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Gwen Tuinman

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creative life

How Gratitude Journaling Enhances A Writing Life

Writing is a lot like running long distances. If we think we can, we can. Our minds and emotions are called upon, and sometimes cajoled, to jettison us across real and self-imposed deadlines. Even when we give it our all, the road can stretch long before us.

Between start and finish lines are magical effortless days anchored by disappointing ones when getting the story down feels like bench-pressing a Buick. And there are mediocre days, at the end of which, we forget the progress made in a manuscript. That’s the nature of art and creativity—knowing it’s so should silence the nattering critic in our heads. Well, at least it should.

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Choosing Well

In 2011, I watched a TEDTalk entitled Stories Cut from Paper in which renowned paper artist Béatrice Coron discussed process and inspiration. Projected on the screen behind her was “Hells and Heavens”, an intricate and sprawling piece that had been exhibited at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. I marvelled at the individual yet connected stories she’d envisioned and brought to life. How did she lay her vision on the paper without losing sight of perspective and skewing the images?

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Getting Things Done

As a creative person, I’ve historically found administrative to-do lists terrifying. I’d start off gung-ho, then turn into a morose Hamlet-type. “To get it done, or not to get it done. That is the question.” All those unticked boxes came to symbolize shame and guilt. They mounded up so heavily I couldn’t lift them. Why try?

In retrospect, each administrative task I listed was made of a subset of smaller tasks that could have comfortably been completed had I tackled them over a realistic timeline. But that would have been too kind.

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