Writing Exercise

 “Journal writing, when it becomes a ritual for transformation, is not only life-changing but life-expanding.”
– Jen Williamson.

A little writing warm-up is just the ticket to get you started. When you open your journal or notebook to a blank page, oftentimes you feel as if that blank page is like not knowing a destination to choose. Quite frankly, writing takes you on unexpected destinations. One of the best ways to get started -there are many- is by practicing with questions.

Grab your paper/notebook and preferred writing tool and let’s get started. First, begin writing the words below. Be sure to allow enough space to write your sentences.

Book

City

Mountain

Restaurant

Person

Movie

Start with the first word in the column, which is book. Write the title of the book you last read and your general thoughts on the story or the information you read. Then move on to, city. What was the last city you visited other than the one you live in? What did you do? Below is the selection of questions to answer for each word in the column.

Mountain: What is the name of a mountain you visited and explored? Write your experience.

Restaurant: What is the name of the last restaurant you ate at and were you with anyone? Write about that and what you ate. Was the restaurant busy? Describe the atmosphere.

Person: Who was the person you last talked to and what was the conversation about and feeling?

Movie: What was the title of the last movie you saw? Who were the actors who starred in the show? What was the movie about? Did you like it?

You can have a lot of fun with this writing exercise and there are endless basic topics like these to get you started. Whether you are a beginner writer or a seasoned one, this exercise is great for any level of writing. Who knows, you might find a story idea for a book inspired by the warm-up.

My wish is for you to be encouraged and inspired!

Stephanie

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Discovering Lost Lists

Today’s List Not Lost, Yet

Lists are fun to write. Especially, lists about what you want to write about. My lists normally contain stories I want to write, blog posts, books I want to read, books to review, daily or weekly to-dos and so on… I try my best to keep the list updated, but not always. I actually skip a day or two. Okay, I’ve been known to skip a week or even a month. Yikes! I know. Is it unreasonable for me to say that we’ve all probably done that? Afterall, writers are known for their procrastination’s. I like to journal in the morning to start my day and sometimes I compile my list there. Not always, mind you. Months, even years down the road, I will find loose sheets of paper with lists on them scattered in odd places. I love organization but it is not my strong suite in a couple areas. Did I just write that out loud? Finding lists, you write years later in odd places is actually fun. When you read them, you’re either eye rolling, laughing or thinking how far you’ve come in your writing. Same goes for reading journals you’ve kept over the years. They’re always full of surprises.

Past written lists can even spark forgotten memories and give you more material to write about. Like this blog post for example. The list I found was one I write last September on a pink notepad and it contained blog post topics I want to write about. Did I accomplish those tasks? Err… not exactly but in my defense, I was busy making books to use as journals and paper-crafting. No time like the present to tackle that forgotten list. What is on that list, you ask. Well, I wrote about regular blog posts I used to post and new ones I wanted to start. For example, cover crushes. I loved writing about book covers that catch my eye and I’ve sorely neglected that series. I’m still in the thinking stages about bring that back and if there are any changes, I want to make to it. Other items on the list mentions daily blog posts, regular monthly themes of writing and crafting. I’ve also added to that list! I want to write more about my journey of continual education and what I discover on that-at times-rocky road. I have to remind myself to pace myself. There is so much material and I want to read and study it all at once! I want to know everything about everything. An impossible undertaking, I know. I digress.

Lists are important to me. Are they important to you? Do you relate to my thoughts on the subject? Have you found forgotten lists from years past?

Stephanie Hopkins

In the Moment of Writing

As someone who is an enthusiast journal writer and notetaker, I’m constantly thinking about my next page. What do I mean by that? When I’m thinking about my next page of writing, I’m thinking of the potential of the words that will fill that blank space. What will they say? What will I discover? I Imagine words slowly building and gradually increasing in speed as my mind suddenly unfolds with inspiration and thought. Those first few words tend to be a warm up or hesitate meanings of uncertainty. Writers shouldn’t be fearful to admit that or find fault with the admission. Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer and you are new to the craft. Even the seasoned writers must keep in practice or at times, they find it difficult to get those words down.

There are many books on writing and there are some great ones and not so great ones. I’ve read lots of them. Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind and Writing Down the Bones are without a doubt my favorites. Especially, Wild Mind (Living the Writer’s Life.) I can’t say enough about the book and the inspiration and encouragement it gives me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read its passages and each time, her words spark new ideas and excitement in the craft. As I’m typing this blog post, Wild Mind is sitting encouragingly right above my keyboard cheering me on. “Keep going, you’re doing great!” She shouts. I shyly smile and keep typing while my heart and mind fills with confidence.

Even if what you wrote is not the grit of what you want to express, keep writing and then maybe go back to it after it has had time to rest. Or, read it out loud and you’ll get a better feel for it that way.

