2017 Creative Annual Review and 2018 Creative Goals and Work Plan

Each year, I complete a creative annual review to assess what I accomplished, evaluate the techniques and tools that I used, and think ahead to the next year’s creative goals. My creative review process focuses on my writing and graphic design / illustration, with an emphasis on the creative work I do outside of my day job.

My Creative Productivity in 2017

What creative work I Made in 2017

Illustration for short story “Amber: Liquid, Whispering”

My 2017 Productivity by the Numbers (from RescueTime)

  • 277 hours writing
    • 61 hours during NaNoWriMo
    • 24 hours of hard-copy edits
    • 12 hours of hard-copy outlining
  • 52 hours design + drawing + photoshop
  • 1.25 hours / day on creative work
    • Goal was 1.5 hours / day (or 10.5 hours / week) — met goal 115 times

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Monthly Review: November 2017

November is always a wild month for me, because for the last seven years I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I found Chris Baily’s thoughts on “tilting” this month apropos — purposefully choosing to over-commit to one aspect of your life for a short time to complete a project.

Last month’s review.

Creatively Productive — doing great

I “won” NaNoWriMo on November 24, and met my goal of 60k for the month.

  • Number of words written: 60,441
  • Active writing time: 61 hours
  • Time at writing sessions: 94 hours 30 minutes
  • Number of writing sessions (public and by myself): 50
  • Number of write-ins attended (official and informal): 18
  • Number of Pomodoro writing sessions: 41

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Monthly Review: October 2017

I spent most of the month sick, so October was kind of a bummer of a month. I participated in Inktober, so I spent a lot of time drawing instead of writing in October. This review completed for Oct 1-27.

Last month’s review.

Play — B

Character design for little mermaid with ink and digital color

  • I took part in Inktober, and although I didn’t draw every day, I drew a lot more than I would have otherwise – including several character designs for my Little Mermaid retelling!
  • We traveled to Iowa for a friend’s medieval / fantasy wedding, and killing time visited a steamboat museum on the Mississippi, which was surprisingly interesting
  • I only read three new books for fun this month – but loved Circuits & Slippers, an anthology of fairy tales retold with a sci-fi twist
  • Spectacular maple specimen at Kubota Garden

    We visited Kubota Garden in Seattle for the first time – the fall color of the maple gardens was beautiful! The garden was a fantastic example of creating beautiful plantings with foliage textures and colors – amazing combination of large trees with smaller trees and shrubs.

After taking the first six months of the year off of Twitter, I’m deeper in than ever before – I spent 17 hours and 30 minutes on Twitter this month :/ I might need to log out of all my devices again. I’m torn because I do get a lot of enjoyment out of Twitter, but it’s also a destination for mindless scrolling that can easily turn into an hour. My need for some mindless time and inability to focus on the long-form storytelling that I usually prefer (novels) might be because I was sick, or might be a sign that I need a break. Hopefully the former because November is NaNoWriMo…

Next month will be a little tricky to make sure I get some play time in, because I’ll be so busy with NaNoWriMo, which in one sense is play but in another is a whole ton of work. I’ll be hosting a weekly writing session at my house for my writing group, which should be fun.

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Monthly Review: September 2017

I spent half the month on vacation, and the rest of the month recovering from vacation and the change in the seasons. It turns out that sleeping on the ground for 9 days in a row is rough on your body in your early thirties ;)

Last month’s review.

Play — A

Stars over the Athabasca River in Jasper National Park

At the beginning of the month, I spent eleven days in Alberta, mostly at Banff and Jasper National Parks. Smoke from this summer’s innumerable fires impacted the vistas, but I had some fun with photography and art anyway :)

  • Watercolor of the Athabasca River and same ridgeline as pictured in the night photo

    Took sunset and star photos (even though it was nearly a full moon) at my campsite in Jasper with a new friend from the neighboring campsite

  • Did a watercolor painting of the Athabasca River, even though I really don’t know how to watercolor
  • Photobombin’ Albertosaurus at the Royal Tyrrell

    Had a blast checking out the dino skeletons and superb displays at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in the Alberta Badlands

  • We took a dorky train tour at an old coal mine in the Alberta Badlands
  • Took texture photographs at Jasper National Park
  • Went to a gin bar and tried some Albertan gins with various tonics – Park Gin was the winner for me

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Weekly Novel Progress: Week of Sept. 11, 2017

Hard-copy markups, working my way through Part One

Had a hard time getting back into my book after eleven days on vacation. Also spent a good bit of time editing photos.

  • What I did: Hard copy markups for the rest of Chapter 6 and Chapters 12, 13, 14 & 15, and outlining Chapter 19
  • Time editing: 2 hours
  • Time outlining: 50 minutes
  • Plan for next week: Finish outlining chapter 19 and make edits for chapters edited this week

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