Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Enrolling in Passion School: Year One


Today is my 33rd birthday, which means for the next week I am going to transition into my new self-schooling.


This year I am going to focus on writing, but there are a few other things I want to do as well...actually, a lot of things, but I am trying to focus on the most important ones.

I have made myself a chart modeled on a pretty one I discovered this year, and it looks like this:


Basically, I will fill in the squares with colour if I have accomplished my pre-determined goal for the day. It will keep me honest, and show me if I need to step up my work in any of those areas. These are the four things I really want to make into daily habits this year:
1. Writing 2. Raw Food 3. Exercise 4. Meditation

Raw food will be an easy one since I have been doing it for 2.5 years, though I could do it BETTER - I will write out some guidelines for myself (like...instead of cacao/honey/cashew for breakfast, have a green smoothie or some micronutrients instead, like bee pollen).

Exercise will consist of walking, hiking, swimming, hooping, and yoga/pilates - something I have been meaning to do for so long, and with the future purpose of making me strong and limber for my surfing year (when I was previously living in a surfing town and going surfing on a regular basis, my endurance, upper body strength, and flexibility sucked, so I want to be very in shape and nimble when I start again - I did have great paddling skills, though, after a while).

Meditation is something I want to do to center myself when I wake up, and look deep within myself. I have overcome a lot of issues in the last couple of years - at least for the most part. I still have a lot to work on, especially regarding my irritability levels and procrastination. Mostly the former. I constantly work on my patience because it is an important attribute I desire to have. It is not something that comes naturally to me - since changing my diet (which used to be VERY HIGH in sugar) and living with 19+ people in the surf town (Tofino), my patience levels have increased...a LOT.

And of course, writing. I want to do this as a daily practice, and more than just journaling, which I already do every day. I have kept diaries for 21 years and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. For the past year I have kept it up every single day, which I've never done before. Even if it's a short entry, I still do it. There have been times where I go long periods without, and instead wrote in an online journal (which I have done for 10 years), but nothing is like writing for yourself.

I am going to school myself in writing. I have chosen the following as "textbooks" - 2 per month for 2011 (most of these I have owned for years and not read yet):

1. Sin and Syntax - Constance Hale
2. A Passion for Narritive - Jack Hodgins


3. Bird by Bird - Anne Lammot
4. Zen in the Art of Writing - Ray Bradbury


5. The Creative Habit - Twyla Tharp
6. Writing Down the Bones - Natalie Goldberg


7. On Writing - Stephen King
8. If You Want to Write - Brenda Ueland


9. Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life
10. Negotiating With the Dead - Margaret Atwood


11. The Elements of Style - William Strunk + E.B. White
12. The Right to Write - Julia Cameron


13. Writing Life Stories - Bill Roorbach
14. The Artist's Way - Julia Cameron


15. On Writing Well - William Zinsser
16. Becoming a Writer - Dorothea Brande


17. The Writer's Journey - Christopher Vogler
18. The Art of Non-Fiction - Ayn Rand


19: The Hero With a Thousand Faces - Joseph Campbell
20. The War of Art - Steven Pressfield


21. The Art of Fiction - Ayn Rand
22. Word Painting - Rebecca McClanahan


23. Eats, Shoots & Leaves - Lynn Truss
24. The Joy of Writing - Pierre Burton


+ The Renaissance Soul - Margaret Lobenstine
+ The Heroine's Journey - Maureen Murdock
+ Style Statement - Danielle LaPorte
+ Problogger - Darren Rowse

I don't want to assign myself too many books because I find new ones to read all the time (it happens even more than it used to since I've worked in a bookstore for 2 years) and need some freedom, or I know I'll deviate and go on a tangent. As long as I can stick to my original goal most of the time, I'm golden. I do well with structure.

I will also review all of these books!

I've set up my table to be a desk for writing with lots of goodies - all the books I want to read that I currently own, plus some new delicious Moleskines (check out the giant sketchbook one!) I just got myself for Christmas presents.



My goal is to write for at least 2 hours a day. I have an entire book sitting in my head (it has been there for years) and a series idea, too. Both need to be written, so these are mainly what I am going to work on, though I want to branch out and try different styles of writing to broaden my horizons and get a lot of variety in there. Variety is good soul food.

If you know of any other fantastic books or resources, please let me know in the comments!


  1. Happy Birthday!!

    I think this is such an amazing idea. This inspires me!

  2. Thank you very much! I'm glad you think it's a good idea - when I had it I knew I had to take action on it - I get lots of ideas, but this was one I knew I HAD to do.

  3. The Stephen King book is surprisingly awesome, the Campbell one is pretty great too. Milan Kundera has a book on writing (the title of which escapes me) that I really liked. Just a thought.

    Pretty awesome idea all around.

  4. Cool, I will check it out! Thanks Josh :)

  5. Excellent! Congratulations, this is wonderful.

    Also, happy b-day fellow Sag! I hope the coming year brings you knowledge and clarity with the help of your newly-instituted system. *mwa*

  6. Thanks! (Actually I am a Capricorn, technically...but I seem to be much more of a Sag, based on things I've read. I'm a SAGICORN.)

    I'm glad you like it, thanks for commenting :)

  7. Happy belated Birthday! I hope you had a great time.

    Well, if you don't have one yet, I recommend a nice dictionary. It's always good to have one handy. ;-) For an online version, Cambridge is my favorite -

    Moleskine is a great incentive indeed... They are beautiful.

    Go Lorra go! \o/

  8. I am doing "The Artists Way" this year too.. very excited!

  9. Gleydson, I always use online dictionaries! Hehe. Maybe I should get a nice one.

  10. The Art of the Personal Essay = Philip Lopate

    I am quite impressed with your goal and exercise in self care/self improvement. I wish you much success.

    Danielle La Porte's website is filled with motivating posts and essays. I have found most of the content really thought provoking and helpful.

  11. Thanks! Danielle is my favourite blogger!