I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

Letter Play

When I was back home at my par­ents over Christ­mas I sor­ted through a couple of boxes of bits that were tak­ing up some space in the room I sleep in when I’m there. Dur­ing the pro­cess I came across some of my old sketch­books from my Art Found­a­tion course and had a flick through.
I was struck by how dif­fer­ent they were com­pared to the note­books I’ve been keep­ing for the last few years. They were full of cre­ativ­ity. Each page was dif­fer­ent, wheth­er it was explor­ing my own ideas on a pro­ject, or a con­tex­tu­al spread about a design­er or artist that inspired me.
The last couple of days have been odd ones for me. After many months of not feel­ing much of the effects of my depres­sion, yes­ter­day when I woke up I could feel the heav­i­ness and fog of it. I had the same thing this morn­ing, so I’ve done what is the only thing I can do. I’ve tried to push on and not let it stop me doing my work.
This even­ing I put a film on, one of my favour­ites, Good Will Hunt­ing and grabbed my sketch book, a scalpel, two magazines I get free from Waitrose, a pritt-stick, and my Bible. I flicked to one of my favour­ite verses and while I watched the film I sat on the floor cut­ting out words and letters.
It’s been a long time since I did any­thing like this and about ten minutes before the film fin­ished I had fin­ished. It might’ve taken me a lot longer than I remem­ber it tak­ing, but for those two hours there was no fog and I was just able to enjoy being absorbed in some­thing a little more cre­at­ive than my nor­mal design work.

Establishing New Habits Without Apps ›

I’ve been try­ing to estab­lish some new habits lately so this was a timely post from CJ Chil­vers. I’ve been using the app Streaks like he men­tions to keep focused on some of my habits, but there is a cer­tain lack of account­ab­il­ity that goes with it. When a big streak gets broken it’s very hard to find the energy to start again.
One thing I’ve found a bit easi­er to face when starting—or restarting—a pro­ject is to break it down to months. Define the goal, decide to begin it at the start of the next month, and then make sure you’re ready to go in the time in between. The space allows you to pro­cess what you’re aim­ing to accom­plish, and allows you the time you need to make sure you’re ready to get going.

In response to my post the oth­er day, John Philpin respon­ded with a quote from his Mum. I really liked it so wanted to share it here for more people to discover.

Mom: “Remem­ber … don’t for­get to write to me at least once a week – even bet­ter – every day.”
Me: “Every day! There wont be enough to say every day!”
Mom: “You will find that the more you write the more you will have to say, because then everything is import­ant. If you only write once a month, there will be noth­ing import­ant enough to write about.” 

Don’t forget to write

Write More ›

Camer­on Moll pos­ted a thread on Twit­ter urging people to write. Here are the four tweets quoted:

I’ve found it incred­ibly dif­fi­cult to make time for long-form writ­ing the past few years. When I have, the cata­lyst has been remind­ing myself of the tre­mend­ous ROI as a design­er, man­ager, busi­ness own­er, and so on.
If you want to be a bet­ter design­er, write more.
If you want to be a bet­ter man­ager, write more.
If you want to be a bet­ter biz own­er, write more.
You can also sub­sti­tute “speak more” for each of these.
The act of syn­thes­iz­ing what’s in your head for an audi­ence of crit­ics leads to increased ana­lyt­ic­al think­ing, self-aware­ness, clar­ity, and much more.
Last but not least, you inspire oth­ers to write—or at the very least ‘write’ by join­ing the con­ver­sa­tion you’ve started. 

It’s some­thing I’ve been think­ing about lots the last couple of weeks. I’ve been want­ing to post to my blog more because I think it will be bene­fi­cial for me in many ways, one of which to help me build dis­cip­line and self-con­trol in oth­er areas of my life.
The thing that really strikes me about this Twit­ter thread, the whole thing would make a good blog post. It prob­ably would’ve been easi­er to post to a blog as well, likely have a longer life span, and con­sequently have more of an impact. Not all writ­ing on a blog has to be long to have an impact, if it’s worth string­ing four tweets togeth­er in a thread to make a point, it’s worthy of a blog post.

