A Simple Digital Life

Refocusing Creative Life

 iPhone Photography: the first winter day

iPhone Photography: the first winter day

Do you feel a need for reflection at this time of year? In between the energising summer and the comforting winter holidays? Before the bustle of holiday preparations and the blank page of a new year?

I do. It's so easy to get caught up in the bustle of everyday chores, and lose sight of the big picture. This feels like a good time to assess what's been working and what hasn't. I'd like to let go of the baggage of the past and be ready for a new beginning. Ease myself into Christmas and find a focus for next year.

My theme for this autumn has been to reevaluate my expenses, energy and time. I seem to constantly be pruning and reinventing my digital life. Reducing stress, clutter, noise to support focus and creative space. This autumn I’ve reclaimed a surprising amount of time, focus and money by cutting back on online activities, subscriptions and participation in various online forums, challenges, blogs, e-courses, business books and so on, in favour of focusing more on being in the present, spending time with family and friends and exploring opportunities of the offline world. So far I’ve:

  1. Taken a course in “Discovering and Creating Patterns” at the National Gallery of my hometown.
  2. Applied for an artist’s grant to go to Paris for a month! (cross your fingers!)
  3. Set aside Friday afternoons in the studio for spontaneous, playful explorations in different media with a focus on letting go of expectations. It's been wonderful to create a space for my own creativity (aside from client work) and to treat that time with the same respect as I would if it was a course or a meeting with other people.

I thought about what I'd like to focus on during the end of the year, and jotted down my thoughts with pen and paper:

  1. A time to commit to your art and illuminate the skills and resources that nurture your talents. Build a stronger foundation.
  2. Inner wealth.
  3. Look at different ways of generating an income.
  4. Keep it simple. Sensuality. Slow life. The cozy comforts of home.
  5. Bloom where you're planted. Sink in where you are, a path to creativity.

What are your reflections for the end of winter? How has your autumn been? Do you like to refocus and reassess now and then?

Pruning My Digital Life

 iPhone photography: Magnolia    

iPhone photography: Magnolia

 

I'm reinventing my digital life. Again. It always seems to creep up on me, the increasing time I spend in my digital environment. The number of web sites on my RSS-feed and the jumble of e-mail in my inbox. Time with social media.

Today I saw a hedgehog outside the studio and took this photo of magnolia with my iPhone. And as I write this blog post, the evening breeze touches me with the scents of spring. This elusive time of year when each day the leaves on the trees open more. Shades of green, from lime to deep green. Blossoms...

It's time to do some pruning and tiding up. Both in my balcony garden and in my digital life. The stream of information has become a flood. I need to take a step back to find some peace and quiet and to enjoy the summer. It's time to spend more time out of doors than in my digital life.

This summer you'll see less of me on Twitter and Facebook. I won't be spending so much time visiting and commenting on blogs.

However, I'll still be blogging regularly and Marmalade Moon will be updated each Tuesday, with an additional post later in the week if I have any extra news. I'll soon be sending out the Spring Edition of Club Marmalade Moon and I'm putting the finishing touches to some desktop art soon to be released. So there'll be lots going on. But I'll also be making space for having some magnolia moments.

What are your plans for your digital life this summer? Will you be taking a vacation from your desktop environment or will it be a time when you perhaps enjoy spending a little more time on your computer projects?

Reinventing My Digital Life

 Red Tulip

Red Tulip

When I got my first computer, it was my personal digital space. After a day at work, I would finally get home to my computer, my operating system - a digital space that could be anything I wanted it to be. For me, it was wonderful to not have to have Excel installed at home. Or Windows. Or Solitaire. Oh and WordPerfect!

My computer was a place where I learned new things. A playground. A digital canvas. A wonderful world of writing and painting and connecting with people.

A few years on I began freelancing and soon I started my own company, Marmalade Moon. All of a sudden both my work and many of my hobbies were on the same computer. In the same environment.

 Iris

Iris

And gradually, my once so creative and peaceful digital canvas became a stressful environment flooded with e-mail, instant messaging, social media, the distractions of the internet and unread RSS feed items... Who thought of that idea anyway? "Unread items"? As though reading articles you're interested in, is a list of obligations and not a pleasure? And yes of course it spills over into how you feel about it!

So here I was, in a wonderfully convenient and portable digital space that blended work with leisure, but finding myself feeling overwhelmed, unenthusiastic and stressed out.

And I knew that it wasn't the tool itself, my computer, it was how I was using it.

There is a reason why we travel during our holidays! A change of scenery and having new experiences induces new perspectives and stirs the creative spirits. And here I was stuck in a stressful routine, spending too much time in the same digital environment. I needed to reinvent my digital life.

 Scilla

Scilla

So I decided to create some new habits for my digital life. To make changes to how and when I browse the web, to clean up my RSS-feeds, my mail and to turn things on and off. To reduce the stream of information. To log off to find the time, inspiration and attention for the things I value most. To focus on being creative and connecting. To find my flow. And to return to my laptop to express myself.

The next thing I did was to get an iPhone. This Christmas I found the time to explore it and to create a delightful, personal digital space on my iPhone. This really got me excited and renewed my interest in my laptop too! It turned out to be a really fabulous move for me, to have a digital space that had absolutely no work on it!

Sometimes, it's good to take a step back from everything. To get some perspective and re-focus. If you spend a lot of time in a digital environment, I think it's important to now and then take a look at how it's working for you. Reinventing my digital life has been so refreshing for me, that it'll be one of the topics for my blog. With writings about creating a personal digital space, I hope to bring some inspiration to your digital life.

© 2014 Marmalade Moon