Last Week: Out of Action

April 4, 2016 | 11 Comments


Being ‘authentic’ is a hot topic these days in the blogging world. I am not sure exactly what that means, but I am happy to share with you my challenges last week and the impact on my sketchbook. Just for the record, my goal is to publish a new post 5-6 times a week regardless of what else I am working on as blogging is the core of everything I do,  so you can’t necessarily gauge how ‘real life’ for me is by the content that I share.

So last week could be summed up by one phrase: Out of Action!

This is in reference to two things:

  1.  I put my back out hanging out with three gorgeous children on Easter Monday.
  2. The phone-line (ie. internet connection) at home was down for 4 days.

While both were a bit of a pain (especially the first!) I gained some positive insights as a result.

  1. Despite not being able to sit at my computer for more than 1 hour before needing at least 30 minutes horizontal resting or exercises, I still managed to get a lot done. With my Edges course launching later this week I am in a busy period with lots of tasks to get done, so I was unbelievably thankful that I’d  had some efficient work time over Easter and I started the week in control. However the inability to be able to work at my normal pace was a challenge, but I was reminded of Michael Nobbs’ 20 minutes of creativity a day and how much can be achieved in small increments.
  2. Using my iphone’s hotspot worked great but I had to limit my internet usage as much as possible. I found this batching of offline vs online work really helped me be super efficient last week. With all the different projects I have going at the moment I am relying on batch scheduling as much as possible so I focus on each project one at a time, but last week made me realise how much online tangents distract me. Maybe I should pull out my blue cable for a few hours a day on a regular basis!

As for my sketchbook, well, I just let all expectations go… but still managed to fill a few pages. I wasn’t in the mood to record my life (as I discussed last week) and today as I reviewed the pages for this post, decided to leave them as they were.

So anyway, here they are….

I couldn’t walk up to my local cafe but as it has become such an important part of my work day, I drove instead! But I soon realised that it was a bit much to go out at all … a bit of a pity, as I felt that there was something interesting happening on Tuesday and Wednesday’s latte sketches. Oh well, something to continue this week, hey?

Wednesday: Quick sketch of Mosman Art Gallery from the car before going to my physio… and feeling so much better that evening I did a Palladio sketch.

Thursday: nothing reflecting a bad day with my back.
Friday: I decided to attempt a teacup sketch to get creative juices pumping.
Saturday: A quick coloured pencil test.

Today: Catching up on last week’s activities in a written form. Because launching a new online course is such a big project for me, I want to record a few things to help with the process next time. Recording my struggles with my back AND what I achieved is a way for me to be thankful for many mercies in the past week. Everything happens for a purpose (Romans 8.28) and it is up to me to respond in the best way!

And oh! this morning I’m back to latte sketches…

So once again, I have got more in my sketchbook than I thought I had, but even if it was blank I wouldn’t be so concerned…. I would just get back on track this week, right?

Do you get discouraged or spurred on by a lean week? (I am certainly in the later category if you haven’t realised!)

And just for the record, my back has improved now… but a good reminder to be more diligent with exercises and more careful of how I lift children!


  • Eileen Rigby says:

    It is so good to hear that you have difficult weeks too – not that I want you to have difficult weeks – just makes me feel reassured that I am not the only one! My biggest problem is tackling new ideas and seem to force myself to research everything before I jump in and just simply have a go!! Thank you for sharing your human side – I feel like I really know you even though we have never met.

    • Liz Steel says:

      thanks Eileen – I am all about sharing my journey but try not to make too much of a big deal about the down moment… but I sure have them just like everyone else! But even in hard times I try to look through them.
      Ah! getting the balance between research and taking risks – thanks a very interesting challenge.
      All the best.

  • Hi Liz, So sorry to hear about your back and happy to know that you’re on the mend. I’m also battling some back pain myself and while it has my mind kind of foggy and unable to focus on sketching these past few days, I’ve been doodling and mixing all kinds of crazy colours just to keep limber, if you know what I mean. I won’t have my usual several sketching hours per day this week as I have my two grandchildren all day for 5 days. I am already feeling tired. But I got up early this morning, did laundry, cooked a big batch of chicken, rice and pasta, steamed veggies, made a huge bowl of salad. PHEW! With beans in the pantry I could whip up lunch easy peasy and quick as a splick, WOO HOO, I’m gonna have me some chunks of time to sketch after all. Wishing you a wonderful week, as you get back to your old self.

  • Gayle says:

    Amazing amount of work for a “lean” week – Your blogs always fan my passion, even when there are a few embers left! And thank you for the link to Michael Nobb’s site – He is awesome and I immediately subscribed. Thanks to bloggers like yourself, my online “Artsy” tribe is rapidly growing and along with it a circle of positive energy!

  • Dr. Lucy Petrie says:

    Lean for you regarding output might look prolific for the rest of us. I find daily yoga minimizes the times that my back “goes out”. I wish you continued healing.

    • Liz Steel says:

      Thanks Lucy. It’s all relative! We share but we don’t compare is my motto and it applies to the definitiation of ‘lean week’ too!

  • Hello Liz

    I’m very sorry that you hurt your back. It’s sounds as though the phone line not working helped make it easier to slow down and look after yourself. It’s funny how things like that can often happen 😉

    Sending you lots of good wishes for your new course.

    PS thank you very much for the link to Sustainably Creative

  • Kristy Brenner says:

    I agree with you that Michael Nobbs “20 minutes” approach is very good mental hygiene. It cuts through my stuckness, my easily triggered sense of overwhelm, even my anxiety about…everything. It’s magical.

    • Liz Steel says:

      well, I need to try the 20 minutes rule for myself at the moment. I need to listen to my own advice.

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