New! The Library Section | Make Your Story Your Own

New! The Library Section | Make Your Story Your Own

Good day to you, dear friend.

Although I have a slight cold today (ew), nothing can take away from my excitement.

Herein, I’m unveiling another piece of something fun that I have been planning for some time.

Make Your Story Your Own

You may be aware from some of my previous posts about “copying success” that I feel that I have been holding myself back.

Somehow, I had created a Frankenstein formula in my head of “rules” and “advice” based on success stories of others.

I had duped myself into thinking that in order to succeed, I had to put myself – my work and my ambitions – through this monstrous formula.

And I think that was 100% wrong.

That is not what those stories are supposed to do. Certainly, there will be bits that will echo into your own story. But they shouldn’t be your focus.

You won’t find the secret to your success buried in the myriad of triumph tales out there.

If those stories become your focus, and you try to piece yourself into those stories, you’ll have a very awkward and broken jigsaw in the end.

Your story is different. Your story should be all of your focus.

So, this week, I will be unveiling a new section for this blog. If you look up at the menu, you will see that I have already begun to implement this change.

the Library

I want to create all sorts of creative content, and I want to do it all now.

And so, I have created this is the brand-new section, the Library.

I love the feel of libraries: it’s where the world is quiet and imagination is loud.

Anxious to write stories again, I am going to be adding more literary works, both as webcomics and as short stories and perhaps stretching out into novellas, too.

The first of such literary works will be released on Tuesday 15th January, so remember to check back for that.

Sass will be updated again soon, but still is a little bit further into the future.

Up Next…

This is going to be a busy week as there is a lot I’d love to get done.

First, I have been working on the short story cover art on Twitch, and will probably finish it off tomorrow. Tune in and get a sneak preview via twitch.tv/imaroxtaar. Guess what it’s about correctly and you get free bragging rights!

Then, I have some freelance work on wedding invites to get that as wrapped up and as tidy as possible this week.

And, of course, there is the Secret Project, which is moving along in the right direction.

All of that to do, but not necessarily in that order.

What are you up to this week? Hope it’s going to be filled with goodness for you and I’ll see you back here on Tuesday.

Cheers!

 

 

3 Fundamentals for Creativepreneurs

3 Fundamentals for Creativepreneurs

Striking out at as a creativepreneur can be fun, exhilarating, and absolutely daunting all at once. Creative freedom comes at a price: you are also in charge of making sure all the bills get paid. There are many fundamentals for creativepreneurs which need to be imbued into your business DNA. Here are the 3 most essential criteria to making a career as a creativepreneur work.

1. Sell Confidence

Be able to learn how to stand in front of your business and art and sell it confidently. It may not be perfect nor the best in its field, but it’s better than average and that is usually enough.

Smile, and instead of saying why it’s valuable because of the work that goes into it, remind the other party of what it is worth to them. How they are going to use it, what’s that worth?

2. Say No to Working for Free

Get your name out there, sure. But not as the chump person who works because “you like doing it so you’d be doing it anyway”. Such an approach to your work is a cutting insult to your right to make a living for yourself and doing so in your profession.

Inform them politely that you don’t work for free. Once you quote a reasonable price to work for (i.e. wherein you will make money rather than just break even), you can negotiate a little.

But if they dig their heels in and refuse to pay? That’s okay, it’s time to walk away and give your time to another client. If they are a nightmare from the get go, working with them is going to result in you taking a serious hit in the stress department.

3. Take Time

Section out your time properly for all your projects and leave time aside for your non-work priorities also.

Take time to hang out with your friends, family, work on your hobbies. This is more important than many realise: it all feeds back into and helps elevate your work and insights better than stagnating in the pond of work-only.

Plus, no matter how much of an introvert you are, humans are instinctively social creatures. It is fundamental to thriving as you grow.

