I’ve talked with Gina and written about Creative Block, Procrastination, how to know if you’ve got one or the other (or perhaps both….) so the final installment in this series, before I go back to blogging about art, is all about STUFF!

It’s also the subject of our next podcast (out on 17 June) and so I thought I’d have a little think* about it…

Life is full of stuff. Actual stuff, and mental stuff. And that’s just anyway. Throw a creative, artistic temperament into the mix and….oh boy.

They’re all linked – they must be. Let’s think* about this…


I know for a fact that my tendency to procrastinate, means that heaps are a feature of my life. If I just got on and did the thing then I could put things away, not need the endless piles of paper with scribbled “to do” lists, actually find my bullet journal. I’d have a clear desk.


If I read all the books I’ve bought, I might discover that meh, I don’t like that one or it’s not useful and be able to donate it. Or if I decided I’m never going to read that, and donate it anyway. I’d have space on the shelves.

All the things

If I did all the projects I’ve ever thought of and hoarded the materials and equipment for, I’d use up said materials. Or if I decided – right now – that while it’s nice to make a rag rug, I don’t ever want to make one again. Or try something and so doing discover I don’t actually enjoy doing whatever it is anyway. If I did that, I could use up or get rid of both materials and equipment. I’d have space in the drawers, shelves, storage cubbies.

Things to do

If I cracked on and did all the things that are on my to-do list, or delegated them, or paid someone to do it for me, or just decided not to do them at all, I wouldn’t have to carry them round in my head all the time. Clear head.

Health and wellbeing

If I actually did all the things instead of just reading about them (and agreeing with them!) – things like the innumerable benefits of getting a good night’s sleep to everything, going to bed and getting up earlier, lots more walking, no screens after 9pm, not drinking during the week, not feeling that I need to clear everything on my plate, portion sizes related to my size and weight and not splitting things in half with my 6″ taller and 16kg heavier husband. I’d be happier and healthier. The grey hair and wrinkles are here to stay, and I’m not sure I’d miraculously have the body of a 20 year old and a mind sharp as a tack, but it’s worth a go…

Teaching and creating

And if I actually valued my own creative practice as much as I value what the participants on my courses are doing, then maybe I’d make more art, and art that I love, and art that’s going somewhere.

And if I’m happier, healthier, with a clear working space and storage for materials I love using, space on the shelves for my favourite inspirational books, a clear desk for working and writing and creating the courses, and a calmer head that allows me to think creative thinks…

I think that would be good. And therein lies the problem.

I think I think too much.

And it’s mostly nonsense.

I’ve also spent far too much time inside my own head, and inside this room. So on that note, I’m escaping for a few days.

Before Celtic Seascapes starts in a few weeks, I’m going to go find me a different space: a change of scene, a change of air, find some headspace. And probably some weather. And maybe some blisters.

You could also call it research…any guesses?!

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6 Thoughts to “Stuff and nonsense”

  1. Kate Muggeridge says:

    And, actually, taking us with you. I can relate to everything you say, but the chances of getting away are very low for us until, probably, October. So your pictures will have to do. They are quite inspiring.

    1. Isobel says:

      We were so conflicted about coming away, we’d planned it for last year but then it was cancelled, so many “is it safe” questions, so many “is it the right thing to do” questions – too busy, too far etc etc. But oh my goodness, it’s been so good. I hope you enjoy wherever you can get to in October – just the novelty of getting out of Sussex has been so refreshing in itself!

  2. Christine Fraser says:

    I identify and empathise with your thoughts on ‘stuff’, but ask yourself ‘If I had a clear desk, space on bookshelves, in storage cubbies and a clear head, healthy body and happiness what would happen next?’ If it were me I suspect I would:
    -fill up the desk space with something else,
    -buy more books (either because I had space to put them or because I missed the ones I’d given away)
    -ditto supplies and materials
    -(day) dream about more projects and when/how to do them resulting in poor sleep
    -beat myself up for not training hard enough, eating healthily always being positive, not to mention failing to live up to these high ideals.
    Yes, a clear head is good, but not so clear that it is an empty one. I am human, with all the imperfection, disorganisation and irrationality that entails. Hence I’ll have to settle for a measure of accumulation/disorganisation/procrastination and create in the gaps which is where I find my inspiration…

    1. Isobel says:

      You make some excellent points! I’d like to meet you in the middle – get rid of some of the stuff that I truly have outgrown, and find a way of being that nurtures my creativity instead of holding me back, but with enough of what I love to use to be able to bring it to life – and that also helps me meet my personal goals/standards (call them what you will), the stuff about being fit and healthy to live life to the full. My little jaunt out of Sussex has helped me see how this can be achieved – and it’s definitely not an empty life!

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