Monday, January 6, 2020

Happy 2020!

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2020--I can't believe it. I've been anticipating this year for a long time, ever since 2000 to be precise when I was teaching self-publishing and writing at the International Women's Writing Guild summer conference at Skidmore College. One of the perks of teaching was that instructors got to take classes before or after their own workshop sessions. I loved all the classes I took: poetry, memoir writing, landscape drawing, collage and cooking (!), and a stand-out workshop that combined creativity with what can best be described as "visionary thinking and planning." As an initial exercise to introduce ourselves we were asked to write down where we would be in 20 years time and what we saw ourselves doing.

I'll never forget what I put in my notebook: I wrote that I was living in Europe creating teaching plans for the United Nations! Well, who knows, there's still 350+ days to go, LOL--I might get a phone call any day now! But seriously, what I believe I was trying to express was that I wanted to a) live a life that centered on croissants and art galleries, and b) I wanted to share my organizational and teaching skills. In many ways I feel that's exactly what I'm doing right now, right here. Albuquerque definitely has a European flair, and the Internet has offered me all kinds of unique ways to explore, and share, my creativity. As the title of one of my favorite books states: Wherever You Go, There You Are. 

With that in mind, my goals for this year are very simple. By year's end I would like to have:
  • Completed a final, publishable draft of my current work-in-progress novel, Ghazal.
  • As well as a final, publishable draft of my picture book, The White Pony, including illustrations.
  • A way to sell my bead-, clay-, and artwork as a professional artist, whether through a site such as, or maybe just through my website.
Above all else, though, I want to enjoy what I'm doing, not look upon any of it as a second job, or a "must-do or life has no meaning" kind of vocational call. To achieve that end, my word for the year is going to be Relax, as in, go slow

I want to write and draw and make jewelry without pressure, without deadlines, and especially without hurrying, scurrying, or worrying. The best way I can think of doing this is to create a simple schedule and keep to it because I want to, not because I should or "have to," e.g., write blog post drafts on Mondays; work on only four manuscript pages at any given time, use my weekends for artwork and sketch walks. It's going to be a good year and I don't want to waste any of by cramming too much into my day. One slow and thoughtful step at a time, I feel, is going to be better for me than dozens of scattered footprints in the snow leading nowhere. Who's with me? 

Tip of the Day:  What can you do to rein in the near-universal tendency to "hurry, scurry, and worry"? One simple solution might be to look at everything you do as play rather than work. Instead of saying "I'm so busy working," try, "I'm so busy playing!" Even cooking dinner or walking to work can be a chance to play. Until next time, thanks for reading; wishing you a brilliant New Year!


Anonymous said...

Another great blog post and as always, so inspiring! Wishing you the very best on completing your final draft of Ghazal and The White Pony, and I hope your bead and clay and art work turn into an enjoyable and profitable sideline! Who knows, maybe it will be more ... but since RELAX is your 2020 word, we'll see how it all unfolds. Happy 2020, Val, and as always, thanx for being you xoxox

Valerie Storey said...

Thank you so much for visiting! "Relax" is such a good word for 2020 because it allows for experimentation without expectation. This year I want to savor the process rather than rush to have a "body of work" or feel that I'm under pressure to achieve more than I really have time for. Wishing you that same sense of peaceful(and patient) enjoyment!

Charlotte Fairchild said...

Who knew that we would be made to relax, pretty much, by being told to stay home? Bob is working from home, so he no longer has a 2 hour commute each day (1 there and 1 back). That is relaxing. He is able to work with silence unless the cat decides it is time to be given a massage.

When I was in high school I wanted to be a librarian for the UN. I wish I had set sail for being a researcher or research scientist instead.

We are relaxing much more. I am impressed you have organized. I have one closet that is easy to avoid. I know I don't want to organize it. My bathroom drawers are the same. I heard about tiny habits, and that does help me with doing just a little at a time. Do you think we will relax too much this year?

Valerie Storey said...

Thank you for visiting, Charlotte! Great to hear from you. I don't know if we will relax too much, but in a strange way the world may have almost been "too busy" with everyone on their phones 24/7 and not being perhaps as mindful as we could be. We don't get enough rest and this could be a wake-up call to appreciate the value of just letting go and letting be. We will get through this and maybe learn new ways to appreciate where we are and what we have.