Meet Mr. Black.

He appeared seemingly out of nowhere. A black umbrella in his grip and an ebony felt hat upon his head. It was snowing or so it could have been. As though someone knocked over a salt shaker, opening the lid and letting the clumps of years’ old salt fall down from the skies. As it fell it turned into fluff, leaving the passers-by injury free.

The street was almost empty, without all but one. The lamppost casted a warm amber light, reflecting in his polished shoes. He briefly glimpsed down at his distorted reflection, changed his mind and childishly kicked a small pile of snow. “Will it be the newyear tomorrow?”, he wondered as he caught one of the snowflakes. Where was he this time and where? He always finds out sooner or later, so those questions were of no consequence. But the newyear, he absolutely had to know if it is tomorrow or not.

He walked on. His footsteps creaking in the snow as his grandma’s old rocking chair would often do. Creak, crack, creak.

Mr. Black walked on.

Photo http://500px.com/photo/23530409 by

The cold & the map.

It is frigid today (feels like -36!!!) and like any self-respecting Torontonian I just had to complain about the weather first. Even though the weather has been very wintery lately, which is indeed untypical for the city’s downtown area, it is great inspiration for the Far Away North province. That is probably why I’ve been writing about it in my journals so much as of late.

Now that I am done complaining about the cold, I’d like to present to your attention — the “original” map of Nott (the original original was a doodle on a napkin that I thew away in a moment of silliness). Indeed that is my scribbly scratchy handwriting and my wretched illustration attempts. I have a feeling that many authors struggle with sketching down their visions and ideas. Though I know for a fact, that many writers are crazy talented in the arts department (take VonnegutRankinExupery or Mr Tim Burton as examples). 

Writer out. Today’s post was short and sweet and I hope that wherever you are, you are nice and warm.

Keep on doodling,

Diana

My ode to libraries.

It was thanks to libraries that I discovered the works of magnificent authors such as Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Kurt Vonnegut, Kafka, Defoe… the list goes on and on. Since then libraries became to me a symbol of safe havens and places of wonder. Where anything could happen and where all the good authors lived (encrypted in their novels). So when I saw this photo today it brought back all the warm memories. Maybe it will resonate with you too 


Photo by my beloved Gabriele Liaudanskaite -http://500px.com/photo/7987662


P.S. While in university I used to work in its library to put myself through school. The smell of dusty top shelves and hours of organizing the image references are now forever indexed in my memory. 


Diana

On Instagram And Realizing Creative Potential.

Now everyone has a camera in their pocket, it is your phone. We take it with us wherever we go and we take photos with it. Never seeing these photos again or inevitably sharing them on Instagram.

I am a huge advocate for Instagram. As I believe it is an untapped resource for creativity, connections and inspiration. And I’d like to share with you how I use Instagram and how you can use it too to fuel your creative potential.

1) Make Friends.

First and foremost it is a social network. I’ve made friends on Instagram from Japan, Australia, Germany, Thailand, Russia, US, Canada and other wonderful countries. Seemingly strangers whom I’ve never met, I have sent them gifts by mail, comforted them through breakups, met one Instagram friend in person when traveling, and I know what most of them like to eat. I also know names of their cats, favourite hobbies, how they like spending their weekends, and what they dream of. Why does it matter? It matters, because through Instagram you can make connections. Meeting you next best friend, learning about a new country, finding a travel buddy, getting access to new views and perspectives, meeting influential shapers and thinkers of the world and maybe discovering later that your new Instagram BFF has a small publishing house that wants to promote your work. How awesome would that be? The potential reach is simply mind blowing. All you have to do is press “Follow” and show genuine interest. Don’t spam and don’t be fake, it is easy to spot, especially in Instagram world.

2) Use Hashtags.

Instagram hashtags are superhashtags, because you can do so much with them. You can find a new friend based on interest. Find out traffic or watch a live feed from event that you’re missing. Browse hours of photos on subject that interests you. And get creatively inspired and energized every day. Just try it now. Search for anything you want. Looking for a way to decorate your room? Stuck on colour palette for a new painting? Want to try our a new hand lettering technique? Just do a hashtag search on IG and be inspired. Follow those who post photos that inspire you and heart photos that you like. This way your feed will become filled with inspiring photos that will give you  daily ideas, based on what you want to see.

