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Let go, journal & help ease dis-ease

 

Charlottes Heart

Isolation is testing many of us. It may be bringing up some of the old self-doubts and criticisms or others’ issues that they project onto you.

If you let it, it can make you uncomfortable. Taken to the extreme and buried it can cause dis-ease that affects you mentally, physically or both.

The time has come to let it out – let go and transmute the negative by telling positive stories of easing dis-ease to help future generations.

Artwork by Charlotte, my angel of a neighbour who has brought me food and looked after me in isolation. I will be eternally grateful!

Easing Dis-ease project

In November 2019, Collab Writers launched a call for interest in the ‘Easing Dis-ease’ project inviting stories of the dis-ease of life (of body, mind, love, work and other peoples’ stuff) and the ways we have found to reframe and transmute dis-ease. The project will be in print and audio and a portion of profits will go to charities that ease dis-ease.

Now is the time to join Collab Writers in writing about dis-ease and using positivity and creativity to reframe it. If you are reading and thinking, ‘I’m not sick, this isn’t for me’, dis-ease goes beyond the physical, it’s any pain or suffering, mental or physical about any aspect of the life you are living, in any which way.

Dis-ease is the body or mind telling you something, somewhere in your life is out of balance.

Many believe that ‘journaling’ is one way of ‘letting go’ of negative thoughts, feelings or beliefs; memories that are trapped in your mind or body and no longer serve you. I for one, use writing and creativity to reframe in an effort to turn pain and suffering into something positive.

Chicken soup for The Soul

Like everything in life, cathartic story telling is not new. We read Fairy Tales as children and if you are old enough, you will remember the much loved self-help series of books, Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield. This was a collection of stories and tales bringing wit, wisdom, hope and empowerment to see you through life’s darker moments.

Be of service to future generations – share your reframes

Many believe that a ceremony of burning the pages you’ve written releases the story you’ve been telling yourself and let’s it go. This is a wonderful ceremony to release negative beliefs and thought patterns but given many of us are isolating in apartments, I’m not advising this!

Burning pages or scrunching them up and throwing them in the recycling bin, also feels a little indulgent when others might benefit from your learnings and reframes. It’s not to say you need to share all of the gory detail of your suffering in your story but you can keep the pages as a record, and transmute it into a reframe to help future generations.

Whilst each of our lives is unique and individual, dis-ease is something we all experience in some measure and we know from the current chaos that future generations will not be immune to it. This is your opportunity to serve those future generations to help them to transmute and transform feelings and thoughts to help reframe the dis-ease of life.

Journaling /Cathartic writing

How? Well, it’s pretty easy. Just write. If dictation is your thing, dictate and get your software to put the words on a page for you.

I first heard about journaling from Julia Cameron’s ‘Morning Pages’ featured in The Artists’s Way in my dad’s library when I was a teenager. Julia recommended three pages of writing first thing in the morning about absolutely anything.

Allowing subconscious streams of consciousness to flow out of the shadows of your psyche is both therapeutic and revealing. It gives you insight into parts of you that you might have buried, that when fully awake you might not want to step into.

I share Julia’s view that as tempting as it is to do everything online, we discover a special connection to ourselves when we write long hand, paper or pen on the page. Subconscious streams of writing is also a great way to release the negative. In a strange way, writing it down, allows you to be a silent observer, acting like your own counsellor.

Journaling can help you be your silent observer 

Journaling may give you a different perspective on life. Remember not to beat yourself up about thinking life’s events over. When you are an empath and tuned into your emotions you invest emotionally in life, people and situations. Many people in this world lack empathy and compassion and behave without a care for others’ thoughts and feelings. Beware of these people, the stories they tell you may be their own stories and fears projected onto you. Embrace your inner empath. Be proud of you compassionate, creative, emotional self and tell stories to help others channel their energy for the greater good.

And, if I may finish with one tip, don’t be afraid of what comes up when you journal. Getting it out is the first step in addressing the dis-ease of life. Look for the reframe, the hopeful and positive opposite and channel your thoughts into stories – get creative!

If you would like to get involved in Collab Writers or contribute to the Easing Dis-ease project drop us a line on info@collabwriters.com  

 

 

Passion Projects – the Creative New World

Make art that mattersMy last blog sung the praises of collaboration at a time when we most need to come together and feel a sense of community. It encouraged you to leave paper trails of collaboration to help navigate your collective creative journeys together. It’s important not to focus too much on do’s and don’ts and to allow deep passion and inspiration to fuel the subject matter of both your own, and collaborative creations.

