Re-visioning the New Year! Novelty and Creativity View in browser
January 2020 Edition

In this Issue

  • 2020: Re-visioning the New Year
  • "Coping with Your Inner Critic" Workshop
  • Three Cheers for Libraries (and Reader Recommendations)!
  • Novelty and Creativity

2020: Re-visioning the New Year 

     Even though I'm sending this out on the last day of January, I don't think it's too late to wish you all a happy New Year and new decade! Our first series of posts at this year is about "re-visioning," whether that means taking a fresh look at a current project or at our career goals as a whole. If you're a writer and you haven't yet read Esther's post, One Writer's Rx on Achieving 20/20 Vision in 2020!, I encourage you to do so. My post on the topic won't run until February.

"Coping with Your Inner Critic" Workshop  

     Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of presenting my "Coping with Your Inner Critic" Workshop at the SCBWI-IL LaGrange-Naperville Network meeting. Here's a photo from that event, captured by Mary Chamberlin, one of the Network coordinators:


     I want to welcome those of you who subscribed to this newsletter at that event. I was so glad the weather forecast didn't scare you away from joining us. The roads really weren't bad.

     I'm trying to focus on my own writing now, so I don't have any other events scheduled. But if anything changes, I'll announce it in this newsletter.

Three Cheers for Libraries (and Reader Recommendations)!

     I was recently pleasantly surprised to see an Instagram post by fellow Catholic Writers Guild member Barb Szyszkiewicz about her library acquiring my novel Playing by Heart. I re-posted her photo with my thank you. If you're not on Instagram, here it is again:

     I often encourage readers to help "spread the word" about books they enjoy by asking their local library to purchase them. (You may recall my writing about this in a past newsletter.) Getting your library to buy books is also a great solution for those times when you've exceeded your own book budget. And I practice what I preach! Just the day before seeing Barb's post, I'd received an email from my library saying they'd ordered a book I'd recommended. I'll have to remember to share an Instagram post like Barb's when the book comes in.

Novelty and Creativity

     The creativity tip in my last newsletter invited you to: Try doing Morning Pages. I haven't had any feedback on that suggestion, so I don't know if any of you have given it a try. But I continue doing mine most every day.

     Before discussing this month's creativity topic, I have a confession to make: I've been so engrossed in my current writing project that I haven't had much time to think about this month's topic. In fact, I almost skipped sending a newsletter this month. But instead, I've decided to talk about what I've been experiencing with my own writing.

     Some months back, I discussed my decision to return to a poetry-centered approach to my current work-in-progress (WIP). In that newsletter, I talked about my love of poetry but also my lack of confidence in my ability as a poet. But it's not just lack of confidence that's made this project a struggle. Part of me worries that I could spend months reworking it as poetry and still not find a market for it.

    So I was quite surprised when I recently became totally engrossed in the project again. The reason for my renewed enthusiasm? I decided to rewrite one of the poems in a form I'd never tried before: terza rima. This is the form Dante invented to write The Divine Comedy, and I have specific reasons for wanting to use the form in my WIP. (If you're curious about terza rima, you can read more about it and see examples at the Society of Classical Poets website.)

      This isn't the first time I've tackled a new form for this project. I wrote one of the first poems as an Italian sonnet. That was a real challenge! I began by spending lots of time reading about sonnets and studying examples. My initial attempts at writing one were quite awful, but I eventually created a sonnet I liked. And I've received positive feedback on it from accomplished poets.

     That success convinced me to at least try my hand at terza rima. I approached this new challenge in the same way, by first researching the form and studying examples. I finally started working on a terza rima poem this past Tuesday. Much to my surprise, I've become obsessed with writing this poem! I want to work on it every chance I get.

     So I asked myself why? I think part of the reason is that I love word puzzles and writing a terza rima poem feels like a very challenging word puzzle or game. I know what the content of the poem needs to be. The game is to find a way to convey that content within the rules of the form.

      The other part of the appeal for me is the novelty of the task. I've never written a terza rima poem. Trying to create one is stretching my brain in a new way, and I find that energizing. 

    I did a quick search on the topic of novelty and creativity and found this article at DIYGenious that calls novelty a "creativity accelerator," along with unpredictability and complexity.

     For this month's creativity tip, I encourage you to: Challenge yourself to try something new. This could be something new related to a creative project you're already working on. For example, if you're an artist, it could be trying a different medium or style. Or, your new endeavor could be unrelated to a specific project, but something you've always wanted to try. For example, taking dance lessons or learning a new musical instrument. Then observe what, if any, impact your new endeavor has on your creativity. 

     As always, if you try this creativity tip, let me know how it goes!

That's all for this month. Watch for my next Creativity Newsletter at the end of March. I hope to have finished my terza rima poem by then!

Until next time . . .

Happy Creating!
Happy Creating!

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Copyright © 2020 Carmela A. Martino. All rights reserved.

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