Look! A Post That Isn’t About Paris!




I forget where I first came across illustrator Tom Gauld, but I do remember being instantly charmed by his adorably witty and topical (to me) work. His cartoons appear weekly in The Guardian, but it’s his spot-on drawings of problems faced by writers and book-lovers that really get me. “Pauses, Tea Breaks and Naps” and “Advanced Workspace Rearrangement” are two classes I am sadly well-qualified to teach.

I haven’t written anything in the month that I’ve been back from Paris. I just haven’t had the time, which I’ve learned means I haven’t cared enough to make the time, which makes me sad. What are your best “get back on that horse” words of wisdom, kiddos?

29 thoughts on “Look! A Post That Isn’t About Paris!

  1. Believe in the process. You were raised with a creative father and watched him study sunsets, vapor trails, art books, paintings, sketches, people, places, things….the space between the notes before he created the visual expression.
    Can you just hear his response to the first illustration? It’s a poor craftsman who blames his tools…which he would quickly follow up with—I can’t fix that. I don’t have the correct tool.

    1. The space between the notes. I need that tattooed on me for a constant reminder! What I really need is the time to reflect and let the creative process do its thing. I don’t even have the time to do that. xo

  2. that library thing is so funny! (because it’s so true obviously). ugh, to get back on track . . . well this is the bane of my existence trying to make myself do stuff by pure and simple self motivation on a daily basis. i think i pretty much berate myself into it. not a pretty answer but true. i think about how i am not doing something for so long until i (being competitive with myself in nature i guess ???) feel the need prove myself wrong by doing “it” or at least pretending/trying to do it. i need to go through that cycle today in fact – i need to get a couple things done! xo

    1. It sounds like you actually have a cycle that works, though! Our brains are so funny, aren’t they? The moment I sit down at my desk to write, my brain immediately starts telling me how dirty the bathroom is, and shouldn’t I get up right this second to go clean it? I do fight through it (sometimes) so maybe I have a system worked out and I just don’t realize it? But it’s the actual getting to the desk that kills me. I just can’t seem to make it happen! xo

  3. Don’t beat yourself up over it. You have a wedding coming up and wedding planning eats up a lot of time without you realizing it.

    I think that it helps if you schedule blocks in your calendar for working and if you try to stick to them. Start with setting aside one hour every day at the same time and force yourself to work through that hour uninterrupted.

    Good luck!

    1. Ooh, wedding! I knew I could blame something on that ;) I really like the idea of making a calendar appointment. That is a good way to hold me accountable for the time spent! As it stands now, a lot of my time is spent in a ball on the sofa watching Law and Order SVU. Not entirely productive! Thanks, lovely. xo

  4. Don’t try to force things if they’re not there. You can’t create when you’re not feeling it from within. That’s all I’ve got! I love these illustrations though!

    1. That’s helpful advice, Marine! I think I’ve been resting on “not feeling it” as a blanket excuse though, haha. I’m bad. xo

  5. Oh, I love his work. I think it fits all sorts of creative processes, not just writing, and the library bit cracks me UP. So much of all of this stuff (waves hands limply about) is “purely for show.”

    I’ll say what I always say. Even when it doesn’t feel like there’s work going on, there’s work going on.

  6. Haha the last cartoon is just perfect! Sometimes I feel like that just while blogging :-) I think you need to find a Parisienne themed coffee shop nearby to get your mojo back!

    1. I should use your “What Should I Blog About?” idea generator! That thing is so neat. I should collaborate with you to make one for creativity in general. But I love your plan in the interim!! xo

  7. these are so great, and i can definitely relate to that bookshelf and coding system. as for getting back into a routine, well, i had to do a little of that once we moved. i’d say the easiest way for me to do it was to dive head first into the routine and to just do it. it was so easy to simply watch tv before we moved and i wanted to make a conscious effort to read more after the move, and believe me, i’ve been in the middle of the same fiction book since mid-june which is an awfully long time, but i made time to read two nonfiction books since then as well! it’s just a matter of sucking it up, and doing it, because, well, you know you want to. ;)

    1. Oh man, it is so easy to watch tv for hours. Embarrassingly easy, actually. I really do need to pull a Nike and just do it, drag my sorry butt to my desk and make it happen. Gotta suck it up! I was no better in school, procrastinating on papers until the last possible minute. The bad thing was, I always got As, so I wasn’t really learning my lesson with putting things off, haha. Oh well. Time for new habits! xo

  8. Ne soi pas trop dure avec toi même! N’oublie pas que tu as ton mariage à préparer, tu as un dessert à manger et un voyage to make! Après tout ça tu trouveras le temps facilement ! xo

    1. Hahahahah, Eva, je t’aime. “Tu as un dessert à manger” est mon commentaire favori de tous les temps. C’est parfait!! xo

  9. I’ve just come back from a two day time management course and was seriously surprised at how much I learnt about procrastination. We’re all very guilty of it. Interestingly enough, I learnt that I was doing completely the wrong tasks when my brain was at it’s most creative. Now I tackle those tough tasks that I procrastinate on first thing in the morning when my brain can make mincemeat out of them. I’d say try that with writing but writing is so influenced by mood. Could work though?

    1. I’ve never met a person who didn’t procrastinate on at least something. Usually it’s something like emptying the dishwasher or doing laundry, you know, things that aren’t as vital to my soul as creative productivity, haha. I might have to make a note of what times of day I’m most productive, and capitalize on it from there. I don’t think mornings are my strong suit ;) Thanks for the tips! xo

  10. The “advanced desk rearrangement” definitely applies to me. Not just rearrangement, but having the compulsion to scour the internet for the next best thing in desk design, accessories, writing instruments, copious amounts of paper products, and then deciding that my desk situation is fine the way it (mostly after realizing I couldn’t fit anymore s**t). I might have a problem.

    Tom Gauld has a new fan in me, thanks to you! My words of wisdom for getting back on the creative writing horse hail from my father: “It won’t write itself.” Simple, but to the point.

    1. Don’t even get me started on cute paper accessories. I can’t even tell you how many hours I’ve wasted looking for the perfect notebook/pen/cup holder. I’m not allowed in Paper Source anymore, as a personal rule.

      Cripes that is some good advice. Wise dad you have there! I’m going to write that down and pin it above my desk! Thanks, girl! xo

  11. how could i have wise words???? when i have no idea _how_ a writer, writes.

    it boggles my mind, how one sits down and writes a novel.. totally boggles my mind.

    best wishes, is all i can add…


  12. I sometimes find that either –
    a) simply doing all other jobs (i.e. cleaning, ironing – which I absolutely HATE, doing laundry, washing the dishes etc.) until I have eliminated all means of procrastination – or
    b) forcing myself to sit down and do it (in my case – it being art work)
    …because in any case, once I do get going, I always find that I genuinely enjoy myself, after which I conclude that I simply have to make time more often, which tends to work as a motivator in itself.
    Doing these things we really enjoy – whether they be writing or painting – I often find makes me be and live much more mindfully, in the moment.

    Hope inspiration returns soon! :)

    1. Thanks, Mia! You know, I honestly never considered the alternative of just giving in to the temptation of laundry and all the other menial tasks to procrastinate, just to get them out of the way! That’s actually really smart. If I did everything my brain told me to do, eventually it would run out of excuses. Why fight it? I do genuinely enjoy myself when I’m “in the zone” and type type typing away. It feels so good. It was the highlight of my day in Paris, and inspiration was boundless. Oy. Let’s hope I can get back in the swing of things soon! xo

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