Remember when I said I’d be back blogging in full effect on January 4 (aka yesterday)? Well… I got up yesterday and just didn’t feel ready. The truth is that I’ve really been enjoying my time off, which is to be expected, right? I’ve never taken this much time off and especially not without checking in to do some work… so not taking any time off at all. But this time, I baaaarely checked in and it was liberating.
It’s funny — I’m not really a resolutions kind of person, but something about 2016 has me feeling introspective. To be perfectly honest, I think it’s because I finally stepped away from the laptop, which opened up room in my head for real thoughts and introspection! Funny how that works, huh. Over the past week, I also read 2 books to keep me in the mindset of resetting and refreshing my mindset: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert and Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. Both books have been instrumental in framing some changes I want to make. Humor me, I want to talk about some goals for 2016 and I’d really love your feedback!
I chose Big Magic in the hopes of figuring out how to get my creative mojo back. I’ve been so… inundated by deadlines, managing people and personalities, and generally trying to keep everyone happy. Which basically led to me not being happy and kind of feeling a bit resentful. Not a good scene and not at all conducive to creativity of any kind. This book basically blew my mind when I realized that I am no longer creative, despite that being what feeds me on both personal and professional levels. When was the last time I just made something? Or drew anything? Or had fun being creative instead of living up to the expectations of a contract?? And this all sounds so familiar because of the goals I set for myself last year. The scary thing is that I still feel stagnant, despite taking on so many more projects this year and steering the blog into a direction that’s way more my style than ever before. I’m really proud of the evolution of this blog, but still feel a bit creatively… dead. I suspect it’s because I threw everything I had into the blog in 2015 without taking time to also feed my own creative soul. I got so busy creating that I didn’t make time to actually be creative. It’s funny how that works, huh?
Then, there’s Essentialism, a book recommended by Erica Reitman. While chatting, I was stressing about taking time off and complaining (a lot) about how run down, worn out, and generally over it I felt about most things. She recommended I pick up this book and I’m so glad I did.
A bit of backstory: I have never once turned down work. I have always said yes, even if I knew the timeline was insane. I’ve always approached work, especially of the freelance variety, to be something that I’ll figure out as I go… that I will somehow make it happy. I’ll stay up late, maybe even all night… I’ll have my assistant do it… I’ll beg for an extension…. stuff like that. I have “functioned” in this capacity for a few years now and I just cannot. do. it. anymore.
It’s time to learn how to say no, albeit gracefully and constructively (good ways to do that are in the book!). It’s time to embrace the concept of Less but Better. It’s time to ask myself “is this how I really want to invest my time?”
All these things add up to taking better care of myself and, by extension, my creativity.
The fact is that I’ve not been kind to myself. I’ve made every single thing a priority, which has resulted in a good-enough type of outcome. And also in zero personal time, which goes back to that whole I’m-not-actually-creative-anymore thing. If I book every spare minute of my time with work, how will I ever take that pottery class I’ve always wanted to take? Or go camping or road tripping or… anything.
So, here’s my actual goal for 2016: to ask myself “does this elicit either a HELL YEAH or a no?” Because once that question is answered, the decision is basically made.
I feel like I can apply this to soooo many decisions and not just professionally. It almost feels liberating…!
And I’d love to hear what you’re working on for 2016 — leave ’em below in the comments!
image source via Instagram.