Focusing on being Creative During Stressful times

Hi and welcome back! Of course we are now in the month of April, and for many that means the start of Camp NaNoWriMo. If you are partaking this month in Camp, I wish you and your project the best of luck. I also hope that you and your families are safe and healthy during this time of uncertainty.

Really quick, I just want to let you know that I just finished The Eighth Dwarf, which means that it will be published very soon for Amazon Kindle, and when that goes live I will let you all know.

Now that I finished my plug for my newest work, let’s get on today’s topic, which is about dealing with trying to focus on creativity during stressful times. I got the idea for this post from Kristin Martin. Kristin Martin, for those that are not aware of her, she is an author tube channel that has published works of her own. While there has been some drama centered around some parts of her business model, I still found that her latest video is something that we can all relate to right now.

Giving the current climate that we are in, with having to stay home and only go out when it necessary for essentials. We might find that currently, it is hard to focus on our creative outlets during this time, with the news being all about the virus and us having to stay home. This might be a great time to look at other methods to help get that creative flow going.

This first tip, came directly from her video, which was to write in a journal our thoughts and feelings so that way its out of our heads and onto the page. Think of this as free-writing, in that you just take that pen or pencil to the page and you just write not stopping, unless you give yourself a time limit and you write for that amount of time. This is a perfect time to write about your feeling about being home, or questions that you have about what’s going. It’s just getting the flow of writing out and started. If you feel that you have more to write, then keep writing. It’s your time to focus on what is bothering you.

Another tip, that might help and this also came from her video is to mediate. There are many that say that the practice of meditation can help during times of stress. It help calms and relaxes the nerves. This can also help with any anxiety that you might be feeling during this time. It is also a great help to those that deal with mental illness. My suggestion when it comes to mediation is to mind some relaxing music or listen to either sounds of water running or nature sounds to get you in a place to focus on what you are trying to mediate through. If you have an image that comes to you through out your mediation, then after your mediation session is completed then write all about that image. Now this last part did not come from her video, this is my personal suggestion.

Another great suggestion that I have, and this is one that I’m going to be borrowing from a couple of my past teachers, in that while you write or trying to calm yourself down listen to calming music. Sometimes music within itself and give off images that our minds and sometimes our muses grab onto so tight. This is one of those times when you are strongly encouraged to follow your muse down whatever rabbit hole that he/she might be going down. Remember, the muse is there to help in courage your drive and your determination even in times of chaos.

If you have another way to cope and to keep your creative paths flowing then keep doing what you’re doing. We all get through this one way or another, and for me during this time, the best way that I am coping is to take my fingers to the keyboard and to write. No matter your method, there is no wrong or right way, for you know your methods the best. Trust your methods and your craft will get through this.

I hope that find this post helpful. I hope that you and your families are safe and healthy. Happy Writing! Happy Creating! Until next time I hope that you have a happy writing day!

Spilling Hot Chocolate over the Latest Drama: AuthorTube

dragon and coffee
Amy Brown

It seems that if you go on YouTube and look at either BookTube or AuthorTube channels, most of them are spilling either tea or coffee over issues that some have with the writing community that is on YouTube. But let me preface this discussion with let’s go back to the evens of the summer, that we writers had to deal with. Granted, not every member of AuthorTube, put forth their say or opinion on #cockygate. I feel this alone has brought forth a divide in the community.

Also some of the issues that are being discussed or being shamed upon is other’s creative processes. This one I’m bringing out the red flag challenge on (big time). Let’s face it my creative process is probably not like everyone else’s and that is fine. I don’t want to take on everyone else’s creative process. While I have not fully stated my creative process on my platform, I feel that everyone, whether you are a writer, painter, knitter, singer, or whatever art you create, each person has their own creative process. Whatever that process is, no one, and I repeat: no one should be shamed for that. Yes, some have some out of the box methods and that is totally fine. I feel that this should not be an issue within the writing community.

