Inspiration, Random Thoughts, Writing Advice, Writing Process, Writing Resources

New Year, New Tools

Photo by Julia Volk on Pexels.com

So, how’s 2021 treating you so far?

We’ve made it past Blue Monday, the third Monday of the New Year, and statistically the “saddest” day of the year- phew! And the change in leadership for our neighbours to the south (congratulations Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris) has everyone sleeping better and has kindled hope in me that 2021 is, in fact, going to be a good year. And yet, it’s sometimes hard to remember that when you’re caught up in the day-to-day struggle of continuing COVID restrictions and dire infection numbers on the nightly news.

All change is hard, and this year feels like I have an epic journey ahead of me. Here is a link to my blog post on my plan for 2021. Just as Bilbo and Samwise required supplies to get them through Mordor, to help me in my journey through 2021, I’ve sought some tools to help me. Some are practical, some are just plain fun, and others will provide me (I hope) with by reminding me to care for myself on the long road ahead of me.

Momentum

One of my greatest hopes this year is to gain momentum in my writing career. As a grassroots member of The Creative Academy, they gave me the opportunity to look at an ARC copy of Full-Time Author (you can pre-order it here), the latest in a series of fantastic non-fiction books founders Crystal Hunt and Eileen Cook have compiled.

Oh, my! This may be the best writer’s guide- book I’ve ever laid my hands on.

All the advice I’ve squirreled away over seven plus years of attending classes, attending writing conferences and conversing with other writers compiled into one amazing book! And as an added benefit, there are exercises, spreadsheets and self-evaluations to help you create a vision to guide your writing career as you work your way through the treasure trove of information. I have a feeling I will use this book a lot this year.

Pre-order now; available for purchase starting January 28, 2021

I’ve identified some areas I need a helping hand with thanks to the exercises in Full-Time Author, so I’ve enrolled myself in a LitReactor course. I’ve chosen “Reclaiming Archetypes in Witch Lit’ by Stephanie M. Wytovich, but there are lots of great offerings at LitReactor; I especially enjoyed Richard Thomas’ course on short stories last year. I also highly recommend the offerings by Carina Bissett at The Storied Imaginarium.

My family gifted me with a great new tool that is going to change the way I write. Rocketbook Everlast is going to help me lighten my load and stream- line my writing process. I love a great notebook (I am a writer after all) but after my move this summer I’ve determined it is MUCH easier to move a hard drive than multiple boxes of notebooks. As someone who loves to take notes during courses and classes, the ability to write them by hand, send them to the cloud, then erase and re-use the notebook, is going to be a game changer. Check out this video if you’re curious.

Mindfulness

I’ve decided that this is going to be a year where I dedicate myself to living mindfully, hoping I will keep my focus from scattering as it did in 2020. I’ve started working to improve my meditation skills, as maintaining focus, and ignoring the constant buzz surrounding me has become more challenging. The Calm app has been an invaluable tool, with music, movement and guided meditations using varying techniques and lengths.

To keep me in the here and now, my family gifted me with lots of fantastic products from Saje, a Canadian based aromatherapy store, and my go-to for scents to enhance my life. Living on the sometimes dreary ‘wet-coast’ of Canada, I especially love their blend, Liquid Sunshine. Their beautiful diffuser scents ground and inspire me as I write, get ready to sleep, or do my daily yoga. They remind me to breathe and savour the moment.

Courage

To help me find the strength to persevere, I’ve given myself permission to do something I’ve always wanted to do. Work on my art skills.

In December, The Creative Academy asked academy member Christy Dunsmore (a talented writer and visual artist) to teach a ‘Sketching for Authors’ class. I enjoyed them so much I went out and bought a sketchbook and some pencils and I’ve been noodling around ever since. To elevate my skills, I’ve purchased an online drawing course from The Great Courses (there is an amazing sale on this course, and others, until the end of January) and I plan to work on them at my own pace over the course of the year.

Inspired by the sketching course, for Christmas this year I created miniature watercolour paintings and made my own cards. It made me deliriously happy, so I’ve also treated myself to an online watercolour course from Kerrie Woodhouse. I love her loose style and once I finish the course, I will have several happy paintings completed.

As an incentive to keep creating, I’ve signed up to do some Art Nights via Zoom. If you’re inclined, you can sign up for an evening with Christy Dunsmore through the PoMoArts website. Christy is an amazing teacher; if she can get me sketching, she can teach anyone. And best of all, thanks to the magic of Zoom, I can have an evening “out” without ever leaving home.

I encourage you to find some tools to help you on your own journey through 2021. Happy travelling!

Photo by Andrei Tanase on Pexels.com

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