How Writing Nurtures Me

Today, I have children’s poet Kristin Martin giving an insight to how writing nurtures her. Thank you Kristin for giving a valuable insight to the creative process for yourself.

How Writing Nurtures Me

by Kristin Martin

I am a children’s poet. I write poems about nature, and about children’s wonder and awe at the natural world. I find it easy to put myself in the shoes of a child, because I still am that child. I still feel that wonder and awe.

On Monday Lilliana asked me to write a blog post. I typed the title on my laptop: How writing nurtures me, but I didn’t know what to write. So I closed the document and went back to writing poetry.

Today I spent the entire day writing children’s poetry. When I say ‘the entire day’, I mean that I dedicated today to writing poetry, rather than I sat at my computer and typed poems all day, because that is not possible, at least not for me.

In order to put myself in the right frame of mind this morning I looked out at my back garden. I saw something moving under a tree, and realised it was my turtle! I hurried outside because I rarely see her out of her pond, and watched as she rambled off into the bushes.

turtle hiding
Can you find the turtle?

And that was when I noticed the path. A smooth path under the rosemary bush, leading into the darkness. She obviously has wandered along this path regularly, as she has worn it smooth. I put my head down and peered along the path, under the jumble of branches and sweet smelling leaves, and her little face peered back at me.

And then I returned to my laptop and tried to capture my joy at discovering this mysterious path.

That poem is not finished yet, but the challenge of writing words, with perfect rhythm and rhyme, to tell a story about this path is one that I relish

Next, I opened a poem that I have been writing over the past week, but that still had a couple of lines I didn’t like. I read it, then left it open on my laptop while I went into the kitchen to make apple sauce. While I chopped apples I ran over the words in my head, and played with alternatives, and that is when I came up with the solution. I rushed back to my laptop and typed in the words. After finishing the apple sauce I re-read them, and they still sounded perfect.

I had solved the puzzle I had set myself. I had written a poem that tells the story I want and conveys the emotions I want it to, as well as having the correct rhythm, and rhymes that are true.

I felt an enormous sense of accomplishment.

After going for a walk, and then working on several other poems, all of which are unfinished, I realised that I felt happier and more fulfilled than I had in weeks. I felt nurtured. So I returned to the ‘How writing nurtures me’ blog post, and wrote this.

 

Kristin Martin writes poetry and short fiction for children and adults. She is the author of two poetry collections, To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme? published by Glimmer Press in 2019 and Paint the Sky, published by Ginninderra Press in 2016. Her poems and short stories are published in numerous anthologies, including Tadpoles in the Torrens and Wild, in magazines, including Page Seventeen, Orbit, Count Down, Blast Off and The Caterpillar, on websites and in art exhibitions. You can read more of her children’s poetry on her website, Poems For Kids, at kristinmartin.net.

Frog It!

I’m getting into my crocheting crafts as a way to relax, learn, and make things which have practical value for me and to have some fun. start stitch blanket

edges dont align

 

When doing craft it’s not all fun though. I’ve learnt that a new stitch, star stitch, wasn’t turning out like I’d hoped. Rows were decreasing, and I unravelled hours of work but still couldn’t manage to get the rows to line up.

I realised my skill set needed a project that was simpler. I had to do more practise and get experience before going back to the star stitch. Having to unravelled the stitches left me feeling heavy and disillusioned.

frog it

I did some searches online, watched a few YouTube videos and found what I thought was an easier project. A new project naturally called for different yarn and so a trip to the shops was in order.

With new yarn in hand and the recommended crochet hook I settled down to begin learning how to do the stitch, waffle weave. It was fine, I could do it. The problem was the yarn I’d chosen wasn’t right for the stitch and I needed a bigger hook.

waffle weave

 

This time, I wasn’t as disillusioned because I’d come across a new term.

I frogged it!

Rip it, rip it, rip it up!

frog it for waffle weave

Frog it sounds much better than undoing, or unravelling. It even makes me laugh when I’m undoing all my hours of hard work, which helps ease the frustration of having to start a project again or redo a section.

 

The language used makes a big difference. If I’m saying I’m unravelling or undoing, or deleting or unpicking depending on the creative project, then these terms have a heaviness to them, they weigh down my already deflated mood. Whereas frog it, because I’m saying ‘rip it’ over and over quickly sounds like a frog. This makes light of the situation and I don’t feel so frustrated at having to go back a few steps or start again from scratch. I can even have a giggle at the use of the term which lightens my mood and helps me to be motivated to get back into the project.

It didn’t stop there. With new yarn, I started again. But the hook wasn’t big enough, so once more I frogged it.

By going back with a bigger sized hook, and starting again I felt much happier with the forming blanket because I was creating a project to the best of my ability which helped to generate the feeling of satisfaction, progress, and achievement.

Creative projects, like any project can go off track, but with the use of some fun words it can be turned around. And creative projects largely have the purpose of not just of creative expression but also of undergoing a journey, giving a feeling of satisfaction, a chance to learn, exploration and provide a sense of achievement.

And are fun.

When the project doesn’t go to plan why not think of a frog, laugh and get back to it? It’s a more positive mindset that leads to more creativity and fun.

Was there a time when you’ve used positive, or fun words to help you go back and fix up a creative project? Please share below in the comments.

Lilliana