Weeknotes

  • Weeknotes: 7 rest types & livetweeting Short Fiction Festival Weekend Sun, 13 Jun 2021
    Headshot of LiLi sat outside in bright daylight, smiling

    Taking care of myself

    My favourite things that happened this week

    When the child I tutor asked what I’ve been doing, and I said:

    - I'm writing a collection of poetry about trees.
    - Does that mean I'll be able to go to the library and see your book there?
    - *Stunned & so touched* Yes. It might take a while...

    This is the single best articulation I’ve ever heard for publishing my writing as an end in itself. Thanks G.

    Getting glowing feedback from my nephew, via my brother, on the first episode of Tree Tales. Inspired to write another one now. I mean, I already was, but now I really am!

    Writing

    Started sharing bits of my writing using the #LiLiWrites hashtag on Twitter. I now have brand new socials dedicated to writing (@cherrytree_walk) on twitter & instagram, and even facebook.

    I didn’t do any writing during the week, but I did So Much Writing this weekend, because of this:

    Short Fiction Festival Weekend: 12-13 June

    https://twitter.com/DahliaBooks/status/1397911566595489794

    I live tweeted the event.

    Some resources to follow up

    Stuff to write

    • Tree Tales: Wollemi Pine & Dinosaurs
    • Articles about writing
      • How to write when you don’t have time
      • How to get unstuck when you’re stuck: Starting, Continuing & Ending / Openings, Middles & Endings
      • My writing process: How it started & How it’s going
    • The Artist’s Way for Atheists
    • Anything nature-y, for my collection of poetry & short stories
      • I have so many ideas from the Short Story Festival Weekend
      • I have so many poems I started
    • Maybe more tree family maps

    Workshops: Coming up

    In the spirit of that, these are some workshops I’m signed up for:

    Write Together includes movement and place. The workshops are themed around: City, Forest, Mountain & Lake. And I take movement as a prompt to get embodied, which is something I’m practising. I often forget I’m an embodied being, and I appreciate when I’m invited to remind myself.

    Excited about these panels at the poesiefestival berlin too:

    You may know that I am learning German, and writing my collection of poetry & short stories partly in German, so it’s extremely exciting to me that I’m going to a German poetry festival, which is in English and German.

    Co-writing spaces: Sign me up!

    Writing workshops are great for coming up with ideas, for generating excitement & enthusiasm, for getting energised and making connections, for learning about so many things. Firehoses of people, prompts, ideas & resources.

    But co-writing spaces are where I make progress on things I’ve started. Where I consistently turn up at the page and do the work. They’re containers. Really glad to keep finding more of these.

    I need workshops and co-writing spaces, and they both connect me with community.

    • Allographic
    • London Writers’ Salon

    Reading

    Started reading The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin and another book I shan’t name. Yay for books!

    Goals & focus

    I’m not going to explain this, but I’ve figured out a catchy way to represent my goals to myself:

    Get • Move • Write… OUT there

    I’m hoping this will help keep them present in my mind, so that I can make progress on them each week.

    What I’ve achieved this week

    What I did this week towards my goals

    • Expressed being at capacity –> my workload is more manageable & projects more balanced
    • Filled the project management gap on one of my projects
    • Identified that I have 5 projects in progress
    • Spent 2 days focused on my writing at the Short Film Festival Weekend

    5 projects

    • Business management (being a creative freelancer)
    • Writing my collection of tree poetry & short stories
    • Writing residency
    • Equity workshop series
    • Social media mini job about writing

    Comedy

    Laughter is the best medicine

    I’ve been watching a lot of comedy bits online, and it’s so fun. Looking ahead to comedy gigs I might go to. Watching Would I Lie to You and Mock the Week on YouTube. There are so many!

    Some of my favourite comedians at the moment:

    • Mo Gilligan
    • Richard Ayoade
    • Mae Martin
    • Joe Lycett
    • Bill Bailey
    Haha, this is kind of me… bit possessive about my pens
  • Weeknotes: How to be creative as a writer and entrepreneur Sun, 6 Jun 2021

    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…

  • Weeknotes: Befriending and valuing trees beyond money, being embodied Mon, 24 May 2021

    I have some really exciting nature writing news that I can’t share yet. I’ll tell you in a couple of weeks. Cliffhanger…!

    Urban Tree Festival highlights, some of my fave bits

    9 days of glorious tree nerdery.

    I participated in 27 hours of the Urban Tree Festival, including 2.5 hours of tree meditations (15 minutes each day).

    These 3 events were very ‘right brain’ oriented, more about creativity, connection, emotion, embodiment. I appreciate that a lot!

    Being more embodied is something I’ve been practising prioritising since last year.

    Emotional & embodied connecting with trees

    If you’re looking for ways to deepen your connection to trees, to embrace the emotional and embodied side of connecting with trees, check out these:

    Edge of the Hedge promises to nurture “your connection with nature, through sensory exploration and contemplation”.

    Each episode will take you on an audio journey into nature, awakening your senses, and making connections with the more than human world; with special guests from many walks of life, who find inspiration by spending time with nature.

    Hannah Sylvester, The District Herbalist, with original music composed, performed and produced by Mark Holmes.

    Recognising I’m a being with a body. Feeling into what that means.

    Special mentions from the Urban Tree Festival

    I love learning about the relationships amongst different species, which includes learning more about identification. And not just trees either!

