Tag Archives: short story journal

Winter Solstice: A Creative Muse

Winter Solstice by Blaise van Hecke

I love winter. Open fires, hot cups of tea to warm our chilled hands, beautiful winter sunsets. I’d love it even more if I could stay longer in bed in the morning, but you can’t have everything.

Today I am reflecting on the Winter Solstice. The shortest day of the year, the longest night, a time for contemplation. Time to make magic. What does this mean to me? Does it mean anything? Maybe it’s nothing to think twice about and we go on with our day as normal.

Being a writer means EVERYTHING bears thinking about because that’s what writers do. We want to know the significance of things. It hurts the brain, doesn’t it? Writing is a vehicle where we can make sense of these ‘everythings’ in our head.

The Winter Solstice can be a great muse for our writing. There are so many aspects to what it is, the historical values, what it might mean to us that we can ponder and use in our writing. How do you do this?

One way could be to think about what the longest night might mean to nature? What are the elements that relate to nature that could be interesting in a piece of writing? Can we relate these to death, dying, or renewal? Do you feel that the solstice is the start of winter, or the middle? Are there dark, mystical themes that we can tease out and infuse into our writing?

Now think about the history of humans. How do you think the Winter Solstice might have been viewed over the centuries? There were most likely pagan rituals around it during the Middle Ages and who knows how it has shaped other religious entities.

How many questions have I raised here? I haven’t gotten to any answers yet. I haven’t made sense of anything at all so where is this magic that writing is meant to answer? This is the magic of writing. Not that we get a definitive answer to our questions but that in the asking of questions, and writing through them, we go on a quest to discover our own truths and eek out stories as we go.

Being a writer is a quest. A quest to knowledge and enlightenment.

Blaise the book chick

*If you’d like to discover more about storytelling, come along to one of my Meetup groups at the Busybird Publishing studio. More info about the next session is here.

The Value of Retreating

Writing Retreat by Blaise van Hecke

Is there value in going away to write? This question has been on my mind since I recently facilitated at two very different writing retreats. The first was a two-day writing camp for teens and the second was a two-day writing retreat for adults.

While they were very different in tone and amenities (think high school camp food versus gourmet home cooked meals), the intention for both programs was similar. All participants were exposed to ideas and tasks in the craft of writing in the hope that they were able to explore different aspects of writing and gain confidence in their skills.

There is always a danger in participating in too many courses and workshops as a writer because it can get in the way of actual writing but at the same time it’s really important to try new things, be part of group discussions and learn some pointers to help you get past the roadblocks.

Over the course of each of these two day programs, it was obvious that many of the participants had real aha moments and confidence started to build. It’s very different from going away on your own for two days (although that is also a worthwhile thing to do) because you are forced to engage with other writers. Afterwards these people also build connection with each other that they can continue into the future – a great resource to have so that you can bounce ideas off each other.

Many of these writers, young and old, had never shared any of their work with anyone before. Can you imagine the fear about that? But both groups were all after the same thing and were very nurturing. Everyone wanted success for each other. This meant that sharing felt safe. Once the sharing was done, it was a relief that all the anticipated fear about rejection and humiliation was unfounded.

The creative energy that develops over these programs is very exciting and it’s not uncommon for people to gain momentum on an existing project or to start something totally new in response to the discussions or from writing exercises. So the outcomes from my observation were confidence and inspiration to continue on writing projects. Very satisfying outcomes from my point of view.