5 Steps to a Super Jolly Christmas Spirit

5 Steps to a Super Jolly Christmas Spirit

The days and weeks before Christmas can be the most hectic and stressful of the whole year. The buying rush, accounts emptying like the bottom fell out of the world. So much to do, so much to do.

But here are some simple steps to super boost your festive cheer and keep your Christmas Spirit as jolly as jolly can be!

1. Experience over Material

First, let’s get your focus and mindset on what’s truly the pinnacle of this time of year.

Experience trumps any material possession exchange, especially during this festive and family orientated time of year. Kids grow up remembering playing boardgames with their siblings, cousins, neighbours. The silly jokes shared out of crackers, playing outside in the snow (or on the beach building sandcastles, if you’re a summer December).

Looking back at your own childhood Christmas’, what were the highlights for you?

Being there, your presence, is more important than any physical present.

A joke, a walk outside, a story shared and time spent together: these moments are the most important and valuable gift you could give.

What made/makes Christmas for you? Let me know in the comments below!

2. Christmas Coffee

This list was bound to have some kind of coffee in it, so let’s throw it out there now.

After you have done step one and started to focus on what is important, some festive coffee wouldn’t go amiss. Coffee can help a person relax and settle frazzled nerves. Add some hazelnut, cinnamon or other festive flavours to assist in that Christmas Spirit of togetherness and warmth. If you don’t like adding flavours (I’m not sure if this is a real thing…) you can just drink it out of the most Christmassy mug you own!

And, slowly, the chill of the cold will turn to just chillin’.

3. Get Outside!

I know, you may well have spent HOURS out at the shops, looking for presents, stocking up on food supplies like the shops will never open again this year. But now, it’s time to get outside just for you. Take your family and relevant pets with you (please leave your fish at happy at home) and get outside for a walk in the park, go for a woodland trail or even just meander around enjoying the Christmas lights in the evening. They won’t be up for much longer, after all!

4. Digitals Down

Click, click.

As soon as you possibly can, put your digital devices down and spend some time IRL. (But after you finish reading this first!)

Read a book, play some Pictionary with whoever is around.

Spend some time doing something with your hands: wether its’ baking, painting, drawing, whittling some wood, I don’t know! Just whatever takes your fancy that isn’t a thousand hours on the internet.

 

5. Smile!

Share a smile with everyone you meet, including yourself. Smiling can help lift your mood, as the action can trick your brain into thinking something good happened, but it won’t know what.

It can be the most effective way to keep your jolly Christmas Spirit as jollily upbeat as it’s ever been. And it costs you nothing!

Even if you have had a rough year, and things haven’t all worked out as you’d hoped, let it go.

This is the time of year to forgive yourself your failure and shortcomings, rally round and recover with good food and better people, and rebuild your courage and determination to knock it out of the park in 2019.

Wrapping Up…

Don’t let Christmas wind you up, that’s not what this time of year is for. Have fun, make merry and may your future be bright!

Let’s have a fantastic Christmas and a stunning 2019. After all, it’s only as good or as bad as what you make of it!

Don’t forget to follow me on instagram, twitter, and facebook, and comment below your favourite parts of Christmas time!

Now, I am going to take my own advise, go out for a walk under the Christmas Lights, drink some coffee, smile and put down the digitals in favour of something else….

Secret Project Update #02

Secret Project Update #02

After all, I was right to be hesitant about the launch this Christmas. While I have put a Herculean level of time and effort into this animation project, somehow that effort and time have translated into a behemoth of a project – for one person to do, at least.

As such, I am having to scrape together a plan B. Which is plan A, but with more stops before the end.

Fortunately, there is a silver lining to every cloud.

While the effort to make the film as beautiful and dynamic a story as possible resulted in it being too much for a short turnaround animation…it has made itself very adaptable to other mediums, such as an illustrated children’s story book.

The working title is “A Christmas Tail”, which may be released for this Christmas, all being well.

