I accompanied my publisher, Dream Write Publishing to Jasper, Alberta on Saturday for booklovers weekend. Most weekends are book lovers weekend’s, I’m sure you would agree, but this was a special event and I was happy to participate.
Our generous host, Habitat for the Arts arranged our tables in the foyer. We had some fantastic chats with visitors and book sales too. Marianne also gifted us ceramic lanyard’s made by local artisans.
I donated my books to the library and received a lovely thank you card and chocolate! Remember, you can always request any of my books from your local library.
I have been given the opportunity to create a new writing/creative space for myself. This is exciting as well as daunting. There are many factors to consider apart from the placement of the desk.
Lighting – natural and artificial
The room has one window, which is central to one wall, so I want to maximize the natural light coming onto the desk. Added to this there is one ceiling light, which will cause shadows, so I will add a good strong lamp for desk work. Having a nice view is a double edged sword for writers – it is relaxing and refreshes the mind, but can also be a distraction. Therefore, I will place my L-shaped desk in such a way to allow focused work and nature watching.
I have to consider what ‘mood’ I want to convey with the paint colour on the walls. Do I go for a single or double coloured walls, or have a focus wall? When researching colours, I found that green boosts creativity, promotes harmony and is a good choice for brainstorming spaces. So that may be my choice, although there are a multitude of greens to consider! I The carpet is a light sandy earth tone so it will balance the room. I would like to have some sort of wall mural to make the room feel like a natural oasis and might invest in a large mural of a tree or hanging foliage to make the space feel like it is in nature. This will be especially nice when I endure the Albertan winter! I found some really nice ones.
Decor – natural and artificial
I love plants, so will choose air purifying and variegated leaf plants for this space. These include spider plants, English ivy, and pothos, all of which I have already, so it will be a matter of propagating and new pots.
There is also the texture to contemplate – soft and plush and hard and shiny to give the room balance. My floor lamp is silver metal, my desk a light beige, my office chair is a dark blue, and maybe I will invest in a plush rug for my feet. Then there are the other furniture items to think about – another bookshelf, a large armchair, a a crafting table for other creative endeavors…the list goes on!
All of these are just ideas at the moment, things change, ideas come to mind. It is the process that is the joy.
How did you choose to decorate your writing space?
This past long weekend Linda, I and our furry companions took off east to Grande Cache. As always water is the draw for me – large lakes are the closest I can get to ocean waves in landlocked Alberta! I have grown to appreciate the magnificence of the mountains and the wildlife that inhabits them. Not only are the Rockies stunning, but it is always good to realize how insignificant you really are.
On many of our journeys we have been gifted with many sightings of animals, large and small, but one particular animal stayed elusive. It is the modern day unicorn – the caribou. Although, we have driven through the migratory areas of these beautiful deer, we have never seen one until this trip. An adult female grazing by the highway, who dashed into the trees before I could get a photo. However, the joy of seeing one of these endangered animals was the thrill of the weekend. (not my photo)
As a lifelong lover of the natural world, it is always devastating to learn about the impact of human existence on the wonders of the world around us. To help the caribou there is a conservation project and also a Caribou Patrol. Signs are posted for drivers to take care on the migratory routes and any sightings must be reported. It is so great to know these magnificent animals are protected.
We did drive to other locations during the weekend of writing and reading. Victor Lake, Sulphur Gates and the Labyrinth Park.
But was also happy to sleep while I wrote or was reading.
As writers we want to produce the very best story for our readers. Although, we would like to spend all our time writing, there are many other demands on our time. Family commitments, work, chores and more, in fact just life! To improve our writing skill, however, we need to invest in it.
There are multiple ways in which to do this. Of course, some require extended time commitments, while others are easier to slot into our time constraints. Here are some options for you to consider:
Furthering your writing education encompasses broad and diverse options. We can find many free on-line or paid resources, such as on YouTube, Masterclasses or Skillshare. There will also be courses, whether in-person or on-line for a day or evening class basis with a university or college course. These can be a large time and financial investment, so think carefully before committing to one.
Conferences and Events
You can find writing conferences held throughout the year by literary organizations, these range from free to paid. Attending a session with an expert and really focusing on their topic, is a great way to garner information and insight for your own writing.
There is a plethora of books on writing and you can either borrow from your local library or buy. Depending on if you want a general writing guide or a specific one, you should be able to find one that matches your needs.
Writing Apps or Services
There are many to choose from, including ProWritingAid, Scrivener, or Novlr, to name a few. It is important to thoroughly research these before purchasing, so it is in-line with what you need as a writer and how you write. Some have free trial periods so you can test them out.
This option does involve a financial commitment, as well as a time commitment. Hiring a writing coach can make a tremendous difference to your writing. It can take the form of informal mentors to biweekly counseling sessions. Decide which one suits your personality and learning preference.
Writer in Residence
Many libraries have professional authors, who spend a period of time holding presentations, but also give free advice, whether one-on-one or via email. As a free resource this is a great option for any writer. (I always connect with our local WIR every year).
You can find retreats held by literary organizations in most areas. They can be structured or informal. Most will entail a financial commitment. If you belong to a writing group, why not organize your own, with maybe a special guest or two to give a presentation. Or decide on what is the most common element everyone wants to learn, discuss or practice is and build the retreat around that.
A local writing group is a real bonus in helping you improve your writing. You receive feedback on your writing, discuss the multitudinous of writing topics, as well as receive encouragement and support.
No matter which option you choose, investing in your writing always improves your skill.
What have you done to improve your writing skills?
The Easter weekend saw me, Linda and the two doggies in Cold Lake, and it certainly was cold. Unseasonable weather for April was not in our plans when we booked the hotel, that’s for sure. Our last trip here was early July and it was very warm and crowded.
However, we made the best of our long weekend, with walks along the dock and day trips to explore. Funnily, a lot of the range roads and township roads we tried had no exit signs, so we went back and forth a lot. The retreat of No Exits, we have called it.
This was only my second visit to Cold Lake and I really love it there. Any large expanse of water always makes me happy. Being in landlocked Alberta, I miss the seaside of England, where a quick thirty or forty minute drive got me to salty air, waves, sand (or pebbles) and rock pools.
Sammie and I were out to walk in the early mornings and could hear the deep cracking sound of the ice echo across the lake. We also enjoyed watching the rising sun reflected on the ice. On one walk, we found a cute free library, so on my next trip I must contribute one or two of my books.
The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell. The dark side of family secrets, the repercussions and finding a way to deal with them. A fascinating story, of a family finding the truth of themselves in contrast to their ‘idealist’ childhood. Shadows at every turn and revelations keep you turning the pages. There is redemption, love, sadness and above all a family linked to one another.
I am currently reading The Smart One by Jennifer Close.
Both of these books involve family dynamics. It is interesting to read the different approaches by each author.
What are you reading?
Apart from reading, walking and exploring, over the weekend, I did read through my fellow novel workshop participants comments on the first thirty pages of book two of The Delphic Murders – The Tainted Search. Having four other writers read my work, gives me diverse feedback, which is so welcome and helpful. This trilogy will take some time to complete, but will be worth the effort. I hope once it is published you will enjoy it too.