Monday, February 15, 2016

Finding Inspiration in Winter


  Finding inspiration to write (or just to be happy and get through the day) can be tough for me no matter the season. But these past couple weeks, thanks to slush, gloomy days, and piles of college homework, it’s been about as easy as sucking jell-o through a straw. Spring feels incredibly faraway, so I decided I’d better find some ways to cheer myself up in the meantime.

1. Brew some tea
They’re a couple of things you can do to enjoy a gloomy day, and slurping down a mug of hot tea always works for me. Drink it while journaling or staring out the window if you want to feel especially artistic/cozy. My favorite flavors are Jasmine, Lemon Zinger, and Maple Sugar.

2. Read good books
One of my resolutions for this year is not to finish books I don’t like. I’m one of those people who feels really guilty if I don’t finish a book I started, but I just don’t have the time to waste on books that don’t grab me. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to required reading. :) Some of my favorites this month have been A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck and After Iris by Natasha Farrant.    

3. Watch good movies/TV shows
When snow cancelled college for almost a week, my sister and I spent our evenings rewatching Doc Martin. Both books and movies help when I’m feeling drained or depressed.

4. Try something new
I’m not a fantastic artist (or even an okay one) but I do like to doodle and play with markers, pens, and my little sister’s watercolors. I’ve also tried tea-stain art and collage. It’s wonderful to play around without worrying about impressing anyone.

5. Just write
A couple days ago I sat down and spit out a short, four-page story about the Nativity from the point of view of the innkeeper’s daughter. I may never edit it (in the first draft, at least, I didn’t feel very emotionally connected to the characters) but it’s encouraging to finish something.

6. Go places
Last weekend I took a bus down to DC to visit The Museum of the American Indian. It was my first time making the trip alone, so I spent way too much time worrying about catching the bus back, but I also walked through some beautiful exhibits. My favorite was Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist. I loved seeing how her style evolved over the years, and how her heritage influenced her art. Plus, I got to see her sketchbooks. Obviously I can’t visit DC every day, but taking a walk or going to the library can be just as inspiring.

How are you guys coping this winter?


  1. Ooh, I love lemon zinger tea! :) Also, I think that art projects are fun, too. Even if I'm not very refined at doing them, I still think it's fun to engage my mind and body and playing.

    These are great ways to keep up your mood! :)

    1. I love art, and just playing around with different methods and supplies is so fun--it's tactile in a way that writing's not. I hope you're having a productive and inspiring winter!

  2. Lemon zinger tea is my FAVORITE. <3

    1. I forgot to mention that salted caramel tea is delicious, too!

  3. I can totally relate to the whole guilt-over-not-finishing-books thing--that was me for a long time, and even though I'm a lot better about putting aside books that don't grab my attention, sometimes I still end up feeling a twinge of guilt about some of them as I do. You're absolutely right, though--why should we spend our time reading books we don't care for when we could be reading ones we love so much more?

    Also, just so you know, now you've made me want to be artsy and cozy by brewing myself tea to drink while I read or journal or sew tomorrow, haha. Honestly, I like peppermint tea, but I usually just don't get around to making it for myself. And...*whispers*...sometimes when I do, I just make it so I can feel like an artsy tea-drinking kind of person. Because the aesthetic is fabulous, am I right? ;)

    Also, your trip to DC sounds really cool and I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. I'm sorry you feel the need to combat the winter blues, however, and I'm sorry being happy and inspired can be so tough for you sometimes. I'm sending you hugs and hoping the rest of the winter is easy sailing for you! <3

    1. I used to be a lot more forgiving of books that didn't grab my attention right away, and I still do try to give them a fighting chance, but I just don't have the time anymore. :( And, like you said, I'd much rather be reading books I do love.
      YES! There's no shame in drinking tea because you want to feel artsy--I do it all the time. it's especially nice if you have a big old ceramic mug...
      Thank you! I hope you have a good rest of the winter as well, and if you ever visit DC, The Museum of the American Indian is a super neat place to check out!

  4. Ug... I'm feeling you Alex.These winter-time-blues just make any challenge seem more daunting and gloomy.
    But these are some great ideas of things to do to perk one's self up! Some other activities that I like to do:
    1) Go for a walk. Even if it's chilly out, as long as there's no wind and I bundle up, this is something that does well to lighten my spirit. The exercise and Vitamin D - sunshine is good for the body, but I find the practice also good for the frazzled mind and weary heart.
    2) BAKING. Not only does it feel productive (working with your hands, mixing, creating...) but there's a sweet reward at the end. Yum...
    Spring will be here soon (I'm also reminding myself). Hope you have a joyful day, Alex. ^^

    1. Thank you :)
      Baking sounds wonderful right now--my sister and I once baked a tray of the most delicious "London Fog" (Earl Gray) shortbread. I haven't baked or cooked much in ages, and sometimes I do miss it.
      I hope you have a joyful day, too, and thanks for all the wonderful advice!

  5. I feel the same way!! so glad I'm not alone! And I love your suggestions... # 2 and 3 are great, especially paired with #1 (mmm). I also like going for a walk! The cold air and crunchy snow clear my mind and often the time spent contemplating will un-stick my stuck places and help me to get going again!

    I find changing up my writing place works really well, too! I took my computer to work today and wrote on all my breaks - I made it past 1500 words, more than I've written all month so far!!

    1. I actually haven't tried switching up my writings places before--thanks for the tip! :)