my big creative year

Shadows of  things to come………

fortuny shadows

A big creative year. That’s my wish and intention for myself for 2015. I’m committing to take action on ideas I’ve been sitting on, to look harder and deeper for inspiration and to make more time to explore my curiosity. Curiosity has always been my driving force and trusted compass. It’s so easy to become mired in busyness and lose sight of how important it is to make time to explore. I always intend to make time but the deep and inescapable truth remains that hope is not a strategy. There are though, tools and systems and practices that work if I use them:

The first is so easy and for me might be the most powerful – a note book and a pencil. It’s also the practice I’ve been most consistent with throughout my life. The more you use it the more effective it is. Record ideas immediately as they come to you – it only takes a moment and it must be on paper. I’ll go on and on about this in a future post – I love my notes and sketches but I could be so much more consistent.

Schedule everything – all that stuff I do that keeps the lights on still has to happen but it could be done more efficiently. A lot more efficiently. I’ve been experimenting for a few weeks with how I schedule myself and I’ve learned a bunch I’ll share with you later on. I’m also exploring systems and tools to make some of the less inspiring but important tasks take less time. There is so much available that could help – it just requires attention and planning.

Put ideas and exploring on the schedule, even in a small way.  Ideas need space, time, support, discipline and momentum. Even when I’m super duper busy – there is time somewhere- even 15 minutes can be powerful if its truly focused and consistent.

Collaborate  more- some of my most significant growth and most satisfying projects have come from collaborations. I finished 2014 with a big project with Fortuny that I loved and I’ll share that soon (the photo at the top of the post is a sneak peek). Below are a couple other favorite collaborative projects.

It’s such a simple question: What would you like to happen this year? Why not make it your big creative year too? Each Monday of 2015  I’ll share what I learn –  what I’m experimenting  with, what’s working and what isn’t. And I’d love to hear from you – what would you love to accomplish this year? What new practice will you try?  What challenges you? What lights you up? What tiny change could you make to bring you just a little closer to doing something you’ve dreamed of?


  1. I love this post! I’m thinking so differently lately about my creative work-I’m taking yoga teacher training and thinking about creating art + yoga + gardening together as one path, instead of distinct things I do…My challenges this year are to move on projects I’ve been mulling over, drink plenty of water, get plenty of sleep and meditate daily. I look forward to more posts in this vein!

    • Thanks Laura! Art – yoga- gardening – that makes perfect sense to me. The sleep thing is huge for me as well – my brain works remarkably better with enough sleep. And from mulling to moving – yes- I’m right there with you.

  2. I’m with you on the notebook front. Like people carry their mobile phones – I constantly have a notebook to hand. I work in a school and everyone always comments on my propensity to jot things down – unfortunately, no one has yet followed my lead.

  3. Hi John – yes – so true – it makes such a difference. It’s so easy for a little bit of and idea to slip away and be lost forever. And recording things on my phone can turn into a distraction – email, instagram etc. just cause it’s all right there. I love my notebook and I’m making better use of it lately.

  4. i cannot wait for the scheduling post. it’s something i struggle with year after year and i’m always on the lookout for that lightbulb moment of finding what works for me. i’m still only beginning to wrap my mind around the fact that it’s a new year with new plans to make. my goals are yet undefined but getting out of my head and producing tangible things ought to be one.

    • Hi Sylvï – I’ve struggled with finding what works best for me schedule wise for years too- definitely a work in progress but my recent experiments worked out well. And getting things out of my head is high on my priority list this year too and part of what inspired me to write this blog series.

  5. Thank you for tis post. I’m going to print it ou and look at it often to keep me focussed. I also love to keep ideas in a sketchbook, but am often bogged down with all my ideas. First and foremost I’m a textile artist, but would love to incorporate other mediums. I have given myself a project to follow … the Secret Garden … Which hopefully will allow me to use lots of mediums and ideas … Creatures, flowers, statues, follies … X

    • Thank you Susan. I’m so glad you like the post. Your project sounds lovely and intriguing. I love The Secret Garden – so much to be inspired by there – I’d love to see what you make.

  6. My thanks for this post as well; it is very easy as you say to get distracted with busyness and the minutiae of life. I will also be printing out your post as inspiration because I feel that the creative process can be very healing. Even though I struggle with feeling I’m good enough to compete with others in my field (floral design) the act of doing some work, making and designing helps to dispel those worries. I look forward to following your creative year.

    • So true Sue – doing the work is what moves us forward, doing it despite of all the doubts – great point.

  7. Wonderful post! I like your plans for 2015. I’m committing to scheduling everything this year, and doing regular weekly and monthly check-ins (with myself) to see what I’ve accomplished. I look forward to your future posts to learn how you create and stick to your schedule, and also how you find local people and groups to collaborate with.

    • Check- ins are a great idea Laura – and regarding collaborations- I’ve had long distance ones too. So far mostly people have found me but it’s something that has worked so well for me I feel like I should be proactive going forward and look for opportunities – easier said than done though – the idea of approaching people with ideas immediately makes me feel shy…..

  8. This is great Ann! Very inspiring… I can’t wait to read more about your process. I completely agree, notesbooks, schedules, focused intentions are all so important to making it all work. I too am in same the place with my creative work. It’s always wonderful to understand how other creatives appoarch things. Sharing and collaboration are what keep us all going ultimately. Looking foward to more for you!!

    • Thanks so much Alisha! I hope you have a big creative year too!

  9. Ann, I am very excited about this post and your ideas. It is so easy to let the day be consumed with demands and other things on our lives that need attention. I long to nurture my creative side, the one thing that pulls at me every single waking minute and nothing that is identified with what I do every day at work. So happy you are helping to guide us!! (Loved your article in Victoria Magazine.)

  10. Ann I am was so blessed when I came across your ideas on pinterest and the Victoria article I give The Lord thanks for you the keep up the good work and continue to ask the Lord for more ideas to share with us

  11. merci de nous inspirer autant
    bonne année à vous
    thank you very much for been so … inspired !

  12. Ann I am was so blessed when I came across your ideas on Pinterest and the Victoria article. I give The Lord thanks for you. Keep up the good work and continue to ask the Lord for more ideas to share with us.

  13. You work has inspired me for many years and now you are talking about the exact areas I’m struggling over. I look forward to your insights and tips. Thank you for sharing them with others.

  14. Just what I needed to read at 5.30am in Australia. Yes, this is the year to be brave, say yes when my doubts say “who do you think you are” . This year my words are collaborate, dare and faith. Denise

    • Go boldly forth Denise! I like it. I hope it’s a huge year for you.

  15. Ruth Hoefert

    I agree! This should be my creative year! My favorite form to work on is decopauge. I do need to do some planning, writing things down. I need to improve on what I do. I need to be able to organize better. Dreaming is definitely a good thing! Ruth

  16. Ann, this post hits true for me as well. I have been laboring under what I now believe to be a false pressure to focus very tightly on only one medium in order to make progress. Lately I kind of threw in the towel and am embracing my jackdaw habits of collecting and working upon lots of shiny bits without knowing what I will be doing with them. Part of this process is creating more things that have dimension and I am in the midst of creating my first Little Boat from your pattern. Thanks for making it possible to visit inside your processes for a bit–I’m learning much to add to my own store of experience fabricating items of whimsy and wonder.

    • Thanks so much Lisa- I’m so glad you’re making boats! I hope they spark all sorts of new shapes for you.

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