(c) Photograph by Andrea Marvan

For a very special Writing Wednesday this week, we’re pleased to welcome Andrea Marvan, a guest blogger and freelance writer, editor and translator! You can check out more of her writing via UPPERCASE Magazine, Bridgeman Art (Modigliani: The man behind the mask and When Valentine’s cards made sense) and follow her on Twitter (@MarvanAndrea). She also has her own “Mommy Blog” at


(c) Photograph by Andrea Marvan

Andrea was kind enough to offer some advice that has served her well in achieving her writing dream. We hope that it helps to inspire you, as well! She writes:

One of the best pieces of writing advice I’ve ever received is to pick up a craft. Any craft.


(c) Photograph by Andrea Marvan

As I was studying for my certificate in screenwriting, I got stuck on a scene and my academic advisor suggested, “Pick up a craft”. She must be crazy, I thought. I’ve never been good at any kind of crafts. Hesitating, I choose embroidering because when I was a little girl my mom used to embroider my dresses and I thought this would be the least threatening craft. It worked! When your hands are busy with a mechanical task your mind wanders to magical places and you can freely think about your characters, what they’re like, what their background is, how they would feel!


(c) Photograph by Andrea Marvan

Over the years this has helped me to write, especially because I’ve been working on a historical novel set in Mexico in the 1920s where women did a lot of needlework and somehow, by doing this, I feel connected to my characters. This doesn’t mean you have to pick a craft that your character might have used! You don’t need to start digging a ditch to get into your “Shovelling Joe” character’s mind or that you’ll need to try to learn macramé if you are afraid it may affect your coolness.


(c) Photograph by Andrea Marvan

Just pick anything you enjoy and that relaxes you! It could be painting, gardening, cooking (I’m personally not allowed to be distracted while in the kitchen, but go for it), even sanding wood! Make sure you have a notebook next to you to jot down all your thoughts.


(c) Photograph by Andrea Marvan

Now, don’t make the same mistake I did once, getting myself a mind-numbing data-entering job because I thought “It will allow me to write in my head while I do something mechanical.” It didn’t. Instead of writing in my head and thinking about my characters, I dove into the self-pity pool and was miserable.


(c) Photograph by Andrea Marvan

So, pick a craft and let your mind wander while your hands do the work. The rest will follow.


(c) Photograph by Andrea Marvan

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