Weeknotes: How to be creative as a writer and entrepreneur

2-for-1 on weeknotes today, since I skipped last week for some reason. Mostly about writing and trees, for a change… 😉

How to be creative

Just do something. Anything. Take action

I listened to this episode Taking Action on Your Ideas with Noah Kagan of the YNAB podcast at the end of May.

Loved the term ‘WANTrepreneur‘, that was definitely me for quite some time. Wishing to be freelance, but not doing anything about it. Or, taking a couple of actions with a long stretch of no actions inbetween. Not beating myself up about it thought – as my friend, Tim, is very good at reminding me: It’s really hard to do other stuff at the same time as working full time.

I liked the advice that reminded me to have One Goal, and to look at what I’m accomplishing towards that every week.

One Goal: Write daily Create the conditions for writing daily, i.e. Go outside!

I gave myself a challenge for June.

(Gotta say, Conscious Growth Club, I love monthly challenges, I particularly like that I can say Day 1, 2, 3 and it equals 1st, 2nd, 3rd of the month. Extremely pleasing for my brain. I digress.)

Challenge: Enjoying writing for 15 minutes each day.

https://twitter.com/gobrightly/status/1399640632503803909

I did that for a bit, and I enjoyed it at first – yay, novelty. But it wore thin quickly. And I was writing about writing, which was interesting and helpful, but not the direction I wanted to continue in. After all, I’m writing a collection of tree poetry & short stories. And so far, it’s growing at the rate of trees, which is to say, slowly.

So I changed it:

Challenge: Be outside with pen & paper for 15 minutes each day.

Loving it so far, let’s see how it goes.

What I accomplished towards my One Goal this week

  • Writing daily
  • Going outside every morning
  • Giving attention to birds
  • Writing about nature-y stuff
  • Being nourished by plants, birds, insects
  • Noticing the differences between different kinds of bumblebees
  • Maybe saw a baby starling???

Make a jealousy map

I continued working on my jealousy map, which I described in my last weeknotes as writing down:

  • a list of people you’re jealous of
  • why you’re jealous of each of them
  • ideas for things you could do to move towards what you want
  • possible unmet needs
  • specific action to take

It’s an excellent way of taking action, especially if you’re feeling stuck.

Look after yourself & your basic needs

I was stressing out a lot this week.

I realised that feeling overwhelmed and overworked was partly due to sleep deprivation, so I decided to work on that. More about that below: More reading, more sleeping.

Also, I made a list of friends I could talk with about the stress and called one of them. That was such a helpful conversation, and helped me get unstuck.

I’ve been buying less food, and I basically ran out of vegan ready meals sooner than I would have when I was buying more at once. I still had food but it required more effort and energy to figure food out, and that was stressful. So I did another grocery order.

It was good to realise there were quite simple solutions to some of the stress.

Understand your psychology

Getting anxious about getting stuff wrong, and then avoiding the source of the anxiety, leading to more anxiety is one of the patterns that’s been stressing me out too. Cycles of perfectionism and procrastination. I’ve been asking for help, but not enough. Practising doing that more. And reminding myself that I’m doing lots of new things at once, which is scary, and will continue to take time & mistakes for a while.

Writing: How’s it going?

On my writing process & figuring it out as it evolves

I have to keep reminding myself that I’m writing, and a lot. It’s really easy for me to think I’m ‘not doing anything’. But that’s not true. I think part of the reason for me doing a writing challenge is that it helps remind me that I’m writing frequently.

I wrote a mini-book about trees in a day, for goodness’ sake! More about that below: Tree Tales: Writing + trees, yay!

Making a living from writing

I first encountered Amanda Tuke in a workshop she ran at the Great North Wood Festival in 2020. You can read some of what I wrote there in her anthology: If this tree could talk. She runs brilliant nature writing workshops – highly recommend.

It’s so helpful to hear other writers talk about the reality of ‘making a living’. At the end of April, Amanda Tuke shared that she makes an average of £200 a month from nature writing. And then went on to talk about her nature writing residency with the Great North Wood. Seeing that tweet this week, I realised that without that residency, I might not have experienced her work! Residencies are awesome!!!

How I’m making money from writing

I’m feeling a rush of gratitude working with WritersMosaic. Here are 5 of the reasons I appreciate that:

  • I’m reading more, again 🥰
  • Being part of a community of writers
  • Being paid to learn the writing industry
  • Being motivated to improve my sleep
  • Being motivated to protect my boundaries around unscheduled time and not working

Also, it’s actually incredible that I’m being paid to write. Like, what?! 😁

I have another writing project coming up. Info about that comes out tomorrow, watch this space. Well, watch twitter;, I’ll update that first.

Writing alongside others

Last Sunday I started going to a weekly co-writing group, and it’s brilliant. Chit-chat, followed by at least an hour of solid writing. Brilliant way to spend a Sunday. I would like more of this in my life please Universe, keep it coming. Thank you!

There’s something so peaceful about writing alongside other people who are also writing. Happy sigh. (Writing about writing in my weeknotes in the co-writing session, so meta!)

Trees (& other nature-y things)

There were so. many. tree-related things this week! It was brilliant!

I cannot put into words how much joy it gives me nerding out on nature.

National Hedgerow Week (UK’s first ever)

I attended these talks, and learned so much about hedges.

  • An introduction to the dynamic world of hedgerows
  • Happy hedgerows – the traditional skill of hedge laying and care
  • From billhooks to bumble bees – the management lifecycle of a hedge

The first of those talks is on YouTube, with a few others: Hedge Talks playlist.

Springwatch continues

Sometimes I had this on in the background whilst writing or working. (I have it on now, there’s a nest of red kites! Oh, now it’s a nest of pied wagtails – only 1 had hatched the other day!) So chill, but also exciting, I love it.

https://twitter.com/BBCSpringwatch/status/1400014327239806977

Wrote Tree Tales: Ginkgo Biloba and Dinosaurs – a children’s book

for my nephew, who’s 5 years old

Last week, writing + trees, yay!

https://twitter.com/gobrightly/status/1397103908124774400

Created Top of the Trees – interactive, multimedia, non-fiction

for Games in the Wood – Urban Tree Festival

I made a game in 2 weeks. Well, actually, an interactive story, for this game jam called Games in the Wood. It was tricky to pick an idea and go with it, but I did it and I published it. Well done me!

What’s next?

Coming up in tree-related events

I’ve just seen that there’s a virtual Botany Conference happening in July, with a plenary address by one of my favourite botanists, Beronda Montgomery. Sign me up!

Tree books I like the look of

Oh, wow, this podcast looks awesome: Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness Are Plants Literal Geniuses? with Professor Beronda Montgomery, via the Harvard University Press page

Directory of UK black-centred nature orgs & individuals

Just started creating this this week.

More reading, more sleeping

My sleep has been bad, and I realised it’s something I need to prioritise. I knew that before, but I had a real felt sense of needing to do that. So I’m working on sleep hygiene again. I gave myself a simple bedtime routine a couple of days ago, so far so good. Fingers crossed I continue with it.

  • 8 pm: Reading
  • 10 pm: Sleeping

There’s enough padding in there that if I start reading “late”, I’ll still get some decent sleep. Also, there’s this:

  • 2 pm: Deep rest medition and/or nap

I’ve been doing this now and then for a bit, since there have been weekly meditations at that time on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays since November. I find it so hard to make myself slow & stop the rest of the week, but at least I get weekly resets with those scheduled sessions.

This week I read:

  • The Undoing of Arlo Knott by Heather Child
  • Eight Pieces of Silva by Patrice Lawrence

And another thing, or two…