HAPPY NEW YEAR YA'LL! A new glow for all of us. Saturn is in Capricorn, and New York is going through a wild winter. Quite the powerful time. 

At the end of the year I took a two week vacation from my job, and spent one half with family, and kept another all for me myself and I. I'm forever dreaming of creative retreats, and I thought this would be the perfect time for that. But you know, life is life, and my apartment is very cold, and my plans didn't go as I thought. Turns out that more than making, what I needed was to really step back and re-examine my approach to this. I have so many goals, and they involve time and effort and sweat, and why am I going so hard? And how exactly do I plan to do all this?

I rang the new year with my besties, and it was exactly what I needed. We spent much of the 1st snuggled up, and although my body was going through NYE things, my mind was plotting for 2018 and my solo week ahead. On the 2nd I created my plan for Independent Study 2018, and made an outline on Evernote going over the things I'd like to focus, and brainstormed projects that could tie in different skills and topics. I started with a main focus: to settle deeper in my use of art and media as means for self-expression and community health, and to be much more financially grounded and aware. This then expanded to include adventuring, prioritizing my health, and supporting people's art and projects. 

I broke things down by subjects, and created sub topics and goals. And quickly after that I became very overwhelmed. To the point where I had to stop, and bring myself back to why I want to do any of this. Thankfully I quickly answered that question, because at this point I very well know everything that making gives me. Making is best way for me to feel grounded and engaged, and it is the most effortless way I know of being present.

But the part that had me stumped was: how I do I see this through where there's so much of it? It also became quickly apparent that I'd need tighter goals and more context, because "learning more about lighting" doesn't tell me much. Why exactly do I want to be better at lighting? What projects will benefit from it? Is that something I need to learn now in January, or is it for something I'll do in May? And what exactly am I learning? How to set up my camera for different lighting situations? Is it about affordable lighting options? The placements? Knowing what kind of temperatures I need?

While my insides were undergoing different variations of ASDFGHJKL, I browsed Pinterest, IG, Facebook groups, and opened random pages on the books in my shelves. I wanted to give myself inspiration and context, and feel the fire from people and spaces that are out there and doing their thing. That mostly helped, but at times also added to my overwhelm. 

Back in 2014 I gave myself the goal of engaging with graphic design theory and zines for 100 hours. I divided the time between reading theory and making zines, and that ended up being one the most impactful things I've ever done. It gave me a much needed limitation and focus, which helped me actually enjoy the process, and actually feel that I was making progress. I know that much of what is in my 2018 study outline will be in my life long term, but if I think of the 10,000 hours right now, I'm honestly not sure how I'd even start. Narrowing it down to 100, and knowing that I can go from there, makes it much more manageable.

Thankfully I came across the app Toggl, which basically is a timer where folks can label their activities, and create projects and tags corresponding to them. The cool about is that whenever you go back and select a project, the timer will add your new time to it. 

That gave me the idea to give everything on my study outline a time goal. I decided on 50 hours for graphic design (which will include editorial design, color theory, and typography), and gave everything else an initial goal of 10 hours. The gap is quite big, but I also know that much of my creative work goes back to zines, and with graphic design covering so much, 50 hours is a good place to start. 

All this planning and structuring has been tiring, honestly. But it's also been very needed. I know that I'm prone to feeling overwhelmed, but it's also because I'm lacking the set times and structures to give my goals more ease. Limits and containers can be a big blessing, because they actually help us get things done. And where I am right now is putting in place the workflows, calendars, folders, and resources, that will help me make this year my most intentional yet.

Of course, it's also telling of my need for better health habits. I essentially need focus and energy, and how is that supposed to happen if I'm running on four hours of sleep, while also being highly caffeinated and lacking in nutrients? I need my mind for so much, and my body needs me to meet it halfway. This has been a goal for a while, but it's becoming more and more clear why it actually does need to be a priority. 

Right now I know that my next steps are to narrow down exactly I want to learn, review the time goals, decide on small projects that will allow me to practice what I've learned, and decide on the best time to go about it. And then lining it all up with my notebooks and digital tools. 

I wanted to jump into the making, but I was missing the parts that connect to the big vision. Giving myself the time to write and doodle and find inspiration has been huge. And although I'm still overwhelmed (I'll probably feel better once I've finalized the main questions and deadlines), I also feel more grounded and excited. This week I'm trying out a morning routine, and I'll adapt as I go. Ideally I'd have unlimited time to create, but until I do, I'll be mindful and structured with the time I do have. It's all about maximizing what we got, and I've always gotten a kick out of that. Also my Saturn is in Cap in 9th, and I'm obviously working with that ;)