December 20 – Beyond Avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) (Author: Jake Nickell)
Just for an added level of irony, I used a Kim Klassen texture called START on this image ;) For an inspiring post that Kim wrote about starting on your dreams, click here.
Now, on to the topic at hand. In January, I declared 2010 the year to complete unfinished projects. I pulled out dusty half-finished paintings, some cross-stitch, a scarf I started knitting 6 years ago, and a few other odds and ends. It started out well, with some completed scrapbook layouts and the tying-off of the never-ending scarf (Oh how I love that scarf now!). But as the year went on, and I started to dive deeper into the larger projects, my focus shifted from finishing old ideas to exploring new ones. An old canvas became an idea for a multi-media collage series. Some anime sketches became an idea for another multi-media series. And then I started getting into Photoshop...
So now you can see how at the end of the year, I still have the same number of unfinished projects as I did at the beginning of the year (Ok, maybe a few more). But here is the thing: the creative journey that I have been on over the course of the year has been amazing. I have grown so much in what I can do, and have started to explore so many new avenues of creative expression because I made that commitment.
Right now I have several stacked canvasses in my art room that are in various stages of completion, three more Photoshop fairy images that need to be finished, an EP which is still in pre-production, and a quilt which I am not sure will ever get done. I have started and not completed an art course on Willowing.com (still planning to get back to that at some point), and taken part but never completed all of a group of Photoshop tutorials on Lynda.com. But I have PLAYED this year. I have painted and drawn and photographed and sung. I have been silly with my son, and baked lots of cookies, and had sword-fights and sang Jingle Bells while shopping in the mall.
So although at the end of this year I still have a long list of unfinished projects waiting for me, my outlook is one of anticipation. I hope I always have a list of unfinished projects waiting for my attention, because that makes life interesting. I look forward to my commitment for 2011 of creativity every day. 2010 has taught me to shift my focus from the end point to the process. I love this new outlook, this focus on being in the moment. Ironically, shifting my focus away from completion and towards enjoying the process has made me more productive than ever.
I started this blog in August as a way to be accountable for my creativity. Looking back on everything that I have done since then, I am proud of what I have created. But even more important, I have had a lot of fun. I don't think of the unfinished projects as a failure any more. I see them as ideas whose time has not come yet. And I know that when I and the muse are ready, they will be there waiting for me.
With joy and gratitude,