Does Your Writing Next Need Reweaving by Shan Jeniah Burton

Fall is at hand – a time when many of us scurry about like busy rodents, sprucing up our family nests to better suit the long indoors months. But, since this is ROW80, I have a question for us all:

What about our writing nests?

I love imagery – since I was a little girl, it’s helped me to make sense out of complicated ideas. I envision my writing life as a sheltering construct woven from interconnected threads, and from time to time, I need to look these over, replace frayed bits, get rid of the debris, and tighten things up. The energy of fall is perfect for this, and that will be my focus for this round. 

Want to join me, and reweave our writing nests together? Here’s a few ideas to get us going.

Assess the Framework:

A nest needs a base structure, a frame to hold all those threads together. Without our bodies – well, we wouldn’t exist in the physical plane, and writing would be much trickier! Let’s give our bodies what they need to support all those other threads:

  • Feed the need. Sometimes, when I’m deeply engaged with my writing, I forget to eat. Not good for creativity or my body. Let’s remember to schedule in food breaks, and eat things that make us feel good.
  • Get a move on! Writing can be sedentary, and time can pass without us being aware of it. Let’s get moving every hour or so, to oxygenate our blood, stretch muscles, and get a better perspective. I do hometending projects in short bursts while writing; I get a happier body and a cleaner house, at the same time!
  • Go into training. Getting up and moving helps, but we need more intensive exercise, too. I’m making room for these in my life – working out or swimming, fitness classes, dancing, jumping rope, going for a walk or a bike ride – what appeals to you? Let’s do it together!
  • Sleep matters. Learning what we need to do to get enough good sleep can do wonders for our writing – and our attitude! 

Give Me Shelter:

One of my goals this year is to make my writing spaces inspiring and functional, with elements that stimulate imagination and promote a calming flow. Small changes can make a big difference -let’s take a look!

  • Repurpose items to suit new needs. Sometimes, just looking at things we have in a new way helps. My desk was once my Grandma’s hoosier cabinet, where she baked and made ‘jells’. Writing there connects me to my own past.
  • Treating ourselves does wonders for creativity. When some small item makes me smile or feels just right for my space, I feel more creative. That’s why my stapler is turquoise!
  • Engage your senses. Colors, scents, textures, and sounds all add magic to my writing nest. Candles, fabrics, music, bits of nature – these give our senses more room to explore!
  • Use symbols. Let’s make space for the personal touches – items that remind us of loved ones, capture a treasured moment, or simply inspire us.

Mindful Matters:

When our thoughts are scattered and disorganized, things we want to learn, explore, or play with can get lost…

  • Taking stock. When thoughts and projects are tangled up, reassess. Bringing even a little order to things gives us something to build on.
  • Make lists; set goals. There’s lots of ways to do this – like ROW80! I have a WIP bulletin board, and my laptop’s calendar feature gives me a visual idea of what I want to accomplish, and when.
  • Make a plan. Knowing the what, when, why, where, and how of our projects keeps momentum moving forward.
  • Learn something new. Like bodies, our minds stay sharper if they get lots of exercise, exploration, and play!

Emotional Threads:

Writing is best when it comes from our deep, powerful places. Who and what feeds our souls, and helps us tap into our deeps

  • Are we connected? Getting enough time with loved ones and friends? Scheduling a visit, even if it’s just coffee or a quick chat, can do wonders!
  • A change of scenery. Creativity soars in places that inspire – even if it’s just the backyard!
  • Let’s indulge ourselves! Yup. Spending time with favorite books, foods, shows, activities – whatever gives us that ahhhhh! Feeling.
  • Breathe. Seriously. Let’s inhale and exhale with intention. Air is life!
  • Smile, laugh, and hug. Need I say more? =)

Shared Threads:

When what we share reflects who we are, we connect with the wider world, and touch others with our words.

  • Sprucing up our blogs or websites. For me, late fall and winter are perfect times to freshen things up byplaying with new layouts, designs, and sidebar items.
  • Oversharing? We can get overwhelmed by all the social media in our lives. Evaluating what suits usnow, and stepping back from what’s less suited, can help.
  • Undersharing? Writers can also feel disconnected, or bored, or like we’re talking to the void – that’s a good time to branch out and try something new. Joining a challenge or group, or even wandering around online to see what’s out there, can inspire connection and ideas.

With a little time, attention, and affection, our writing nests can be strong, beautiful, and inspirational!

Acknowledgment: The inspiration for this post is the essay Building an Unschooling Nest”, at Sandra Dodd. It’s an unschooling site, and so much more! 

18 comments

          1. Sounds like a good idea! My writing space currently has a fan on it so my boyf doesn’t die whilst using his computer in the study upstairs. It’s gotten VERY hot in Adelaide and our air con is broken. Considering I have a laptop and he doesn’t, I’m willing to give up my desk for him because I can write anywhere!

            1. Roasting one’s beloved is definitely NOT a good idea! I forget that summer’s coming for you – we’re gearing up for winter up here…it’s been wet and chilly the last few days, but we haven’t used the woodstove yet this season. Supposed to warm up a bit next week, but, this time of year, it won’t last.

              And I LOVE my laptop! =D

            2. SNOW??? I don’t think I’ve ever seen real snow. Well once, but I don’t really remember it. All I’ve seen is ice. One of the things I’m most excited about in the UK is seeing snow! I’m gonna build a snowman!! Pictures would be awesome!😀

            3. Try this!

              Snow girl

              Lise was a little over 9.5 years in this picture from 2/14/14, when we had a blizzard. She’s not short; but that is in fact a snowbank taller than she is…and that wasn’t the last storm of the year, either!

    1. Right now, Grandma’s cabinet is finishing up a task of being the perfect flat surface upon which to cut up my flash fiction story, rearrange the elements, and tape them onto new pages…and I feel close to her through the process.

      I took the doors off the top a week or so ago, and now the top is more like a bookcase – attractive and useful. My daughter thinks she’d like to repurpose the doors.

      Happy nesting! =D

  1. The first thing that needs to be done in my nest is to clean up all the cat litter. I have to share my nest with my furry friends. I have a beach theme going, but I need to hang up my purple blown glass jellyfish. I just need to hang it up out of the cats’ reach. LOL I’ve been writing on the couch in the living room, trying to shut out whatever TV program hubby was watching. I need to stop this and get back to my own space!

    1. I’ve got cat litter, too…but no blown glass jellyfish in any color….hmmn….

      I have a tendency to write most right where I am now – on my bed. Not so good for the posture, but I’ve been doing it since I was a little girl, and it feels natural. Part of the nesting of this round is to ease into spending more time creating in the space designed for it.

      Ironically, a television is on my list of things to purchase for this space. A TV – and wireless headphones, because the kids usually watch in the living room only a bamboo curtain away…but with a Tv in there, I can watch Enterprise while I write. I love my brand of research!

      Happy nesting, Lauralynn. Let’s reclaim of creative spaces together!

  2. What an inspirational post Shan! What we surround ourselves with can either build us up or tear us down. Time to re-weave! I’m also doing that with my story. A very timely reminder. Thanks girl!🙂

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