And there it is… the new year 2021! Like everyone else, I hope it will be a good – and a creative – one. After making it through 2020 with all its lockdowns and scary pandemic news we really need a good new year. I want to start my first blog post of 2021 by wishing you all a happy new creative year by writing about how I use bullet journaling for reflecting on the past year!
Probably I should start this post with an explanation and an excuse for not posting anything on social media since the end of September. I completely stopped communicating via social media channels because I was simply too tired… The work on the blog was going on a bit in the background, but I did not boost any of my posts.
The reason is pretty simple. I was hibernating for almost three months and only slowly started to be more active and creative end of December.
But I have a very good excuse for this. Most probably the best excuse one could have 🙂
While not being able to be productive creatively, I have been productive on a completely different level during the last months. Working secretly on a little future designer… or space engineer… or whatever he would like to be in life…
A Shift of Priorities
We are expecting the little one to join our family of 5 (two adults and three cats 😉 ) in mid-May 2021 and until then there are quite a few things to sew and create.
Being pregnant with my first child does not only changes perspectives and plans. It also creates completely new creative priorities and opportunities. Before being pregnant, I have never been interested in fabrics and sewing patterns for kids for example. And suddenly this opened up a completely new market for me. I am constantly looking for cute jersey prints to make little bodies or shirts. Or I am brainstorming patchwork patterns for baby quilts.
So stay tuned for my new 2021 projects that will be – not all but most probably very often – baby-related! 🙂
Reflecting on the Past Year
But before writing about my 2021 creative plans in next week’s blog post, I want to reflect a bit on 2020.
Those who know me also know that I have been bullet journaling for quite some years now. But not in the neat and nice way you can always see on Pinterest. My bullet journals usually do look not as clean. They become quite messy after only a short time. It is not that I don’t try. I always start neatly but in the end the content counts. Over the years I learned that focusing on neatness just holds me back from putting things on paper.
So what do I do? At the end of each year, I reflect on the past year and plan for the coming one. I do this along my ‘categories’ that have been growing especially on the ‘creative side’ of my ‘category wheel’ for the last years. I totally agree that I have too many of those categories. But these are all things important to me and I do not have to focus on each of them all the time. It is just that it helps me not to forget about them.
Ideally between Christmas and New Year, I read what I had planned for the last year in each category. Then I think about what I have actually done from my list and what priorities have shifted. I do this by writing down a page or two by category. when doing this I am very honest with myself. In the end, it is only me who reads this so I can honestly judge myself (and sometimes others) :-)…
Reflecting on my Creative Year 2020
Of course, I cannot share my whole private reflection on 2020 with you. But what I want to share with you, dear blog readers, are my summed-up reflection on my creative categories. When thinking about 2020, I noticed that this year gave me a lot of time to be creative and explore new things. So it was not so bad after all! 🙂
- Blog: I finally managed to set up this blog. It had been on my to-do list and yearly plans for so long. I am really, really happy about this and for the first months, I also managed to post regularly. There were many drafted blog posts and ideas for the last three months of 2020 that I just recently posted for their respective weeks. So there is quite a lot of content on this blog now.
- Patchwork & Quilting: Despite a lot of other creative endeavors I really managed to have one quilt project per month. I tried new techniques and patterns. For the first time, I transferred Islamic geometric patterns into patchwork patterns combining two of my passions.
- Fashion & Sewing Clothes: I had always refrained from working with jerseys. I had this weird idea about it being uncontrollable because it is stretchy. In January 2020, I sewed with jersey fabrics for the very first time and I loved it. End of 2020, I prepared for making maternity clothes and some nice little sewing projects for the little gentleman.
- Islamic Patterns: OMG, 2020 was such a great year for Islamic geometry and biomorphs. I booked so many online classes and found new interesting teachers and an amazing community of fellow geometry enthusiasts worldwide. I did not want to miss this year for this alone!
- Surface Pattern Design: My dream of designing my own fabric collections became more real in 2020. In spring I participated in Bonnie Christine‘s Immersion Course. Oh boy, what an experience and growth spurt. Then I became a member of Flourish directly. Later in the year I also joined Bärbel Dressler‘s new membership on historic pattern styles. In August, I participated in the Make it in Design Summer School. I even won a prize for one of the creative challenges. I wrote about this in my blog post ‘When Inspiration Strikes’.
- Calligraphy & Lettering: In this category, I haven’t done a lot in 2020. I only watched a course with Martina Flor who I know from Skillshare as a teacher. She also started a new membership program in 2020, but I decided to focus on my surface pattern journey first.
- Linocut & Print Making: I am not sure if my fabric-dying experiments with food scraps fall into this category. During the Festival of Quilts, I also watched a masterclass with Christine Chester on printmaking on fabrics in August. But I did not actually find all the supplies in Qatar to try it out.
- Creative Writing: Nope! This category is totally blank in 2020. But never mind, there are other years to come…
When reading through these, I actually became aware that 2020 was quite a productive year for me after all. And this gives me a lot of energy to plan for 2021!
How to Plan for 2021 from Here
So, how do I get from here to make a plan for the next year? This is usually very intuitive after writing about the previous one. Many points on my to-to-list follow naturally on those things I tried out before and that I want to improve. Or there are things that I completely neglected during the previous year, but that become more important in the future. Or some passions that I want to pick up again because I feel it is time.
But this post would become too long to write about my creative plans for 2021 here as well. So I will leave this for next week! Stay tuned!
And you, do you use a bullet journal or any other method to reflect on the past year? How do you prepare for the new year ahead of you?