Tag Archives: positive thinking

art and healing

sheep-at-sunriseSo, phew, how are we all doing then? What’s that you say? Am I still enraged, horrified and saddened? I know, I know, my recent posts have been fairly emotionally-outpoury and heavy haven’t they?

Well…

In answer to your question – yes and no. Yes, because that’s my honest and human reaction to what’s going on in the world at the moment… and no, because if I stayed permanently in that state I’d lose the plot. I’ve actually had some lovely times recently: mornings and afternoons and lunches and dinners and drinks with friends that have fed my soul and given me a huge boost in the happiness stakes. If there’s one big positive to come out of this awful year it’s been those friendships that have grown and strengthened in the face of everything or simply remained resolutely fantastic. They’re better than the cosiest, warmest, fluffiest blanket in front of the crackliest, brightest, toastiest fire with the biggest, crumbliest most delicious plate of mince pies, my friends are. And all the chocolate in the world – they’re better than that too.

So yes, as I write this, I’m feeling calmer than I’ve felt in weeks.

But I have been thinking about those feelings of outrage and horror and the proper place for them. Because I don’t think such feelings can be dismissed – not when they are legitimate and not when people’s rights, freedoms and even lives are at risk (or worse). However, they’re also not something that should be used to further negativity or hate or violence – I think they need to be used to combat those things. Channelled in the right way, I think horror and outrage can be powerful and positive.

I’ve read loads of articles recently about positive actions that can be taken by people feeling shocked or sad or powerless. There are many different options, whether its volunteering or donating or speaking out or up for others or peacefully protesting or being a friend – the list goes on. And I think we each need to pick the course of action that works for us – the action that will heal us and hopefully help others.

For me, I’ve decided that the way forward is art. I read a blog post earlier this year by Chuck Wendig called ‘It is art that will help us survive‘ (read it as long as you don’t mind sweariness). In it he talks about how art – in its many forms – can soothe and heal but also excite and agitate, how it can help us understand ourselves and each other. How art can lift us up and, by sharing it, lift others up too. And how it can bond people across all sorts of personal and political and cultural divides. So, while it might seem a bit, I dunno, ‘fluffy’ in these troubled times, it just isn’t.

An artist friend and I had a big chat about this the other night and we’ve come up with a plan. It’s about creating art and sharing art and hopefully creating opportunities for others to do so too. It’s about being able to respond to events that upset us in ways that create empathy and promote feelings of togetherness and hope. And it’s also (if all goes to plan) about helping causes close to our hearts: making sense of the world while having a genuine positive impact.

It’s only a little idea – it’s not flashy or bold. But I think – we both think – it can make a difference. That it can channel outrage into healing.

And that’s just what we need right now.

Writing Bubble

ten ways to overcome rejection – #WhatImWriting

Chrissie is hosting ‘What I’m Writing’ this week so if you’re looking to link up please head over to Muddled Manuscript – thanks!
tryptich 5Rejection. *Sigh.* It’s no fun is it? No fun at all. Nope.

But writers have to accept and expect rejection and not let it get us down. So I thought I’d share what I’ve learnt. Here are my:

Ten Top Tips For Getting Over (Writing) Rejections.

1. Your work has been rejected? Congratulations! This means you are officially a writer! You see, writers get rejected all the time. One of the first pieces of knowledge I ever absorbed about writing-as-a-career was ‘expect rejection – lots of it.’ So yeah: I write + one of my submissions has been rejected = I am a writer. Ace. Badge of honour, that. Hold your head high, my friend.

2. Music. Music heals the soul. For me it’s Nat King Cole. I’m writing this in December but even if it’s not December when I listen to him sing, it FEELS like Christmas in the very best way. Crap day? Put Nat King Cole on and all’s well with the world. Play your songs, people, play your songs.

3. Remember, it’s just one person’s opinion of one thing you wrote. It’s not what everyone thinks. It doesn’t mean you’re wrong/crap/talentless it just means that one person said no. To one thing. ONE THING. ONE PERSON. Since when did one person’s opinion of one thing matter so much to you? Exactly.

