My September Planner Challenge

Ok, so this isn't my challenge but I'm doing it. Or I'm gonna try. Most of you know I have a slight obsession with planning, which led to a disastrous attempt at an organizational website for authors a while back. Things I need to remember... I don't plan enough to be a professional blogger who blogs about planning. But I thought this challenge would be fun, because it's just snapping pictures of things I really already have.

So I'm going with it.

Come play with me on instagram this month. Or find me on Snapchat (@suzanbutler) as I try to figure out what the hell I'm doing there.

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Writing JuJu

So one of the biggest things I've done when trying to get back into being creative is to start reading craft books again. I've already read a bunch, so I went into my ebook library and picked a few to start rereading.

The reason I did that is simple. I felt like I forgot how to write. It had been several months since I had written fiction, and I wasn't feeling confident in my abilities anymore. The first time I sat down to write, I stared at the screen for half an hour wondering how to start. I wasn't very successful that first session.

The truth of the matter is that writing is a muscle that can get atrophied if it's not used. It has to be exercised, even if it's just a little bit every day. So you don't end up staring at a screen, wondering why you can't remember how to do it.

Right now, I'm rereading all my how to write a screenplay books. I actually have no interest in writing a screenplay, but I've found the plotting advice is tight in almost every one of them. Because they have to write a story in 100 pages that generally takes novelists 300 to do.

Obviously, the format is different, but it is still a very condensed version of what novelists do. So as a result, I feel like screenplay writers have this very unique talent to boil away the fat and just leave the meat of the story when they write. I think that's a very important lesson that all story writers should learn to do, so that when they are writing, they know what is the fluff they don't need, and what they do need to make it an amazing read.

And then finally, I'm reading Jennifer Probst's Write Naked. It's all about her journey as a creative, and finding herself in the midst of losing herself. It's not quite what I expected from a "how to be an author" book, but I love her as a person, and I knew I would love that book. And you know, I do. I struggled a lot with failure in 2016, and a lot of it bled into 2017. So it's good to know that truly "successful" authors can feel like a big, fat failure too.

The strangest thing is that I was writing this blog post, and then came across that book. Someone meant that book for me. I'm glad I found it. I'm thoroughly enjoying the read. I imagine I'll write more about it after I finish the book. Honestly, I'm just happy to have my writing juju back. I'm happy that creativity is back in my life and that I'm feeling good about it again.

So let's talk. Have you ever had a creative drought? What's the one thing that jump started your creativity when you started to pull out of it? What made you come back to it? 

Have the Courage

I did this piece about 6 months ago when I first decided to get my head out of my ass and start being creative again. Then I closed that journal, put it down somewhere, and promptly forgot its existence.

The reason I'm posting it now is that I found it the other day, after I started revamping the website. You ever have that moment when you come across something at just the right time, right when you need to see it? That's kind of what happened here. I was going through some old stuff, and came across this picture.

And it was the perfect moment for me to see it.

I needed to see it, because I've spent the better part of the last few months kind of hating myself. Because I didn't have the courage and I made all kinds of excuses as to why I couldn't do the stuff I'd planned.

This piece is still not done. I wanted to import it into Illustrator and clean up the pen and pencil marks left behind. I might take the 2017 off and just do the "Have the Courage" part. Print it out and hang it somewhere I can always see it.

In the meantime, it's time for me to get to writing. I'm working on this really awesome old darkish urban fantasy I abandoned years ago. It's not the military romances that I'm known for, but I think that people would enjoy it just as much since it's still my work.

And that's sort of the point of me retooling this website, and bringing in the idea of the Bright Idea Creative. So anytime I have a bright idea, I can feel good about pursuing it, and not feel guilty because there's a million other things that people expect from me first.

So, anyway, this is my share for the moment. If you like, let me know in the comments what you'd like to see from me here, or what you think in general about the new website or whatever else you want to say.

And if you like my work, please click one of the little share buttons and let someone else know about it. That's the best thing you can do for me and I'd super appreciate it.


A Fresh Start and a New Look

Here we are. Two years after I lost my creative mojo, and I'm sitting here on the cusp of a brand new website, and a new creative drive.

You may have noticed that the old posts from my author journal are no longer around. I decided that with the inception of a brand new creative venture, it's time to wipe the slate clean and start over fresh. I loved the community I built on it, but it got to the point where I was severely negative about myself.

And it wasn't getting any better.

So it was time to retire that journal, and start new. So after more than a decade of using Wordpress as my blogging platform, I'm now using Squarespace. Why? Mostly because they offered it as part of the hosting package, but also because it was the easiest way to separate myself from my old site.

It's hard to let go of the past, of course, and part of that does define me. But because I no longer want to be just an author, but a creative in all things, and that's how I want to be defined, it's become necessary to let go. Because I took so much time off from writing, I had to get a full-time job that zaps my creative vibes to pay bills. Here's the challenge for me. I want to get back to being creative full-time, and that's where you guys come in.

I need your help.

Once I get going, and start posting the stuff I create, I need you guys to help me share it with the world. I need you guys to encourage me to create and have fun with it. Pat my head and tell me I'm pretty. Ok, maybe not that last part, but I won't get mad if you want to do that. Haha.

Most everything will be on my Patreon page, which you are more than welcome to pledge to to help me out, but it won't be required. I will post some things here too, and I hope that you guys will enjoy them.

Why did I do this?

I've kind of explained that it's a time of change for me, and that I needed to toss out the old to bring in the fresh and new. The bottom line here is that I hold on to things, and I'm incapable of letting go sometimes. By deleting all, and starting over, I'm forcing myself to move forward.

My primary plan is to blog here at least once a week. Updates on what I'm doing, sharing new work. Anything I can think of that I think that y'all will enjoy and love seeing as much as I loved creating. I don't know how it's going to work out yet, but I'm optimistic for the first time in months. I'm excited, and full of energy.

It's like the beginning of a book for me, when it's all fresh and new and I don't know yet where I'm going to go with it.

Stick with me.

Dream with me.

Create with me.

It's gonna be a blast. I just know it.

Want to support my creative endeavors?

Check out my Patreon page and sign up!

It's only $1 a month for the lowest tier, and every bit helps me to grant more time to create for you!

Click the image below to head over to my Patreon page now!