It’s a really good thing that I haven’t given myself any particular rules for this project. I’m three weeks in and haven’t run into any major problems yet, but that’s more good luck than anything—some days, it’s no trouble at all, and some days, I’ve really struggled with inspiration. If I’d been limiting myself to one particular camera, or trying to meet whatever arbitrary criteria I’d set for the day, I’m pretty sure I’d have fallen behind already.
1. feeling… horrified by everything that’s going on in the States, but I’m feeling hopeful and inspired, too—the people’s reaction has been amazing.
2. finishing… the draft I started for NaNoWriMo. As I write this, I’m down to one major scene, and a few loose ends that need to be tied up. I might be finished by the time this post goes live. (If not, I will be finished by the end of the month.)
3. watching… Rogue One. I know: I’m getting to it late, but at least I’m getting to it. (This afternoon, actually.)
4. wishing… I’d been able to attend the Women’s March last weekend. It looked incredible.
5. looking… for a good whole-wheat bread recipe. (This is one of those things that I’m really picky about.)
7. starting… to find the rhythm of the new year.
8. trying… to decide which writing project to tackle next—I need to set the NaNo draft aside for a couple of weeks, but I don’t want to lose my momentum. I’ve got two different ideas that both feel promising.
9. thinking… about tattoos. (Again? Still? I’m indecisive.)
10. realizing… that I haven’t even started to think about this month’s Sketchbook post. It might be a bit late… we’ll see.
There is one downside to starting a project like this in January: in this part of the world, January is cold and grey and damp, and sometimes I struggle to find something interesting to shoot.
That said, a project like this can be a good excuse to get out of the house even when it’s cold and grey and damp. That, or find things around the house that, from the right angle and in the right light, can be a little bit interesting.
1. starting… my second photo project for the year. I’ll be talking about it soon.
2. getting… back on track. Everything that I neglected over the holidays is falling back into place, and it’s fantastic.
3. wishing… for better weather. Every time I make up my mind to go out and do something, it’s either raining or cold. Stupid winter.
4. making… bread. It’s been a few weeks; it’s time to get back in the habit.
5. watching… Class. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting going in, but it’s a lot of fun. (That said, as far as Doctor Who spinoffs go, what I really want is more Torchwood.)
6. trying… to read more comics this year. (It’s not exactly difficult. It’s not a medium I read a lot.) If you have recs, please let me know!
7. thinking… up lots of new and exciting ideas.
8. feeling… annoyed. The downside of being (relatively) organized: when I do drop the ball, even on something minor, it really bothers me.
9. catching…a glimpse of the finish line on my NaNoWriMo draft. I’m so close—I should be wrapping it up this week.
10. starting… to feel like I need to cut my hair.
You might remember that I tried doing a weekly photo project last year. (Let’s face it: I never really shut up about it. So the only way you wouldn’t remember is if you’re new here. In which case: Hi! Nice to meet you!) It was a way to work on my skills, and encourage me to take pictures for myself, and I’d hoped it would be a little less stressful then a daily project.
And it worked. Until it didn’t.
I finally admitted defeat sometime in November, right around the time I was starting to think about my plans for 2017, and what kind of projects I might want to tackle this year. I knew I wanted to try another photo project, for the same reasons—I need an excuse to take pictures, and I want to push myself just a little bit.
And for some reason, this year I feel like doing a 365 project is less pressure than a weekly project. I’m not working with any rules, beyond taking a photo (preferably, one that doesn’t completely suck) every day. I’m not going to limit myself to one specific camera or format, I’m not going to work with prompts or themes. Just one picture every day. If you want to follow along, I’ll be posting to Instagram every day, and I’ll be doing a roundup here on Sundays.
I have mixed feelings going into the next year.
I mean, it’s going to be awful. We know that. (At least we’re prepared? As much as we can be, anyway.) I really don’t think any of us are going to get through the next few years entirely unscathed.
But I’m not entirely without hope. I still have moments of optimism. The feeling of motivation that hit me in November hasn’t gone away, even when I had to take the last couple of weeks off to focus on the holidays. And, while I’ve always had goals and plans, especially going into a new year, something feels different this time. Really, my long-term goals haven’t changed much, but they’re clearer to me now than they’ve ever been, and I’ve got a stronger sense of what I have to do to accomplish them.
And so, for 2017, my goal is to maintain that focus.
Obviously, there are actual, concrete things I want to accomplish this year. I want to maintain the writing habit I built in November, and continue to refine it into something that fits into my schedule. I want to finish the draft that I started during NaNoWriMo (it should only take a week or two), and develop some of the loose concepts that I’ve been playing with into proper story ideas. (I’m still slightly amazed that writing is a thing that I do. I really didn’t expect that to happen this time last year.) I have two different photo projects I’m starting, and I’ll be sharing those as the year goes on (though the tags on the photo below will give you a hint as to one of them). I am going to make a real effort to work on the craft of both writing and photography. And I’ve got a whole list of other things I want to do, both personal and creative.
But they’re all connected to those bigger, long-term goals.
Like I said: in general, 2017 is going to suck. Staying motivated and optimistic won’t be easy. Staying focussed on what happens next—what I want to happen next—and taking the steps to make sure it’s possible… that won’t be easy. But it’s necessary, and it feels realistic, in a way that it never quite has before.
Bring it on.
1. loving… “What will you tell your daughters about 2016?”, a TED Talk by Chinaka Hodge.
2. taking… a few days off. It was nice at the beginning, but now it’s starting to get to me.
3. baking… all the things. I made this fantastic cranberry ginger cake for Christmas, and these brownies are on the menu for tonight. (I also made these blondies for a potluck earlier in the season, and I’m still a little in love with them.)
4. eating… all the things.
5. feeling… sleepy. This might be related to #4. Or the cat waking me up at 3:30. Or the fact that I think I’m coming down with (another) cold.
6. getting… ready for 2017. I have so many plans. (That, and I’ve really been looking forward to seeing the end of 2016.) I can’t wait.
7. tidying… up my files. Woohoo.
8. wishing… that amazing people would stop dying, just when we need them the most.
9. overusing… italics. I know.
10. drinking… a lot of coffee. A lot.