According to a BBC article, recent research has confirmed that alone time is good for your concentration, health, and creativity. Is anyone else not remotely surprised? Any introvert can tell you that spending time on your own is a necessity, particularly when it comes to creative pursuits.
As much as I enjoy spending time with friends, I seem to never be able to get any writing done when I do. Even if it’s only for a couple of hours, socializing drains me, leaving no energy to think, let alone create. I’m not advocating for isolation (unless that’s your thing), but the more time I spend being social, the more appealing the hermit lifestyle starts to look.
I’m always a little skeptical of people in creative fields who are extroverts. The extroverts I know are constantly on the run, always social, always busy. When do they find time to create? How do they focus? I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s difficult to picture someone coming home from a party and feeling inspired to do anything other than sleep it off.
I’m still trying to find a balance between spending time with the people I care about and getting the necessary solitude I need to create. Sometimes I wish texting counted as socializing, or that I could carry on a conversation while mentally working on a chapter or two. How about you–are you an introvert or extrovert? What helps or hinders your creativity? Share in the comments…
I’m excited to announce that I’ve finished the first draft of a new story set in the Love Lies Bleeding universe and inspired by true events! Details and cover reveal to come–make sure to follow or subscribe so you won’t miss out…
In the meantime, it’s always fun to take part in a book tag, and this one found its way to me via A.M. Molvik’s Ramblings…
Author You’ve Read The Most From:
Isabel Allende. Love her work. Close second: Ilona Andrews, if only because the Kate Daniels series has so many books in it.
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende. It caught my eye in a secondhand shop and was the first book of hers I read. Now she’s one of my favourite authors.
Hidden Gem Book:
Find a book by an indie author. Does the book’s description sound interesting? If yes, then enjoy that hidden gem!
Important Moment in your Reading Life:
Aside from learning how to read, maybe it was the first time I read a difficult book and really got it.
The latest (and it seems, last, alas) Kate Daniels book (Magic Triumphs) by Ilona Andrews.
Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
If the story is interesting to me, I’ll read just about anything. That said, however, I have no interest in abusive relationships portrayed as “romance.” I’m also tired of dystopian fiction–I think we’re all getting enough of that in reality.
Longest Book You’ve Read:
Probably Ulysses (it felt like the longest, anyway).
Major Book Hangover Because Of:
The Good: Every time I finished a Harry Potter book, and ultimately when I finished the entire series.
The Bad: When I finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and was left wondering wtf I just read (Harry’s name might be on the cover, but this book does not deserve that title).
The Ugly: A series I finished not too long ago that was so bad I’m still reeling. I posted about it here.
Number of Bookcases You Own:
25 (which is one reason why I’m not a fan of open concept design–I need walls!)
One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
I’ve re-read a number of books, but the one I probably re-read the most was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Every time a new book came out, I’d read the entire series again. Since Deathly Hallows (the last book) came out, I’ve re-read the entire series a few more times.
Preferred Place To Read:
Somewhere quiet and comfortable with good lighting.
Quote That Inspires You/Gives You All The Feels From A Book You’ve Read:
Not a single quote, but a passage from Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews:
“In basic terms, a fractal is a system that doesn’t become simpler when analyzed on smaller and smaller levels….It doesn’t end….It can’t be explained by mathematical analysis, so humanity, as it so often does, declared it to be a mathematical curiosity and swept it under the rug. Except the fractal occurs again and again….Left to its own devices, nature defaults to a fractal. A human settlement is a fractal. It is a complex system with randomly interacting components that is adaptive on every level. The pattern of the evolution of a single cell to complex organism is a fractal. The way man approaches his quest for knowledge is a fractal. Think of it: biology, the study of living things. A simple concept…”
A straight line appeared on the floor.
“As man accumulates knowledge, the volume of information becomes too much. He feels the need to subdivide it.”
The line split into three branches marked with labels: zoology, botany, anatomy, then split again. Botany grew horticulture, forestry, plant morphology, plant systematics. Zoology splintered into zoological morphology and systematics, then into comparative anatomy, animal physiology, behavioral ecology…It kept building and building, splitting, growing, branching….
“And that’s the crux of our problem…Man can’t handle the chaos.”
I went in expecting a good story. I came away with insight into life, the universe, and the limits of the human mind (along with a good story). Not bad.
