Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Creativity Goes Hand in Hand With. . . Discipline? (Guest post by Elizabeth Ann West with a free ebook!)

An unfinished scarf from learning to sew last Christmas
Over the course of two Navy deployments I learned how to embroider, cross-stitch, bead, crochet, and eventually sew. Most of my projects had one very important feature in common...they were all unfinished! When I began writing my debut novel CANCELLED in January 2011, I was adamant the book would NOT join the pile of unfinished projects.
Crafting is a very worthwhile past time. Unfortunately, too many of the folk art skills are being lost on the newer generations. We don't have older relatives nearby to hand down the techniques and who has the time? Living four years with a husband deployed 77% of the year, I spent many Friday nights with my DVR and a new craft. For the last deployment, I spent MOST of my Friday nights with a fellow crochet buddy and her sons watching Hayao Miyazaki films. We made crocheted Christmas gifts for our family members.

My first sewing project, a netbook bag!
Christmas 2010
The personal qualities of crafters are fairly universal. Most crafters are very generous, often using hours of their time to create homemade gifts from the heart. Maybe that's why there aren't many knitting-needle fencing matches at Stitch 'n Bitch circles! My sister, Christine, still wears the scarf I crocheted for her in 2006. I can't think of another Christmas gift I could buy and have it still treasured five years later.

While crafting takes a high level of creativity, the only way to avoid the high pile of unfinished projects is discipline. Yet it's not a word that quickly comes to mind when you think “creative.” For most creative men and women, the hardest part isn't the idea, it's following through. We're chock full of ideas!

In 2005, before kids, this aquamarine beaded bracelet
I made was too big! Maybe one day it'll fit once more!

When I meet a fellow artist, whether it's painting, needlepoint, or writing, I am always most impressed by the sheer amount of work she has accomplished. I know first hand how much fun a new project brings. Ask me about the time I was going to make beaded pico drop necklaces for all six of my bridesmaids! They ended up with jewelry sets purchased from a department store.

So in the spirit of the generous nature of crafters, and because I am so proud I didn't add to my unfinished project pile, I am offering a free, signed copy of my ebook CANCELLED to the readers of Books and Needlepoint. To receive the ebook, please sign up for my newsletter so I know where to email the correct file format. Each ebook is a unique file with a handwritten note inserted digitally right after the cover. You will need to use a USB to miniUSB cable to send the file over, it's the little cable that came with your ereader. If you have questions, I'm happy to help! (My newsletter comes out every 25th and only once per month, covering my latest writing projects, fun activities for readers, and technology tips for our growing digital lives).

Also, each week this month on Saturday at 5 PM EST I am drawing one name from that week's newsletter registrations. This reader wins a signed, annotated copy of CANCELLED shipped to their home. I will ship internationally. :)

Thank you so much for letting me visit! I wish I had more time to craft, but I struggle to make time to write. In many ways, my experiences, both triumphs and shortcomings, in my crafting attempts shaped the kind of writer I am today. I thrive on writing in 30 minute increments before I am distracted by something else! In the comments below, why don't we all share our strategies to keep that Unfinished Project pile as small as possible?

Elizabeth Ann West is a Jane-of-all-trades, mistress to none! After writing non-fiction professionally for three years, she made the jump to fiction in 2011 with her debut novel, CANCELLED. A chicklit/romance from the male POV, Elizabeth's novel challenges the conventions of modern romance. CANCELLED is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble as both an ebook and paperback. Elizabeth also writes regular posts about technology subjects on Mark Williams international, and her sites eawestwriting.com and eawestwriting.blogspot.com.


yellowrose said...

I would like to read Cancelled and I like to finish my started projects. I sew, knit, paint and cook.

Heather said...

At times, I feel that my house is over run with unfinished projects. Knitting, crochet, quilting, and various sewing and then there are a old projects. I am definitely an idea person, I love coming up with new projects and such and getting them started. Not all that keen on the finishing. If I could just get one finished, then maybe move on to a second, I could set a new habit with myself.

Elizabeth Ann West said...


I see your email address :) Thank you for requesting my book. I've been overwhelmed by the response, over 100 readers! I'm going to try to make sure everyone has their signed copies before Monday. IT takes me a little time as I hand write each note, scan it, and then make the ebook file. :)

I had so many unfinished projects! We move often, so many projects get purged if they aren't ifnished by the time we move. My daughter's blanket that I crocheted for her was worked on two 13 hour flights from the States to Japan and Australia. I finished that puppy really fast! :) Most of the time I need a deadline. That's why I write in 30 minutes. If I was crafting again (and will soon , I'm sure) I would probably see how much can I finish in 1 hour and do it in 1 hour increments. That makes it exciting again. Not saying rush, but be efficient. Oh, and draw a line where no more new ideas come into play, we're committed to this one design and we will see it through...


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