For the third year running, we are spending our New Year having a retreat on the shores of Lake Ontario. My husband’s aunt has a cottage, and we will spend five days creating with four of our dearest friends, as well as getting quality alone time and family time with our son in. So what do I hope to accomplish during this retreat?
- Writing: I will finish the draft of The Cephalopod Maid and make significant progress on the draft of my graphic novel.
- Art: I will finish up some holiday gifts for people that I need to give next weekend and I will begin the research/sketching process for my next major project, a series of paintings called Dangerous Women. This project could very well be an ongoing one for the rest of my life, and I’m excited to see how it will progress. I will paint pictures of various women through history that have defied societal standards, from queens to bank robbers to witches to explorers to warriors. I may include women from myth and religion. It will primarily be women of the past, because I think it’s important to remember where we’ve come from, and because it’s easier to feel free to play up the stories of those women. I won’t begin releasing these until I have at least three done, but I hope to have the first three out by the end of 2014.
- Editing: I will finish editing a story for my husband under one of his pennames. Every dollar coming in at this point is helpful, and he’s had some modest success with his previous work under this name.
- Marketing: I am going to develop a plan for getting the word out about The Little Book of Insurrection or The Poetry of My Discontent. We’ll see what I can come up with. Since it’s a free ebook, my goal is really just to get the content to as many people as possible.
- Time to spend in fellowship with other creative souls. People who are our family, closer than some of our actual family members. Time to dream, time to scheme, and time to heal, as several of us are in the process of rebirthing ourselves, and the birthing process is necessarily uncomfortable and often painful.
- An entire day and night of adult-only conversation, as my in-laws will be watching our son for us on New Year’s Eve. This will be our first night both spent away from our son. Exciting but nerve-wracking for me as well.
- I will be spending this week searching myself and deciding what I want most in the next stage of my life. I’m torn right now. Do I attempt to get back into the creative field that I was trained in? Or do I focus more on the work I’m doing under this name and still use my training to hopefully bring in small, independent projects? The first option offers the chance at excitement and true collaboration with passionate people but is more stressful and will take me away from my son. The other is more idyllic in many ways, but it lacks the collaboration and excitement. Or do I attempt to pursue it all, but shift my focus depending on which projects come my way? Regardless, the choice may dictate where we settle, if we ever get to settle, and so I’m doing as much research as I possibly can. One of my friends asked me if a genie came to me and said I could do whatever I want with ease, which would I choose, and I think I would choose to do it all. But that might be an impossibility. I know we need to develop a very specific list though, because any time in my life that I’ve known without a doubt what I’ve wanted, I’ve been able to make it happen. It’s when I’m wishy-washy that I get stuck. And now that I’ve had a chance to recover from my time in an office and my sleep-deprivation, it’s time to get unstuck.