Posted in My Planet, Writing Tips and Techniques

How to Write When You’re not Inspired – Part 1

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”

                                                                                  Richard Bach

 

I used to think that I had to feel inspired to write before I could start. Consequently, I missed on important time practising my craft. This frame of mind resulted in all the great pieces I never wrote, the book of poems I never published, the play that could have been produced, the novel I could be about to finish.

Creative Notebook

It helps a lot to keep a creative notebook. Whenever an idea pop out, just write it down. If you hear a funny line somewhere, on a film, someone passing by, one of your kids, a friend, your wife, your husband, just write it down. A weird dream. Something in the news. You never know what brilliant and wonderful ideas might sprout from everyday mundane life. You can write it down, or you can cut a word, an article or even an image from a magazine and glue it to the pages. One day, it will pay off.

Don’t get too hung up on the word notebook, it could be a file on your smart phone, tablet or PC. I like notebooks, I keep a few, but recently I have started to use my smart phone, only because sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea and I might not remember it in the morning. Plus, I don’t always have my notebooks with me when I hear something funny or interesting, whereas my phone is almost always on me.

Three Things Exercise

I have a notebook where I do this exercise and I try to do it everyday, sometimes in the afternoon, sometimes in the evening, sometimes I start earlier and finish later. I like this exercise because it makes me aware of my five senses and it makes me look at the world in a more mindful way. It consists of a grid with six squares, one for each of the five traditional senses, plus one for a doodle. In each of the five senses I write 3 things I experienced on that day with that sense and in the last one I doodle something related to anything I write; a lot of the time it’s just a mug of coffee or a glass of wine, at least recently. Here’s an example of my pages:

img_20200502_130900061

This are my two first tips to help you write when you’re not inspired to write. I will be adding more next week. I hope these help and happy writing!

Posted in My Planet

Social Distancing – My Diary

I hope you’re all doing great during these hard times. I’ve been debating the idea of starting a social distancing diary. At first glance, there might not be much point, as every day tends to be much the same as the day before; but on the other hand, it might be interesting to note any self-reflection tendencies or changes in mood and family dynamics, for example. So, I decided to go for it.

Today is day 12 for me. At the moment we are all still talking to each other in our house. My husband has been working from home for a week now and my children have been at home since the beginning of this week. We’ve been quite good at staying out of each others’ ways, until this morning when there was a queue for the shower, only because Phil and I stayed in bed until a little later. But, we survived the clash without any casualties, I’m happy to report.

Books I’ve been reading

So far I finished the book I was reading, The Palace of Curiosities, by Rosie Garland and started Joyful, by Ingrid Fetell Lee. Or rather, I restarted Joyful, as I was reading it before my holidays, but interrupted it to read other things. The Palace of Curiosities is a very interesting love story, narrated alternately by the two main characters, Eve and Abel. I really got into it, it’s different from anything I’ve read before, Rosie said in an interview that she wanted to give a voice to these weird characters that we see in shows and circus, Eve is covered in fur and Abel is immortal. What I love about the story is that it is a lesson not only of inclusion and diversity but also of self love and self-acceptance. Really a good read. Joyful, is a different genre, more on the life style category. It’s about how to create a space and atmosphere conducive to happiness by using ordinary things. It’s very interesting to see the effect of colour and textures for example, can have in whole communities, amazing. I’m really trying to apply it to my life, I always loved colour and now I now why, it does have an uplifting effect in our lives.

Exercise

I am still motivated enough to exercise every morning for 10 minutes, first thing when I get up. I follow the exercise videos on YouTube, by Lucy Wyndham-Read. I’ve been doing a 10 Minutes Cardio Workout, but this morning I started 10 Minutes Inch Loss Workout as I felt like a change. I follow this with a stretch and later in the morning, normally before lunch, Phil and I go for a walk with the dog. We’ve been making these walks longer each day, firstly because we’ve had cake this week as a result of Romina’s spoils from Costa, but then because we just feel like it. The weather has been really nice for walks and we are fortunate enough to live in a quiet area where where we have fields for walks and rarely see other people. But when we cross with other people in the way, everyone seems to be mindful of social distancing, which is good to see when we see in the news how some people are being so irresponsible. Anyway, this morning we went for a long walk which including a little bit of a hill and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I never got out of breath. I’m much fitter than I was a month ago and the best thing is that I really look forward to my morning exercise routine and to these morning walks.

Morning Walk 27.3.20

Other Activities

This morning, I started an online course for my CDP, Mental Wellbeing in Children & Young People, on EduCare, this course has four modules, I completed module one today and will do some more tomorrow. There are other courses I want to do, but started with this one because it’s something I care about and always wanted to do. I was give a free package of 38 online courses at university a few weeks ago and now I will have time to do them all, or at least the ones I find relevant.

The last two days, I spend too much time trying to start another blog. I decided to start a Creative Writing blog, but it has proved a lot harder than I thought, much harder than when I started this one – things must have changed. Today I decided to take a break from that frustrating quest, but I will go back to it tomorrow. I’ve been watching YouTube tutorials, which they make it seem too easy, but when I do it, some of the features don’t work. I was getting quite frustrated yesterday, so I thought I better give it a break before losing my mind and go back to it in later; sometimes it’s just the best thing to do.

In the evening, I watch a bit of TV with Phil and I’ve been working on a blanket in crochet. I think I will donate this one to a local homeless charity, the same one I have donated some sleeping bags and blankets before. It’s a nice colourful blanket and I think it might brighten someone’s spirits while keeping them comfortable and warm. Depending on how long we’ll stay social distancing, I might have time to make more.

So, this is all I have for today. Tomorrow, I will come back with my day 13 entry.

