The week that started 22nd July

Art is the act of structuring time.

Julia Cameron: The Artist’s Way, Week 8 – Recovering a Sense of Strength

What an expansive week of spaciousness!

It opened with some unexpected extra time. Then, I definitely tried to cram too much in… But, I course corrected and finished the week with trees and friends.

Lots of learning, artistry and woods this week. With special interests including budgeting, studying and bullet journalling.

Skip to the bits that interest you!

LiLi chilling amongst melted clocks, a la surrealist Dalí. Cartoon
What’s important? Writing. Trees. Healthy habits.

And so, it began…

On the first day of my sabbatical, I had a dentist appointment that fell through. So, suddenly I had all this time for life admin. Which was unexpected and so needed.

  • Ordered glasses, overdue since my new prescription in March
  • Bought new walking shoes, overdue since April, at least
  • Bought lightweight rucksack for long walks

Forever – is composed of Nows –
‘Tis not a different time –

Emily Dickinson


This week I learned that I didn’t get on to the shortlist for the London Writers Awards.

Actually, I don’t feel terrible about it.

Partly because I recently heard something (in this bullet journal video) about trying to get as many rejections as possible (in order to make oneself apply for things). And partly because I’m so proud of myself for applying in the first place.

Also, because I got to attend a brilliant speculative writing workshop with Ama Josephine Budge this week, as part of The Future is Back. So, winning!

I first heard about Spread the Word and the London Writers Awards in May this year. And I only heard about The Future is Back because a friend told me about it in April & encouraged me to apply.

Treating, nurturing & playing with my artist

I found some cards in a charity shop and bought them for my artist.

I drew 3 cards and used them to write an improvised story of vignettes. Hurrah!

3 illustrations of leaves, trees & mystical beings; a rosy cheeked childlike person; and a face with an upside down cross for an eye

I took myself into an improv class for people of colour as my Artist Date. So out of my comfort zone — especially as gave a performance to an audience straight afterwards — and I loved it. Really got my creative juices going.

I saw The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison in a charity shop for £1. So, of course I brought it home. It’s heavily annotated, which I’m finding sometimes distracting and sometimes intriguing. I realised that even though I’m reading a lot lately, I’ve not been reading any fiction. I’m excited to be reading some now, even though it means breaking my books-in-progress limit. 😅

I’m really glad I decided to write this section in my weeknotes, because before I did I temporarily forgot that I did anything to do with writing or art this week. 🤦🏾

Despite my efforts I’m still behind on the Artist’s Way. Ah well, new week, new chance…


Took my new walking shoes out to meet the Great North Wood. 🌳

I was intending to go walking with a group of strangers, but I missed them because my bus was on diversion. Worked out great though, because I had an awesome time on my own. I’ll do that some more. Woo-hoo!

I went to Sydenham Hill Wood (part of the Great North Wood) and Hainault Forest (tweet below). Can’t really find words to describe what it’s like being around so many trees. Definitely a highlight of my week.

And so much walking – yay!

Why is it so hard to leave the house sometimes? And, other unanswered questions

I found it really hard to leave the house on Thursday and Friday this week, Thursday I forced myself (for improv!) and Friday I stayed home. I went out for all these lovely trees on Saturday and Sunday, and I’m so glad I did. But yeah, it was hard to go.

Correction: I meant the Field Studies Council, not the National Trust

LiLi smiles with trees and flowers
In Sydenham Hill Wood

Healthy habits & routines

I think I did some reading about mortgages, and made a few notes.

I did a lot of studying, submitted my completed assessment on time and made a study plan for next week. So proud of myself.

I listened to lots of podcasts about healthy habits in a chilled and aimless way. Some of it sunk in, I think.


So, I ended up watching Everything you’ve been told about money is wrong randomly. And I loved it! (YouTube suggested it on the back of a bujo video I watched, Minimalist Bullet Journal Set Up // Finding Productivity in the Analogue).

Now I can’t wait to read I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi. (But I will wait, because I’m already ready 3 books and doing 2 courses…)

And then I found an extended interview with Ramit Sethi in the podcasts. Synchronicity!

I realised that 2 of the videos I enjoyed this week were Matt D’Avella interviewing folks (Ramit Sethi, Ryder Carroll). And I had never heard of this person before. So, now I’m interested to check out other interviews by Matt.

In the meantime, I’m listening to YNAB (You Need A Budget) podcasts again. I find them pretty relaxing. (I’m weird.) And I attended a few free YNAB webinars as well about re-doing my budget & spending less. Overhauled my budget after that, caught up on a bunch of financial planning and I’m feeling great about being so clear on my priorities. Having those reflected in my budget is awesome. I feel on track and not overwhelmed – hurray!

Achievements, Connections & Enjoyment

Reading back over June’s weeknotes, I remembered the importance of balancing achieving, connecting and enjoying that I wrote about it the week of 30th June.

As per usual, I can more readily recall achievements (studying, writing, life admin) than the other two. Although, I did enjoy the achievements too. Connected with myself and others at improv, and with friends on video calls & in person. And, of course, there are the trees. Enjoyed reading and resting (when I wasn’t feeling like I ought to be doing something else, that is…)

What else?

I thought and talked so much about bullet journalling that I decided to move everything I wrote about it into a separate article, because it was completely dominating these weeknotes. 😅

Did love checking out flying paper words’ bullet journal. Also, some good notes on reasons to journal.

Boycotting Amazon is hard. I mean, we all knew that, I think. But I’ve been thinking about it this week because I wanted to link to a book and just before I linked to Waterstones, I thought I better check that they’ve not been bought by Amazon (yet). And they haven’t been, but they have partnered with Amazon to have and sell Kindle books in their stores. Sigh.

Check out this podcast on making a 10 year plan. I struggle to plan a few months ahead, so this was definitely challenging. And, simultaneously, I enjoyed daydreaming on paper.

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Matthew Kent in 10 year plan

This week, I…

Next week, I’ll…

  • Walk through local areas of trees on way to the bus stop 🙂
  • Write more: 3000 words or 18 A5 pages of fiction
    (new sabbatical goals are 15K words of fiction & 5 poems)
  • Remember not to be over-ambitious; instead, make time to pause
LiLi pouts next to a pretty flower