Did you stay up late? Did you watch the ball drop? We turned our Christmas House back into Everyday House, ate heinous amounts of Chinese food. With chopsticks! Watched movies. What we do every year. We like it. What I also did, after the boys were tucked in, and hubs was getting ahead on a little work, was get my calendar sorted. I mean the entire calendar, from Jan 1st to Dec 31st…Yes!
In 2012, I’d started all sorts of illustrations, patterns and whatnot. Lots of creativity, lots of art. I felt great about that. It was a huge improvement over 2011, if we’re talking numbers of projects that I was generating. Tons started, not many finished. Why? I don’t know. Distracted probably. I let myself get distracted. Actually, that’s exactly what it is. Like my younger son (who is on the spectrum, although I’m not) I have trouble filtering things out. Everything comes in at the same level. Let me clear that up a bit: Everything I’m interested in comes in at the same level. I’m interested in a LOT. How can I not be? I think it was either Chris Oatley or Nate Williams who’d said that creatives want to always be creating. When they see new things that someone else is creating, they want to try it too. That’s our nature. Always trying to challenge ourselves. However, we can’t be interested in all of these endeavors if it puts our bread and butter work at risk. That includes personal projects. For a long time, while my husband was unemployed, I couldn’t carve out time for personal projects because I had to take every paying project that came along. Not all of it portfolio worthy, either. Not bad work, just not what I wanted to keep getting as an assignment. In 2012, I took some time off and I was able to do some things I’d wanted to do. I painted my studio, I wanted to try Spoonflower (a print on demand fabric service, which also holds weekly competitions) and Threadless (tee designs that get votes in order to be made available for purchase). Latter two, tried them. I failed. Well, I didn’t win. I guess they weren’t failures, as what I succeeded in doing was shaking up my psyche a bit. That had far reaching benefits. Those projects, I did finish. The paint job looks good! And, I made a Christmas card, it had been a couple years. And a GIF of it. My head hurt after that. Oh, one other thing I did, signed up for the winter reading at our local library. I am determined to finish!
Everyone who knows me knows I never make resolutions. They sound very temporary, they are a bit doomed really. Why wait until January 1st to make a change? I know a lot of people are more motivated in the new year, but by February they’re kind of off the wagon. This year, I was strangely motivated. Not to make a resolution, but to make a permanent “do.” Just “do” already! I’m used to telling myself: “If I just get this done, then I can do this” or “when I organize this, then my mind will be clear so I can accomplish that.” And the big one: “when I buy this, then I’ll be able to make this (I have about 200 books that support this last one).” Not bad aspirations, but I can find a million things to do to get myself mentally prepared. Look what I did in December. What I’m really doing, is enabling myself to avoid something I need to “do.” That something, is facing change regarding something to which I’m emotionally tied.
I’ve wanted to change some things about my process and my results for a long time. Taking self inventory is difficult. Change is also difficult. It causes anxiety. Sweating. Nailbiting. Hyperventilating. Panic. Failure. Embarassment. Bad hair. Shutdown. See how easy that escalates? Just like that… In my mind. After I joined Spoonflower and entered Threadless, that changed me, just a little bit. I did something different. I took myself in a different direction. Change doesn’t have to be a complete departure, change can be subtle. It doesn’t have to be everything. I could be just one thing. Draw with a different brush. Read one different kind of book. Take a detour. A different street. Go reference shopping to places you don’t normally go (like the grocery store, I love packaging)! One can’t expect a different result if one does the same thing the same way all the time. I know we get bombarded with all kinds of competitions and we want to enter them all, just pick one. We want to put our images, all our little babies, on everything. Focus on one thing. There aren’t more artists out there to compete with, we just know about them because of the internet. Seriously. Start with one thing…One small change.
This brings me to New Year’s Eve, I planned my calendar. Just did it. Like it was routine. Done. I plugged in all the trade shows for print and pattern. I’m not going, but I need to know when they are. Last year I was asked for Valentine art in July. I plugged that in for June, and worked backward. Even if I don’t make that art that week for licensing (because I’m putting together tut videos and creating new content for my new website), I know that if I can make licensing art the next week, what I should focus on. I’m doing this so I can be ready well in advance of an art call. I have a good friend who sends me trend information, and, I also get it from Patternbank (excellent by the way) so I can formulate ideas on a timeline. I’m hopefully not going to be running around, “what should I do?” “Where am I at?” “What day is it?” “What’s due?” All the boys’ activities are listed. Holidays. Days off…You name it…
I changed one thing that I do on New Year’s Eve…Crazy, right? None of what’s here is written in stone, but it’s a guide, to keep me focused, so I’m not distracted.
So far this year, I’ve put a print in repeat, fixed my blog (I didn’t, hubs did, thanks Nina!), created a new partially functional one page site (the fully functional multi-page site will be up next month, finally), and, wrote this post. Aaaand, finished one book for the winter reading.
Now I’ve thoroghly kept you from something far more important than this blog, but thanks for visiting! I wish you all a prosperous and creative new year! I’m so thankful for friends I’ve made on and offline. Thanks to Nina, letting me know my blog was blank. Someone tried to hijack it. *sigh* They could certainly take those smarts and go be innovative! My family’s support and love has helped me through some annoying bits last year too, what would I do without them? If you’ve got some goals or made resolutions, best of luck! If you fall off the wagon. Start again the next day. We have enough people beating us up over things, don’t beat yourself up, we’re human. I don’t think there’s anything in the ‘rules’ that say your resolution has to be over consecutive days! ; )
a : )