So many drafts, so little done

A tale of a disorganized writer

So many drafts but so little getting done,

none of them inspiring my mind to hit complete,

sitting on my minds desk causing a complete mess.

Writing is supposed to be fun and involving,

a passion , a hobby, an escape from the world.

Who knew it could be so demanding,

another pressure added to the day,

it’s these thoughts the pile up,

stop the creative process in its tracks.

Those drafts will be completed some day,

have the knowledge that inspiration will strike,

tomorrow or the next day just like it always has before.

Those drafts will one day publish

clutter up the desk no more,

those words will form their own stories,

fly from mind to page.

Just need a spark of inspiration,

to feel the finish line…

When inspiration seems so far away

A tale not of writers block, but of being locked out of creativity

Stress levels running high and morale is getting low,

bad signs for creative health, inspiration hard to find.

That one creative spark so often found in the minds eye,

seems to have gone missing I really can’t think why?

So many inspirations stand surrounding me,

but none seems to be the one.

That idea which gets my mind attention,

that special one that just runs free.

When the words flow from head to paper,

and the world just dissapears.

A walk, a run or some other exercise,

to free my body from my mind,

to feel myself be free.

Open to inspiration,

to unlock my creativity.

The silk road

A poem about the historic silk road

A road and a story as old as time,

Asia and Europe crossing a line,

bridging divides between people and culture,

crisscrossed with danger, predators and vultures.

Dusty and hot, snowy and cold,

lined with silk and incense and gold.

Through valley high and river deep,

the road is so long and no time to sleep,

goods to buy, to sell and exchange,

travelling by horse days out on the range.

Riches in person, in life and in spirit,

life’s an adventure, go out and live it.

Beginners Guide to Writing

If you ever wanted to try, there is no time like the present

Image by George Walker

If you have always wanted to write and didn’t know where to start, or if writing is a more recent dream, I have great news for you, its never been easier to get started, to learn from others on the same journey as you, and if you wish its never been easier to publish.

Writing can be a strange and frustrating pursuit if you let the process take control of you but it really doesn’t have to be that way.

There are so many ideas about what writing is and is not, and when you can really call yourself a writer.

None of them actually matter, the truth is writing is such a personal thing that, the only correct answer is the one that fulfills your passion and yuor expectations.

The important thing is to start at a pace that works for you, you may be shy, you may not know where to start and like most of us who want to write, you may be overthinking the whole thing.

The great thing to remember is that their really is no right or wrong, a word on the page or the screen, leads to a sentence, which leads to a paragraph which can lead to something magical.

It doesn’t matter if it takes five minutes, days, months or longer as long as its comfortable for you.

You could start journaling for yourself with pen and paper, a lot of people starting out enjoy the challenge, it lets us play around with words and structures and also has the really wonderful benefit of getting thoughts and feeling out of your mind onto a page, reducing stress and anxiety and also clearing your mind.

You could set up a blog, all you really need is a fantastic resource like medium or a website such as a free WordPress site and a smartphone and your all set to share your writing with the world.

You can draft and edit and play about with your writing as much as you like, and if you want to publish your writing and share it with others your one simple click of the mouse or touch of the screen away from becoming a published author.

As your confidence builds and if you want to pursue writing as something more than a hobby you could even apply to join the medium partner program and be paid for your work.

Again what you do with your writing, if and how you share it and if you want to make it more than a hobby are all up to you. No one is right and no one is wrong, what works for you is best.

One thing I can guarantee you though from someone who spent a long time, overthinking it and terrified to share anything in public, is that your far from alone, there is a whole community who stood in those same shoes and made the first step. In turn that means there is huge amount of help, resources and support out there to get you started and writing with confidence.

So what’s stopping you?

Journaling to achieve your goals

Connect with your subconscious

Image by George Walker, Courtesy of Canva

How to channel your subconscious to achieve your goals

This is something I’ve discovered since I started journaling as a serious daily habit, and for me at least I’ve found it really works.

I have been journaling on and off for about 2 years now, and finally committed to it as a serious daily commitment and part of my routine around the start of this year.

I’ve always had difficulty in accepting that I could be creative, so taking two years to accept that journaling was an exercise worth even just for myself, is a pretty good time line for me (It took me 10 years to start writing and publishing my work for example).

Since I committed to journaling daily I have seen a lot of the benefits that others have reported and that have been written widely about such as:

  • Writing down my internal dialogue helps me make sense of feelings
  • Writing down my thoughts and ideas lets me get them out of my head and onto paper where they can either be trashed or developed, I have an eidetic memory so being able to take those thoughts onto paper really helps me either stick in the archive folder in my head or prioritize them, for others like my partner who also developed the habit it helps her to get rid of thoughts and feelings she just doesn’t need to hang on.
  • Writing those thoughts down also allows me to de-stress and it quietens down my mind at the end of the day, I’d go as far as to say that journaling is now an essential part of my sleep routine.
  • It gives me a chance to think about and record what Im thankful for in my life, which I find de-stressing and also gives me more appreciation for the world around me and has given me an appreciation for practicing mindfulness that I didn’t have before.
  • It gives me a dedicated space to document my life and my progress towards my goals, that all mine. I just need to be honest with myself.

