Season of Gratitude and Gifts! On Boosting Creativity View in browser
November 2019 Edition

In this Issue

  • A Season of Gratitude Gift Reminder
  • My Latest Interview and a Post on "Messy Middles"
  • Books Make Great Gifts!
  • Writing Workshop: "Coping with the Inner Critic"
  • Releasing Negative Emotions to Boost Creativity

A Season of Gratitude Gift Reminder 

     In this season of gratitude and giving, I'd like to remind you of four free gifts available to my Creativity Newsletter subscribers:

  • If you haven't yet read Playing by Heart, I invite you to download a free excerpt here.
  • If you have read Playing by Heart, you may enjoy reading a deleted scene from an early draft of the novel. The scene originally appeared in a chapter called “The Sweetest Sound” and introduced Emilia’s older brother, Giovanni, who gives Emilia her first harpsichord lesson. You can download the scene here.

Please remember, these freebies are for subscribers only. If you know someone who'd like to receive them, they can do so by signing up for my newsletter here.   

     By the way, Vinspire Publishing, publisher of Playing by Heart, is now on Instagram and is offering monthly giveaways to attract new followers. This month's giveaway ends Saturday, November 30, and features fun, Christmas-themed prizes. Enter on their Instagram page or @VinspirePublishing.

My Latest Interview and a Post on "Messy Middles"     

     Shortly after I sent out my last newsletter, I was interviewed by fellow ACFW member Lorrie Domin about the inspiration behind my novels. You can read that interview here

    Also, if you're a writer who struggles with getting through the middle of your projects, you may be interested in a recent series of TeachingAuthors posts on the topic of "Messy Middles." You can read my post kicking off the series here: "2 Tips for Bridging the Middle, Plus 2 Book Suggestions."

Books Make Great Gifts!

     With Christmas just around the corner, I encourage you to consider buying books as gifts. If you're considering purchasing one of my books as a gift, I have a special offer for my newsletter subscribers: if you buy the print edition of Rosa, Sola or Playing by Heart, I'll send you a personalized autographed bookplate and bookmark to show my gratitude. Simply reply to this email with your name, mailing address, and the name of the book recipient. Just be sure to allow for postal deadlines to ensure you get the bookplate and bookmark in time for gift-giving!    

     My books can be ordered wherever books are sold, but I encourage you to buy them from an independent bookstore, if possible. As it happens, this Saturday, November 30, is Small Business Saturday--the perfect day to support locally-owned businesses. You can find your nearest independent bookstore using this page of the Indiebound website, or order books from the Indiebound site itself. The ordering page with details about Rosa, Sola (for ages 10 and up) is here. The page with details for Playing by Heart (for ages 12 through adults) is here.

Writing Workshop: "Coping with the Inner Critic"

     My next writing workshop will be on Saturday, January 25, 2020.
I'll be speaking to the SCBWI-IL LaGrange-Naperville Network on the topic of "Coping with Your Inner Critic." The program is free and open to the public, but registration is required. You can register by contacting Network Coordinator Cathy Velasco by January 21. The workshop will take place from 10 a.m.-noon at the Fountaindale Public Library, 300 W Briarcliff Road, Bolingbrook, IL. I'd love to see some of you there!

Releasing Negative Emotions to Boost Creativity

     The creativity tip in my last newsletter encouraged you to: Create your own writer's studio type of journal. If you already have a journal, consider either expanding it or starting a separate "studio" journal.  One email subscriber wrote in response to that suggestion: "This idea of a studio journal is just the motivation I need to get my stuff in order!" I checked back with her this week and learned she has indeed created her own writer's studio journal and loves it!

     This month, I'm going to talk about a completely different type of journaling. But first, I need to share some background information. I recently discovered a new podcast called "The Happiness Lab." It’s presented by Yale psychology professor Dr. Laurie Santos. As it says on "The Happiness Lab" website:

"In 'The Happiness Lab' podcast, Yale professor
Dr. Laurie Santos will take you through the latest scientific research
and share some surprising and inspiring stories that will forever
alter the way you think about happiness.
She's changed the lives of thousands of people
through her class 'Psychology and the Good Life,'
and she'll change yours, too."

     I found the first season of the podcast fascinating.  You can watch a brief videoclip to learn more about the podcast here.

     In Episode 6: Don’t Think of the White Bear, Dr. Santos discusses the detrimental effect suppressing negative emotions has on our health and productivity. In the program, she interviews Professor James Pennebaker,  who has researched how talking or journaling about difficult or traumatic events can facilitate the healing process. Professor Pennebaker discusses how thousands of studies have shown that expressing our negative memories results not only in better health but also in improved creativity. You can listen to the episode via any podcast app or online here. (His comments on creativity are just before the 24-minute mark of the episode.)

     The discussion reminded me of how I use my Morning Pages, a special type of journaling described by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.

     I've shared other techniques and advice from The Artist's Way in this newsletter before, but I don't believe I've ever discussed Morning Pages. Here's a description of them from Cameron's website:

"Morning Pages are three pages of longhand,
stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning.
*There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*–
they are not high art. They are not even 'writing.'
They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind–
and they are for your eyes only.
Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize
and synchronize the day at hand.
Do not over-think Morning Pages:
just put three pages of anything on the page...
and then do three more pages tomorrow.

     I don't follow Carmeron's rule of writing three full pages first thing every morning strictly. I typically write only a page or two. But my Morning Pages are often the place where I express my deepest frustrations and disappointments. In listening to "The Happiness Lab" podcast, I realized that Morning Pages have much in common with the journaling done in Professor Pennebaker's studies that required participants to express their negative emotions and traumatic experiences in writing. Interestingly, near the beginning of her 2-minute video introducing Morning Pages, Cameron herself says she often thinks they should be called "Mourning Pages." She goes on to say:

". . . when you put the negativity on the page,
it isn't eddying through your consciousness during the day."

Given what I learned in the podcast, it makes sense that getting rid of repressed emotions can improve creativity.

     So, for this month's creativity tip, I encourage you to: Try doing Morning Pages. You can follow the guidelines I copied above from Cameron's website, or adapt them to fit your own style, as I have. I think the greatest benefit to your creativity may come from using Morning Pages to vent about negative emotions and experiences. But feel free to experiment and observe whether the practice has any effect on your creative work.

     If you try this creativity tip, do let me know your results!

That's all for this month. Watch for my next Creativity Newsletter at the end of January.

Until then . . .

Happy Creating!
Happy Creating!
P.S. If someone forwarded this newsletter to you or you're reading it online, I encourage you to become a subscriber so you don't miss an issue. You can do so here.

Copyright © 2019 Carmela A. Martino. All rights reserved.

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