Creativity and communications for people and projects.

‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying’ by Marie Kondo

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo

What’s this got to do with drawing, I hear you ask?

Well, on the face of it, nothing at all.  However I’ve just finished reading this delightful little book and I am sure that it will prove itself as being directly linked to my work, my creativity and therefore, the drawings I love to do.

A quick Google search on Marie Kondo, or her method known as ‘KonMari’, will provide a treasure trove of YouTube and blogging insights, so I shall spare you the details here… In essence, Kondo explains that when you surround yourself only with the things that bring you JOY, your life will become immeasurably better.

I love the whimsical style of her writing and her no-nonsense attitude to discarding items which no longer serve you.  I can just imagine her home and how it must be a peaceful haven.  I so want a peaceful haven!  It’s not often that I finish a book and can feel myself itching to get on and DO something with my new knowledge.  I know this site isn’t exactly the best place to document my decluttering project but for want of somewhere better, I’m sorry but it’s here to stay!  I hope I will be able to prove my theory that this is intrinsically linked to my work……

So, as I embark upon stage one of the KonMari method, which is basically getting to grips with my clothes, I have the following questions to ponder:

  1. When will I start this process?  I think it’s going to have to be evenings.
  2. As instructed, I will start with sub-categories of clothing. When I remove all of the items that do not ‘spark joy’, will there be anything left for me to wear? Seriously. I have spent the past few years in a haze of buying-only-what’s-needed-and-never-because-I-truly-love-it, so I am genuinely worried that I may be left with nothing practical to wear. Embarrassing over-sharing Instagram pics to follow, no doubt.
  3. How does the KonMari method sit with my eco tendencies?  I realise that key to the success of this method is to discard items and remove them from your home ASAP, preferably immediately.  However, I cannot justify binning anything that shouldn’t be binned, and I like to sort through my crap charity donations carefully to ensure that I’m sending things off to the best possible next place. Or selling if it’s worth the effort.  This is never a quick process and I do worry about filling the hallway with stuff-in-bags, thus increasing the temptation to keep a few bits rather than discard, discard, discard.
  4. I am overwhelmed when I think of the entire house and all that we have inside it. (And secretly very impatient to start grabbing stuff from random rooms and throwing it into a bin bag. But Kondo tells me to resist this urge, and so I shall resist.)  At the moment I am sorting for myself only, but I do wonder how I’m going to bring the rest of the family along with me.  It’ll be an interesting ride I’m sure.

Wish me luck.  Any tales of the ‘magic’ elements of the KonMari method are most welcome at this stage – please do share your experiences.  Especially if they are hugely positive and resulted in the aforementioned magic seeping into every part of your life…. ooh yes!

 

Build your scaffolding.

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Everyone needs scaffolding.

For some, it might be rigid routine and knowing what they’re doing and when.  For others, it’s surrounding themselves with the things that they love…. making their spaces inspiring and rewarding and perfect for them.  Maybe it’s the people you mix with, who you hang out with, those who lift you up, lighten the load and push you ever forward with light wings and a smile on your face.

I had a conversation today that lifted me.  It was a kindred spirit, someone who understands me 100% and who I totally respect.  It was someone who – if I’m being honest – surprised me with words of support when I wasn’t expecting it.  They offered me such wise words of encouragement, without prompt or prejudice.  Words that meant so much – “you are wonderful” they said.  I felt buoyed up by their kindness and encouraged beyond belief.

The value of having those people around us who “get” us is immeasurable (whether face-to-face or virtual).  They nurture our confidence, wrap it in hand-crocheted blankets, and allow us to be our true selves in an enormous and amazing world.

Find those folk.  Treasure them. Encourage them back, because they’re friggin’ awesome too.

x

My drawings in a neat little video.

Just stopping by today to share a video that one of my clients has sent through today… The images are all drawn by me but I claim no glory for the neat little video they’ve worked them in to.  Clever stuff!

 

Choosing Must.

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It’s a work in progress, and I’m not saying I’ve got there yet, but I find the concept of Choosing Must completely beguiling, intriguing and so, so comforting.

If you haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about, you maybe haven’t read the wonderful essay by Elle Luna, entitled ‘The Crossroads of Should and Must‘, which was published on 8th April last year and quickly went viral, being read by millions. Skip forward a year (exactly, to the day) and her book of the same name has been published to rave reviews. I’ve just ordered my copy and can’t wait to get my hands on it… I love Elle’s work and without wishing to sound too stalkerish, I follow her on Twitter and Instagram too – such beautiful work, such gorgeous colours…

This morning, I watched Elle’s talk at Do Lectures USA. It’s great and I’m sharing it here for you to watch. What do you think?

