I seem to have said this on a regular basis over the last few months, but I really can't quite believe that we're now on the final approach to Christmas and the end of this year. I wrote in my newsletter at the beginning of the month that it feels like one of those years where the space-time continuum gets a bit muddled up, with it feeling mere minutes since January, and at the same time being amazed at how much I've packed into these 12 months.
So I thought it would be a good idea to do a quick review of what I have done in 2017, and begin to look forward to 2018.
I started 2017 on the blog by introducing my Word for the Year - Brave - and talking about what I hoped it would bring me and support me with over the months that would follow. I made a flying start with positive new habits and plans, including an Insta-friends meet-up, and a week of adventures in Edinburgh.
I was just about to write that after that, Brave more or less got forgotten about, but looking back through my blog archives, and at my wall planner, that's not quite true. Brave might not have been front and centre of my attention, but it was definitely there quietly propping me up in the background.
I've written openly about some of my mental health struggles, shared in depth book reviews (including Brene Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert), talked about the experience of working my first craft fair, and mused on subjects including crying, clutter, TV craft shows, curiosity and creative healing.
I've hosted three creative challenges - a week of #everydaycreativemoments in March, the Creative Focus Challenge in September, and we're currently in the last few days of an #everydaycreativeAtoZ over on Instagram.
My Etsy shop has had regular updates as I've experimented with making different products, and attending and selling regularly at Support Local Pop Up events has brought me into contact with some incredible designers and makers and a whole community of local creative businesses. Honestly, Etsy can feel like hard work sometimes, and there have been weeks of tumbleweed, but sales have been picking up, and I'm already thinking about what I might make to sell next year - I like to try out and learn different things so I hope there will be plenty of variety on the way.
As well as the Instagram challenges, the shop and craft fairs, and this blog, I've begun spreading my business wings even further and now offer creativity mentoring to help support and guide you towards tapping into and exploring your creative side, expressing yourself and having fun, both with specific projects or wider everyday creativity. This is an avenue I hope and plan to grow in 2018, so if you'd like to hear more, or are interested in working with me, please drop me a message.
Overall, I think having Brave as my guiding word this year has helped me in growing confidence - in my voice, the value of my work, and myself. This has definitely not been a smooth road, and nearly every time I begin to feel excited and expand into the space of growth and progress and confidence, the voices of fear, doubt and comparison chime in to try and keep me safe from getting too big for my boots. Working with and through these has been tough, and there have been times when I thought about giving it all up, but then in the still and the quiet, Brave has been there to remind me of what I'm doing this all for, that what I have to say matters, and that I can do it.
This will be an ongoing process, with more lessons to learn I'm sure, but building regular practices of yoga, journalling, meditation, swimming, walking, sleep and healthy(er) eating into my life are helping support me and build more stable foundations from which to grow, and letting me tune in to my inner strength, and find trust that I'm headed in the right direction.
This will be my last blog post of this year, as over the few couple of weeks I'm going to take some time to enjoy Christmas, savour the joys of the season and be with family, and also to take some time and space for myself.
There have been a lot of ideas and plans forming over the last few weeks, as well as thoughts and frustrations that I need to work out, so I intend to spend plenty of time with my journal, brainstorming, vision boarding, and getting it all down so that I can begin to clarify where I want to go in 2018, what I'm ready to leave behind, and what I want to invite in. I'm going to begin with Susannah Conway's Find Your Word mini course again, and feel into what word might guide me best through the next year, as well as reviewing in more depth the lessons of the last twelve months and coming up with some core desired feelings (using Danielle LaPorte's Desire Map process) to keep me anchored in my intentions.
I want to finish here by wishing you all a very Merry Christmas (if you celebrate), and time to enjoy yourself through the festivities. I also wish you a healthy, wealthy and happy New Year, and look forward to catching up with you throughout 2018. As the song says - let's hope it's a good one!