It’s hard to imagine how my creative year will be in 2018. Like some of us, we reflect and ponder where we are headed with our work with the aim to put goals in place, markers and points for us to reach and achieve along the way to keep us on track. This is not too far from how I envisaged 2017 was going to be. Then…life.

Life encompasses many chapters. Some of us are new grandparents and some of us new parents, others have health issues which flare up, some are between young children and teenagers and elderly parents. We all have a different dynamic to our lives and each of us will have a different set of circumstances.  The one fact that is certain is that life revolves like the plants around the Sun, constantly moving. ever evolving.

So what did I realise and most importantly learn about expectations and goal setting from last year?

Well…it may help if I write how I thought my creative year would be. I had worked hard through the late winter months in 2016 with a great friend who happens to be extremely good with computers. He helped me develop my website to look how I wanted. I’d had the pleasure of meeting an amazing potter whom I was going to sell his work via my site. I had also produced some jewellery and had plans to further this. My shed space had been cleared out and I felt ready to embrace 2017.

The reality was that my youngest was still at Nursery which brought it’s fair share of bouts of colds and bugs, meaning more cuddle days (which I love) then my husband’s father passed away, my own father suffered two bouts of Cancer and my Kiln which I had plans for my Jewellery work broke and there were no funds in the pot for a replacement as I had spent everything on the website. Clearly what I had planned creatively was being held back by the Universe as I still had lessons to learn. So how did I navigate? Well.. it became a period of evaluation, reflection and soul-searching for me. Which at times was a muddy battlefield, with me slipping and sliding all over the place to try and find solid ground beneath my feet to pull myself back up again and to focus on what really matters.

So what I realised and learnt is this. That is okay to have challenges from life thrown at you. If you dig deep enough and really listen you do eventually turn a corner. Have a goal by all means, but if you have to dance on your feet around it for a while because of other factors then that’s okay, don’t be hard on yourself if you didn’t quite make it. There is always a reason for this.

I finally let go of my Jewellery work that I had loved an built up over the previous years, I sobbed my way through packing everything away and felt a complete failure from all the years I had dedicated to it and had never really made it a success. However…I then rewired those negative thoughts and said to myself that there were individuals out there who had bought my rings, some were in Australia, Canada. Others had been commissioned for marriages and celebrations, each one had seen something special and that was good enough and that my work was out there in the world. I focused on making the most of my time with my youngest who would soon be in the school system full time, daisy chain making, bake days, play days. I supported my husband through his chapter of loss and made myself available, even if we live hundreds of miles apart for my parent’s navigating my father’s health.

Creatively throughout this past year, there has been a silent constant in my life, an outlet that I needed. Which helped me navigate that muddy battlefield. Photography & Writing! I had joined a photographic community group online, attended classes, entered some images of work to be reviewed in a competition. Studied and gained two qualifications online in both Social Media & Photography awarded a Distinction in both and kept practising and learning and exploring. For me, though the biggest gift came from finding my teacher & Mentor in Janet who is not only an amazing photographer but a really lovely lady to know too. This saying sums it up for me.

‘When the student is ready to learn, the teacher appears”

Writing simmers deep within me too, except I haven’t found the time to dedicate fully to this craft yet… however I was blessed to find another beautiful soul who I know is my champion of creative spirit and will be guiding me in her own way throughout this journey. Vicki had written a great post on top writing tips. I found it inspirational and wrote a comment on her post, within minutes Vicki had asked if I would like to write a guest post on her hugely successful site. Wow! I thought to myself “this really is the creative universe at work”. I learnt a huge amount from Vicki’s professionalism and guidance about my writing and what I needed to learn to improve, again a different teacher but a student who is willing to listen and learn. I am also incredibly humbled that in the New Year Vicki will be posting an online interview with me for her ‘Wonderful Women’ series something I could never have imagined would be asked of me. An ordinary mum working organically around her family to create a living.

I have plans of course for the New Year which I think about as I sit here writing this on its Eve. I may even meet some of those goals, but equally, I may not. What I do know, and carry with me is this..there are extraordinary people like Janet & Vicki and creatives out there whom I am blessed to have connections with who will teach, inspire and guide me. I know that comparison can be toxic if not handled with an open mind. That whatever comes my way good or bad I am blessed to be able to meet those challenges in the belief that I can dance on my feet around them.

Whatever your goals in 2018. I am sending you my heartfelt wishes for an amazing year, full of opportunity and happiness with more up days than down and to see you blossom creatively in whatever direction your craft takes you.