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I am a big believer in “Happy Holidays”, as opposed to Merry Christmas… I just feel it’s more inclusive of everyone, no matter what their beliefs.  And there are so many different holidays around this time of year!  But I do like Christmas carols, so that’s what this Thursday Thirteen is all about.

1.  O Holy Night

2.  Mary’s Boy Child

3.  Little Toy Trains

4.  This Old White Doorway

5.  The First Noel

6. Do You Hear What I Hear?

7.  Mummers Song

8.  The Seven Joys of Mary

9.  Fairytale of New York

10.  Appalachian Snowfall

11.  We Three Kings

12.  Feliz Navidad

13.  Bells of St. Mary

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!  The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

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For years, I have been thinking about writing a series of articles about animal welfare and training issues.  I’ve finally started working on them, so that’s what today’s Thursday Thirteen is all about.

Thirteen Animal Welfare Issues I will write about

1.  Pets as gifts

2.  How to choose an animal trainer

3.  Effects of punishment

4.  Pet overpopulation

5.  Rabbit overpopulation and feral rabbits

6.  Exotic animals

7.  Circuses, rodeos and travelling exhibitions

8.  Farm animal transport and welfare

9.  Wildlife – Predator control

10.  The link between violence against animals and family violence

11.  Pets in rental housing

12.  Animals in research and testing

13.  Animals in recreation/sport/entertainment, film and tv, and fashion/art/clothing.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!  The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

–Pablo Picasso

I love this quote from Pablo Picasso.  On the one hand, it gives me hope — if only I am diligent about practicing my writing, inspiration will find me.

On the other hand, it encapsulates what I am coming to believe about writing.  It is important to work at your craft, regardless of whether the Muse has graced you with her presence.  Daily (or otherwise regular) practice of writing will lead to creativity;  it will find you if only you are working.

Now I just need to carve out a little more time to write, and inspiration will track me down!

“Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.”

Shunryu Suzuki

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“The less routine the more life.”

Amos Bronson Alcott

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“The secret of your life is hidden in your daily routine.”

Mike Murdock

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“As long as habit and routine dictate the pattern of living, new dimensions of the soul will not emerge.”

Henry Van Dyke

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I am a creature of routine.  I adore my routine.  I like to get up in the morning, have a cup of tea, read the paper, eat breakfast.  Take the dog for a walk, come home, have another cup of tea, check my email.  Then I can shower, get dressed, and start my day.

If this routine is disrupted, I feel off.  I get cranky.  I like things to go as they are supposed to go.  I like to go to bed at the same (insanely early) time every night.  I like to watch murder documentaries while I fall asleep.  I like my days to be predictable and for things to happen when they always happen.

Of course, in between my morning routine and my evening routine, I kind of like to have a varied bunch of things to do throughout the day.  So, I have to wonder, am I really a creature of habit, or some sort of hybrid?  And is it a bad thing to be bound by routine?

As you can see by the quotes above, there are lots of opinions on this question.  I kind of like the zen quote… but, being someone who likes routine, of course I would.  I dislike the quote about routine preventing new dimensions of the soul from emerging, naturally.  So is it a good thing to have a routine, or am I hampering my creative process by sticking to the same day-in, day-out?

I can adapt, don’t get me wrong.  I can deal with it when my routine doesn’t happen.  Like I said, I get grumpy sometimes.  But I can do it.  And I don’t spend the entire day stuck into a lock-step pattern, either.

As I’m typing, I am thinking this through.  I think that actually, routine can be a help to the creative.  For myself, I know that I have to write regularly, or I don’t write at all.  If I wait for inspiration to strike, I will generally wait a long time.  A lot of the reading I have done on being a writer states that an aspiring writer should sit down on a regular basis and just write, whatever flows out the fingers.  And I know from my own experience that I write more and write better when I do just that.