There are many other benefits that people have reported from journaling, but those are some of the headlines for how it works for me.

There are many ways to journal and I think its something that you do need to play around with yourself to find what works for you, however I do think that its a powerful tool for channeling your internal dialogue and therefore subconscious.

The biggest benefit I have had from journaling is an exercise I started 2 months ago, and is now THE essential part of my journaling routine.

The last thing I record in my journal before going to sleep is up to 8 questions for my subconscious to work on, these can be anything from self development, to what I need to improve in my writing, the development direction my business should be going, any issues Im having or problems Im difficulty in resolving.

In the morning, I get up grab a cup of tea and breakfast, open the journal, and pick up a pen, I start to answer the questions, just writing what comes from my subconscious, no filter, no thinking about just writing down the answers to the questions.

While I sleep my subconscious is working on the answers.

What this has done is give me clarity on the direction I should be going with my goals and the confidence to pursue them no matter what they are, if they are meant to give me enjoyment and fulfilment I’ll document that when I ask myself the question.

Likewise many things that were not giving me enjoyment, fulfilment or bringing me closer to my goals have been removed, giving me a simpler and less stressful life.

Ive also refocused on things I didn’t even know were that important to me, like family (that sounds bad and it is but at least I can be honest about it), the direction I want my life to in, the things I need to improve in myself, and also given the uncertainty in the world right now I have a clear direction to take in the event that I lose my job.

To say im less stressed, more rested, more in touch with my true self and sense of purpose and just generally happier and more grateful for the life I have is an understatment.

If you have been thinking about journaling or are journaling now and would like to 10x the benefits, then please give this small trick a go, its changing my life for the better, it coul give you a world of benefit as well…

Side Hustles

Probably not as complicated as you might think…

A grand idea or a simple way to make more money?

Maybe I’ve been reading too many side hustle stories online, watching too much shark tank, doing far too much overcomplicated research for a book idea or a combination of all three.

What I have concluded though is that there are so many people over selling, complicating, over glamourizing what a “side hustle” actually is.

I’ve written before and shouted from the rooftops about how fake “hustle culture” is online. I’m not saying people aren’t getting themselves out of debt and onto the road towards a financially future, of course they are. At the same time the idea that we need to work 24/7 flat out and trade or sell on shopify or develop some fancy new online ecosphere or even write our way to fame, fortune and a six figure living that lets us travel the globe with glamorous models driving ferrari’s is not real.

Its just not realistic and for most of us, we are not going to be able to spend 24 hours a day working, its not realistic. At the same time we all need more than 1 income stream. The almost constant disruption in the economy in the 12 years since the 2008 financial crisis I think has showed most of us that this is the way forward.

If you can get to a place where your making enough money to quit your 9–5 and have a business that then scales up, then great I really applaud you.

Look at the market, particularly in the States (too much shark tank again probably) and some of the great products primarily that people have developed that have gone on to make them millionaires many times over, simple stuff ideas that just went on to scale and sell such as sponge daddy or illumibowl, one of those the last time I checked was at over $ 140mm in sales.

If you look at those companies that have become just phenomenal successes, they were not for the most part an instant over night success. They took years of hard work to develop. This is where the falseness of the side hustle culture falls apart.

Ok so then what?

Well the good news, is that when it comes to starting a business on the side to give you another source of income on top of your 9–5, there really are no limits to what you can or how you achieve that as long as they are morally sound and legal.

Most people who do take the plunge start small and build up from there, they may work at it on a routine and dedicated basis, they may pick it up and drop it again when they choose to or when they need to, and then another thing you will find is people building out that source of income to fill a need they have, and then once that need is fulfilled they drop it.

These businesses, projects, ideas, challenges whatever you want to call yours come in all sorts of sizes and scales, from some that generate $10’s, $100’s or $1000’s in additional income at a pace that suits the people involved with them.

Some of them need some financing from friends and family, some from outside investors and some need less than $100 to get going, again all shapes and sizes. No one size solution fits all, and thats important to remember.

How do I get started?

Every first step is exactly the same, research, research, research. You need to find out what interests you, what the market for that is, how much its going to cost you and how much profit it will earn you.

At this point you don’t need an MBA or a fancy business plan document, notes in a legal pad for example will work just as well for your first steps.

You may even stumble into your business by accident or by need, if so again develop the idea through research and jot down your ideas.

The key details you need are:

  • What is the business or project going to sell?
  • Where do I get the thing im going to sell?
  • Whats it going to cost me (Buying, packaging, shipping, online seller fee’s) etc?
  • What can I sell it for?

