I have big plans for the rest of the year, so my writing days are starting to assume that roller-coaster quality they get when I'm trying to manage a lot of projects in a short amount of time. Before I get completely immersed, I thought I'd put on the brakes for a minute and look back at how I've done so far with 2012's theme of coloring outside the lines.
I joined a penpal initiative, and started out writing letters to twelve complete strangers. I wrote one invitation-to-write-me letter that was sent out at random to six people, and replied to six letters that were randomly sent to me. I didn't try to hide who I am behind a fake name or anything like that; I figured take me warts and all, or not. Three never bothered to answer, five were good for one letter, two managed two letters, one is still writing (sporadically) and one has been a steady correspondent who is becoming a friend. Sustaining a real correspondence through letters -- just like writing anything -- is as much work as it is joy, so I didn't have expectations. That I reached out to strangers was very not like me but I'm glad I did.
I had an art exchange with another artist in a medium I rarely show anyone -- my jewelry making. I've been getting more into metal and steampunk, and all my quilting pals do are beaded pieces now and then (which are great but they're more about the patchwork.) I've also been creating these fusion pieces with quilted, beaded and metalwork elements and I want to explore more of that. It's lovely to know someone who is working in this medium.
On the home front I threw my family in a rental car and took them to another city for a long weekend. I planned nothing in advance but the rental car, the hotel, and a very brief visit to a college. I never do this. We had an amazing time. We're definitely doing it again.
I've done more self-promotion since January than I probably have in years. At times I've asked friends and colleagues for help, something that I never do because I have a real phobia about imposing on people. I'm still wrestling with it but it gets a little easier each time. I'm wrapping up the year with much more effort to promote my work in ways I've never before tried, and so far it's been good.
Where I fell short this year:
I didn't enter the art quilt challenge I talked about in early 2012. I wanted to do it mainly to introduce a new technique I've developed, but at the last minute I chickened out. It was a combination of time constraints plus dread, but mostly it was dread. I'm going to try again when I do a few more test runs and feel a little more certain of my expertise. This is a solid solution to an age old problem all quilters have, and I don't want to screw it up.
I stopped work on my 1K Cards Project, which put me a month and a half behind on it. I've since caught up, but allowing emotional stress squash my creativity is not a way to cope. I know I handle problems best by working through them, not hiding from them, and when I'm feeling blue I need reminders of this.
I've pushed myself this year, but not hard enough. I've avoided some opportunities to step outside the lines because I was either keeping the peace or I felt inadequate. Often I just couldn't get past my need to organize everything perfectly; some things cannot be planned, mapped out or predicted. Fighting your routines and your methods in order to try new things can be exhausting, and half the time I gave into the familiar and stayed behind the lines when I should stepped out.
I think every year is a mixed bag in some fashion, but this one has been a real 50/50 for me in every category. So far 2012 has taught me that you can set goals you think are reasonable, but you discover they're a lot harder than you thought only when you're working toward them. Channeling your energy appropriately plays a big part, too. Things that seemed only a little difficult in the planning stages are much tougher when you're tired, or depressed, or spread too thin.
Are any of you still working on the goals you set for this year? How are things coming along for you? Let us know in comments.