Friday, December 30, 2011

Outside the Lines

For me the year of change is almost over, and I've been waiting for a new nudge from the universe to give me some creative direction for 2012. After I sold the steampunk novel I thought it might be the Year of New Ventures, but that didn't feel right (probably because I still have two books under contract from this year and last year to write.)

On Christmas night we decided to take a ride to see the lights, and then stopped for hot chocolate and a walk around town. It was one of those odd, completely spontaneous family outings that was filled with laughter and memories in the making; the kind of thing I cherish most. It was while we were out walking that I spotted a decorative sign with a saying that I've probably seen a million times: Color Outside the Lines.

First it made me reminisce. When I was a kid, I rarely colored inside the lines. I drew extra stuff on my coloring book characters: superhero capes, braids, jewelry, background scenes, and anything else I could think of to fill up the void of the empty page. I also wrote captions, made dialogue balloons and signed everything (because that's what real artists do.)

I've always enjoyed thinking outside the box, too, because there's enough room there to be different and experiment and discover new ideas. I think I've gotten away from it recently because I've been more focused on productivity and organization, which are just as valuable but shouldn't hog all your brain power.

For example, one of the most exciting things I did in 2011 was to try and reinvent the bookmark. That one little project was such a simple thing, and lots of fun. At the same, it was very challenging to some up with something that hadn't already been done. What I learned from that I've carried over into a dozen other creative projects, including my writing. I don't do enough of that anymore, and I want to. I want to move past what's expected and accepted and what everyone else does.

I'm not afraid to work in the void; I like having the space to do what I want. I'm also not afraid to mess up; every success has a foundation of dozens of mistakes. The universe knows this, which is probably why I got this particular nudge. It's time for me to climb out of the box, step over the lines and see what I can do.

When I saw the sign in the shop window, I was wondering just how I was going to tackle this, and got another nudge when I read this other sign sitting next to it. I think I already have the Be Obnoxious part down, but I can definitely use the rest as additional inspiration.

So my New Year's resolution is to make 2012 the year I color outside the lines. It's a bit scary, and I have no idea what will happen, but I trust the universe as a creative navigator. Truth is, I can't wait to get started.

What are your plans for 2012? What do you hope to accomplish? Let us know in comments.


  1. I was the kid on the other side of the room doing her darnedest to color inside the lines. My precisely-colored bunny may have been purple, though.

  2. Anonymous11:14 AM

    I've been thinking about the coming year over the last few days. I don't like making resolutions because I suffer from a lack of focus, making it difficult to follow through on projects I start. It's why I have an unfinished novel and tons of partly written short stories laying around.

    I've started medication to help w/ what I guess would be termed ADD, and I'm optimistic, but only so much. This problem has kept me from completing many things I want to do in my life.

    I'm sorry, this is really off topic and I didn't plan to go into this here! Truly, my life's good and 2012 will bring some great stuff, I'm sure. Already looking forward to it.

    Jeff P.

  3. I love those family walks.

    My New Year's resolution this year is to WRITE MORE and BE ABANDONED in my writing.


    May you have a great New Year.


  4. Fran Kane11:57 AM

    Talk about inspirational! I am hoping that the "get up & go" that got up and went in 2011 will come back in 2012.

    I used to be such a live wire but this past year I've been so lethargic and uninterested in everything, from cleaning my flat to going for a walk. I must regain my energy and enthusiasm for everything.

    I'm not making those "lose weight"/go to the gym resolutions because I never keep them but I will try to:
    1. Eat less junk.
    2. Take more exercise (slightly easier as I got a push bike at the beginning of December.
    3. Be considerate.
    4. Be myself!

    Happy New Year!

  5. My plans for 2012? Right now I'm overwhelmed by my plans for the weekend. Anyway. My current goal is to write something that makes me feel like I can stand before the throne of judgement and say I did what I was meant to do with the gifts I was given. That may not happen this year or this decade but I can strive. For now at least I can say I'm using my gifts, however far short my execution may fall.

  6. I plan to continue writing. I hope to become more consistant in the amount of words I write a day. I will continue to upload new ebooks, even though my first two books haven't made enough money to cover the copywrite. I constantly tell myself to believe and 2012 could be the year that readers find me. Thanks for all your great blogs. I enjoy reading them.

  7. 2012 is the year I stop being afraid. I will try all sorts of things without letting 'what if's' hold me back. If something doesn't work, or even if it fails spectacularly, I'll be grateful for the effort.

    Happy New Year to you and your family, Lynn.


  8. This coming year, I want to stop sitting on the couch when I stop moving, meaning, I'm so tired most days by the time I get home from work, I don't feel like doing anything else including writing and that's not going to get me anywhere. So I'm going to try to move more and try to find something that will help regain my energy.

    Anything I accomplish from that will be icing on the cake.

    As far as coloring in the lines, I tried. I was never quite able to do that though. Not for lack of any kind of talent, but because I always saw more than the lines themselves.

    Happy New Year, Lynn. I hope you have a wonderful new year.


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