The new year has begun. At the two-week mark I’m ready to get specific about how I want to approach the months ahead. At about this time last year, I posted my personal review of 2011, and then my intentions for 2012. Instead of goals, l preferred the word intentions, because so many of my priorities comprised an ongoing practice, rather than end points. If you follow our Monday Post you know that my weekly intentions rarely vary. My frame for the coming year is similar. But first, a brief review of 2012, because I like to appreciate where I’ve been before moving forward. Don’t you?
- In January my nonfiction writers’ group met for the first time. A year later, we’re still going strong — each of the six of us working on books (although we have since sidled into fiction too). We meet monthly in person and share our progress weekly via e-mail. This group is hugely important to me.
- In January I also launched my first group coaching circle, which met monthly throughout the year. An invaluable experience that will continue into 2013.
- In March I taught the first of multiple writers’ workshops at Open Studio — workshops that were well received by my students and informed my own writing practice.
- In March Studio Mothers made the Circle of Moms Top 25 Blogs list.
- In May my business partner Ellen Olson-Brown and I had our first “live” television appearance as guests on a local cable show, Around Town.
- In June I had the pleasure of being a guest on Mark Lipinski’s internet radio show, Creative Mojo. Mark is an awesome guy, and the experience was terrific.
- For Studio Mothers, without a doubt the highlight of the year was making the WordPress Freshly Pressed page in June. The ginormous traffic increase and bump in subscribers means that we’re now reaching a much wider audience.
- On July 4, I finished and released my e-book, The Creative Mother’s Guide: Six Creative Practices for the Early Years. Amazingly satisfying.
- In August I began a regular writing practice. It wasn’t every day — not at first — but I realized that 500 words a day was doable, even with I didn’t “have time” to write. Often, I’d write a lot more than 500 words. Now it’s a daily habit. This may be the most significant element of 2012.
- In September I performed in a live yoga demo for at our town’s annual festival. Nothing like getting on stage in front of a crowd in your yoga kit!
- In November I pushed the on-stage envelope even further by participating in a fashion-show fundraiser wearing a metal ensemble that Grace Jones might have envied.
- Throughout the year, I co-hosted various events at Open Studio: art openings, workshops, and our weekly Creative Community Hours.
- Although I didn’t enact the marketing plan for my coaching business that I created in 2011, I had a good year on the creativity coaching front, developing a roster of ongoing clients who are doing amazing things — and I’m honored to support them in their creative journeys.
- My editorial business, Pen and Press, had a strong year. Wonderful new clients — two of whom have become friends.
- On the personal side, my oldest son had a fantastic junior recital at Ithaca College and started his senior year; my second-oldest son graduated from high school and began his freshman year at Berklee College of Music; my 16-year-old daughter got her license and a job; my second-grader became an even more manic football fanatic (which seemed impossible); my youngest started his last preschool year at a Montessori school, which was a huge improvement for him — much happier. In all, the children had a great year. My husband started the year at a new job and ended the year without a job, so that’s been a challenge — but a unifying challenge, which has been positive.
Between the Lines
When I think through the highlights, I see that this year was very much about connecting with other people and becoming increasingly comfortable in front of a crowd, large or small. It’s no accident that our tagline for Open Studio was Connect, Create, Grow. (I used the past tense when referring to the studio. More here.)
When I look at the list of intentions I created for last year, I calculate about at 50% “success” rate. I’m okay with that.
For this year, instead of another folio of intentions, I’m doing something different. I still have the same priorities, but one concrete goal tops the list: finish my fiction manuscript. I don’t know if this is within my reach, but I’m going to try. On top of that, I’ve identified three words that are my mantra for the year:
Focus is for working on one thing until it’s done. Working with the wifi shut off and/or with my e-mail turned off. Not jumping from thing to thing in a ridiculous circle. Focus is for planning my day and following the plan. Focus is for my writing practice.
Kindness is for kindness to self. Being kind to others is not a struggle, but I tend to push myself too hard. I’m working on ways to be gentler, which means adjusting my personal expectations. Treating others and myself with empathy.
Delight is for doing less and enjoying it more. Delight is for slowing down and reconnecting with the natural childhood awe that used to be natural. Delight is for not running around like a maniac. Delight is for being here now, and not wanting to be anywhere else.
How about you? What are your intentions for 2013? If you have a word — or three — will you share?