    Games in the Woods really got my idea generating gear going, so much creativity and connectivity. Along with The Urban Tree Wiki-thon, I feel like I’m part of little communities of creative nerds, and it’s great! I’m excited about the game I’m working on. It’s very far from finished, but you can check out my work so far.

    What I loved about The Nature Diary of an Elizabethan Gentleman is that it was all about how to learn more about nature, but in an accessible way. I’m a huge tree nerd / amateur dendrologist, but I quickly get overwhelmed by wildflowers and birds, and don’t get me started on insects! But Daniel talked about identifying different species of bee, and it wasn’t overwhelming. I incorporate his approach into my game. Specifically:

    • Focusing on a few most common species, rather than trying to get them all
    • Starting where you are and adding a little more, rather than trying to do everything at once
    • Following enthusiasm & interest, to build on strengths & existing knowledge, rather than ‘shoulds’

    Emotion

    “People respond often to facts and figures.” I heard this weekend. Well, yes, and no.

    We respond to stories. I find that humans like to talk about how rational we are, but we make so many of our decisions based on our emotions.

    I really appreciate how Yuval Noah Harari talks about the importance of stories in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. And I think embracing compassion, courage and curiosity means feeling and valuing emotions, rather than ignoring or denying them.

    Freelancing = becoming a forester, in a manner of speaking

    When I was looking over my notes on Sapiens, I saw that I referred to a story about a fisherman and a businessman.

    “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”

    The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”

    “Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.

    The fisherman and the businessman, in 1 minute

    Moving from foraging to farming eased some human worries and caused many others.

    As a species, we went from fishing to business, and now nothing is enough. It’s all about growth for the sake of growth. Also known as, the legacy of capitalism. Also known as, what happens if you treat life as a ‘resource’?

    My switching to freelancing is moving from business to fishing. Or, rather, the vegan equivalent. Maybe forestry.

    Moving from farming to forestry

    Leaving ‘farming’ for freelancing. It’s not going back to foraging, but rather moving forward to forestry.

    Ironically, starting my own business is how I’m getting out of a ‘business’ mindset. It’s how I’m opting out of the obsession with bigger and better, more, more, more. Companies are often driven by endless growth, ever-expanding bottom lines, but I’m dumping that. I don’t want more, I want enough.

    And the growth I want, is learning, self-awareness & connection.

    And I really value the friends I have who are not interested in ‘keeping up with the Joneses’. Lifestyle inflation is seductive, but not irresistible.

    Sustainable working practices

    Practising

    Creating/building an environment that will sustain me, including materially but not only that. I find myself going back to my values of autonomy, focus and joy, with compassion, courage and curiosity.

    Email is broken. I thought Hey.com might be the answer. It has its own problems, though. Primarily, the terrible decision to ban ‘politics’ from the work sphere, a decision that I can only imagine folks who aren’t marginalised making – the privilege to see yourself as the default, you know? All that happened about a week after I committed myself to Hey.com (doh!) And then from the view of the product itself, the inability to filter and sort automagically except by email address. This product review is spot on.

    What’s important? People and relationships

    Something I’ve been putting on hold for a long time (years) is putting more energy and attention into my relationships. I’m excited to be reorienting now. I’ve been lucky to make some really great friends online during the pandemic, and I’m looking forward to building on that.

    And exploring connection with non-human beings too.

    On writing and artistry feels

    An ugly side of being a creative; or, Being human

    I want to be open about my creative process, and that includes the struggles and the ugly bits. It includes feelings I would rather not have, and would prefer not to admit to!

    One of my friends has taught me a lot about taking the sting out of shame by sharing more. So, here goes.

    When the green-eyed monster rears its head

    I think it might be time for me to do another jealousy map activity, to move myself from envious to empowered. It’s a good way of both creating clarity and motivating myself to action.

    In The Artist’s Way, Cameron recommends creating a list of up to twenty people that you are remotely jealous of, writing down why you’re jealous next to each of their names. Then, consider what action you might take to move towards what you want (what you’re jealous of). I suggest [you] also identify possible unmet needs before landing on specific actions.

    Jealousy as a Map

    Okay, I started a jealousy map. I love this tool; it always leads to so many ideas, and practical ones too. Great way of getting unstuck.

    Now, just want to sift and sort all these ideas, from the map, and from the very rich festival of trees, to select 1-3 actions. That’s my priority for this week that is starting.

  • Weeknotes: Heavenly intersection between trees and writing, pure delight Tue, 18 May 2021

    Nerding out about trees

    The Urban Tree Festival came at just the right time. 9 days of intensely pleasurable tree nerdery when I have a schedule that’s flexible enough to take full advantage of it.

    https://twitter.com/gobrightly/status/1394685186164633610

    I don’t want the Urban Tree Festival to end. But it will. When it does, I’m intending to nerd out with recordings of previous tree events, such as these

    And some live events and courses too.

    illustrated sketch of a gnarled tree, with the trees branches falling in front of the page, green pointed leaves and catkins
    Silver birch, by LiLi, in excellent Tree Stewarding session with Stephanie Whitelaw, as part of the Urban Tree Festival

    Writing

    I’m excited about writing. Because my leap of faith into freelancing is paying off, and I actually am writing again.

    On writing

    Running my fingers over the soil of newly planted soil, I feel for sprouts.
    Look!
    These are ready for transplanting.
    
    Lift them carefully into their next homes.
    
    Here, I’m planting them into fresh beds.
    