The Importance of Doing What You Love – Elle Luna – Do Lectures 2014 from The Do Lectures on Vimeo.

And after that, I picked up the pens and the work began. Day 5 after the Creative Block and the pens are back out.pensareout

 

Onwards and upwards, friends! Are you on a journey to find your MUST?

 

[Signpost image from Medium.com here, with thanks.]

Don’t pick up the pens.
Leave the jobs.
No excuses.
“Come on Mummy, let’s go outside and see what we can spot!”

The result? Springtime is everywhere.

Creative Intention

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Good morning. It seems quite a few people read the blog yesterday and my very honest account of my Creative Block. I have been *overwhelmed* by the kind messages of support, the sharing of the post and the beautiful rucksack doodles from my pals on Twitter. They really made my day, thank you!

So, I start today with my metaphorical rucksack packed and ready…. I’ve left quite a bit of room for important stuff that I might pick up along the way.

First things first, day one, no expectations.

The day started nicely, with no shouting, just a slight raising of voice when my 7yo insisted on listening to Dire Straits ‘Money for Nothing’ at full volume for the 10th time. He’s developed quite an obsession and is getting pretty good at the air guitar.  I blame the parents.  Or in this case, the grandmother, who instilled a love of guitar music into me and I felt obliged to pass it down the line… (which is fine, until you’ve heard Sting croon ‘I want my M-T-Veeeeeeeeee’ for the millionth time.)

And now that the kids are at school, it’s time for the serious UNwork to begin.  I’ve dug out my treasured copy of ‘The War of Art’ and I intend to sit and start re-reading it.  It’s highly recommended if you’re finding the creative process tough and you want to break though.  I’ll stick a link at the bottom in case you’d like to get yourself a copy.

Before I finish my coffee and go to my yoga class for some serious mindfulness me-time, let me share this so that you can be uplifted as much as I was at 8am this morning. Sometimes LOUD MUSIC IS JUST THE MEDICINE YOU NEED!!!  My son likes to replay the bit between roughly 28secs-36secs over and over and over and over…….

 

Have a great day x

Above is a link to the book I mentioned, which is highly recommended. This is an affiliate link which means I might get a few pennies if you decide to go ahead and buy it via this link. I think I have to declare that here, even if it does sounds a bit cheeky…

Creative Block.

*takes a deep breath*

I’ve not written a blog post in a long while.  In my head, I’ve thought of lots and I’ve even drafted a few that sit unpublished behind the scenes here on the website.  But something has been holding me back for quite a while now and despite all good intentions, wise counsel and kindly smiles, I am facing facts and it’s time I shared it here for everyone to see.

I am in the midst of an absolute whopper of a Creative Block*.

My Creative Block

It has become so all-encompassing, so THERE IN MY FACE that it has seemed insurmountable.  Often depressing.  Briefly hopeless.  The hardest part has been living with it but not being able to see it… and not even knowing that I was so stuck.

I can’t yet explain the reasons for my Creative Block but I know they are plentiful.  Added together, they’ve had a multiplying effect that has temporarily rendered me pretty useless.  It’s not a new thing, I think it’s probably been there for years, simmering away.  I’ve recently taken a two month break from most social media (& I’ve noticed the effects, I’ll share those another time).  I hardly draw a thing, for a start I have no idea of what to draw.  I’ve tortured my self-esteem into the ground.  I’ve kept functioning with enough of a smile on my face to (hopefully) hide this from all but my closest friends and family.

Cut to yesterday and I’m sitting in a car park, waiting to collect my daughter from an after school club.  It was quiet, I had an unexpected spare ten minutes to myself in the car with only a notebook and pen.  I had hit the proverbial rock bottom the night before and was absolutely knackered.

And I suddenly had a little thought about being blocked.  “Something is stopping me” I thought (duh… you don’t say).  I scribbled ‘The Block’ in the middle of my little notebook and started mind-mapping the ideas that were leaping into my mind.

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The Acknowledgement

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Within a few minutes, I had mapped out the problem, many of the reasons and some solutions right there in front of me.  No one was more surprised than me!

And so, with you as my witness, I resolve to:

  • Acknowledge it: it’s okay to feel this way.  Having a Creative Block is telling you something.  Some thing or things are not right and need fixing.  I am listening to how I’m feeling and understanding what’s happened so I can spot signs in the future. (Guess what?  This isn’t the first time I’ve felt this way…)
  • Keep talking: Too often, people aren’t honest about their feelings.  I find it difficult to reach out and admit when I’m finding things tough.  Being a Mum and running a creative business is a tough combo.  I am hopeful that it’s not just me that feels this way.  Having mental health wobbles of any sort should not be pushed under the carpet. Ever.
  • Use it for good: Okay, so this is a tough time.  It’s difficult knowing that things aren’t quite how I want them to be (& not knowing immediately how to fix them).  How can I turn this around and use this negative thing as a POSITIVE experience?  I’ve got a series of ideas to work through and I’m going to share them as I go along.