Ask yourself what you want to write about. Is it a memory? A recent event, what you ate that day, or a personal experience? Whatever it is, get it down no matter how it reads on paper. After-all, if all you are doing is thinking about it instead of expressing it on paper, your writing voice will continue to stay locked up, undiscovered. Start writing today, start right now and you’ll open a whole new world. Stephanie Hopkins

This Weeks Inspirational Journey

“The starting point of discovering who you are, your gifts, your talents, your dreams, is being comfortable with yourself. Spend time alone. Write in a journal.”

— Robin Sharma

This week I have been busy making YouTube craft videos, writing, painting and reading! I’ve enjoyed every step of the way in these pursuits. My videos are geared towards paper crafting and the art of journaling.  

The images shown are just a few of what I’ve been creating this week. I’ve recently had a thought about how interesting it is when I’m crafting, the journey inspires new pieces. That in itself is rewarding to find inspiration within your own endeavors. What are a few of the ways you find inspiration in your own creations? If this something you’ve thought about before?

Please like, subscribe and hit the notification bell to my channel to get the latest videos when they are posted. Thank you!

YouTube Recent Craft Links:

Tag Tuesday | How to a Make Mini Pocket Bellyband 

Journal Cards Made Easy

Vintage Haul Unboxing | For Crafting and Journal Making 

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(Images are subjected to copyright. All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie Hopkins.)

Finding Your Writing Voice Through Journaling

There are several methods of journaling that I incorporate in my daily life. The one activity they all have in common is they tell a story. They hold a deep and lasting meaning of my life and the lives I see around me. Looking back on all my journals and diaries, I’ve come to realize that in this endeavor is where I discovered my true writing voice. It wasn’t from reading books, though reading helps one grow their understanding of the written word, how stories are told, other life experiences and expands on one’s vocabulary, my writing voice developed over time from writing in journals. Could have it also been from blogging? Yes, I do find blogging a form of journal writing. A record keeping of thoughts, words, expression, emotions and even those awkward sentences where I couldn’t quite express myself in the way I felt inside. Those particular words don’t always come naturally to me in public form or rather, my private journals is what speaks of my truest inner voice.

Many people want to write in their journals but their uncertainty is holding them back. They say, “I’m not a writer or I would ruin my page, or rather my beautiful journal with my awkward words and ramblings.” Those awkward words and ramblings are what drives one to become a stronger writer. You must be deliberate with your writing and in the time, you take to write. Think of all the visits you made to a library filled with books that hold millions of words. Often times, those words did not come easy to the writer. Imagine the time and deliberate ink to paper or key strokes the writer put forth to build worlds in those numerous books. Believe me, it didn’t happen overnight for them. Don’t allow that voice in your head saying, “You’re not a writer,” intimidate you. Writing is a beautiful art regardless of one’s uncertainty in the act. Write what you know, write what you see and hear. Write a word or two and keep adding words after that. Allow those words to build on each other and soon you’ll find your voice as a writer. Once you do, words will flow and writing will be like exploring space. The act will take you to limitless places.

Stephanie Hopkins

Creative Journaling and Journals for Sale

Yesterday, I created this collage page in my current personal journal. I love the layered look and the process of creating it is enjoyable and relaxing. You can use your tags for tucks and pockets in your journals. It doesn’t matter the size of the tags. I’ve used my mini tags as tucks all the time.

Adding pockets to journals is a great to use as hidden spots for your writing. I would have to say it is my favorite form for my journal writing. I like those secret spots because sometimes you might forget about them and it’s is fun to discover them again.

The image of the girl is my grandmother from the 1920s. The picture was taken when she was 16 years old. Her image among others are in many of the journals I’m selling at my Etsy shop! -Stephanie Hopkins

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(Images are subjected to copyright. All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie Hopkins.)

Exploration of Journal Making

A page in my new fall journal I’m currently working in. I’ll show the whole journal once it’s completed. I really enjoyed putting this page together and the bookmark I made for the book. The bookmark is made from an image out of a magazine, scrapbook paper and a piece of left-over fabric.

The journal page is simple with a touch of paper collage, postcard and a authentic 1940s photo of a group of ladies. I’ll add a journal label to the bottom left of the page. The actual page I’m working on is from my 12” x 12” scrap-booking paper stash from the early 2000s and what a great way to use those big sizes of paper! I wonder who those ladies are and what their story is or was.

Journaling fills one’s soul with gratitude and healing calmness. It’s an appreciation for the old and the newness of life’s journey.

Happy crafty Friday!

Stephanie Hopkins
Mixed Media Artist/Abstract Painter/Book Maker/Book Blogger

Morning Journal: Memories

This is the last page in this morning journal I’ll decorate. I wanted it to be extra special. A memory of what I created the most in my childhood. I was always coloring, painting, sketching, doodling landscapes, water and skies whether it be at home, church, school, camp or at friends’ houses. I never thought about it really, I just created them. Maybe it’s being in the constant frame of mind of nature and God’s glorious creation. This page is a dedication to those memories.

