Posted on: Friday, May 17, 2013
Posted on: Sunday, May 12, 2013
This week I have been making a special effort to go fallow. That is, restoring my energy by being kind to myself – resting, re-setting, switching off and finding some time amid the chaos of daily life that can swamp us unwittingly.
Social media is a key player in our saturated lives. I adore social media and all it brings us, but the constant reach culture and feeling of missing out if we unplug can lead to frazzled brains. Stepping away from the screen is good practise to recharge this brain cells, something my ecourse alumni know I am vocal about.
So, going fallow as bloggers can reap many benefits. Once you have set up a workflow and system that you trust to email you the right news alerts and smart information gathering, take time out to recharge that grey matter. No one can work efficiently under a constant information barrage, and reclaiming some space reaps creative rewards and allows for some space and clarity in your writing.
Yesterday I tore up my to do list (which as a mum of twins running two businesses isn’t small). I watched 3 films in one day – actually watched them without playing on my iPad at the same time – and I also read a book. I also listened to new radio stations, an audio book, played with some new hand lettering ideas, had a bike ride with a friend and enjoyed sitting outside having a cup of tea.
Taking time to go fallow can feel like a luxury and maybe you start with a manageable chunk; just an hour of ‘you time’ will make the world of difference.
When you step back into your workload and social media world it is so much easier to be focussed, procrastinate less and have those ideas that make you stand out.
Over to you: do you find it hard to go fallow and let the weeds grow? Can you allow yourself a little time out to restore your busy mind? If you do, let me know how it affects your blogging.
Image credit: Johnboy Mitchell’s photostream
Posted on: Wednesday, May 8, 2013
I absolutely love innocent smoothies, and I am in awe of how the brand have positioned themselves as an open, honest and interesting company too.
So, when the innocent folks got in touch to tell me about #innocentinspires - creative, inspiring, health orientated events- well, it sounded just like my thing.
I couldn’t go to this first event, but innocent have shared with me some YouTube videos of the inaugural #innocentinspires, which I think will inspire you too! The very first event was all about health, and featured TV Doctor Pixie McKenna, Olympain James Cracknell alongside my friends at Run Dem Crew for an immersive and exciting evening. So, what are innocent inspires events? Right up my street – and probably yours, as readers of my blog which is why I am sharing - they are curated evenings designed around themes of Health (as in the first event), Ethics, Entrepreneurship, Taste, and Creativity. See? Told you they were good. Oh, and they are FREE *dracula laugh* yes, FREEEEE I tell you!
Stay in touch with events at the innocent website, where You Tube vids will be left as an archive of discussion to form a legacy and community engagement project around each theme. Events are planned monthly and there is an awesome line up for the next few happenings.
So, who wants to win themselves a fortnights worth of smoothies? Yep, thought so. Well, innocent just want the message spread of the last event discussions, so are offering my lovely audience vouchers for 2 weeks worth of smoothies. All you have to do is tweet the following:
Hear tips on how to live well and die old with #innocentinspires at youtube.com/innocentdrinksltd. RT @dexdiva to win smoothies
Innocent will be checking in on my Twitter feed and announcing a winner.
I would love to know if the #innocentinspires events tickle your fancy – they sure do mine. Maybe I will see you at one?
Good luck, and happy smoothie drinking!
This post is not sponsored – I just love the brand and what they do and want to share.
Posted on: Tuesday, May 7, 2013
I am a bit of a book fiend, and love to work my way through several tomes to get the grey matter working. You may remember back in Jan 2012 I wrote a post on 6 essential, inspiring books on creativity, writing and business. Well, as I have naturally been devouring more words since then I thought it’s time for a 2013 update – which I hereby furnish you with, dear blog reader.
1.Still a firm favourite, and those of you who have done my Idea Generation and Creativity for Bloggers e course will know how much I love this book. The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self by Julia Cameron is an absolutely fantastic 12 week self directed course in unlocking creativity. I have completed the programme twice, and both times the outcomes have been amazing. I will continue to use the book as a creative tool to keep my development and goals on track for my life; I cannot recommend it highly enough!
2.The Freelance Writer’s Handbook: How to Make Money and Enjoy Your Life is an easy to read paperback I picked up 6 years ago when I began writing. Within a month of reading it I had my first paid centre spread article, and I really think the book was a huge part in that; it is easy to read, inspirational, and most of all, real. A great one for budding writers out there.
3.The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferris is one of the most inspirational work-life books I have ever picked up and remains in my recommendations list. Ferris’s ideal working week is quite extreme, but his ideas on oursourcing and dream life generation are great fodder for thought and will inspire you to dream big.
