Why and How to Read to your Baby

Standard
Why and How to Read to your Baby

This article first appeared on Doing Life Together.

Doing Life Together

All five of my children knew how to read by the time they entered kindergarten.

Are they incredibly brilliant? Yes. But more than anything else, I attribute their early grasp of a complicated but vital skill to the fact that my husband and I read to our children from the time they were babies.

story-time-with-mom-by-devinf-on-flickr Photo by devinf on flickr

At what age should I introduce my baby to books?

Somewhere from three to five months, while holding the baby in your lap, page through a board book with him. He will try to wrest it from your hands and put it into his mouth. That’s what babies do—they explore the world with their taste buds and their sensitive tongues. Let him have it, and gently try to draw his attention to the pictures.

This step is a lot easier if you have already been showing him things in his environment and…

View original post 931 more words

Creative Juice #46

Standard
Creative Juice #46

Glimpses of beauty from eleven different sources.

  • What if you looked at tears under a microscope?
  • I love Ann Voskamp’s Multivitamin posts. (They’re not about vitamins; they’re a collection of good, uplifting, beautiful, and sometimes funny stuff.)
  • When you’re taking photographs, always take multiple shots.
  • If you’re going to be in New York City between now and September 17, 2017, you might want to check out the Rauchenberg exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art.
  • Insight from a six-year-old.
  • Take notes like Leonardo Da Vinci.
  • Creativity—the lies, and the truth.
  • Prize-winning illustrations.
  • I love a good caricature, don’t you?
  • Grafitti—vandalism or art form?
  • Biological classification charts.

In the Meme Time: Success for All

Standard
In the Meme Time: Success for All

Author success

SaveSave

Guest Post: CAN MINDFULNESS BE APPLIED TO WRITING? by Sheree Crawford

Standard
Guest Post: CAN MINDFULNESS BE APPLIED TO WRITING? by Sheree Crawford

A big ARHtistic License thank you to Sheree Crawford for this wonderful article, which first appeared on A Writer’s Path. Be sure to read the exercises at the end of the article–they’re dynamite!

 

Mindfulness is the hot thing right now; it’s being talked about, summed up, and debated in all corners of society, and so it’s reasonable to ask whether or not mindfulness can be applied to writing. Well, the obvious answer is of course it can! How is another matter.

If you’re one of those still in the dark there are plenty of resources which will help you to get a grip on it. At it’s heart, however, mindfulness is about self-awareness; being aware of our thoughts, feelings, and  our bodies, and recognising how these things affect our behaviour, moods, and even mental well-being (you can use mindfulness to control anxiety, for example.

For writers the effects of anxiety, depression, and emotional exhaustion are just as, perhaps more, disastrous as for those in more “mainstream” employment, but while mindfulness can help you with all this I’d argue it can help with things like lack of focus, writers block, proofreading, and even serial abandonment of writing projects. Here’s how:

1) It helps you to remain present

Mindfulness is largely about being present, being in the moment, and choosing to be that way. No-one is 100% focused, but when we are mindful we can steer our trains of thought into productive directions. It’s not about ignoring the tangents your brain takes you on (these can be key when you’re writing), but rather about learning when to abandon them.

Much like with meditation you should not aim for “nothingness” when you practice mindfulness in writing (in this case, nothing but your goal rather than blankness), but instead be aware of when and how you stray. Follow the train of thought to the end, if its useful, but be aware of where it’s leading you; if it becomes entirely unrelated or of no use remove yourself and refocus on your writing.

frustrated-writer-2

2) It can help you circumvent writers block

Old school gamers will get me here; remember when your console used to overheat after a full day of playing, and suddenly it wouldn’t do anything and you were worried it would never ever work again….

That’s writers block, but the overload happens in your brain.

Mindfulness can help you to combat this in a few ways. Firstly, if you practice mindfulness you will learn to recognise when you need a break; take breaks, it is allowed. Secondly, when you choose to be fully in the moment you can remove yourself from the fear of underproduction (or non production) because very often it is this fear which creates the block. Thirdly, you can also use this to distance yourself from internal judgement.

“Waiting for the muse” is one of those things that stems from consistent judgement of unfinished work; not everything you commit to paper must be gold, and you’re not actually, you know, committed to it. Mindfulness can help you to de-clutter your brain; when you’re aware of your thought processes and the ideas floating around you it’s easier to order them efficiently.

3) It makes you a better editor and proofreader

Mark Twain famously and aptly said that when you think you are reading “proof” you are really reading your own mind; we fill in what we thought we wrote, or what we intended to write with our minds when we proofread our own work. This is why mindfulness is so key to efficient proofreading and editing.

Proofreading is a complex, draining, and time consuming process which requires you to be focused at all times. Now, there are many tips and tricks as to how you can make it easier (I’ve written one blog post about that myself), but at the heart of it all is being mindful. You need to realise when you’re getting fed up and skimming, skipping, or filling in from your mind, and when you catch yourself you need to either re-focus or tale a break.

Editing, too, is intensive, and practising mindfulness is useful here in many of the same ways it is when proofreading, but additionally it can help you to recognise sections in need of cutting or editing. Focusing on how each section makes you feel, and how it engages you will make you a better editor. Are you tempted to skip because you’re tired, or because it’s poorly written?