Art is the mirror of the soul…of your soul and mine….of our gaze.”

Malena Rodriguez La Rosa

The same can be said for all creativity – paintings, song, writing and movies. In a time where we move from the Old World Order to a Brave New World, we each have the opportunity to create to offer hope to current and future generations. Looking to the past, we can learn what audiences might want at a time like this. It’s no surprise that pandemic, disaster themed stories are set to become mainstream. There’s nothing to stop you jumping on that bandwagon. You can dare to be different by making yours with a twist. Read on for ideas

Passion projects

We all have a passion for something in life. Each and every one of us enjoys doing, or dreaming of doing something. Us creatives have passion projects…ideas that come to us. And, if we don’t bring those ideas to life, they keep nagging, like an in-built alarm that keeps going off if you haven’t paid your inspiration enough attention.

Passion projects are often the stories whose flame burns deep inside. It’s a fire that has to be lit and burn bright. Many of you will be working on passion projects that began in the Old World. They could be light or dark. In a time where it feels like there is a dark blanket covering the planet, light the flame of inspiration wherever you can. If your passion is grizzly crime or horror, how about weaving in some kind of inspirational, meaningful, or humorous message that’ll leave something to be of help to future generations in times of darkness. Let the light get in somewhere and somehow.

Remember that in the Old World there weren’t that many ‘bad’ experiences that touched the population as a collective. Suffering was more limited, now it is widespread.

As you consider and craft your passion projects, dig deep, examine them closely and ask yourself if this is what you really want to make, or is it a construct of yourself that you used to wear well in the Old World? What we create as a creative community at this time will influence future audiences so create with passion and care for the greater good. This single line from the great Sufi poet, Rumi rings true:

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you”

RUMI

In the New World, where we live with the stuck record of pandemic on every radio and TV station, audiences might not want to feel more anxious reading or watching movies. Consider whether you can give your audience some inspiration and some humour…

Laughter is the best medicine

Let’s look to an inspirational world leader. If you have ever watched the Dalai Lama, you’ll notice he often uses humour in his interviews and story telling.

“I have been confronted with many difficulties throughout the course of my life…But I laugh often, and my laughter is contagious. When people ask me how I find the strength to laugh now, I reply that I am a professional laugher.”

The Dalai Lama

In my humble opinion, laughter has helped me immensely. In times of severe pain when painkillers don’t work, I try to practice laughter (to the extent that I am able) and I am blessed to have friends who make me laugh in times of stress. You know who you are! Watching or listening to something humorous helps too.

The benefits of LAUGHTER on the body are widespread, not only is it a great holistic body and mind work out, it also, (apparently):

  • increases serotonin and endorphins
  • replenishes the lungs, relaxes muscles and eases tension in the body
  • reduces stress hormones in the body
  • protects the heart & increases immune system functioning.

It’s fair to say that laughter is critical for our health and sanity in all times, and especially during these times of great uncertainty. So, if comedy is your thing, now’s the time for you to make future generations laugh. And, if grizzly floats your boat, chuck in a handful of humour, it takes the edge off the gore.

Film studies: Crime Noir emerged from the atrocities and darkness of WWII

In a previous blog, I put Shakespeare on a pedestal showcasing what he created during isolation from the Bubonic Plague. Well, why not ,we’ve gotta aim high Collabers!

Looking back to films that emerged from the Second World War, it is no coincidence that the crime noir movement which has influenced so much of what we enjoy today, emerged during wartime. Was the timing of the movement a coincidence? Or, did people make movies that mirrored the horror and darkness they were experiencing and tempered that with humour as a means of hope. Blackout

Sheri Chinen Biesen in her fascinating work ‘Blackout‘ describes how Film Noir drew on societal anxieties as Americans faced fear, loss and shortages.

If you glance back through history, you will see what audiences wanted at particular times.

Why not spend some time looking backwards to learn and forwards for inspiration. Be still and gaze into your crystal ball to see what audiences of the future might want to watch.

