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3 warm winter teas for writers


The weather has turned cold and snowy (yes!) here in Vermont already, and my days are currently being spent squirreled away in my office, bundled in cozy sweaters, peering out the rain/snow spattered windows as I type myself ever closer toward the end of my current novel. The wind howls and tugs the last of the brown oak leaves from the places where they struggle to cling, and the wild geese crash their wings against the cold water and white caps cresting the surface of the lake.

This, my friends, is tea weather at its most ideal.

And it's inspired me to not only share with you three of my favorite tea recipes (the warm, sweet nectars I guzzle on the daily, and which spawn many afternoons of inspiration) for the chilly season ahead of us, but to make a video about it! (With pretty b-roll and all...even if I do say so myself...)

I can ardently vouch for the fact that these three lovely hot drinks make rather sweet writing companions. So below you'll find a video in which I whip up all three, and even farther below you'll find recipes for all three drinks so that you can whip them up yourself.

Enjoy!


GOLDEN FOG

Ingredients:
1 cup of plant based milk
1 cup of water (or two cups of plant milk if you would like your tea to be especially creamy) 
1 cinnamon stick broken in half
1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric
1 tablespoon of maple syrup, 
1 teaspoon of vanilla and 
3 earl gray tea bags 
¼ cup steamed/foamed plant based milk
Pinch of ground cinnamon (garnish)

Directions:
Add ingredients to a small sauce pan on medium heat. Keep stirring to prevent scalding the milk, and remove it from the heat when it begins to boil. Strain into your favorite mug and enjoy it as is, or top it off with steamed plant based milk and sprinkle with cinnamon.


GINGER HONEY

Ingredients:
2 cups of water (or to taste, depending on how strong you like your tea)
1 ginger root
½ - 1 teaspoon of honey
2 drops of organic liquid stevia (optional)
¼ cup of steamed/foamed plant based milk
Ground ginger (garnish)

Directions:
Peel and chop a generous handful of ginger and add it to two cups of boiling water. Let it boil for at least an hour, then remove from the heat and strain it into a mug. Add about half a teaspoon to a full teaspoon of honey, and a couple drops of organic liquid stevia. Stir and add foamed almond milk and sprinkle with ground ginger.


YOGI TEA


Ingredients: 
1 gallon of water
20 black peppercorns (to taste)
About 17 cardamom pods 
20 whole cloves
3-4 cinnamon sticks
6-7 organic black teabags
1 teaspoon of maple syrup 
¼ cup of steamed/foamed plant based milk
Pinch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg (garnish)

Directions:
Bring about a gallon of water to a boil. Add about twenty black peppercorns, a handful of cardamom pods after popping them open, about twenty whole cloves, one large chopped ginger root, and three to four sticks of cinnamon. Let all of these ingredients boil together, uncovered, then reduce to a simmer and add about six or seven organic black tea bags, and let steep on low heat for at least an hour. Later, remove the tea bags and fresh ingredients and strain into a mug, mixing in a teaspoon of maple syrup and topping with foamed plant based milk. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and nutmeg.



What's your go-to warm writing drink on a cold autumn (or early winter, like we have here in Vermont) day? What are your favorite mix-ins for a good cup of tea? Comment below, I would love to hear!

stay stoked! (and warm)
kate

7 SELF CARE habits for NaNoWriMo


There's so much more to writing a novel than simply getting stoked up to write, or fleshing out the themes and plots of our books.

What actually makes us creative? What gives us the inspiration and drive to write a book?

That, my friend, would be how we look after ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually.  What we do in every area of our lives matters - and effects our ability to create.

I've wanted to make a video about mindful self care for creative writers for a while now, and I thought what better time to share it than "preptober"?

I know a ton of you are getting ready to head into a month of fevered writing, but don't forget to prep more than just your novel. It's so incredibly important to also show yourself some TLC. And I hope this video will provide you with a bit of inspiration to do just that!



