Onwards and Upwards

My last post was all about reflecting on 2019. This one is about looking forward to 2020. It’s easy to write a long list of New Year’s resolutions but a little trickier to stick to them. So, this year I want to develop habits that I already have, starting with my art.

Last year saw a surge in my artistic activity. I can’t remember quite how it happened, but I know that starting a nature journal certainly helped. As well as nature I use my journal for tickets, feathers, pretty page borders and scribblings. One of my new evening past times is sketching whilst curled up on the sofa in my favourite spot. It’s a one-stop shop for all my creative energy and seeing the book get fatter only encourages me more. The journal is particularly useful for making notes on walks, although I still need to kick the bad habit of wanting every page to look Pinterest-worthy. I make title pages each month and have bought a dinky old-fashioned library stamp to date each entry. It’s by no means perfect, but so far it has proven to be a useful tool for getting me drawing and painting again.

Linked to this is a new art challenge: Inktober 52. The original version was a drawing prompt for every day in October, but that sadly didn’t quite happen. Luckily for me there’s a weekly version starting in 2020 – 52 new drawings that I can add to my portfolio. The first prompt was FLIGHT so I drew a dragon with my new Faber-Castell pens I got for Christmas. I really want to stick to Inktober 52 and I can’t wait to get next week’s prompt!

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Alas, where there’s play there has to be work. I’m feeling really optimistic about my writing moving forwards. The MA has already provided a structure for developing my work and, perhaps most importantly, trying to get paid for it. The self-led trip in April will be an important test of my ability to pitch to publications. Today I spent many hours poring over Scottish magazines and I was pleased to see that a lot of my ideas hadn’t been featured. There’s still a lot to organise, but I’m so excited to see what happens over the next few months.

Another thing I would like to do this year is establish a better work structure. I have quite a few different types of work including MA assignments, freelance pieces and personal writing, and my long to-do list was getting a little daunting. This year I’d like to try assigning a certain type of work to a specific day, so on that day I only have a few tasks to concern myself with. Blocking out time will hopefully mean I get jobs done more efficiently and make time for the things that get neglected, such as my fiction projects.

Something I certainly need to make more time for in 2020 is exercise. After a fairly consistent feast of mince pies, Yorkshire puddings and apple sauce over Christmas and the uninspiring rainy weather, my fitness has undoubtedly suffered. What’s more insulting is that my monthly gym membership still zips out of my account even when I don’t actually go… Although the idea of jogging makes me want to crawl into a ball and play possum, I want to embrace power walking and forest walking more this year.

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Buzzard gliding over Anagach Woods, Grantown-on-Spey

Lots to be getting on with! I’ve seen a few people choosing one word to summarise the coming year so I’ve decided that mine will be “improve”. It may sound simple but it’s what I want to do every year, whether that’s learn something new, develop a skill I’ve already been working on or change something for the better. Basically any small victory that brings me closer to my goals. I hope 2020 will bring lots of improvements!

 

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