not a fairly regular person and the HPTs were all negative.
       The weeks marched on and still no flo. I called my doctor, she ordered blood tests, and recieved all negative results. Concerned that something had interupted my cycle my doctor put me on Progesterone. At the end of the 12 days, my cycle was supposed to return to normal. baby buggy
     No Aunt Flo with only one pill to go. Signs had begun to balloon up in front of me as to why nothing was happening. My body wouldn’t be ignored any longer. (Hello, sore boobs!). Something told me to take another test. Less than 30 seconds later I was looking at the bright blue positive appear in that little window. I got my first BFP in seven years. Two more tests were peed on just to make sure.
 joy     The doctor’s nurse wanted to argue over my 3 positives, “But you JUST had a blood test!” she protested. After two more rounds of blood tests, it was official. We were pregnant with baby #2.
If you would like us to continue making updates. Let us know with your comments.
Thanks for reading,
Joy Wood
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