About Me · Balance · Creativity · Thrift · Writing

Let Creativity Abound: Creative Cross Training

Alright, as discussed in this post, things have been kinda crazy at the Sherwin house. In order to keep my creativity alive for my writing, and to keep my sanity, I have been doing LOTS of craft projects. Crafting, artwork, and other bits of creative pursuits help me to keep my brain active with creating, while taking a break from what I do with most of my time: writing.

It’s good to take a break from your writing. Your brain needs to flourish in other creative pursuits to keep your writing flame fresh and strong. You WILL experience writer’s block. You WILL get tired of reading your manuscript a hundred times. You WILL be able to get over it and still produce good work. There are many ways to do this, of course, but one way I  keep my creative power flowing is to craft, produce art, and engage in creative thinking.

Now, I’m not one of those people who thinks you need to take a break from your writing for weeks or anything. I write at least five days a week for a considerable amount of time. At night and on the weekends, though, I do other creative things. Some of my favorite crafting projects are: knitting, crocheting, painting, drawing, digital art, and DIY house projects. These hobbies help me to keep using my creative muscles even when I’m not writing. They help me create new thinking patterns, develop new skills, and produce fun pieces to give as gifts or keep around the house.

Not sure what your creative hobbies are? Try some new things! If you’ve never done yarn crafts before, check out knitting! If you don’t like to draw, try painting! Watch  movies and imagine the story going a different way. Read a book and come up with a different ending. Find little ways to keep feeding your creative fire. It will draw your attention away from your first love of writing, sure, but it will make your writing stronger when you return to it the next day//week//what have you.

Contrary to popular belief, talent isn’t the only important thing in being a writer or a creative mind. A lot of it has to do with devotion, dedication, and habitual practice. Writing is a creative endeavor. There is no getting around that. In order to be a better writer, you’ve got to have a stinkin’ HUGE creative muscle to flex. You reinforce this creative muscle by building it with constant writing practice and other creative pursuits. Think of it as “creative cross-training”.

Suggestions for Creative Cross Training:

1) Find three or four hobbies you love and delve into them!— It can take a while to find out what makes you tic in the creative sense, but it is well worth it. Creating is a part of your being and most likely, you feel compelled to produce your own work. Get a Pinterest account and try out different projects! Visit a craft store and take a class! Find a relative who does cool crafting projects and ask them to teach you!

2) Make Creative Cross Training a priority— Just like writing is a priority, other creative endeavors should be one, too! Maybe take one night a week for a fun craft or art project. It can do wonders for your well-being and your creativity! If you can make time for two nights, do it! You won’t regret it!

3) Don’t spend a fortune— Crafting doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you may even be able to do some projects for free! Some DIY crafts require only things from around your home. Others will have a minimal start-up cost. Find ways to be economical about your crafting. You certainly don’t want to spend too much and then feel bad about your hobby. Find creative ways to be creative without having to spend a lot of money. Again, Pinterest and other sites are great for this sort of thing.

4) Showcase your work or give things as gifts— Some of us are just too practical for our own good. One way we can rationalize our excessive creativity building is to showcase your work as household art or give away things you’ve made as gifts! For instance, I love to knit. I especially love to knit and give away my pieces as gifts. I made a sequined scarf for a friend last year and it was very special to her! People LOVE getting handmade things. It just lights people up inside.

5) View Creative Cross Training as Self-Care— There is a reason children and the elderly take an interest in creative endeavors. It is good for your soul. Crafting can expand your mind, heart, and spirit. It feels good to work with your hands on beautiful things. It can brighten your mood and help your body to relax. In other words, it keeps you YOUNG! Try it out!

I hope you enjoyed this post and that you’ll go out and try a new creative hobby! Trust me, it’s good for you. 😉

What sorts of Creative Cross Training do you like to take part in? Share, share, share! I’d love to hear! I’m always looking for new and fun crafting skills to learn!

 

~L.M. ❤

About Me · Balance · Thrift

Saving Money While Working From Home

Good Morning, all!

Since I’ve moved from day-jobbering to working full-time on my writing, editing, and Maiedae work, the Philosopher and I have had to rework the budget a bit. Until I publish my book (sometime soon!) we are living on a reduced, but livable income. In order to be kind to our budget, I have found some creative (and some, really healthy ways) to save money:

Examples

>>If you have it, cut out the cable//satellite TV.— My husband and I have never had either of these our entire married life, but we still love to watch movies. We have a Netflix subscription and HuluPlus, but no cable.