    I almost didn’t go out into the garden at all.
    But, last week, a friend and I agreed we would.
    And so, here we are.
    
    Scrubbing around in our own little patches of earth.
    Delighted by what we find — 
    Wanting to do better — 
    
    Practising patience.
    
    I live therefore I create.

    Freelance foibles: Learn by failing forward

    https://twitter.com/gobrightly/status/1394409592801697799
    Or, How to start, continue & stop?! Same skills needed for all three, I think.

    Stuff that’s working for me

    • Body doubling! Especially with people I don’t know that well
    • Polyphasic working: 9am – 12noon, 2pm/3pm/4pm – 10pm (ish).
      • Basically, I need a nap in the afternoon, and
      • I work in the evenings & at night
    • Doing annoying admin or focus work during body doubling
    • Working for other people in short bursts at the start of the day
    • Writing in a) writing workshops, and b) body doubling with other writers
    • Morning pages, but shorter
    • Daily tree meditations first thing
    • Transition time between different things
    • A few things scheduled here and there

    Stuff that doesn’t work for me

    • Working with other people who have nearly no capacity
    • Working 9 til 5
    • Skipping naps
    • Being booked back to back
    • Overscheduling

    Which do you prefer? A busy calendar or a free calendar?

    Last Thursday, in my public speaking club, I was asked whether I prefer a busy calendar or a free calendar. I used to be busy, all the time — I have loads of interests… — but now… I’m breaking that habit. I’m enjoying being super busy with the Urban Tree Festival lately, and I’m also looking forward to returning to swathes of unscheduled time.

    ADHD stuff

    I do actually love proofing stuff tho, haha

    Wow, there are so many ADHD discords & patreons. I mentioned some in my last weeknotes: Black Girl Lost Keys, £4+ & Translating ADHD, £4+.

    I’ve been enjoying…

    Comedy is what’s sustaining me lately. I keep forgetting.
  • Weeknotes: April blogging challenge complete, May birding challenge begun Sun, 9 May 2021

    My first week of freelancing in over 10 years is drawing to a close. Here’s where my attention, energy and time are going lately:

    • Learning how to work freelance
    • Creating an effective, supportive and sustainable working environment
    • Chillaxing. Unlearning overworking, following joy and practising rest

    I blogged every day for 30 days

    Achievements + What I learned

    Blogging every day meant I often got creative, as I blogged about mid-April. I really enjoyed going with the flow of my creativity and following where that led. I didn’t enjoy the pressure tho. I did learn to write less and publish faster, although I haven’t sustained that beyond the daily blogging. It’ll be interesting to find other ways to experiment with this. Right now, I’m gradually building a habit of writing every time I go out birding. so that’s pretty awesome.

    Daily birding challenge for May

    So, my challenge for May is to pay attention to birds, listening to them and looking at them. I’m excited about this challenge, and how I can use it to go on long walks or just pop into the garden. It’s getting me out walking nearly everyday.

    Today I learned the scientific name for the Eurasian magpie, also called the common magpie, is Pica pica — so good they named it twice! (Not to be confused with the small mammal Pika pika…)

    A small bird with black markings on its face (goldfinch) in a tree with pink blossoms, blue sky with fluffy white clouds and roof of a house in the background
    Goldfinch!

    I’m writing again, yay!

    I started writing again! I’m so excited and relieved. Like, I wasn’t writing before because my full-time job was taking over way too much of me. I thought so, but now I know so. So, I am continuing to work on my collection of tree poetry and short stories. Writing about many different elements of nature, birds are featuring a lot lately. Unsurprisingly, with this challenge.

    How to be a solopreneur when working alone doesn’t work for you

    It’s been my first week of freelancing in over 10 years, and I’m learning a lot about creating an effective and supportive work environment for myself.

    Recently someone said to me:

    “I really respect you for going solopreneur. I think I would struggle to do that, to keep the motivation up.”

    I was worried about this for a long time. I still worry about it.

    It’s why I stopped freelancing the first time, and it’s why I delayed returning to freelancing for so long.

    If you’re planning on going it alone – bless you. Get a dog.

    Lessons From A Year Of Hype

    But I had a realisation, a month or so ago, that being freelance doesn’t mean working alone. Not for me. And it’s true: I have 5 projects on at the moment, and 4 of those involve teaming up with other people. (I’m intending to collaborate for the 5th too.)

    And I’ve been putting time and energy into creating environments where I’m working and learning alongside other people.

    So, I feel like I’m actually working as part of multiple teams.

    Virtual coworking, aka body doubling

    One way of getting external structure is virtual coworking, also known as body doubling. More about that, and why it can be so useful for ADHDers in the ADDitude article.

    Virtual coworking options I’m exploring

    • The ADHD Studio
      • $65.99 per month (I got in when there was a $35 offer on)
      • free trial
    • Focusmate
      • 50 minute coworking sessions
      • free for 3 sessions every week
      • $5 per month for unlimited sessions

    Online work/life communities I’ve joined

    I find ADHD-specific work communities helpful, but also stuff that meets my interests, such as learning and growth

    Experimenting: A new organisational system I’m trying

    Plan to do less than you think you might be able to accomplish. That way, you’ll have a “cushion” in case you’re waylaid…

    The Power of a Well-Crafted To-Do List

    I’m using a digitised bullet journalling method, using Google Keep for daily logs and collections.

