About Me · Creativity · Other Loves · Writing

Other Loves: Hiking

I have been DYING to go hiking for the past month. So what’s stopping me? The HORRIBLE southern heat. It is not only nearly 100 degrees everyday, but grossly humid, too! On top of that, I’ve specifically been wanting to hike with the Philosopher and he’s just not into that sort of torture (referring to death-heat-hiking). However, I have BIG plans to hike it up once the temperatures cool down a bit. I adore getting out in the middle of the woods and listening to the sounds of nature. Hiking is definitely one of my “other loves”. 🙂 I have always loved wandering through trees and hills, observing flora and fauna as I go. I also love hiking, because it helps me to brainstorm. It fills up my creativity meter and helps me to write better stories.

Why? I’m not sure. The woods have always held a particular fascination with me and I always seem to come out of a hike with more ideas for my current stories than I did before I went in. I think it is the sense of  the fantastical that I get when I hike that has me addicted. When I’m in the woods, I always think I’m on the edge of Narnia or Middle Earth. It makes me feel as though I might step into another world at any moment. I believe the Celtic cultures called these sorts of places//feelings “Thin Places”–moments and points in space and time where the veil between worlds is so thin you can make it through to the other side if you have a mind to.

So, perhaps in a week or two, we’ll have some eighty degree weather and I’ll be able to get out in the woods again. I need to be near the Thin Places as I plan this next book. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

 

~L.M.

 

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. ❤

Writing

Getting in the Writing “Zone”

I woke up this morning feeling extremely groggy. My husband left for work a bit later than he usually does and because of that, I was a tad bit later in getting to my office to sit down for work. As well, I received a phone call  I needed to answer mid-morning while I was writing.  On top of that, my focus has been very dodgy this morning. Despite it all, though, I have miraculously gotten some good writing in and finished with my 2,000 words a full 30 minutes earlier than I normally do. What’s my secret? Getting in the writing “zone”.

Just as many writers experience writer’s block, most of us also have this special place we can go to in our minds where, despite all distractions, we manage to get some of the best writing done. I like to call this my “zone”. My mind can somehow summon up creativity, the correct pattern of words, and the appropriate plot points even if I have trouble focusing. How I get in this zone is a mystery even to me, but I have some ideas of how it happens.

*I listen to similar music each day. Right now, I’m on a “Skyrim OST” kick (AMAZING for all you gamer nerds out there). Other days, I might listen to Celtic harp music. These two things share similarities of sound, so it helps my brain say, “Alright, L.M., time to write.”

*I write in comfortable clothing. I actually “get ready” much later in the morning instead of right after I wake up. I stay in pajamas until about 10:00 (after I’ve finished my manuscript writing) and then I take a shower and get ready. This keeps me feeling 100% comfortable while I’m writing. I think it helps my brain to feel warm and active.

*I keep my body hydrated. I drink a TON of water. It keeps my body functioning properly and it also helps the brain to perform the functions it should with optimum efficiency (the brain is something like 70-90% water!)

*I have a specific atmosphere in which I get amazing writing done. That can be different for all of us, but for me, I love low lighting, candle(s) burning, a fan blowing, and good music in the background.

*I put on my special robe. Yes, sounds weird, right? But in all seriousness, I have this fantastic, fluffy blue robe that I put on every morning before I write. It is like a magical robe! Okay, not really, but you get the idea.

I would probably feel comfortable assuming that most writers out there are creatures of habit. I think most of us probably have our weird, strange quirks in order to get our best work done. Just like professional athletes have strange “rituals” they do before games or tournaments, I think most writers develop their own daily rituals to get themselves in the mindset of creating and telling stories.

What do YOU do to get yourself in the writing “zone”, even if you have distractions in your life? I’d love to hear! Share a comment!

~Thanks for stopping by,

 

L.M.