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!

 

 

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….

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.

 

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.

Sunday Letters: Model Success or No?

Sunday Letters: Model Success or No?

It’s a regular Sunday today. Grey skies blanket the world below. Brief bursts of April showers fall now and again, but never enough to soak the ground.

Gentle lofi plays while I sip my americano – a jazz and hip-hop mix.

To “Model Success” or No?

This week I have been doing a lot of thinking. About what it means to “model success”.

Don’t do something new! One, then many sources seemed to shout at me over the internet airwaves recently. Copy what has already been done and proven to work.

Well. That sounds all right and dandy. But, see the thing is, I’d really rather not.

Honestly, I have always been a “rebel”. Or more accurately – I’d rather do my own thing.

This formula – to model, to copy. To define your brand from the very beginning, and then to only do what is “on brand”. Then do X, Y and Z… but not necessarily in that order.

All these directions on what it is to “find success”.

But then are you truly growing your own unique business (and) creator’s voice?

I recall the story of how some young entrepreneurs leased a store. (Where this was or what kind of store I can’t quite recall.)

There were no “rules” that said they couldn’t make it into both an independent music venue as well as a shop.

It was possible: they checked the lease agreement and so on. But it was new – it hadn’t been tried and tested; there wasn’t really a “model” to copy.

As the town was in the middle of a long stretch between two main stops for a lot of tours, they hoped to bring in artists who would be passing by anyway. And then they would have to go all the way to either A or B to see a particular artist. They’d come to them.

It was an ambitious ask.

They could have “modelled” success and made a specific venue for concerts, but they did it in their own unique way.

And it turned out to be incredibly successful.

My Conclusion…

Sure, there is nothing wrong with “modelling success” if that suits your business and where you want to go.

Nor, indeed, defining your brand. Have a direction sure, but let it grow organically – even just a little. Don’t second guess every decision’s brand worthiness (or you’ll get nothing done!).

But if a business model doesn’t yet exist, or has yet to be tried and tested, don’t stop yourself from doing so. Don’t be afraid to push the boat out. Even for experimenting with the “tried and true” routes.

If you have the vision, curiosity and can-do attitude for it: do it.

Bringing your own original spark to your business. It’s an adventure, there is no right way.

Top 18 Simple Techniques To Defeat Stress

Top 18 Simple Techniques To Defeat Stress

Chasing your dreams is never easy. In fact, it is super stressful. Working harder than ever because you are so passionate about what you are doing. But being so focused and driven on achieving results, you can leave yourself vulnerable to poor lifestyle decisions.

All that stress and frustration builds up over time, negatively affecting your health and overall productivity. I’ve written about this before with my post “Dealing with Stress Made Easy with these 10 Quick Tips“.

That’s why it’s paramount to develop a lifestyle that has built-in stress relief. So that you can do you at your best.

And that is also why I am sharing this infographic from customwriting.org, which by and large already includes many of the best techniques to stress-proof your life.

 

Top 18 Simple Techniques To Defeat Stress Infographic

 

Top 18 Simple Techniques To Defeat Stress

10 Simple Ways to Boost Your Mood This Weekend

10 Simple Ways to Boost Your Mood This Weekend

It’s the weekend, wahoo! Finally. Here are 10 simple ways to boost your mood this weekend. Good mood = everything is suddenly so much better.

So: put down your work tools as soon as you can.

Unless you’re working this weekend, in which case, I salute you! Take a break soon though, yeah?

After all, chilling out is important as it’s good for your overall health and productivity in the week to come.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase from my link I may make a small commission at no cost to you.

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