I’m trying to get into the habit of collecting things that inspire me throughout the weeks and months; mainly to look back on when I find things tough, or my creative reservoirs run dry. October was a great month for this, and I have a feeling November will be equally as good!
Here are a few things that inspired and motivated me throughout October this year.
I attended Stylist Live in October with high expectations, since it was billed as a festival of inspiration and creativity, and I was not disappointed. Yes, I would have liked to have attended more than two talks / workshops that day, but the two I did go to really kickstarted the creative centre of my brain!
My first workshop, with Teri from The Lovely Drawer, introduced me to the art of brush lettering, and since then I have been practicing every night – I have a lot of work to do, but I find it so therapeutic and relaxing, and love having a productive, creative hobby that doesn’t need me sitting in front of a screen. I’ve even made two cards for family and friends, so it’s coming along rather nicely, thank you very much!
My second talk was a novel-writing advice session with author Janet Ellis, who was utterly brilliant and down-to-earth. You can read all thirty of her tips for writing novels in my last blog post.
I’ve been listening to Emma’s marvellous podcast religiously since her first episode and this recent release is easily one of my favourites from the series.
Emma hosts a live discussion with Laura Bates – of Everyday Sexism fame – and it really is worth a listen. They discuss sex education, feminism, sexual assault and more in front of a live audience. Some of the stuff that’s said is really rather shocking – for example, what kids are being taught – or rather, not taught – about sex and relationships in schools) – but it’s educational and informative.
Laura is brilliant and articulate. In fact, I’ve listened to this episode twice now and still refuse to delete it from my phone.
I’m one of those annoying people in the office who sits down first thing in the morning and sighs ‘I listened to the best TED Talk on my way to work today’. I’m lucky enough to walk to work, and it takes just enough time to let me listen to a TED Talk (or two, if I’m grabbing my free Waitrose coffee en route!).
Sometimes a talk just really stands out to me and my mind stops wandering, letting me really focus on the message. This particular talk by Isaac Lidsky is really inspiring and should be given just 12 minutes of your day. Definitely one to listen to if you’re feeling a little lost.
“Accept your strengths and your weaknesses, and understand the difference. Open your hearts to your bountiful blessings.”
Another TED Talk, and another real gem. Perhaps one to listen to / watch after that episode of Ctrl Alt Delete I just mentioned.
Ione Wells’s story of sexual assault and her response to her experience really is fascinating, particularly her assessment of how sometimes speaking up on social media isn’t the best thing for an important cause. Definitely food for thought.
“Sometimes not reacting instantly is, ironically, the best immediate course of action we can take. ”
Bryony Gordon: Mad Girl
I devoured Bryony Gordon’s frank, honest and witty tale of her experiences with mental health in mere days. As someone who has personal experiences with mental health, and who knows others struggling with their own difficulties, it’s a topic very close to my heart, and I like to educate myself as much as possible on issues, experiences and advice.
Bryony’s book isn’t a dry, dire account of OCD and depression – it’s darkly funny, compelling and makes you think without being preachy. You don’t have to understand the ins and outs of mental health to read this – it’s a tale of a woman battling issues which affect millions every day.
I want to take the time to write a full review of this book, so I’ll leave it there for now – but I can’t recommend it enough, so if you’re looking for your next read, this should probably be it.
The Myth of Writer’s Block
At the very end of October I attended a workshop run by SO: To Speak, the folks behind Southampton’s first festival of words last year. It was called ‘The Myth of Writer’s Block’, run by poet and writer Andrew ‘Mulletproof’ Graves. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after two hours of tasks and prompts I left feeling motivated and hungry to write again.
Expect a post on this workshop very soon – but the main lesson I learned from this experience was, yet again, to push myself out of my comfort zone and go and do something that scares you.
Black Mirror, Series 3
I mean, what can I say? Charlie Brooker is back and boy, am I pleased to see him and his dark, semi-sadistic thrillers. No spoilers, don’t worry, but if you’ve never dared to watch his stuff, I can’t urge you to enough. San Junipero and Nosedive are personal favourites.
What’s been inspiring you over the last month? Share your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below please – I’d love to hear them!