Tag Archives: challenge

creativity and inspiration

You know that feeling when you start a new relationship and everything is exciting and fizzes and crackles and you can’t wait to spend time with that other person and you think about them all the time and keep smiling to yourself and feeling a little giddy? That’s how I’ve felt this past week. Only it’s not a new man (phew!) it’s a new creative avenue. I’m mad for drawing.

It all began with Twitter. Well, Twitter, and a chat with a really good friend.  You see, I was nervous about this illustration course I’d signed up to do and I thought I might procrastinate my way out of beginning it even before the course materials had arrived so, with the encouragement of this kick-ass friend of mine, I decided to throw myself in at the deep end and join in with an artistic project on Twitter.

A bit like how I felt about doing an illustration course!

A bit like how I felt about doing an illustration course!

It’s called #ShapeChallenge and is run by author and illustrator Sarah McIntyre (I love her books!). Every week day she tweets a shape and encourages anyone – people of all ages and abilities – to draw/paint/create something based on it. Everyone then tweets their creations and ‘likes’ and comments on each others pictures. It’s FAB.

I’ve joined in every day for the past week and, even better, my sons have joined in too! My older two love doing it and even their little brother sits beside them and earnestly scribbles on a piece of paper. I’ve loved watching how their brains interpret the shape and the different things they’ve come up with. It’s felt like such a positive thing to do together.

owl

Owl – by my six-year-old. The original shape was one of the wings.

submarine

‘The diver’ by my eight-year-old. The original shape made me think of a hat but this is much better!

The other people who’ve been taking part in Shape Challenge have all been so lovely and welcoming too. There are lots of ‘proper’ illustrators who do it but also plenty of children and people who just enjoy drawing. After I post our pictures for the day I always go through the feed and look at what everyone else has created – it’s hugely inspiring! Honestly, I’ve been feeling a bit high on it all!

I’ve also found the idea of drawing something and tweeting it immediately, really liberating. I think I could spend ages on a drawing and decide it’s no good but somehow, the process of this challenge – having the shape to work with and then the community to tweet it to – has allowed me to overcome the fear and doubt and just go for it. It’s also inspired me – just looking at a blank piece of paper can be intimidating, but put a little white shape (with a red dot in it) there instead and it’s amazing what your brain comes up with. I’m pretty sure that even in the space of a week, my ability has improved. I mean, ok, I’m not producing great works of art but I’ve surprised myself with how not-totally-shit it is.

howard the monster

The original shape is in the bottom corner. It took my boys a while to spot the shape in the drawing!

Even better, it’s filling me with more ideas for writing too, and making me think about ways of overcoming procrastination and blocks there. I set myself a writing challenge last week where I hoped to harness this same idea of doing something quickly and throwing it out there. Just like with drawing, it took away the stress and was really fun. I’m going to do more.

I know this is a very image-heavy post but I just want to add one final picture – in celebration of unusual plumage everywhere and because all stories need to be told. :)

Maud's unsual plumage

Be like Maud.

Writing Bubble

here’s hoping – #WhatImWriting

Tuesday! Time for #WhatImWriting!

snowy view

Snowy view. Just cos.

But… what AM I actually writing at the moment? I’m not sure what’s happened to this year – I started out January with various writing plans but none of them have really materialised. Somehow or other, illness or sluggishness or just general stuff has been tripping me up. As I said last week, I don’t want to beat myself up for this, life just gets in the way of writing goals sometimes, but I am keen to actually start achieving things again.

The writing challenges I’ve done over the past couple of weeks have given me a hint of that feeling I get when I’ve written something, and I really do want to get on with these picture book manuscripts now. Thankfully, things are finally settling down a bit in the Bubble household – the big boys are back at school and my husband is better so this week I have hopes that I might start making progress again.

I’ll need to concentrate though, so I think I’m going to to stay off the blog for the rest of the week *checks this week’s #theprompt… argh, it’s a tempting one!* as blogging seems to eat all my time at the moment. If I really knuckle down to my manuscripts though, who knows how far I’ll get – I’d love to have something to report next week!

Hmm, and that’s pretty much all I have to say for myself this Tuesday. Hope you all had restful half terms and are happily throwing yourselves in the direction of some writing this week.

Writing Bubble

A frisson

I’ve been feeling a bit creatively sluggish recently and in need of a new challenge to give me a bit of a kick up the bum. Luckily at exactly the right moment Nicola at Nikki Young Writes drew my attention to a creative writing exercise called “Ten to One”. The idea is to write a piece of micro fiction only fifty-five words long with a first sentence of ten words, a second of nine, a third of eight… and so on down to a final, one word sentence.

It was tricky but here’s what I wrote (NB I decided that hyphenated words count as separate words!):

Their eyes met the moment he walked into the room.
It was a seminar on eighteenth-century Russian architecture.
His striking architecture was far more stimulating though.
Her dropped pen rolled towards his feet.
Passing it back, their hands brushed.
Time stopped for an instant.
And then she remembered.
Affairs with students?
Not allowed.
Dammit.

 
Honestly, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it at all as I normally like to have room to be more expressive. It was quite a satisfying challenge to overcome and one I recommend as it really makes you think about the impact of your words. It’s interesting to see how you can tell a story in so few! Why not have a go yourself? Feel free to tweet me if you do, I’d love to read some!

Prose for Thought

Nikki Young Writes