Writing Optimism: capture your compliments (and your critiques) in a treasure box

inktuition happy and sad faces

Capture your happy, sad and confused feelings in writing. (pic: istockphoto.com/solvod)

Feeling down about your output? Fed up about rejections? Feel you’ll never make it as a writer? We’ve all been there – and yet we all still keep going. Or do we?

If you’re thinking about crumpling up your last piece of paper in the bin and hanging up your ink pen for good, think again. Instead, pick a nice jar (clean and tall) or – if you’re like me – use this as an excuse to go to a stationery store and buy a nice new treasure box (patterned, plain or whatever shape, size or cost inspires you). Any excuse.

The purpose of the treasure box is to hold all the positive comments you get – whether that’s about your writing, your expressions, a great turn of phrase, or even how you’re looking today. The point is: you write them all down, fold them up, and deposit them in your treasure box/jar. So, when you’re having a bad day, or feel you’ve reached a dead end, you simply dip into the folded up pieces of paper in your magic jar, and hey presto, you’re reminded of how good you can be.

For those of you who feel that undaunted optimism is too much too soon – or rather unrealistic – let’s not forget the shadow of optimism: pessimism. Criticism – and all the negativity that goes with it – can be Continue reading

why I chose a bashed notebook over a pristine one

Oh, how many lovely new pristine notebooks do I have in my drawers, on my shelves, and lined up proudly on my desk.

A self-confessed notebook addict, I’m unable to pass a stationery store without a little peak at the perky new notebooks that could steal my attention, part me with my pounds, and then remain awesome but abandoned on my desk.

I got a posh notebook as a present for Christmas a couple of years ago –  complete with inscription from the gifter – and somehow I’ve never felt worthy of using it. There has never been an occasion when I thought this book would be suitable. So it sits, in its shiny-clothed isolation – like a posh dress waiting for a gold-rimmed invitation – not being used, loved or creative.

An already damaged notebook has more chance of encouraging my creative writing.

It was in the want, rather than need, of a new journal, that I passed by the lovely Paperchase and happened to spot the perfect notebook for me. Twice the price of what I would usually pay, but leather bound and worth it. The lines are closer together – I dislike those fat-lined notebooks, as they need so few words to fill a page, and I feel my thoughts need lines that are narrower and somehow more intimate. The leather is already damaged, as though someone had bent over the corner on the front and pressed a hairbrush to the back. The paper inside is yellowing, and perfect for use with a fountain pen.

My new purchase was not perfect. I checked out all three purple leather journals in the shop to see which one fitted me best. All three smelt of that ‘old’ leather that you get in second-hand shops. The book I chose felt wise: its pattern was innate, it had been around the block a few times, and it was comfortable with its lines, its bends, and its creases.

This felt like Continue reading

confessions of a notebook addict who’s at a loss for words

I’m a notebook addict. I can barely pass a stationery store without looking in and seeing if my perfect notebook is out there that can hold my thoughts, ideas, inspirations (which often happen just as I’m about to fall asleep), and that will help me act on the brilliance of those insights. As a writer, I always have one of my many notebooks to hand. What happens with my plethora of pages is that I intend to have different notebooks for different moods, circumstances and surroundings. I therefore have:

  • brightly coloured folios in hardback for uplifting spiritual thoughts
  • a ‘gratitude book’ for the end of the day, to thank the universe for my blessings
  • my ‘observations’ book, where I log the conversations, mannerisms, annoyances and joys of the day
  • my ‘train book’, where I like to scribble whatever comes to mind, especially to rant about Continue reading