As a writer, artist, and fool, this year I’ll be participating in Inktober as well as my usual NaNoWriMo attempt. It’s going to be a busy couple of months! For those of you unfamiliar with one or both of these events, here’s a quick run-down.

Inktober was started in 2014 by artist Jake Parker. It’s an annual event held each October, that invites participants to illustrate (well, it’s expanded now, a lot of people paint or sketch) one piece every day of the month and share it on social media under the tag #inktober.

NaNoWriMo, short for National Novel Writing Month, first took place in 1999 on a small scale. Today it’s become an international event, each November. The goal is to write a new novel (specifically 50,000 words of it) over 30 days. The rules can be bent to fit your project, but I’m a fan of doing it the old school way.

My goals for Inktober are to move out of my comfort zone, follow my instinct and improve my skills. I’ll be blogging about it for time to time, and you can follow my journey on my new personal instagram @vivienneaustenetc and also on twitter!

One more thing, I’ll be using the prompt list created by Australian illustrator, visual artist and published author, Sha’an d’Anthes who goes by furrylittlepeach on youtube and instagram.

Things I’ve learned so far on my small business journey! (Motivation and TERROR!)

I am not an expert. I’m also not a genius, probably. What I am is a perfectionist in her late twenties, who loves to make stuff and has taken a little longer than expected to find her confidence. I want to share this journey with you, because it’s worth talking about, and maybe I’ll have something to say that resonates with you, or helps you find your direction.

Let me introduce myself properly. I’m Vivienne, and I run the newly opened Pepperberry and Pine Studio. In the past year leading up to opening my Etsy store, I’ve been learning everything from how to write a privacy policy to how to do record keeping. I’ve come to this with no experience or qualifications, but instead an attitude of ‘I want to do this and so I will’ and also, if I’m honest, ‘Eh, what’s the worst that can happen?’ because both these things seem relevant. So, here’s what I’ve learned so far.

If you want to do something and succeed, you have to actually do the thing. This is really the number one lesson, the most important piece of advice for anyone doing anything. I talk to myself about this every day. Do the thing, break it into small pieces and attend to one at a time. Then lather, rinse, repeat. Every day.

Failure is inevitable! Or, rather, small failures are. Mistakes, errors, oopsies- if you will. How we handle them is important. I was going to put in an anecdote I read about surgeons here, but on second thoughts, I’ll just say this. Mistakes are survivable, and you can learn from them when you lean in.

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My cosy (and tiny!) main workspace.

Take yourself seriously. This one is pretty difficult, because we live in ourselves, we’ve seen it all. Deep down a lot of us take a pretty unglamorous view of ourselves, which can make it hard to take on new skills. You don’t necessarily need to believe in yourself all the time, I don’t think that’s possible. But if you can realise that you’re not less than the people around you who are following their dreams, it helps so much. You are a person like anyone else. I find that repetition helps with this. Even on the days where I don’t quite believe it, I’ve been sticking with this general idea. Fear and doubt will come and go, that’s ok, but you don’t have to put energy into believing the fear. Don’t chase self doubt down the rabbit hole.

Your skills, your hobbies, your passions and your talents are out there waiting. When you’re ready, they’re there. If you fall down on the job, you can get back up and it’s all still there. If you need to take time off and you’re in the position to do that, have that break and know that you can always come back.

Those are the the big four that are basic, important, and sometimes elusive. I plan on blogging regularly about all kinds of things. A humorous approach to creativity, motivation, small business ownership. Both the practical and the esoteric. So thanks for reading! My Etsy store Pepperberry and Pine Studio has art, stationery and gifts with new products appearing regularly throughout September. It’s my baby, shiny and new, and oh so small. I’m very proud.

I’m a skincare and lifestyle blogger too! Check in to my blog here, and my personal website here!