A few weeks ago I came across a website, A Bookish Baker, created and written by Helen Redfern. It was to be a turning point. I’d been heading in one direction and had lost my way. I’d started working on an idea that very rapidly lost its appeal.
Discovering Helen’s website showed me a potential blueprint for the type of online presence I wanted to create and I felt an immediate resonance with Helen’s writing, Instagram and videos, as well as the whole concept of cosy creative living. It made me realise that what I had in my head was achievable.
Around the same time I also discovered Creative Countryside which is all about reconnecting, rewilding and realigning.
I see myself sitting somewhere in the middle. I want to write about living in alignment with nature, and on my own terms, creating a life and a living with soul, and being more in tune with the natural rhythms of the seasons.
Inspired by Helen’s planning blog posts and videos, I sketched out some ideas of my own in my new Lemome notebook and using Helen’s own template as a guide. I devised a very ambitious schedule for myself, very little of which saw the light of day!
Below you can see my initial plan. It looks eminently do-able on paper!
But … I failed to factor in our travels around the country or other work I needed to do for the Blind Woodturner. I lost the best part of two weeks as we were completely booked up (although I did squeeze in an Instacake meetup).
So, I pared down my activities, as detailed on another page in my notebook.
The post you’re reading here is regrouping. I should have written this last week but didn’t manage to do that so I’m catching up on 15th July. I’ll need to write another blog post this week to keep me on track.
We have about 8 weeks now without any long trips so I’m planning to create a bank of blog posts that are written, scheduled and ready to go. As I mentioned to Helen in one of my emails to her, I want to create and maintain some momentum. Building consistency is one of the factors that keeps me on track. If I can stick with the plan, even when we’re on the road, this will be a big win for me. It’s all about ticking off those tasks and not missing any. Once I break that chain, I find it much harder to stay on course.
The photographs you see here are very much inspired by Helen’s flatlays. I had great fun one afternoon after I came home with a table top, discovered at the local garden centre. I cut the table top in half on my husband’s table saw, added a couple of new holes to align with the existing dowels, and rearranged the two pieces vertically. Add in some sanding, staining and waxing, and my flatlay board was complete.
I remember, several years ago watching a film called Finding Forrester. Starring Sean Connery as a reclusive writer, one of his recommendations to his protege was to start typing someone else’s work until his own voice began to come through. I’ve always liked this advice and I’ve used it on a few occasions. I’m certainly adopting that philosophy now as I take inspiration from Helen’s website knowing that, over time, it will morph into my own style.
For now, I’m getting organised and pulling my plans together. I’m trying to find a daily rhythm that works, at least when we’re at home.
An article about Elizabeth Gilbert was helpful:
My life is divided into times when I’m actively writing a book and times when I’m not.
Mornings are for stuff I want to do, and the rest of the day is for stuff that I have to do.
I’ve started to devise a plan for my mornings. It’s the best time to write, undisturbed. I’m one of those people who needs absolute quiet to be able to work, especially when words are involved. I bought myself a set of ear plugs recently and have found those so useful!
This is my plan.
06:00 – get up, feed Bamber (my husband’s Guide Dog), take photos for Instastories
06:30 – be at my desk with either coffee or hot water and lemon (depending on how virtuous I’m feeling!).
Write until …
08:30 – shower, get dressed
09:00 – work on blogs and other writing projects
12:00 – lunch
Afternoons are likely to be taken up working on the business of the Blind Woodturner.
There are other possible activities I might slot in. Elizabeth Gilbert says she meditates:
I use Insight Timer and I have a meditation of choice by this guy named Mooji.
I’ve just searched on my unused version of Insight Timer for Mooji, whose work I came across several years ago.
And she also says:
Right now I’m doing the Artist’s Way course.
Someone I spoke to recently suggested that the answers were within and that was where I needed to look. I agree. I’d forgotten though that there are tools that can help us with this excavation. I have pretty much all of Julia Cameron’s books including the Artist’s Way. I can’t remember, though, the last time I did the whole course.
I’m remembering, too, the need to refill the well.
Pulling together a workable plan is taking longer than I envisaged. I still need to spend more time working out the details. Ever the perfectionist, I try to get things right first time but that’s not always possible.
I’m also realising that ambitious plans can be overwhelming leading to procrastination rather than action. I’m still working on getting that balance right!