"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Craft Therapy, Anyone?

How do you "express yourself" creatively, other than writing?
I love writing.
It is one of my deepest pleasures and treasures.
But, sometimes it can be taxing. Especially if its pursuit is on a professional level.
The "mental muscle" required, the need to come up with new ideas over and over, the pending deadlines, wrestling with writer's block. "Don't it make your brown eyes blue?" :-)

For this reason, I like to take my creativity other places. For me, I've been blessed to create gift baskets. I love to design them and give them as lovely gifts to family, friends, and others.
And what I've found is that many writers have multiple creative talents as well.

In fact, have you ever noticed that many writers are also skilled photographers, or musicians, or painters, or great cooks?

This tendency helps us to let our hair down and still express ourselves via various outlets. And it's therapeutic. That's right.
I was watching T.V. the other day, and the talk show host stated that craft therapy is used in some medical situations to help heal.

So, I pose the question to you, my readers...how do you express yourself creatively other than writing? What gets those creative juices flowing and speaks to your heart? Do tell...

Image: Gail Merriwether
Basket Creator: Jennifer Brown Banks


  1. I love to redecorate/redecorrange my home. Drives my family a little nutty, but it's a great creative outlet. Usually leads to painting, flower arranging, or some other such pursuit. :)

  2. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 15, 2011 at 5:48 AM


    How cute and cool! I forgot, but I dig to redecorate my home too. It makes for an enjoyable day and a new look. Thanks for sharing

  3. Jennifer,
    I, too, love crafts! My favorite outlets are making beaded jewelry, paper crafting (scrapbooking/card making), and I love taking pictures (which occasionally drives my hubby nuts). As a matter of fact, I blogged about some of my photos this week on my writing blog...
    A cardinal landed just outside my door. I had a creative outlet moment that led to writing! :)

  4. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 15, 2011 at 6:39 AM


    How interesting...photography is actually a great companion skill for writers, in that it often enhances submission of articles. I wish I were any good at it. :-) And the beaded jewelry would be great for gift giving. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. Jennifer, thanks for keeping me in the loop. ;)

    As a fellow freelance writer, it can become a chore when you do it all the time. Your baskets look awesome.

    Years before I had kids and grounded myself as a freelancer and blogger, I was a singer/songwriter. Yes, there's writing there, too, but it's very different. And for a while, I was a semi-successful MySpace musician - What do you think? :) - Haven't done it in a while, though.

  6. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 15, 2011 at 8:01 AM

    Wow, dude are you kidding me?! Mad skills. ;-) Props to you.
    I love music, and many, many years ago I took lessons for the acoustic guitar. The only thing I learned to play a little was "Michael row the boat ashore." :-) Oh well. Thanks for the basket compliment and for sharing your music with me and my readers!

  7. I make baskets, too, and anything that I can put my hands on -- baskets, florals, piano, shoving furniture around -- gets me out of my noisy head when I otherwise stay there way too much.

    But along with everything else, I find being a write-at-home-mother puts me at odds with any task that is not writing. If I'm writing, nothing else is getting done, and when I'm doing the other stuff (including fun stuff like making baskets) I'm not writing.

    This juggling of responsibilities is really the hardest and most surprising thing I've discovered about writing from home...

  8. Jennifer,
    Like how colorful & flavorful your site is becoming! No other creative gifts here,just loving the ambiance...That Bryan music is nice...

  9. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 15, 2011 at 10:07 AM


    How lovely to have you here! Thanks for adding to the conversation. I can certainly relate to the juggling. :-)

  10. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 15, 2011 at 10:11 AM

    Clara who?

    Just kidding. :-) Thanks for your thoughts. Yep, Bryan is da' bomb. And I'd say your tasty potato salad is pretty "creative"! Claim it. :-)

  11. Your baskets look wonderful! I'd have never known...so glad you shared! My daughter and I sometimes make up gift baskets or goody boxes; I agree, it really is fun. Whenever I receive something like that it is a super nice treat.

    I like to sew and cook, although of late have been so backed up with projects that I've not taken time to do much other than write. As much as I love to write, I think I need a creative break. I do exercise or get out and walk, and while not creative, it is a refreshing change of scenery. Appreciate the "creative" reminder! :) Great conversation going here!

    Have a lovely weekend,

  12. I make handmade organic soap and I make and preserve jam! Fun times!

  13. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 15, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    Karen, You seem to do it all! Cooking I can do. Sewing? Nope. Should have paid more attention in my Home Ec classes in high school. ;-)

    Appreciate your time and thoughts.

  14. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 15, 2011 at 2:43 PM


    Love it! They both sound really great. I'd love to make organic soap to put in my baskets. :-)

    Fun times indeed! Thanks.

  15. I make altered books--a collage/3-d art form. I also enjoy knitting, baking, cooking, and drawing. They are therapeutic indeed. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 15, 2011 at 4:48 PM

    Wow, you're multi-talented! And busy. :-)

    Thanks Wendy, for this additional glimpse into your corner of the world.

  17. Jennifer and Clara, thanks so much for the kind words! I appreciate it! My mother thinks I'm awesome. ;)

  18. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 16, 2011 at 3:55 AM


    As she should... :-)

  19. Yep, you call it like you see it, Bryan. Jennifer, that "clara who?" not funny! will speak with you offline, yo:)


  20. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 16, 2011 at 6:57 AM

    Uh oh...that could mean trouble, folks! :-) Stay tuned...:-)

  21. Hi Jennifer,

    as "typical" as this may seem, my creative juices seem to flow in two directions other than writing: photography (doesn't everyone?) and cooking.
    Photography is something I strive to do better each time I pick up my camera, although I don't devote as much time to it as I'd like.
    Cooking, on the other hand, is something that (whether I'd like to or not) must be done every single day. I take this time to be with myself. I don't do hair salons or long days at the spa to recollect and heal myself, so cooking usually does the trick. When I hold the ingredients and the utensils in my hand, I tele-transport myself to another world where I just think of me and what makes me happy.
    My cooking is usually accompanied by soft jazz and a smile ... how is that creative? Well, I push myself to "create" something new every time I approach my stove, but more than that, I create thoughts and that's a true expression of myself :)

  22. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 16, 2011 at 8:11 AM


    How cute and clever! Cooking seems to be a "common" for most of us creatives.

    And when I'm not in the kitchen, I love to watch all the culinary shows: Simply Ming, Lidia's Italy, Katie Brown's Workshop, Barbeque University, etc. I find it relaxes me.

    One day, I just might do the camera thing---maybe.

    Good to chat with you today. Thanks!