1/2 term. Brain scrambled. Beyond help.

halloween

I know. Probably the last thing you want to see right now is another bloody Halloween picture but it’s all I’ve got. It’s all I’ve managed to do that’s remotely to do with illustration all week. Fun but full on parenting has been happening here for the last 7 days and there’s only one of me. I now have 0 minutes to write this but I’m doing it anyway so hah!

I’m not feeling very coherent this evening but I do have one useful thought (that I’m desperately clinging to). Branding.

I’ve been aware of branding…who isn’t! But I’m useless at it. My Instagram account is a mishmash of varying styles and clashing colours. Not a good advert for myself or a coherent picture of what I do and who I am. But times are changing, friends!

I read someone’s notes under their Instagram picture today (chipiartstudio if you’d like to have a look…she’s fab) and it has helped kick me in the right direction I feel:

“…I really recommend choosing a theme and sticking to it for a month or maybe even more …focusing is one of the main challenges of creatives, just because we have so so many ideas floating around.”

I’ve had so many wild ideas firing off in my little brain recently as I try to break the barrier into making some money to live off but now I know what I need to do. Time to regroup…go over what I’ve done, improve on it and use it as my theme for the next month. In practical terms this means reproducing my book as better quality hardbacks and creating a series of greetings cards based around the illustrations. It’s an incredibly spacious feeling to have this plan. It will improve my drawing skills and almost as a by-product my branding will become more solid.

If there are any other newbie indie authors out there as clueless as me I hope this brain fart helped.

Now I just need school to start…

Best wishes,

Cat

x

 

Wondrous words!

wondrous words

This week I’ve been flooding my mind with all the wondrously whimsical words waiting to be welcomed into the world of whippersnappers. Yes I have been reading the dictionary haha. The book I am currently working on is an ABCs picture book for children and I want it to be filled with words that will make children giggle and sentences that will tongue-tie parents.

We may read a lot as children and come to understand a wide variety of words, but these are narrowed down throughout life, bullied out of our bowl of rich pickings. In our human desire to ‘fit in’, children who may start off with a wonderful vocabulary soon learn to only use a select proportion of the words they have become familiar with through reading. I think this narrowing down continues throughout adulthood as we force ourselves to adapt to jobs and situations where an imaginative use of language is not considered valuable in the least.

This morning during my lengthy instagramming I came across MrsWordsmithofficial‘s page  where her new dictionary for children is being advertised: ‘Storyteller’s Illustrated Dictionary’. (I just tried  sharing a link to this page but I’m too technologically inept I’m sorry!) This looks like a fantastic tool which is being aimed at 9 – 15 year olds to aid them with story writing, filled with sizzling vocab and illustrations.

But what about real life…for all ages? Shouldn’t we all be enriching ourselves and those around us through our use of language? It’s so easy just to pick the most used word instead of searching our minds for the word that comes closest to what we are really thinking. I know I do this anyway. It seems like a vicious circle to me…the more we use already familiar words to describe a concept, or feeling, the more clichéd our conceptions of the world around us themselves become, until we have no need of more subtle language and it is forgotten. Also forgotten then is our ability to analyse the world around us in an original and stimulating way.

Are we treating words like precious dinner party crockery…best case scenario reaching for these prized possessions on special occasions, but more often than not simply abandoning them to gather dust on the shelf?

Do you think there is a direct link between the language you use and how you perceive the world? I think there probably is. I feel guilty for casting aside the plethora of words at our disposal, and I’m going to attempt to converse, and think, with more pizzazz from now on! With a concerted effort to enrich my own vocabulary I’m curious to see how this will influence my understanding of, well, everything. Who’s with me?! 🙂

 

Yippee!!

yippee pic

Yippee!! I’ve finished my first book. I’m waiting for the proof to arrive then I can click the ‘publish’ button on Amazon. I’m so pleased I’ve actually finished. Of course the moment it was complete I had sudden doubts that it was any good at all…but I’m ignoring those as best as I can…just looking forward to making the next one even better.

I’d like to tell you about my dogs today. In my first blog post I drew them as being white and blonde. They aren’t. I’m sorry I lied in my drawing. They are both black. If I tried to colour them realistically they would just look like hairy blobs with tongues. That is what they actually look like.

So anyway. I walk them one at a time. I have to if I want to keep my arms. The fluffiest one is called Miss Chief (or Chief of Police, The Chief, Chiefychopperflopperwoppadus and You Total Effing B##ch….well she is)She is a Newfoundland X Alsatian. Big mistake…if anybody out there is considering creating this mix I beg of you don’t, unless of course the thought of living with a hyperactive woolly mammoth appeals to you. The other is a Labrador called Mr Purple (other names include Popple, Poppleywoppley, Fish-out-of-Water, Mr Purple the Destroyer, Git-face, Meth-Lab).