Synopsis:

A middle aged woman looks out at the world as the sun sets on Christmas Eve. First surprised by a hare that pops out of the bushes, she is surprised a second time when he leaves behind a star. In an effort to return the star to the hare, she dashes across the valley and into the woods…and beyond.

I am actively thinking about streaming the drawing and animating process as I go. I will be getting organised for it this evening and if all is ready, I will be announcing stream times over on twitter, so do follow me so you don’t miss out!

 

Parkinson’s Law: Deadline Reassurance

Parkinson’s Law: Deadline Reassurance

Good Morning!

I hope you have had a marvellous weekend. I had planned on doing even more work, but I had such an eye twitch I had to do what I could offline instead:

  • caught up on my InkTober drawings (before promptly falling behind again)
  • made some notes on the soundtrack I wanted for my upcoming animated film
  • thought strategically about what I may need to outsource in the near future
  • went over the storyboards again
  • And did some general worrying

I was worried about my deadlines: where they too unrealistic? What if I add on another week to the deadline? Plus, working offline was a nice change of pace which I enjoyed. But could I afford the “break”?

Perhaps this was why the habitgrowth.com post on the Parkinson’s Law supported by the Pomodoro technique resonated with me so much when I was scrolling through Twitter last night.

…Although, the Pomodoro technique is 25-minute sprints followed by a break, and mine has been more like 25 days sprints and then a “break”.

Parkinson’s Law: Deadlines and the Elasticity of Work

Parkinson’s Law states that:

work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion

If you say that something will take a week, even if it can be done in a day, it will take a week to complete.

Originally, this law was used to describe the growth of democracy within an organisation. However, it can be applied to a lot more than that.

Growth and work, for example, are not as intricately intertwined as one might think.

For example: Getting a lot of “busy” work done will probably not grow your business.

The focus for boosting your growth and productivity here is to instead of being task orientated, you should instead look to be time lead.

As Horstman’s corollary to Parkinson’s Law states:

Work contracts to fit in the time we give it

So in order to get something done in the most timely and focused manner, you absolutely should consider bringing the deadline forward.

For your tasks this week: write them down, give them an allotted time of what you think they should roughly take, and then immediately cut that time frame in half.

Reduce the time allowed by 50%.

HOWEVER.

While it is possible to, let’s use HabitGrowth.com’s example, reduce the time of writing 10 blog posts from a month to 2 weeks, 50 is very much unrealistic. (Unless they are short and largely consisting of photos, quotes etc.)

I think, I will leave my current schedule alone, as it is already absurdly ambitious.

My To-Do List this Week

In no particular order:

  • Continue the InkTober 2018 challenge
  • Finish the rough keys for the animated film
  • Get a colour palette for the film
  • Code checking and tweaking for the Secret Project
  • Don’t panic
  • Have fun with it 🙂

 

Summary:

I really recommend you read HabitGrowth.com’s post on Parkinson’s Law. I have heard and read about it before, but sometimes it’s good to read it again. It’s a well-written article; somehow, it has helped me to not panic about the state of my deadlines. As such, I have greater confidence that I can get everything that I need to do, done.

 

Secret Project Update #01

Secret Project Update #01

Well, hullo there!

It is more or less the middle of October, and I have made soooo much progress in the Secret Project than the last time I posted here. If you were allowed behind the scenes, you too would be amazed! 🙂

but I’m too shy and nervous to share too much here. I have this notion that if I say anything, the bubble will pop, and I’ll wake up from this dream – and be back to square one!

So here is a quick rundown of what I have been doing. I’ll make this so super quick as I want to get back to work to work – it’s 5:30pm GMT and I wanna get back to work before 6pm if at all possible.

So, so, so. What is the Secret Project again? What am I allowed to tell you..? Oh yes, you know it’s to do with animation and there is perhaps coding involved. (There is definitely coding involved… and a lot of it!)

