That New Term feeling, on to the next mountain…

September is here! I’m feeling the new term vibe and want to make the most of the last few months of the year. Are you ready too, for the next chapter, mentally and physically? 

Pre-note – So I totally failed in getting this out last Monday, because as predicted, the last-minute Welsh Holiday was full-on action! It was great fun, with lots of family memories made and Conwy was a great base to stay but in-between the packed days and the seagull nightclub that seemed to start every night at around 4am on our roof, I think what I’m about to say below will be even more relevant!

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We had a great week of adventure in North Wales; Snowdon (hubs and daughter climbed, me and son on train!), underground mine challenge, zip world, walks, beaches and castles…to name but a few – Barley loved it!

Time to get our brains back into gear…..

Anyone else out there feeling a little beat and energy sapped from the Summer School Holidays? If not, I salute you! But I for one, and many other creatives and small business owners I know are sinking a little in overwhelm, trying to keep your ideas and business momentum going whilst trying to keep everybody happy over the holidays is not an easy task! Yet there is only so much you can do in-between the constant nagging / bickering of children and trying to keep the house from looking like it’s been burgled on a daily basis.

But it’s good to know that we are not alone, there is an army of parents out there just trying to keep calm and carry on and now we can see the start of a new term beginning to glow warmly within touching distance, we’re almost there!

I know I’ve been feeling like this, starting to resent the shackles of parenthood (I know I’m being slightly dramatic here and I love them dearly, obviously!) that’s keeping me away from my creative groups and passions and that last push ‘To Do list for the next 3 months that I want to just get down, so I feel like I have a plan!,

I can feel that edginess kicking in, my patience wearing a little thinner at the millions of requests per day of ‘What are we doing today?’ or ‘What can we eat?’ or just simply ‘Muuuuum, he/she’s annoying me!’ – seriously why is everyone permanently hungry?

Plus, I have to admit, as they get older it’s harder to entertain them or prize them off things like X Box and phones, which then means that we are on constant trips out, trying to fill the day!

Since we returned from Mallorca, I feel like I’ve been wading in mud, my legs don’t seem to be working and my brain is most definitely NOT IN GEAR! I can’t work out if it’s a parental fatigue virus or genuinely my head has forgotten how to think deeper and has gone into shut-down!

And I know it’s not just me, my friend Clair has been juggling her business, working at 7am for a few hours, then trying to ‘be present’ with the kids (we all start off the holidays with that ‘ideal’ don’t we?!) Then, she’s sorting the house and working into the evening to try and catch up! It’s crazy!

No-one can keep that up over a whole six weeks without feeling the pressure and like it’s a permanent plate-spin! Yet this is what people who work from home or have their own business have to do to survive the 6-week summer system! Whoever invented that needs a serious talking to!

Even Holly Tucker MBE (of Holly & Co and previously of Not on the High Street) has been feeling the burn, but in a different way – you know that time when you actually stop working and then the adrenaline seeps out of your body and it feels like your battery is well and truly flat?

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Well, she posted about it this last week on Instagram @hollytucker and so many others feel the same way too, wondering why they are not bouncing with joy on their long-awaited Summer holiday that they’ve worked so hard for and instead would happily prefer to crawl into bed and just sleep!

Normally I’m buzzing for September, and in many ways, I am, not least to go to the supermarket a lot less but I also feel like my body needs to catch up with what my head wants to do and I’m feeling anxious and frustrated because it’s not!

The energy required to get my ideas flowing and get some serious planning work done is just not there, no matter how many lattes I consume. Part of me is feeling like I’m heading into procrastination territory, which is my least favourite state of mind and another part is gradually putting things in place, so all is not completely lost.

I’m trying to focus on this positive bit, that I am making moves towards getting my butt back in gear, albeit annoyingly slowly and without completely realising it – I’m trying to recognise that as a good thing and that I’m not completely flailing around in goo.

So, what have I been doing to encourage some self-motivation and get back into the right frame of mind? Maybe these small things can encourage you and prompt some ideas for a re-boot too?

