2018: Year in Review


Hello, friends!

It’s December, already. Hard to believe! It’s also been a while since I last wrote something here. To be honest, November was a tough month. The winter darkness coincided with the return of my depression. It’s been hard to find motivation to write, to draw, to do more than the minimum. Historically, November has been a hard month for me, and I’ve come to accept that this is a time to conserve energy and be forgiving with myself. Now, I am finally feeling some relief and renewed energy.

As I prepare for some holiday travel and family time soon, I thought I would take some time to reflect on my progress this year.

Back in January, I declared that I would reignite my love for reading. I am happy to say that this endeavor was a success! At first, I came up with 11 books to read this year, hoping to read one book per month. I finished everything on that initial list (except the Earenfight), and I kept on reading.

As of today, I have read 41 works, all varying in length and genre. I caught up on some comics, reflected on history, and sharpened my creative knowledge. Some highlights from my literary journey this year include Melissa Febos’ Abandon Me: Memoirs, Kathleen Stokker’s Remedies and Rituals, Alexandra Minna Sterns’ Eugenic Nation, and Meg Jay’s The Defining Decade.

Outside of making an effort to read regularly, I also laid out a set of creative goals for myself. Let’s see how I did:

1. Draw or write something each day.

This year taught me that expecting to complete several tasks every single
day is not necessarily realistic for my schedule or my mental health.
Did I draw or write something each day? No. Do I still consider it a
success that I did this, more or less, most days? I sure do.

2. Practice the guitar once in a while (or hey, maybe even daily).

For the first half of the year, I was pretty good about picking up my
guitar a few times a week and sometimes a few times per day. In June, I
splurged on a digital piano. I took six years of piano lessons as a
child, and over the past few years, I’ve yearned to play again. I
haven’t been the most diligent student, but I am starting to pick it
back up again. I’ve found that playing the piano is fun for me now in a
way that it was not when I was young. I’m slowly working through pieces
that are, frankly, above my skill level, but I don’t care. I’m playing
for the joy of it, and that feels best for me.

3. Actually write down ideas after brainstorming.

Ha, this was not much of a success. However, I did keep a sketchbook in
conjunction with a bullet journal this year, which did make it easier to
record my thoughts.

4. Get back to the basics [in terms of drawing fundamentals].

I did not meet this goal, per se. I did not draw from life very often,
but I did spend more time practicing full-body poses. Perhaps, I will
return to life-drawing in 2019, but I am not setting any expectations.

5. Learn to ink with a brush.

Well, I bought some brushes, and I did ink a few small pieces. Then, I found a
Kuretake pen that I totally fell in love with, and my ink brushes have
been waiting patiently in my closet ever since. I did enjoy the practice
of inking with a brush, though, so I am sure I will return to it soon.

6. Get outside.

Check! I’ve explored local trails by my apartment, spent time up at the Dillon
Reservoir (my favorite place in Colorado), and I even spent two weeks
enjoying the natural beauty of Sweden and Norway.

7. Stay Authentic

It feels weird to assess whether or not I “stayed authentic” this year.
That said, 2018 was a year of tremendous growth and change for me. I
granted myself permission to determine what I want to make of my life. I
allowed old hobbies to take up space again, started studying Swedish,
traveled internationally for the first time, met some inspirational
people, connected with old friends and made some new ones, too.

Well, that’s all for now. I hope you and your family enjoy a peaceful winter season!

Warm wishes,

S.

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