6 questions for creative reflection

creative_reflection

New Year is often a time when we want to close one chapter of our lives and start fresh – with new ideas, with new energy and determination to fulfill our goals.

What usually happens, we do set new goals but as the months progress, so does our goals whittle along with autumn yellow leaves – until they become forgotten, unfulfilled and replaced by random events called life.

Instead of making a New Year’s resolution list, I have a different proposition for you. Why ‘hit your head against the wall’, and think of what and how you can accomplish when you are looking for the answers in the wrong place?

Here are 6 questions for your creative reflection exercise that can help you evaluate what you have accomplished in the previous period/year and maybe start from there? You might have a project that you could finish or idea that didn’t have enough time and space to mature – maybe now it’s the moment to give it a try?

6 questions for creative reflection:

1.What creative/writing projects did you accomplish in the previous year?

2.What you have learned from that?

3.Are there any projects you didn’t start and why?

4.What would you like to do the most in the next year – is there any room for unfinished projects?

5.What is the obstacle, what is holding you back?

6.Describe your most creative moments in the previous year and think of ways how you can integrate more of that in your current life situation?

Use this as a starting point for designing more creative life in the next year. It is important for us to make an objective estimate and work from there: building a realistic foundation for inviting more creativity into our lives. Instead of setting, sometimes lofty goals that quickly escape our reach like deflating balloon – making little changes and adjustments in our current schedule can seem less daunting and scary – and more likely achievable.

To get in more depth in planning your projects consult these additional 9 questions that can help you clearing any doubts about your creative ideas, offerings, opportunities..

Do you have any exciting writing or creative ideas for the next year? Do you have a firm plan how to achieve it? Please, share with us in the comments below.

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.   
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,   
transparent scarlet paper, 
sizzle like moth wings, 
marry the air. 
So much of any year is flammable,   
lists of vegetables, partial poems.   
Orange swirling flame of days,   
so little is a stone. 
Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,   
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.   
I begin again with the smallest numbers. 
Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,   
only the things I didn’t do   
crackle after the blazing dies. 

Naomi Shihab Nye


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Poetic inspiration: Creativity – a shortcut to fulfillment in life

creativity_expression

Creativity is an expression

of your deepest truth.

Sometimes you are scared of it.

Sometimes you are proud of it.

But always let it live through you –

until on the other

side you meet your own greatness.

Maja S. Todorovic


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Poetic inspiration: Creative expression

creativity_expression

This is a quick, weekend reminder that you are creative person and writing is one of the simplest, yet powerful ways to express it.

It’s an inseparable part of you and never reject it – you might be surprised where it takes you.


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Poetic inspiration: Silent messenger

writing_messenger

Your writing is a silent messenger

of who you are.

Use it to accept, love and share

your true self,

because sky has an immense space

for another shining star, your star.

Don’t let that corner stay cold and unreached far,

trapped and forgotten in dark.

Maja S. Todorovic


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7 most powerful ways to regain time for writing in the midst of chaos

productivity_writing_chaos

The more I write and search for inspiration for blog posts, the more I come across analogy of how certain natural laws that govern universe actually can be very well applied to our everyday life. If we fast rewind our memory to a high-school years we might recall the 2nd law of thermodynamics that basically  says: the universe tends to go from present order to bigger disorder. And does that apply to your everyday life? Well imagine: you can spend all day cleaning your messy room and within couple of working hours, you are practically at square one – like you didn’t tidied it up at all.

Sounds familiar?

We all live our lives chaotic to some degree. We cannot control every circumstance but we can put some effort and take charge to at least try make some order. And making that order can mean finding more time to write.

My first recommendation is to:

1.Have a clear writing goal

If you write for a blog or a book, have clear mind about what you want to accomplish. For a blog having in advanced prepared editorial calendar with defined frequency of your posting can be handy in overall estimate on what you need to write, does it require research and ext. Pretty much the same comes with a book. That writing goal can be a number of pages, chapters or developing your story concept.

2.Prioritize and reschedule

Squeeze writing  in your schedule like you plan other activities: your meals, working out, household chores. Once it becomes that ingrained part of your everyday life, the lesser are chances for you to skip it in favor of some other activity.

 That can also mean:

3.Getting up an hour earlier 

and writing during that peaceful time where dreams and reality collide.

4. Trading your evening TV hours for some quality writing time

Instead of being hypnotized in front of a glowing screen, indulge in your imagination and focus on your writing.

5.Using your commuting and travel time efficiently

If you travel by bus or train to work, this is an excellent opportunity to use this (almost wasted) time to think about our writing, jot some ideas down or brainstorm new poem/story.

6. Sparing some treasure time during weekends

Organize your weekends in such way that part of your relaxing routine be writing.It could be as simple as sitting down to enjoy  cup of coffee or if you go for a walk: use these breaks to elaborate your writing ideas or finish previous writing tasks.

7.Making space for writing

Putting physical order in your everyday environment can be helpful in terms it will motivate you to write instead of dealing with stressful petty things. Having that special, inspiring place you dedicate to your writing can help you in making writing  a priority – being that small gesture like  clearing out a counter to write down your new idea. Such small acts of generosity towards our passions and creativity can be a triggering point to transform our writing into a regular practice.

