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Tag: opinion

Independence Within Mom-hood, some thoughts.

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May 12th 2019 was my first mother’s day. I’m not terribly into traditions, but it’s fun to recognize that, yes, I am now a mom. When my husband asked if I had a good first mother’s day, I searched my feels for a sentiment that simply didn’t exist, my face twisting in a silly sort of grimace-smile.

“Do you even care about mother’s day?” he asked.

“No,” I said, adding, “every day has been a good first mother’s day.”

Cheesy, I know, but it’s true.

Granted there are days I get tired of washing poopy diapers, but it’s not the diapers, it’s the being tied to routines that tend to drag me down. There’s security in routines, something grounding that I crave, but I’d like to try and make a new routine figuring out how to wash those diapers on the road. Big changes, slow living. That’s what I like. I’ll always need to break out, once in a while, and lately I’ve been reminding husband that if we don’t van-life soon I might crack, but he knows, and knowing him, he probably feels the exact same.

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There are side-effects of mom-hood that are a bit bothersome. Like, when my back aches from leaning over the little one, her body propped on my knee, practicing our elimination communication, while I make “pssssss…. pssss…. psssss” noises until she goes to the bathroom. Or waking up with a numb hand every morning because holding baby has given me carpel tunnel. That time I got a clogged milk duct was really unpleasant, and… uhg!… **wipes milk off screen**…. I don’t enjoy when baby knocks the pump off the other boob and sticky milk goes flying everywhere, but all these things are temporary, and had I not just wrote them down here I might have forgot they ever plagued me.

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Being a mom isn’t easy for everyone. The new schedule can be quite demanding. Especially if you’re cloth diapering, breastfeeding, and practicing elimination communication, all while keeping baby happy, stimulated, and rested in between. This is my job, being a parent. I do it full time.

Hobbies and habits before baby take back seat, and there are days this makes me feel trapped, especially when the sun is warm and abundant, and cyclist after cyclist breeze past my window. I ache for the freedom to jump on my bike and ride for a few hours, or ride at any hour… especially at dusk… so magic…. but… those days will come again, and for now I have the indoor trainer, and well, at least I get to watch the latest episode of Sabrina while I ride, naked baby jiggling in my arms all the while.

In truth, the only days I’ve had a problem with being a mom is when I’m fighting to mold baby to my schedule and not being fluid enough to mesh with hers. Because when I do relax and just let the day be about baby with the chance that I may have time for other things, I free my shoulders from the pressure of not being able to do it all. As it happens, there’s usually time for hobbies, I just need to be a little more creative, a little more efficient, and a little more patient with the process.

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Yea… everyday is a good mother’s day because for every boring day there’s a challenging one to back it up. The combination of boring and challenging is interesting. Being a mom, is interesting. There’s also no getting away from the fact that I’m a mom now. I’m happy that I’m happy in my new skin.

After all, it was getting tiring carrying on the cool kid act. At 34, I was failing, had failed? Whatever. At some point in that last year, all I wanted to do was play normal and start a family. But I’m still trying to figure out this new me with my new priorities in the context of my voice, my independence, my creative expression. Those things can so easily get left behind in the routines, in family duties, if I’m not diligent about keeping them around.

Sitting here, typing my thoughts is my place to be alone, to enjoy my solitude, to hear my voice, and to digest my feelings. It’s important to maintain this independence. It’s so, so, so easy to get lost in the commotion of mom-hood, family stuff, and I don’t want to look back in 10 years and think, “man, why did I ever stop writing, sharing, creating.” We needn’t sacrifice our souls for our children. On the contrary, my daughter will need me to have a strong one. And when the time comes, she’ll need me to speak my truth, be my truth like a person who knows themselves – to share this with her so she can learn how to know herself, too. She’ll need me to show her, when she feels alone, or restless, uninspired, or sad; trapped, silenced, or frustrated, firstly, that, “aloneness” is the most sacred space of all – it’s here that we can truly be ourselves, and once we’ve created this permanent safe space to be ourselves, we can find new ways to express all those emotions, all those feels, and that all those feels are avenues to new forms of creation. She’ll need that.