    I love the bujo method, but I often fall behind with adding to the index. Doing it digitally means I only have to tag my lists, I don’t have to keep track of page numbers. Which is much more manageable.

    Last week I decided to start using a Filofax too, but I’d already created a new organisational system by the time it arrived… 😅

    Maybe I’ll use the Filofax for quarterly and yearly planning. Now that I’ve joined Conscious Growth Club, I have a structure for that, with a supportive community.

    I’ll see how it’s going with my system at the end of the month.

    Be sure that each day includes a mix of “high-brain” and “low-brain” tasks; if your day is taken up solely by things that are hard to do or that require lots of decision-making, you’ll be exhausted.

    The Power of a Well-Crafted To-Do List

    Documenting my achievements

    • Daylio mood diary & goals tracker: I use this to keep track of what I’m doing as I do it, multiple times during the day. It helps remind me of my achievement
    • Writing my weeknotes, helps me bring together all the pieces and see the magnitude of what I’ve achieved over the week

    Things I did well this week: Achievements in freelancing

    • Made a new website for my business, soft launch
    • Started working with WritersMosaic
    • Got some adhoc work lined up for later this month
    • Started speaking with accountants and getting some financial guidance
    • Engaged with learning communities (CGC, ND Profs), including an accountability partner for my monthly challenge
    • Coworked with strangers for the first time, and with friends
    • New monthly challenge: Daily birding & daily dance
    • Took action when my mood plummeted, and felt better as a result. Twice!
    • Writing poetry again for the first time in ages, thank you nature!

    Trying out my new organisational system was a good reminder to check in with my intentions for the year, reassess & pivot in light of the big changes I’ve made to my life recently.

    There are many things I haven’t done yet, but 2 accomplishments stood out. I’ve already far surpassed what I intended for this year in these areas:

    • compilation career
    • retreats

    More fun makes less work

    More is less, sometimes. I’ve been feeling the truth of it lately. Here’s how:

    • Trying to walk daily felt like a chore, even though I enjoy walking. Changing the challenge to birding daily is more stuff to do, but it’s more fun, so it feels like less stuff to do. And I’m dancing daily too.
    • It’s similar with tracking the veg, fruit and seeds/nuts I eat: Just tracking that is dull, but tracking that in German is fun.
    • I spent hours slowly putting stuff together for these notes, it was fun but sooooo slow. Whereas now I’m doing it whilst I watch Shadow and Bone, which is easier and faster and, of course, more fun & less work.

    Work-related things I find interesting at present

    Social networking that recognises multiple interests, experiences and knowledge in each individual. On the waiting list.

    https://twitter.com/PolyworkHQ/status/1390705919433056260

    Learning about ADHD

    ADHD Discords, via Patreon subscriptions

    Practising chillaxing

    Achievements & challenges, because writing them down helps me get them straight in my head. Reflecting.

    https://twitter.com/gobrightly/status/1388457705103310849

    Achievements

    • Pre-ordered Sorrowlands by Rivers Solomon
    • Watched Ugly Dolls – so wholesome! – and Funny Girl
    • Watched loads of Adventure Time (of course)
    • Started watching the Shadow & Bone series
      • I enjoyed the book, and I love watching film/shows of books I liked. I’m watching it in English with German subtitles, which is awesome
    • Continued reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
    • Slowly learning about birds and practising being patient about that gradual accumulation of knowledge & experience
    LiLi is smiling with a yellow chrysanthemum in their hair, in front of them are flowering hawthorns
    Mayflowers (hawthorn) on May day

    Challenges

    • Sleep! Going to bed, getting up, routine, bleuragh! Maybe this’ll balance out once I’ve recovered somewhat from burnout.
    • Reading! Not been reading much lately, boo.
    • Reflection! I want to write, and draw, some of my history down; but not done that yet

    Random fun stuff

  • Weeknotes: Nurturing flow by doing very little, a weekend primer Sun, 25 Apr 2021

    Embracing do nothing days and practising nourishing flow states

    Encouraging flow

    What is flow?

    Being “in the zone”. More on Wikipedia

    4 elements of flow: Goals & progress, Clear & immediate feedback, Attention without distractions, Enjoying the experience

    The 4 Fs of Flow (10 min video with subtitles):

    1. Focus
    2. Freedom: Letting go of fear and scrutiny
    3. Feedback: Am I getting closer to my goal or not?
    4. 4%: Optimal challenge

    Learning this is really validating my decision to go freelance. Wanting to create an environment that has more of each of these is exactly what I’m aiming for.

    5 factors:
    Intrinsically rewarding
    Clear goals and a sense of purpose: Especially good if you set these yourself
    Clear and immediate feedback: What you’re doing and where you’re going
    Challenge and perceived skills match
    Intense focus on the present moment

    What gets me into flow

    • Walking and observing nature
    • Studying
    • Reading, watching or listening to, fascinating stories
    • Puzzling asynchronous ways of working recommendations
    • Designing workshops, especially co-designing

    It has to be stuff that really interests me. If it’s not captivating, there’s not much chance of flow. I say this, but having looked up ‘what is flow’, it’s kinda redundant because that’s true for everyone!

    Unscheduled time: The Joy of Unshoulding

    Rest, relaxation and nurturing flow.

    https://twitter.com/gobrightly/status/1386273635292393472

    I spent the whole weekend Chilling with Do Nothing Days & Unscheduled Time. It was glorious. I did a lot of studying. Because I’m a giant nerd, hurray! And I read Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn, on a whim. I enjoyed it.