Mindfulness exercises for writers:

The Flush; this is a really simple exercise that I call the “flush” because it’s literally designed to wash out all of the detritus first thing in the morning/when you first sit down to write. This is simple; sit down with a notepad and a pen or pencil ( there are plenty of claims regarding writing by hand, but I say this just because it works your hand and wrist muscles, and eases the eyes into focusing before hitting the harsh light if a screen).

Now, whatever has been rattling in your brain, whether its a scene, some dialogue, or just a word, write it down and let that lead you. It might be nonsense, of course, but follow the train of thought to its natural end point. Et Voila! The Flush.

The Clapback; if you get completely derailed by negative thoughts or doubts, as we all do at some point, get yourself a fresh document or piece of paper and jot down positive responses to the worries/fears/criticisms you’re plagued by. This will let you exorcise them, and might even make you feel better.

Block-Be-Gone; when writers block makes a scene impossible to finish close your eyes, take three deep breaths (cliche, I know) in through the nose and out through the mouth s l o w l y… and root yourself in the scene. Write your own reactions as the characters, or the description as you see it in your mind as best you can; it might not be “Just Right”, but it’ll act as a placeholder until you have something better to replace it with. This lets you move on without skipping.

The Duracell Bunny; another block-buster (not in the Hollywood sense, obviously) is what I call the “duracell bunny”. Pick the part of your scene that most interests you and write from that point, perspective, or about that thing as fast as you can, ignoring spelling, grammar, and sense, for two minutes. Let your excitement carry you, and you’ll be surprised how much can change in 120 seconds!

Guest post contributed by Sheree Crawford. Sheree is a UK based content writer and ghostwriter and often writes about the art of writing.

Video of the Week #102: Ringtone Variations

Standard
Video of the Week #102: Ringtone Variations

Have you taken the ARHtistic License Survey yet? Help me make this blog a place you want to visit often.

Wordless Wednesday: Branches

Standard
Wordless Wednesday: Branches

Photos by ARHuelsenbeck

Have you taken the ARHtistic License Survey yet? Help me make this blog a place you want to visit often.

#dyicad2017 Days 6-12

Standard
#dyicad2017 Days 6-12

In June and July, I am participating in Daisy Yellow’s Index-Card-a-Day challenge, in which we create on an index card every day–61 mini-masterpieces. I will be posting my projects every Tuesday.

Day 6’s prompt didn’t move me, so I referred to the Week 1 theme of hand-lettering for my offering:

IMG_0824

Day 7, Alliteration:

IMG_0823

Day 8’s prompt didn’t inspire me, so I looked at the theme for Week 2: “Inspired by collage, ephemera, found papers, painted papers, old books & magazines.” I cut up an old magazine and made a grid collage:

IMG_0822

Day 9’s prompt was ombré. Here is my experiment in red violet:

IMG_0820

I couldn’t be creative to save my life on Day 10. Sorry.

Day 11’s prompt was tetrahedron. I had to look it up, and I decided to go a different direction. Here’s a variation on a zentangle pattern called facets:

IMG_0819

I didn’t care for Day 12’s prompt, so I drew paisleys instead:

img_0817-e1497334976568.jpg

I’m enjoying this challenge. You can participate, too, and you don’t even have to catch up if you start late. Check the FAQs for more details.

Also, have you taken the ARHtistic License Survey yet? Help me make this blog a place you want to visit often.

Monday Morning Wisdom #106

Standard
Monday Morning Wisdom #106

Pay attention to things in the world, and then try to show the people who might be looking at your work what you’ve been paying attention to. ~Nina Katchadourian

Have you taken the ARHtistic License Survey yet? Help me make this blog a place you want to visit often.

From the Creator’s Heart #102

Standard
From the Creator’s Heart #102

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen (Ephesians 3: 20-21 NIV).

Weekend Writing Warriors, Snippet #58

Standard
Weekend Writing Warriors, Snippet #58

Every Sunday, the Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday share 8-10-sentence snippets from their works-in-progress on their blogs for others to read and comment on. Join the fun! Click on the links to see the full lists.

From Gabe’s Garage of Goodies (picture book): Gabe has too many power tools, and his efforts to help always end in disaster. Can Mike ditch Gabe without hurting his feelings?

After last week’s snippet, Mike tried to discourage Gabe from vacuuming his truck by insisting he had to leave for the supermarket. Gabe tries to convince him to come over for a barbecue (edited for brevity):

“But you gotta eat–might as well eat at my house. You bring the chips; I’ll whip up some hot dogs and burgers on my brand new GastroAtomic Grill. What do you say?”

Maybe if I say “yes,” I’ll be able to convince him to leave me alone for now. “Sure.”

~~~

That evening when Mike went next door, Gabe had his GastroAtomic Grill fired up so high that the flames threatened to ignite the overhanging tree branches. A dozen burgers and hot dogs were already charred black. Gabe frantically twirled the knobs on his grill, trying to get the heat under control. Seeing the concern on Mike’s face, Gabe said, “Not to worry—I’ve got my fire extinguisher right here.” He pointed to a garden hose snaking across the patio.

wewriwa2I know it’s short, but what do you think of this small excerpt? Any suggestions on how I can make it better? Please comment below.

Have you taken the ARHtistic License Survey yet? Help me make this blog a place you want to visit often.

 

SaveSave