Anyway, here’s to mother’s day, which is really celebrating that you have a baby day, which is every day – and isn’t it amazing.

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Routine Maintenance

I’ve been doing this routine where I bike an hour to yoga, practice yoga for an hour, then bike back an hour from yoga. It’s a routine that takes me out of my head, forces me to pay attention as I’m dodging cars and pot holes; forces me to focus on something other than my immediate emotions as I’m stretching this way and that, challenging muscle groups to open and strengthen. Every drop of sweat padding on my rubber mat is a reward – a reminder of the solid foundation that is built upon routines.

I’ve been thinking a lot about routines.

I’ve other routines:

  • Make the bed every morning
  • Wash the sheets on Sunday
  • Clean and organize room before bed and/or before leaving the house
  • Clean dishes immediately after use
  • Get up at 6am every day and write an hour before work…..

Ok, I lied about that last one. However, in front of me is a list. Number 3 on that list is, “come up with a writing routine.” I suppose “up at 6am sharp” might be a good start.

Seems I need routines to normalize parts of my life as we all do, I’m sure. And normally those routines work to get gears turning, forcing us out of stupid habits like NOT performing those routines. We set those routines up for a reason. They need to be there because they work like oil to keep the machine turning.

But today was different. As I biked back from yoga I became frustrated that not once, not in the slightest had I exited my head during the whole 3 hours of the work out. This became most apparent mid yoga session. As my frustration grew to intolerable levels, I found myself holding my breath, resenting my instructor, doubting, cursing, just thinking negatively in all ways possible – totally contradictory to my usual heart-opening, clear-minded post yoga attitude.

Furrowed brow, I road home recklessly, wondering why today the routine had not worked.

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photography by @rustyvaughanyoung follow him on instagram

The head is a complicated place.

Maybe, I thought, to expect to scale the mountain of tumultuous ideas the mind creates with one method, even two or three – is madness.

The thought occurred to me that there is never one way, one solution, one answer to any problem. That a life filled with yoga, tai chi, tap dance, or tarot; boxing, boating, hockey, or horse riding; no amount of praying, painting, volunteering, nor activism can really solve a thing. They are tricks, methods like a magician’s handbook. Their work is an illusion.

The real work it seems, begins and ends in the mind, the heart, the human.

 

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Fitting. I drew the High Priestess and the Queen of Pentacles. Going to do a real simple summation here. The Queen, the one who has it all, the solid earth sign (represented by the pentacle) – sure and content, yet paired with the High Priestess – it’s like she’s wondering why the hell she feels like the usual just isn’t working as usual, why things seem so unsure at the moment. It’s like she’s consulting the High Priestess, like going to confessional, like provoking the deepest parts of herself. It’s like she’s sitting in her castle with all her wealth and being like, yeah but, I’m unhappy. Maybe something needs to budge, something needs to change, but what? Is it me? Is it this castle? Is it my heart? Is there something I’m not admitting to myself? Is there something I’m holding to so tightly that’s keeping me from seeing the truth, or from becoming my true self?

Maybe that’s the conversation we’re all having right now.

But don’t stop, let the frustration be fuel. Mine provoked me to do this post, and I feel great about it. Hadn’t done one in quite some time.

I’m not killing the idea of routines. Routines do help the mind cope, the gears turn, the foundation settle, and the body rest. They do, they most certainly do. But don’t be afraid to change those routines because if they’re no longer working, than the work there is done.

Do a routine maintenance check of your current routines. Change perspectives, alter angles and outlooks. Keep pushing. Fill your bag with tricks.

Choice is what guides us to becoming the best or worst versions of ourselves. We always have the power to choose.

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I don’t have any answers, not at the moment. But I do have thoughts and I hope you appreciated me sharing them.

 

Musical selection is a from a producer I’ve been obsessed with lately – Mark Barrott and his album Sketches From An Island. Love the whole album, but “Go Berri Be Happy” is currently playing while I’m closing this out so – there you have it.