    Although, sometimes no schedule is hard…

    The tyranny of choicelessness. The tyranny of decision fatigue.

    Just going with the flow helps. Like, if I think, ‘oh, I could read a book’, and then I just do it. Rather than going on to think, ‘or I could watch a film, I could do some studying, maybe I’ll go for a walk, oh, there’s a podcast I wanted to listen to…’ etc.

    Drowning in fun choices is not fun.

    Next steps

    different coloured lines flow across the canvas and there's a spiral getting bigger as it rises

    Overcoming sunk cost fallacy, a work in progress!

    I know a lot of my behaviour is motivated by loss aversion. I especially want to overcome the sunk cost fallacy, at least a little! So I started watching videos about it. I’ve been learning about Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman via Octalysis Prime, with its founder Yu-kai Chou going through the book chapter by chapter.

    Daily blogging this week

  • Weeknotes: Is your life a creative project? Sun, 18 Apr 2021

    When finishing The Artist’s Way, our group was advised not to immediately redo the course, nor to do another of Julia Cameron’s books, but rather to focus on our creative projects.

    My first thought was:

    What’s my creative project? Do I have one?!

    But now I know.

    My freelance life. That’s my creative project. That’s where my creative energies are flowing. And I love it.

    I’m enjoying going with the flow, following joy and embracing intuition. That’s how I chose the name for my freelance ventures. That name came to me from my creative flow, from nature, from my relationship to and experiences with creativity & nature.

    I’m taking you behind the scenes to show you some of the process involved with figuring out my freelance life.

    I was interviewed by Ian Hawkins about what’s next for me. So much fun. Yay!

    Behind the scenes: My freelance life 💕

    As I announced on Friday, I’ve quit my job and I’m going freelance.

    Setting up a new website for my work

    This week I created a new website and set-up a new email. Which felt a bit daunting at first. I had to remind myself that I used to be a web developer and did site administration All The Time. It was quick to set-up after that.

    I’m glad I asked some friends for recommendations on web platforms and hosts first. I chose WordPress.com because I don’t want to waste time tinkering with designs and customisations. I love playing with those for this site, but BrightlyK is a hobby, not my business.

    What if email didn’t suck…?

    My new email uses the Hey platform. I’m pretty excited about Hey because I can’t stand email, but they seem to have fixed many of its problems. It’s a step change, like the difference between Outlook and Gmail. Bizarre to be excited about emails, but here we are.

    Google Tasks for productivity & organisation tools

    A week ago, my brother and I ended up talking about Google Tasks, thanks to him bringing it up. So I decided to try it out again, and I’ve been exploring it since. It’s been so helpful! I’m pretty shocked, haha.

    Keeping track of things so much better now, because:

    • Easy to see what I’ve done each day, which is great because I always forget what I’ve done
    • Quick & easy to add stuff from any of my devices, either directly in Google Tasks or in Google Calendar.
      • I used to make lists in Google Docs, but it took longer and I often forgot stuff before I could add it
    • If I don’t get a task done on the date I specified, it stays in the past rather than chasing me into the present. No more the tyranny of an ever-expanding list. Instead I get a fresh start every day.
    • If I want tasks to persist, and not expire, I can add them to the list without a set date, or I can set them up as a recurring event, or I can intentionally modify expired tasks
    • The Google Tasks app keeps prompting me to open it throughout the day

    How I’m using Google Tasks

    • Keeping a list of tasks with no date assigned and trying to build a habit of doing at least one each day, rather than schedule stuff and move it. And only scheduling stuff that HAS to be done today.
    • One Main List with ‘everything’ and then some side lists that are thematic. So that when I have stuff to do I don’t have to think about where to put it.
    • Creating task lists for stuff I want to remember to do in general, like ideas for ways to rest and what to do when I’m feeling unfocused. So helpful to know where those things are. Before now that stuff would have been buried in Google Docs somewhere.

    At some point I might want to split between work and personal. At the moment everything goes into my personal list, so I don’t have to think about it. But with freelancing, I think to be boundaried and maintain life balanced I may have to figure that out.

    What’s lacking for me: Improvements I’d like to see

    • A way to see unscheduled tasks in the calendar without opening Google Tasks
    • Tags or filters
    • I’d love some integration between Google Tasks and Google Docs, so that I can easily get to Docs from Tasks
    Image, document and drawing/writing

    Embracing studying

    Having 13 effective ways for better studying and reading more yesterday, I’ve done so much studying. 3 hours 40 minutes, so far. I feel affirmed in my decision to do 3 courses at once, because when I’ve started feeling saturated by wisdom from one teacher, I’ve switched over to a different set. And it really feels like I’m powering through and levelling up. It’s exciting.

    Gamification with Octalysis Prime

    Looking at Octalysis Prime specifically, I’m enjoying learning about the 8 Core Drives. I started to feel impatient and annoyed that I don’t know what the drives are, and then I was like, well go to the part of the course that’s going through each in turn. First I got a bit sidetracked tho.

    Something I’m enjoying about Octalysis Prime is being exposed to teachings outside of the Octalysis framework, such as today I learned about Fearvana. And I found it so encouraging. As someone who’s often consumed by fear, and who’s trying to be more courageous, it was really affirming to have someone talk about embracing fear and not seeing it as an enemy, about changing my relationship to fear.

