Categories
creativity kindness

Feeling Uncreative

Taken in my own garden in North Wales of my little old cat Damson. Taken by myself Diane Woodrow
My cat in my backyard – June 2022

What do you do when you’re feeling uncreative?

I’ve got loads of books on my shelves on the subject. I’ve got loads of emails filed away. I’ve even got my own prompts I could work with. But when I’m feeling uncreative I “can’t be bothered”.

I’m wondering now if this post should be called “Can’t be bothered” because I was pondering writing this when I bumped into a dog walking acquaintance who started the conversation off saying about wanting to be motivated but ended it with “I know but I can’t be bothered.”

It seems to be a thing with lots of us at the moment – “can’t be bothered”. Is it covid, lockdowns, change, anxieties of this shifting world, getting older, or something else?

Sometimes it doesn’t matter what it is it is just an “is”. I don’t know why I’m feeling uncreative but I just am. It could be that I am feed up for not having any freelancing work to do, but lots in the pipeline – which really isn’t much help. It could be that the novel I’ve been plodding on with 1000 words a day has suddenly become a chore. And actually when I read back through it this isn’t just me being negative but I have lost all the depth of intrigue that I had in those beginning 10-20,000 words. It has gone stale and is starting to look like I’m just rushing to the end.

But actually I do do something when I am feeling uncreative and “can’t be bothered.”

I am kind to myself. I let myself be – not in that negative way but in a way that says “this is how I feel at the moment. It won’t last forever.” So the other morning I sat in the backyard with my book and enjoyed the cat looking at the flowers. Today I took myself for a long walk and coffee not for the benefit of finding something creative to write about but just to let the wind blow through my hair. I accepted that this is where I am at this moment in time. And as a friend used to say “These things will pass”.

By being kind to myself hopefully these feelings will pass, hopefully in a couple of days I’ll be able to look at my story again, in a bit I’ll be able to do more than read and play solitaire.

So my advise to anyone whether it is just a feeling of “mmuuuggghhh” or something deeper than this – be kind to yourself, accept this is how you are at this moment in time and know that “these things will pass”. Also don’t be afraid to tell others whether it is by talking or writing. As the old saying goes “a problem shared is a problem halved” and I think that doesn’t mean the person you tell has to help you sort it out but it is just about being open and honest about how you are at this moment in time.

Be bold, be brave and be honest.

Categories
freedom Inspiration writing

Aspirational Writing Group

Yesterday was my regular writing group that I run. I was a bit disappointed because only two ladies came – though this had led to me deciding to change venues and return to running the groups around my own table. My business name is Barefoot At The Kitchen Table so running it at home is probably where it is meant to be.

So I decided to make the most of the area around the centre I’ve been using and the lovely weather and sent my ladies outside to gather ideas for a poem along the lines of how I write poems. Note my PDF on this.

They went outside to get some notes and then I worried that they would get bored. Above are photos of my ladies engrossed in their writing and note taking. They came in reluctantly. They had enjoyed their 10-15 mins that they had had outside listening and looking. Mindfulness?? Maybe!

They both said how much they had needed this and then thank me. It gave me such joy to know that I had been instrumental in helping them have a lovely afternoon. It also reminded me why I run these groups. It isn’t to make loads of money but it is to encourage others to enjoy writing as I do and connect with each other and themselves.

Here is what I wrote from the afternoon too – dedicated to my two lovely writing ladies, Dot and Vivien. And also to those who usually come but didn’t make it.

Clinging, creeping ivy wraps round fence and post and thoughts

Trying to drag all down with the help of self-conscious chatter.

Yet the dappled leaves illuminate the lady writers

Unhindered they scratch and scribble away.

Lost in the moment as they soar

Creating freedom in their written words.

Categories
poems Self-Publish

Inspirations From Walking in North Wales

Front cover of my book of poems Inspirations from Walking in North Wales. Photograph from above Aber Falls taken by myself, Diane Woodrow
This is the front cover of my book of poems!

I decided to have a go at self-publishing last week. Man, it is hard work. It took about 20 hours to get the poems all collated, into a PDF, and uploaded on to Amazon’s print of demand page. It is now available on Inspirations From Walking in North Wales for £5 per copy. Though the book is longer than I expect but that is because I’m not good at checking sizes. I would be the person who bought a cheap chest of drawers on ebay only to discover that it was for a doll’s house!

I’m not a great fan of Amazon but, after doing a wee bit of research I decided this was the easiest way to get it out there. I do still need to sort out the e-book but even the support blogs I’ve been looking at say it is difficult.

So why did I decide to go for self-publishing? Those who know me will know I am a bit snobbishly anti-self-publishing. But this weekend coming I am part of the Jubilee Arts Festival Abergele/Gŵyl Gelfyddydol y Jiwbilî Abergele. When the organisers first told me about it they asked if I’d be willing to read some poetry and it was whilst planning that the idea came to me to sort out a book that I could then sell. I am now running a writing workshop instead of reading poetry, which is great but the book is done.

I must say I am very proud of it and I would recommend anyone to do it. It is free to put together – just taking up my time – and I can purchase ones at author’s rates. But because I left it so close to the festival to sort I have had to buy a full price copy so I can have something to show for it. But others are on the way. And I’ve also put together a flyer to share.

I have gone from being anti-self-publishing to now being a bit more pro it. I have a great sense of satisfaction for now seeing my poems with the photographs I took with them [some of which can also be found on My Writing page] in a proper book.

I love The Little Yellow Boat as I would my first born but that was a collaboration and a bit scary because I wanted to get it right for the illustrator too. But then also I think I’ve had a bit more healing of issues to do with success and things like that which probably helps. With Inspirations From Walking in North Wales I feel a bit more confident, a bit more assured, and also dead proud that I have done this on my own.

So from being a “don’t do it” I would say “give it a go” and see what your work looks like in print.

Categories
poem Prompts writing

Everyday words April prompts – 6th and 7th

Amazing colours and frosts looking over a local park in Abergele, Conwy taken by Diane Woodrow
Picture of my local park April 2022

So I am steadily getting further and further behind with these prompts and loving them more and more. These two clash, contradict and I think compliment each other. One is based on the horrors unfolding in Ukraine and other other was written Easter Saturday morning whilst we were staying in our friend’s house.

So this one from Day 6 was inspired by Laurie Wagner’s poem Things I Didn’t Know I Loved For me this has an even more poignant feel after I’ve read the Joel News report from Ukraine. Joel News’ remit is to show the good news that is happening in the world, to show where God is moving. And yet this week’s one talks of the awfulness of the war in Ukraine and of the coming global famine. It makes one ask “Where is God in all this?” But also one of the things I’ve learned with QEC is that to keep aligned and not get into high stress I need to be grateful. So really this poem is about what I realised I was grateful for and often take for granted. I’ve also called it Things I Didn’t Know I Loved.

This next one from Day 7 comes from a poem by Catherine Smith called Hero, about a bus driver really. But one of the prompts was ‘Where would you go to if a bus driver would take you absolutely anywhere?’. I did the prompt whilst we were staying down south visiting mothers and friends. It was a busy weekend and I was up early with the dog sitting in our friend’s conservatory enjoying some time out – something that I realise I do need to add to my “Things I didn’t know I loved” poem. So here is “Where would I go if I could go anywhere?” This one also comes with photos of the view I had.

As Brits we can have a perchance for moaning about what we do not have. Sometimes it is good to remind ourselves what we do have, but also then to remember to pray for those who do not have. We must never get smug and complacent, but I think that by being grateful one can learn to not be complacent and also to pray others can have what we too often take for granted.