My Word of the Year (*it's a big one!) - 2022
Every year many creatives, entrepreneurs, and people from all walks of life choose a word or a series of words to represent what the new year's focus will be.
For a while, I had noticed this idea of choosing a "word of the year", but didn't understand how that could influence my art practice in reality. But last year in an art group, there was an interesting discussion about whether or not any artists in the group actually practiced this IRL.
When you watch other creatives set up their practice (for example on youtube), you will notice many little rituals and ideas that often have a common theme. For example, many artists (and I imagine, writers, cooks, musicians, planners, etc.) want to encourage a mindset that lets their brains know they are ready for creative work.
Sometimes these actions are purposeful, such as lighting a candle, playing some music, always working in the same space, etc. And some are more subtle, such as having an intention or an idea of how you can manifest what you truly want to happen -- by being aware of how your actions support or diminish your goals.
Last year's word was...
It definitely is a very real thing, and so for the first time last year, I adopted a word, specifically GROW. What did it mean for me? It meant that every time I was making art, or thinking about making art, I was truly willing to look further, and stop flitting about with familiar territory, familiar materials, and ways of using them, allowing ideas that were previously dismissed (my worst habit!) to be thought of again, allowed to cultivate, allowed to be attempted even.
I started using the word 'grow' in every application I could think of related to my art. Always asking myself questions like "will this grow my practice?" or "how can I grow this idea to something bigger, more?". And most importantly "am I actively working towards growth?".
Which ultimately led me to:
create more paintings
keep my daily practice top of mind
re-visit old art supplies that I previously thought were 'not my thing'
critique my own work with fresh eyes
compare my new work to my old work...in other words, not compare myself or my art to others (<-- this definitely falls under the category of 'personal growth')
My greatest accomplishment last year? Growing in size...literally. I went from 6x6" to 8x8", and 10x10". Now I'm working with 12x12", 12x18", 16x20" even starting 2 larger pieces that are 20x20" and currently sit on my art table.
All because of that. one. word.
allowing ideas that were previously dismissed to be thought of again, allowed to cultivate, allowed to be attempted even.
This year's word is...
So how could I possibly top that word when really I could just use it over and over, rinse & repeat? That seemed like cheating, and not very 'growy', so once again, I put pen to paper and tossed around some more words (hint, this could also be a phrase or just about anything, but find words that resonate with you!).
Which brought me to my selected word for 2022...
Yes, I hear you, "so what is the difference exactly?". Well, for me, if the idea of last year was to grow, in technique, skill, practice, size, etc., then this year was for expanding all of that. How can I take what was a very steep learning year of new possibilities and make it benefit me this year, where I am today?
In other words, how can I expand on what I've already started? Can I take it further? Can I expand what I'm willing to create, how I create it, and can I make it even bigger? What can I do today that will support that? What does the result of that look like? Can I finish several large pieces this year and possibly find a way to show them? Is that important to me?
For example, if I wanted to work in an even larger size, what would that require? A bigger studio space? Can I set my space up differently right now, so that I'm ready to make bigger art? What are some of the challenges that will come with that, and what can I do now to move the needle forward in that direction?
So many questions to ponder, and new thoughts will pop up throughout the year, as they inevitably do. And rather than feel restricted to a plan which might not be fully shaped, I've allowed myself a guidepost that will make this year's art journey more intentional, for me.
What's your word going to be?
Ready to try it for yourself? Doesn't matter if it's halfway through the year, at the end of summer, or whenever. Do it for yourself and guide your way to more intentional practice. Don't know where to start? Here are some ideas to get you going:
think of what you are most passionate about creating/doing/making/practicing
what do you enjoy most about it?
how would it feel to have more of that in your life?
what are some words that describe those feelings?
what are some action words or verbs that could support those feelings?
still stuck? scroll through the huge list at the bottom & try some of those on for size
Grab a pencil and a piece of paper and just throw out any words that come to mind, don't worry about grammar, editing, negative thoughts (that's silly--who cares?), write it down anyway.
Let those words or phrases sit for a while. Give it a rest and when you go back to your list a little later on, see what jumps out at you. Does one word give you an idea for another? Which words feel like they describe you, resonate with you on a personal level, or give you all the feels? Do you have a favourite? Is there a phrase or mantra that you can use with your word?
Now take that word or phrase, write it down on a nice piece of paper, type it out and hang it where you'll see it, use it as a screensaver on your phone, just place it where you will see it. My word 'expansion' is written on a waterproof notepad that we have hanging in our shower (highly recommend them!). And now when you see that word, you'll be gently reminded to move toward that intention.
Let me know if you've chosen your word, I'd love to hear it!
At a loss for words? Try one of these...
*these are not my words but sourced from many lists that are available online
Focus Grow Organize Simplify Bloom Brave
Natural Unstoppable Consistency Balance
Elevate Authentic Less Cherished Energized
Calm Enlighten Express Flow Family
Possibility Persevere More Reflect Light
Heart Now Passion Joy Unlimited Kindness Play
Deliberate Increase Breathe Commit Seek
Listen Free Build Flourish Renew Progress
Explore Finish Fearless Bridge Spirit Soul
Happy Enthusiasm Transform Encourage Harmony
Energy Determination Strength Awaken Beauty Action
Connect Create Believe Expansion Ambition Hero
Purpose Dream Courage Embrace Celebrate Teach
Imagine Learn Wonder Wish Meditate Sparkle
Whole Journey Contribute Laugh Here Shift
Delight Patience Cultivate Vision Wisdom Adventure
Comfort Give Rise Perspective Glow Observe
Take a picture of your "word of the year" and how you display it, I would love to share your images here! Give it a try, happy word hunting!
art before dishes...