Friday, January 13, 2017

A Year of Making

In 2017, I'm doing a Year of Making, a thing I'd seen around the interwebs, and read more extensively about from Kim Werker. I've always been a creative person, but four years of adjuncting and living pretty hand to mouth has had me pretty focused on just surviving. Also, the past few years, I've been focused on revision, as I had two books slated for publication, one in 2014, and one in 2016, so I have been in revising not creating mode. Last year I was on tour promoting my second book, and didn't have any time nor energy to write new work. This year, however, I'm looking forward to going absolutely nowhere, and buckling down and getting to work.

A Year of Making entails making something, anything every day, whether it's a few rows of knitting, a sandwich, a list, a drawing. Whatever. As long as it's something creative.

I've gotten away from the playful spirit of creativity, however, so the year of making seemed perfect. In the past year, I've gotten into art journaling, and giving myself permission to play with colors and a messy, colorful sort of memory keeping enriches my creative spirit. Dabbling is also a thing I need help with.

I have a tendency toward professionalization. I blame grad school. Eight years working toward becoming an expert in something gave me the feeling that I need to do that with everything in my life. For example: I became a doula. I opened a tarot shop. I took a Certified Metaphysical Practitioner course. I was allergic to hobbies, and needed always to prove myself in order to like a hobby. Why do something at all unless you can be perfect at it, right? Bullshit. I'm learning just how bullshit and harmful this kind of thinking is, so trying new things through the year of making is just what I need. Embracing the learning process and getting comfortable being bad at something and having to practice it, sharing with the world my bad drawings and messy knitting, is freeing in some way. I'm not perfect. I'll prove it. And that's okay. I hope that, ultimately, this not only helps me take more risks in my writing, but also makes me a happier person.

I'm taking an online drawing class, and have quickly amassed a large quantity of art supplies, plus I'm learning to crochet, and I've gotten back into knitting, a hobby I once loved, and was actually good at, but which got abandoned when I lived in Florida. The other day, I finished my first project in seven years, a Pussy Project Hat, and even though it turned out way too big (despite following the pattern exactly), I really loved the process of getting back into knitting again, and best of all, I had so much fun knitting it.

This fall, I got into cross stitch, after taking a Kinky Cross Stitch workshop at A-Camp. I loved knitting political cross stitch projects, and naught words and such. I never thought I could sew, but then I'd never tried. I'm having so much fun discovering things outside of work and Netflix marathons!

Last semester, I taught four classes at two schools in two different cities, and I was so busy, I was barely keeping my head above water. This spring, I'm only teaching one, plus working in the writing center for ten hours a week, and while that's shitty in terms of income, it means I will have a lot more free time for writing my book, and making things in general. My primary goals for this year are to make something daily, work on writing my third book, and reorganize and decorate my house. I definitely have a bachelor(ette) aesthetic going on here right now, and I still have a closet full of unpacked artwork that needs to be up on the walls.

This blog is sort of part of all this, too. I want More of This: playing, dabbling, being creative, having fun, and less of That: negativity, perfectionism, jealousy, stress. I also wanted someplace less formal and career-connected to write about my hobbies, my craft projects, my fountain pen collection, and my planning obsession. I'll be posting my year of making photos on my crafty/planner Instagram account. , and writing about more significant/larger projects on here.

Here's to a year of chunky yarn, ink-stained hands, piles of filled journals, and cuddling by the fire with my pets!