Posts tagged Writing
The Practice of Creativity
       

 

 

 

For creatives, honing your craft is of cardinal importance. This can exist in many forms, and the day, place, medium and amount of time you spend thinking creatively don't ever really matter; often it's enough to simply start something. Yet one of the hurdles that we frequently have to overcome is finding the time to carve out a few minutes, or even a few hours, in which to work on improving those skills. Today I'm going to share with you a few ways you can do just that.

1. Use daily prompts For me, the daily habit of using prompts is one of the most successful ways to enhance my own writing. On occasion I will use these prompts to inspire another creative outlet - I might focus on photography if I feel so inspired, for example - but invariably it is the act of putting pen to paper that utilises these ideas. And when I say pen to paper, I'm not using a euphemism for keyboard and screen; to produce my best work it is imperative that my hand starts to ache after the first five minutes, that what I'm writing in is my favourite new piece of stationery, and that I'm not constantly distracted by the chaos of technology.

2. Keep a journal This is a habit I am currently trying to focus on. Contrary to what many might believe, journalling isn't just about writing about what's happened that day and documenting any key moments, it's much more than those limiting boundaries suggest. Snippets from magazines, quotations you love, drawings that encompass your mood at that precise moment; journalling can provide the medium for all of these and more. What creatives are so good at is expressing an emotion or juncture in time, and journalling provides an opportunity to amalgamate all of your creative inspirations onto one page. What's not to love?

3. Blog Not particularly surprising, I suppose, so I won't say too much on this matter. What blogging has taught me, though, is that if you try to write as someone you're not, you will never sustain it. Stick true to your style and the rest will follow.

4. Turn it into a habit If there's one sure fire way to ensure I follow through on a goal, it's to turn it into a habit. Simply adding it to my never-ending to-do list means I can easily prioritise something other over the practice of creativity, and it will slide down my daily agenda to sit with other menial tasks. However, setting aside a precise time means that I have created that opportunity before I can come up with something else to trump it. My time is early, usually 6.30am after I've finished getting ready for work. With a cup of rosehip tea, I wander into the morning light capturing photographs of the world awakening. Sometimes I write. Sometimes I just sit and think. By 6.50am the rest of the house stirs and that moment flits from time, but I've had my time, and the day moves on.

How do you find the time to be creative? Do you have any other tips?

Dear You

Letter-Creative-Countryside

Dear you,

It's been a while since you've written a letter. It's been even longer since you've received one. Letters are powerful things; they make your heart soar as they flop through the letterbox, wondering who could be sending you something that isn't a bill, an advertising leaflet, or a frustrating 'Sorry We Missed You' card. It's heart-warming to realise that someone cares enough, in this technologically-focused society, to put pen to paper and pour their thoughts, feelings, ideas and musings out before you with openness and honesty.

You tried, a few times, to recapture the art of letter-writing. You even sent a few out once. But the effort, the very act of setting aside time for others - even with the kindest of folk - can sometimes be a struggle. Life gets in the way. Emails marked 'High Importance' need responding to within moments, dirty crockery that has graced your work surfaces for longer than it should have needs washing, clothes need putting away, the bills need paying... and so it goes on. There will always be an excuse. There will always be something you should be doing.

So it's time to stop. Stop trying to please everyone all the time. Stop trying to be the best at everything and instead focus on doing the best you can do with the time and tools available. Stop making excuses and start prioritising. Family. Friends. Love. Laughter. Without these, what's the point? Start being kinder and make time for others without watching the minutes tick by, anxiously contemplating when your to-do list is going to diminish. You need to realise that it never will, not now, not ever.

I don't really know where all this has come from. Sometimes you sit down and the words just appear on the page without you really realising their origins. Sometimes that's the best way.

This is the first letter, but not the last. Keep going.

Love me.

Blog Signature

Photo via Unsplash.

Eleanor CheethamLetter, Life, Writing
5 Simple Tips to Improve Your Blog Writing

Blogging is - for me at least - all about the writing. Don't get me wrong, I always try to take and choose beautiful images to accompany my posts, and some of them are very image-heavy, but really the reason I started blogging was to write more; to hone my writing skills. I am acutely aware, however, that many people fall into blogging for entirely different reasons: to document their lives; to be visually creative; to share with others - and often the writing can take a back seat. But really, it's easy.