Be well, love often, and enjoy!

The Cup, The Key: The Quiet Act of Knowing

Been a minute since I asked these cards about writing. What I asked is if I posses the skills of a writer, not so much because I believe I don’t, but  I figured if I got some disheartening cards back I may have to re-think what I want this chapter in my life to look like.

What I got was an affirmation of the time – exactly what tarot is, mind you – a window into the tools one has in front of them, the option of energies either to use, or not. For this I turned to my very first tarot deck , The Da Vinci Tarot. Seemed fitting that while revisiting old doubts I summon an old deck, the deck that was with me 2 years ago when on the road writing From The Other Seat, the deck that birthed the idea of incorporating tarot into my blog as a way to lighten the pressure, and to offer fodder as I continued to explore the act of writing.

I still love the dark romanticism these cards evoke. Even on the positively inclined cards the images appear wistful – perfect for the writer’s mind. There’s a seriousness to the tone of this deck, it begs that you consider the balance of light and dark when interpreting the message.

So here’s what turned up. They all popped out on their own in this order: Ten of Chalices, Four of Swords, and the Knave of Chalices.

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As a quick intuitive interpretation, Ten’s are a completion and an end to a cycle. Ten of Chalices says both, yes, you have everything you need, all the passion is there, either you’re nurturing your talents or the energy exists for you to do so. But ten’s are also the end of a cycle, not to say it’s all going to go to shit afterwards, but with every ending, there is a new beginning, and there will be a change, a shift. How have you shaped your perception? How will you have used that nurturing love of, say, a mother and her baby? How will your baby grow?

That question follows into the Four of Swords perfectly because this card signifies a sabbatical, a much needed time out. Swords signify thoughts and assessing what those thoughts mean. The Four of Swords is recharging the batteries and making sure that these thoughts are yours and yours alone. I love how the figure in this image looks entirely confident and totally at peace, as if he’s Siddhartha, having come back from a long walk in the valley you see behind him. He knows the answer, or at least has a sense, he’s got the key there in front of him, but he’s taking his time. There’s no hurry, the journey will continue when the time is right.

Timing is key, for the right thing at the wrong time would no longer be the right thing.

And this is why taking a step aside to make time for inner contemplation is so important. One must cultivate the patience to wait for the right time.

The description in the Da Vinci Tarot reference book calls it “peaceful receptivity”. One must have a clear state of mind before making any decisions on the future, and this card signals a time to calm the mind, to find a quiet place all your own, trust in the process, and be open and objective about the path ahead. The figure in the Four of Swords is receptive enough to adapt to anything that might challenge this sense of peace – he’s found equilibrium or is currently seeking it. He’s not taking advice from others, he’s looking within and collecting his own personal strength. The Four of Swords is one of my favorite cards because it tends to come up when a sabbatical is needed. I love sabbaticals, I just took one actually, so I feel like the card that answers my question, whether I posses the skills of a writer, is the third in this spread.

In the third card, the Knave of Chalices is renewed passion. Knaves, or knights, refer to young energies, sometimes young people. It could be that a young person will inspire you, or that a new burst of inspiration is just in its beginning phase, but the fact is – it’s there. It’s naked, and vulnerable, innocent, wanting; emotions pure and simple, raw and abundant, observing the world in a new way, with new words to color what it sees and feels. It’s love, new love, for a person, for a task, for life… for whatever. Life is presenting this now, or it’s coming very soon.

Mid writing this, I got a call about a job, an editing position. I think the initial phone interview went well. They said they’d follow up next week. Promising.

Almost immediately after, my roommate beckoned me to the kitchen where an owl sat on the window ledge. It flew away and was replaced by a pair of cardinals singing to each other, male and female. Owl omens are usual seen as the harbinger of death, could be a metaphysical one, but with death is renewal. Cardinals are a see as a message that you’ve been visited by Spirit. Knaves, cardnials, cups, and keys – the air is ripe with new love, opportunity, and the support is there from a divine quarter, telling one to keep going.