  • Trying something new, that is both creative and planning related – I’ve booked in with some fellow Instagramers that have recently changed direction and are offering some new workshops, to help you focus. I’ll be taking part in the Vision Board Workshop, run by @writerstogether on the 10th of September in the hope that doing something visible will help me hone in on the key things I want to get done by the end of this year (as I think this is how I work best). I’ll tell you all about this in a future blog post.
  • I’ve booked on for a free half-hour coaching session with Gabrielle Treanor – she offered some free sessions last week to work on one thing in September, so I snapped up the opportunity – I worked with Gabrielle briefly last year as a case study when she was training and she really helped me with achieving my word-count goal so I’m hoping she can help steer me a little again. Being accountable really works for me, it’s that people pleasing thing!
  • I’ve just found out about a great new challenge from Ruth Poundwhite, a business coach and mentor whom I follow regularly on Instagram and listen to her podcast – Creatively Human. Upon returning to her 3rd podcast season launched this week, she’s also launched a ‘Back to Business Challenge’, which she says is all about gently getting you back into the swing of things after Summer and free up your time and energy too AND it won’t require loads of time or reading, but will lead to some powerful realisations and, hopefully, actions – which all sounds pretty perfect to me and as it’s free, so what have we got to lose (click on the link in her instagram profile @ruthpoundwhite if you’re interested in joining in too.)
  • I’m making sure I keep inspired, not only will I be returning to my writing and art groups and generally just getting back into the swing of things but I’m also going to one of my favourite events – Staithes Art Festival next weekend. I went for the first time last year, it’s an amazing collection of artists, all exhibiting in local cottages in the tiny picturesque coastal village of Staithes. Not only did I come away with a much-loved piece of art for my office but also photos that I then used as references to paint. See here for more info if you’d like to check it out for yourself.

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My painting of Staithes village and the piece of artwork I bought, called ‘The Habbit’ – a cross between a rabbit and a hare that I love and now sits in my office.

  • As usual I’ve been taking a lot of new photos over the Summer, for my Instagram accounts such as @soothedbynature, a whole heap of nature treasures that only come out to play in Summer and many images taken on holiday too. I’m always looking for that unusual angle or view point, enjoying the challenge of capturing something different to my normal walking routine. I’ve already found some favourites that I want to recreate as a painting and transform into greeting cards

Just a few pictures I took on our welsh holiday….it helps when the scenery is this amazing!

  • I’ve set myself some deadlines, the first being to have a stall for my cards at a friend’s local charity event and also to book myself in for the next slot for the Yorkshire Writer’s Lunch Blog – I find I work better with a few self-imposed deadlines.
  • I’ve been carrying on with reading inspiration, this holiday I’ve been reading The Holiday by T.M Logan, an intriguing story of four best friends from Uni going on holiday with their families to a villa to try and recapture their close relationships and of course it ends up being much more complicated and entwined than that. Nothing inspires me more in my novel writing than reading great new Summer debuts, because one day, that could be me.

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  • Finally, a friend who now lives in Australia came over here this Summer to look after her poorly Dad who sadly passed away a few weeks ago. She was tasked with emptying the family home and putting it up for sale which involved a lot of sorting out. She came across many art books, brand new paints, materials and a beautiful ink Italic set in a wooden box – all of which she has gifted to me (which almost made me cry). She wanted to make sure she gave them to someone who would really appreciate them and make good use of them – you can’t get a much better incentive than that to crack on with some new artwork.

I’ll keep you posted on how the above help me over the coming months. I feel like I’ve achieved more than I’d hoped over the first part of the year, which is maybe why I now feel unsettled as I came to a grinding halt for the Summer holidays as family life took over. I’d gotten used to the creative momentum, the knock-on effects of a stream of ideas and opportunities and I’ve realised it’s that pattern that gives me the energy and excitement to continue and when that’s paused it’s a little harder to get going again, a little fear of the unknown I suppose.

But I will, and especially with creative like-minds around me and the WOW Wednesday gang, which by the way will start again on Wednesday the 11th of September if you’d like to come along (9.30am at Miriam’s Kitchen Table, Kirkburton).

Do let me know how you get going again and motivated with your creative projects / business, after a relaxing / refereeing Summer in the comments below…

Until next time…

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

 

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