The Writing for Wellness Journey

Getting it out of your head and on to the page.

How to stay well and thrive by writing during lockdown. Number 4 of the Creative Spirit podcast.

Writing for Wellness: Surviving Lockdown One Word at a Time,” is available on Amazon and Kindle today.

10 Ways to Fuel Your Creative Spirit

Feeling a little sluggish? Got the lockdown blues? Here are a few ways to fuel your writing during these difficult times:

  1. Drink more water

Sounds obvious, but how many of us actually drink about 3 litres of water a day? I know I often fall short. By making sure we drink the right amount of water every day we will help our sleep, our skin, our brain and ultimately our creativity. I’ve started to refill a litre water bottle three times a day to make sure I reach the mark. It’s helping immensely.

2. Get up and stretch!

It’s so easy to sit hunched over the computer or notebook for hours on end and forget to move. It’s little wonder that we start to feel clogged up when we do. My latest effort on this front is to set my timer for 20 minutes and literally stand up and stretch before sitting back down for another 20 minutes. It feels a bit arbitrary at first but over time it makes a massive difference to how my body feels by the end of the day and this, in turn, really helps my creativity.

3. Switch it up!

Another way I can start to feel sluggish is if I try and do the same thing over a really long period of time. One way in which I have combated this is to switch up what I do throughout the day. My morning routine, for example, is morning pages, followed by reading, followed by crafts, followed by meditation, followed by writing my WIP. I have definitely earned a lunch break by that point! What are some ways in which you can switch it up throughout the day to keep your brain ticking over?

4. Go for a walk!

This one has always been hard for me. I suspect, if I’m going to be completely honest, I’ve become a little lazy. There are all sorts of inducements you can use to get out for 20 minutes a day. Some people use a game or running adventure app. I’ve been known to break out the Pokemon Go on occasions. Some listen to an audiobook or podcast. You could even listen to one of mine if you’re really desperate! Others take photographs on their phone. One thing I will say of this walking malarky is I never regret going, but I sometimes regret not going. It definitely makes a difference to my writing when I do go.

5. Take a Shower

As much as the body needs water on the inside, it also loves water on the outside. A warm shower (or if you are brave enough, a cold one) can do wonders for firing up the little grey cells and getting the creative juices flowing. I used to take my showers at the end of the day, but I’ve recently started to have them first thing in the morning and they are really helping. Washing our hands throughout the day can also help ground us, one of the benefits of the pandemic I suppose.

6. Hug a tree / walk barefoot in the grass

The second part of this is a little difficult to do in the middle of autumn / winter but you get my drift. These are things that literally and physically help you to connect with nature. The same could be said for paddling in the surf on a beach, petting an animal or watching the sunset. They are all things that help us to feel more connected to the rest of creation, and, in turn, our creative selves.

7. Nurture the child within

My inner child is the part of me that still has a sense of awe and wonder, a joyful optimism, and the capacity to unleash an unfettered imagination inside of me. That inner child is the source of my inspiration and the catalyst for all of my creative writing. She needs nurturing. To do this, I get down and play. As sensible adults this might feel a little bit crazy, but it really helps with my writing. For example, I might do some colouring, make a daisy chain in the grass, build the Hogwarts Castle out of Lego (I wish), go splashing in puddles in my wellies, or curl up with a favourite book from my childhood. I might buy sparkly stationery, design a map for the location of my book, dance and sing to ABBA (when no one is looking), paint my nails and get dressed up. What would you do to nurture that inner creative spirit of a child in you?

8. Create some space

This may be physical space. It might be time to empty out that garden shed and turn it into your creative writing retreat. It might be time to paint a wall, hang a picture, introduce a reed diffuser or buy a new desk chair. The physical space in which we create needs to be inspirational, comfortable but not so much that it sends us to sleep, and above all, fun. I’ve even put up my Christmas tree early and treated myself to a new bauble. It brings me a lot of joy when it’s lit up next to me. It definitely helps my writing. What would you change about your environment to inspire you in your creativity?

9. Carve out time

Just as the physical space around us is important in making space for creativity, so too is our schedule. For those that work full time in a job that is not our first creative love this can be especially hard. The same is true if we are raising a family or caring for elderly or sick relatives. Whatever the constraints we may have in our lives, if we can, it is really helpful to give ourselves some quality time to just think, listen, pay attention and create. If you’re not currently finding the time to be creative, and would like to be, what can you cut down on, cut back on and cut out to make that space? Trust me, it will be worth it.

10. Get a decent amount of sleep

Regardless of whether you’re a night owl or up with lark, sleep is as fundamental as water when it comes to creativity. We will never do our best work when we are overwrought and overtired. I’ve taken to going to bed earlier in the evening so I can wake up refreshed. I also use a sleep meditation in order to go to sleep at night. It works every time. I recommend giving it a go. It’s better than any medication I’ve ever used.

What are some other ways in which you keep the creative flow throughout your day? Feel free to share your ideas and experiences below.

Sorry

A refreshing perspective in a world of blame. In case I haven’t said it already, I’m sorry too!

The Bartlett Bubble

No, really. I’m really sorry. I know I was wrong and I take full responsibility for the impact this has had. I can probably have a go at trying to explain to you why I acted the way I did, but I am not trying to make excuses and appreciate that, whatever my intention, the actual impact is something for which I must take responsibility.

I’m sorry.

Elton was right – sometimes sorry does seem to be the hardest word.

But bloody hell, isn’t it powerful?

Sorry takes the wind out of the sails of any argument, any conflict. In seconds, it lays the foundation on which reconciliation can be built.

It has to be sincere of course. An insincere apology can be worse than no apology at all. And ‘The Power of But’ is more dangerous here than anywhere else. “I’m sorry, but…” means that actually I’m not really…

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Character Outline

I’m currently taking the Introduction to Screenwriting course from the University of East Anglia through Futurelearn, and as part of the course I’ve been working on a character outline which they have suggested we blog about. It’s a very vague sketch for something I’m working on but here it is:

The Characters Major Actions in Reverse Order
  • Kisses the girl
  • Kills nemesis
  • Escapes execution and runs away with girl and friends
  • Is tried and convicted
  • Is captured in a trap
  • Meets with girl and plans running away together
  • Kills guard who attacked his mother
  • Buries his mother
  • Finds his mother dying after being attacked
  • Celebrates his success with girl and friends
  • Distributes supplies
  • Carries out raid for supplies with friends
  • Breaks in to see girl
  • Plans raid with gang
  • Watches supply route from port to stores
  • Sees girl helping sick and poor
  • Tells his mother about the girl
  • Sees girl at port and fancies her
  • Shares all he has with friends and mother
  • Chased by guards with gang for petty thievery
Character wants:
  • To survive
  • Provide for his friends and family
  • To be happy
  • To fall in love

He is aware of his wants and needs, just may not know how to get them.

Character’s thoughts:
  • Anti-intellectual
  • Impulsive
  • Free-spirited
  • Finds it hard to focus
  • Overthinks things
  • Gets stressed
  • Emotional
How would a casual acquaintance see him?
  • Charming
  • Friendly
  • Life and soul of the party
  • Popular
Important Physical Characteristics
  • A perpetual cough and wheeziness
  • Skinnier and on the shorter side
  • Slightly malnourished