Thoughts On Just Turning Up

I’ve been think­ing a little more about the link I pos­ted to Aus­tin Kleon’s blog the oth­er day. I fin­ished it with the line

Instead there should just be turn­ing up to write down a thought and see­ing where it takes you.
It’s a sen­ti­ment that you hear quite reg­u­larly around the Inter­net these days. Just keep turn­ing up every day and do the thing—whatever your thing is. 

The phrase turn­ing up is just a less intim­id­at­ing way of say­ing be dis­cip­lined. Turn­ing up to write a blog post every­day is a dis­cip­line, just as read­ing your bible every day is or get­ting up without press­ing the snooze button.
As I get older I’m under­stand­ing more and more that learn­ing to be dis­cip­lined is one of the most import­ant things you can do. It can effect every area of your life and it’s easy to assume that dis­cip­line is some­thing that you have or you don’t. That you’re either able to be dis­cip­lined or you’re not, but that’s not the case. Dis­cip­line, I’m learn­ing, is some­thing you can devel­op. It’s like a muscle, the more you work it the stronger it gets.
The hard part, I believe, is not get­ting star­ted but main­tain­ing and devel­op­ing. Every­one can start some­thing, doing it for a couple of days before they get dis­trac­ted or it begins to feel like work, and then stop­ping because it requires effort to con­tin­ue. But that’s where you need to begin exer­cising that muscle of dis­cip­line, when things feel too hard keep going regard­less, over time how hard it feels will dis­ap­pear and instead it will become some­thing you do each and every day.
So join me in learn­ing to be dis­cip­lined. Start­ing tomor­row morn­ing decide what time you’re going to get up, set your alarm and then get up when it goes off. No snooz­ing, no rolling over, just turn off that alarm and get up. Then do it the next day, and the next, until it becomes some­thing you just do.

Thoughts as Nest Eggs ›

Today when you say “nest egg” many think of money saved and put away, but a lit­er­al “nest egg” is a real or fake egg that you put in a nest to encour­age a bird or a hen to lay more eggs there. So what Thor­eau is say­ing is that by simply writ­ing down a thought, you encour­age more thoughts to come. When you have enough thoughts pushed togeth­er in the same space — a col­lage of thoughts, jux­ta­posed — they often lead to some­thing totally new.
This is the magic of writing. 

Aus­tin Kle­on wrapped up a recent post with the quote above. The post on one level is about journ­al­ing and writ­ing in gen­er­al, but do you know what else that quote describes? A blog.
A blog is noth­ing more than a series of thoughts writ­ten down over a peri­od of time. When you think about it that way it’s incred­ibly free­ing. There should be no pres­sure. Instead there should just be turn­ing up to write down a thought and see­ing where it takes you.

Self Portraits ›

This is a really inter­est­ing post from Colin Walk­er about what we have effect­ively been doing on social media for the last 10 years. Paint­ing a self por­trait of ourselves over time.
I’ve nev­er thought about it like that before, and when you add in you’re own blog or per­son­al site, it makes for a rich and tex­tured ongo­ing piece. His con­clu­sions at the end of the post are challenging…

We can tell the stor­ies we think oth­er people want to hear. We can tell skewed stor­ies as we are often not truly hon­est with ourselves. We tell oth­er people’s stor­ies rather than our own, without com­ment, without opinion.
What use are the wrong stor­ies and are we doing ourselves a dis­ser­vice by telling them? 

I think, that without real­ising it, over the last few months of try­ing to revital­ise my blog and using Micro.blog I and many oth­ers are try­ing to reclaim our stor­ies and take hold of the paintbrush.
Post­ing to Twit­ter through your own site first changes the focus of the ser­vice entirely. We go from being a pass­ive con­sumer, lik­ing, retweet­ing, reply­ing, with the occa­sion­al ori­gin­al post, to an ori­gin­al post being the focus. We are cre­at­ing and adding to our own story rather than expand­ing and adding to someone else’s. Of course it’s not wrong to be involved in oth­er people’s lives, we are cre­ated to be in com­munity, but by cre­at­ing first the involve­ment turns into a con­ver­sa­tion rather than just turn­ing the volume up for someone else. There’s a bal­ance to be found.