So I think that rather than blocking my creativity, routine might actually be the secret that sets it free.  I am trying to set aside a certain amount of time on a regular basis to just write.  Part of that is the revival of this blog — I can come here and just do it, consciously leaving my perfectionism aside for the duration.  (Not an easy thing to do!)  I think I will experiment with this idea, and see if devoting regular time to write makes the difference that I suspect it will.  Now I just have to follow through, another not-easy thing to do!

Wowsa!  When I started this blog back in the summer, I certainly never expected to even have a 100th post.  I am really good at starting projects and then abandoning them.  Especially writing projects.  (It’s that whole self-worth conundrum.)

Honestly, at the time I thought that by the beginning of November, I’d have given up weeks and weeks ago.  To my surprise, here I am.  Holy sh*t, is what I’m thinking.  How about that?!

I’ve found this whole blogging experience to be fantastic, exciting, scary, exhilarating, amazing… did I mention fantastic and scary?  I began The Muse Asylum because I thought that the possibility of a hypothetical audience (someone that might maybe read my posts) would motivate me to actually write on a regular basis.  I didn’t actually expect that anyone would read it.  I even have a couple of regular readers, which I really never thought would happen.

And in all frankness, I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted anybody to read my posts.  I’m pretty sure that everyone who writes has issues about whether their writing is any good.  (If you are a writer who doesn’t have those issues, please keep your comments to yourself!)  And my approach has been that I’d rather not have anyone read it, than for someone to read it and tell me it’s bad.  I have never before allowed myself to take the risk.

But I knew that if I ever really wanted to be a writer (not just someone who calls herself a writer, but never strings the words together), I had to get over that fear.  And I also had to persevere beyond three or four posts.

I have been rewarded beyond my wildest dreams.  I am writing regularly, not once a day like I’d like to be, but often enough that I feel like I’m getting into the habit.  I write about things I’m interested in, and I write about fun things (especially on Thursdays, Fridays, and Mondays).

I have met some very cool people (and for those of you who are skeptical, who think I should write “met” rather than met, it is as much of a real meeting as any other.  I would say that I’ve “met” my neighbour, but all I know about him is that he’s got long hair and wants to sell his house.  I can tell you much more meaningful things about some of the friends I’m making online).

I am having fun.  Janet at Fond of Snape had a post recently that made me remember that I don’t have fun as often as I would like to.  Fun gets lost in the minutiae of my life, and sometimes I have to make a conscious effort to have it.

I get to spout off about my opinions, which are endless.  You have noticed that, I’m sure!

And I get to learn, which is one of the highest priorities in my life.  If I’m not learning, I’m sure as hell not having fun!

As the cherry on top, I just got an email from Lisa over at Invisible Illness, asking for permission to reprint one of my blog posts on her site as a guest post.  To think that I wrote something in a way that made someone else want to share it, that’s a fabulous feeling!  My guest post will be here on November 10th, and I am so thrilled!

I’m having a wonderful journey so far, and I’m looking forward to the road ahead.  Thanks for joining me, audience – hypothetical and real, both!

I forgot to write about this in my last post…  I was doing a search on “emotional support dogs in BC”, and the first result of the search was my very own blog!  (Well, okay, a link to “blogs about psychiatrists”, and mine was the first listed.  Never mind.)

How flattering!  I am so stoked that my blog comes up in searches!  And that there are actually people out there that read it sometimes!  I totally didn’t expect to have any readers, so thank you all for dropping by!

(When I decided to start a blog, I had two purposes.  One, writing regularly.  It’s the first rule of writing, I think, that one should write everyday.  Having a forum where someone might read what I’ve written seemed like a good motivator.  And two, getting over my fear that someone will read what I’ve written.  I know, contradictory, natch?  But I am terrified of people reading my writing, and then <GASP> having an opinion about it!  Particularly if they don’t like it.  I know I have to get over this fear, and again, the blog seemed to be a good way to get there.)

Thanks again for reading!  🙂

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