A Year of Pursuing My Creative Passion
Alright, I know it’s already the third week of Jan 2017 and it seems kind of late to do a review post for 2016 but I know I’ll thank myself for doing this when I need to look back at it for some motivation and encouragement.
I hope you’ll join me as I look back at my year of 2016. The year I decided to pursue my creative passion, the year I decided to answer my call to create, the year that taught me a life lesson about picking myself up and moving on.
Pursue Passion, Not Perfection
If you’ve read my blog post on my 2016 mantra, you’ll know that I gave up on setting New Year resolutions because I simply can’t remember them merely 2 weeks after the arduous task of setting them. But having a mantra for the year, has been really useful to me. It’s easy to remember so it serves as a constant reminder for me on a daily basis and it’s easy for me to review how it has impacted me at the end of the year.
My mantra from 2016 was “Pursue Passion, Not Perfection“.
You can read more about why I set it as my mantra for the year in this post. But to briefly summarise, I spent 2015 willfully ignoring my growing interest for calligraphy and hand lettering because I was afraid I can’t do them “well enough”, both in my own standards and in how others may see them.
So for the year of 2016, I wanted to constantly remind myself that I should go forth and pursue that creative passion. Chase it, indulge in it and have fun with it without caring if I liked my work or if others liked my work. I wanted to free myself from the burden of having to create pretty pieces every time I put my pen on the paper.
I gave myself permission to make mistakes and laugh about it. I believe that if it is something I’m truly interested in and passionate about, I will enjoy the process as much, if not even more than the finished product. I convinced myself that there is nothing at stake because this can just be a hobby and I don’t need to compete with anyone, not even myself. All I wanted to do was to learn and explore the art of calligraphy and hand lettering and see myself making progress and picking up new things along the way.
Of Progress & Open Doors
I remember that the last paragraph for my 2016 post started with this sentence, “I have no idea where I will be and what new doors will open in the coming year, but I’m going at it with the desire to learn and be better”.
I am so glad I committed to trying, learning and becoming better. And I am thankful that so many doors have swung open in the process.
I started the year by joining an online Modern Calligraphy Summit to learn more about calligraphy from some of the most wonderful calligraphers I know online. I explored different styles, mediums and techniques and discovered my love for brush lettering.
I slowly developed a more consistent style with water colour brush lettering and it’s such an added bonus to find many of you liking it too! I got to work on more custom orders and I’m just so thankful to be able to listen to your stories and create these meaningful pieces for every one of you.
I spent a long time preparing a blog post on calligraphy & hand lettering tools and was greeted with such appreciative comments about the post. That was when I actually felt confident enough to consider starting brush lettering workshops because there were people asking me about it on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. I cannot tell you how very grateful I am every single time I receive a message that says, “when are you going to start conducting classes, I want to join!”
During the last quarter of the year, I started a monthly newsletter for my blog readers and offered free printables for those who sign up for the newsletter. I am beyond thrilled to know that there are people who appreciate the content and artwork that I’m creating enough to want my emails showing up in their inbox every month! I’m really glad that I’ve been able to connect with those who had signed up at a more personal level.
For the month of October, I did a 31-Day Challenge on my Instagram account where I lettered #AProverbsADay and posted my work daily with thoughts about what I had learned from the verse that I lettered that day. I learnt so much through the process and was blessed with so many friends and followers cheering me on and prompting me to do something similar again when the challenge ended.
I picked up embossing late in the year and decided to use my newly acquired skill to design a notebook. I loved how the notebook turned out and decided to sell a very limited quantity for fundraising purpose. We sold out of the notebooks, managed to raise USD100 for the Letter For Good campaign and when I posted about the notebooks again on my Instagram, I practically had orders pouring in! Every single order and every single comment that you guys left had been so so encouraging to me.
There are also talks and discussions about some amazing opportunities for me to tap on my passion for hand lettering which I’ve never even dreamt about. Things that are beyond my own plans, but I know are part of His.
A Lesson on Moving On
To be honest, I hadn’t been consistent throughout the year. I’ve gone for weeks without doing a single bit of lettering, I’ve sat in front of my desk and had no inspiration what to write or how to write it and most definitely, I have completed so many artworks that I wanted to just crumple up and throw away (but I kept every single one of them).
And that was the whole point about my mantra for last year! I wasn’t supposed to be perfectly consistent, perfectly inspired all the time nor was I supposed to make perfect lettering pieces.
There were occasions when I stopped practicing and creating for so long, the inertia to start again was almost stronger than my will to get back on track. There were also times when I felt discouraged because I didn’t seem to be making any progress.
But I’ve learned that when we don’t guilt-trip ourselves and beat ourselves up after failures, imperfections and falling below our own expectations, the faster we can pick ourselves up and move on.
And through this whole experience, I’ve
learned been learning to adopt the same mentality for different areas of my life.
When we haven’t been consistent with going for our church service and cell group gatherings, we acknowledged the issue, figured out why we’ve been missing the sessions, made the necessary changes and started going again.
When we felt sluggish and unmotivated at work, we talked to each other about the issues we were facing, read some relevant books to help us straighten out our thoughts, prayed about it and set new goals for ourselves.
When we felt like horrible parents because we’ve messed up Laurent’s bedtime routine after the holiday season, we acknowledged that we simply had a little too much fun during the holidays and started to improve our sleeping habits again.
When I felt like I couldn’t continue blogging because I’ve been feeling less than inspired and I can’t churn out my blog posts fast enough, I took a break from blogging and reminded myself that I’m blogging to share and encourage not to compete.
These are just a few of the numerous things in my life that I know I’ve messed up or fallen short of. I could go on and on but I think you get my point.
It might take less effort to continue staying in the mess or to give up completely. But if we are serious and passionate about something, the best thing to do when we feel like we are falling below our own expectations is to just pick ourselves up, move on, do whatever is within our means and learn to be better.
Have you stopped trying or caring about certain aspects of your life because you felt like you’ve messed up or you’re not doing as well as you would like to? Some days, you may even feel like your ENTIRE life is in a mess. But if it matters enough to you, pray for wisdom and strength to pick yourself up and move on from right where you are. Because you might just be that few steps away from wide open doors of renewed hope and new opportunities.
Freebie of The Month
Need a visual reminder on the importance of picking yourself up and moving on from right where you are? Click on this link to sign up for my monthly newsletter to download the following artwork in the form of a which can be used as a handphone background/ screensaver or a printable to be placed on your desk or in your notebooks.