The flower stem is from one of my painted papers I love to create and every time I glance at it, the stem reminds me of a zucchini peal. Ha! The ephemera in the pocket to the right side of the spread is for journaling. I like to keep my journaling hidden for the most part.

I really enjoyed working in this journal I made and I cherish writing in the morning time. Every morning is a new day with endless of possibilities. It is also a fresh start. Why not make the most of it?

I made this journal from scraps of paper that I collage onto a bigger piece, from mail packaging, for the cover. The signature is a selection of scrap papers, including vintage papers. I would say that this journal comes very close to be considered a junk journal. It is definitely a mixed media journal of created and found objects.

Do you journal? What do you like most about it and how does it impact your life? These are questions to think about.

My wish is for you to be encouraged and inspired.

Stephanie Hopkins

Itty Bitty Journal

I acquired a mini journal from a fellow crafter and I absolutely adore working in it. It is so tiny and at first, I thought it might be a challenge to create it but I find it easier than I thought! It is such a great way to use up your little bits of paper, scrap fabrics, small images and what not.

I created a page inspired by my longing for extended travel. I added a postage stamp from Maryland with a sailing boat image on it at a port and with the word, “Nowhere”. You can find that page on my Instagram account. I think it would be cool to take a trip with nowhere in mind. Just to get on the road and go where the wind takes you. In this case, this trip would be at sea.

I love how my painted papers worked on this spread. I wasn’t sure, at first, if it would be too bulky. It turned out great and I like the blend of mixed media with the vintage image of the lady.

In the below picture, I used the painted face of a girl that my fellow crafter paints and includes in her ephemera packs. I dig the colors she uses because they are in line with my style. This page is dedicated to my passion of mixed media.

These little journals are perfect to travel with wherever you go. They fit perfectly in purses, backpacks, bags and even wallets! Just add few ephemera pieces to a pocket and take a small glue stick or mini paperclips and there you go!

My wish for you is to be inspired and encouraged!

Stephanie Hopkins

Insightful Quotes About Characters

“Writing is a time-honored moment. When the writer breathes life into the characters and gives them a place in the reader’s heart. Characters capture us in their embrace and we take refuge in their lives in a world of uncertainties.” My perspective as a reader.

My niche expands in several areas that influences my overall creativity. They consist of creating art, crafting, sewing, reading, exploring nature, blogging and journaling. Discovering quotes about these endeavors inspire and encourage one to rally on when one is feeling less than inspired for whatever reason. I like writing them and include them in my journals and often times, use quotes from other artists. Besides, they are fun to read, to inspire and you learn so much! Above is one I wrote years ago about the writer breathing life into characters.

Today, I’m sharing quotes from other artists about characters in stories. There are so many and I’ve compiled my top ten favorites. Which one do you favor? – Stephanie Hopkins

“You mean Piglet. The little fellow with the excited ears. That’s Piglet.” ― A.A. Milne, Christopher Robin Gives Pooh a Party

“I think all writers are always collecting characters as we go along. Not just characters of course, we’re collecting EVERYTHING. Bits and pieces of story. An interesting dynamic between people. A theme. A great character back story. A cool occupation. The look of someone’s eyes. A burning ambition. Hundreds of thousands of bits of flotsam and jetsam that we stick in the back of our minds like the shelves full of buttons and ribbons and fabrics and threads and beads in a costumer’s shop.” — Alexandra Sokoloff

“Whether a character is good or evil depends on your perspective.” ― Steve Jones Snr

“You cannot have an effective protagonist who simply responds to events happening around him or her. Your protagonist must act, not just react.” — Rachelle Gardner

“She had a way about her that spoke of homemade bread, and caring for people, and the kind of patience that women have when they help a ewe birth a lamb, or stay up in the night with a baby calf bawling for its momma.” ― James Aura, When Saigon Surrendered: A Kentucky Mystery

“Even if you find the bad guy generally repulsive, you need to be able to put yourself so thoroughly into his shoes while you’re writing him that, just for those moments, you almost believe his slant yourself.” — K.M. Weiland

“Usually, we combine internal and external conflicts for a richer story. That means we have to understand how our characters approach and resolve conflict.” — Jami Gold

“Developing a character with genuine depth requires a focus on not just desire but how the character deals with frustration of her desires, as well as her vulnerabilities, her secrets, and especially her contradictions. This development needs to be forged in scenes, the better to employ your intuition rather than your intellect.” — David Corbett

“How can you take characters out of their elements and still convey who they are and why they are the way they are? Their dialogue, their goals and their motivations move the plot and give us a glimpse. But how can we punch it up and create memorable characters without their usual surroundings? With the things they carry.”— Jessica Topper

“People—and characters—are made up of their past experiences. When crafting a character, one of the most important aspects we consider is her past.”—Skye Fairwin,

Be sure to check out my post: Insightful Quotes About Reading