Hello all and happy New Year!
We are in the midst of an unseasonably warm spell followed closely on the heels of an unseasonably cold spell. Our lone duck, the sole survivor of a flock once 29 strong, has been sleeping on the pond – a choice we’ve questioned at various points over the past few weeks. A duck on an open pond is safe from predators. A duck frozen into a pond is dinner.
We went to check on him the other day and found him sitting in a duck-sized hole paddling to keep the water open. To and from the open hole were meandering webbed footprints cast in the ice like frosted glass. They were so beautiful I had to take pictures. I’m sure they were barely a thought in the making, a cold-footed dash around sharp bits of ice to safety.
The new year is a time for setting goals and intentions, for organizing our days, for assuring ourselves that this year will be better/ more productive/ more accomplished than the last.
But it’s also a time for a few duck tracks.
It’s a time to meander for a while to see what strikes our fancy. It’s a time to try new things for no external reason. Meandering is important – it teaches us what we deeply enjoy and helps us decide how we want our days and lives to feel. So yes, do a bit of goal setting in the coming days. But leave some space for wandering.
To that end…
I’ve been doing a bit of meandering of my own. As many of you know, being an artist is my Day Job. I own my own business, Copper Leaf Studios. (It turned 15 years old this year, in fact! I forgot to celebrate in the wake of all things Covid.) My work is pretty delineated, from large corporate projects to awards for nonprofits to small custom pieces. I make a thing and people pay for it.
But my non-work work is mushier.
Is writing work? Is designing a book or planner? How about helping someone through a creative challenge? Sometimes there’s money involved, sometimes there isn’t. At best, I make enough for a nice turkey sandwich – or more typically, enough to keep doing the thing I enjoy. In other words, it isn’t about the money. I do it because I love it.
Make Something Meaningful started out as a pandemic passion project. The pandemic has mostly subsided, but the passion part hasn’t. I still love to write.
But I’m starting to not love the other aspects of it.
Writing? Love. Teaching? Love. Helping people solve creative business challenges one-on-one? Love.
Posting a carousel of eye-catching photos on social media with a thought-provoking comment with just the right hashtags to appease the algorithm? Do Not Love.
So, I’m meandering.
What does it look like if I just… write? What does it look like if I do the parts I love and shed the ones I don’t?
Maybe it works. Maybe it doesn’t work. Maybe the whole thing fades into the obscurity of the internet never to be seen again. It wouldn’t be the first time.
But just maybe me loving it more gives me more time to write, and me writing more gives you more to read, and maybe reading more makes you want to share it all with a friend, and maybe I don’t need social media after all.
All that to say…
Let’s keep in touch! You can find me here, or subscribe to my newsletter. Wishing you all the best in 2023.