Looking ahead to 2019.

I was beginning to wonder if we were ever going to escape from 2018, but… here we are! 2019! Only a week in and already so weird but… so far, things are marginally better than last year, so I’ll take it.

I’m not going to dwell on 2018. On a purely personal level, it wasn’t terrible. I didn’t reach most of the big goals I’d set out for myself, because I genuinely dropped the ball, or because I underestimated the amount of work involved, or because it’s really hard to focus on certain creative projects when the world is on fire. But, overall, I’m really proud of what I did accomplish. I’m happy with the stories I worked on, and the photos I took, and the general progress I made. I wish there’d been more, but… it was good.

And those big goals I didn’t reach last year? I’m moving them to this year. And, no, I’m not going to tell you what they are just yet. (Though if you’ve been reading the newsletter, you know about at least two of them.) I’ll announce them—and any other big projects I come up with—when they’re ready, or when they’re about to start. I’m really excited about all of them, and I can’t wait to share them with you. (The first major announcement will come in about two weeks.)

Big goals aside, for the first time in… I don’t know how long… I’m making something that could actually be considered ‘resolutions,’ though I’m reluctant to use that word for some reason.

Actively seek out inspiration.
I have this habit: despite all my good intentions, after the first flush of enthusiasm—which is all-consuming and could last weeks or months. It’s like nursing a crush, but with art and it’s so much fun—I have a tendency to drift away from the things that most make me want to make things. I stop reading the stories that I was so in love with, I stop looking for new-to-me photographers, I stop diving head-first into the things that thrill me. I’m not sure why exactly, but… I want to find my way back to that, if not full-time, then at least most of the time.

In a lot of ways, it’s an extension of the goal I set for the last part of 2018, to “improve the quality of the art I’m consuming, in order to improve the quality of the art I’m creating.” That was absolutely necessary, and now I want to take it further. It’s time to be more intentional with my choices: to look for things that might not have otherwise caught my attention, and the things that I know will inform the work I’m trying to do, and to learn as much as I can from them.

And I’m going to keep you up-to-date on how it’s going. I’m still thinking about how I’m going to approach it, but you can expect something in the coming weeks.

Cultivate a creative hobby that isn’t writing or photography.
(Or coffee, because honestly that qualifies as a hobby at this point.)

I’ve always believed that artists, no matter what their primary medium, should have multiple creative outlets. Creativity builds on itself: lessons learned in one medium can influence another, and sometimes it’s just really helpful to have something else to turn to when you’re stalled on one project. Or several.

It’s also the advice I’m most likely to give, but least likely to follow. I dabble in about a dozen different things, but that’s about it. There’s nothing I’d consider an actual hobby.

So. That changes this year. I’m going to choose one of those things I dabble in, and carve out the time for it. I’m going to take it seriously, and I’m going to actively try to improve. I don’t know what that hobby is going to be yet. (I’m toying with sewing—I’ve got a few projects I want or need to tackle this year anyway—sketching/illustration, or hand lettering.) I’m going to start with some research and experimentation—because I’m incapable of just jumping into anything—and see what happens from there.

Whatever I choose, I’ll almost definitely be posting about my progress as the year goes on. (Not every week, but… every month, or every quarter. Something like that.)

The last few years, I’ve chosen a watchword, something to keep me focussed going into the new year, to remind me of what I’m working toward.

In 2017, it was ‘focus,’ which turned out to be essential, if impossible. Last year, it was ‘action.’ Jury’s still out on how effective that one was, but… I like it. I’m glad I picked it.

Coming up with a word for 2019 has been weirdly difficult. My goals this year don’t seem to want to be defined by one word. At the same time, every time I’ve sat down to think about it, I keep coming back to ‘growth.’ And that… it feels right. ‘Growth’ it is.

Here’s to 2019. Let’s hope this one only lasts a year.

2 responses to “Looking ahead to 2019.”

  1. I can relate so much to the need to seek inspiration. I am my own worst enemy for getting to a comfortable place, and just existing – keeping on keeping on – if that makes any sense.

    1. It makes a lot of sense! It’s so easy these days to let all the different recommendation algorithms and feeds bring us the things that we already know and like (to the point where the sheer volume of things that are comfortable can be overwhelming on its own). It’s much more difficult to find the things that can push us in new directions.