Saturday, 26 May 2012

Summer Stroll

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Hello everyone! I wouldn't usually share things like this but hell, why not?! These are just a selection of photographs I took Thursday evening on a spontaneous walk in the sunshine with Luke. We are extremely lucky because this patch of countryside is just a one minute walk away, if that, from Luke's house so we tend to take advantage of it in the summer months. The weather was unbelievably hot, causing us to wander into the haze that had built up over the fields. I'm not entirely sure the farmyard animals were enjoying it because the sheep were bleating like there was no tomorrow; personally, I think they were crying for help, either that or screaming 'GET THIS FRIGGING WOOLLEN COAT OFF ME!' 

I'm absolutely loving being home and, honestly, I adore staying with my Grandma. She has the best stories, although I'm pretty sure she's highly censored some of the ones from her renowned house party days!

If you'd like to scroll through all of my adventures then you can do so. 



Thursday, 24 May 2012

How to Get Started With Creative Writing

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As an aspiring creative writer and an English undergraduate, I often find myself sat bleary eyed willing for a creative miracle to happen, either that or for the ground to spontaneously swallow me up. To combat this writer's block, as well as browsing Youtube for videos of cute sloths, I often undertake extremely simple steps to inspire myself and to improve the quality of my writing. These following 5 tips are simple ways to help you get started with your creative writing and/or future assignments. As ever, these are compiled from my own experience and should therefore be taken with a pinch of salt, what works for me may not work for you! I'd also just like to add that I am in no way saying that I am the world's best creative writer. If you'd like me to do some more posts on creative writing or whatever, please let me know the topics you'd like to read about in the comments section below! Lets get your creative juices flowing...(feel a little sick now, if I'm honest):

1. Create a list of observations 
Ever the avid people watcher, I find that a lot of my inspiration comes from people that I've seen and surroundings that I've observed first hand. Write down specific actions that capture your eye, think about colours, consider facial expressions and take inspiration from each individual that you see around you. It is always a good idea to consult your senses for intricate descriptions: What can you see? What can you smell? What the hell did that 6 year old just say?! etc. Sensory details help to create a much more three dimensional reading experience, after all. Keep these observations in a journal, kept specifically for your writing, and consult it when your brain has turned to mush. It doesn't have to be anything poetic. You want them to be short punchy statements that evoke a sense of excitement or a basis for a location. For example: one of my observation pages, taken from a day at the Barbican, just has the following simple statements written in it, 'spray of seafoam', 'pastel coloured high rise building', 'bare skin' COLLECT YOUR INSPIRATION!

2. Extend your vocabulary and embrace words
Like the collation of observations, I find it is also good to keep a library of words that particularly reach out to you and inspire you. I often find myself picking out words from novels that I'm reading or journals that I'm working on that I think could enhance a piece of my work in the future. This is also a great place to store imagery and sensory descriptions; this will make a huge difference to your piece of creative writing! Obviously, I'm not saying 'nick someone's words and pass them all off as your own!', so make sure you're merely taking a little inspiration and not a huge chunk! If in doubt, consult a thesaurus'll find words that may not necessarily be in your everyday vocabulary, but for god's sake...make sure you know what each word means!

3. Set yourself daily improvised writing tasks/prompts
Collate a range of first sentences, they could either be your own work or the first lines of books that you like, and try to write a paragraph from them. Don't worry about things like diction or spelling, etc, the aim of the task is to simply get things on the page. Allow yourself to write things that aren't quite up to scratch, one of my seminar leaders forever advised us to 'write a shitty first draft' in order to produce a better piece of work in the long term. 

4. Abide by 'creative' hours
When you're in the midst of writing something, it can be unbelievably tempting to spend your whole time immersed in it. It can also be quite tempting to indulge ten minutes of your time in it before quickly loading up Twitter and forgetting every damned idea that you had in the first place! Writing creatively can taint every aspect of your life; for example, you may find yourself spending half an hour longer in the shower because you've blanked out and thought about word choices. In my opinion, it is best to regulate the hours that you choose to work on something - work out what hours work for you, when you're most engaged and when you're most likely to not spend a few hours clearing your YT subscriptions box! By abiding by these hours, you're making space for reality as well as fiction, limiting your chances of turning into a crazed elderly bookworm! 

5. Be Nostalgic
It's often the most interesting, or the most specific, things that we remember from our childhood or from recent days gone by. This can be a great starting point because they're things you're familiar with and won't leave you feeling alienated by your own writing. For instance, when writing my piece on a typical autumnal day, the setting was a park that my grandparents used to take me as a child, leaving me with plenty of description and a clear idea of the emotions and imagery that I wanted to convey to my readers. Look through old photographs or memory books and note down a few anecdotes that really stick out and are personable. You never know what you may find out ;) 

Most importantly, remember to have a bit of fun with it all! Those were just some quick and easy tips to get you all thinking about writing creatively; I hope they proved to be useful and interesting in equal measure!

If you'd like to scroll through all of my advice posts then you can do so.


Monday, 7 May 2012

Things That Make Me Happy 52

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disposable photographs 
my best friends
bare feet in the sand 

gothic literature 
the moment a piece of writing falls into place
fajita nights
coral lips

harbour scenes 
spring pastels

(photo credit: lizzie_g on unsplash)

I have been sharing things that make me happy lists for years. If you'd like to read some more, you can scroll through the archive.

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