What is YOUR favorite SELF CARE practice? Tell me below, I would love to hear it! 


stay stoked!
kate

Sparking Global Change through Creative Writing - Interview with Author Rebecca Pillsbury


If you've been following HTC for awhile, you probably know by now that, aside from writing stories, I'm absolutely passionate about environmental issues and making the planet a healthier, safer place for everyone who calls it home. You might even have seen the film I co-produced with my sister Abbie via our non-profit organization, Blue Freedom.

Making the film was an absolutely wild journey, an experience I will never forget and one that impacted me in more ways than I can possibly fit into a short blog post (let me know in the comments below if you'd like to see a seperate blog post about the film sometime!) If you haven't had a chance to watch Voiceless, you can do so for free right here on YouTube.

So needless to say, when marine naturalist and award-winning memoirist Rebecca Pillsbury reached out to Abbie and I about interviewing us for a book she was working on called Guided By Whales - a stunning compilation of colorful, artfully written stories of artists, activists, authors, filmmakers, marine biologists, naturalists, nonprofit administrators, and more who have dedicated their lives to advocating for cetaceans, we were thrilled by the privilege to be a part of it.


Needless to say, I am totally stoked to now be able to welcome Rebecca to Here To Create to share not only about Guided By Whales, but also to contribute to a very important conversation sparking in the writing community: how we can use our craft to create change - in our own communities, and on a global scale.


Kate: Rebecca, when did you first begin to write? Is it something you’ve always been into, or did your environmentalism draw you into the art?

Rebecca: I began writing as soon as I learned the alphabet. I kept a journal and entered writing contests starting in elementary school. At the same age, I started becoming passionate about environmental issues. However, I didn’t combine those two interests until I wrote my most recent book, Guided by Whales.


Kate: What’s the story behind Guided By Whales - were there certain events that inspired the idea for the book?

Rebecca: I had the book brewing inside of me for a long time. After I wrote my first book, a memoir, it became clear that I’d found my calling—and that I had what it takes to complete a full manuscript. After writing my own story, I felt it was a natural progression to write about other people’s life journeys, in the context of themes that deeply inspired me. My second book was a story compilation about the healing power of blues music and dancing, but even before that book was complete, I had Guided by Whales in mind. I found it profoundly enriching to interview people from around the world while conducting research for Saved by the Blues, and knew I wanted to follow that same format for my “whale book.”

There were already so many books out there about whales in general—their migrations, what they eat, how big they are, etc. but what I felt was missing were personal stories about what whales mean to people. I knew from my own experience that seeing them in the wild could be life-changing; I wanted to try to articulate the spiritual transformation that can occur by simply seeing a whale from shore. With all of the threats facing whales—and the environment in general—I felt driven to make people fall in love with them as much as I had, because we can’t hurt the ones we love.


Kate: I’m a huge believer in using art to create change. I would love to hear, in your own words, what your thoughts are on this concept of using art to make a positive impact on the world.

Rebecca: I feel that we live within a society and political climate that aims to divide us, rather than embrace what we have in common. The human experience is universal; art makes people feel. Music, art, literature, dance—these things bring people together by inviting us out of our minds and into our hearts and spirits. When we make decisions from that space, having a positive impact on each other and the world is inevitable.


Kate: So many of us are becoming aware of the fact that we need more eyes on the issues our planet is facing - and more hands to help. What are some ways you think writing in particular can help make a global impact?

Rebecca: I feel that once people become aware of threats, to our planet or otherwise, they are inspired to help in the ways that they can—when it is a topic that hits close to “home.” Unfortunately, media and news platforms often speak of issues in terms of statistics, told through the lens of a particular political or corporate agenda. To me, creative writing—whether it be for a book or a blog—feels more thoughtful and human than what’s written or spoken about in the news and is therefore a much more powerful source of influence and opportunity to get “eyes on issues.” People feel more inspired to act when they have a personal connection with the animal, person, or place in need of help. Writing can share the story behind a statistic.