Another issue that some have raised up with their voices is the difference between quantity versus quality. If there is one writing aspect that could be looked at for this is our beloved NaNoWriMo. No, I’m not throwing NaNoWriMo under the bus, but rather bringing up the mentality that some have in regards to NaNoWirMo in general. Let’s give an example, you plan out NaNoWriMo, you write your project, and then you spend the next several months editing, re-drafting and repeat the process until you have it completed as far as it can go. Then you either try to traditionally publish your work or you self-publish that work in the fall. That way by the time it’s published, it’s time for NaNoWriMo again. That is how you spent the whole year. Now, if your friend took part in NaNoWriMo and completed the first draft, but never touched that work through out the year, then in some cases your friend becomes shamed for not touching their project again.

I don’t like this at all. Let’s face it life happens, yes, we have goals that we have. But also there comes a time when you have to put it on the shelf again for a while. Over this past year, when I was at one of the conferences, someone said that if you wrote that first draft and are afraid of the second draft phase, then it’s fine to put it on the shelf for a while and move on to something else. There is nothing wrong with that. Lord knows I have done that a time or two, and it does help make it a stronger project, due to the fact that I’m reworking the project based on what I know now, versus what I knew then when I first wrote that initial draft. Part of being a writer is to grow, and if no one is going to allow you to grow as a writer, let alone an artist, then maybe it’s time to re-look at the messages that we get from the community.

I’m not saying dismiss the community, but rather view each messenger as a whole and decide if what they are saying is the best use of your time. Let’s all face it, everyone of the AuthorTubers have put out the same type of videos on tips and tricks. While listening to some of them, their message is just like or similar to another person in the community. Therefore, ask yourself do we need to see another video on YouTube on the “Top Five Mistakes that Show you are a new Writer?”

I have seen that video a lot pop up on my feed a time or two. I get it or rather we all get it, there are new writers out there, and part of being a new writer is making mistakes and learning from them. Sorry, no one wrote a perfect essay their first time out in school. Why? It’s because we all had to learn to write the freaking essay and what is involved in writing a freaking essay. It’s true. Sure some one got an ‘A’ on that first essay, but that ‘A’ was more encouragement then saying that essay was perfect.

Now here is where I must admit, sure I follow AuthorTubers, do I take what they say to heart? Not all the time, I would say more like some of the time. I mean over the course of the year, I somewhat lost my trust in AuthorTube due to the fact, that a big portion of them did not speak up about AuthorTube, or about the changes that are currently going on with KDP and Createspace. I mean if most of them can put out the same “Five Tips on Editing your Draft,” then surely they could have put out a video or two on the drama that some of us authors dealt with over the summer.

I hate to say it, but just like most of the United States is divided over politics, the AuthorTube Community is also dived. There I said it, and I feel that those that did not say anything during the cockygate trials are now finding their voice to talk about this subject. I’ll give them a hand in that, for it looks like the drama pot has been stirred up  once again. But the question, is did it need to be brought up before NaNoWriMo? I mean seriously? Did it?

Granted, I started this month by posting that in order to get ready for NaNoWriMo, we need to go down the path without any drama. Part of that drama came from the events of cockygate. I think that I said, but if I didn’t, NaNoWriMo was to be our time to put away the drama and to focus on what we like doing the best, writing. Could we have that? No freaking way! There’s a reason why there is a children’s table during the holidays. As well as sayings such as, “Can’t we all just get along?”

This year, has shown us one thing, and that is clearly the answer: NO! I mean it’s a real shame. It is a real shame! We are writers, and we say that we want to help others, but if those on YouTube can’t get it together and acknowledge issues within the community then what’s the point of having this community on YouTube or any other platform?

Am I giving up on this platform? No, I mean to say that live up to what I said that I would do, and that is to help writer’s achieve their writing goals. I don’t shame or dismiss any writer based on their status in the community, their creative process, or anything else that could get them shamed by others in the community. We are writers, all competing for the same job, which is to help our readers escape from the real world for a few chapters at a time from the front cover to the back cover. But if we cannot help or even recognize others in the community then we no longer become a sea of voices joining together, for we become sea of voices trying to over topple one another.

While this post was more about community then about writing. I hope that you have a great writing day, even if that means venting out frustrations.