Running a business can be a pain. Ok, it can be brilliant, but it isn’t all kittens and roses.
Every waking minute can revolve around your business.
When you’re not doing your actual job, you’re thinking about it, about ways to improve it and ways to improve the customer experience. It’s always there, at the back of your mind – you can’t relax, you have a business to run.
Let’s admit it – it can be a bloody nightmare!
That’s why I decided to do something different. It could be called CPD (continuing professional development), or it could be called mucking around, but after realizing that I just wasn’t switching off I decided to take a cartoon course.
Yup. Doodling. For fun. To help me relax and perhaps gain a new skill.
Now if you’ve been following my blog for a while you may have spotted some of my cartoons. I had one on my website front page for a long time. On and off I’ve doodled since I was at school. Way back when, I had a fabulous Latin teacher who taught us all to cartoon – it was a brilliant way to keep us kids engaged and it’s something I’ve remembered, even though I’ve forgotten a lot of my Latin.
But I wanted to gain a new perspective and, most importantly, I wanted to do something that took me away from my day job. Any free time I have is basically spent project managing for our local theatre. Producing plays is fun (sometimes), but it can be very hard to switch off, especially when I’m editing and project managing during the day. It’s all very full-on and can be hard on the old brain cells.
Cartooning is a way to help you switch off. You don’t have to be good at it and all you need is a piece of paper and a pen.
When I saw on Twitter that Neil Kerber had started a five-week email cartoon course, allowing you to work at your own pace, I considered it. Neil has the ‘Supermodels’ cartoon in Private Eye, works with national newspapers and corporate clients, and has a nice relaxed style. He’s also a nice chap, which helps.
After some humming and harring, I decided one night (after a glass of wine or two) to just go for it. I have a tendency to put things off so the brain relaxant worked wonders this time.
I won’t tell you what the course includes (no spoilers, go enrol instead), but I will say that it reinforced what I had been taught all those years ago and I also learned new things.
Most importantly, it helped me to disconnect from all the brain work I do, and just let me take time out. Even if it was for fifteen minutes at a time, during a coffee break, I managed to sit down and just scribble.
You see, sometimes you need to give yourself permission to switch off. Cartooning is great as a creative outlet. If you need to give yourself an excuse for taking time out to learn to doodle, it can be great for team building at work, for illustrations when you’re giving a presentation or for personalised cards for friends, family and clients. It’s a great stress reliever too.
Now, I won’t say my cartoons will win any prizes (they obviously won’t) but taking a cartoon course was great for so many reasons:
- It taught me a new skill
- It reinforced my creativity
- It taught me that you don’t have to be a brilliant artist
- It taught me to look at the world in a different way
- It helped me to relax
- It gave me something to think about other than words
- It encouraged my love for great stationery
- It was a great stress reliever
- It’s a transferable skill that I can use in business
- It stopped me being so damned serious
So, you see, I’m glad I decided to take time out and learn something that was fun, took me away from work, and was totally frivolous. Only it really wasn’t frivolous at all – it taught me something valuable …
Time out is important.
For the sake of your physical and mental health you cannot be connected to work 24/7.
Children don’t need to be told to go and play, so as adults we need to re-learn to disconnect and just be.
Neil’s cartoon course can be found on his website neilkerber.com. This article has not been sponsored or endorsed by Neil in any way, in fact he had no knowledge that I was going to write it.
As usual if you need an editor’s help contact me and we can talk through your project.