    Having learned about Fearvana, I went to Core Drive 8: Loss & Avoidance. After that I went to the beginning to explore Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning, Core Drive: 2: Accomplishment & Progress, and Core Drive 3: Empowering Creativity & Feedback. Now that I write all this out from memory I realise just how much I learned today. Yay!

    Entrepreneurship & sustainable ways of working (life balance) with Michael Hyatt

    I was introduced to Michael Hyatt‘s work by a colleague sharing extensive and exceptional notes on his book No-Fail Communication. Really powerful stuff. I enjoyed exploring Michael’s videos on YouTube yesterday, and I’m so looking forward to Win at Work and Succeed at Life: 5 Principles to Free Yourself from the Cult of Overwork by Michael Hyatt and Megan Hyatt Miller coming out shortly. So much so that I pre-ordered it.

    Speaking of life balance, this weekend I’ve been on retreat with Lama Rod Owens from Saturday afternoon to Sunday evening. Love that I’ve been sleeping, meditating, connecting with retreatants, studying, blogging, enjoying comedy & reading this weekend. Great blend.

    I’m intending to put some of my tips for effective studying and reading more into practice by continuing to explore different formats of Michael’s work. Maybe these:

    Entrepreneurs solve problems at risk to themselves in the pursuit of a reward.

    Michael Hyatt, Why Entrepreneurship is in Decline

    Daily blogging this week

  • Weeknotes: Infinite possibilities: Invitation to dance with life Sun, 11 Apr 2021

    Today:

    • Watching birds
    • Eating fruit
    • Singing to myself outside and making up my own lyrics
    A purple figures walks along a street lined with cherry trees in bloom, they are singing.

    Here’s the song I was singing whilst walking around outside. So much fun and so freeing, awesome. It’s an invitation to gratitude. When things go wrong it reminds me things were going right. Timely reminder of the importance of ‘doing nothing’ for being creative.

    Cherry tree walk 🍒🌳🚶🏿 – song in progress

    Transcript below (lyrics)

    Lyrics

    I'm on cherry tree walk, always cherry tree walk
    I could sing or I could talk
    Why would I talk when I could sing?
    I can do most anything
    Why would I talk when I can sing?
    I can do most anything
    
    I'm on cherry tree walk, 
    I'm on cherry tree walk.
    I'm on cherry tree walk.
    Once again, once again
    I'm on cherry tree walk.
    All the walks round here are cherry, cherry, cherry
    Cherry tree walk
    Cherry, cherry, cherry
    Cherry tree walk
    
    When I see cherry blossom
    Abundance springs to mind.
    When I see cherry blossom
    Abundance springs to mind.
    Oh, what a find,
    What a find, oh what a find.
    
    I'm so thankful
    I'm so thankful
    I'm so thankful
    Gratitude swells my heart.
    Don't know where to stop or start.
    Gratitude swells my heart.
    
    I'm so thankful
    I'm so thankful I could sing.
    I'm so thankful
    I'm so thankful I could sing.
    
    I'm on cherry tree walk, always cherry tree walk
    I could sing or I could talk
    Why would I talk when I could sing?
    I can do most anything
    Why would I talk when I could sing?
    I can do most anything
    
    When things go wrong
    It reminds me
    When things go wrong
    It reminds me
    When things go wrong
    It reminds me
    Things were going right.
    When things go wrong
    It reminds me
    Things were going right.
    
    When things go wrong
    It's an invitation
    To create
    
    When things go wrong
    It reminds me
    Things were going right.
    
    When things go wrong
    It's an invitation
    To create
    
    When things go wrong
    It reminds me
    When things go wrong
    It reminds me
    
    When things go wrong
    It's an invitation
    Things go wrong
    It's an invitation
    Things go wrong
    It's an invitation
    To dance with life
    
    Dance, dance, dance
    Dance with life
    
    Come create, come create
    Reminds me
    Come create, come create
    Reminds me
    
    And now I want to put it in a song
    When things go wrong
    When things go wrong
    When things go wrong
    When things go wrong
    
    A short, sharp, shock,
    A short, sharp, shock,
    Things go wrong,
    But not for long.
    Things go wrong,
    But not for long.
    
    Short, sharp, shock,
    Things go
    Short, sharp, shock,
    Things go
    Short, sharp, shock
    Things go wrong,
    But not for long.
    
    It reminds me
    It's an invitation
    
    It reminds me
    It's an invitation
    
    Create, create, create, create
    Create, create, create, create
    
    When things go wrong
    When things go wrong
    When things go wrong
    When things go wrong
    
    Get on, get in, get in on this creation
    Get on, get in, get in on this creation
    
    Create
    Create, create, create
    Don't hesitate
    Create, create, create
    Don't prevaricate
    Create, create, create
    You won't be late
    Create, create, create
    Please don't wait
    Create, create, create
    You're never late
    Create, create, create
    
    The time is now, now, now
    The place is here, here, here.
    The time is now, now, now
    The place is here, here, here.
    
    Do not wait, wait, wait
    Create, create, create
    Do not wait, wait, wait
    Create, create, create
    
    It's an invitation
    An invitation
    It's an invitation
    It's an invitation
    
    Create
    Create, create, create
    Don't hesitate
    Create, create, create
    Don't prevaricate
    Create, create, create
    You won't be late
    Create, create, create
    Please don't wait
    Create, create, create
    You're never late
    Create, create, create
    
    The time is now, now, now
    The place is here, here, here.
    The time is now, now, now
    The place is here, here, here.
    