How do you deal with chaos and find time for writing?


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Poetry improves lives: a guest post by Pete Gardner

This is a guest post, a courtesy of fellow poet and writer Pete Gardner where in this heartwarming story he shares how poetry influenced his life:

There is something about poetry that moves the human spirit. Whether it’s in song or prose, the words ten to bring the reader or listener into a place of higher awareness of their surroundings.

I would guess that a lot of people don’t even realize that they are listening to poems when they hear their favorite music. It really doesn’t matter what genre of music you choose, there is a poem in there more often than not. From our earliest childhood we are taught that poems soothe the soul.

Twinkle, Twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky

Every lullaby I can think of is a poem. We are shaped by them when we are young, and it doesn’t stop there. I grew up in the Beatle’s era. We listened to rock and roll all the time, and when I think back about those songs, I now see the poems in them.

Yesterday
All my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though there here to stay
Oh I believe in yesterday

In high school we studied poetry while doing English literature, taking in such poets as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allen Poe, my favorite.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

The ever increasing bombardment of poetry on our mind causes us to become familiar with it, almost a longing to hear more. The music, the books, even enticement to buy thing.

My bologna has a first name
It’s O-S-C-A-R
My bologna has a second name,
It’s M-A-Y-E-R.
Oh I love to eat it everyday
And if you ask me why say,
Cause’ Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A!!!!

In an article from the Atlantic magazine in 2014, Andrew Simmons best defined why teaching poetry in High School is so Important. This key section of that article sums up his ideas pretty well:

Yet poetry enables teachers to teach their students how to write, read, and understand any text. Poetry can give students a healthy outlet for surging emotions. Reading original poetry aloud in class can foster trust and empathy in the classroom community, while also emphasizing speaking and listening skills that are often neglected in high school literature classes.”

Down through the ages, since David the Psalmist penned His words at least, poetry has been an essential part of the human fabric. A poem can relate emotions, dreams, visions and disappointments better than any other written form. The words enter into our minds easily because they have structure and the thoughts that are expressed are easily grasped. It touches the senses and can cause us to see, touch, taste and even smell its contents. It can move us to tears or laughter.

When I look back on the effect poetry has had on me and my family, I am amazed still at how much exposure we have to this simple form of writing. Hope you will take the time to realize how important poetry has been to you as well.

Pete Gardner is a worship leader and lay minster at a small country church in Iowa. He has been writing poetry for many years. In high school he wrote hundreds of poems about all sorts of subjects, from drunken brawls to funny limericks. He has always been a music lover, and listens for the wonderful way musicians bring rhyme into song. In 2010, Pete started writing Christian music, and has over 400 songs and choruses he has written. Then in 2014 he started a blog which would contain poems of praise. This blog is now his main outlet, and the poems are coming almost daily. They are filled with inspiring words of hope, love, and praise. You can find his work at http://www.psalmistpetegardner.wordpress.com.


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Poetry improves lives: a guest post by Dimple Singh

This is a guest post, a courtesy of a fellow poet Dimple Singh.

For many of us (like me) devotion to poetry started in high school a long with first teenage crushes – where poetry is seen as a vehicle for expressing and accepting those feelings. Here Dimple shares her story:

Poetry- The Dialect of Living Soul

Every human being faces a stage in his or her life when he or she fails to express his or her sentiments to the other person. Most of the times a person remains speechless to forbid giving irrelevant expressions. It is at that moment when a verse is used as a major tool to communicate with people. A poem is not only a collection of rhythmic words but it is also the dialect of a living soul. Where creatures fail to express themselves a poem reflects the depth of the authentic sentiments of an individual.

I’m one of those dedicated poets who attempts to bring out the profundity of any deliberation through my verses. I wrote my first masterpiece when I was ten years old child. Though I wrote it just casually, my work was applauded and well appreciated. It arose my self-assurance and I wrote more and more. Gradually it became one of my leisure pursuit. I used poetry not only as an instrument to convey myself but also to multiply the mirth of poetry in other people’s lives too. Instead of buying and gifting people expensive and branded presents I used to dedicate verses to my dear ones on their birthdays, anniversaries, festivals and many other special occasions. My rhymes were considered as the most precious offerings one would deliberately love to receive.

Many years passed by and as every year passed away my writing skills and curiosity and devotion towards poetry amplified.

The art of poetry made me a distinguishable person and today it’s not just a hobby but a major portion of my professional life. Poetry also assisted me to convey my amorous feelings to the person I love. When I was a sixteen years old teen I fell in love with one of my classmates. Most of the times I thought of letting him know what I felt for him but could not think of the best means to propose him. When all things appeared to fail I finally decided to express myself with a verse of mine. It was one of the most intricate but the best verse I think I ever wrote in my entire life since it was a direct link to my heart. I wrote the following verse for him:

Still and sinister hours of darkness,

With a faint flicker of optimism,

Walking by a forlorn lane,

Giddy slumber hauling me homewards.