A mid-year review

Last week I was away at the CMJ Con­fer­ence, I had the pleas­ure of join­ing them to take pho­tos of the event, post to social media through­out it on their accounts, and to hear some excel­lent bible teach­ing in the pro­cess. It las­ted from Fri­day after­noon to late Sunday after­noon, and by the time I got home I was abso­lutely exhausted. I spent most of the week recov­er­ing whilst try­ing to work and, thank­fully, have spent most of this week­end doing some ser­i­ous intro­vert­ing at home.
Last Sat­urday after­noon while I was sat on the sofa read­ing and watch­ing Le Tour, it struck me that we are nearly at the end of July. We’re over halfway through the year and it seemed like a good time to review some of the goals I set out with at the start of the year.
For those who don’t know, I laid them out in my now page at the start of the year, which saw an update in April. Whilst I didn’t make a post here about those updates, a mid year review of those aims seems like a good thing to make note of.

Health & Personal

One of my aims at the start of the year was to take bet­ter care of myself than I’ve done in pre­vi­ous years. I bought a Fit­bit and set out to hit the 10,000 steps per day goal. That aim is going reas­on­ably well. I’m hit­ting an aver­age of 9,219 steps per day, which isn’t quite the 10,000 I’m aim­ing for. How­ever when you con­sider that I’ve spent a total of 2 weeks taken out by ill­ness (thanks former house­mates for shar­ing your bugs) or my wis­dom tooth oper­a­tion when I barely hit 1000 steps a day, I’ll take it.
In terms of exer­cise, I was play­ing foot­ball most weeks until it stopped for the sum­mer, although I wasn’t enjoy­ing it quite as much as I had done. The couch to 5K plan hasn’t really happened either, run­ning is some­thing I do not enjoy, I find it frus­trat­ing and bor­ing so eas­ily become demo­tiv­ated to do it. I have how­ever been doing a Fit­star work out most weeks since May, although I con­fess that June/July has not been great on this front I’ve star­ted that up again this weekend.

Faith

I’m pleased to say that I am still work­ing through the 5 Day Read­ing Plan. I’ve got­ten behind a few times but nev­er more than a week, and what’s more, I don’t find myself read­ing out of oblig­a­tion but out of desire to keep read­ing The Word of The Lord.
My use of the Pray­er Mate app has also con­tin­ued although much more spot­tily. I go through phases of using it every­day and then phases of only using it here and there. That’s ok though, it’s a tool after all and not an oblig­a­tion or the only way to pray. The times I’ve used it well it’s been bene­fi­cial, but so have the times when I have not used it as much.
When it comes to the mem­or­isa­tion of scrip­ture, I’ve not been quite so good. The Verses app is still on my iPhone, but I haven’t used it as much as I hoped. I plan to be more inten­tion­al over the second half of the year to make use of this app.

Freelancing

I’m still con­tinu­ing to do this, and in fact the last couple of months have been busy and very enjoy­able. Please do recom­mend me or get in touch if you know any­one who might need some design work.

This Site

I am post­ing to this site more reg­u­larly, although the major­ity of the posts are small status type posts I have been able to post a few more con­sidered posts. One thing I’ve noticed it that I am post­ing less links which means that more of the con­tent here is ori­gin­al and not point­ing to some­where else. One thing I have decided to do is put less pres­sure on myself to post, it’s my site after all and so why should there be a pres­sure to put some­thing here if I’m not feel­ing cre­at­ive in that way.
I have also star­ted anoth­er side pro­ject, and I can’t decide wheth­er to dual post here as well as there. In the mean time it will remain where it is and on Medi­um as a publication.

Reading

My Goodreads Read­ing Chal­lenge is on track. Of the 25 books I pledged to read I’ve read 13 so far and am a good chunk through 2 more. Once again the num­ber of fic­tion books are out­weigh­ing the non-fic­tion ones, which is under­stand­able as I read at the end of each day to help me relax, it is some­thing I would like to be more even over the next half of the year.