Anyway, I’ve lost focus, gone off the metaphysical deep end, so I’ll leave this here. Musical selection is The Tallest Man on Earth – The Gardener. His lyrics are wrought with symbols and they really speak to me. Hope this post was interesting in some way. Mostly, if anyone is reading, thank you. Happy to share this space with you.

Be well, love often, and enjoy!

Up and Out

Musical selection this week is Sinead Hartnett and her brand new video “Rather Be With You” because I think the message is right in line with what we’re supposed to be learning this month, what I get into below. Don’t let your ego go on thinking you can do this alone or that you’re better than everyone. Karma will come crashing down to show you, you were better off in that place of humility, that space of love and unity. That’s when the real work gets done.

“I was halfway up on a the wings of a fantasy. Looking out for love, didn’t know what was good for me…”

 

While you’re listening, keep reading! Here is the spread for this week. 

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Whatever that looks like to you, I’ll tell you what it means to me. We’ll call it an “up and out” energy. That’s what I’m feeling. It’s this constant loop of breakdowns and rebuilds. Shit blows up, we come out. Shit breaks down, we stand back up and step on out.

The Tower is a shocking change, usually unpleasant. It’s a karmic debt number, 16. Taken from the numerological stand point,

The 16 is different from other karmic debt numbers, as it is not easily overcome. It involves a continuous cycle of rebirth. After collapse, you will learn the way of humility. You must recognize that power is meant to be shared and you are superior only to your former self. – gaia.com

Wherever 16 shows up in a numerology chart, in the cards, it means “destruction of the old and birth of the new.” It’s life challenging your grand plans, it’s a lost battle, a strike to the ego. But wherever this exists, so does the humility that follows. It is the key to later success, bringing us closer to union, spiritual or otherwise.

Being that we’re heading into a Mercury retrograde this is just what it is- that shit we’re supposed to fix and if we haven’t learned how or learned what it’s stemming from it’s just going to keep throwing us in those same cycles and we’ll have to keep learning those same painful lessons. So stop it. Stop the cycle. Get to the root of why the problem keeps occurring. It’s in you, not outside of you. No one can change you but you. It’s no one else’s fault if things aren’t working. Know this and let the shock of that revelation propel you forward, a new and better you. Do this and you will have achieved a sort of victory, as represented by the Six of Wands. 

The Six of Wands is the lower echo of The Chariot and The Tower. Both of these cards signal change, The Chariot being a card of dominating victory and The Tower being a card illustrating the intrusion of unexpected chaos. When the Six of Wands appears with one of these cards, a life-changing accomplishment occurs. This is the difference between being interviewed about an event for the evening news and others being interviewed about you for the evening news. –keen.com

That place of recognition in the six is then followed by The Chariot. Represented by the sign of Cancer (which happens to be where the moon is right now) The Chariot is the spiritual transformation of man, the strength of will. It promotes immediate action, change, problems overcome, learning lessons from previous mistakes, a rushing forward in balance, success assured.

So yeah, that’s the spread I drew when I asked what I should focus on for this blog post. Big energies going on here and big energies have been surrounding all of us. I know it. I know you’ve felt these cards in your own life.

I’d be ignorant to say I knew what was on the other end of this change, where it’s all heading, but what I do know is that division has been a quite theme over the past 5 months- these powerful coming togethers followed by earth-shattering divisions; division in our hearts in regards to so many issues. It’s been perpetual and it needs to stop. If I’m so bold as to think I’ve come into some clarity about this, I’d say this is what I’ve learned:

9b464d5ce729086252cb7a5b0ee1c782This splitting with old cycles is not a full out abandonment, not this time. I believe what we have in your lives right now is worth working with. The things that are there are worth keeping. It’s about committing. That’s been the challenge. Committing. Not tricking ourselves into thinking there’s something better or that shit’s gonna get better if we keep abandoning what’s been super hard and shitty, throwing away all that progress and starting over. Starting over is cool, but it’s duration and endurance that builds lasting character, strong bonds- things that build security.

