Writer Spotlight – Margaret Atwood

Happy Monday!

Today marks the first day of me finally sharing some of the ideas I had way back in February when I first said I planned on making different content…but then didn’t.

This “series” I guess you could say, will be focusing on various writers. The reason I wanted to make this series is that I love reading about writers. I enjoy hearing about how writing shaped their lives and the steps they wandered to become successful. So, mashing that all together in blog posts like this will not only educate me on some of my favourite writers but also give you guys quick access to this type of info! If you have any writer requests, make sure you let me know but for today, we will be discussing and exploring the life of Margaret Atwood. 

Who IS Margaret Atwood?

Image result for margaret atwoodImage result for margaret atwood books

Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Margaret Atwood is a successful Canadian writer of both prose and poetry. Writing since the young age of 5, but becoming more serious at 15, she published her first book of poetry at the age of 21 called “Double Persephone” that contrasted life and death. She completed her degree in English Literature at Victoria College at the University of Toronto in the same year as the publication of “Dark Persephone”, even going on to complete a master’s degree the following year from Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In her 74 years of writing, Atwood has published 17 books of poetry, 16 novels, 10 books of non-fiction, 8 collections of short fiction, 8 children’s books, and 1 graphic novel. It is safe to say she has been busy, exploring role reversal, new beginnings, human behaviour, and celebrating the natural world in her writing. In all of her pieces, feminism is also a major theme. Basically, Atwood is an example of the success of someone due to not sitting still. She jumps for the type of writing to the genre, grabbing ever flicker of creativity and twisting it into something no reader ever expected.

My Conclusion: Why Is Margaret Atwood So Successful?

At the end of every one of these author “spotlights”, I really wanted to sit back after analyzing their lives and try to spot what it is they did that led them to a successful career in writing. For some, it is luck, but it is clear from Atwood’s life and story that she got where she is now because of hard work. That and trying everything. She didn’t confine herself to one mode of writing, or one genre, or one type of story. She wrote poems and short stories and novels. She tried everything and kept trying until things worked. In my opinion, that is an essential part of succeeding as a writer: not sitting still. Never waiting. Never wondering. Only thinking about writing and actually writing which is the only way you end up with 40+ books published.

Interviews with Margaret Atwood:

https://lithub.com/margaret-atwood-on-how-she-came-to-write-the-handmaids-tale/

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/04/17/margaret-atwood-the-prophet-of-dystopia

Atwood’s Writing Tips:

  • Explore outside
  • Read constantly
  • Don’t listen to the critics
  • Start writing any way you can
  • Write every day no matter how awful you feel

I know this was short, but this was really my intro to writing this type of “fun fact”, biography post. I do really hope you guys enjoyed it and even learned something new. I also hope you guys decide to give Margaret Atwood a look! Personally, I haven’t read too much Atwood because only lately, has her type of work been in my interests, but I have read some of her poetry books as well as her book on writing. Some of her popular books that you should all give a try (including myself) are The Handmaiden’s Tale and Hagseed!

Anyways, make sure you let me know what you thought of this blog post below, and also don’t forget to check out my last blog post. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: My Favourite Books of 2019…So Far

 

@zoermathers

 

Image result for instagram  @zoeiswriting

 

@zoematherswrites

Bibliography

http://margaretatwood.ca/biography/

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Margaret-Atwood

https://www.standoutbooks.com/margaret-atwood-writing-advice/

https://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/7-tips-writers-margaret-atwood

Building Your Creative Platforms

Creating a presence on social media is crucial for branding yourself as a creative person, and while it isn’t necessary and you should never feel forced if you don’t want to, I highly recommend it. Today, I came up with a series of tips when it comes to creating creative platforms, and I think these will be helpful whether you are just staring out, or even a few years in. I hope you enjoy and thanks for reading 🙂

