Archive | May 2012

Why Not?

Before deciding to do anything lots of us think about why we want to do it, why it will be a good idea, why we should, why

Then, we tell our friends we’re going to try new foods (maybe snails), change careers,  have dancing lessons, learn to play the cello… and our friends say “why?”  This starts the cycle all over again and we come up with reasons to justify our decisions and choices (especially if their voice has that tone…)

Now, I’m not saying this is a bad thing, it’s always good to know why you might want to do something.  But…

…sometimes I think we should try new things just because we want to – without all the why’s.  You never know what will happen or how it might change your life.

Next time you want to do something, or someone suggests trying something a little different, strange or even scary, instead of saying why?


As a writer trying new things is essential to keeping new ideas flowing in, our writing fresh and stopping us from becoming too isolated.  Our brains thrive on new experiences and challenges.

New experiences don’t always have to be big and momentous like climbing Everest, jumping out of a plane, quitting your job, or cutting your hair in a radical new ‘do’.

Start small.  As long as it is a new experience – you, your brain and your creative life will all benefit.

I have included some suggestions below.  Choose something off the list (that you haven’t already done before) or come up with your own experience and try it sometime this week.  Leave a comment and let us know what you did.

Why Not Experience Ideas

  • Make gloop and play with it.  (You can do this alone or with your kids.)  Click here for recipe and suggestions on what to do with it.
  • Go to a belly dancing class.
  • Grab some friends and play laser tag.
  • Listen to music that is not your style or genre.  Try dancing to it.
  • Get up early and watch the sun rise.
  • Try a new food or dish – Indian, Thai, Chinese…
  • Try a new herbal tea.
  • Visit a museum or art gallery.
  • Go mountain biking.
  • Volunteer to read a book to a local playgroup or at the library and put on voices for all the characters.
  • Wear an outfit that you wouldn’t usually.
  • Have a crazy hair day.
  • Learn to play an instrument.
  • Try not talking for a whole day. (This works best if you don’t need to go out.  Better yet, try it as a family).
  • Paint ballooning – get a blank canvas or wall.  Fill water balloons with paint and throw at canvas to make them explode.  (or use darts like on Princess Diaries.)
  • Meditate.
  • Dress up as your favourite childhood book character and go to the supermarket.
  • Fly a kite.
  • Go up in a hot air balloon.
  • Jump in puddles and dance in the rain. (If you’re really brave do it in a public place and sing ‘Dancing in the Rain’.)
  • Go to a poetry reading…

The world is your oyster. If you have some ideas you want added to this list, leave me a comment and I will add them.

Have Fun!


Photos courtesy of


Monday Muse – A crocodile and a duck?

Good Morning Everyone,

It is another Monday morning and I have been sitting at my desk trying to complete a writing assignment for the course I am doing.  I have had some great ideas for stories that do not fit the criteria, but none on track.

This made me start thinking about our muse.  When she turns up writing flows, art seems to make itself – things just go right and the outcome is usually pretty fantastic. But, when she’s not there you are tempted to get up and do something else while you wait for that flash of inspiration, that great idea, which is the muse showing up.  However, most writers know that the best way to get their muse to show up is to start writing.

 “Instead of discussing with myself every morning whether I feel inspired or not, I step into my office every day at nine sharp, open the window and politely ask the muse to enter and kiss me. Sometimes she comes in, more often she does not. But she can never claim that she hasn’t found me waiting in the right place.”

Peter Prange

Last week one of my assignments was to write a picture book text.  All week I thought up ideas, discarded them, wrote perfect(ish) first lines then got stuck, decided to just go and finish that little job, ring a friend, send an email, all while I waited for this amazing, fantastic great idea that was going to appear to me fully formed….

Of course, it didn’t work that way.  On Thursday my daughter said to me, “write a story about a crocodile and a duck.”  So I did.  I sat down and wrote the story.  Since then I have rewritten it 3 times – but I have a story.  (In case you’re interested – it has pirates in it – it just had to with a crocodile…)

So, just to help everyone out – myself included- I am going to put up a starter, an idea, every Monday.

Todays Monday Muse

Write a story, a song, a poem or draw a picture that includes a crocodile and a duck.

One reason I don’t suffer Writer’s Block is that I don’t wait on the muse, I summon it at need.

Piers Anthony

Happy creating,


How to make a bent book and why you would want to…

A big hello to all you creative souls out there (whether or not you know you are),

I was chatting to some friends (who would tell you they are not creative), telling them about this new website/blog and they wanted to know more about bent books. They’d seen me with them over the years but had dismissed them as a quirky writer thing.

Bent books are simple foldable, bendable notebooks that fit perfectly in your back pocket so you always have them on hand to write down elusive thoughts, reminders, ideas and more.  What is special about bent books is that you make them yourself, or sometimes if you’re lucky a friend will give you one.

The process of making one will kick start your creative juices and you’ll be shocked at how soon it is full.  Then you get to make another one – perhaps a new and improved version.

Once I started telling my friends all the things I use them for;

Writing – ideas, conversation snippets, doodles, even first drafts when I feel the need to get a story down urgently and I am out and about…

Gardening – keeping track of what I’ve planted where and when, harvests, eggs collected.  ( for example, last year my hens laid 546 eggs in 6 months.  I still have trouble believing it – but I have the tally chart in my gardening bent book to prove it. )

Nature Diary – sketches of birds, where and when I saw them, leaf and bark rubbings. You are only limited by your imagination.

The best thing is bent books fit in your pocket so it’s not another thing you have to carry.  I always have a bent book on or near my person.

They are also great for writing down phone numbers, book titles or authors that friends recommend…

And, if you don’t think you’d use one…they make great gifts for friends.

Anyway, once they got me started they couldn’t shut me up and we all got excited and had an impromptu bent book making workshop.  I have included step by step instructions, with photos.  I have used only things you can find at home, so you don’t have to go out and buy anything.  It only took 20 minutes to make a basic book and a bit longer for more elaborate designs.

Some things my friends ( who can no longer deny they’re not a little bit creative), are going to use them for; shopping lists, recipe ideas and alterations, to keep track of trade me/e-bay listings, books they’ve read and to doodle in. Now, let’s get started.

Click here to download the PDF with the instructions.

Happy Creating


What is a bent book and why did I name my blog after one?

In case you’re wondering…

about bent books and what they are, I am going to give you a peek inside some of mine as well as giving you a step by step outline on how to make your own.  Bent books changed my life as a writer, allowing me to keep track of all my wonderful (and not so wonderful) ideas as well as my doodles and snippets of conversation I collect for ‘future’ books.  Not only are bent books great for writers, they are fantastic for gardeners, cooks, birdwatchers, artists, inventors – in fact anybody with a hobby.  The best thing – you can tailor make them to serve your purpose.

So…watch this space.

I had a dig through my drawer of dreams, doodles and dibbledots and found my first ever bent book.  I had a read and a chuckle and have included a pic for you.  (Just to clarify – it is not a flying hippo – but a hippopotamus fairy)

It was my first, rudimentary bent book.  Not much to look at, but a treasure trove of ideas.