3) Inspire.

Inspiration is a two way street, you can also be a source of inspiration. Just upload photos every day or whenever you like, sharing what you love and the world around you. Trust me, you will be a source of inspiration to someone without even knowing it.

4) Track.

Back to hashtags, they are an amazing tool for tracking content. Try creating unique hashtags and assigning them to photos that you post or see. My Insagram friend orangepekoi started a  #loveisintheairproject. That’s how she tracks photos of her son, documenting as he grows up. It is a beautiful and humbling project.

My personal hashtag project is #landofnott. Every time I take a photo or see something that resonates with my imaginary world (potential character, storyline, or how Nott could actually look like), I upload that photo to Instagram and tag it #landofnott. This way I can always have a readily accessible record of inspiration that fuels my creativity and helps me when I am stranded for ideas.

Thanks for reading! I hope this articles gives you new ideas and helps you out with your creative processes.

Let’s Instagram,

Diana

Hi! I am Diana. The blogger behind “Gwilda” and the writer behind the imaginative Land of Nott. In this new blog series I want to share with you a few words about myself and an update on what I am up to. Now here is the bit about me…

Food? Brunches with maple syrup.
Colour? Blue.
Gift? Anything DIY-ed.
Snail mail? I am a big supporter of this movement.
Favourite province of the week? The Far Away North.
Favourite character? (of all time!) Mr. Black.

And here is the bit about what I am up to…

In 2013 I have published three very raw chapters of Beyond The Rim on Wattpad. I am currently in a process of rewriting the chapters with new structure and emphasis. I am contemplating on renaming the first novel and possibly getting rid of the main character altogether. Haven’t decided who to replace Mary with and if she should be replaced. Also
, I am continuing with my story a day project. Writing down one story a day re: Land of Nott in one of my notebooks. Possibly I will share one of the stories on the blog. I am thinking of one about the Far Away North. Roger out.

P.S. While traveling the realms of the Land of Nott, I was able to escape the long and tedious hours of portraiture posing for the retired royal painter Ms. Tom. Only to be captured on a whim by a traveler explorer Vadim (Tipa Graphic).


Diana

On maps, resolutions and hugs.

Happy New Year everyone! 2014 is just about to start and I have already made a list of resolutions and chores for this year. 1) To publish first novel of the Nott series by the end of the year. 2) Try to make it two novels not just one. 3) Start taking myself more seriously as an author. 4) Write every day and update my blog daily. Thankfully Tumblr has pre-scheduling, so I hope this will help me out with the daily blogging. and 5) Read more books about everything that I like (from home decor to typography to what chemicals go in my food to art history).

As we enter the new year it is important to reflect on the year that passed, what we’ve learned from it and what we can improve on. So that going forward we could also recognize our accomplishments and pat ourselves on the back. I find that creative types really need to self-criticize less and self-hug more. Because making yourself feel bad about your work is a short and certain road to writer’s block. C’mon. You know you want it. Give yourself a hug! 

While going through the therapeutic self-reflection of 2013 I have stumbled upon a map of Nott that I started drawing in Photoshop. Originally it was a doodle on a napkin that in turn became a doodle in one of my notebooks and now it is a digital being of pixels. Please enjoy the incomplete map and let me know what you think. 

Happy New 2014,

Diana

Have you even been to the Land of Nott? Don’t tell me that you have not. We have witches and ghouls, and horrible brews, there is magyc that’s forbidden and some magic which’s allowed. Furry dragons, rusty wagons, pesky produce and hubbub! We got something for each chump, and for ladies there’s romance. Theater Season, there is no reason to miss out, come and join us and enjoy, it’s harmless fun. While you travel land or air, get a feather in your hair, look around, feel free to touch, and to see there is so much. For free meals there is a bar, from the city not too far. And for trouble or adventure there is all sorts of bizarre.

If you do decide to visit, you can pay me a stop by. My name is Larry from the Village, that’s the place where I get by. 

L.R.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You” - Dr. Seuss

It is all too easy to discourage yourself. To say that “I am not the next Margaret Atwood or Kurt Vonnegut. So, why bother?” Well, you absolutely must bother. Because if writing is your love and passion, and you can’t live without literature, why not fight for it?

