When it come to your writing, does structure hype you up or box you in?

Recently I signed up for Poetry 201 here on WordPress. The assignments have three components and you can use them all or pick and choose. You can interpret them as literally or loosely as you’d like, the point is to get you writing.

Sometimes writing without any limits can be daunting. The possibilities are infinite which can make it too hard for me to choose something. The little bit of structure that three terms provide is just enough to send my creativity soaring while keeping it tethered to the ground.

In fact, I’ve noticed that having three key ideas to work with when I set my writing timer makes me the most productive. I generally choose a scene, a word and a person or a location, so this set up is right up my alley.

For the first assignment, we were challenged to write a Haiku while incorporating the word screen and using alliteration.

Here’s mine:

This one tiny screen
Glaring while I am staring
Preventing my dreams

The second assignment consisted of the word gift, an acrostic poem and a similie. Bonus if you try a double acrostic, which is what I did. The first letter of each line spells out my name, the last word of each line composes a related sentence.

Here’s that one:

Center of the family
Essential as the sun is
Loving, giving what’s important
Except to the one that runs it but
Soon will burn and learn that I
Too must rebuild what I am
Enjoy my life again, give to myself, too

Poetry 201 has been a great way to challenge myself and have fun with wordplay. There are a few other courses opening up at Blogging University that I may sign up for after I finish with this one.

How about you? How do you work your creative muscles? Does structure hype you up or box you in? What about using a timer? Do you feel it makes you more productive or just plain pressured?

5 ways to inspire child-like wonder

Lately I’ve not been feeling very cheerful. My life has been lacking that sense of awe that makes the little things seem so inspiring. One way to infuse this sense of genuine appreciation is to look at the world through a child’s eyes and there is no better way to do that than by spending more time with my kids.

So I have been dedicating myself to doing at least one fun thing together per weekday and even more on the weekends. Just two weeks of this and I already feel more excited and motivated throughout each day. It can be easy to get trapped in the homework-dinner-bedtime rut of the everyday, but even one little daily thing to look forward to can spark a smile on everyone’s face, especially mine.

At first, I had trouble coming up with ways to spend time together that were still simple enough to do on a weekday, or quiet enough to do during naptime. But after a few days, my creativity kicked in and now it is fun to come up with new ways to spend time together.

I thought I’d share a list of the fun things we’ve been doing in case you were looking for simple ways to have fun with your 7 year old.

  1. Crafting. We have all these crafty kits that the girls received as birthday gifts, so we’ve been pulling out two at a time during the little one’s nap. We’ve braided bracelets, made bracelets out of rubber bands, filled plastic necklaces with sequins, loomed a rug, and made bookmarks. Mostly a great way to get in some quality quiet time with the kids. Mostly. I’m pretty sure some new grays introdced themselves to my head after I tried to learn how to tie knots for parcord bracelets.
  2. Cook together. The girls and I made a milkshake that tasted just like an Orange Tootsie Pop after dinner the other night. Fun, easy, tasty- what’s not to love (other than having to resist a refill)? We also have oatmeal chocolate chip raisin cookies on the roster for today even though my baking skills are right up there with my knot-tying skills. It should still be fun, especially if we sample a few choclate chips and raisins along the way 😉
  3. Playing cards. Don’t let this pastime go up in cigar smoke! A deck of cards is super cheap, it’s portable, it’s social and there are infinite ways to play. I just taught them Go Fish! and Crazy Eights, but eventually we can move up to more complicated games.
  4. Community events. There are usually some great family events to check out in every community, especially around the holidays. But even on a regular week you can find things if you do a little digging. Michael’s often has $2 kid crafts on Saturdays and Barnes & Nobles has a themed storytime. The local library offers more than just storytime, we go for crafts, games, and guest speakers, too. A local theatre here offers kid friendly matinee shows and the local youth center might offer fun events, too, so don’t forget to look for those.
  5. Backyard picnic. This is a great way to put a twist on your average after school snack. All you really need is a sheet or blanket you don’t care too much about, but you can make it even more special by setting out a vase of flowers, dressing in costume, or choosing a theme, like ladies tea or camping. For ladies tea just cut the crusts off of tiny sandwiches and serve them horderve style. Hot dogs and spooky stories quickly give your picnic a campy feel.

So these are a few of the things we’ve done to make the everyday a little more special and a lot more fun. How do you spend quality time with your kids?

A wwwp5k!

Earlier this week I read about a wordpress 5k challenge starting tomorrow. I have been wanting to get back to consisently hitting the sidewalks again now that the rainy season is finally over and this sounds like the perfect way to get back to it (and back to blogging). Plus, there is this one bridge that I have always wanted to jog over, so here’s to two birds and one stone!

I will be sharing my experience next week (which will probably consist of a lot of huffing and puffing and internal pep talks) and hopefully some shots of the view from the top.

Are you joining in on this fun, fit challenge? If you want to learn more about the 5k check out the link and summary below.

Automatticians, members of the WordPress community, and bloggers around the world come together for our annual run.

Source: Join Automattic’s Worldwide WP 5k 2015