    It's an invitation to dance with life.
    It's an invitation to dance with life.
    Will you dance with me?
    Will you dance with me?
    
    It's an invitation 
    Create
    Don't hesitate
    When things go wrong, wrong, wrong
    When things go wrong, wrong, wrong
    When things go wrong, wrong, wrong
    
    When things go wrong
    
    Create, create, create, create
    Don't hesitate
    Create, create, create
    You won't be late

    Daily blogging this week

    Learning

    • Curiosity-driven learning: Following joy by wandering the web
      • Maybe it’s because I’m a wanderer, that I love learning online… Today I caught up on a bunch of interesting links I’d saved for later.
      • Octalysis: Gamification & behavioural change, Steve Pavlina: Embrace your love of doing ALL the things!, YNAB: You need a budget, especially if you have variable income: Here’s how

    Creating

    Resting

    • How to rest when your brain won’t stop
      • Reminding myself what to do when I’m tired. With a lesson from Wild Seed and a lesson from life. Repetition is a reliable form of change.
      • Ideas: Go outside, lie down, draw & doodle, watch cartoons, talk with friends, wash up. Do less, Connect with goals & priorities, & Get Support. Light a candle
    • Remembering how to rest & learning insouciance
      • Insouciance, lighthearted unconcern. How to rest when you have a million things to do and your brain won’t stop, part 2
      • Ideas: Tea, comedy, dreaming

    Cherry blossom, creating & abundance

    Looking back over the week I realise I’ve been really creative this week because of this daily blogging challenge. I wrote a letter, a poem, a song… Recorded audio. Continued drawing every day. Took photos. Pored over things I’ve been looking forward to exploring for a while. Two words that are new to me too: Wilfing and insouciance.

    single cherry blossom with leaves in my hand

    Wisdom & joy: When things go wrong

    I had a difficult experience on Friday. With the love & support of my friends, with the healing of rest, with the abundance of cherry blossom, with the music of birds, I synthesised that into a song that is bringing me a lot of joy and feels like wisdom I’m channelling.

    Feeling very open.

    “the uncountable stars, the boundless universe beyond which our imagination founders on a distant shore where we dare to touch the hem of infinity’s cloak” – Bill Bailey
  • Curiosity-driven learning: Following joy by wandering the web Mon, 5 Apr 2021

    wilfing noun the activity of browsing the Internet without any particular purpose

    Smiling face with a bead of sweat sliding down their forehead, three thought bubbles around them indicating a lot happening in their mind

    Octalysis: Gamification & behavioural change

    Harness the power of play 😍

    Yu-kai Chou

    Within an hour I’d signed up to Octalysis Prime on a $1, 30 day trial:

    1. Looked at OP website
    2. Watched TED Talk
    3. Did a quiz to unlock the trial
    4. Internally screamed “Take my money!”
    5. Paid

    Wait, how did I end up signing up for yet another course?!

    Related

    Next

    Steve Pavlina: Embrace your love of doing ALL the things!

    My point is that you don’t have to go after the option that makes you the most money. You can pursue many different interests and still find a creative mix that allows you to earn money AND maintain an abundant lifestyle AND be happy AND make a difference. It’s a huge mistake to pursue money at all costs, especially if you have to sacrifice so many of the things you love doing. Do what you enjoy, and leave the extra money on the table.

    What If You Have Many Different Interests and Cannot Commit to Any of Them? – Steve Pavlina

    ^ This is very timely & sage advice for an overachiever recovering from work addiction… 😅

    Outward flowing energy involves creation and giving. Inward flowing energy involves acquiring and receiving. Although these two energies may seem similar, they’re actually very distinct creatures.

    Polarity – Steve Pavlina

    I’m wondering about this, because Steve argues that having outward flowing energy and inward flowing energy simultaneously will cancel each other out. Whereas, I think it’s human to have a bunch of stuff going on and I find it hard to accept that will lead to an overall decrease in energy. Having started studying Octalysis, I think that framework agrees. I’ll think more about this. It’s whirring around my brain a lot right now!

    When you make plans, realize that the purpose of planning is to focus your present-moment decisions. It is NOT to create a map of the future, which is outside of your control (and your consciousness) anyway. You need only do enough planning to achieve clarity in the present moment. When you have clarity, further planning is unnecessary. So when you create plans, do so with the intention of generating clarity in the here and now.

    Steve Pavlina, Regretting Tomorrow

    Next

    YNAB: You need a budget, especially if you have variable income: Here’s how

    Interested in learning about variable income, but then also got curious about getting a month ahead of expenses too.

    Getting a month ahead

    That’s pretty ambitious for me at the moment, given I’m already saving 20% of my income into a freelance fund.

    I’m not scrumping on spending either: I spent £1650 on learning & development last month and £200 on retreats and yin yoga.

    I love how this video focuses on making small changes to gradually achieve this goal. And I’m motivated by the flexibility and calmness it provides. Budgeting with YNAB already eliminated so much money stress in the 3.5 years I’ve been using it.

    More info

    Variable income

     How to Budget With Irregular Income | You Need A Budget

    Next

    • Put aside £10 for next month
    • Get specific about what my freelance fund is and isn’t for
    • Budget for tech expenses

    Alternative futures!