Like a gift from the heavens, I had the good fortune of a planned ‘virtual co-working’ session this morning with my friend and co-collaborator, Jayne.  I told her about the notebook splurge.  We had some laughs and smiles and what’s more, she really “gets” it.  We had a long chat about this Creative Block-ness and it just felt so…. RIGHT to be talking about it.  I knew right there that working through this with my eyes wide open is such a logical progression from where I was, to where I need to go next.

So, the journey starts here.  I’m off to find a suitably sized rucksack and plentiful pen and paper for the creating and making that is surely just around the corner.

With love & gratitude,
Claire x

 

* Really big problems always deserve capital letters 🙂

Vision: Possible.

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Thanks to the wonderful Karen at Moo.com for that blog title…. sneakily taken from this week’s Moo blog (the MOOsletter, excellent), in which I am very honoured to be featured!

As you may have heard me banging on about already, it really is a good idea to get all of your ideas out of your head and down on paper.  And if you can make that process really visual and – dare I say it – pretty, then even better!

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Step one: you’ll need pens, scissors, glue and a big sheet of paper.

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Step 2: Gather a pile of old magazines…

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Step 3: cut out and stick on any pictures that remind you of your goals for this year. Organise it however you like. Add your own drawings or notes to personalise your board.

Click below for the article and more detailed steps…

claire moo blog copy

And if you fancy making your own vision board and would like to combine it with a wonderful day of mindfulness, don’t forget I’m also delivering a Vision Boarding workshop on 30th January.  Your head will be clear, you’ll feel relaxed, positive and ready to make those goals a reality!  Details about Moonshot Mindfulness with the Happy Startup School here.

2015 is going to be an amazing year.  Go out and grab it with all your might!

[Insert meaningful title here…]

You know what it’s like. You have a grand plan to write a long summary blog post to share some of the highlights of 2014, mostly to make up for the lack of decent blog posts *during* 2014……….

Christmas comes and goes and you find yourself frantically baking a surprise 70s pudding for New Years Celebrations………

And here I am. This is me. I haven’t got a long list of achievements to share with you, nor exciting and glamorous posed photographs of me, holding incredibly expensive marker pens, against a backdrop of something beautiful that I drew. I haven’t put together a montage of my ‘best bits’ for you, nor have I even drawn you a little #todaysdoodle to wish you all the very best as we run together smiling and laughing into 2015.

However, what I did want to say is that I have had a really good year, making friends, meeting some wonderful clients, old and new, in places near and far. I’ve done lots of learning, enjoyed the #100happydays challenge for longer than was suggested, proudly helped to start a #todaysdoodle doodling revolution and successfully run my little drawing business for another year.

I am looking forward to the new year, with lots of plans for creative workshops, more drawings and even taking on some new learning challenges.

I wish you and your nearest and dearest a very Happy New Year and a 2015 full of happiness, good health and many hugs!

Claire x

Happy Startups Summercamp – workshop update!

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Wowzers.

Last month, you’ll remember my ‘open letter’ to visual thinkers all over the world, yes?  I received a load of responses from some wonderful people and shared their amazing work at the Happy Startup Summercamp in Sussex, England at the end of September.

It has taken me a month to build up the words to summarise the weekend and how awesome it was.  Except that I still haven’t found the right words, it was really properly magical – such great speakers, inspiring words, brilliant laughs and lots of proper hugs.  I ended up delivering the busiest workshop of the weekend to a whopping 45 people (!) who all produced the most amazing vision boards together and then stuck them up to share with everybody.

Really. Great. Stuff.

Moving on from then, I was delighted to be invited to talk about the workshop and visual thinking more generally with my #todaysdoodle friend, Andrea Brucken, at ununi.tv in Germany.  Here it is:

Or the full video and accompanying notes are available on the ununi.tv website here: http://ununi.tv/de/videos/hack-your-life-with-visual-thinking-visual.

I hope to blog more about the Summercamp, but in the meantime, here are a couple of pics….

A barn chock full of vision-boarding greatness...

A barn chock full of vision-boarding greatness…

Cutting and sticking in progress...

Cutting and sticking in progress…

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Some of the finished works!

Some of the finished works!

Group hug. aka 'Compassion Workshop'... :)

Group hug. aka ‘Compassion Workshop’… 🙂

A farm and a sky. Great location for a business event.

A farm and a sky. Great location for a business event.

Fond memories :D

Thanks Happy Startups… fond memories 🙂