What we do need is to split with these ideas that shit isn’t working because of this, that, them, they, him, her – NO. Stop looking outside and pointing fingers. It’s not working because something isn’t working in you, your perspective, your actions. Stop doing the same shit and wondering why you get the same results. Stop that. Stop the unhealthy cycles, in any area of your life. That’s the challenge. This is a time for healing, repairing what’s broke- repairing you, reassessing what isn’t working and moving on from there. Through that we can heal the whole collective. You’ll enter it a stronger person, knowing what you want, knowing what’s good for you, what you will and won’t tolerate. Recognize that the strongest version of you is the one that works for the good of the whole, with love, and with others working in the same direction- a shared vision, achieved because you’ve found your independence. You’ve found, you – all that you can offer, all that you can do, beautiful you.

I’m talking to myself here as much as you, you and you. This is just what I’ve learned, like I said. Maintaining the love in your own heart, despite the destructive changes, that’s the key. That’s what I’ve been learning. It’s not easy. It’s something I have to work at – loving me, loving them, trusting love, love, love, love. But you know what? I do recognize that good things ONLY happen when I’m in this space of love and when other people are in it with me and when we’re working together. That’s the only time. So I want to stay there, no matter what. Pain ain’t got nothing on me. Hardships? We’ll call them character builders, thank them, and move on. Stay in love. Stay here with me. Love often and you’ll be well. Enjoy!

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“Lady in Red” Wieslaw Walkuski

This week, focus has been difficult to keep. In the middle of NaNoWriMo this event which was the presidential election has diverted attention  nationwide – worldwide, in a great many cases.

Yesterday, I found myself in a few dialogues speaking very abstractly about the election. The outcome of which I view much like I view anything in life – I look for the pattern; the  bigger picture. I analyze the root of the occurrence and find reason in its purpose; try to organize what that means in terms of where we’re at as a society. I take all that and put it on a blue print, hold it up to the lightboard that is our sky and say, “OK, this is what it is. This is where we go from here.”

I try to speak in broad strokes, I avoid pointing fingers and above all, I try very hard not to let the strong opinions of others, sometimes abrasive and tactless opinions, change the way I feel about them, me, or the human heart and its (at times) impulsive need to express raw emotion.

As a writer, words are my strong point, but sometimes I don’t even know how to use them. They come out all misdirected and wrong. Sometimes I regret them. Words, after all, can hurt. They can help, but they can hurt. Remember that.

Everyone seems to think they have the right answer or that the problem is as obvious as a color, creed, or social standing. The world isn’t any more black and white than the meaning behind a piece of music, a painting or poem. Things aren’t always what they seem. We judge, and we too will be judged.

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

More than ever, the importance of art needs to be acknowledged. Outrage and upset has rendered creatives and artists I know into activists. It’s pushed everyday readers, listeners, and lookers to be politicians. I have read a great many opinions that express the necessity of artists to share a voice in all this, to offer their take, to ignite the conversation when, I believe, it’s this continuous rhetoric that keeps focus down one path – a path that needs a more constructive direction.

Remember that art can speak volumes. Music and art, literature and poetry. Remember as artists this is our gift, to take what we want to say, what needs to be said, and use it in this way, abstractly.  Bring back this movement, and do it strongly. The world needs its artists to do what they do best. Create.

Be well, love often, and enjoy.

 

 

On writing: Using sadness to your benefit

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I’ve been away in mind, waiting for the shift in the season, the shift in the cosmos to give me back a little energy; revive me or destroy me, but floating here feels like swords to the soul.

Truth be told, I avoided a post last week thinking I might be in a better state of mind this week, a better place with my book, a better mood for sharing. Whether or not I am isn’t an excuse to remain at a stalemate. If the outward aspects of my life aren’t planning on moving forward anytime soon at least I can attempt to push my mind past this place of numbness.

Over the weekend, I was able to dedicate one whole day to the writing/editing process. In that day, I worked on one chapter. One chapter, and it’s not like I even changed that much. I read it, edited and edited again and again. One word here, cut and paste there. Delete, delete, edit undo. Two new words. Two steps forward, three steps back. That is how it went.