4.ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever stays here too, and is a great book for thinking outside of the cubicle. This is written by 37 signals, the guys behind the Basecamp project management application, and gives real working examples that the company employ. Love it.
5.How to be a Graphic Designer, Without Losing Your Soul is a brilliant book for designers in a world that can so easily make you jaded by commercialism, compromise and an anti-climax from the hopes you had to be a creative designer. Working as a commercial artist requires a great deal of compromise, and this book is great for reminding you why you wanted to be a designer with advice on starting and running a business, managing clients and a lot more. Brilliant.
6.The Trend Forecasters Handbook is a brilliant guide by Martin Raymond from the Future Laboratory on scoping out trends, forecasting and planning. Brilliant for anyone involved in consumer trends and insights, budding coolhunters and futurologists.
7. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharpe absolutely gets a mention in this list now I have read it and treasured it! Tharpe is a dancer and gives insights to how shae has made creativity a habit for producing wonderful choreography, and how she stays creative. The techniques are transferable across creative industries, and this one is a firm bookshelf keeper complete with dog-eared pages, post it notes and much underlining, the mark of a well loved book. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
8. Be a Free Range Human: how to escape the 9 to 5, create a life you love and still pay the bills is a wonderful book that I have just loved reading and its stays on the iPad for dipping into. The author, Marianne Cartwright walks us through ways to break free of convention, to challenge our thinking and to become a free range worker. I have been free range officially for 7 years now, although my barriers tend to come from myself now as opposed to a physical office space, so it’s a great read whether you are employed and trying to make the leap to going solo, or already self employed and re-focussing. Just brilliant.
9. The Laptop Millionaire: How anyone can escape the 9 to 5 and make money online is a great read for anyone considering using an online business model. Like the Ferris book, this is a little extreme in the way the “get rich quick” ideas are portrayed, but it is absolutely a goldmine for ideas and little sparks that you can make your own. Both my iPad and olde worlde 3-d copies are well read and often referred too, a great book for tapping into online business ideas.
10.The Art of Being Brilliant by Andy Cope is just that: brilliant. A bookshelf must have, this is an easy to read and digest book that gives easy and practical ways to look at your current thinking patterns and to tease out your working habits that are holding you back. I read this in less than a day and refer to it often. There are offline events and resources which you can tap into too, and I highly recommend giving it a whirl.
11. May cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein is my current read, and it really is fabulous. This book walks you through a daily mindfulness task and awareness of your own fears and limitations, enabling tiny changes to accumulate to make profound shifts in awareness and thinking.
12. Search inside yourself: increase productivity, Creativity and Happiness by Daniel Goleman is a funny, insightful, mindfulness inspired book penned by a Google whizz (hence the name). This cheerfully easy to read number is light yet doesn’t hold back on the meaty concepts that bring about change management in one of the biggest organisations in modern times applied to us, the humble reader.
Have you read any of these? What do you think of them? What other title would you add to the list?
Enjoy – now put your feet up and read.
Posted on: Friday, May 3, 2013
Heeeey lovely Diva readers…it’s Friiiiiday, the sun is shining and I can almost smell the Pimms being mixed up. Yup, it’s May, that magical time of lighter nights, warmer days and we are ripe for creativity.
So, if you haven’t already jumped in and joined us, May is a Springboard for creative thinking and ideas here on Dexterous Diva. The idea is to do something new each day, and to output something new – so, listen to a new band/podcast, drink a new drink, try a new TV channel, blog, or magazine, just make tiny changes. Then, make yourself produce some creative output daily, and report back to me with how you are doing!
As for me, my creative output and input has been a lot of fun so far. I have discovered new blogs, apps, TV dramas, music, books…and I am feeling inspired. I have been loving my illustration playdates with myself (some evidence of which is above).
On my desk also is this beautiful book, Cultivating your Creative Life, published by Quarry Books. This is a gorgeously designed and illustrated book with lots of mini creative hints and tips to help you re-ignite your creative spark and to enjoy indulging your inner artist. I have been dipping into it this week and taking on board some suggestions, so more on those as #maybecreative unfolds.
Now, over to you! Let me know how you are getting on, what obstacles have arisen for your creative endeavours, what new things you have been doing and creating. Don’t forget also to send in snapshots of your artistry for me to include here on the blog in a round up next week.
Enjoy the long weekend and get out there for some summer sun!
Illustrations by Jo Gifford
Posted on: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
As you may know, I am currently working with the lovely folks at Shopcade as an ambassador.