Kate: please take this question for whatever it means to you: how do you feel that whales have spoken to you, and how do you feel they have guided you on your journey with this book?

Rebecca: Whales are our planet’s wisdom keepers. They have existed on our planet far longer than humans, and therefore have the luxury of intergenerational knowledge going back millions of years before us. I feel there is so much we can learn from whales, if we simply observe how they live (many of those lessons are written about in the book). By observing them, I suppose you could say they have “spoken” to me; they have inspired me with their trust in us, even though we have so degraded their habitat and in some cases hunted them to near extinction. I also have the whales to thank for “introducing” me to so many wonderful people in the whale advocacy community—such as you, and your sister Abbie.


Kate: I think a lot of people look at these big, messy environmental issues and then at their own creative talents, but don’t really see a connection between the two. Having written a book that seems to throw a lifeline to some of the world’s largest mammals, what are some ways you think creatives can use their talents to help the planet?

Rebecca: there are limitless opportunities to use creative endeavors to help the planet! Whatever one’s preferred form of expression is—whether it be writing, painting, dancing, songwriting, photography, film, etc.—it can be channeled to spread a message. Guided by Whales talks about people having done everything from becoming a “real-life” mermaid, creating a “wall” of origami whales, painting murals, to creating documentary films. Art tells a story; what story do you want to tell?

Kate: what advice would you give to writers who are starting out, who want to use their books to make a positive impact?

It’s never too soon to start making connections! Especially if your book is written with the intention of having a positive impact on others and the world, there are people who are going to be eager to support you—don’t be afraid to reach out and, humbly, ask for their support.


Kate: where can we find you and your book?

Rebecca: Guided by Whales is available at the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, WA, the Langley Whale Center in Langley, WA, and the Whale, Sea Life, and Shark Museum in Depoe Bay, OR, among other local bookstores. It is also available on Amazon. More about me and my other books can be found at Duende Press.




TAKEAWAYS

  • Art makes people feel. It brings people together by inviting us out of our minds and into our hearts and spirits. When we make decisions from that space, having a positive impact on each other and the world is inevitable.
  • Creative writing—whether it be for a book or a blog—feels more thoughtful and human than what’s written or spoken about in the news and is therefore a much more powerful source of influence and opportunity to get “eyes on issues.” Writing can share the story behind a statistic.
  • there are limitless opportunities to use creative endeavors to help the planet! Whatever one’s preferred form of expression is—whether it be writing, painting, dancing, songwriting, photography, film, etc.—it can be channeled to spread a message.
  • It’s never too soon to start making connections! Especially if your book is written with the intention of having a positive impact on others and the world, there are people who are going to be eager to support you


A massive thank you to Rebecca for sharing with me and HTC community about her stellar book. Be sure to go grab your copy!



stay stoked!
kate

5 bits of advice for my starting-out self


I published my first book in the summer of 2017. I'm always saying that publishing doesn't change anything, because it doesn't. And by "anything" I mean the heart of the writer, because I've written more unpublished books than published ones, and even if I never published another book again, I would keep the habit up. Because its more than a habit, it's a love and a passion.

But choosing to have a writing career is, like all other creative careers, very demanding and time consuming. And if I could snatch a Tardis and travel back in time, there's a few helpful scraps from some proverbial and no doubt very ancient advice book I would give myself with greater gusto, having now published three novels.