Mr Purple does not like being left behind whilst I walk Miss Chief. He lets me know this by destroying the universe. Yesterday he managed to get the previous night’s pizza boxes* from the top of the oven and finished off 5 slices of Dominos.  Today I locked him in his crate for the sake of his own health and when we got back there he was, in the kitchen with the contents of the recycling bin spread all around him. Today I’m going to buy a padlock for the crate.

*don’t judge me…I neglected parental duties like cooking and housework whilst I spent longer than I should uploading my book to KDP. I really need to learn formatting.

In a follow up to last week’s post I talked about how I could be a better boss of myself. I would just like to report back that I have forced myself out of my comfortable isolation and have arranged coffee with an abandoned friend next week. Declaring my resolutions in my blog really makes me commit to carrying them out…and for that reason I’m going to do no such thing today.

That’s all folks, please feel free to add your thoughts…I would love to hear about your badly behaved pets. Did yours also have to sit at the front of the class with the teacher in puppy training groups?

‘Til next time,

Cat x

PS. Thanks and best wishes to my first follower! 🙂

 

Stay-at-home writer tries not to lose plot

blogpic - Copy

The universe, planet Earth, Britain, Wales, Llanelli, my house, my bedroom, the computer desk. That is where I live.

That’s right…I work from home. Goodbye social interaction, hello insanity.

I was originally going to write about the pros and cons of working from home. This was my pros list:

  • Being able to do my dream job
  • Not having to look presentable
  • Not having to deal with the general public or difficult work colleagues
  • The dogs have company
  • I can take breaks when I want
  • I’m here if the kids are too poorly for school
  • I’m here if parcels are delivered
  • I’m my own boss

Then I realized the cons list was nearly identical:

  • No reason to look presentable
  • No reason to talk to anyone except the lollipop man and the parcel delivery man
  • The dogs are my company. They fart all day long and don’t know how to talk or play quietly.
  • I can take breaks when I want – it took me 3 months to write this list
  • I’m here if the kids are too poorly for school and they know it and are very good actors
  • I’m here if parcels are delivered – for anyone in the neighbourhood
  • I’m my own boss. I’m not a good boss of me.

That leaves being able to do my dream job as the only pro.

As pros go it’s pretty major, but if I’ve turned into a complete nutcase I don’t know how long I’ll be able to sustain it for. So I guess the question is, how can I be a good boss of me? It’s something people say isn’t it, when you tell them you are self-employed..”oh it must be nice being your own boss!” Hmm….how would they like it if I was their boss I wonder to myself, as their life slowly disintegrates into a chaos of scraps of paper, dog treats and isolation. Wouldn’t sound so sunny about it then would they!

So I thought I’d better find out what the qualities of a good boss are. A quick google search gives me these 10 qualities as written by ttps://thethrivingsmallbusiness.com

  1. Communicates Clear Vision
  2. Connects Vision to Daily Tasks
  3. Sets Clear Performance Expectations
  4. Provides Consistent Feedback and Coaching
  5. Cares about the Employee as a Person
  6. Shares Personal Information
  7. Makes Work Fun
  8. Fosters Team Development
  9. Values Employee Perspectives
  10. Rewards Good Performance

Yes. This is when I realize there are people out there actually thinking like adults. That aside, this list is definately going to help me manage myself better. Focusing on improving any of these points would improve my working-from-home life. Apart from number 6 maybe. I already talk to myself.

However I expect you’ve realized from reading my personal pros and cons list that numbers 5 and 7 are my biggest downfall. “Caring about the employee as a person” and “making work fun”.

Hmm, caring about myself as a person (as opposed to a dog companion) and making work fun.  Now whilst I’m very (too) comfortable working alone, I know I need to socialize…humans are social animals aren’t we? So this week I challenge myself to commit to meeting up with someone that isn’t a child or a dog.  Hopefully next time I ask myself How’s life, or What have I been up to lately, I won’t answer, oh you know…just sitting at the old computer desk, talking to myself, whilst slowly dying from dog fart fumes.

Are any of you stay-at-home workers too comfortable with your isolation? Let me know I’m not the only one! Are you a good caring boss of yourself? I would love to know what you find hard about working from home, what you enjoy, or just how you stay sane!

‘Til next time,

Losing the plot one word at a time,

Cat x