Make movies that matter & write words that resonate

In writing stories of the future we have the opportunity to shape the New World Creative Order. It is within your gift to feel inspired, get passionate and create projects to influence and change the hearts and minds of future generations. I will leave you to ponder your passion project through the wise lens of the great leader, The Dalai Lama:

“Be ready to change your goals, but never change your values”

– The Dalai Lama

Collaboration Paper Trails

Colalborate

Two of Collab Writers’ taglines are the all important ‘collaborate’ and ‘create.’ They are the foundation of who we are as a community. Like a house or community needs strong foundations, once we ‘connect’ Collab Writers need strong, dependable, trustworthy relationships. Please don’t be put off by the hand touching above, at least one person is wearing a glove. Hopefully one day soon we can all hold hands again without gloves or hand sanitiser!

Look to your homes for an example 

To bring the importance of paper trails home, can you imagine buying a house without hiring a solicitor/conveyancer? NO! The same goes for when you rent a property, you get a draft lease of what the tenant can and cannot do in the property. If anyone has rented from a friend without writing down the do’s and don’t; whilst it might be rosy to begin with, cracks can show later on down the line when each friend recalls a different conversation. Some of you may have been there!

Collaboration is golden

Collaboration can produce writing and creation beyond your wildest dreams, ideas that wouldn’t have happened if it was just you. We are moving into a world where working together is going to be vital for the future of the Planet and our Society. Gone is the individualistic hedonism of our Old World order, the ‘I have more than you’,’ I am better than you’ ego dominated approach to life. Collaboration has a firm place at the table of the future and we need to take care to build strong foundations, both as a community and individually to work together as best we can.

A game of ‘Consequences’ Collab Writers’ style was good practice

At our monthly meet-ups (at The Library and The Arboretum) over the last year, many of you played the game of ‘Consequences’ in pairs, threes or more to practice the art of collaborative story writing on stories that we started for you to finish. The stories can be seen on our website. This was to encourage a playground for collaboration of ideas and to build relationships of trust with one another, potentially for future collaborations.

One of our missions at Collab Writers is to build a community of like-minded individuals, pulling in the same direction to collaborate and create.

Paper trails / email chains

We all know the importance of paper trails, even in the creative realm. If there is no paper trail, or ‘electronic trail’ of what, who, how much etc there can be problems later on down the line. At April’s Collab Writer online meet-up via ZOOM, we were reminded of the importance of ‘paper trails’ by media and entertainment lawyer, Tony Morris.

A couple of  founder members shared lessons learned of collaborations where they hadn’t created paper trails and to no surprise, confusion.com prevailed on who owned what and ideas were snatched. In one circumstance, there was a walking away. The collaboration mood music was clear:

When you collaborate with others, WRITE DOWN who’s doing what and how you are splitting creative ownership, etc. A written agreement is music to any lawyer’s ear, especially if you end up seeking legal advice for a dispute further down the line.

In this vein, Tony mentioned a helpful Court of Appeal case, Kogan v Martin [2019] EWCA Civ 1645 concerning joint authorship of copyright works. In his judgment, Lord Justice Floyd reviewed the existing legal authorities and provided helpful guidance on the law of joint authorship, summarising the position in 11 key requirements. If you have a geekish interest in this or just want some tips, have a read.

So, what can you do to try to encourage positive collaborations?

You can never predict what might happen in a collaboration and that’s half the fun, so you can’t predict whether a dispute will arise, in the same way that you can’t predict how long we might be isolating for in 2020! However, failing to prepare in any collaboration is preparing to fail. It’s really that easy. The advice is WRITE THINGS DOWN…..and send emails to one another confirming what you have agreed.

The proof is in the pudding, Blue Peter style

Like the old Blue Peter saying ‘ here is something I made earlier’ it is so much easier to explain your side of the story  when you have something to rely upon. A back and forth with your collaborators clearly setting out who is doing what and how you will attribute any collaborative effort, will be a life saver for both your wallet and your creative collaboration. “He said,” “she said,” “I said” is messy and it’s your word against theirs which isn’t much really. Make everyone’s life easier by agreeing upfront IN WRITING. 

Eager to learn practical tips from a leading media & entertainment lawyer?

If you want to know more about some of the do’s and don’ts, Tony Morris is running online sessions on this topic and a number of other important topics:

🎬 Rights in a film – who owns what?
– Monday 13th April at 7pm UK time
🎬 Collaboration arrangements for indie filmmakers
– Thursday 16th April 2020 at 7pm UK time
🎬 In front of the camera – what needs sorting?
– Monday 20th April 2020 at 7pm UK time
🎬 Writers’ agreements
Thursday 23rd April 2020 at 7pm UK time
🎬 Using music in film
Monday 27th April 2020 at 7pm UK time

Lectures will be held on Zoom and cost £8 each, or £35 for all 5. These classes are managed by Raindance.

