Garden sheds and Spanish Steps

Roald Dahl famously wrote from his garden shed. John Keats based himself in the heart of the Eternal City, at the foot of the Spanish Steps.

photography of lighted bridge

Whether it is a blogger, scriptwriter, poet or novelist, each has their particular ‘Creative Space’ where they produce their masterpieces.

So, what is that elusive, stimulating place and how do you find yours?

The answer depends on where you are most relaxed and least distracted. For inspiration to flow unabated, the mind must be calm and receptive.

body of water between green leaf trees

For some, busy coffee shops and book stores provide the perfect ambience to spark their imagination. Others prefer the tranquillity only nature can bestow, and sit under a tree, by a bubbling brook or, in a park in the middle of the city.

Truth is, you don’t need to go anywhere to find your writing nirvana. Curling up on the sofa with a notepad and pen can be just as rewarding from a creative perspective.

With some trial and error, you too will make your own creative space.

 

New year’s resolutions and other disappointments

Yes, it’s that time of the year, again. Everyone is taking stock of their highlights and achievements over the past year. I usually plan to do two or three things every January, and by the time December rolls in, I would have forgotten two or three of them.

This year, miraculously, I managed to stay on track. I’d intended undertaking some things that scared me. However, I knew I won’t be able to face my fears without some help. It came in the form of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as Tapping), which freed me from a number of phobias and fixations, to the point where I can comfortably share my fears.

Though I’d been writing for many years, I struggled to share my work, even with close friends and family. Through EFT inquiry, I was able to understand the root causes of my reluctance, which revolved around exposure. Nervousness, self-consciousness and a general lack of confidence in my writing had held me back from publishing my novels.

Having worked those issues out, I plucked up the courage to start small, by writing a blog. As the blog started to receive positive feedback, I felt empowered to share more, and eventually took the humongous step of publishing my debut romance, Krish. At first, I didn’t publicise the release. However, as the download numbers increased, and positive feedback poured in, I felt encouraged to overcome my greatest hurdle, Social Media. I recently signed up to Tweeter (@BhogaytaNina) and Insta (@NJBhogayta). Still getting the hang of them… Don’t know how to get the links.

For once, I’ve actually managed to complete my to-do list for the year. How about you? How are you getting on with your new year’s resolutions?

 

Laziness, boredom, whatever…

For the past few days, I have struggled to find the zest for writing. Maybe it’s the weather, or just plain laziness? Whatever, I keep finding distractions like Instagram or Netflix. Even drying up dishes has suddenly taken priority over knuckling down to pen Krish Book II.

In fact, I’m not reading either. Though there are my usual two to three novels on the go, I have left them to gather dust on the coffee table. Very strange behaviour indeed, given my love for books.

Frustrated with the inertia, I decided to kick-start my lust for creativity with visual aids and poured through some holiday snaps. Here are a few that inspired me. Enjoy!

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Reigning darkness

Just a few years ago, I remember having to wear my winter coat by this time of the year. Today, there is glorious sunshine, reminiscent of a warm spring morning. In fact, judging by the tiny pink buds peeking from some branches, one would be forgiven for thinking it was April, already.

The only sign of winter’s impending arrival is the darkness, closing in earlier and earlier each evening, reigning longer, way into the mornings. That has to be the worst aspect of mid autumn, waking up at six thirty a.m. only to find the stars are still shining in a night sky.

Hammering the final nail in the season’s coffin, British summer time ends next week. Clocks go back. Days will become even shorter, but at least, mornings will be as they should, light and star-free.

It began with junk

Life is about making the most of every opportunity, even the much loathed junk mail, deluging through mail flaps each day, in blatant disregard of the polite yet clear signs, stuck on front doors, decreeing ‘NO JUNK MAIL, PLEASE’.

Out of sheer boredom, one Saturday morning I deigned to flicking through the mountain of bargains and freebies, languishing on our long-suffering doormat and a flimsy A5 pamphlet caught my eye. The Open University it appeared, were offering creative writing courses in October, seven months hence. How wonderful, I thought, wishing  I were able to attend it. Given my sixteen hour a day job however, there was zero probability of that happening, so with a sigh, I threw the leaflet away but not before mentioning it to a friend. Wiser beyond her years, she told me to leave it to the universe, “what is meant to be, will be.”

Come Monday, immersed in work at the office as usual, I’d forgotten all about the course when something very unusual happened. For the first time in over a decade, it occurred to be me just how unhealthy and diminishing my chosen career had been. Where the rebellious thought came from is still a mystery, however no amount of reasoning, coaxing, arguing with myself would get rid of it. Much like changing the filter on a camera lens, one little thought, now firmly rooted, changed my perspective of long held views.

Over the coming months, what I’d previously assumed to be positive growth in my job, proved to be no more than my unquestioning acceptance of limiting traditions and debilitating rules, established since antiquity, in the corporate world.

Meanwhile, unhelpful ideas blossomed on the branches of the now flourishing tree in my mind. Can one truly thrive within the perimeter of restrictions and hierarchies? Is it possible to ‘think out of the box’, trapped within the walls of ‘this is how we’ve always done it here’?

My creative soul revolted to a point where I had to take a sabbatical from work to get my priorities in order. Coincidently, it happened to be in October, the same time as the writing course.

A matter of expression

Expressing one’s opinions in an open arena such as the web or the press, requires courage in overcoming self-consciousness and other insecurities. For that reason, I admire columnists, reporters and bloggers alike, who bare their souls for all to read, fearless of the consequences of their published words.

From time immemorial, those who have stuck out their heads, voiced their emotive theories, themselves have gained immortality. Socrates to Silvia Plath, Charles Darwin to Yogananda, whether we agree or not with their philosophies, have encouraged us to reflect on our own belief systems. Is it not then incumbent on all of us, to occasionally rise above the parapet, and stir up the pot of status quo? Perhaps, we too, could help challenge entrenched belief systems which may no longer hold true.