Well…that didn’t happen the way I wanted to. I wanted to get a ton of stuff done this year, and frankly little of it actually happened. Not all entirely my fault, but I think I could do better.
First off, I want to give myself a little grace. I’ve had what I would consider to be a disproportionate number of major events that needed my attention, including but not limited to my daughter starting her first year of school, prepping a surgery (not mine) whose recovery will lead into the new year, with probably the largest change being leaving my position at Google and starting a new job at Dropbox.
I’ve also been surprisingly active on TikTok (super un-subtle plug), where I’ve seen the most growth out of all of my creative output, and there are some things on there I’ve very proud of.
That being said, I don’t foresee my life really slowing down in the next year (thanks to Dropbox being remote, I’m hopefully going to move in the summer) so hopefully I can build up a bit more resiliency, or maybe I just won’t be as productive this year either and that’s ok.
It should be reiterated that there is not some kind of moral imperative that I do anything more with my life than live it, however much my own internal drive tells me otherwise. I do, however, acknowledge that I highly enjoy creating things, so here’s what I hope to do.
The Theme: Practice
Practice: a concentrated and mindful effort to study and apply a craft or skill.
I feel like this concentrated effort is something I’m sorely missing in my life, creative or otherwise, and that is continuing things I’ve already started, and more seriously consider whether or not something is worth starting.
Something I’ve realized about my particular brand of ADHD is that I have a mental boundary of approximately 15 minutes. This is something I plan I writing about in another article so I won’t go into super detail, but I’ve realized this has had a profound affect on the things I’ve been doing and my creative output.
In other words, sketching an idea is quick and easy, but turning a sketch into a project takes days, weeks, months, or longer, and is significantly less interesting and more difficult. (this is part of the reason I’ve done so well on TikTok, as all of those videos were specifically things I enjoy doing and didn’t take that long to make).
One of the skills I plan to build in 2023 is being able to see and execute the more concrete steps of a project, and also recognizing where I really need a project to be so I can call more things finished.
The Big Projects
Here are the two bigger things I’d like to work on this year. With everything else going on, these are the two I’m really committing to
The Big One: Journaling, poetry, and even more writing
One of my larger goals this year (and in life in general) is to write more and write better. Writing is something I truly enjoy, and is something I don’t do often enough.
I saw a producer talk about working with Eminem (if I can find the interview I’ll link it here) who said he was constantly writing in one notebook or another. When he finally got the courage to ask him and why why he was apparently writing the Iliad, Eminem said that 90% of the words you wrote down would never end up in a song. He was essentially just practicing. I found it’s a lot harder for me to start writing than it is for me to continue writing, so it seems like a good idea to me.
I’m going to start carrying around a journal, and committing to write at least daily entries, hopefully more. It’s very probable that some of the things I write will turn into posts here or other works, but what I’ll really be practicing is starting, a subject I’ve already got another article on the way. It’ll also probably be good for my mental health or something too…
Another problem I seem to have is that I have an inspiration of some kind and write the outline or first few paragraphs of a thought, then leaving it to languish. As it seems, another form of starting I suppose. I’m also going to attempt to run at least one revision a day.
Most importantly for here, I want to start making more casual “check-ins”; smallish logs of what I’ve been up to. Hopefully this will help me practice actually letting things go and publishing more, and hold me more accountable as I describe what I’m sure will be starting more and more project.
Writing and producing an EP
This theme of practice will also extend to writing lyrics and producing music. So I’m committing to at least one EP this year. My biggest struggles in this regard are arrangement and deciding when to finalize things (melodies, lyrics, sounds especially, and arrangement). I also need to work on a timeline and deadlines.
My goal is 3-5 songs in a cohesive style, with lyrics. I get the feeling there will be multiple projects, as “cohesive style” isn’t really my style when it comes to music, but I will try rather hard to complete one before truly starting another.
Here are some other projects I want to work on as a break from the big stuff. Hopefully these things will also give me something to write about here as well.
Electronics: A Eurorack System
In a completely different sector, I want to make a eurorack collection. (Eurorack is a physical and electronic standard(ish) for modular synthesizers and effects.) I plan to make it both an instrument and effect.
I’m also looking forward to gathering a small bit of testing equipment and maybe making my own, as my affinity for making tools.
Also something I’m very passionate about, but the least public in terms of released work. I’d love to make a small book (traditionally a “zine” in photography) of photography, probably black and white film. I’ve got a fairly large backlog of b/w film right now, but not much I would consider worth publishing unfortunately. I’m looking to get out of the “experiment” phase of figuring out the cameras, developing, and scanning and in to actually concentrating on the photos themselves.
(as a side note I’d LOVE to make analog prints, but I think until I move into wherever my new place it’s infeasible)
My pencil and sketch work leaves a lot to be desired, so I hope to sketch more and really get a handle of the basics.
This one is sort of my biggest “failure” of 2022, I have a fairly complete set of tools and very little to show for it other than a toolchest and a plywood storage shelf in my kids’ play room.
I really want to design and make a piece of furniture by hand. That’s my goal. Unfortunately, woodworking is the loudest possible thing and I really just can’t right now. Maybe after the move…
I’m gonna make more things, hopefully. In fact, I’m going to practice finishing things, finish this article, and go put together a signal generator for an upcoming eurorack project, and maybe record a TikTok. Tomorrow morning is a new year. Hopefully it’ll be a good one.
p.s. Just thought about it, and I’m going to put a small revamp of this site on the list. Probably not a real redesign or anything, but definitely update the homepage and maybe clean up the templates. Maybe switch to something more active, but I doubt it.