That I didn’t keep a record of the books I read when I was younger. Not only have I forgotten the titles of books I read and loved (and will likely never be able to find again), but I’ll never have an accurate count of how much I’ve actually read.
Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):
I can’t think of anything in fiction, but there’s a series of science books I started a while back that I would like to finish (not going to happen anytime soon, though).
Reading. It doesn’t matter what or how or when–just read. Your life will be better for it–I promise. (But do yourself a favour and branch out a little–if you always read a version of the same thing, it’ll get boring after a while).
Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
I don’t usually pay too much attention to new releases because I don’t mind waiting to get a book (I happily read books that are 10+ years old), but there are a couple coming out that I’m excited about: The Book of Lost Saints by Daniel José Elder, The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, and Sacred Smoke by Amy Blackthorn.
Worst Bookish Habit:
Eating while I read, although I don’t do it much anymore. But I have stained a few books over the years (oops).
X Marks The Spot
Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
Unfortunately it was the last book in that series I ended up hating (see “Major Book Hangover,” above). I was almost finished the book, so I decided it was worth losing sleep to find out how it all concluded. I spent most of the night reading (there was more left than I realized) and then I was so upset at the horrible decisions the author made that I couldn’t sleep at that point if I tried. I stayed awake all night, reading and then thinking about how much time I wasted on such an awful series. I would really like that sleep (and my time, money, and peace of mind) back.
What’s the last book you bought? Have you lost any sleep lately to stay up reading? What’s the 27th book on your shelf? Share your answers in the comments below, or leave the link if you post this tag on your own blog 🙂
Aspasía S. Bissas
PS: It’s your last chance to take advantage of Smashwords’ summer sale and get Love Lies Bleeding at half off. Don’t forget Blood Magic–always free!
Happy Canada Day to all Canadians, no matter where they find themselves on 1 July!
Did you know that Canada Day is not our independence day? It’s Canada’s birthday (happy 152nd!) July 1st marks the anniversary of Confederation, or the day the first four provinces officially joined to create the Dominion of Canada.
Long weekends are also the perfect time to catch up on your reading (how else are you going to digest all that BBQ?) Take advantage of Smashword’s sale and get Love Lies Bleedingfor half price (and Blood Magic, as always, is free). Support Canadian indie writers and have a good day 🍁
If you want to learn more about Canada, watch this short video by a couple of resident experts:
I’m a big fan of crafting. When I’m not reading or writing (and sometimes when I am) I can often be found working on a project, usually needlepoint, but also crocheting/knitting, jewellery making, sewing, or something else along those lines. I get inspiration from all kinds of places: my own tastes, magazines, Pinterest, friends and family–but why not combine forces and get inspired by books? Not craft books, but actual novels?
Well, other crafters thought the same thing and have come up with some great literary-inspired projects. Here are some of my favourites:
Still using old receipts as bookmarks? Nothing wrong with this practical-but-dull approach. Then again, for a little effort you can mark your place in a more colourful–and personal–way with a DIY bookmark.
I’m normally not a fan of crafts that use (read: destroy) actual books, but some books really have outlived their usefulness and can be ethically sacrificed. And this awesome book bag by Mollie Makes is a worthy cause (but do try to find a book that’s damaged beyond repair, is missing pages, or isn’t valuable). Video tutorial and written instructions here.
There are no instructions with these magnets, but they’re simple enough, and can be customized however you want. Use a clean mint tin or jar lid. Glue pictures, quotes, mini figures, and so on inside to create a scene evoking a favourite book. Then glue magnets on the back and adorn your fridge with your handiwork.
This gorgeous terrarium was originally posted on Catch My Party. Although there are no instructions, as with the magnets above it’s a pretty straightforward craft and can be customized for any theme. Keep costs low by looking for the container at secondhand stores or garage sales (you could even use a clean pickle jar, if you want).
Why settle for making book-themed crafts when you can make your own books? Here’s a tutorial from Homemade Gifts Made Easy on how to hand make a hardcover, Japanese-style ribbon-bound book. What’s that, you ask? Why, yes, I do accept gifts…
And just for fun, here’s a cross stitch I made in honour of Love Lies Bleeding. I didn’t use one pattern but put it together from a few patterns I found online.
Do you craft? Have you completed any literary-inspired projects? Do you know of any good patterns online? Share in the comments…