Creativity Goals Check-In July 26, 2020

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This is a column I’m going to start doing weekly on Sunday nights (or thereabouts depending on circumstances). I’m going to check in on how I did that past week, and post what my creativity goals are for the coming week.

I wrote about this a bit in my recent re-entry post “Jumping Back into the Blogging Ring” – I’m really motivated by goals and plans, and I’ve found myself relying on that more and more in our corona times. I spend a lot of time thinking about goals and planning, and figured I’d share.

With today being the first one, I thought it made sense to start out by talking about what I’m working on. I really struggled to come up with a cohesive goal list or plan for the year even before everything went upside-down and I still feel like week to week and sometimes day by day is how I’m taking things. I’ll try to write something for August that’s a more overarching plan for the month, so hopefully I’ll come up with that in the next couple of days.

But for now here are the main things I’m working on:

Writing

I feel like this area is messy, especially now. Earlier this year, I tackled some concrete projects, like revising and submitting two long-form essays (which you can read about in this post), and completely revised and submitted a screenplay.

After that, I revisited Moonchild, a memoir manuscript, (which you can read LOTS of previous posts about) since that was the next big revision project I intended to tackle.. I had one raw version written in ’03-’05, and a revised version from ’07-’08 that also had some work done on it in 2017. So I recently re-read both version (I still have one chapter left to read of the old version) and took notes.

And yeah, it’s messy. Some parts are great. Some parts are things I had zero memory of now so I’m glad I captured at the time. Some parts are so cringeworthy they’re just painful to read. So now, I’m a bit unsure of where I want to go next – do I want to go full on into revising this mess into something salvageable? Say fuck it and scrap it altogether? Put it off? Change its form? I have some ideas but I don’t know.

This is what I mean about feeling unable to look too far ahead. So I think my goals for this week will revolve around doing some journaling about what I want to do with this mess.

Music

Thankfully, this is much more straightforward. Since April, I’ve been working on learning both guitar and keyboard. Both are instruments I’ve experimented with before, taken lessons in, and given up on fairly quickly. With guitar, that’s happened multiple times. With both, I’ve progressed more during quarantine than I ever have in the past, so that’s something and I want to keep the momentum going.

For both instruments, I’m learning out of books for now. I was trying some guitar videos, but found the structure of the Hal Leonard Guitar Method Complete Edition to work better for me (it’s also hard for me to track some of the visuals in YouTube videos, so that makes it especially hard for me though helpful for others). This complete edition has three books.

So right now, I’m about three-quarters of the way through the first book. My practice sessions consist of scale and fretboard exercise warmups, then playing a game on my phone to increase chord changing speed, then working on exercises in the book. I’m working on a lesson on alternate strumming patterns (everything before this has just been downstroke strumming) and I find this to be the most difficult thing I’ve encountered so for. My upstrokes sound so bad and weird!

For keyboard, I already completed one book – Accelerated Piano Adventures for the Older Beginner Book 1 – during quarantine. Now I’m working through Keyboard Musician for the Adult Beginner, which I find more dense and challenging, so I’m glad I did the other one first.

Lifestyle

There are some goals I’m working on that aren’t directly learning a creative skill or working on a creative project but that still support creativity. These include things like sleeping without my phone (I anticipate a more in-depth post about that soon), reading, writing Morning Pages a la The Artist’s Way (which I talked about a bit in this post).

So, drumrolllllllllll

Goals for this Coming Week

Writing

  • read and take notes on the final chapter of my old version of Moonchild – this one shouldn’t take much time, just gotta do it
  • journal every morning, contemplate what I want to do with Moonchild and where I want to go writing-wise, from here
  • work on blog at least five days – this doesn’t mean I’m going to post five times, more just wanting to find chunks of time to work on this site

Music

  • practice guitar every day
  • get up through song 78 of book one of my guitar book
  • practice piano every day
  • get up through page 47 in my piano book

Lifestyle

  • sleep without my phone (this will put me at 133 nights in a row)
  • read parts One and Two in All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which I’m reading for the NOAH (National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation)’s PWA Book Club
  • write Morning Pages every day

Well that’s probably plenty to start with. I’m taking a class on Medical Decision-Making so lots of to-dos for that, and for life in general also this week. Speaking of, I’m going to go finish cleaning up from cooking (I cook for the week on Sundays) and get ready for the week ahead.

-April

 

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