Creativity Goals 2020

In 2019 I started on a journey of pursuing a more creative life. There is some much information out there and so many different ways to take it in that I needed something to offset the deluge and that gave me the time to process and absorb things. It was also a way to make the things I care about a priority. I purposefully sought out inspiration and tried things that interested me but also scared me a little. Something other than reading, which I still adore most of all.

I wanted these creative endeavours to be about the process. To be an outlet. A nod to self-care. I have my writing, my primary creative focus and something I take seriously, and I needed this to be different, to feel different, to be about something else.

My goal was to cultivate a consistent daily dose of creativity. I wanted to learn some new things, but more than that, I wanted to create the habit of, well…creativity. I wanted to focus on the journey and not label my efforts as successes or failures. I wanted to have fun and to embrace the mess and my mistakes. I wanted to play and experiment and learn how to shift my focus when I felt stuck on something in my writing, or everyday life.

I started small. I went to a big box craft store and bought a palette of watercolour paints for seven dollars. I picked up some cheap brushes to go with it. I started to experiment. I didn’t know what I was doing but I studiously ignored the rather loud voice in my head that told me to wait until I did, that suggested I should hit the pause button until I was better prepared to start. I ignored that voice. I went for it. All last year was about ignoring that voice. I also posted my efforts on Instagram and I continue to do so even if they’re not perfect – which they never are, at least to my eyes.

Then I stepped all the way out of my comfort zone and I took an Adult Art Sampler class, geared towards beginners or anyone interested in experimenting with new techniques. I tried alcohol inks, pottery (on an actual wheel), charcoal sketching, and printmaking. I took a modern calligraphy workshop. I watched YouTube videos on watercolour techniques. I found artists I favoured to follow on social media. I tried cross stitch.

But I didn’t limit my forays in creativity to the visual arts. I bought an ice cream maker and made the most incredible salted caramel ice cream (after my first attempt at the custard base curdled) and then baked the worst chocolate brownies ever to accompany it. I’m learning how to make bread. I made a pie from scratch. I’ve always planted the same flowers in the same pots. This past season I experimented. Full disclosure, that experiment was not a success. I planted the wrong plants in the wrong spots, and in the wrong kind of groupings. Not everything is going to work out.

I’ve never thought of myself as much of an artist. In the back of my mind, I still don’t. After all, it’s just doodles or a loaf of bread. But I’m creating. I’m learning. I’m expanding my mind. And for someone who struggles with anxiety, it’s also a way to be more mindful, to live in the present.

If you’re looking to add some creativity into your life and for inspiration, I love Lindsey Bugbee’s blog post The Postman’s KnockFive Creative Goals for 2018 – on setting creative goals.

What I’m reading: Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

What I’m listening to: Seize The Fire by Laura Kinsale

Until next time…

What are your favourite creative pursuits? Or what are your hobbies, in general?

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M Is For Must Have Writing Tools #atozchallenge

M Is For Must Have Writing Tools

At least for me!

A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2016

My Top Five Writing Tools

Scrivener. A writing program geared towards organizing long documents. Ideal for first drafts of books. That’s what I primarily use it for, writing the first draft. It allows me to write in a nonlinear fashion but still see at a glance where I am. I did take a class to help me make the most use of it and I’m glad I did. Scrivener Classes given by Gwen Hernandez was very helpful. A very low maintenance course with great information.

Karyn Good

The Synonym Finder by J.I. Rodale. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Words, words, and more words.

The Synonym Finder by J.I. Rodale

A journal. And pretty pens. Some place to jot down and keep track of ideas. I’ve recently started bullet journaling and find it very helpful for keeping track of tasks, notes, questions, etc. I’m also a fan of colour and colour-coding which makes coloured pens essential.

My Journal

Music. Some days to get any writing done I have to turn off the noise in my head first. In go the earbuds and then the music comes on. Having music playing quiets the other noises in my head.

Music Playlist

And there you have it! My list of essential writing tools. What are some of your essentials?

Find out what other bloggers are saying here.

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A Is For Adventure #atozchallenge

The A To Z April Blogging Challenge: A Is For Adventure

A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2016It’s April 1st and that means it’s the start of my adventure. It’s a 26 day event known as the A to Z April Blogging Challenge. I’ll be blogging every day except Sundays. I’m perfectly serious. That’s 26 times in April. The last time I did that was, well…never. Hopefully the joke won’t be on me.

A Is For Adventure

So this will be an Adventure for me. I don’t exactly thrive on being adventurous. By that I mean I have no desire to scale Mount Everest. Or any kind of mountain, really. Maybe a hike in the hills where it’s mostly flat on a designated trail. I know urban hiking! That’s for me. I like to write about other people having adventures. Or running for their lives. Or generally being in peril of some kind. While falling in love. Because meeting the right person and fight or flight go hand in hand, don’t they?