It was a process that rolled on for hours, about 6, until the sun went down and I realized I hadn’t eaten. And while the work on that chapter felt like torture, in the end, it was better than it had been.

It’s with this state of being that I share this card, drawn digitally because I’m not at home by my own deck.

The Three of Swords is a card that tends to strike sadness in the heart of those who receive it. Three knives piercing a heart. It’s a painful present, but with sword energy at least we can rest assured it won’t last. Maybe a painful situation is coming, maybe it’s already here, all the same, there’s lessons to learn in the Three of Swords and as horrible as it may feel, as frustrated and as stuck, it’s still energy that can be utilized.

Writing in this state of mind rather than using it as an excuse not to write can be a moving experience.

The Three of Swords is where I’m at in my heart, it’s where I’m at in my life, it’s where I’m at in my memoir. Heartbreaking moments abound, but I’m using this instead of succumbing to it. And so far, it’s working out well. Hasn’t been fun, but it’s working out.

The image I used is from a deck called The Fountain Tarot. What I love about it is that it’s one of the more hopeful renditions of the Three of Swords that I’ve seen. Notice the rainbow reflected in the heart? There’s a silver lining to everything, a positive way to flip even the darkest emotions. A reminder that hope is right around the corner. Everything is transitory. These painful emotions need to happen just like the feel-good ones. That’s just life.

So, there you have it- a short blog, but it’s about all the heart space I can spare right now.

This may seem like random advice, but I feel compelled to share it: don’t be afraid to cut away what is no longer serving you, whether you want to apply that to your book or your personal life, start making some clean cuts. In light of the Three of Swords, cut away three things that are confusing your plot. Cut away three paragraphs, three sub-characters, three words. And if you feel you are cutting too much, do not fear. In life we need to completely separate from the old to make way for the new. Cut away all those things that have been holding you back. Burn them, trash them, block them and never look back.

That said, once you do and you’re feeling a little like you miss it, them, those– capture that feeling and fucking use it. 

Cry over your words, pour your soul out on that paper, over those keys; get deep, allow your heart to break fully and completely. At the end of that, there you will find the rainbow.

Be well, love often and enjoy!

 

 

 

Put your best long-term plan, forward

Queen of Pentacles/Queen of Wands

Queen of Pentacles/Queen of Wands

This week The Queen of Pentacles (coins, that is) and the Queen of Wands pop out to say, “Stop dreaming. It’s time for action; slow and methodical, tactical, long term, but with gusto!” Practicality with style and flair, that’s what this queen combination is. Grounded AND on fire, that’s what I am… er.. they are… er… their message, here to remind- these are the energies we should be harnessing right now.

They are a perfect representation of my swift decision to buy an Ergonomic Split Keyboard. I mean, it wasn’t a big ticket item, but the point is, I didn’t even have to think about the cost- it was of no significance compared to the wear and tear on my hands- my hands which are currently my only vehicle to the outside world; my hands campaigning my purpose, my livelihood.

Ok, so here we go. Right. My mess of a station. OMG. So many things my fingers have to push.

Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000

Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000

Notice the size difference between the two keyboards? Holy Hell. That’s what I said when I took it out of the box. This thing needs a duffel bag to carry it. It’s far too big for a backpack.

Wishing I spent a little more time researching and maybe any time at all with checking measurements, but whatever. Here it is. I’m typing on it now. It’s weird and I keep making massive amounts of typos, but what you don’t see is how it raises in the back and has an ever-so-soft pad to support my wrists. THAT feature is currently saving my life, i.e. my hands.

Not sure if I’ll keep this beast. If any of you readers have a suggestion for a better keyboard, please leave it in the comments. I was hoping for something I could travel with. Something that was natural to type on. This thing feels like learning all over again. It’s not very intuitive and I just… I’m not sold.

Anyway, this post is getting away from me.

Harness the power of these two queens this coming week, you’ll need them. These two are my favorite queens and together they are quite potent. I identify with these two most, or maybe I idolize them- whatever, No matter. They are Her; confident in thy economic standing. And Her; sure of thy place in the world.