Shopcade are currently running a fabulous competition to win £500 to spend with Not on the High Street – I am pretty sure I could spend that without blinking!
The link is here for the competition, and you can have a little butchers at the things I am currently dribbling over here.
As a Shopcade ambassador I am occasionally sent lovely things to keep, and as such need to let you know that this post is deemed as sponsored. Thanking you kindly
Posted on: Monday, April 29, 2013
Today’s interviewee here on Dexterous Diva is Emma, a rather talented lady; book blogger, writer, photographer and marketing designer, I am thrilled that Emma has taken the time to share her top blogging tips with us. Over to you Emma…
Tell us about your blog – when did you start it and why?
Mab is Mab is a book blog that I started about three years ago. Initially I had no idea about blogging as a tool, and would just post up random book-thoughts now and then and leave it at that. It’s only when I joined a marketing department a year and a half ago, as a designer, that I realised what a great opportunity for networking, making friends and getting exposure blogging is! From that point I started dedicating a lot more time to my blog and learning the ins and outs of SEO, advertising and just “getting out there”. It’s been a wonderful journey and I’ve met some great people through it.
Does blogging have a place in other areas of your career too? If so, how?
Blogging is not a part of my 9-5 job, but it is a supplement to my freelance design and copywriting services. I view it as something of a “Portfolio with a voice”.
What do you love most about blogging?
As I said before, the people you meet – virtually and in person – as a result of blogging is such a great thing. I love being able to debate a book from lots of different viewpoints, with people all over the world!
What inspires you to blog?
I blog because I know that when I look for books to read myself, I would take a recommendation from a friend over a marketing blurb. I hope that people see my blog as that friendly recommendation. When people find a great book as a result of one of my reviews it’s the best feeling. That inspires me to keep on bloggin’!
How often do you post?
I try to post at least every week. Very often I post two or three times a week. It depends what exciting things the book world has in store for us – and how long the book I’m reading is!
Which blogs do you read most often and admire?
I LOVE Orisi’s Blah Blah Blah. Her personality shines through in her reviews and she has very similar tastes to me. I have also recently discovered Roosts Blog. The photos are divine! I’m addicted.
What problems have you encountered with your blog?
Being on the Blogger platform is a constant source of despair for me. I hate being at Google’s mercy! However, the limited custom design capability of WordPress puts me off that even more. I hope to be self-hosted soon, so I’m free of it all!
What top 3 tips would you give to other bloggers?
Be patient, be consistent, be you.
If you like this post you may also like:
3 top tips for bloggers from Bangs
The Blogging Frame of Mind
Danielle Meder’s top blog tips
Blogging tips: serialising content
5 ways to create original blog imagery
Posted on: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Recently, I was watching this video by the fabulous Marie Forleo as she interviews author and business owner Latham Thomas on balancing work and motherhood. I felt really inspired by the concept of “goddess time” that Latham recommends, and it really resonated with me as a working mum of twins.
Taking time for ourselves as a mum can be such a hard thing to do; recently I have had to slow down due to a flare up of my chronic fatigue and endometriosis pain, and I have told my superwoman self to “do one”. Taking time to be a goddess is such an important part of being yourself and celebrating feminine energy; just a small part of your day or week gives confidence and creativity a much needed boost, and it’s something I have been taking on board.
My goddess time is super simple, and here are my top 5 favourite goddess activities: Read More >
Posted on: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Well hello my lovely Diva readers.
I would like to challenge you to join me next month in a daily practise of creativity, to open those channels of possibility, to engage in new ideas and to just turn little corners on a daily basis for surprising results.
Those of you who have completed my e course, Idea Generation and Creativity for bloggers will know of #newdiva365, the challenge of doing something slightly new every day.
Throughout May, I challenge you to do something new each day, and to create something new each day…it might be a little sketch, a moodboard, mark making of some description, a photographic record….whatever floats your boat. So, the idea is that you combine the input of something new with the challenge of doing something creatively new each day.
It can be surprising how much we hinder our own creative efforts, and this challenge will force you to output creatively in a small way daily to get you in the habit of personal creative practice.
So, for every day in May, starting from next Wednesday, it’s time to use Spring as your Springboard to see where it takes us.
So, to recap:
DO something new each day (read more about #newdiva365 here).
CREATE something each day.
Tweet me @dexdiva with your progress, use the comments below to share your progress and blog posts, and let’s see where May takes us!I am using Spring as my springboard in May #dexdivacreativity
Enjoy, and see you in the creative zone of May.