🎊 Happy New Year! 🎊
2019 is here! I hope it is a wonderful year for all, filled with laughter and joy and good opportunities and things that warm the heart.
The start of a new year feels so fresh and inviting, filled with the hope of good things to come. We can look back on the last year fondly or – as the case may be – close the book with a thump of finality: Thank goodness that’s over. For me, 2018 was a bit of both, as Life often is. Yet rather than dwelling on the bad – which is a guaranteed trip down the Pit of Misery – I want to remember the good and hope that this next year can top it.
So in that vein, here’s a quick review. . . .
- 39 posts on Strike A Spark
- Completed Draw Everything June III
- Completed eleven essays for Plotober (!!)
- Wrote a poem. . .
- . . . plus tons of words on WIPs
- Posted more regularly on deviantART
- Completed 12+ illustrations
Looking back like this, I am surprised by how much I accomplished. Day-to-day, it often felt like I was struggling through each day with nothing much to show for it, only grains of time-sand slipping ever faster through my fingers. . . . Yet that perception is misleading, as a quick review shows!
This year, I want to learn from that shocked feeling. I want to be kinder to myself and recognize that it may not seem like I can do a lot in one day, over time those baby steps combine to make something fabulous.
I also want to thank everyone who has supported me in the past year. Whenever y’all like a post and comment, it really makes my day! I hope we can have more fun together this year. (^u^)
Did you learn any positive lessons in 2018?
Let’s Go, 2019! Picking Themes for This Year
All in all, 2018 was a good year. But there was one thing I’ve already mentioned that I intensely disliked: That aimless feeling, like time was slipping away with nothing to show for it. So as I was thinking about what I want for this year, the first thing that came to mind was to banish that feeling to the netherworld from whence it came.
The best way to do that, I think, is to set up my life so that every day, I’m working on something I know will take me closer to my goals. I want to be kinder to myself and recognize that one small step at a time can and will grow into something positive.
In this way, I want to continue moving forward on the bigger projects, especially getting Rondo of the Rising Sun to the point where we can start publishing it. And for that purpose, I am going to focus on building and improving my writing and art skills. I don’t think I am at the level yet where I can confidently make a webcomic, or even edit and illustrate a novel. But the only way to improve is to keep practicing, because every word written down and every little sketch gives experience. In this way, I will build a firm foundation that will continue to grow with every story, every artwork, every post until I’ve built something I can be proud of.
So those are my two themes for this year: One step at a time and building a firm foundation. And when things get too stressful, I can remind myself that as long as I keep moving forward, even in small steps, everything will be all right.
Are you going to pick a theme for your 2019? If you do, I’d love to hear it! Share it with me in the comments!
One Step Further: Making SMART Goals
Part of building a firm foundation is improving my art and writing skills, right? But that’s pretty vague by itself. Of course, vague goals can be good when you just want to try something out or want to avoid pressure, but honestly they aren’t really my thing. How will I know when I’ve improved?
SMART goal-setting is a way to take a vague or big goal and make it one that you can actually see yourself accomplishing. SMART stands for:
So a SMART goal is the opposite of vague. You say, “I want to accomplish this specific thing, and I want to accomplish it by this date.” Then you break that goal down into an achievable step, choose a way to measure your achievement, and making sure that it is relevant to your goal. (Because what’s the point of pursuing something that you don’t really want?)
Is that a little confusing, maybe? (>.<);; Well, I think Aileen from Lavendaire explains it better than me, so here’s a link to her video.
I’ve decided to use this system this year, particularly for tracking my art and writing goals. It’s hard to measure improvement in creative fields because while there are objective measurements (using correct spelling, learning a certain technique, finishing a project more quickly), so much of creative fields are subjective! Changes in style, technique, materials. . . and so on can all affect the outcome and thus whether someone will judge it “good” or an “improvement” over a previous work.
So instead, I chose to break out “improve writing and art” into several smaller goals and assigned a numerical number help with tracking. The idea is to build good habits, continue learning, and improvement will follow. It’s kind of like grinding in RPGs. . . .
With all that said, here are my goals for 2019! 🎉
- Post more often on Strike A Spark. This year’s goal is 52 posts by the end of the year, or about one post per week. Considering I managed to make 39 posts last year, it should be achievable!
- Do more art studies to encourage experimentation and learning. There’s some wiggle room in the category “studies,” so I can follow a tutorial on Youtube, or draw from a workbook, or try a new technique, or practice posing, or anything else really as long as I learn something. My goal for 2019 is 240 art studies, or about 5 per week. (I’ve already completed three studies this week!)
- Write more this year. Rather than tracking words written (which, as I’ve learned during NaNos past, can be quite stressful), I decided to encourage good habits by tracking writing sessions (“bum in seat time”) instead. I’m aiming for 240 writing sessions by the end of the year, or about 5 per week. (This post counts as one! \(^o^)/)
- Of course, I want to launch RRS this year. There’s a lot to do before we can start publishing, though, so I’m taking it in baby steps and choosing one small goal at a time to finish. First up is updated character design sheets, and I hope to have the first set done in February. So look forward to seeing those soon. . . . 😉
- Another project I want to do this year are speedpainting videos. I love watching other artists paint, so I thought it would be nice to do some too. I’ve got to find a video editor I can use on Linux and make or commission some background music first. So I’m looking into that as well. . . .
So there are a lot of exciting things coming up! It does seem like a lot, yet I am feeling eager to begin instead of swamped. I think this is the true power of New Year’s Resolutions: Looking forward to all the good things coming, you can’t help but feel excited!
Now over to you! Are you excited for 2019? Did you make a New Year’s Resolution? (Or are they not your cup o’ tea?) I would love to hear your thoughts!