Risks no longer apply to these queens. The are not struggling. They are simply saying, “You have the means- no question. No worry. Step out into the world and own it.”

On a very serious note, if you’ve been lost in illusion, connections coming and going; you feel more tired, something is aching, you feel lost and confused- that’s just your body adjusting to the changing times. We’re all going to come out of this OK.

October will feel more clear. We will all know where we’re going and who we’re taking with us.

Go get a massage. Pamper yourself. Don’t worry about the cost. It’s of no consequence. You need this.

For the musical selection this week, a track that took off like a rocket and gained a whole lot of traction on the way. Join your fellow recluse and dance like no one’s watching to Oliver Nelson ft. Kaleem Taylor – Ain’t A Thing.

Be well, love often and enjoy!

Scriggler: the “Soundcloud” of writing platforms

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Robin Wood Tarot: Ace of Cups

Thy cup runneth over!

In the context of this blog, when I pull a card I’m thinking about some aspect of the writing process. What I’ve been stuck on lately is time. Seems like I haven’t enough of it, like I’m scrambling, yet I’m paired with this feeling of floating in some stagnant abyss, bored and barely moving.

Ace of cups is a card of fulfillment, conception, socializing, love, having all your emotional needs met. This card is the harbinger of joy. This card says, good times are coming. It says, things are getting done, even when we don’t feel like they are; all those efforts are adding up, filling your cup, and they’ll pay off.

That’s why I’ve been sharing sample chapters lately. When I’m feeling stuck, it’s helpful to change gears and ready something for public viewing, to put my foot down on over-editing and say, “Hey, this is done enough for feedback. Submit, walk away and move on.”

Things don’t have to be so official, they just need to be alive, living, as in- you’ve got to share it, get it out of your mind, off your own computer, out of those disorganized chapter files and let it breath in fresh air, under fresh eyes that are not your own. The hope is, by watching how people respond to this or that chapter, you’ll know better what to keep, what to expand on, what to throw away.

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Sharing could change the direction of your story, give you new ideas where to take your characters, and inevitably, your readers.

Sharing takes bravery. It means that you’re opening yourself up to a world of strangers; a wealth of others’ thoughts and emotions. And what a wonderful world-wide-web that sharing has been made so easy, that there are various platforms out there to aid us.

For me, that platform is Scriggler.

If you aren’t privy to the site yet and you’re a writer who’s in love with words and simplicity; maybe you want to share but your blog doesn’t get much traction and all those other sites just confuse the process, distract you further- Scriggler may be for you.

Having tried to integrate myself with Medium in the past, I knew what I did and didn’t want in a writing platform. What I didn’t want, was super shiny and official. I didn’t want it to look like a news feed. I didn’t want to be drawn into others’ stories (even though that’s an important part of it) but right now I’m just thinking of the writing process, my process, and I need to strip away all the distractions. I downloaded Scrivener (helpful software for organizing a manuscript) about the same time I signed up at Scriggler for much the same reason- I wanted something that aided the writer, spoke to the writer, fed the writer, encouraged the writer. Writing is about writing, aesthetics be damned; functionality, yes, but save me the distracting package.

So what is Scriggler?

Scriggler is a cultural, political and intellectual melting pot – a place for exchanging not only stories and poetry, but also ideas, perspectives.

It came about nearly 3 years ago today as an experiment, a concept fueled by founder Dmitry Selemir’s own need for a writing platform that simply didn’t exist yet. His inspiration? Soundcloud.

This was surprising information for me, a musician and a music blogger. Soundcloud is a platform I use daily and currently, can’t think what I would do without it. Their model has changed the way digital music is shared; redefined the industry for a whole crop of aspiring artists, listeners, bloggers, and the like. Knowing this now, I’m not surprised why I was so drawn to Scriggler’s platform.

Translate the Soundcloud model into something suitable for writers sharing their work, and that might be a way to view Scriggler.

