It’s that time of year where just about everywhere you look or read it’s reflecting on the year’s end. The best of…, The top this or that…, # things to make next year better…, and more. It’s a time of renew. A time to look back and reflect while re-energize going forward.
Life is a balancing act both personally and professionally. Sometimes it’s hard. As an independent contractor, both those lives intertwine almost on a daily basis. Working from home has more benefits than working in a cubicle, but some days seem endless with spontaneous interruptions.
Professionally, 2014 was a stellar year for NuggetHead Studioz. This site was excellently refurbished with a new platform and design by Brian at Duce Enterprises. Business is good with the budget closeout showing a consistent double-digit growth since inception in early 2012 with solid projections for 2015. Major kudos to my CFO (my wife, Tammy) for keeping me on track!
Personally, no matter what life throws at us family is (should be) the center. I welcomed a new granddaughter to the world – Isabella Grace born on Feb 12. Learned my dad has cancer. My stepdaughter got her driver’s license and wrecked her car for the first time. My son had back surgery. We visited Hawaii. Lost a dear Aunt. Learned my C1 (Atlas) vertebrea was tilted 11 degrees off center – no wonder I walked with a gimp.
Aside from getting the flu…twice, my dog eating things he shouldn’t, and several random acts of “now what?!”, that was my year in a nutshell.
I’m a traditionalist in a lot of ways, but the annual tradition of making resolutions is not something I ever got into the habit of doing. I like the concept of making annual resolutions, though and for some reason I’ve always considered them a group of three. I actually gave my new resolutions some deeper thought this time with a broader goal yet still actionable and measurable. In no particular order, here they are:
- Read more
- Write more
- Draw more
Read more: I like to read. In fact, I love reading all sorts of things out of curiosity. For instance I might be sifting through email newsletters and come across an article that interests me. While reading the article a related book is mentioned and referenced. I click the link and now I’m at Amazon.com with it staring at me with a ridiculously inexpensive Kindle price of a few dollars. Having a Prime membership and one-click purchase, the book is downloading to my Kindle before I even realize what I’ve done. Then it dons on me that I have new book to read. That’s when things fall apart. I want to read it. I bought it. I need to read it if for any other reason to justify the purchase. Though for some odd cosmic reason I can’t seem to get into a daily reading habit.
Reading Plan: The first thing I have come to realize is that I can’t read a book in one sitting. I just don’t have the mental focus. I get too distracted in wandering thoughts. To combat this weakness I need to exercise that mental focus so I’m starting with 10-20 minutes every morning. The 10 minute swing is to allow for good stopping points. I certainly don’t want the timer to go off in the middle of a paragraph! From there my two goals are to reach one hour of daily reading within 90 days and finish a book before I buy another.
Write more – I like to write. In fact, I have hundreds of articles, blog posts and short stories that I’ve started. Not finished. Key word here is finish. The problem I see in myself is a combination similar to reading where I get distracted easily, but also that I don’t have good writing structure. I really have to consciously think and plan how something is going to ‘read’ before I write. I know a lot of people who write exceptionally well and seemingly effortlessly. I’m fairly confident knowing those of you reading this with more experience in the writing of the English language wish you had a red pen to mark up this very post for me. I also know writing more will improve my structure skills and hopefully more ideas will surface.
Writing Plan: Similar to reading, I need a fixed time to write. In my convoluted mind I figure if I read first and then go write I can keep both of these tasks in the same block of time. All totaled should be no more than 45 minutes, right? More importantly it’s about finishing what I started to write about so if it takes two or three mornings the goal is to stay on task. If this works out as I’m planning I should be able to publish a weekly blog post and even get ahead a few weeks.
Draw more: I love to draw. I draw a lot. In fact, if you know me you know that I draw every day as it is. It’s a habit I’ve had for as many years as I can remember. So much so that I have a dedicated sketchbook for everyday use, one by my nightstand for those middle of the night inspirations, and a pocket sketchbook I never leave the house with. The challenge I’m posing to myself is more drawing, not sketching. Honestly, I sketch more than I draw. Big difference. Something for another conversation (see, there’s a blog post right there!). Similar to writing I have multiple sketchbooks with hundreds if not thousands of sketches. Majority of which no one has ever seen. In many cases I’ve sketched ideas with the end goal of it being a t-shirt or poster design but in the end the page gets turned and I move on. My goal is to complete those sketches into full production drawings.
Drawing Plan: My creative juices are firing on all cylinders late at night rather than first thing in the morning when it comes to sketching and drawing. Furthermore, if I intend on converting these sketches into workable vector art for mass consumer consumption that takes time. It’s best I devote this time to the late evening when email, calls and general daily interruptions cease to exist. Because these take more time I’m going to conservatively commit to one a month. What? I got weekly writing assignments as it is. And combined with all that reading where am I going to find time to eat and sleep?!
These three resolutions for me are designed for my professional life. All truth told they are for personal gains as well. I don’t have to tell you that the mere act of reading and writing will only produce long-term benefits. Even though I’m naturally passionate about drawing every day, I’d argue it’s equally beneficial for everyone to pick up the daily habit of at least sketching.
P.S. Notice above that the “P” is capitalized in the word Plan? That’s by design. By capitalizing that letter it makes the plan that much more official!
Happy New Year!