For the writers out there

We write.

We write to let things off out chest, to think clearer, to express opinions, to make art, to criticize, to analyse, to explain emotion, to feel alive. Yes, I know. I’ve been a person who writes since I was a tiny little girl. That doesn’t mean I’m any good but that’s not the point, to be honest. The point is that I get it. I know a lot of people write and I’m happy so many others in the world understand the joy you can get by creating worlds and characters or even little phrases with a huge amount of truth hidden in them.

So, I thought… Why not share with you my current Writer’s Process – since it changes as I change year after year …more like, day after day!  – and share with you some solutions to the problems I have been facing and may sound familiar if you love to write as well.

At the moment, I am in the process of writing a One-Act play. And I have faced three main problems. Firstly and most importantly, I catch myself thinking like a critic while I’m writing. It’s great to be able to criticize your own writing but that should come after you’ve finished, during the editing process, not in the middle of sentences. The second problem I have at this point is destruction.  A few years ago, what I was writing was always in my head. The characters became my best friends and the big scenes coming up were all I could think about even during class or other activities. Now, I get so consumed by everyday life, I get more and more detached from the story and that makes me lose my passion for it. Last but not least, I am usually more afraid to explore what I really want to write and I keep comparing my ideas to other peoples.  So I had to come up with ways to overcome those struggles and I did my best.

If you’re a person who writes you’ll probably know that inspiration comes when you least expect it. Somehow, you get the best ideas during the exam period or while you’re backpacking somewhere in Spain with friends and you have absolutely no time and peace to sit down and write. Once you get that itch, though… you know it’s time to make time! It’s the only thing on your mind.

Once I find the time to actually sit down and write, all the little things we just mentioned start appearing in your way. Here’s what I do to make it better. First, I try to set the mood. Music is the key to that but whatever else gets you in the right mind and inspires you. We Heart It helps me a lot. I have a huge collection of pictures that inspire me. Also, the sunset is usually the right lighting of the day to trigger my imagination. Find what gets you going.

When there’s not a word coming out of my mind, there is only one solution. Grab that pen and start writing. It could be completely irrelevant or bad writing. Once you start, you’re halfway there. If it doesn’t work, read! Poetry is my key! Once I open one of my favorite poetry books, it’s done. My imagination dances away. If I’m not in the mood for reading though, I start drawing. I sketch scenes and characters, so I have a clear image of them in my head. It always helps even if you’re not great with pencils and colours.

I haven’t found a way to stop doubting my writing, it only stops when I’m really inspired. So, try the ways to get your inspiration to finally arrive and it will free you.

Ernest Hemingway suggested to “Write drunk, edit sober”. If nothing else works, try that!

 

Have a magical day

glance at the sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou

 

note: The photograph is mine but the art isn’t. It is from a lovely exhibition I attended in Athens in May and I do not own it. The artist is amazingly talented, right?)

Look at you…

I pack my bag, wear my bathing suit and throw a dress on top. I let my hair down, I grab a towel and head to the beach. I meet my friends and we seat side by side and start enjoying the sun when we notice a group of girls. Maybe some of them are thinner and in better shape. Maybe their breasts are bigger or their hair curlier… And suddenly, we feel exposed. Yes, probably the same thing happened to them too. Why? Why do we feel the need to constantly compare ourselves to others?

Yes, we are all imperfect. My thighs are way bigger than I’d like them to be, I have a mole that I hate and my skin looks awful on the days I get my period. It happens to me and it happens to you and I don’t know why it is on those days when I feel at my lowest, that I tend to compare myself with others the most?

The truth is that global markets are built on that comparison that goes through your and my head at the beach, on the street or even when you look at a magazine – where you KNOW photoshop’s been used! – We’ll buy the craziest skincare products and clothes and gadgets in order to be one step closer to what we consider “perfect”. We know, though, that this “perfect” we have created in our heads probably doesn’t exist anyway and even though I know that and probably you know it too… we keep making the same mistake over and over. We compare.