And to make our lives easier, Tony has already written key advice down in his book, The Filmmakers’ Legal Guide. The Kindle version is available on Amazon.

Details of the second edition are on Facebook where some FAQs are answered and there are some short videos featuring those who have used the book in the course of their productions.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

Ok, ok, I like to prepare for things. I blame my introverted nature and background as a lawyer. Whatevs, it has served me well, so to cut through the chaff here, when you collaborate with others set out in writing a clear understanding of:

1.Who owns what in your creative collaboration

“I’ve created it (I have creative ownership) and you’ve collaborated on X,Y, Z.”

2.Who is doing what

3.Who controls what.

All of this is to help ease your creative collaboration journey.  Collaboration can make your creative ideas much richer, just play nicely and fairly. Happy Collab’ing Collabers!

 

 

 

 

 

What were you born to CREATE?

candle

“Don’t die with your music still in you”

We use this wise saying to tell ourselves and others to seize the day and do what we love. In the current time of uncertainty, it is now more important than ever. We were each born do do ‘something’ only we can do. We have learnt in the last few weeks that it ain’t a rehearsal. THE TIME IS NOW. 

If you have yet to know what that ‘something’ is there is no time like the present to discover it. Be STILL, go within and think about what it is you love doing. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit so there you go. If you need some INSPIRATION, 400 odd years ago there was a bloke called William Shakespeare who some of you might have heard of. You might even have read some of his works.
Shakespeare
Well, William lived in London Town, on a street you may have walked past. Whilst in isolation during the Bubonic plague he wrote King Lear. During an earlier outbreak, he wrote two long narrative poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece.

When you read King Lear or saw the play, you probably didn’t think that it had been written at a time of great adversity, that uncannily mirrors what we are experiencing now. The pathos and sadness of the work certainly tells of a mind that is suffering. Just remember, he wouldn’t have had the creature comforts we have, like electricity, heating, online exercise classes a la plenty and food deliveries to our door. He would have had to make his way to the local market for provisions, wearing an old cravat instead of a face mask in dirty streets overrun by rats, the spreaders of the plague, so it is said.

He wouldn’t have had a laptop or dictation on his phone. It was a couple of hundred years before the typewriter! He’d have written by hand on paper by candlelight, possibly into the small hours, or maybe all through the night.

You might think that’s a tall order to follow but what do we know? What’s been done before, can be done again and out of great adversity can come great things. We don’t know very much with any certainty right now, except that everything is pretty much up for grabs. So, if you want to leave a creative legacy get working, there is no time like the PRESENT to get working on it.

You hold THE NOW in your hands. Spend your time wisely.

Working from home, your family commitments, Netflix and your online exercise are all essential segments to your ‘isolation’ days. It is also the perfect opportunity for you to CREATE with far fewer disruptions and interferences than you had in the past. Why not turn your WFH commute into your creative time? For many of us who used to work in an office, that is two hours a day. Not too shabby if you were one of the “I don’t have enough time” tribe in the previous world. Hands up, I was!

If you don’t CREATE what you WERE BORN TO LEAVE BEHIND, that my friends would be the biggest disappointment of your life. You owe it to yourself and future generations to do what you came here to do. We were each born to do something unique. We each have special talents, shared by no-one else, not even William Shakespeare. He did the generous thing, and in the face of huge adversity, he let his music flow out of him onto the page. And by goodness, have we enjoyed the fruits of his labour and learnt so much.

Use the Art of Letter Writing to tell your Future Self what you WANT TO CREATE

Why not write a letter to yourself or your loved ones (or Collab Writers) committing to what you want to do creatively in your lifetime.

If you have penned notebooks full of ideas for a project that no-one knows about, unless you do something about it, the risk is it’ll stay inside your four walls and not see the light of day. Do you want your creative musings to see the light of day? I can’t promise the fame and notoriety of Shakespeare but you will be remembered for what you did and loved, rather than just the chattels you left behind.

We don’t remember how wealthy Shakepeare was. We couldn’t care less what kind of home he lived in or how special his clothes or carriage were. We care about the brilliant writing he left behind that we have all studied and learnt from. And, future generations will do the same.

As we move into the Brave New World, think about this…..and use this time to CREATE. I will end, where I began, as that’s life isn’t it…. please, please:

Don’t die with your music still in you.”

