At the start of 2010 my word for the year was fruition.
And when I look back over the last 12 months, I can see that plenty of fruit has grown!
Here, for my own benefit I will admit as much as anyone’s (and I hope you’ll forgive my indulgence), is my summary of some of what I did in 2010.
A Big Creative Yes
In February, after much deliberation, I decided I needed a blog separate to both my main CoachCreative site and our community CoachCreativeSpace, and so I launched the blog you’re reading now – A Big Creative Yes.
I wrote a tentative first post – Embracing The Elements – explaining: “it’s time to pull myself together a little. Online, I want to try to be more open, more real, more, well, “Dan”.”
Then delayed posting it until I had designed a slick and sassy new header graphic to launch the blog with!
I quickly realised that procrastination had reared its ugly face and so published the post anyway, resolving to do the graphic later. I still haven’t got round to it, but that hasn’t stopped me from writing and posting over 170 posts in the meantime, some 100,000+ words. (You’ll get by the end of this, if you haven’t already, that I’m secretly kind of geeky when it comes to stats and numbers…)
The most popular post by far to date is 21 Ways You’re Killing Your Creativity Without Even Realising though my personal favourite remains How To Create Space For The Beautiful Life That’s Waiting because I think it’s the most balanced combination of poetic words and inspiring and helpful writing I’ve created here so far.
Our online creative tribe – CoachCreativeSpace – was launched in summer 2007 and had something of a revival in 2010, especially in the autumn and winter. Much of this was from starting a new Thirty Days Of Creating (TDOC) challenge in September where we had a huge flurry of artists old and new (to CCS) making the pledge to create daily and write about it.
The TDOCs continued through to the end of the year for some, and many have begun again this new year.
This group, along with a new double Journey Of Journals international journal swap involving 14 artists, a couple of huge ATC Swaps and very popular and active new groups like Works In Progress and The Creative Joy Of Journaling meant the year ended on a high.
We now have nearly 850 artists from around the world in our community (200+ joined in 2010), and we had over 35,000 unique visitors and over 230,000 page views in 2010, which to little old me sitting here alone on my MacBook are absolutely mind boggling numbers.
What’s pleased me most about CCS though is that it still feels cosy and friendly. Rather than a heaving rock concert crowd crammed in a football stadium that those kind of numbers might suggest, CCS is more like a huge mansion with lots of intimate, friendly little rooms where you’ll always find a handful of other artists for a friendly chat or exchange of artwork.
Plus the time spent per visit has steadily increased this year to around 9 and a half minutes in December, and average pages per visit is over five, meaning members are enjoying spending time on the site and hanging around longer with each visit, rather than reading one thing then quickly disappearing.
How To Get Focused And Create What Matters
In November I launched How To Get Focused And Create What Matters – “A Practical Guide For Choosing Your Best Ideas And Bringing Them To Completion”, my first ebook of the year.
As well as containing the writing I have been most proud of and pleased with in any book or course I’ve published to date, I was very happy with the overall design of the book and the inclusion of my own photos, which I think took the standard of presentation of my stuff to a whole new level, and set the template for future books.
I’ve been pleased with the sales so far and the feedback received, and will be relaunching in the coming weeks, as well as beginning a kind of follow book up on Inner Critics later in the Spring. (Please remind me and hold me to this if I don’t mention it again… )
Create Create! ezine
The last Create Create! in 2010 was issue number 125, and I haven’t missed my two issues a month publishing schedule since its debut in November 2005, a consistency I’m very proud of.
I have noticed open and click rates decreasing in recent months though, and although partly this is because I know have other “channels” to reach people with like this blog, Twitter and Facebook, I am looking at revamping the ezine in the next few months, working out what I really want to use it for, and how it can be of most benefit to people.
What’s been more effective with this community of readers is asking specific short questions, and getting their feedback and ideas, and it was these kind of conversations that gave me the ideas and direction to write the How To Get Focused book, and remains invaluable.