4. Some distractingly good telly. I would say ‘read a book’ but you might be feeling sensitive about the written word at the moment so lets look at the good old goggle-box instead. Comedy is good. I’m a ‘Parks and Recreation’ fan right now although we’re also rediscovering ‘Kath and Kim’ which is awesome. Or there’s always ‘The West Wing': Brilliant, funny, intelligent and the characters love each other in a way that warms the heart. Heart warming is good for combatting rejection, I find.

5. Mulled wine. Ahhhhh. My husband bought some mulling, spicy syrup thing that you add to red wine and heat up. I’m drinking a mug of it as I type this. By ‘eck it’s strong (so strong my Yorkshire roots are starting to assert themselves). It’s already gone to my knees (don’t know about you but alcohol always affects my knees first) and is gently worming it’s way round my brain as we speak. Rejection? Pah. Yum. Tee hee.

6. Children, family, friends – they still think you’re amazing. They still believe in you. If someone rejected something one of them wrote, what would you say to them? Say it to yourself. You know you’re right.

7. The natural world. It’s vast and stunning and puts everything into perspective. Go for a walk, breathe some fresh air, look at a lovely view or some beautiful old trees. Feel the disapointment melt into ‘meh’.

8. A really good satsuma. Not a euphemism – I really do love citrus fruit.

9. A really good satsuma. A euphemism. (sorry – husband poured me a second mug of wine – I really am quite drunk now.)

10. Look… I mean listen… I mean read… read this. YOU ARE A WRITER AND YOU CAN WRITE.  Carry on writing, carry on submitting and you will get there. YOU WILL.

I’ve drunk too much mulled wine to continue now. Over and out.

Muddled Manuscript

the advantages of sleep deprivation (for writers)

THE WHAT?!! THE ADVANTAGES OF SLEEP DEPRIVATION?!!! THE ADVANTAGES?!!!

I know, I know. As a self-confessed sleep enthusiast, the title of this post seems wrong to me too. But listen, for writers and bloggers, I’ve decided there are some advantages.

True, this may be because I’m too sleep-deprived to see sense, or perhaps I’m just desperate to put a positive spin on the situation I’ve found myself in over the past twenty months (and on and off for the past seven years) but whatever it is, here are my:

6 reasons why sleep deprivation is useful for writers

1) It’s a source of inspiration – can’t think what to write about? How about a poem or post on how awful sleep deprivation is making you feel (and look!)? Or you could write about the specific reason you were up for most of the night? You could even make it into something to laugh (dryly) about like this version of my favourite christmas carol.

2) The middle of the night is actually a time when inspiration can strike and allow you to suddenly overcome that block you were facing earlier on. Your brain might be muddled and gloopy but sometimes when it’s looking for something, anything, more interesting to concentrate on than saying ‘shhhhhh’ it comes up with a new idea.  I once thought up a whole new subplot for my book while crouching desperately in the dark near a cot.

3) It’s extra hours you wouldn’t normally use. I’m sure I’m not the only one who struggles to find enough time to write when juggling kids, work and life in general but, even so, I would never willingly use the hours between 3 – 5am to get anything done. Just no. However, if I have to be awake then I may as well use the time creatively. For a total pro in this department, check out Reneé who even stays awake to write AFTER the baby has finally gone back to sleep!)

4) It’s good practice for life as a writer. Ever found yourself slumped over the kitchen table staring at a kettle, willing it to pour you a cup of tea because you’re just too tired to move? But even though you CAN’T move, you have to anyway (and usually to do something more urgent than tea-making too)? It’s the same with writing – sometimes you have to force yourself through periods where you Just. Can’t. Do. It. Surmounting the seemingly insurmountable is an endlessly useful skill (for life in general actually). Coping with sleep deprivation is like bootcamp for the soul.

5) Sleep-deprivation induced hallucinations can be creative. WHAT IS THAT WEIRD THING FLOATING IN THE CORNER OVER THERE?! Oh, it’s nothing, just my eyes aren’t working properly… hang on maybe I could write a story about a weird thing floating in a corner…

6) It’s motivational! One day you will sleep again and you will have so much more energy that you can write far more. Imagine what you will be able to achieve! You’re doing great! Woo hoo!

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Convinced? Well, I did my best. Now I’m off to see if I can squeeze in a quick (two minute) nap…
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