 

Collab Writers Networking from home

Come and meet fellow writers, filmmakers and other creatives: During the Lockdown – join us FREE at our Virtual Monthly networking on April 2nd 19:00 – 20:00

£0.01

 

 

Let’s make calm & kindness viral

calm and kindnessLet’s create and not focus on all the slap

You’ll have received multiple emails this week from restaurants, businesses, shops, etc  in light of what is happening in the UK and across the world. They have to do this and it reassures us and makes us feel safer.

Here at Collab Writers, we are not going to mention ‘it’ by name as doing so gives it presence in our lives. If you find yourself more ‘indoors’ than ‘outdoors’ in your freetime then that is a wonderful opportunity to be creative.

Time indoors could be a blessing for your creative project. In a recent blog, I wrote about making time for your creative pursuits – well here you are – you’ve got it!

Choose what you put you attention on

“What you seek is seeking you
RUMI

No offence to journalists working hard, but I wish the media would calm down. Mad hysteria does not help people in testing times. If you are doing nothing but reading the news – perhaps ask yourself WHY?

If you must indulge, how about reducing your exposure to the hysteria? Whatever you are going through, FEAR is the last thing you want. It increases your heart rate and triggers the flight or fight response of the body.

CALM is what you need. I have some experience of illness, suffering, fear and panic. And that long list is so much easier to deal with in a state of CALM. And remember, we are all a lot tougher than we think we are. To take from Rudyard Kipling’s famous quote:

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…”

Reframe the madness to ease dis-ease and use it create

To some of you, this may seem a little ‘mindful’ for Collab. Well, here is Jennie ‘coming out.’ I’m spiritual/mindful and this is thanks to living with Crohn’s disease since a teenager. I’ve learnt to reframe and use the emotions from pain and suffering to do things, including create. In the words of Kanye West:

“Creative output as you know is just pain. I’m going to be cliche for a minute and say that great art comes from pain.

Cheers Kanye, glad you said it. Whilst I don’t have any qualifications to spread that word, I’ve done my time. Those of you at CW’s one year anniversary party, know that we launched the Easing Dis ease project – which is moving along, and this is a taster of that.

Out of great suffering can come great art

As creatives you know that emotional, physical, psychological ups and downs can result in incredible poetry, writing, art. And for those who don’t create but appreciate the creations of others, art has a wonderfully soothing effect. So creatives, you will always have an audience for your work. What’s important is that you pour out your emotions, frustrations, love or anger and create something only you have the power to create.

Art is to console those who are broken by life
Vincent Van Gogh

The currency of kindness

The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

I believe that in our lifetime we will see a gradual shift from the importance of the currency of money to the currency of kindness. It’s as obvious as it sounds. Large corporations reduce, money becomes less of a focus and kindness and good deeds become more important. Perhaps we are at the stage where we are building the foundations of this. How you react to yourself and others and what your children learn from you has the potential to change your life and focus.

The smile game

I decided to play the smile game in Canary Wharf earlier this week. I smiled at everyone who walked past me on my commute. Interestingly enough not many smiled back. It took forty odd people, and I’d say I have a friendly, non-intimidating face. So, I decided to spread the word. Many loved the idea and said they were going to practice it. They reported back and said it made them feel happier too. I thought they’d say that. A by-product of smiling is the release of endorphins, as is placing your hand on your heart.

Be grateful for those around you. Smile, even at strangers, go on – I dare you. If you need to learn how to do this, watch babies and young children. They smile more than us, and don’t hesitate to smile at strangers.

So if you feel yourself feeling anxious, unwell and stressing in the weeks to come, consider some ‘mindful’ thinking and reframe negative feelings by (i) smiling, and (ii) placing your hand on your heart. This will help you better manage troubled waters.

The show will go on

Rest assured that Collab Writers networking in April and May will happen. It may have to be online due to circumstances beyond our control. Rest assured, the community is alive and kicking regardless of what is happening around us. You can email Anjali and I at any time on info@collabwriters.com. We are also working hard on our website to help enhance the online experience for y’all!

Use this trying time to create. Remember, following the herd is the easy option. Collab Writers was set up to disrupt and we will continue that for the rest of our days and sincerely hope that you, The Collab Writers tribe will help to do that.

Our next ‘mindful creative’ blog will be on shaping your creative legacy. In the meantime, if you want some more mindful blogs, check out www.calmingcrohns.com.