This comparison is not only unnecessary it is also unhealthy and it will not get you anywhere. We should try to be just the best versions of ourselves and not the version of us that looks or acts like someone else. We are social creatures, we look at each other for inspiration and that’s not a bad thing. It is actually pretty nice if you don’t get to the point where you obsess over being someone else.

Look at you, your body and your choices that have led you to where you are standing right now. This is you. To live is to evolve and you should embrace change but not force it! When you are true to yourself, change comes naturally. It is painful sometimes and hard but it comes and it makes you stronger and better. I know it’s hard to decide who you want to be in a world that advertises so many different personas you could wear like suits but… how about just being you and seeing where that takes you?

Give it a go!

Have a magical day,

glance-at-the-sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou

 

Not counted in miles

Not Counted in Miles 

Anything could be a portal

to that place you’ve always wanted to go

A flavour, a sent, a sound…

Recognise them and travel

even from the edge of your bed.

Sometimes, only your mind can take you

to the furthest place

you’ll ever go.

 

– it really could be

only a matter of

seconds

to get to the

moon –

IMG_1687_Fotor.jpg

 

have a magical day,

glance-at-the-sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou

Colours

You feel alone – I know,

but please,

please

look at the colours

around you.

I finally decided it was time to share my poetry with anyone who might like to read it. It’s a big step for me and I hope you enjoy it. Poetry clears the soul.

This is only a little preview. The first poem is coming up on Sunday. Enjoy your week. Read and write!

Have a magical day,

glance-at-the-sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou

Summer Lovin’

It’s time to get out, free our minds and enjoy the warmth of the sunlight. Who doesn’t want to do that? But what about those of us who are staying in their hometown or in the city for the summer? Some of us are lucky enough to live near the beach and be able to go swimming every other day or at least on the weekends but what about those who don’t?

It is important to find ways to relax and enjoy this season even if you are not going away this summer. So, to inspire you, I came up with a few things you can keep yourself in the holiday mood during the summer time.

IMG_1660_Fotor

First of all! Transforming your home! If you have a balcony, you can give it a beach vibe with one or two garden lounge chairs and a few plants all around, giving all that tropical vibe. That way, you can enjoy the sunlight in the morning while drinking your coffee and the night breeze for a glass of wine later on. You can also brighten the colours around you by using lighter bed sheets or cushions. Another brilliant way to bring the beach into your house is through posters and art. You can get magnificent posters with pictures of the sea or the beach sand.

Secondly, you could add a few new, summer pieces to your wardrobe. Well, that doesn’t mean spending a fortune in the new trends, just getting a couple of sundresses or cropped tops or linen trousers – whatever matches your style. Clothes will get you in the right mood for all the great summer activities.

IMG_1662_Fotor

Speaking of activities, fill your free time – which is usually more during the summer months – with new things to do. Summer is the season for new experiences and a little extra fun. Don’t forget to also do things that help you de-stress and get your mind off the busy winter you have ahead of you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be productive, it only means you should slow down a little bit, so you’ll have more energy when you need it the most: in September!

Your refrigerator is also one spot in your house that can change for the summer! Well, think of all the delicious, fresh fruit you can eat during this time. Make fruit salads, smoothies and tarts! Also, you can make your own ice-cream. For a naughty night with friends, you could even make cocktails with fresh fruit juice!

Have the most brilliant summer and a magical day!

glance-at-the-sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou

 

 

Hometown student life

I live in a small town. I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve always dreamt of running away. When I got into university I had to choose between staying in my home-town or going away to study. Guess what I wanted! I desired to run away as far as possible but if I wanted to have enough money to make my dream come true and do my MA course abroad… I had to stay here for another four years. So, the 18-year-old Elena made an important decision: to stay and study in the same town she’d grown up in, dreaming about the day she’d had the chance to fly away.

Four years later, the news is good! I worked hard to make sure my dream would come true and I am happy to announce I am leaving this place – hopefully for good! – in September. (Many posts will follow about life abroad, so let’s leave that for now). I wanted to go through the pros and the cons of studying in one’s hometown and hopefully help people who are struggling with making a decision, as I was four years ago.