Here goes:


#1 SLOW DOWN

There's no rush. There really isn't. By chance, I recently heard the quote: "there's nothing in life worth rushing over" - to which I immediately snorted and thought "oh, yes there is." But then I began to think about it a little more deeply - mainly about the definition of the word "rush." Rushing a process usually isn't a good thing, in fact the very practice has given us these great quotes like "haste makes waste." I began to look at the things in my life I would normally deem worth rushing for, putting in all the extra hours, cramming late at night, and all to make it happen when I think it should happen - doing all that I can to expedite a thing just so that I can plant my proverbial flag when it's all said and done and declare that I got it done within the timeframe that I wanted to. Just reading that sentence makes me cringe. The best things, the true things, the most creative things, they cannot be rushed, pushed, shoved, and expedited - and often when we do this, we lose a whole lot more than we gain. So don't rush your writing; let it happen...unless you're actually working under a hard deadline that is actually being imposed on you with consequences attached, then what's the big hurry? Write good, slow-cooked stories. Let them come as they will; write them as they reveal themselves and publish them when they hang heavy on the cognitive vine like a ripe, fragrant piece of fruit - and not before.

#2 PROTECT YOUR REASON

Being a published indie author is a very demanding and time-devouring career. Think cookie monster and you've got the right imagery going. Telling stories takes a lot of time and energy, and in order to tell stories well you need to make sure that you're preserving your time and actually carving out that space for yourself regularly. And that's a lot easier said than done, because nearly everything will attempt to come between you and your writing - things like networking and marketing and so on (all such blasted dull words). Don't let them. Delegate time to do the things you need to, yes, but don't let it all edge out the one thing that actually made you choose this path in the first place: writing. The art of using language to hitchhike your way through the hearts and minds of your readers, and impact their lives in a positive way. This is why we do what we do. In Hollywood portrayals, it's when they publish and get busy that the storyteller completely loses track of why they started, takes to heavy drinking, and proceeds to chase futile goals. Don't let that happen. Remember why you started and protect the reason: keep writing stories no matter what. No matter what, find a way.


#3 ENJOY IT MORE

This one tags along well with the first on this list - not rushing it. While you're taking your time, try your utmost to enjoy it. Savor all the little things: the quiet afternoons of pounding out words over a cup of tea, the conversations you have about the book with family or a close friend. Enjoy the flavor of your story, the characters. Ask yourself questions about your story - press it from all sides and see how each little moving part holds up; ask what truth, what mystery, what kind of an impact your story brings to the table. Enjoy the experience of writing, of making a new world, having the ability to make up people and places, invent new planets, technology, animals - geez we can do some INCREDIBLE things through the art of telling stories! Enjoy it more for goodness sake!

#4 LEAN INTO THE EDITING PROCESS

This is where the crooked paths straighten, and the unfocused bits come in crystal clear and technicolor. If ever there was a time not to rush things...this is it. Edit like there is nothing else that needs your attention; shut off from everything else, eliminate distractions, and really lean into this beautiful process of getting more in tune with your own voice to ensure that your story is actually communicating what you truly desire to communicate. This is where your dream really begins to spread its wings: this is a vital time. And if you embrace it, it will teach you more about your writing than anyone or anything ever could. It will shape you, speak to you, and take your hand as you continue on this path. It will become a disciplined, warm-hearted companion in the craft. Though editing your own work may sometimes seem endless and grueling, it's worth every moment and every ounce of effort, and your writing will thank you for it. Your next book will thank you for it. 


#5 WRITE MORE.

Whenever I'm asked what kind of advice I would give a writer who is just starting out, I say the same thing that was said to me quite some time back. A dear friend told me to keep writing, and I listened. And it's one of the most important things I've ever done. If you feel stories burning inside of you, it's really not that big and complicated - find ways to tell them. Write them down. Even if you're busy, even if your life is a big up, down roller coaster, find a way all your own to tell that story. And then, just like that scene from Rebel in the Rye, "write another one, and another one, and another one." Just keep writing. That's the most important part of all of this, without which nothing else matters: the marketing, the blog tours, the community, the fans, the blog posts, the social media - it's all swirling vagueness. It's meaningless. The writing is the electricity that powers it all. It's the lifeblood. So no matter what, no matter what...keep writing.



Now it's YOUR turn...what's a piece of writing advice you wish you could give your starting-out self? I would LOVE to hear about it below.



stay stoked...and keep WRITING!
kate