Things To Think About For 2016
A little over two years ago, I began this silly, little blog on blogspot.com. I started it with the hopes of being the next Carrie Bradshaw, and well, sometimes I wear overalls like she does I guess. One time, I was even subtweeted for wearing overalls. And in that moment, I became immortal.
Now I am mentally celebrating my ~*Blog-iversary*~ as my insides buzz under my skin, feeling alive and luminescent, existing in this world. This week is Christmas and I get to see the new Star Wars and a lot of people that I really care about. I’m glowing. You could see me from space.
I think about all that I have learned as a writer over the past couple of years. In the spring, I wrote my senior writing project/thesis about my trip to Ireland and how it related to me as a tourist and a third generation Irish-American. I grew as an artist through that process, and continue to expand post grad. I currently write for my job. The fact that I get paid to be creative is a privilege and a dream, and makes me want to bully everyone that told me I would be working in a coffee shop. *(see number 3 on my resolutions list)
I think about my space as an artist, and how a new year is just on the outskirts. To be honest, I never have really cared for New Year’s. I am always jazzed about eating good food and hanging with cool people, but New Year's is often disappointing. We plan for awesome parties and envision our hair sprinkled with snowflakes as we kiss the one person that we have always wanted to, but probably never will.
New Year’s also symbolizes another year of my life that has flown by, and I wonder what have I really done, and how much time I have left? (You know, cute, fun things)
But this year seems to be different. Perhaps it is the slight bit of wisdom that I have cultivated from my few months past graduating college, but I am actually kind of excited for the New Year. I even have resolutions, which I have previously thought were silly, since most people forget about them once February rolls around.
I mean, think about it, have you ever been talking to someone in like, October, and they say “Well, my News Year resolution was X, so here I am!”
Maybe it’s because I have nothing else to look forward to. Classes aren’t starting up again, I am in week infinity of the work-world, and when you are on your own and in charge of making your own goals and fun without anyone else pushing you along and petting your head, you have to do something.
And here are mine:
GET MY WEBSITE UP. I NEED TO STOP DRAGGING MY FEET AND COMMIT ALREADY! (Elf reference, because it is almost Christmas)
Be published in a literary magazine (and not beat myself up that this hasn’t happened already)
Stop trying to be right all of the time. I am horrible with this. If I am right about something, I want to make sure that everyone knows it, even subtly, and I need to quit being so obnoxious, even if it isn’t in an obvious way. This is totally a way that I totally suck.
Um..I would like to stop holding grudges! If someone wronged me in kindergarten, like Michael who tore my Arthur backpack and Nick who called me a “fat pig”, I remember it. I have gotten better at being less sensitive and letting go of things, but I really need to remove some gross unpleasantries that have lodged themselves in my brain and stop new ones from developing. Unfortunately, as for Michael and Nick, well, you’re pretty deep in there so you probably won’t come out. At least I didn’t add your last names, you little monsters.
*insert eat healthy and be fit ~goals~* I played competitive travel softball for 15 years. I went from strong and in shape to a hot potato in .2 seconds. A potato with lipstick, and lots of bacon and sour creme.
Find some way to get music back into my life because I really miss the choirs I was involved in during college. Yeah, I definitely jam out in my car but I need the challenge of some sort of musical collaboration.
I also want to put down a few things that I have learned about being an artist:
Do not compare yourself to others. You can look at other work to learn, or think, “I kind of like how they do this” but putting another person on a pedestal will only make you feel lesser and discouraged. In the writing community specifically, there are so many ways to share your ideas. It isn’t fair to look at someone else’s piece and make yourself feel bad. Creating art comes from passion, not wanting to prove something or be better than someone else.
Establish an audience. Not everyone is going to be well liked. So don’t curve your work in a way that is appealing to the masses. Know who you want to focus on, and don’t be afraid/change your ideas because you are scared that it won’t appeal to “everyone”. This is impossible. There is not one, single thing that every single person is on board with except for like, breathing. Even then, there is probably someone that is like “Ugh I really hate this having to breathe thing. Can we just, not?”
Look back at old work. It can be cringe-worthy. I have poems from my first creative writing class in college and wow, are they awful! But they can be adapted. You can learn from yourself, and feel good about how far you’ve come. I never get rid of anything. Yes, I am a complete packrat but I have writing from high school that I still look at for inspiration. You brought your thoughts to life once, and they deserve to keep on existing.
Form a community. I miss being able to switch work with other creative people in school. It is harder now, but make it happen. I give my coworker friends some of my writing, I communicate with classmates that live elsewhere and are still willing to swap work, and I reach out to friends that I have made from other interests and ask if they would be willing to see a bit of what I like to do. Think outside the box, but never stop the conversation.
Be inspired by other forms. Visit an art museum with a journal or a sketchpad. Bring a notebook to a concert. Attend theater productions. Walk down the street and notice torn posters and bits of chalk or graffiti and realize how lucky we are to exist not only in this physical world, but the universes of infinite possibilities inside of our heads.
Compliment one another. It feels so awesome to receive a message or text saying “Hey, you really made my day with this. It spoke to me when I needed it. It made me feel something.” Because isn’t that why we make anything? To feel. To help others feel. To find those that are like “HEY YEAH I THINK THIS TOO” and feel less alone. It’s essential. There is nothing wrong with being too nice and making someone’s day.
Be brave. It’s easy to say “Who cares what other people think?” because we all do, at least a little bit. But you don’t need validation to create. If you want to do something, you better do it because a month will go past, and then a year, and you think “I really should have done that..is it too late now?” No, it isn’t. But the sooner the better, you know?
Finally, pursue what you love. Right now I am not balancing my interest. I have been working on my writing and my career, but singing has taken a back seat. You shouldn’t have to pick and choose between two passions. Make it work. We only have one chance to do what we love. And it’s hard to really love something. If you do, then it needs your attention.
So there is my incredible, earth-shattering advice. And if anyone ever wants to send me anything that they are working on, I would be completely elated to view at it. We need to support each other.
2016 is coming, and for once, I think I’m ready for it.