My Creative Goals for 2023


I used to write out my creative goals every January. I don’t know how I got out of the habit. The last time I posted them to ARHtistic License was in 2018. Anyhow, I’ve been thinking lately of all the things I want to do in my creative life, and realized the first step was to write them all down.


I’d like to really learn how to use my DSLR camera. I want to go through Canon EOS Rebel T5/1200D for Dummies again chapter by chapter and purposefully practice each topic of discussion.


I’d like to start a new project: nursery rhymes. When I was teaching elementary general music, a lot of the activities we did involved nursery rhymes. But I found I first needed to teach the children the rhymes. Most of today’s parents are not reading Mother Goose to their children. That’s unfortunate, because the meter and the rhymes help children pick up language, help them memorize, and as I saw when reading to my children (and running my finger under each word as I read it) helps them to pick up sight words. (Dr. Seuss books also work the same kind of magic.) I already have a book of poems for children in the works, but with the birth of my first grandchildren, in thinking of the rich stimulation we want to provide for them, I’m concerned about nursery rhymes. Yes, I can give them the old books and read them to them, but some really aren’t relevant to today’s kids. We need a whole new collection of snappy rhymes about things and situations that would be familiar to contemporary families.


I want to continue practicing lettering and zentangle and drawing and watercolor more deliberately. I also would like to work with acrylics (like painting on rocks) and oils. Years ago Greg bought oil paints and a collection of Bob Ross videos. He’s since passed them on to me, and I’ve done nothing with them.


The good news is that last September I rejoined the church bell choir. I love being in an ensemble again.

But the last few years I’ve hardly played piano, guitar, or recorder. And my daughter gave me a ukulele a few years ago, and I haven’t even started to learn how to play it. And I have a djembe that Greg passed on to me, and I’ve hardly played it since I retired from teaching. I have a Baldwin studio grand in my living room that is dying to be played, and an Ovation guitar sitting in its case in the corner. I know I should be playing at least some of these with some regularity. I could start with piano.

I’m planning on rejoining the church choir this September.


I have three languishing on my hard drive. I’m stuck on all of them. I know what I need to do with one of them, so I’m slowly plugging away on it. Part of the problem is that I used to have a wonderful critique group that met once a week. About five years ago, it petered out. Recently, several of us began meeting again, but only once a month. That’s just not enough for me.

I had been part of an online critique group for a while, but I dropped out about a year ago, when I got stuck on my WIP. And I did join another local group, but they also meet only once a month. When I get another chapter into the book I’m working on, I’ll rejoin the online group.

elements of fiction

Family history

I’ve mentioned that my daughter Erin, mother of my two new granddaughters, gave me a book this past Christmas called Tell Me Your Life Story, Grandma. It has prompts that dig deep into the past and into personality, like What is your earliest memory? Who is your oldest friend and how many years have you been friends? Describe one of the best days you can remember.  Other than flipping through the book and thinking what a wonderful project this is, I haven’t done anything. Erin asked if I could complete it for the girls’ fifth birthday. I’d better get started soon. They’re already two months old.

How am I going to work on these goals?

That’s the big question. I need to be gentle with myself. I am the caretaker of my disabled husband, and by the end of the day, I’m exhausted. To a large extent, my day revolves around him, and I need to be able to drop everything and help him whenever necessary. I’ve also had to shoulder the tasks he used to do before his strength declined. My best strategy may be to print this article out and put it in a page protector and keep it in a prominent place on my desk to remind me of all the things I really want to do. And when I have a few moments of time for myself, choose any one of these to work on.

Now it’s your turn. What about you? Do you set yearly goals? Do you check yourself periodically to see if you’re making progress? Do you post your goals and progress? Share in the comments below.

About Andrea R Huelsenbeck

Andrea R Huelsenbeck is a wife, a mother of five and a former elementary general music teacher. A freelance writer in the 1990s, her nonfiction articles and book reviews appeared in Raising Arizona Kids, Christian Library Journal, and other publications. She is currently working on a young adult mystical fantasy novel and a mystery.

10 responses »

  1. This is perfect timing as I set my goals once tax-season is over!! We share many of them….photography (I am STILL using the auto function 99% of the time), music (once I quit playing for church, I seldom touch the piano), ancestry (years ago I scanned all of our old negatives and slides and I want to take certain ones and write the stories that go with them), Painting (I still want to work thru the 2 watercolor courses that I bought), Art (SO many quilt ideas are floating in my mind).  YIKES…..we need to get busy!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love reading your goals. I’m especially drawn to the one about nursery rhymes. Be sure to save that paragraph to use in your book proposal when you send it out. So good!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, I’m a list writer too and it really does help. I’m so impressed with your list, you have so many creative outlets. I share a few. My most urgent goal right now is to finish the novel I’m working on and sending it to my agent. I too have a baby grand and pass it every day, each time telling myself I need to get into a daily practice of playing! And I’d love to get back to my painting again as well. I miss it. I love your idea about the nursery rhyme book, and totally agree that reading them as children really does develop our sense of rhythm and rhyme and love of lyrical language and literature. Other creative goals: to keep my blog going and to publish on Substack as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your huge list of goals! I keep telling myself I need to drop some areas of interest and focus on the remaining ones, but it just doesn’t happen.

    I saw this quote from Frank Ze on YouTube (who does funny but factual nature videos) —
    “I want to learn ALL THE THINGS, and I am behind schedule.” I need to get that on a t-shirt and wear it all the time so people know why I would rather read than chat.

    As far as your memory book for your granddaughters — I think you should harvest this blog, because you have captured a lot of memories here, and in a variety of formats that show the depth of your interests and talents. So you have a good body of work to draw from! ❤


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