These days, many people are adopting a word of the year. I believe the concept began over a decade ago now with Ali Edwards and has grown internet-wide. The idea is to find a word (through year-end reflection) that will serive as a sort of touchstone for the year: a guiding word to come back to as a way to stay focused on some quality that is important to your year. If you're interested in learning more, Susannah Conway has a free workbook to get you thinking.
This year my word is "distill". I want to distill my work to its essence—the essential meaning of what I want my work in this world to be.
It begins with an understanding that I am in fact driven by three obsessions. I am simply drive to:
...in my art journal, on canvases of various sizes, here on the blog—and I create weekly art experiences at the studio.
I'm constantly picking up new threads of new topics that interest me and following my curiosity: mixed media, Tarot, spirituality, business, philosophy, personal development —the list goes on.
I can't help but share what I create and learn.
I pretty much had to open Createful Studio locally because I just couldn't keep what I was learning about art-making and creativity to myself. I continue to be drawn to blogging and Instagram like a moth to light because I know this is where I can share even more of what I learn.
There's always a "but".
My challenge is and always has been to to distill all these disparate interests into manageable form—one cohesive "thing", I guess. My thing. Instead, I am prone to take on too much without connecting the dots. This year it's time to connect the dots, I think, and I'm taking on some practices and tools that will help me distill my obsessions to their essence:
1. Work Log and Show My Work
Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work, has some wonderful advice about how to approach the work of creating. Two tips that resonate with me and I am incorporating into my process are to keep a Work Log and to share more of my work in smaller useful tidbits for others online.
My Work Log is already an amazing tool for me to log what I think and what I read and consume—and I can see how it will also help me distill and share. My intention is to then share these useful tidbits more regularly. Like I'm doing now.
2. Kleon's ideas also led me to Sketchnoting, a visual way to capture ideas and I'm madly learning how to sketchnote from sketchnote experts online (beginning with practicing in my Work Log ). I see the potential for sketchnotes to be a powerful learning and sharing tool, something visual that will allow me to really grasp ideas--and to share them.
You'll be see more of this from me!
3. Finally, I am entering the #365somethings2018 challenge
I learned about the challenge from from Tammy Garcia of Daisy Yellow. It's not too late to join in if you want to join me!
The challenge is to create 365 "somethings"--any small works—over the course of 365 days, and to share that work using the hashtag #365somethings2018 on Instagram. The beauty of this challenge is that it offers the same advantages of any art challenge—a project that helps us do more and better work, and in community—but removes the two barriers of most art challenges (at least for me). I won't have to create every day and it won't be extra work.
What? It's true. I am going to create a series of seven small tags each week as an extension of the weekly Art Fix class project—which will result in 365 tags by the end of the year. I'll be basically maximizing my creative output without increasing my workload! Want to join me? Simply create your somethings, upload pics on Instagram, and add #365somethings2018 to your description.
Look for my first two weeks of #365somethings tomorrow on the blog (and on Instagram).
With these three tools and practices, I hope to distill my love of creating, learning and sharing into the essence of what I do.
Okay - so that's what I'm up to as we begin the new year! What about you?