Image result for social media

  1. Determine Your Theme – This is the first and most important step because without determining a theme, it is going to be unclear on what you are trying to achieve with your platforms. For example, my platforms are about writing, so I post writing/reading related content. Maybe every once and a while I will post something unrelated to that, but I try not to because it confuses my theme!
  2. Go on a Following Spree – When you first open up your account, find a bunch of accounts similar to yours and follow them! Not only will they inspire new content for you, but it will allow you to make connections with other creative people like you. Instagram gives you account recommendations, but you can also go through certain hashtags and follow accounts based on those.
  3. Captions – While not EVERY post needs to have a deep and thoughtful caption, it is nice to have one every once and a while that provides some creative help (maybe some tips or a story time), as well as allow your followers to engage in conversation. I recommend asking a question every once and a while, and also remember to try and comment back at as many as you can!
  4. Hashtags – Whether you are on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest etc, hashtags are essential. They allow the right people to find your posts and account, and it is easier to get follows that way too! For example, I use hashtags like #writerscommunity #writersofinstagram #amwriting #writerslife and several more.
  5. Consistency – On every platform, consistency is going to be your key to success. For some it may come slower, but it will come if you post consistently. I try to post at least once a day, and sometimes even more then that. If you aren’t putting regular content out, your followers are going to forget about your account, and you won’t be as relevant and active as you can so new followers can find you. Maybe once a day is too much for you specifically, but I would aim for no less than four posts a week. One tip I have is at the beginning or end of each week, take a chunk of time for your day to take a lot of pictures, craft a lot of captions, and brainstorm ideas for what you are going to post that coming week. It saves a lot of time and stress!
  6. Stories – This one is more directed to Instagram, or any other social media you can post live stories on, but posting on Instagram stories is also really important. I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy going through all the writing related Instagram stories at the end of the day to see what other people got done. It is lots of fun for me, so I try to also do that and post a few times a week on there. Whether it is pictures or videos from that day, make sure you are active on there as well!
  7. Reach Out to Others – This is one of the wonders of social media – you are able to connect with people from all around the world! People who are creative like you are right at your fingertips, which is great because personally, there are not a lot writers my age from where I am from. It is nice to be able to discuss the ups and downs of writing, and share writing wisdom with each other. It might seem daunting, but don’t worry! Lots of people created their accounts solely for the reason to connect with other creatives.
  8. Come Up with a Schedule – Whenever I can make a schedule, I do. Lately I have been taking a calendar and scheduling out my blog posts and Instagram posts to make sure I have fresh content for every day. This means I already have ALL of August planned out for blogging related things, and a week or two planned for Instagram. This has already unloaded a lot of stress off my back and gets me excited to write up these posts soon! All I did was find a calendar template on Word and fill it in. If you want, you could print it out, but I do not need anymore loose papers scattered on my desk so I just keep it saved on my computer.
  9. Promote Your Creativity – Whether you are currently working on a project or have finished and are taking the traditional or self-publishing route, promote your work! Get your followers excited about your work so when it is finally available to them, they are dying to get their hands on it.
  10. Stretch Yourself Across as Many Platforms – Do what you are comfortable with, and don’t stretch yourself thin across different social media platforms, but it is good to have a voice on at least one or two. For example, I am on Twitter, Instagram, and my blog the most, but I do have Tumblr and Pinterest accounts as well. I do what I feel comfortable with, which is Twitter and Instagram, but I might bring myself back onto Pinterest more regularly in the near future.

Those are my ten major tips for building creative platforms on social media, and I hope you found these helpful! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts which are all linked below 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update!

 

@zoermathers

 

 

@zoematherswrites

 

 

@zoematherswrites

 

 

@zoermathers

Writer Self-Care Tips

Self-care is SO important whether you are a writer or just a human, so today I am going to give some tips, ideas and reminders on how to make the most of your self-care sessions.

What Is Self-Care?

Self-care is what it sounds like. It is time devoted to you and you only, when you replenish your energy and as a writer, your creative well also.

Self-Care Activities: 

  • Take a bubble bath + read
  • Movie night in bed
  • Yoga
  • Bake!
  • Go for a walk
  • Go to the gym
  • Colour in a colouring book
  • Watch writing vlogs
  • Research new hobbies
  • Make lists!
    • bucket lists
    • goals and aspirations
    • books to read
    • movies to watch
  • Journal! (thoughts, feelings, ideas, short stories, etc)

Self-Care Tips:

  • Set Aside ONE whole day whenever you can to focus on your self-care
  • Have an hour or so in the evenings also dedicated to self-care (everyday or as many days possible)
  • Candles, candles, candles
  • Soft, relaxing music (none of this hardcore metallica…unless that relaxes you)
  • Healthy foods (lots of recipes on Pinterest)
  • Lots of fresh air
  • Get off your phone!

Risks of Not Caring For Yourself:

  • Creative burnout
  • Physical/mental burnout
  • Stress
  • Always feeling tired!
  • Prone to metal breakdowns (not fun)

It is so, so important to care for you body and mind! When you are a writer, you want to just work, work, and work to make your story better and to get more words on the page. It can be hard to allow yourself to take a few hours off, let alone an entire day, without feeling guilty, but it is crucial to your creative process. I like to take Sundays (mostly) off and on Sundays I try to stay away from writing my current WIP, limit my time on my phone, take baths, do lots of reading, and plan for the week to come. These are the ways I care for my mind and body, and make sure I start the next week off energized and ready to go!

Anyways, that is all for this post and I hope you enjoyed! If you have any other self-care activities or tips, then definitely comment them down below 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading Update – Summer Biannual Bibliothon Day 3

Biannual Bibliothon: Summer Biannual Bibliothon Day 1 – Favourite Vacation Spots

Reading Update – Summer Biannual Bibliothon Day 1

Summer Biannual Bibliothon Day 2 – Favourite Summer Books! 

Reading + Writing Update – Summer Biannual Bibliothon 2018 + Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2

 

@zoermathers

 

 

@zoematherswrites

 

 

@zoematherswrites

 

 

@zoermathers