>>Cut out the data on your phone and use wireless devices instead.— My husband and I decided it was worth it to us to keep using “dumb” phones and just have personal media devices with wireless access (like an Android Galaxy, iPod touch, etc.)

>>Eat less meat.— I could never go vegan//vegetarian all the way because I have a soy and bean allergy, but in order to save $$ on groceries each week, I don’t always cook meals with meat in them. If I do cook with meat, I try to buy in bulk and freeze meats for later. This can help save a good bit, because meat is MUCH more expensive than using vegetables, cheeses, and grains for meals.

>>Cut out needless spending for items you can easily make at home.— For instance, did you know you can make your own laundry detergent for really, REALLY cheap? You can buy all the ingredients you need at Wal-Mart or another supermarket. I recommend this recipe. Because you can buy ALL of these ingredients for what it costs to buy 1 giant gallon of detergent, it is a huge money saver. The store-bought detergent will only last about 48 loads, whereas the ingredients for your own detergent will last MUCH longer.  Also, cooking spray, for example, can be made by mixing 1 part olive oil and 5 parts water in a misting spray bottle. There ya go! Homemade cleaners are the absolute EASIEST to make. Simply mix vinegar, essential oils of your choosing (most people like citrus), and a little bit of dish soap and you’ve got a mega-good cleaner for next to nothing. Also, things like dish towels can be knitted or crocheted. Dishwasher detergent can be easily made and just use vinegar as a rinse aid. Check out the interwebs! There are lots of eco-friendly, cheap solutions for many needed household items. I could go on forever with the things you can make at home for really cheap with maximum satisfaction on use!

>>Keep the lights off and the thermostat way up (or down depending on the season).— If you are not in a room, TURN THE LIGHTS OFF. This seems like a no-brainer, but it is one that can really save on the power bill. I actually keep all the lights off during the day unless I absolutely need it for cooking or something. There is plenty of natural light to be had outside. However, don’t open the blinds in summer unless you need light in that particular room. Keeping the blinds and drapes shut may make your house look like it came out of something written by Edgar Allan Poe, but it keeps your house cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Keep your fans on in summer. This can make you feel MUCH cooler than you actually are. In the winter, turn the switch on your fans that allow them to pull the air up. This can also save money. Keep your thermostat at 78 in the summer and 68 in the winter. I know that might be against some of your religions, but it will save a TON of money. If you get hot, wear less clothing. Get cold? Wear more! 🙂

>>Don’t buy bottled water unless you have a REALLY good reason.— Bottled water is wasteful and expensive, unless you have disgusting tap or well water. However, a cheap solution for that would be to buy a good water filter pitcher to keep in your fridge. Also, keep your own water bottles and refill them.

>>Unplug devices you aren’t currently using.— Most people don’t know that if you leave a phone charger plugged in, it still uses electricity! It may be a small amount, but if you have a whole house full of plugged in, but currently not in use, devices, you can be using a good bit of extra electricity. It can be eliminated by just unplugging the chargers, kitchen appliances, etc. until you are ready to use them.

>>Be a closet-shopper.— No, I don’t mean that you have a secret shopping addiction. I mean that you literally go “shopping” for clothes in your own closet. You may have a ton of clothes tucked away that you didn’t even remember you had! If you have items you love, keep them and WEAR THEM! If you have items you just hate and can’t imagine wearing, give them away! You don’t need as many clothes as you think you do. Besides, there are plenty of people out there who would be glad to have them. Donate gently used clothing to places like Goodwill or Salvation Army. For the ones that are falling apart or you think no self-respecting human being would wear, use them for dusting rags or other home crafts. 🙂 Don’t spend money on new clothes unless you literally have nothing else of the kind to wear.

>>Meal plan and grocery shop based on a list.— This can really be a budget saver. If you would just sit and plan out your meals for each week and then shop according to what you need for those plans, you’d be surprised how much extra spending you’d save yourself. Also, it cuts down on wasted food in the fridge or pantry.

That’s what I’ve got for the day, folks! How do you save money each month? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Thanks for stopping by,

L.M.