I’m sorry if I have been excessively secretive: I am just one of those people who feels that the “answer” is so obvious about what I’m up to that if I say one more word, you’ll figure it out! And then it won’t be a secret anymore, will it?

What I am developing is a very custom site wherein I can post animations. And with Christmas coming up, I thought I’d make a Christmas film…I just hope I get it done in time! Again, I am running into the issue of adding too many parts to the story and it keeps getting longer.

Ha, ha, ha. I was warned about doing that at the university course I attended. But there is no-one to stop me here. Except, maybe myself. But I am just so excited to make this, that I can’t help but add this element, and that camera angle, and so on…!

It’s going to be breathtaking…either in a good way or a bad and messy way. In the end, at least it will be done and I can get on with the next bit!

I don’t have any nice visuals to show you, which makes me sad. I want to keep you up to date with it, so I will probably have something nice for you to look at this weekend. But I’m not making any promises!

Until then, it’s 5:56pm time for me to get back to work. 🙂

P.S. I am participating in InkTober. You can follow my Instagram to get updated on that or stay tuned, as I will be posting a gallery of all the pictures together at the end of the month.

3 Simple Steps to Break A Negative Thoughts Cycle

3 Simple Steps to Break A Negative Thoughts Cycle

“I am such a bad person”. “I can’t do this, I am not strong or smart enough.” Have you been letting destructive thoughts take the lead recently? Here are 3 simple steps to break the negative thought cycle from having a picnic festival in your head.

If you get into negative thoughts very easily, your brain has developed it into a habit. So the solution is actually quite similar to correcting a physical (bad) habit – which may help you in your pursuit of a better state of mind.

I have written on such topics before, and mention other useful resources throughout this post, so do look them out if you need further assistance.

You will need:

Affirmations

I AM. The I AM principle of affirmations can be very powerful in correcting negative thoughts as they amalgamate in your mind.

Take the direct opposite of what you are thinking about yourself, how you handled a situation, or how others think of you and place I AM in front of it.

Example:

From: “I am not smart enough”

To: “I AM smart enough.”

Pro tip: repeat the positive thought out loud 2-3 times for maximum reinforcement.

Postive thoughts = more solution-based thinking, better overall health and internal tranquillity. Excellent.

Further (easy) reading on Affirmations from Psychology Today.

Positively Productive Habits

Harmful habits tend to develop as a coping mechanism when you are feeling down.

If you’ve got self-destructive habits that need correcting, such as overeating/emotional eating, you’re going to have something else that you’d rather do instead to replace it.

Let me reinforce that: something else that you WANT to do, instead of the habit that’s bringing you down.

Perhaps putting money into a holiday fund, or going for a walk, a drive. Find something small that brings you joy and is good for your wellbeing. Let that be your new habit, your reward.

So, can forego your reflexive consolation habit stemming from your thought patterns. Instead, you’ll be reinforcing the positive with something positive, compounding the effect.

Once you have that, you can break it down into an actionable plan. If you need some guidance on this, take a quick look at these articles on setting new, actionable goals and habit changing.

Ready? Now, in 1, 2, 3 – here is how to break the negative and insert the good.

  1. Interrupt
  2. This step was inspired by Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Rule. It’s an efficient way to interrupt your thoughts every time: count backwards from 5 to interrupt and create a break in the thought pattern.

    Doing so gives you a window to act in a way that is contrary to what’s “usual”, such as spiralling into negative thoughts.

  3. Affirmative Action
  4. Once you have interrupted, immediately do the positive action.

    Tell yourself in no uncertain terms:

    “No, that is not true.”

    Speak aloud your affirmations.

    Take out a notebook if you’d rather not speak aloud. Write your affirmations down several times within, slowly.

  5. Meditate
  6. Reflect on the affirmative action. Notice it helping to reshape your mood, your thoughts.

    Now, rather than your bad habit that was making your negative thoughts a more or less self-fulfilling prophecy, you can reward yourself with the new habit you have already prepared.