 

Almost turned off from the sullen daylight,

I was about to leave when,

I was pulled by something imperceptible,

And within a fraction of second I lost my consciousness.

 

Further I went under hypnotism,

Shutting my eyes, to be lulled off to the charm,

Fantasy of the mesmerizing amour,

The perpetual lure of tenderness.

After tearing lots of writing I eventually wrote one and handed him over my writing the next day itself. I requested him to read it at home and reply as soon as possible. When I was at home I received a letter from a postman. When I opened it I was shaken by the words of the letter. He too replied with his self-written verse and this is how poetry played the role of cupid in my love life.

Hence, I consider poetry as the best device to disclose your inner-self and openly communicate to a huge mass of audience through your enchanting verses and spread awareness of those issues or happening that people fail to notice in their day to day lives.

Dimple Singh, is a student of Amity University, Noida. She is a second year undergraduate pursuing journalism. She is  keen and passionate writer and have a strong affinity towards creative writing, especially poetry. She believes in the strength of words and firmly want to make a difference in this world through her writings. You can find her at https://dimplebloomblog.wordpress.com


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Poetic inspiration: What poets do?

emotional_journey_poetry

As a poet, you don’t only write:

you are composing an emotional journey

to take your reader where he has never been before.

And there is nothing more thrilling than that!

Maja S. Todorovic


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6 life habits that allowed me to become a writer I always wanted to be

lifehabits_writing

I guess, ever since I entered my graduate studies, I was involved in some sort of writing: assignments, seminars – later came academic papers, books and presentations. But all that writing was somehow constrained – I had to obey certain rules, to follow procedures and satisfy requirements I was asked to. As all that can be fun and is a learning path – it lacked freedom. For me, becoming a writer I always wanted to be, means writing what I want, when I want, under my own terms – to share my experiences and have opportunity to contribute to larger community. And blogging is a fabulous way of doing that. Business in Rhyme really allowed me to explore topics I previously didn’t have time for or I didn’t know how to communicate. Finally I think I’m on the right track of becoming a writer I always strove to be deep in side with needed courage and strength to endure.

In the last seven yeas a lot of things changed in my life. Previously, in my home country I worked as University professor, and a business consultant, which led to being ‘stretched’ between my work with students, writing textbooks and doing research for projects.

Coming to the Netherlands brought a lot of challenges, meaning I didn’t know what I really wanted:  to teach, to do research or something else. In the meantime I kept my ongoing projects at the University. Along the way with my move and adjustments in the new country, first health issues appeared in the form of thyroid dysfunction and peripheral neuropathy as a side effect. I knew something has to change: to take life much easily, pay more attention to myself and what I really needed.

So my first change and habit I developed is

1.Always assessing my needs

When you from very active and vibrant person become someone who lacks energy, has a lot of pain and struggle with everyday activities, you start to ask yourself questions like:

How did I get here?

What went wrong?

What is it that I actually need?

In that process I started to remove anything that didn’t serve me anymore: clutter, habits, ‘stale’ relationships… I started to meditate, devote most of time to myself and nurturing my peace. I realized I didn’t want to live a hectic academic life I so ‘adored’ and was proud of. But there is so much more to life than being busy – like learning about your real needs, writing and reading poetry that earlier I didn’t have time for. And all those realizations culminated in this blog. Here I’m finally a writer always wanted to be: with no degrees, grades, awards – it’s just me,  pure me translated in words.

The second one is:

2. Cleaning my diet

The process of simplification I embarked on meant also evaluation of what I was putting in my system and how that has contributed to my conditions. I now eat so simply that my friends usually laugh at me 🙂 But it means I’m pain free, medication free, and it takes less time to prepare my meals. Eating more fruits and leafy greens (in their raw state) brings clarity and patience you need in order for your creativity to flourish. Improving your digestion, sleep, energy levels – all that is vital to exploit your real creative potential.

3.Creating meaningful morning routine

I was always a morning person. I use that time to start my day with setting right attentions, with loose schedule so I can achieve desired outcome without stress. Doing some short exercises, meditation or yoga helps me refocus my thoughts and concentrate on the tasks ahead of me.

4.Reading more poetry

This is a habit I wish so many people acquire. Benefits of reading poetry are numerous, but fulfillment it brings to my inner self is immeasurable. Having that another lens to look at world is enjoyment and amazement I now need every day.

5.Enjoying solitude

I am quite individualistic when it comes to work and I’ve always enjoyed hours in solitude to sort my thoughts and figure things out. The same applies to my writing. Spending time ‘alone with myself’ enables me to have that internal conversation and dive deep in search for both answers and questions I explore further on paper.

6.Change of scenery

Whenever I’m confused or I don’t know how to articulate what I want to say, changing my environment helps a lot – being that going for a walk, short travels or vacations. All that contributes to inflow of fresh ideas, creative opportunities and stirs your imagination. Changing environment brings inevitably change of our perspective on things. Sometimes that is all you need to start/continue writing.

So this is my list of habits that helped me improve and devote more time to writing. I wholeheartedly encourage you to assess your needs and habits – look for space where you can devote more of your energy to writing and become a writer you always dreamed of.


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