5 simple tips improve blog writing

  1. Check carefully for general accuracy. Ensure you aren't missing any punctuation and also that you use the correct there/their/there, your/you're, to/too/two etc. Getting these wrong can be a real turn off for readers.
  2. Vary the length of your sentences. I use semi-colons and colons galore in order to vary my sentences but it's enough to simply write some long and some short ones. It sounds simple, but it's common to write a number of sentences of similar lengths without realising, and to a reader it can become stilted and dull to follow.
  3. Use an informal tone (generally). You might be able to personify every object you describe, or use a combination of six sophisticated adjectives, but if it sounds forced and formal, you'll put people off. Save this sort of language for more descriptive posts or personal writing.
  4. Use short paragraphs. When I'm reading a book, I'm all for an extended paragraph here and there, but my blog reading tends to take place during snatched moments of the day and sometimes (I admit) I avoid a post if it's just too lengthy. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and often posts with a serious tone lend themselves to lengthier content.
  5. Be honest and consistent. There's no point in writing a post that you're unsure about. It comes across this way to a reader, but also lends itself to inconsistencies and contradictions within the writing. Stick to what you know and enjoy to write about and this one will work itself out.

See? Really simple! Have you got any other basic blog writing tips you'd like to share?

Blog Signature P.S. For more inspiration, prompts and advice head over to my 'Writing' Pinterest board.

Follow Creative Countryside's board Writing on Pinterest.

A Life Cleanse

It's strange how obsessed with rejuvenation, regeneration and restyling we as a society have become. There's the post-Christmas cleanse come January, a pre-summer workout schedule to become beach-ready and a party season revamp as we progress through the final months of the year, and these cleansing phases come and go just like those last few pounds you want to lose. I'm as guilty as anyone of feeling the pressure, but what I want to consider today is if we're putting ourself through the right kind of cleansing.

What I mean by this is does that holiday regime matter so much if we have a toxic relationship that seems inescapable? Will a juicing detox make any difference if our job is making us stressed on a daily (if not hourly) basis? Rather than cleansing our bodies, perhaps we should also be taking a look at cleansing our lives.

For me, it's about getting rid of (cleansing if you will) the stress in my life. Stress is the silent assassin; the manifestation of emotions into physical symptoms is hard to twist your head around, but believe me it can be very real, and monumentally frustrating. It's a vicious cycle: the more you stress, the worse the symptoms become, the worse they become, the more you stress. Having a certain amount of stability in my life now, my own symptoms have reduced, but I'd like to get rid of the lingering after-thoughts of stress that cling on despite my best efforts.

Stress is not simple, but I'm told that dispersing it certainly can be, if you are resolved to succeed. I've heard of many instances where a complex concoction of actions and attitudes combine to rid the sufferer, but I've always found the most basic tips the most effective. Here's a few that have helped me cleanse along the way:

  • Go outside every day. Now of course I know you'll probably do this anyway, but I mean actually appreciate being outside; don't just walk from your front door to the car and think you're done for the day. When I was at university I made myself go out for a long walk every day during exam season and it was the best thing I could have done.
  • Drink a lot of water. This has never been an issue for me, but I promise it will make you feel invigorated and alive.
  • Hug someone. Anyone. Hug your partner, your friend, a family member; a hug with anyone will make a horrific day a little better.
  • Think: will this matter in 5 years? This little wonder of wisdom comes straight from my parents, and it really can help. If the answer is no, stop stressing immediately. If the answer is yes, write down how you might solve the issue. Which brings me to my final point...
  • Write. Having studied English at university before moving into an English-based career makes me slightly biased, I acknowledge that, but trust me on this one: it works.

Do you have any stress-busting tips to share?

The Lovely List

What a hectic week! So much so that The Lovely List has been delayed by a day, but I have blogging to blame (in a sense) as I attended my first blog meet up (!) on Saturday in Lincoln (more on that later in the week).

First off I'd like to introduce you to a new blog - The Frugal Cottage.  Nicola posts on frugal living and has tons of tips to use in your daily life to improve finances in a non-invasive way. My favourite post this week has got to be on how meal planning benefits your health and your wealth. Well worth checking out.

I always get tons of recipe inspiration from the blogs I read and really should get round to trying more out them out. This week I want to try spinach and feta pasties and caramelised onion and garlic fougasse. What about you?

Lovely happy lists here and here. Want to see my summer list?

hemingway quote

Why we write is an interesting concept. Do we write because we feel the urge to express our ideas and opinions? To simply get things down onto paper (or screen)? Do we write in order to exist? Find out what Bee thinks here.

What have you been up to this weekend? What plans do you have for the week ahead?

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P.S.

Want to see last week's lovely list? Have you seen my shopping list for summer?