Posted in guest post, learning about writing, tips, writing, writing advice, writing in difficult times, writing tips

Guest Post: 5 Tips to Keep Writing Through Difficult Times

Image from Pixabay

By Rachel Weatherley

“Unbroken happiness is a bore: life should have ups and downs,” notes Richard, one of the protagonists of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun. Paraphrasing Molière here, Richard is a writer working in 1960s Nigeria, frustrated by his inability to finish a manuscript during a time of major social upheaval. Faced with COVID-19 and its accompanying challenges, reading this passage reminded me that we should at least try to maintain some optimism at this time. Difficult times are an enduring feature of life, which we must embrace and adapt to the best we can.

Of course, this is no mean feat. In times of unprecedented personal and collective difficulty, turning away from the world to start writing a book can feel insular and indulgent. Even with the best intentions, adapting to new challenges, and keeping on top of day-to-day life, can distract us from the writing projects we would otherwise love to focus on. 

Preventing that temporary distraction from turning into long-term disillusionment is a task in itself—I hope the following tips can keep you engaged, focused and productive!

1. Reorganise and refresh your work space

As cafes and libraries close their doors, and I find myself staring at the same blank wall every day, Janet Jackson’s lyrics ring ever truer—you really don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. This new monotony hasn’t exactly been conducive to getting words on the page—but it did get me thinking about how I could adapt my environment to make it a more inspiring and energising workspace. 

Perhaps counterintuitively, I need a workplace with distraction. In my university room, I had a busy and colorful wall covered in all sorts of adornments: postcards, letters, photographs and posters—the more eclectic the better. This wall was the next best thing to a change of scenery: it reminded me of happier times, took me to faraway places, and often served as inspiration when I was stuck for ideas.

2. Consider work that will aid your writing 

Every writer worth their salt knows that a significant amount of research and thinking time goes into producing the shiny finished product. So if you’re suffering from a case of writer’s block, you can still make productive use of your time with the following tips:

• Scour blogs like Reddit, home to thousands of illuminating threads where people share anecdotes, experiences, feelings and opinions, ranging from the poignant to the hilarious.

• Call a friend and ask if they have any opinions or feelings about a certain subject. You could even work together and bounce ideas off each other.

• Watch documentaries and video clips that pad out the factual details and context of your work.

This will provide some respite from typing, and maybe even a spark of inspiration for the next stage of your story. Inspiration is found in the most unexpected of places—so get creative with your free time!

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Posted in artistic, blog, blog series, Celebrating the Journey Of, creativity, inspirational, the creative process

Celebrating the Journey Of Nature Bound Design Co

One of the things that I have loved doing in the past on my blog is author interviews for books or series I have read. I’ve decided that I want to broaden that concept and start doing interviews for other people too. There are so many wonderfully talented individuals out there, and I want to celebrate at least some of them on my blog.

So I’ve created this new blog series that I hope to post on at least several times a month, celebrating the journeys of some interesting people I either know, or happen to meet along my own journey.

I’m going to get the ball rolling with Sophia who I met through this blog. She has a business creating handmade jewelry. I saw her products and decided I had to know more about her and her business. So I’m going to hand this over to Sophia, so she can tell you more about her journey.

I love your jewelry designs. I’m curious to know more about your business Nature Bound Design Co. Can you tell us how you got started?

I really got started through my love for nature and the outdoors.  I was born in Germany, and I was always out and about there, exploring the beautiful forests and natural areas that my part of that country had to offer.  Sometimes my family would go on long hikes as a group, and sometimes I would just spend time in the woods near my house.  I was lucky enough to live at the end of a road that terminated near a large forest, so there was plenty of nature to explore right in my backyard!  From that exploration grew a love of natural materials, like stones.

I have always been a creative type. From building things to painting and creating music, I have always felt an overwhelming urge to create. One day, I was exploring YouTube and noticed someone creating jewelry from polymer clay pieces that looked like colorful stones.  I gave this a try myself, but I found that I didn’t like the non-authentic nature of the clay or the way it smelled when baking. So I decided to try to create with the real stones that I had adored since I was young. 

Wire wrapping seemed to be one of the most popular ways to approach this, so I started devouring YouTube videos about how to wire wrap stones.  After much practice, I got good enough to feel comfortable opening an Etsy shop to sell what I had created.  Close friends were my first customers and support, and I am so thankful that they provided me a foundation to get started!

Tell us a little more about the products you make?

I create mostly wired wrapped jewelry, although I do some beaded pieces that are strung together without any kind of wirework. My hope is to start doing some projects with leather this year, since I just launched a men’s line, so I will be offering woven pieces soon as well!

What makes jewelry making so special to you?

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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, the writing process, writing exercise

Writing Exercise: The Peacock’s Friend

peacockI always love doing exercises. Sometimes I do them based off photographs. Sometimes I do them based off phrases or a series of words. I thought I would do something a little different and try an exercise based off an image and random words. Here’s an image I found at Office.Mircrosoft.com. I then picked up a random book and flipped through it picking words until I had six random words; happy, shape, wasp, friend, object, and dead. Now I was ready to be inspired. Here’s what I ended up with.

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