Scriggler‘s interface charmed me immediately- a white page with random scribbles on it. Posts are simple squares that arrange themselves in the center of the home feed. When others post a piece of literature (story, opinion, poem, essay, whatever) only the pertinent details are visible: the title, the author, the tags, the views. There are no images to pull you in, initially. You won’t even find the traditional “following for following” set up. Scriggler is organized to “foster interactions around the content,” says Dmitry, who went an atypical route with Scriggler’s launch; bypassed media coverage, publicity, and simply, shared. And while they’ve gone through many changes in the past two years, it was this initial act in vulnerability that has gotten them where they are.

 

dmitry

Scriggler founder, Dmitry Selemir

“In part this was perhaps due to lack of experience,” admits Dmitry, “in part – we wanted to get something out there, test it with the real users and hone in on the formula that would really work.”

And things are still changing. Dmitry has modest expectations about what the platform is and where it may go, but he also has a grand dream, that it solidifies itself as a launching pad for writers finding their way in the digital world; that it remains a place writers stay for years, life even. In this way, Scriggler hopes to build a solid community, shape the future of a global collective of writers.

What’s the big difference between Scriggler and everyone else?

It’s all run by the audience. There’s no editorial staff making any attempts to flavour what gets promoted. “Everything is less driven by the topic or genre or locality and more by what material you interacted with positively,” says Dmitry.

And it has to be mentioned that Scriggler operates on a fraction of a fraction of the small change left after Medium’s budget. “It makes it more difficult to build new things,” Dmitry says, “but at the same time we are accountable to our members alone and not to our investors (since we don’t have any).”

They have just added a donate button, letting those who use and appreciate Scriggler be the ones who make it a better place to be.

For readers heading to Scriggler to discover new writings, the experience is a little like records hunting. It takes work, but finding that gem is totally worth it.

But here’s the real clincher that sets Scriggler apart:

For writers, they do something that no other platform ever has – they promote every work you upload, personally, on twitter – sometimes twice.

For an introvert like me, self promotion has always been my biggest challenge. For my blog that maybe reaches a handful of people, posting my work does little for number of views. So going from 4 views to over 300 is HUGE. Not just huge for gaining an audience, but MASSIVE for confidence levels- those necessary doses of encouragement every writer thrives on.

But it can’t be all on Scriggler. Think of them like that Ace of Cups, a helping hand, filling you with the tools to progress even further on your path to, what Dmitry likes to call, “authorpreneur”.

To maximize your experience on Scriggler?

Content strategy.

“Think through your content strategy and make sure that while your posts are not pure promotion – it’s still easy for people to follow up, go to your website or blog, see your other publications and books, sign up to your newsletter etc.”

The other big thing is engaging, which can be a struggle for many of us already pressed for time, but one cannot receive without giving. Engaging leads us to knew avenues, new connections.

A key piece of advice is in comments, meaning, your comments on others’ work. Comments are highly publicized on Scriggler. “Each comment is a projection of your overall image,” stresses Dmitry, “make sure the comment is interesting. Something trivial is likely going to play against you.”

And if you wish, Scriggler also allows you to create clubs or join clubs started by other users. This can help you find your audience.

As far as imagery, like I said earlier, there’s none to distract you on the home feed, but within your own submission one can get creative, embedding videos, widgets (for example Soundcloud tracks) and images, which can be helpful in promotion via social media.

For myself, Scriggler has been a game changer. I have found my audience widening with every post, I have found myself through these interactions becoming more brave, more engaging, upping my own content of which I spread fairly evenly along my own channels. Most importantly, Scriggler has shown me what is possible. With their help, I’ve been able to up my own standards of where I can take my writing career.

Sometimes all we need is a little push – in this case, a digital one, from Scriggler.

So in light of this very full Ace of Cups, I raise it to Scriggler and dedicate this post as a token of my appreciation.

But don’t just take my word for it. Head there and see for yourself what Scriggler can do for you. Get on board, you might find you can’t do without it.

Oh, and while you’re there why not Scriggle me? :)

This weeks’ musical selection to pair with all this abundance of joy- an artist called, JOY.

Be well, love often and en-JOY!

 

 
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