  • Weeknotes: My learning plan for effective, joyful asynchronous study Sun, 4 Apr 2021
    • Behind the scenes: How I planned my distance learning with Amplify & Earnable this weekend
    • Daily blogging challenge for April 2021
    • Reflecting on overwhelm with buckets
    My learning plan: The process from Thoughts into Drawings into Docs
    Figuring out my learning plan

    My week in pictures – daily diary drawings

    Highlights of my daily blogging challenge

    I started a daily blogging challenge this month. Here’s an overview of what I’ve done so far:

    Planning my learning & creating study plans

    In the early hours of Saturday I was moved to make a learning plan. I don’t know why, my brain often starts whirring in the middle of the night… So, I started planning. I’m sharing what I did as part of practising being more transparent about my process.

    My learning plan for that day was hugely ambitious, but it wasn’t overwhelming because it had:

    1. Focus. Prioritised & limited to 3 areas: Amplify, Earnable, Retreat (Rest + Play + Outside)
    2. Autonomy + Joy. Everything on the list is stuff I want to do. It’s all self-generated based on desire. And there are no ‘shoulds’. if I change my heart-mind, just take it off the list
    3. Constraints. Boundaries. Time-boxes: When time runs out, stop.

    My daily blogging challenge is the exception on the last point about time constraints, but:

    • Technically, there is a time-box of 24 hours every day… 😅
    • I’m working towards reducing/eliminating my perfectionist tendencies & being content to post stuff that’s unpolished & in progress.
    • The idea is not to publish sparkling & pristine things each day!

    How I created my plan on Sat, 3 Apr, at 2 am…

    Drawing and writing my first thoughts

    • I had a bunch of stuff swirling in my head when I woke in the early hours, thinking about my courses and what’s left to do and how to ‘catch up’. Or, reframing that: How to make progress more effectively and more speedily, in a sustainable way that stimulates my brain and plays to my strengths.
    • So, I started drawing/writing plans using a tablet, including what I wanted to do ‘the next day’ (technically the same day, but in the daytime), what short-term goals I envisaged for myself. 
    • For example,
      • for Amplify, I want to have completed module 2.1, at least, by the fifth live call on Wednesday
      • for Earnable, I want to complete work suggested for days 1-5 by Sunday
    Lots of bright colours showing LiLi's enthusiasm for, and excitement about, learning. Handwritten and drawn
    My learning plan on Saturday, 3 April

    Plan:-
    1: Amplify, 1 lesson.
    2: Earnable, matrix & video.
    3: artist date, read Undrowned, sing musicals, something from my spreadsheet.

    Social learning:-
    1: email chain, 2: forum, 3: creative cluster/s.

    Targets:-
    1: Amplify, module 2.1 by Wednesday.
    2: Earnable, day 5 sprint by Sunday.
    3: artist dates, daily new play Saturday-Tuesday

    Extracts from my handwritten & drawn plan

    Switching from writing to typing to refine my plan

    • Having worked out this stuff ‘on paper’ (but, actually, sketching on a tablet), then I started typing out my plan in a doc
    • After listing what I wanted to do on Saturday, I listed stuff I’ve done already and what’s left to do between what I’ve done and what I want to have done by the deadlines I created
    • When I did this I realised that my plan for the Earnable course wasn’t realistic, so I revised it
    • So, now I had an ambitious, motivating & detailed plan for Saturday, and an ambitious & broader plan for the next few days 

    Remembering other stuff I’m doing too

    • Listed other stuff I’m doing, which I rarely include when I’m planning stuff like this, because I forget that I do a lot of stuff. I’ve been wanting to do this for a week or so. So, on that list is stuff like:
      • Learning German (daily, using apps & practising with friends)
      • Tutoring a child in Plants, Key Stage 1
      • Learning about ADHD
      • Supporting a friend with access to work
    • Started drafting this section of my weeknotes around 3am, which helped me further refine my plans. So meta…!

    There’s a hole in my bucket… 🪣

    Recently, my friend Chuck & I were talking about buckets with holes, I don’t remember exactly how the conversation happened. But I remember that we both drew buckets with holes and then shared our pictures with each other. Which was awesome

    It's raining, and a tap is dripping water into a bucket that is both full and leaking from a hole. It is sat in a puddle of water. There's a grey cloud labelled 'data fog' and the words 'there's a hole in my bucket'. Drawing.

    On Fri, 2 April 2021 — Sitting here, full of hilarity, laughter spilling over because I’ve never heard this song until now. I have the lyrics ‘There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza’ is in my head from somewhere, but it wasn’t this version.

    Also, this song is a perfect example of the mental load, when it comes to distribution of housework & gender, as illustrated in this comic: “You should’ve asked”

    Support artists

    Support Chuck SJ on Patreon because I don’t want you to miss out on Chuck’s rad zines, which bring me joy and rest every month

    Ask for help: Practising behaviour change

    One of my goals for 2021 is to ask for help. Which is a challenge for me.

    My outlook for the year centres freedom by interdependence. So, I’ll try talking about asking for help in my daily posts.

    Asking for help can be as:

    • simple as searching for an answer online, 
    • social as asking friends & acquaintances, 
    • stretching as asking strangers!

    Last month, asking for help supported me to be courageous instead of following my first thought/fear to shrink myself.

    As a result, I was interviewed by Spotify about my work leading people to explore building trust and relationships when we’re not online at the same time, as part of my work with asynchronous ways of working. 

    🏆