One Little (Creative) Year: A Mid Year Checkup
This year, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be putting a word into my focus. There were a lot of things that happened, and even more things on the horizon. But because I hate to leave a project just all over the place, I decided I needed to try One Little Word in 2019, and really focus on drawing (not meant to be a pun, I promise) the word into my life. I chose the word ‘create’ as a way to invite creating and creativity into my world on a daily basis.
And so far, despite a few crazy days, it has worked. I feel more creative and more comfortable doing creative things. But, you may be asking yourself exactly how I made this work… That’s the easy part! Here are some things I’ve done this year to help me rock my One Little Word:
Make your word tangible.
I got a notebook to plot my journey, which I have been keeping up with. I even used some fancy vinyl in my Cameo 3 to further edit the outward look of the notebook. You’ve seen it when my word was announced on January 2 (and below). The great thing about this notebook is that it is a great, portable size. It’s a moleskine AND I made that adjustment to it so that I could see my word every time I look at the book. It’s a reminder that I CHOSE this word and need to make an effort to bring it into my life on a daily basis. It makes me really happy to see it, and to write in it. There are days that I don’t write in it, but I take notes in my planner to make sure I have notes for each day. It feels good sometimes to batch those. The journal has words, drawings, some lettering, photos… I love writing in a journal, and having this journal easily accessible is great. And on days when I don’t feel creative, the cover mocks me. And then I WANT to do something creative. That’s a win in my book.
Make time to DO things related to your word.
I’m a chronic over-scheduler. I joke that I’m committed to over committing and it’s true. This year, I decided to tackle things a bit differently. If I’m ever freaking out, or become overwhelmed with the amount of ‘stuff’ that needs to happen, I simply start doodling or lettering or even just journaling. I’ll grab stickers and put them in my journal if I don’t know what to create. I’ll pull out watercolors and just start doing the thing that needs to happen. It’s not pretty, and sometimes it is a little rushed. But a moment or two of creating art or whatever needing to happen tends to take a lot of pressure off my plate. Art is my happy place, and I love that I can be part of this particular time period, where I can meet people and share interests.
Step out of your comfort zone (and your house) to do something related to your word.
This might be the hardest thing to do. I signed up for a few classes, both online and in person. I started art journaling and brush lettering and I even went to Disneyland with a bunch of scrapbookers (Okay, to be fair, I once took a laptop to Disneyland and wrote part of a novel there, ON the Mark Twain Riverboat). I did not anticipate these types of things, nor did I ever imagine I would be doing them. I dressed up in my best Disney dress (hint, it has dogs on it and may be at the Disney dress shop) and met people I’d never met before and proceeded to talk to them about a shared interest I don’t often talk about. I went to an art class at my local Dick Blick store last weekend and took a class on brush lettering and metallic watercolors (it’s over now, but it did show up at one point). While I didn’t have the best petals on my flowers, the person teaching the class liked my lettering, which I have been working on, thanks to some online lettering classes with Amanda Arneill.
Tell people about your word, and own it.
I’ve even opened up an Instagram for my lettering journey, which really surprised me. I’m not usually one to post my hits and misses, but showing up for the challenge every day has been most of the battle. I’m more apt to talk about it in public, even during shopping it comes up organically. I never thought it would. I’ve been asked about what I’m doing and I even TALK about it more often, which I really like. It doesn’t feel like a secret anymore, and it shouldn’t feel like a secret, because it’s part of who I am and part of what I’m using to make myself a more balanced person. It was so refreshing to talk to a fellow artist last weekend, she had amazing petals and looked like she was ready to be snapped up for botanical images by the Smithsonian. She was extremely gifted, but confessed she hated the lettering part. Where I had been struggling with the petals, she struggled with the letters. It was completely awesome that we got to sit and help one another. If I had not taken that opportunity, I would not have learned what I did, or been able to share experiences with the person about creating art.
Realize that not everything is perfect, but that’s okay.
Keeping track of all of my work has been interesting. I can definitely see a difference in the physical sheets of tracing paper I keep around. But there are times when I have posted something awful next to something that I’m really proud of. Yes, I still see mistakes, but there are less of them, and fewer things I might critique myself on. I make sure to do the homework, but I think I’m still working on the critique part–for example, in my intermediate lettering class, I have some catching up on my homework. That’s a priority this weekend so I can get back up to speed. Time has not been my friend in the last month, and that is okay.
Since pulling ‘create’ into my world this year, I’ve noticed that the ideas come to me pretty regularly. I’ve noticed that I’m more likely to have ink and/or paint on my person at any given time. But I’ve also noticed less stress and more smiles. There is more time for me. And I think that was what might have been missing in previous years. I chose words that I was already doing, that I already felt like were part of my world. Yes, I created before 2019, but using One Little Word to draw create into my daily life has actually made me feel more accomplished. And it seeps into my other parts of life. I was able to finish 120+ books this year. I’ve been playing games (board and video) occasionally, but have had more satisfying time… Whether it be watching (and completing) the Office (US) again, or zooming through a to-do list, my One Little Word has had a positive impact on my 2019.
Do you have a One Little Word, or similar project? What is the word? Have you been focusing on it, or other things this year?
What one thing do you want to accomplish within your word this year that you haven’t made time for yet? Let me know in the comments below, or share your journey with me… Let’s be One Little Word buddies!