For me the one that got me started was motorcycles, my motorcycle which wasn’t essential transport to me, broke down and wasn’t worth repairing. I didn’t want to take a loan to buy myself another bike so I decided my option might be breaking it and selling all the working parts, to get raise enough cash to buy another bike.

After doing research that evening, I got ebay and PayPal accounts on my smartphone (I was some what behind the times), and that was me set up.

I was then able to strip the bike for parts, using the tools I already owned, so no additional set up there, took photos and set up listings using the smartphone I already owned. The only cost was Packaging which I decided was going to be supermarket value black bags and cling film and shipping costs.

Looking back at my notes I think I bought the bike for $900, parted it out for $1900, took back $400 to reinvest in this idea of buying and breaking motorcycles and bought a far nicer for myself in the process.

That stream of income grew for 2 or 3 years and I moved into doing 2 bikes a month. What I got good at was buying stuff that was too far gone like it needed a new engine for example to make sense to repair, but had a lot of value to me in its component parts.

This was a good starting point for me and its a good tip for you as well, if the business involves one of your hobbies or its in an area your knowledgeable about, then its a great starting point for you to give this a go.

Once you’ve used that first one as a spring board, there is no limit to where you can go from there and in the years since, ive done all sorts of stuff, like phone covers, watches, used fountain pens, bankrupt stock, clothes.

You get the idea, if you can make money from it, its viable.

These were all side businesses separate from my 9–5 or sometimes my 28 day rotation, depneidng on what I was doing at the time.

None of them required me to work endless hours to chase the money, they required some effort sure, normally a 2–3 hour per day commitment. None of them required me to invest anything in new equipment my smartphone and tablet were all I needed to post the product online.

I didn’t invent this way of making additional income and wouldn’t claim to, all I did was look at what others were doing, get a sense of the market and work it as best I could to make as much money as possible.

Has it made me a millionaire well no, but that’s down to my commitment levels to it more than anything else, the more time you put to a certain point the more success financially you will get from your efforts.

Nowadays im working abroad and due to language barriers its not a dream that I can follow now and honestly my work schedule wouldn’t allow it.

However when its time to go home I know ill jump straight back in and double up my efforts.

Its all achievable, for less effort and less cost than you might think. If you are curious do your research and go for it, follow a clear path and you won’t lose. Just don’t expect it to be champagne and caviar overnight.

Creativity, something for the weekend sir?

No matter what your hobbies and pursuits are, chances are that right now you can’t indulge in them at the weekend the way you normally would.

To effectively break the weekend out from the rest of the week during these times, we need to break out our creativity and do something different.

Luckily for us all there are literally millions of options here, most of which can be enjoyed from the comfort of our very own lockdown cell, sorry I mean home…

The internet has a big role to play here as we can search for how to guides and video content to help us start well just about anything.

Being creative and using the artistic sides of our brain and personality has huge physical and mental health benefits and also has the handy advantage that it distracts us and takes us a usefully large portion of our time once we are in engaged in a creative activity.

It could be photography, after all your smart phone give you all the options you need and an app such as lightroom or others gives you alot of creative possibilities for those photos for free.

You could take that final step and get writing on medium, on your own blog or even just in a journal.

You could learn to play that instrument that gathering dust in the attic.

You could even indulge in some drawing or painting, got some paper, or wood or plasterboard etc in the garage? Got some household paint and a kitchen knife even? Great you can now have hours of fun creating abstract art.

The list of possibilities is endless, but what they all have in common is that they are all tremendously good fun, great for your mental and physical wellbeing and easier than you think to get started.

This weekend give it a go, I guarantee you wont regret it…

Change is here, let’s embrace it

In the last 10 to 15 years the world has been changing at an astonishing fast rate. At the same time Humans, dread, hate and generally do everything we can to avoid change. Some of the change we have seen is for the better and some we could argue is for the worse such is the way of the world.

2020 is definitely causing widespread change across the globe and in all areas of our lives like never before, we just need to get comfortable with it and embrace the changes.

Winston Churchill once said that “to improve is to change and to change often is to be perfect”

We all have the power and ability to change our outlook to suit our circumstances, and likewise we all have the ability to be comfortable with and embrace change.

t’s an opportunity to pursue new hobbies or take up old ones. It may be the opportunity to take a new challenge in a new country or it may be unfortunately also be a forced change in circumstances.

Whatever it is try to embrace it, remember that change itself does not have to be negative, we control what we think and we control how we react. If our thoughts and reactions are positive then change itself is nothing at all to fear.

How and when changes come to us are largely uncontrollable from a personnel perspective and what we cant control should never be a source of worry, apprehension or regret.

How we react to the change, make the most of it and use it to thrive, that we do control.

At the end of the day who doesn’t seek perfection? Even just a little??