Friday, January 1, 2016

A Year in Creativity

Ah, the first day of a new year--which feels much the same as yesterday did.  In some ways, these arbitrary distinctions aren't useful.  It's far better to check in on our trajectory quarterly than just once a year.

But I can make one of those quarterly check-in points correspond with the new year--may as well tap into this energy!

I have occasionally chosen a word or phrase for the year.  Once I could make it rhyme (worry free in 2003!), but it's not as much fun when every year ends in teen.

I wonder what would happen if I chose a photo for the year.  If I did that, I'd choose this picture from yesterday's motorcycle practice:

That's me, tackling new challenges, working through fear, riding towards a wonderful 2016!

But first, let's assess 2015.

In terms of creativity, let's see how I did.  I'll paste my goals that I wrote down a year ago in this blog post, and underneath, in a different color, I'll talk about how I did (as always, I have done more than I thought I was doing, while at the same time, missing some goals):

Here are my creative goals and intentions for 2015:

--Write a poem on both Tuesday and Thursday with a week-end day as my back-up day.  Today is Thursday.  I will need to get started on that.

Some weeks were better than others.  I wrote approximately 82 poems this year--and as always, I'm counting attempts.  This year, I'm not counting the stray line or two that went nowhere.

So, if I had followed this plan, I'd end the year with at least 104 poem drafts.   I fell a bit short, but to be honest, I'm surprised I had this many poems.

 --Write one short story each month.

I wrote 5 short stories.  For whatever reason, it takes me much longer to complete a short story these days. 

I will be exploring different approaches in this new year.  What would happen if I spent the first 15 minutes at my writing desk each morning writing a short story or a poem?  I'll let you know in a year.

 --Finish the memoir/essay manuscript.  A more specific definition:  have a draft that if published instantly, I'd be proud of it.

I completed this goal, and I started querying agents.

 --Send the poetry manuscript to 10 possible publishers.

I sent the manuscript to only 4 possible publishers--but that's because one of my chapbooks was accepted, and I needed to pay attention to tasks that the publication of the chapbook required.

 --I want to make 100 submissions of individual poems and short stories--get those packets out into the world!
I sent 88 packets of poems and short stories out into the world.  I'm calling this a success, especially since I'd have met the goal, if we count the pitches I made to the Living Lutheran site--where, I might add, my acceptance rate was much higher.

 --Other creativity:  I want to get back to fabric art that's less practical while continuing to make baby quilts and prayer shawls.  I want to sketch more.  That one should be easy--if I sketch once, I've sketched more than I did in 2014.

This year I crocheted 2 prayer shawls and finished 2 baby quilts.  I worked on quilts for Lutheran World Relief, and I created this piece of fabric art for the first week of Advent:

Does this picture capture it better?

I did sketch for a month, but my flimsy attempts irritated me.  I have an artist friend who tells me that doodles can count as sketching.  If that's the case, I've been wildly successful.  Every meeting agenda gets filled not only with notes but with curving lines and swirling shapes.

Here are my goals for 2016:

--Become more aggressive/intentional about sending queries to agents.  I will send three queries a month.

--I will spend the first 15 minutes at my writing desk each morning writing a short story or a poem.

--I will continue sending packets of poems and stories out into the world.  My goal will continue to be 100 submissions.

--I will send the larger poetry manuscript to 5 possible publishers.

--And along the way, I'll need to do some support of my forthcoming chapbook.

It's going to be a great year--that's my fervent hope/prayer/yearning.

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