ALCGC2017: February Check-in

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ALCGC2017: February Check-in

“The ARHtistic License Creative Goals Challenge for 2017” is quite a mouthful. I’ve created a shorthand nickname for it: ALCGC2017. Let’s use the Twitter hashtag #ALCGC2017 to tweet about our goals.

One month down. How are you doing on your creative goals?

I think I’m off to a good start. I’ve tweaked my intentions a little in January.

The biggest adjustment is musical practice time. On January 1 I discovered I didn’t want to give up my piano practice for a day to practice recorder instead. (And the teacher in me knows that practicing any instrument only twice a month is insufficient for any skill development.) So now the goal is to spend 30 minutes a day practicing either recorder or guitar, and then an hour on piano. I’ve been able to do that almost every day, except when I’ve been fatigued. I practice in the evenings Thursday through Monday. (Tuesday is my folk dance night, and Wednesday night is bible study.)

It’s been almost two and a half years since I’ve played recorder. First I played through Recorder Karate, which is the book I taught my fifth grade students from, and luckily I can still play all those songs. Then I started working through The Sweet Pipes Recorder Book, Book One. I’m up to Unit 6. My tone sounds like a fifth grader (sigh)But I know that with practice, I’ll improve.

I haven’t played guitar in at least three years, and I’m back to square one. My poor finger tips on my left hand are so sore; it still feels like the razor-sharp wires are slicing through them. But I know from being a beginning level guitar player for the last four decades that the more I practice, the sooner I’ll develop calluses, and the pain will stop. I’m practicing chord progressions from a guitar seminar I took eight years ago, and I’m working through Essential Elements for Guitar by Will Schmid and Bob Morris. I’m up to page 23.

I haven’t gone on an artist date yet, though I have several ideas. It’s just been too stinking cold. (50 degrees in the Arizona desert is bitter cold. Don’t judge me unless you’re used to it being 118 in the summer.) I’m hoping February will be warmer. For now I’m staying home, bundled in my blankie and sipping hot cocoa.

I wrote five poems in January, and sent three to one contest, and one to another. It doesn’t add up to a poem every other day, but I hope to do better in February.

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An in-progress page from my coloring journal.

My daughter Katie gave me a coloring journal for Christmas. I hope to fill it with poems written in calligraphy, and color all the beautiful designs. I’ve also started another art project which I’m hoping to unveil on ARHtistic License on February 14.

I’ve been fairly successful at starting my work sessions with a chapter of scripture and meditation. I think I only missed two days. I’m blessed by the time spent in the presence of my Lord. It fuels me for writing.

I’m finding it challenging to keep a month ahead on my blog working essentially only three days a week at it, but I really want to devote the other days to my other writing projects. My books are even more important to me than ARHtistic License. I made some modest progress on them; it would be nice to pronounce them done before the end of the year.

Taking a closer look at the old pieces in my file cabinet these past five Sundays, I realize much of my early shorter work is either dated, stupid, or just not what magazine markets are looking for anymore. Some of my old, unpublished books could be rewritten, but The Unicornologist and The God of Paradox are my priorities for this year. I’m going to keep searching, though–just one more drawer to go.

Last Saturday I attended a Christian writer’s mini-conference with guest speaker and author Allen Arnold. (Oh, I guess I could consider that an artist date!) He reminded us attendees that the Creator who calls us to write also invites us to create with Him; He desires an intimate relationship with us. As I review my notes, I feel inspired, invigorated, and recommitted to my writing. If you have a chance to go to a writer’s conference or retreat, whether a small local one or a major national one, take advantage of the opportunity to get a fresh perspective and do a little networking.

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Now it’s your turn. I’d love to know how all of you are doing so far in 2017, so I (and ARHtisticLicense readers) can encourage you. If you’re keeping accountable on your blog, paste a link into the comments below. Or if you don’t have a blog, just tell us your successes and your challenges this past month. ARHtistic License was created to help the creative community keep refining their skills. Check in on March 1, 2017 to share your progress during February.

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