So, I settled on a theme for this blogging challenge that interested me. A subject on which I have strong opinions. But what is passion without a little attitude? Let the adventure begin!

2016 Blogging Theme

Now that you’re riveted to your seat (as I knew you would be) let me try and explain what any of this has to do with the word adventure. Which is to say this endeavour is more about stepping out of my comfort zone. It’s also about creativity. And facing my fears in regard to putting myself out there. I think that qualifies as adventurous, in a non-life-threatening kind of way. (You read that right, two hyphens. I looked it up).

I’m reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I don’t know about you but fear and doubt are constant companions of mine. Am I good enough? Creative enough? Talented enough? Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah.

“Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together…You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps; you’re not allowed to suggest detours; you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.”  Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

Tweet: Adventure, action, the need to act! That something deep inside me searching for the light.

That’s what this adventure is about for me. The chance to make new friends, to be informed, to learn, to be inspired, and to share my passion with the romance genre with you.

You can find other A to Z bloggers here.

A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2016

What “A” word resinates with you? What are you passionate about?

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Filling The Creative Well

Just back from a trip to Toronto, Canada to see my sister and the Adorables. I’ve not spent much time in Toronto and I can honestly say it was a marvelous place to visit. Especially the Riverdale area where they live. Artsy, trendy, and culturally diverse. And the people I met were so friendly and welcoming. It was wonderful to have a break and spend some time filling the creative well which felt much depleted.

Let’s face it, we all need to regroup sometimes. We need to do the things that foster the creative process and ignite the fire that fuels productivity.

Some highlights and ways I refilled my well.

Trip to the Art Galley of Ontario! My sister is an artist. I’m a writer. We’re creative people. I LOVED it! It was impossible to not be inspired.

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Because, oh my gosh, Emily Carr. Her modern style was ill-received at the beginning of the 19th century but she went on to become a Canadian icon and a leading modernist known for capturing the spirit of Canada, particularly the Pacific Northwest Coast. A sculpture by Henry Moore. It’s huge! The vision required to complete a project like this always amazes me. I was also amazed by Lawren S. Harris, a founding member of the the Group of Seven. Who was also a mentor to Emily Carr. Very austere and lacking in detail, his landscapes just pull you in and make you wonder.

The Royal Ontario Museum. This is a favourite of my nephews. Of course, we had to go. We only managed to see a fraction of the place. It’s immense. Which means I’ll have to go back and see more of it!

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The Rotunda! Magnificent and part of the Stair of Wonders. Which we went past on the way to Earth’s Treasures. A favourite of my nephews! Every rock, gem, and mineral known to humanity. A collection guaranteed to fascinate anyone. The ROM is currently showcasing a beautiful and vibrant Mexican textiles exhibit. The blouse (not the proper name, my apologies) was embroidered by an award-winning artist, who’s name I didn’t write down, but the the flawless detail is exordinary. I can only imagine the length of time required to create such a piece. And finally a Tiffany lamp, which is about as close to a Tiffany anything as I’m likely to get, found in the Evolution of Style section.

That’s only a couple of the things that helped me feel inspired. There were many, not the least of which was spending time with a most adored sister and my nephews!

What inspires you? How do you refill the creative well?

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Nanny McMuse

I’m always intrigued over discussions about creative muses. The names, the personalities, the sense of their effectiveness or the absence of them. I think it’s largely due to the sense that my own muse plays a more background role. I received a present from my sister some years ago, a miniature sculpture of a smallish doll with short strands of thread and yarn sparking out of her head. My sister said the strands represented ideas. She doesn’t have a name but I’ve always loved the notion of her and she sits patiently on my desk ever ready to encourage ideas. A symbol of creativity.

A comfort.

A guiding spirit or a source of inspiration according The Free Dictionary.com. I don’t think of my muse as in attendance or absent, but simply a lurking spirit with those ideas sparking out of her head, smiling, never naughty but always engaging. At least, that’s what comes to mind when I think of her at all.

Until I watched the movie Nanny McPhee. It struck me that she was a perfect representation of a creative muse.

“There is something you should understand about the way I work: When you need me, but do not want me, then I will stay. When you want me, but no longer need me, then I have to go.”  Nanny McPhee

There when you need her, reminding you of the necessity to keep writing no matter how hard times are but ready to back off and let you be your creative self when the juices are flowing. With her looks representing a troubled soul when times are tough, but softening as the person’s spirit eases and finds its way.

Muses are as individual and unique as the people that claim them. They have a will of their own. They plot, motivate, and inspire be they corporeal or ethereal. Whatever works.

What’s your idea of Muse? What do you think of mine?

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