Tuesday, 23 September 2014

University Q & A: Studying A Creative Course, Studying with an Illness & Reading Tips | Advice

vivatramp university q and a lifestyle book blogger studying a creative course going to university with an illness

Hello fellow planet dwellers! Believe it or not, I am all moved in and ready for my third year of university. Crazy! A few weeks ago, I asked you guys whether or not you had any questions about my university experience and I got a handful of interesting ones so, now that I'm settled in, I thought I would get round to answering them for you! If you've got anything else to ask, feel free to do so in the comments below! 

ON my course

I'D LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR COURSE IN GENERAL...I LOVE HEARING ABOUT OTHER COURSES! 
I'm about to begin my third and final year of an English with Creative Writing undergrad course. Annoyingly, it's not a joint honours - boo! My course is really flexible and the modules are diverse and challenging in different ways which is both exciting and terrifying. The English half of my course allows me to study and contextualise literary movements whilst the Creative Writing part of my course allows me to write down the things that pop into my brain. I'm studying the following modules this year: Modernism, Mixed Media Writing, The Short Story, Contemporary Poetry and Creative Dissertation.

TARONGELA asks
WHAT LEAD YOU TO STUDY A CREATIVE COURSE? WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER'S BLOCK? 
I've always been interested in reading and writing and talking about creative things so I guess it was always something I was going to do. Although, that being said, I'm quite academic in my creativity. I can't produce beautiful works of art, a la Lyzi, but I can write things and mash things together to create something relatively beautiful and / or thought provoking. Creativity comes in many different forms though and that's why it is so great.

With regards to writer's block, I do some little writing exercises, like the ones I've featured on Creativity with Bee or I tell myself to embrace the shitty first draft or I do something completely different until inspiration strikes! 

ON illness

tumblr ANON
I WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD ELABORATE ON YOUR ILLNESS AND HOW YOU DEAL WITH THAT IN RELATION TO STUDYING? 
Of course! I have Crohns Disease which is an inflammatory bowel disease that comes with a billion different symptoms that make life a little bit of a pain in the arse at times. As it makes life more difficult, it naturally makes studying that little bit harder but I'm lucky in that I attend a very understanding and helpful university so there are lots of things in place to make it easier for me. 

In relation to studying, I try not to put too much pressure on myself by making sure I start projects sooner rather than later and by keeping lots of lists and notes to ensure I'm on track. I also communicate with my tutors and the disability assist guys to ensure that I'm ticking along okay and not having too many problems. I  also take lots of lengthy breaks whilst studying because I get incredibly fatigued and mentally drained and I try not to beat myself up about it. Don't be afraid to take a step back every once in a while if you need to.

HOW DO YOU PUT YOUR HEALTH FIRST? HOW DOES THIS AFFECT NOT JUST YOUR UNI WORK BUT YOUR LIFE AT UNI? 
I guess I've kind of explained how I put my health first but another thing that I would stress is that you should always remember that nothing is worth making yourself ill over. Crohns affects my uni life greatly in that I have to prioritise things better. I try to balance my time wisely, handing out my spoons to university work and important errands first and foremost but also saving a couple for socialising. I also surround busier uni life days with quieter ones where I don't leave the house to help me out a bit.

ON organisation

alicebea asks 'how do you stay on top of all the reading?'
& isa asks 'how do you balance uni, work and creative projects?'
Honestly, sometimes I don't stay on top of everything. Everyone gets a little snowed under at some point and I'll be the first to hold up my hands and say that I have gone to multiple seminars without reading all of the texts beforehand. However, sometimes I manage my time a little better and stay on top of it all. In order to stay on top, I designate specific time in my schedule for everything. If you can, I would also suggest you start reading as soon as you get the texts set. It pays to read ahead. 

jennie asks
how are you so amazing? do you manage to balance reading for pleasure alongside reading for uni?
Firstly, I think it's in my blood or something. Secondly, I don't manage to balance my reading when I'm at university. We get set so many texts per month that I just find it impossible to pick up books that I want to read. I'm going to try and balance the two this year but I'm not sure how well it'll go...I'll keep you updated!

what stationery should i take for an english course? 
I usually allocate one notepad per module to keep my notes organised and easy to refer to. Folders and binders will always be useful to keep loose notes in check too. I also use a diary to document my goings on and I keep a separate little notebook for my to do and to buy lists. Wall planners and desk pads are also extremely useful but not particularly essential, unlike coloured pens for note taking. You don't need anything fancy when it comes to English so don't sweat it too much!

