The year 2016 has just ended and although I’m excited about the year 2017, I can’t help but think about how last year went. Last year, I did a review of the previous year and that was the first time I’d reviewed my year in this way. At the time, it was both sobering and challenging to look in the rearview mirror.
Now, I’ve come to the conclusion that reviewing the year is a good way to be accountable and also, to share with you what I’ve been up to. Furthermore, it gives me some measurable metrics which will help me see how well or not so well I’m doing.
What Went Well in The Year 2016
So, I’m going to do a review of how the year 2016 went for me. My hope is that it will be both encouraging and challenging to you in your own creative endeavors and business.
“We are capable of doing more than we think.”
Last year, when I reviewed the previous year, I was somewhat disappointed in myself that I wasn’t able to create as many pieces of art as some artists who use mediums other than textile are able to do. In 2016, however, because I challenged myself to create a piece of work each week, I ended up creating 50 plus pieces of artwork. Yet, I wasn’t quite able to complete my challenge for the year. I still have 9 more episodes to go. (more about that later)
However, I’m still pleased with how much I was able to do. In 2015, I’d never have believed you if you’d told me I was capable of creating so much work.
Additionally, I planned and executed my first solo show. Although it started off being a challenge, this experience resulted in so much professional development for me. Now, I cannot over-emphasize the benefits a solo show has on growing your art career.
“Challenges push us in the direction of what we’re capable of.”
Also, I submitted entries to 9 juried shows, got accepted into 5 and I was rejected in the other 4.
Furthermore, I shot and produced my first video and launched a Youtube channel. Currently, my Youtube channel boasts close to 50 videos and has a couple hundred subscribers.
Also, I ventured into art licensing. I launched a new line of wearable art – luxuriously soft scarves and silk pocket squares. My signature collection of scarves and pocket squares are now available here. A few weeks ago a customer who’d purchased a scarf as a gift sent me the following message which really made me feel good.
When it came to blogging, I completely revamped and redesigned my website and blog. Also, I published and shared 86 blog posts with my readers. Moreover, I wrote several newsletters and weekly notes to my subscribers.
As a result of my new website design, I was able to start offering free pdf downloads to my readers. So far, I’ve already created 3 pdfs which are immediately available for download. They are:
- 5 Simple Ways to Trace onto Fabric
- Planning Checklist for Your Solo Show
- VIDA Setup Guide (Creating a Wearable Art Collection with VIDA)
Also, my blog got some praise and was featured twice in two publications. And I got the opportunity to interview some cool people here on the blog.
Community and Social Interactions
This past year, I interacted with the most number of people so far in my art career. By constantly sharing, answering questions, volunteering and putting my work out there, I met (both online and offline) lots of wonderful people. And I formed warm relationships with many of them.
What Didn’t Go So Well in the Year 2016
I wasn’t able to complete my 1-year challenge in the one year I’d set for myself. This was mainly because of four things:
- I lost the use of my studio space due to major flooding issues.
- I took on the major project of planning and executing my first solo show
- Mid-year, I changed the focus of my blog from just talking about my studio work to sharing my knowledge, my experiences and providing value to my readers.
- I spent a couple of months revamping my website.
These four things took a lot of my time and effort. I learned that writing with the purpose of serving your community and providing value to them requires much more work and effort than just writing as a form of creative expression. At the same time, for the first time, I experienced on several occasions, the indescribable feeling you get when something you write causes transformation in someone’s life. And then they come back to say:
Thank you. You’ve inspired me to start doing this or that… OR
Thanks to you, I just completed this or that…
Now, I know for certain, there’s no turning back for me from this way of writing and sharing. I love the community and the people I get to reach and interact with because of sharing. I love to hear the resulting transformative stories.
Lessons from the Year 2016
The take away from both Stitch the Sketch and my solo show is that challenges have a way of making you stronger and bringing the best out of you.
A much more poignant lesson though is that:
“Success is not an individual endeavor. It’s a community effort.”
It takes just one person to start something, but it doesn’t take one person to make it successful.
If you’re looking to grow in a certain area of your life this year, take on a challenge. It can either be a personal challenge or a group challenge. It doesn’t really matter. What matters, though, is that you find yourself a community of like-minded or passionate people to support, encourage and inspire you to succeed.
The Year 2017
This year, I’m looking to discover better ways to handle all the commitments I’ve taken on. I’m looking for how to balance creating with my words and with my artistic skills. I’m also looking for opportunities to reach more people – to share, inspire and see a transformation in their creative lives and their businesses.
How did the year 2016 go for you? What are the lessons you learned from the year 2016? What do you want to see happen in your life in 2017? I’ll love to hear them.
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