Posted in A Writer's Life, better life, better writing, creativity, inspiration, The Writer's Toolbox, writing, writing better

A New Way of Writing: The Magic of Inspired Action

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Have you ever been here? You look at your desk, and it’s piled high with unfinished projects. You also have a notebook of projects ideas you haven’t even started, but really want to. But the frustration eating at you to complete something doesn’t really give you freedom to tackle… One. More. Thing. *heavy sigh*

That’s how I used to be, until recently. Not that long ago, I realized something. I realized I had other loves other than writing. And that I worked better when I wasn’t solely focused just on writing. Instead of being stuck with one project, and only that project until it was completed, I began to mix things up.

One day, I’d work on book cover art. Another day, I might edit. And maybe a few days, I’d actually sit down to write. Some days, I even managed to do a little of everything. It’s a far cry from the old days.

I remember the days when I would work on my novel Blood Feud for weeks, months at a time, and I would not allow myself to do anything else. If I was writing, that was what I would work on, even if I didn’t feel like it. I eventually finished the book by sheer will alone, but I was exhausted and completely burned myself out of writing for a long time. Getting that book completed and published was not worth the price I paid.

Now, many writers say that’s how you get novels written. You put your butt in the seat, and you write, even if you don’t feel like it. And yes, eventually the faucet does turn on, but it feels like pulling teeth to get there. It’s damn uncomfortable, and for me, not productive considering how much time I spent just trying get myself in the mindset to write.

I have found a better way. It’s by working through inspired action. I don’t act, until I feel inspired to act. In working this way, my productivity has sky rocketed.

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Posted in creativity, journaling, networking

Todd Cumpston’s Journaling Journey: Sketching

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A few years ago a friend and I went to Manassas, Virginia for a weekend getaway. Part of this getaway was to meetup with some of her sketching friends at a neat little coffee shop downtown. This is when I met Todd Cumpston and several other really awesome people. I was in awe of the work these people where doing, and while I did some sketching of my own, I mostly enjoyed watching what they were doing. It was a really great time, but most importantly, I walked away from that gathering with a new appreciation for how other people journal.

Recently, I contacted Todd and asked him to share a little bit about his sketching. He even agreed to send some pictures to show his amazing work. I hope his words and work will inspire you as much as it has me. So let’s get right into the interview and see what Todd has to say about his sketching journey.

Todd, I asked you specifically to talk about your sketching because I wanted to let people know that there are different kinds of journaling, and that sketching definitely fits that category. So let’s talk a little about your sketching experience.

How long have you been sketching?

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Well, I’ve drawn my whole life, but I’ve been “officially” keeping sketchbooks since 2012.

What caused you to first start sketching?

As a visual thinker, it helps me process my life. I remember things much better if I sketch them- even better than if I have a photograph of the same scene. 

What kinds of sketching do you do, and do you have a favorite way to sketch?

The style of sketching I do is called URBAN SKETCHING. It is an online community of sketchers, and the goal stated in its “manifesto”  is to depict the ENERGY and SPACE of a location from life, to share the work online and to meet up and encourage each other sketchers in person. Wherever I am, wherever I go, there is a subject in front of me.

I start with pen and ink line work, and then add color selectively- to draw attention to the focus of the sketch. More recently, I have also started adding some text and framework/borders to some sketches, to add context as needed. I have even pasted things onto a sketch (receipts or tickets).

 I post all of my sketches on Instagram (@toddpop1) and Tumblr (toddpop1.tumblr.com).

Do you sketch every day? And for how long do you have a typical sketching session?

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Posted in better writing, Boosting Creativity, build confidence as a writer, creative writing, creativity, creativity blues, finding the muse, finding the right words, finishing stories, good writing, great writing, how to write, inspiration, learning to write, love of writing, sparking creativity, the art of writing, the creative process, The Writer's Toolbox, the writing journey, the writing process, write, writing, writing advice, writing better

Creating Opportunities to be More Creative

As a writer, being a creative person is a pretty big deal. We pride ourselves on how creative we are and yet there are times when we feel we just aren’t creative enough. It’s sort of a Ping-Pong match between the two. Some days it’s one, and a whole lot of other days, it’s the other. There have been quite a few times when I personally felt like I lost the game all together. Many times I found myself asking “Am I creative enough to be a writer?” or “What can I do to be more creative?”. In the end though, maybe it’s more of a question of how can we be the right amount of creative to accomplish our goals?

I want to tell you a story. Something that happened to me over the last few years that changed my life forever (causing me to abandon my blog for awhile too––sorry!) and made me see things in a little different light, especially concerning the way creativity works.

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Posted in A Writer's Life, creativity, free writing, inspiration, inspirational, the creative process, The Writer's Toolbox, the writing journey, the writing process

The Journey of a Creative Life

It amazes me. Life. The journey we take. It takes surprising turns and we end up in locations we never thought possible. We have these big ideas of where we want to go. Sometimes we get there and we don’t even know it, because we get so wrapped up in all the craziness that is our life. Sometimes we don’t get there, but we arrived in a place that’s just as good or even better. And we think, “Wow, how did I get here?”

Living a creative life isn’t easy in this world of constant distractions and doubt. We wonder if what we are doing is right. We wonder if we should do this or do that. We fear what others might think if they find out exactly what we want or exactly how we think. We fear judgement and scorn. We fear failure. We fear success. We fear doing the wrong thing.

But even with all this tumbling in the back of our minds, we still feel the need to live our life the way we want to. That pull. That desire to just be us. It’s not just enough to live. We want to live a creative life. We want to be expressive. We want to experiment. We want to try new things. We want to do more than what we are doing. We want to be more than what we are, or maybe just a better version.

We also worry about how much we are getting done. Is our life where it should be? Shouldn’t we be doing more? Shouldn’t we be farther along than we are?

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Posted in Boosting Creativity, creativity, inspiration, the creative process, The Writer's Toolbox, the writing journey, writing, writing exercise

Writing Exercise: Blue Moon

MC900441149Why are writing exercises are so important? How often should you do writing exercises? Where do you look to find writing exercises?

First, I want to say that I love to write, but it doesn’t come without inspiration and a lot of hard work. Sometimes a writer has to write without inspiration to get the job done, but eventually writers do need to be re-inspired to find that spark of creativity that caused them to write in the first place. A great way to rediscover that spark is through writing exercises.

Every writer is different. Some writers need the jolt of a writing exercise every day before they begin writing. Others just need the help when beginning new projects or to come up with new project ideas. And there are others (like me) who only use writing exercises every once in a blue moon to take a break from regular writing so to relight the candle of creativity inside.

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