For several years Ali Edwards has started her year with a word. No resolutions or promises to break, just one little word® to check back on for guidance or reflection. As she describes it, “You live with it. You invite it into your life. You let it speak to you. You might even follow where it leads. There are so many possibilities.” This year is all about cultivating the best parts of me. So join me on this journey and let’s see where it takes us. For more of my one little word, follow my tag one little word.
In March I started to hit my stride with my word cultivate. Things just started to come together, as they tend to do when you spend a lot of time planning and developing and listing. And then – just like that – everything gets easier. Things fall into place. And suddenly you find yourself with extra moments, spare time, to go further. To explore. To create.
In March, Ali tasked the One Little Word® class to fill out an action sheet. And since I’ve spent the better part of my year listing actions, planning task lists, and researching, this action sheet was a quick and easy assignment that helped me bring my thoughts to one place.
I titled my page “Cultivate my memory keeping business”, which refers both directly to the concept of building a business around memory keeping and, less directly, refers to my personal interest in all things memory keeping lately (I mean, you’ve seen all of these blog posts, right?!). And, within, that subject, there are a few things that I specifically want/need in order to further push myself: community, creativity, organization, and intentionality.
Cultivating community is about building relationships, participating in groups, and sharing information around a subject. That looks different for each subject matter. In the world of memory keeping, what I thought was more of an in-person, face-to-face thing, turns out to be best served online.
It’s something I’ve been steadily working on for years.
And it has FINALLY come together. And it makes me SO happy. And fills me with SO MUCH joy.
By now you’ve probably seen my posts about #myselfiescrapbook: a collaborative project with some great designers to help inspire you to document yourself. It’s exactly what I’ve been in search of: building community with other designers, and building community around a project. And this project, just by working with a group of women that I respect and admire, whose work I truly appreciate and am inspired by, has pushed me to a new level of creativity.
I see the value in this community. And I will work to cultivate and connect and develop it and sustain inspiration from it.
Just like creativity and work styles, we all have a different style of learning. Some of us learn best by doing hands-on work, some learn best through reading, and some of us – like me – learn best through others. I personally enjoy listening to presentations, audio books, podcasts, and videos to learn new concepts.
So when I set out to cultivate my own creativity, I knew that I would need to find my own channels for inspiration. And almost as soon as I completed this assignment, I knew that it was time for me to research and consider what classes I could take to help encourage and inspire that creativity and that process for me.
So I signed up for Ali Edward’s new class: type. I purchased some supplies through Studio Calico, Becky Higgins, and at my local craft store to get inspired by working with my hands. I started and added to my favorite Pinterest boards to get inspired about new projects and to seek out others to get inspired. I sought out podcasts that would inspire me to try new things. I even purchased software and some plug-ins to FINALLY get started on Photoshop + Illustrator (something I’ve been waffling about for years).
And that’s where I am now. Primed and ready to start new creative outlets and get going on cultivating my own creativity. And I’m VERY excited to get started.
But all of this creativity, peppered with new projects and my regular responsibilities, has me feeling a little strained for time. I find myself wrestling with what I need to prioritize and what is most important to me at that moment. So I’ve been very adamant about keeping up my planner, creating to-do lists that outline the steps I need to achieve my growing list of goals, and finishing up lingering projects so that it’s easier to focus on new things.
I also pre-purchased the Get to Work Book by Elise Joy. Because – let’s face it – I love her work and her blog and she’s a goal-setter and planner just like me. But I also purchased it because she’s the first person that I’ve ever heard explain the creative process as a far more routine, organized, and distilled process than it is culturally assumed to be. And the fact that she understands that, as a creative, truly helps me align myself better with my own goals. Things like simplifying my wardrobe truly help me minimize my daily decisions so that I can spend my emotional time and energy on more important things – like the fun creative stuff.
And I’m developing my own goal book of sorts. But more on that soon. 😉
Gosh, BY FAR this is the one I struggle with most. I’m a creative at heart, growing more and more so every day. And every day I follow my wants and needs in an attempt to maximize my chances for efficiency and productivity.
It’s not a good strategy.
So I’m working on adjusting my morning routine, making sure I get enough sleep, and incorporating more routine into my daily spare moments. I’m focusing my time on social media, so that it’s more intentional and less about getting lost in gorgeous pictures and inspiration. I’m developing a better understanding of the communities I should be participating in and the communities that don’t provide value. Basically, I’m figuring it out. But I have a long way to go.
So there you have it: cultivating some big ideas. And – if you’re anything like me – you’re probably pretty excited to see what comes next. So stay tuned for lots of inspiration and a whole lot of fun!