To begin with, I encourage everyone who is financially able to support studying away from home to do so, because it is a huge chance to grow and gain your independence as an individual and find out a great deal about yourself. Don’t let your fear hold you back. But for those who cannot do that for financial or other reasons, here are the Upsides of studying in your home-town…

books better

Upsides: 

  1. money Saving: Probably this is the biggest one. We all know it costs a huge amount of money to study away from home whether that’s in your country or abroad. You would have to rent a house and pay for all the utilities as well as the expenses for coming and going. For some people, it is inevitable in that situation to get a job, which means they might wait precious time they would spend studying or enjoying their student life. If that is something you want to avoid, maybe you should consider staying.
  2.  friends and family: If you chose to stay in your hometown, you wouldn’t have to go through separating with your friends and family. You would also always have someone to support you and someone to open the door for you those nights you return only to find out you forgot your keys – if you’re like me, this is the most serious reason to consider staying! It happens A LOT!
  3.  familiarity: Knowing a place well can have a lot of advantages. You know where you like to go an have fun, you know the lame places and that makes you the leader of the group once you make friends at university, who are coming from different places. You’re the one who gets to introduce them to the secret beautiful spots of your place, which only a local could be familiar with.

Downsides:

  1. no chance for self-exploration: Wait here! I am not claiming you will not explore yourself and grow in your hometown. All I’m saying is, you’ll have a much bigger chance to do it away. Different places usually tend to bring out different sides of ourselves, so do different people. As a matter of fact, if you distance yourself from your family and everything you know, it’s so much easier to explore parts of yourself you had no idea existed. That’s one of the best experiences!
  2. old same… everything!: Who doesn’t want to see new places? Who doesn’t want to explore new lanes in a city? Who doesn’t like to be where they’ve never been before? Every corner of the city will be a surprise and so will be every store you walk into, every cafe and every bar! Endless chances for new memories to be made in a new scenery! I know I’ve used the word “new” so many times in this paragraph but that’s the whole point!
  3. Independence: They say, after you’ve lived on your own for a while, you never want to go back to living with your parents, why do you think that is? I’ve lived alone for almost five years now and I can tell you there is nothing better than independence! It might scare you! Cooking for yourself, laundry, cleaning and what will happen if you need help but if you chose to stay with your parents you will miss out on that amazing feeling of I-Can-Make-It-On-My-Own! I think, the sooner someone gains their independence, the better it is for their lives in the future and university is meant to be that time.

Of, course, as you know, I believe that there shouldn’t be a certain moment for everyone to do something and all of us should be able to choose when we are ready to make the next step in our lives, whether society approves or not. So, read this article but keep in mind that’s only my opinion. You get to decide when you’re ready to move away because everyone is different.

I will only repeat one thing that I already said previously and I think it’s the one you should keep: If fear is what’s holding you back, don’t let it. Student life is not only about gaining a degree, it’s also about finding out a great deal more about yourself, human relationships and the world in general!

have a lovely day,

glance-at-the-sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou

 

 

 

May the 1st: Flower Festival

Bonjour, lovely ones! I don’t want to see any moody faces today! It’s the first day of May, which means, we can all start counting down for summer vacation – if you haven’t already. I just wanted to give you a post that will make you smile and just stop for a second, look around and appreciate the small things. 

5 euro solar.jpg

Each year in my hometown on the last day of April, a flower festival is being held. Everyone goes downtown for the music and a glimpse of the beautiful colours. Oh, the colours are endless… It’s like a wonderland of pastels!

So, what better to do when it’s so warm outside and you know everyone will be there than a date night, walking around the flowers. Under the starry sky, as it’s already 25 degrees in the evening here in Greece, just a spaghetti strap dress and a denim jacket is enough. What did I forget? Oh, that’s right! The more-than-necessary-for-the-night flower crown.

carusel

There’s certainly no better way to welcome May and all the amazing things she’ll bring… (well, May was always a female month in my head!)

Take in all the colours and smells and enjoy the last month of spring!

flowers tent

P.S. I know this one didn’t have any super interesting discussions but those flower pictures are a wonderful way to welcome May and I hope I got you in the mood to fill your house with colour end floral smells. More content coming up soon! 

 

have a magical day,

glance-at-the-sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou