Sunday, 31 January 2016

The Power of Making Creative Goals

Congratulations everyone!  You've made it through January... the month that usually starts out with new goals and dreams, and then usually ends with "Thank You Lord this month is over".  At least, that has been my experience with the month of January.  Last year (2015), January was the longest and most tiring month for me.  Christmas was over, I was tired of it being dark by 4:30pm (we were living in England), and I didn't have any clear goals I was working on.  February ended up being much more fulfilling for me.  The difference?  I made some serious creative goals. I bought a sketchbook, I began some photography projects and shared my goals on the blog.  In fact, I guess you could say that February was the new January...

Reflecting on the past year of Creativity:

On February 4th, 2015 I shared this post, attempting a year long Creative Pursuit.  My plan was to embark on small creative acts every week for the next 12 months.  How did I do?  Well, let's say it's actually kind of hilarious how little time it took for me to abandon this routine.  In as little as 12 weeks later, this "Creative Pursuit" wasn't a part of my routine anymore.  I'm not going to lie, it's a little embarrassing.  However, do I consider this failure?  Maybe the time frame... yes.  But creatively?  I was thriving.  This is how I like to look at it:

Though I may have given up quite early on in my "Year of Creative Pursuit", during those 12 weeks, I was forced to expand my horizons on what it meant to bring creativity back into my life.  I sketched, I knitted, I photographed, and I was able to explore not only my talents but my passions as well.  I learned what I was good at and learned (more importantly) to not be afraid of sharing those passions with others.  Here's a few photos of the things I was doing during those 12 weeks of creative glory:

I knit the scarf- not the sweater (I wish I was that good!)

I'd say, for just twelve weeks, I really poured myself into these creative acts.  I was left with meaningful sketches and photographs of my favourite spots in Cambridge, and was able to pass along some of my hand knit scarves and headbands to friends of mine.  Though I didn't complete the full year of small creative acts, I would still say it was a success.  I also learned that a year is a HUGE goal...  especially for someone like myself, who gets bored easily.  If I were to do this again, or recommend this to someone else, I would say to just go month by month (which is what I will be doing this year, but I'll explain that later...).

There is also something else rather significant that came out of this "Creative Pursuit".  In May of last year, I launched an Etsy shop.  I had built up the courage to share my work, and the discipline to take time to make and create.  Selling my first card, though at a mere $3.50, felt like a HUGE accomplishment.  Knowing that people actually appreciated my work enough to pay for it, was an amazing feeling!  However, through my reflection of this past year of creativity, I saw just how significant it is to spend time to create just for the sake of making something, not necessarily to list it in my shop.  I realized how key those creative goals I set were to the beginnings of my journey with Sarah Reimer Designs and how I grew as an artist, designer, photographer... (whatever it is that I am, lol).

So with a new month of February upon us, I've established a creative goal that I think will not only push me as an artist, but will make me appreciate where I am.  But before I go into that, I want to briefly look at this past month's creative accomplishments...

Let's look at January:

After being away for 3 weeks over Christmas, and with Sarah Reimer Designs going on sort of a "hiatus", my main concern was finding that momentum again that I had so thankfully discovered in November and December of 2015.  With not really putting any work into my shop over those three weeks, my shop was seeing less views and receiving little to no sales.  So, I decided the only way to get back that momentum was to give people reason to visit my shop again: I needed to offer products that would give people reason to come back and visit!  I realize that the amount of sales and views are out of my control.  But what I do have control of is consistent listing and bringing new items to my shop.  The first thing I did was bring back a number of expired or sold out items.  Though I am excited about what I am currently creating here in Thailand, I didn't want to fully say goodbye to my old styles!  Here are all the cards that were renewed in January:

And these are just a small portion of the cards I now have available.  I also worked on creating NEW items that could bring new elements of sustainability into my shop.  These are the new items that I listed in January:

It is really interesting for me to see the progression of not only my products, but my photography, visual style and personal branding as well.  Just comparing the older items that I brought back to the shop to the new array of items that I created this past month brings me to see how I have been improving and narrowing down a defined "look" to my shop.  I'd love for people to see a photo of any one of my items and know "that's Sarah Reimer Designs".  If you haven't checked out the latest items on my shop, you can check them out here:

Creative Goals for 2016

This month is Chiang Mai Month of Photography.  So, along with attending some of the many free exhibitions around the city, I thought it would be a good time to practice my own photography.  Though I love travel photography, I have found that I really haven't taken many photos of Chiang Mai... and I've lived here for over 4 months now!  My goal is to capture Chiang Mai through MY perspective.  I want to show you not just the pretty temples and the vibrant food (though that will definitely be part of it!), but I want to show you a different angle of this city.  I want to you to feel surprised, excited, sad, happy, intrigued....

I'm going to leave it at that for now.  I plan on doing 4 different photography posts this month concentrated on seeing Chiang Mai from my angle (one post per week).  One month of this seems much more attainable than one year (lol)!  Also, if you'd like to check it out, here is the website for Chiang Mai Month of Photography:

I look forward to sharing more with you this month!


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