Monday, August 10, 2015

Craft: Not the Writing Kind

By Stacy S. Jensen

We talk about the writing craft here. That's what we do, except for this post where I don't.

A couple years ago, several of my neighbors and I talked about creating a craft club. We decided Pinterest would be a good source of inspiration.

Have you ever lost yourself down the Pinterest Rabbit Hole? The marketing experts can tell you how to use it to promote your book. I use it more for finding crafts, ideas, and distractions.

You may be surprised at what you find. There are hundreds and thousands of posts on any topic you can imagine.When we replaced an upright freezer with a chest freezer, I visited Pinterest and found a dozen different options on how to make better use of the space.

Thanks to Pinterest I also discovered a portable craft for the club — quilling, or as many say, "Oh, I did that in middle school." Pinterest was my introduction to this technique of curling and shaping paper strips.

Since we founded the club, I've had almost perfect monthly attendance at the group with my bag of paper strips and glue in hand. Sure, I could use the time to polish a manuscript, but I find the time with others and working with my hands rejuvenating.

Of course, this activity feeds into my writing. I rarely have a quilling session where I don't pause to make a note for a story that's troubling me or jot down a new story idea.

This post — Getting Unstuck: pure craft by Jane Lebak on QueryTracker made me think about my quilling time.

I have used quilling to push me in three different writing community projects. When Susanna Leonard Hill asked fellow bloggers to participate in a contest to promote her book Punxsutawney Phyllis (a must read for Ground Hog's Day), I made a #teamSPRING and #teamWINTER quilled scene. Then, I wrapped that all together in a video.

When another friend asked me to participate in a #SpreadPoetryonFacebook challenge, I again picked up my paper strips and glue. I created four projects for Emily Dickinson poems (which I believe are perfect for today's social media market).

And, when Susanna Leonard Hill offered an illustrator contest, I quilled a scene for the contest. After spending many hours on the scene and dropping paper strips here and there, I decided to actually post my work in the contest. The experience is very similar to putting your new manuscript "out there."

I'm very much a beginner, but I enjoy this creative process like building a story.
Do you work on a "craft" in addition to your writing craft?

About the Author: Stacy S. Jensen worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for two decades. Today, she writes picture books and revises a memoir manuscript. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and son.


  1. You do beautiful work, Stacy! Great article - I might have to pick up some clay soon.

    1. Thanks Darby. Hope you can pick up your clay. It's surprising how twirling paper can help me with my words.

  2. I love this, you're so crafty, and to combine quotes besides -- the best of both worlds. I actually think that if you're doing something else creative it frees up another part of your muse. Does that make sense. For instance, the moment I'm on a ladder painting, I think of an important plot point. Great blog, Stacy!

  3. I'm a little safer quilling at the kitchen table than you on a ladder! Other activities really does "free up the muse'"

  4. I've never heard of quilling and I am so happy to know about it. I do crafts now and then. I lived next door to a fellow crafter and we were always making something-I miss those days. Your work is beautiful, Stacy :)

  5. Your quilling is gorgeous. I have never tried it, but it looks like it is fun. Is your club specific, like, "Quilling for Crazy Writers," or "Quilling For Fun?" *grins*
    When I need a creative writing break my personal favorite is coloring. During this past year I was gifted 4 wonderful adult coloring books and I bought two rainbow packs of sharpies. Art seems to allow my mind to empty and take away the rushing, jumbled, thoughts as I write, freeing my btrain a little bit so I can think and write straight. (The crazy writer gets tamed!)

    Keep up the beautiful art Stacy....and, of course, writing too!

    1. I have heard a lot about adult coloring books recently. Glad it tames you!


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