Posted in #Quest2016, mock covers

Two x Two Stories

#Quest2016 Tracking Wonder

Question 12: Jen Louden, personal growth pioneer who helped launch the self-care movement and author of The Woman’s Comfort Book(HarperOne 2005) and A Year of Daily Joy (National Geographic 2014).

Two Stories
What’s the story you most desire to bring to life in 2016?
What’s the story your just-right client most desires to bring to life in 2016?
Where do your two stories overlap?

What’s the story you most desire to bring to life in 2016?

m_Quest 12 Same Story Sane story 2It should be easy for a story-teller to tell their story for 2016, right? So why is this turning out to be the hardest prompt for me to answer?

I guess it’s because the story I most desire to bring to life in 2016 is neither new nor unique. It’s the same story I’ve been working on for years now–the one in which finally all my ‘dues’ are paid, my work is both recognised and earning me a comfortable living, and I reach that point where life is fun and full of wonderful adventures every Wednesday. Don’t ask me why, but most of my adventures have begun on a Wednesday… So, I’m hoping by next Wednesday to have this story start moving briskly along instead of being stalled as it appears to have done for most of 2015.


My just-right client and their story?

I have two just-right clients to consider: my readers and my design clients.

m_Quest 12 readers adventureI’ve been fortunate in already ‘meeting’ my just-right readers.

They are the Melissa Roses and Rachel Pauls of the world. Woman with a sense of humour, adventure, and a sense of honor and how to honor others.
My just-right reader is also my parent’s friend who read my novel every morning and evening in the carpool drive, and my critter friends who read and comment.
All of my just-right readers call me out on things they don’t like, enjoy my writing anyway, and support me further.
Their story for 2016 is to find new stories or old stories with new twists, to read about adventure while learning about new cultures, and having a little bit of a laugh with and idea to chew upon.

My just right design client and their story for 2016?

m_Quest 12 Not Buying inThey are following their integrity. They are leading from the front. They are open to new ideas, reinventing the old, learning from history and not making the same mistakes twice. They are much like me in their visions for a better future, and not buying into the doom and gloom mythos with is currently pervading much of the collective experience.




Where our stories overlap?

m_Quest 12 Overlap
Their intuition, and mine, will tell us where our stories overlap–past, present or future. And if our stories don’t or won’t overlap, that’s fine too. You can’t have a walk-on on every person’s life-stage, but you can still provide them with a good service 🙂

Posted in #Quest2016

Advice from my Future Self

#Quest2016 Tracking Wonder

Question 4: Dr Tina Seelig, faculty director of the Stanford University School of Engineering, and author of inGenius: A Crash Course in Creativity.

Future Self
What advice would your future self a year from now give you today.

A perennial favourite of mine has been the Wear Sunscreen song and school address. Much of its advice still resonates with me, as does the words of many luminaries of our time. So, if my future self sounds familiar, know that it’s heavily influenced by wiser words and minds than mine.

future self negatives

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Like most things today, you can edit, add layers, revise and align perfectly once you’ve built the whole picture. Extreme perfectionism is merely an excuse for inaction, one which eats away at opportunities which may become scarcer each day.

If people don’t get you, leave them be. The times of banging your head against a brick wall are over, and the energy saved, is better used on those people who do.

I’m proud of you for finally valuing your skills. Valuing your own skills is one of the hardest lessons you’ll have learned. Don’t ever sell yourself short again; it’s a long spiralling slide downward.

Yes, it’s still just you. Yes, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever meet your true love, but there’s always hope. Stranger things have happened. Besides, what would the human race be without hope but bottom-feeders too afraid to walk out of the primordial swamp.

You’ve done good. Know that at your lowest moments in 2016, you’ve still created more, created better, created boundary-pushing-stuff for you, and comparing yourself to others isn’t fair on you, or them.

You’ve made a lot of new friends. Some have gone, some remain. Some let you know they’re alive and well every day, while some make you smile every now and then. Treasure them all. They’ll still be here for this new year, if only in spirit.

Sleep. While some may judge your sleeping in or napping, only you know how much better you work and create after a snooze. In the end, sleep is a necessity much under-rated, and one which can be more precious than money or love.

Paint. You know you want to. Paint heartens you, challenges you and gives you a sense of achievement digital cannot. Good or bad, the painting is yours, an expression of your soul which, perhaps even your conscious mind cannot decode. Besides, you never know; your work may one day bring joy to those you may never meet.

Rest. You are not a machine. Trying to work like one only burns you out.

But most of all, don’t sweat the small stuff.

future self postiive

Posted in #Quest2016, Tips and Hacks

2016 Resolutions?

As part of #Quest2016, I had to resolutely consider my future working habits by answering the following question.

Question 7: John Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing Consultancy Network, and author of The Commitment Engine.

What can you stop doing in 2016 such that it would allow you to focus on higher payoff activities?

For immediate pay-off:

Stop playing computer games when I feel overwhelmed, and take a real break from the computer instead.
The pay-off:
Better health via less stress and strain, a real fresh brain, a happier computer.

no gameshappy computer

For medium-term pay-off:

Stop spending hours on job or assignment applications which lead to nothing.
The pay-off:
More time to write stories which are more likely to pay something—if not soon, then someday in the future.

time applyingtime writing

For long-term pay-off:

Stop being a mouse about my abilities and accomplishments.
The pay-off: My work would move to a synonymous shelf, instead of remaining in the anonymous box.

being mouseSynonymouse

  • with thanks to little Dora, and the rest of her C3 class, for showing me how to draw a mouse :)
Posted in #Quest2016, nonfiction

Out with the old, in with 2016


I was inspired by one of my classmates in the Blogging201 course, BlueCarPaintedGreen, and her blog post to join #Quest2016. You can find out more about it here.

This past year (and the year before that) was not much fun, so I thought I’d try something new  for 2016. It will be great to have a creative community to support and from which I also receive support.

The Quest to do ‘business as unusual’ begins simply enough, or so it seems.
Three times a week, you get a prompt question, which you answer on your social media or blog. I joined late, so I’m way behind. And, as usual, I seem to be doing things back to front; but this prompt seems the best one for me to make a start.

I’ll be answering the prompts on this blog, and on InBetweener too.

Day 5–Seth Godin’s prompt: Who would miss you if you were to disappear right now? What would have to change for that question to lead to a better answer?

Quest2015 prompt 1 no1

Quest2015 prompt 1 no1

Quest2015 prompt 1 no3

Quite a depressing question to contemplate, so I don’t suggest you do.
And if you have a dog or a cat, give them a hug. Yes, right now, please. Thank you.

What would have to change for that question to lead to a better answer?

Tricky question this. I would have to do better, I suppose–be better. Except, so many do what I do, better. So many have taken similar ideas (and sometimes mine) and done them better.
So better is not an option. Ditto different.

Besides, none of this is answering the real question: What would have to change…?

I would have to change, or the world would have to change. Or both.

Or, and this seems infinitely more doable and thinkable: My world would have to change, ‘cos heaven knows what’s in yours, and I don’t know yet (’til I get to know you and your world) whether or not I want to be a part of it.

My world would have to change. That’s what it boils down to.

Quest2015 prompt 1 no4

How do I change my world? I’m open to suggestions.