The main reason I would like to mention Twitter is nothing to do with follower numbers, but because it’s introduced me to SO many interesting, inspiring and creative people this year, and I know I wouldn’t have got half the stuff written and done that I did without their support. Too many to mention them all individually, but of particular inspiration and support to me have been: Michael Nobbs, Courtney Carver, Tammy Strobel, Everett Bogue, Mike Donghia, Ken Robert, Chris Brogan and Seth Godin.
All amazing people I’d advise you to check out if you don’t know them already. Thank you all!
My Shed Project
Having been trying to live a fairly minimalist life for years, in 2010 I finally found a movement of people trying to do the same, and rejecting both the over consumption that has become rife in the US and UK, and the whole broken system of work 9-5 in a job you don’t like then spend all your money (and more!) on clothes and gadgets and alcohol at the weekend “because you deserve it”.
I took this to a new level with my personal shed project, inspired by Bindu Wiles‘ Shed Project launch in September. This is an ongoing project for me, but my personal possessions are down from nearly 900 in September to about 220, which included shedding a third of my clothes.
More than the physical stuff, I’ve been learning to shed past emotions, sadness and guilt and try to move on to better relationships. I’m not aiming to be a sub 100 things minimalist, and I’m still, and always will be, a work in progress, but having far less stuff makes focusing on the truly important elements of life a whole lot easier. : )
Most of my writing creativity in 2010 went into blog posts and the ebook, with a few creative writing expeditions here and there. My main outlets of creating now are writing, cooking, dancing and photography, in that order in terms of time spent. Cooking and baking especially reached new levels in 2010, which all aligns with my getting back to simple pleasures in life. Is there anything more enjoyable than cooking for, and eating with, people you love?
My favourite things I created in 2010 were a hand made, hand written book, and a smaller hand made book with a poem in, for my partner for Christmas.
I’ve been teaching salsa for about 3 years, and this was my best year yet. My highlight was to co-write and teach four new intermediate level courses. Looking round a room of 30+ people at the end of week 6 and seeing them dance a complex routine that you’ve taught them (and co-created) from scratch is a very rewarding feeling.
Overall I taught over 100 classes this year, which is quite amazing when I still don’t really think of myself as a dance teacher!
In September I started yoga, and from Oct 1st began a routine of practicing daily for at least 20 minutes each day. On Dec 31st 2010 I completed my 92nd consecutive day. I rarely do less than 30 minutes, and often up to 45, so with the weekly class too I must’ve done in excess of 50 hours of yoga in the last four months.
To get some idea of how much it benefits me, see 10 Life Changing Lessons 50 Days Of Yoga Has Taught Me About Being More Creative.
My day job remains a 37 hour a week drain on my time, but I have had discussions to reduce this in the next couple of months. It does currently offer me the financial freedom to be able to do everything else I currently do without worrying about where the next pay cheque is coming from.
Having said this, with additional income streams from salsa, my own products like the How To Get Focused book, and affiliate sales for other products I love, it means I’m in a stronger position financially than I’ve been for years, I have no loans or credit card debts, and actually have some savings. Looking to build on this in 2011 as I reduce my dependency on the day job.
In 2010 I had two long weekend holidays, which is huge for me, as I’ve never been away twice in a year at all before, and the last time I went away at all was in 2005.
In May I went to Paris on my own with the intent to regroup and get to know myself again after some difficult personal times in recent months. I adored the city, and the freedom that anonymity (and being disconnected from the internet) gave me. It was a life changing trip for me. Definitely plan to return.
In November I went to an idyllic cottage in the Black Mountains in Wales with my partner, and absolutely adored the whole experience. I found it very hard returning to everyday life when I came back, and it inspired me no end to keep moving towards a more minimal, simple and location independent life and career. Plus I want a log burner, and my current 2nd floor apartment probably isn’t the ideal premises! : )
Overall, I realise again how much I have to be grateful for, and feel I’m in a calmer, stronger, more creative, more settled place than I’ve been in for years. I have so much to be thankful for and will build on the progress and “fruition” of 2010 as we go forth into 2011.
Thank you for reading, if you made it this far. : )