I hope this has been of use or interest to some of you! I'll be updating you on my progress as I navigate third year so be sure to stick around  

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Thursday, 18 September 2014

How To Write Book Spine Poetry & My First Go! | Creativity with Bee

vivatramp how to write book spine poetry uk lifestyle book blog

Hai, fellow planet dwellers! I haven't shared any creative writing posts with you lately so I thought I'd try my hand at Book Spine Poetry and share the results with you. Book Spine Poetry came about following Nina Katchadourian's Sorted Books project, in which she gathered people's books and stacked them on top of one another to consequently turn book titles into lines of poetry. Not only is spine poetry cheap and inventive, it's also an interesting way to share the books that you enjoy or can relate to creatively. The composition process can be a little lengthy but it's more than worth it once you're sat with a poetic stack of books in front of you. I promise. Okay pals, switch your 'reading poetry' heads on because I'm about to share the results of my very first go with you! Stick around for my tips on how to write book spine poetry too!


how to write book spine poetry creative writing uk book blogger vivatramp

THE ACCIDENTAL
AS I LAY DYING,
EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED:
GEORGE'S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE
THE ASK AND THE ANSWER
A HANDFUL OF DUST.

the accidental: commentary
My first ever attempt at book spine poetry! Spine poetry isn't usually titled, but I felt like The Accidental was quite fitting for my piece so ~yolo~. I didn't intend for this piece to be so dark and suffocating but that's just what happened. You can't really manipulate or judge the creative process, eh?! The first two lines of the poem were both titles that instinctively stood out to me and I love the way in which they worked together seamlessly, allowing me to introduce and explore my narrator's vulnerability within a few lines. I've added in some punctuation above, just for lols, but it works with or without.

I really like the duality of life and death in this piece. Death drives the piece throughout but its origin isn't explicit at first. Whilst the poem begins with death, the tone is initially quite flexible and it could almost be Romantic in an enlightened hey-here's-stuff-that-makes-sense-to-me-now way. However, the menacing vignettes soon play out, beginning with George's Marvellous Medicine and abruptly ending with A Handful of Dust. The readers expectations and hopes for the narrator are dashed before they can really process what has happened or work out who the characters really are. There's something extremely powerful in the way in which we relate to death that is really fascinating to explore in poetry, I think. That could just be me though...

vivatramp how to write book spine poetry uk book blogger lifestyle creative writing exercises

HOW TO WRITE BOOK SPINE POETRY 

I'm still a bit of a book spine poetry n00b when you think about it but I thought I'd impart all of the wisdom that I have gained so far in order to help you guys out! Leave your own advice in the comments too. Good luck! 

| browse your shelves & note down titles that stand out to you 
alternatively, note down titles that resonate with your life & experiences
| group titles that work well together thematically
take it easy - don't put pressure on yourself
| plan, draft and re-draft your composition - move titles around & substitute ones that don't work!
| align the spines & snap a photo
bask in your creative glory & share a photo of your creation using #creativitywithbee

I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with! Have you tried book spine poetry before? What do you think of my first attempt? Let me know in the comments as to whether or not you'll be trying it out! If you do try it out, why not upload a snap to Instagram or Twitter using #creativitywithbee so we can all spur one another on  

check out the art assignment's 'sorted books' video
CHECK OUT MY OTHER CREATIVE BLOG POSTS
CHECK OUT MY OTHER BOOK BLOG POSTS

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Monday, 15 September 2014

The Reading Challenge Jar feat. 40 Reading Challenges & Book Blog Post Ideas | Books

1 book blog post ideas vivatramp lifestyle blog uk

If you cast your minds back to January of this year, you may remember that I shared my TBR jar with you and showed you how you could make your very own. The TBR jar is a jar full of all the titles on your shelves that you have yet to read, meaning you can pick a name out of your jar and merrily sit down and read that title. However, we all know reading isn't necessarily as easy as that. If you're like me, you need to be in the mood to read something to fully enjoy it. With that in mind, I racked my brains and decided to create *big echoey voice* The Reading Challenge Jar. Huzzah! Please excuse the low-fi quality of the snaps - I went to Ikea and forgot about my snap happy duties until the evening. I am incredibly shit. 

The Reading Challenge Jar runs along the same lines as the TBR jar but instead of  being full of TBR titles it's, wait for it, full of reading challenges. Science. The premise is that you pop your hand into the jar and pull out prompts to read books that fit different challenges, giving you more choice when it comes to your future reads. You get the picture? Still not great at writing to explain am I?! The DIY aspect of the jar is pretty self explanatory so I won't bore you to tears with a pointless tutorial - just print the challenges and pop them into your jar. Throw them in your TBR jar or create two separate glass entities, it's up to you! I've decided to share 40 reading challenges with you to help you along. Don't say I don't try...



Thursday, 11 September 2014

How To Reduce Illness Related Anxiety: 6 Steps | Advice

vivatramp lifestyle book blogger uk how to reduce illness related anxiety chronic illness advice anxiety


Over four years ago, I was diagnosed with Crohns Disease and whilst it's a very physical disease it also has a huge psychological impact with sufferers often balancing physical symptoms with depression and anxiety on a daily basis. I have always dealt with anxiety in one way or another. However, since my diagnosis, I have seen it adapt and intensify due to the strain that Crohns puts on my body. I thought I'd share my top tips on how to reduce illness related anxiety. My tips are aimed towards people whose anxiety is triggered or worsened by their condition but I am in no way a professional. I am just an individual with a chronic condition who only has their own individual experience to go on so don't take my words as gospel. I'm sharing this post in the hope that it'll help at least one person reading it. If you feel like this is something you need help with, please speak to someone about it. Furthermore, if you feel like your anxiety could be triggered by reading this post, please click off and read something else instead!