    Well done!

Sunday Letters: Exciting Announcement! Rebrand is on the Way!

Sunday Letters: Exciting Announcement! Rebrand is on the Way!

Exciting announcement! A rebrand is on the way for this blog and with it will come more frequent updates in terms of art, Sass webcomic, and the “secret project”.

I have been really working hard on the main “secret project” these past few months and, unfortunately, this has caused the blog and all the other projects (webcomic Sass, products, art pieces, programmes, workbooks, freebies) and posts that I had been sharing with you to fall by the wayside.

Sorry.

THANKFULLY, while working through my new branding books by Fiona Humberstone, I decided to take a practice run on “branding” with this blog. Then I’ll dive in with the “secret project” afterwards.

What I discovered in defining what the grit of my blog was: what I thought was the mainstay of this blog, wasn’t the mainstay at all.

I had thought that this was primarily a productivity blog. Where I discussed creative techniques and workflow tips only on the side. With my comic work and other creative endeavours serving as an example of the “productivity” working.

What I found was instead much simpler. And much more enticing.

This blog is supposed to be my main creative hub, wherein:

  • I share my creative works
  • discuss all things about my creative ventures
  • share business tips and useful information for other creative solopreneurs
  • I post my comic updates FIRST before adding elsewhere
  • give sneak peaks and behind the scenes of what’s up on all the projects
  • with a side of “productivity” and all the other useful things I’m into

I am going to continue working on the rebrand as well as the brand of the “secret project” this week.

This may include a redesign of the blog, so say a sweet farewell to it – whether this week or not, it will be going sooner rather than later!

I will be sharing more information on all of the bits and pieces as the week progresses and I have more tangible updates. Now that I am getting some clarity on what I should be doing I should have an easier time explaining -and showing – what’s up!

Hopefully, I will have a lot of these bits tied up by the end of the week.

I plan to keep you in the loop more, especially now that I am discovering what this blog is actually about!

Thank you for bearing with me.

P.S. If this post felt a bit scattered, please excuse that. It’s late, I need to be up early tomorrow to leave my brother to the airport, but I was just too excited to wait until tomorrow evening before sharing this news with you.

Cheers! x

Sunday Letters: Balance Multiple Ambitions

Sunday Letters: Balance Multiple Ambitions

It is no mean feat to balance multiple ambitions at once. It is something which I am currently striving for myself, and a lot of the posts you will find here discuss some of the methods I am currently using to get things done.

And done well.

You can read some of these things here (in no particular order):

It is a messy learning process, certainly. Rather than focusing on one thing, I am the type to put on several (very) different dishes on the stove and cook all of them at once. (And some of them even turn out edible.)

That’s just the sort of person I am. I love the challenge, the complexity.

And, I sort of believe I need the distraction. Else I will end up sabotaging my own work irreparably under the intense focus on learning, boundary-pushing, and creative experiment.

But perhaps, that therein shows that I am missing the point. Surely, the whole point is to be hyper-focused on your craft, push boundaries and discover and invent new possibilities under the spell of curiosity and drive for more?

As such, I am going to again minimise my “distractions” – the wild assortment of projects I enjoy working on simultaneously – this coming week.

I had been learning about branding, having come to the conclusion that the branding for this blog is a bit… scattered, feeling.

I would like to complete just something, soon. I enjoy the feeling of completing something, the satisfaction, no matter how unperfect it may be.

So, if I am to complete something, let it be the main project.

Let me apply my new knowledge to the freelance work as well as the odd and secretive “other project” I may have mentioned here or there in the blog and elsewhere.

I look forward to being a bit more guilt-free working creatively and on my blog when the odd and secretive “other project” is completed.

I have so many blog posts planned. I look forward to fleshing them out and sharing them with you, with the new branding in place.

Hopefully, it will look nice and read well. Perhaps it will even be useful to you? That would be nice, I should think.

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