 

 

Posted in My Planet

Why depression was the best thing that happened to me part II

This week I thought I’d develop the theme of why depression was the best thing that has happened to me. Because of the depression and anxiety, I had therapy for a long time during which I learned so much about myself, it was like I was reborn. However, I just want to make clear from the beginning of this post that this is not a linear process; I still have moments of struggle and days when I feel like a fraud and that everything I have to do requires the same amount of energy to launch a rocket into space. Lately though, most of the time I’m good.

My childhood was different from that of the other children I knew, including my siblings, as being the eldest more was required from me. My parents had a business and I had to help out from an early age, before school, after school and during the school holidays. So when most children were happy for school holidays, I always preferred the time spent in school, which for me was the equivalent to play time. My father always expected me to work in the business like an adult, he criticised every single action and every single mistake I made; nothing was ever good enough for him and he was never pleased with whatever I was doing. If all that wasn’t enough to make a little girl feel inadequate, he also loved to humiliate me in front of the customers and the other children that lived on our street and were always playing out. When I was growing up in the 70’s, my parents did things to me that make me cringe now that I had therapy and learned it wasn’t right, but all my life – although I didn’t feel good about it – I carried the weight of shame and guilt as if I could have changed things. For example one Summer my family went out for a day in Spain and I stayed at home alone because there was no room for me in the car, I was 10 years old. Can you imagine how a little 10-year-old girl would feel being left home alone waiting for her family to come back home? My parents, my brother, my sister, my auntie, my uncle and my cousin; they all went and I was left at home. What I remember most of that day was that I was at the window all day waiting for them to come back, it must have been one of the longest days of my life. I knew that I was the least worth person in the family because I was the one they left behind without a second thought, or apology, or any kind of bribe, there was no need I just had to accept the fact that there was no room for me. Today this would have been classed as child cruelty, I’m sure. Not only I worked for my parents business without any pay or recognition, I was also the least worth child in the family. This was one of many identical situations. In my parents’ mind, because I was the eldest I was almost classed as an adult, every issue between myself and any of my siblings was undeniably my fault for the simple fact that I was the eldest and therefore should know better. What they forgot was that I was only 18 months older than my brother, so also a child. My brother was good and it wasn’t his fault that he was the only one allowed to play out while I had to work or the one that got a bike while I never had one. I never got given toys for Christmas or birthdays, while the other girls exhibited their dolls on Christmas day, what I got was pajamas and chocolates from our cafe. I always felt in disadvantage and turned into an adult with an immense need for love and acceptance, but with very low standards, which lead me to very bad decisions – but I won’t go anymore into that for now.

What I want to focus now on this post is that due to the depression and anxiety, for the first time in my life I had to face all these ghosts from the past in therapy and learned that my parents were abusive towards me, not physically abusive but emotionally and mentally, which leaves long-term marks that we don’t see. I learned that it wasn’t my fault that my parents didn’t know how to love me and how to appreciate me or make me feel like a worthy human being. I love them, but I hated how they made me feel and that is ok. I learned that I did the best I could with what I had and there is nothing to be ashamed of. I did really well actually and I have raised three beautiful children who I always made sure to feel loved. After the depression, I learned my worth and I know that I deserve to be loved and respected and that allowed me to find the person that treats me the way I deserve, my lovely husband. All my relationships improved after the depression, but most importantly my relationship with myself had a massive boost. It’s still a work in progress, but everything changed for the better.

Posted in Poetry

Creative Portfolio (9)

Let go

 

There is nothing wrong with being average,

let go and enjoy the ride. Being passionate

is better than being perfect. Not every

aspect of a project needs to be ticked.

 

Relax and enjoy the ride while crossing

the bridge from perfection into action.

Average can be satisfying and get the

grades. Let go of perfection and have

 

the courage to break the wall built on fear

of failure. More gratifying than being idle

is getting out there – feel the fear and do it

anyway – you won’t regret it. Correct me

 

if I’m wrong, but this addiction to perfection

has taken you nowhere. Don’t neglect the

power of imperfection. There are lessons

to be learned with fun along the way.

Adjacent

The other day, I was watching the tv game show “Crystal Maze” and noticed one of the contestants didn’t know the meaning of the word adjacent, which cost her a crystal. I wanted to shout it at her as I saw her struggling with her task, and that’s is why I chose this word for this week’s word. Adjacent means next to or near something. If two things are adjacent, they are side by side. In the game show I was watching, the contestant had to put a yellow cube adjacent to a blue one (I’m not sure about the colours, but you get the idea), and I felt frustrated seeing her failing such an easy task. So much so that I decided to clarify the meaning of the word here to prevent such future frustrations. Interestingly, this word has its origin in jacere, the same Latin word that originates the words adjective, eject and project, for example. While adjacent and adjective share the root jacere, which means “being thrown down” and the prefix ad meaning “toward” or “addition”; the words eject and project share the root jacere but without the prefix ad.

Posted in Poetry

Creative Portfolio (8)

No – learning to say it

 

“We want to go to the cinema tonight, could you watch the children for us?”

I would, but I’m tired and I need my rest. Ask me another time.

 

“Hey, fancy coming over for a photo shoot? I need to practice for an assignment.”

I already have plans. Why didn’t you give me more notice?

                       

“I’m going to Trafford Centre for some shopping, do you want to join me?”

No. I’m not in the shopping mood, if you know what I mean.

 

“Can you work my shift on Sunday? I really want to watch this match!”

No, I can’t. It’s my first Sunday off in weeks.

 

“Mum, can I have some money for a game tomorrow?

No. If you want games, you must save up yourself.

 

“You’re different but I can’t quite put my finger in it. What changed?”

No, I’m the same. Nothing changed! (I lie.)

I don’t know, you look bright, happier!