MANW 2017 Week 7 Check-In: Fire It Up and a New Creative Prompt

MANW February Badge

Congratulations, you made it to week number seven! And, we’re half way through the shortest month of the year! Now can you see why I picked ORGANIZE for this month’s theme?

Whether you’ve embraced that messy pile in your closet or not, you’re probably feeling a bit worn out and uncomfortable right now. That’s normal, because cleaning up old messes and taking stock of your inventory will churn up a lot of emotions and memories. Why did you abandon this project? What happened when you stopped painting/writing/stitching? Then, that’s when all the “shoulda/woulda/coulda’s” start entering your brain. I should have completed this project years ago. I could be further along in my craft if I finished what I started. I would have done what I said I was going to do if I had more focus and dedication to my art.

These feelings and thoughts you’re having are normal, and they’re getting under your skin because they are a sign of change. As you clear out the undergrowth and the sludge, you’ll start to feel resistant after a while because you’re looking back, not forward. That resistance might even lead to procrastination and a case of the “idunwannas”. You’re frustrated, because you can’t see where this intense emphasis will lead–you cannot see that you’ve started your spring cleaning early and you’re making room for growth. What you know, however, is what you feel right now. Annoyed, maybe a little embarrassed, and not at all interested in facing your messes.


A good way to power through this month of organizing, is to use your timer. Instead of thinking about how long it’ll take to sort through that box or clean out your closet, set your timer for half an hour–then clean as fast as you can until the timer goes off. You’d be amazed how fast those 30 minutes will go!


Before you and your productivity can blossom, all that muck and sludge you’ve been carrying around needs to get cleaned up. I encourage you to continue organizing any way that you can, because getting uncomfortable–even anxious or afraid–will lead to a new, more productive phase in your artistry. In other words: you have to take out the trash in order to bring something new in. If it’s piled up, it’s definitely time to clean house.

Whether you have paperwork to file or a messy desk to organize, take advantage of this opportunity now so you be open to more opportunities and possibilities next month! Once your organizational activities are done, all you’ll have to do is maintain your current status. If anything, that should be something to look forward to.

Creative Prompt: Visualizing Your Artist’s Journey

Visualization is a powerful motivator, but it can also be the same thing that keeps you stuck. Dreams are beautiful, ephemeral, fleeting wisps that exist only in your mind. To make them come true, you have to do the work–and that is 1,000 times more challenging than thinking about it (or saying that you’re going to do it). After all, if you envision yourself running a marathon but can’t see yourself taking that first step, then it’s easy to give up and fall under the sway of your gorgeous dream.

Today’s creative prompt takes visualization one step further. Consider that what you’re doing isn’t to achieve an “end point”. After all, you may want to write a novel, but if that’s your only goal you don’t have anywhere to go after that. Career-minded artists are on a journey, and our goals are to get to those next rest stops. Instead of thinking about the finish line, picture yourself at each stage along your path. Subtle changes, even if it’s your hair or clothes, highlight your uniqueness at each stage along the way.

You could:

  • Clip out fashion pics and pin them on a vision board.
  • Pull out old photographs and mark where you’ve been–and opt for where you’re going next!
  • Draw or describe interesting faces at each stage of your creative journey.
  • Pull together a scrapbook that you’ll show to your readers/supporters.
  • Write letters to yourself during unique milestones
  • Build yourself as a character in a game.

What are you wearing? What do you look like? How do you feel? What did you accomplish? Then, fast forward and rewind. How have you changed since you first started your journey as an artist? Can you predict where your future self will be? The differences you’ll pick up on could be major or subtle, and your discovery will evolve naturally as you proceed through this exercise.

Whether the changes you’ve encountered are big or small, the point of this visualization exercise is to rid yourself of the toxic belief that you need to make “it” or be “it”–otherwise you’re nothing. Your success, your journey, your talent cannot be summed up in one word: “Succeed” or “Fail”. Be gentle with yourself, because you are not racing toward a finish line. There’s no One True WayTM to be an artist, and recording the steps on your journey will allow you to embrace that even more than you already are. Enjoy your path, because it’s yours to take!

    Mood: Meh. Winter doldrums.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: I’m flllllyyyyyyyyiiiiinnnnnggggg!
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Half an hour
    In My Ears: Dragon Age: Inquisition soundtrack
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Inquisition
    Book Last Read: Dr. Potter’s Medicine Show
    Movie/TV Show Last Viewed: Pacific Rim
    Latest Artistic Project: Make Art Not War 2017 Challenge and Rules
    Latest Releases: In Volo’s Wake for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. Read my end-of-the-year list of releases for an overview of what I’ve put out for 2016.
    Current State of Projects: Read my latest project update. New project update coming this month!



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Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Want to Interview or Hire Me? Send Fan Mail?

Would you like to hire me? Because my projects and manuscripts are in flux, I am always open to discussing new opportunities with publishers and studios. As a full-time writer, I spend a portion of my time seeking new gigs–so don’t be afraid to reach out. If you’re interested, please e-mail me via my Contact Page. I typically reply to work-related e-mails within one-to-two business days.

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