Don’t strive to be that-next-famous-author. Instead strive to be yourself. With all the type-os and grammatical errors and stylistic creativity, no one will write in the same fashion as you do. Simply because they can’t, because they are not you. No one and I mean NO ONE can replicate the way you think, the way you express yourself in words and the way you write. You are you. A unique and gifted writer, who is yet to be acknowledged by the world. 

And even if the world does not acknowledge you, don’t give up. Your writing can inspire your family, your friends or someone completely unexpected. All that matters is to get approval of that one person who can relate and appreciate — you. The rest will come in time, with hard work and never giving up.

Keep on writing!

Diana

Dragons.

Who said that dragons are these scary, 40 ton creatures, that exude fire, and hoard gold? If you would ever tell this to a dragon of Nott he’ll raise an eyebrow, and the self-conscious types will rush to look at their reflection, just to make sure they bear no resemblance to these hideous monsters you just described. That’s when they’ll find out that nothing has changed, and that one remains a furry grey kind of dragon, about human height and shorter, with small wings and a penguin complex. 

Sure, dragons are private. But they don’t hoard gold, they hoard knowledge. Nott dragons are the best interlocutors, yet being private in their nature, it is almost impossible to make friends with one of them. Mostly inhabiting remote areas such as the Far Away North and the Wilds, they are not easy to access either.   

Here is a sketch of some of the dragons of Nott, captured with graphite and ink by a traveler explorer Vadim (Tipa Graphic). A dear acquaintance of mine, who lives a few oceans away.  

... Would you like to meet other inhabitants of the Land of Nott? Stay tuned & read the 1st book.

Thanks for reading,

Diana

Getting Started In Writing.

Getting started is never easy, especially for the creative types. We have procrastination, insecurities, and general fear of criticism and failure that haunt us (daily!). Having a perfectionist persona and being multi-talented doesn’t help either.

One day some of us are fortunate to understand our ‘true calling’, irony has it, it does not come with a manual. You have to get started somewhere, but where? Sure Google and Wiki How have a few nice tips. You read them just to forget them minutes later. Your friends, parents, co-workers, everyone has great ideas on how you can realize your writing career. Often than not, this advice just doesn’t resonate with you. So, how do you get started?

I suggest you give yourself a kick, and that is exactly how you will start. There is never going to be that perfect time, when the stars align, the Saturn is in the right aspect, and lady muse is knocking at your door with a ready for print proof-read and formatted script that will be loved by all (or many). That is not happening. Have you seen that photo going around on Facebook “If you ever need a sign, here it is!”. That’s pretty much it. You need to get over whatever fears you have. And force yourself to start. Doesn’t matter where or how, just do it now.

It can be as simple as writing your thoughts down on a paper, or telling your ideas to a friend, or changing your social status to “I am writing a novel”. Spread the word, build up those expectations, and make your environment a constant reminder of a few things: that you already started something, that you are on your away to something awesome, and that now you have some deadlines.

Setting deadlines can create anxiety. Also, having deadlines is the best way to organize yourself (so that when you start you keep going!). You can also set deadlines without even realizing it and they can be a great aid to you. Here’s a story of how I set a deadline by accident:

I got an idea for this fantasy/adventure world back in 2009. I started by writing down character descriptions, making up names, and began writing four or five novels. Four years later all these unfinished projects kept on piling up and I wasn’t sure what to do next. So, one day (a few months ago actually) I decided to meet up with my illustrator friend (Alena Skarina) and ask her for a book cover. I thought this will give me a good visual and will point me in the right direction.

It did! By the time we were about to meet I already had a deadline without knowing it. My deadline was to have a book title and description for our meetup (and I haven’t even started writing the book!). Being a natural procrastinator I left all the work for the night before. That’s when I have come up with a few variants for the title and wrote down an outline of the first few chapters. That’s pretty productive, if you ask me, considering that I was moping about for months not knowing what to do. I met Alena end of May. Now it is end of August, I have a book cover preview and 3 chapters of the book online over at Wattpad (I will talk about it later).  

This deadline of having to meet an illustrator and to have a description and title ready by then, helped me out, it got me started. So, don’t be afraid of deadlines, embrace them with positive attitude and get started. Good luck!

Thanks for reading,

Diana