On reflec­tion it’s been a pretty good first half of the year, both in terms of the goals I set out to accom­plish and in some of the things that hap­pen in life. My pray­er is that the second will con­tin­ue in this vein, per­haps with a bit more pro­gress on the health­i­er liv­ing side of things than I’ve had so far.

Walking

Back in Janu­ary 2015 when I real­ised I was ill, and con­sequently star­ted a course of anti­de­press­ants, many people encour­aged me to exer­cise. I had been a keen cyc­list and they encour­aged me to keep at it and get out on my bike as much as I could. I was told, and in fact read many times, that exer­cise was a great way of coun­ter­ing some of the symp­toms of depres­sion. My issue was that the thought of going out on my bike caused me anxi­ety and stress, both things which I was try­ing to avoid and so I dis­missed the notion as not for me. Nearly two and a half years later I’m start­ing to under­stand a little of what the mys­ter­i­ous they were talk­ing about.
About a month ago I moved into a new flat, one which I’m liv­ing in on my own, it’s great to have my own space again. As a con­sequence of that move I’ve been doing a lot more walk­ing. It’s loc­ated in such a place that I can walk to pretty much every­where I need to go on a reg­u­lar basis. I can walk to my shifts at the cof­fee house, my church, a couple of super­mar­kets, as well as the centre of town, and I’ve been doing that as much as is prac­tic­ally pos­sible. It’s become a time that I enjoy, an oppor­tun­ity to pop my head­phones in and listen to some music or catch up on a few podcasts.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve begun to notice some­thing, when I don’t get my daily walks in my mood suf­fers. The real­isa­tion has come home to roost this bank hol­i­day week­end. On Sat­urday and Monday I did­n’t really go out. I stayed home in my flat tinker­ing on my web­sites, mak­ing a few adjust­ments, watch­ing some TV shows, what most people call relax­ing. And it has been just that, but today I noticed the heav­i­ness creep­ing in, it made me real­ise what effect going out for a walk has on me.
It’s not just the small amount of exer­cise that a brisk walk provides that I’ve missed today, it’s the inten­tion­al­ity of going for a walk. Instead of the day just passing by, the act of walk­ing to work is inten­tion­al and provides an ele­ment of struc­ture to my day. I need to sched­ule in the time for my walk to work oth­er­wise I won’t get there on time let­ting people down. It helps that my walk to work is a pleas­ant one down an old rail­way line, that’s what’s in the photo at the top of this post, for a moment I can be lost in the won­der of look­ing at the trees and green­ery as I walk. It provides a chance to look at God’s cre­ation and see how the same place changes from day to day. It’s a chance to walk and listen to some new music or the latest pod­casts, in my own little world that’s out­side in the wider world. It’s a chance to pop the head­phones out and walk listen­ing to the birds and rust­ling of the trees. When the sun­’s out it’s espe­cially enjoy­able, but even on a rainy day I look for­ward to my walk to work.
Almost by acci­dent I’ve dis­covered that the act of walk­ing to work provides me with a moment of calm. In that walk there is noth­ing I can do for my design busi­ness, noth­ing I need to do for my cof­fee house shift, no tweets or Ins­tagram pho­tos to catch up on (unless I want to walk into my fel­low walk­ers or be run over by the many cyc­lists), I can just enjoy the simple act of walking.

Seth Godin Explains Why You Should Blog Daily ›

With the arrival of Micro.blog my interest in my blog has picked up con­sid­er­ably. It’s always been there bub­bling at the back of my mind, but act­ively post­ing micro posts to it has me once again look­ing to post oth­er con­tent more reg­u­larly. CJChil­vers linked to an art­icle by Seth God­in that Explains Why You Should Blog Daily res­on­ated deeply with me and the grow­ing desire to post to this site more reg­u­larly. It’s both a cre­at­ive out­let both and a men­tal out­let that I know will be good for me. I intend to mix the con­tent I post between links, quotes and ori­gin­al articles/thoughts along­side the afore men­tioned micro posts.