Looking Forward Looking Back*

With the end of the year approaching at speed, my mind tends to busy itself with thoughts about what I would like to work towards in the new year, as well as what was achieved in the past 12 months. It is too early for New Year resolutions, and I have learnt that having grand plans to change my life significantly as at 1 January tends to end in disappointment. What works better for me is to have a list of goals to work towards, with timeframes if appropriate, that I can refer to as needed. Although it is only early December, one of my friends was telling me recently of a raft of things that she has planned for 2017 which made me feel a bit remiss as I haven’t had or made the time to do so.

But first I wanted to outline a few of the significant changes that I’ve made in my life this year from a creativity perspective. Once changes are made it can be easy to overlook them as they become the norm, but creating change can be difficult and the effort required is worthy of acknowledgement. The top three changes I have made in terms of my creativity are:

  1. Honouring creative time: having rituals has helped this change. I write each morning before I head to work, and this alone reminds me that writing matters to me. I have also put time aside for writing and turned up at my desk. In a world of distractions and other demands, this is harder than it would seem but reminding myself that it is impossible to edit a blank page helps to get me writing.
  2. Making time to write. One of my best ideas this year was to take advantage of flexible working options in my job to book in a dozen days off, scattered throughout the year. These days have saved my sanity and contributed to greater creative output in various ways. I have also used these days to go on adventures which have in turn fed my creative output and my spirit. It has been a critical change and I have booked a stack of days for 2017 as it has been beneficial in so many ways.
  3. Blogging. I had wanted to blog for a long time before I took the plunge earlier this year. The main impetus was that I thought it would make me write more, and write consistently, and this has definitely been the case. The benefits to blogging are numerous and something that I will explore further in another post. Apart from the output – idea creation, writing, editing – there is also the feedback and interaction with other bloggers and readers which has been an absolute highlight of my year.

So with this creativity behind me, what will I be working towards in 2017? Again I will stick with three main thoughts.Β 

  1. Finishing the novel. I am in the edit phase at the moment and whilst there is work to do I am chipping away at it.
  2. Short stories. I want to continue writing short stories after polishing a few of them this year. There is an online course next year through the NSW Writers’ Centre which includes developing stories and critiquing to the point of submission. I have enrolled and am ready to take my stories to the next level.
  3. Keep having creative adventures. That might sound trite, but by making a conscious effort to pay more attention to what is happening around me, my creative output has significantly increased. This hasn’t just been blog based, although regular posting and the alphabetical adventures of I Spy have helped. I feel more engaged with what is happening, and more alert to creative opportunities.

Have you been reflecting on your creative output as the year end approaches? And do you have any creative plans for 2017?

*Taken from song title by Slim Dusty

[Photo: Newport Beach]

 

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18 thoughts on “Looking Forward Looking Back*

  1. I stumbled across your post while scrolling through my reader and I am thrilled that I did πŸ™‚ Before recently my new year resolutions always ended up in… well… that is just it – they ended. But setting goals (especially ones that nourish and promote growth in creativity) is absolutely essential. I love the idea of going on ‘creative adventures’ and seizing time in my flexible work schedule to venture out in new creative avenues. So I think this time around, I will do that and truly be more intentional about working towards those goals. Anyhoo… thank you again! Have a beautiful day!

    • Thank you for your lovely comments, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggles with New Year resolutions. There has to be a better way … And I highly recommend the creative adventures and getting a bit of flexibility with work if you can. It has made a huge difference to my creative and work life, simply by having a bit more balance. I’m careful to honour the time too – my creative days are just that. They are for writing, reading, researching, wandering off and exploring, not for getting caught up with chores or the other mundane aspects of life. These days give me such a buzz which makes me a better person at work too. Win win! Thanks again for reading – you made my day 😊.

  2. … and you inspire me to do the same. While I was listening to Slim Dusty (for the first time) I suddenly wondered where on earth my life has gone to so I guess I need to start thinking about the looking forward bit πŸ˜‰

    • Thank you for your lovely words, and the song by Slim Dusty gives me goosebumps when I hear it. Life just goes by so quickly, taking a bit of time to think about what has passed and what you are moving towards can help slow it down just a little 😌.

    • Thanks for sharing, and I enjoyed reading your link about reading and purging articles. Such a wealth of information and knowledge to go through and a great goal. I also look forward to future posts sharing some of this wisdom 😊.

    • My pleasure, and thanks for letting me know! I like to take stock now and then. It isn’t possible to do it all, and some things will take priority at different times but it is handy to have a guide of sorts. Good luck!

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  4. This was a great post! I, too, don’t like to set myself up with a bunch of resolutions. I never complete them all, generally because they’re too grand. I have a goal in mind for the rest of the year and the start of 2017: finish this round of edits on my novel and then submit it.

    I’d also like to continue to make reading a priority. I read every morning before work, but I would also like to put in a consistent writing effort on weekday nights.

    • Great goals, Jo, and thank you for your comments. I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggles with new year resolutions – far better to create habits that are sustainable and beneficial. I like your goals of reading more and writing consistently; these are things I would also like to do. And good luck with the novel edits and submission.

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  6. Funny, this is the second time a blog post recommended your post here…I can’t remember the first, but the second was today’s Wacky Wednesday post by Autumn. So I take it as a reminder to keep on keepin’ on with my own projects into 2017. On the one(s) I am deeply focused on I have a file I call “Where I’m At – Project Focus Papers”.
    All the best in 2017!

    • Thank you for stopping by! I like the idea of having a focus folder. I’m in planning mode at the moment and like to have a structure to keep on track – I might borrow your idea 😊. All the best for your plans in 2017 and thank you for your comments.

  7. This is one of the most inspiring things I’ve read in a long time. Thanks for stoking my creative soul. I agree with you New Year’s resolutions are more about the GOALS. By keeping my goals and resolutions on my computer, I can roll them over at the end of the year because many are ongoing. Then I can add new ones when appropriate. Thanks for inspiring me. I think I’m going to get to them as soon as I finish this. Hope you have smooth sailing through the New Year!!!

    • Thank you for your feedback, Bill, and I’m so glad that the post resonated with you. I like the way you keep track of your goals, and you are right that some go beyond the timeframe of a year. Good luck with your goals and I wish you smooth sailing too – what a wonderful aspiration. All the best!

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