2014 was the year I finally figured out who I am as a blogger and a creative professional. Even though I never explicitly shared a post like this one outlining my goals for Hands Occupied for 2014, figuring out who I am in the creative world was probably a bigger accomplishment than I even realized. If I’m being honest, I think I was working toward that goal since starting this blog in September 2010. I really did want to be a knitting and crochet blogger first, but naive, 23-year-old me thought I didn’t have enough of a point of view to sustain a blog with a more narrow focus. Last year I took the plunge and gave it a try, and it was the best decision I ever made in my creative career. I think creatively, I just matured at kind of a slow rate, but now that, 4 years later, I’m here and happy, why would I regret the steps that brought me to this point?
Other highlights of last year were improving my photography game, getting my first full-page magazine feature, contributing DIY designs to print books, and selling patterns for actual money, and not just yarn. Skills like these opened a lot of doors for me professionally. (PS: When I say professionally, I’m talking about my creative career and not my library career, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post in and of itself – how I lead two careers simultaneously.)
I feel really good about finding my feet last year, so of course I want to keep growing and improving with this momentum. On that note, I have a few 2015 goals worth sharing with you guys.
1. Be a more thoughtful consumer
I want to lead a healthier life. I’ve been vegetarian for 5 years, but being veggie absolutely does not mean you’re automatically healthy. It’s so easy with my dual-career lifestyle to eat quick food like a frozen veggie pattie or cheese and crackers. While I don’t want to be completely vegan, I’d like to eat more plant-based food, less processed food, and less alcohol.
In late 2014, I began to transition from being a coffee drinker to primarily a tea drinker. I might be drinking 4 cups of tea a day, but I limit myself to 1 tea bag (unless something gross happens to it like it hits a door handle or the floor). Limiting it to 1 bag means I can only consume so much caffeine, and by the third cup, I end up drinking more water. That makes sense, right?
2. Be more focused
Take a 30 minute walk every day. Knit, crochet and read more. Stay focused on one task at a time and avoid multitasking. Don’t check notifications when I don’t need to, like when I’m out at dinner with friends. Multitasking doesn’t do anything but stress a person out anyway!
3. Visit family more, travel more
All of my family (immediate and extended) live in a different state than my husband and I. With the right amount of focus (see #2) and planning, there’s no reason I couldn’t find more time to see my family and the sights of the world, not just the town in which I live.
Running a Business
At this very moment, I’m at my buddy Kim from Yellow Brick Home’s home, which just so happens to be just a few blocks from my own. We’ve been experimenting with coworking on days I don’t work at the library or when we don’t have other commitments. We’re going to try coworking one day a week together, and for me, that will be the day I keep up with the biz, organization, writing and planning end of being a blogger & knitting designer. This is a business, I need to treat it as such. Maybe that’s obvious, but I think leading a dual career lifestyle involves lots of careful scheduling and planning, and I need to remember to put as much administrative work into the creative gig as I put into the bookish one. ;)
5. Design more
Using this coworking day to keep organized will dovetail nicely with this goal to design more. Designing more, especially when it’s for magazines and such, means I need to get my schedule together and keep ahead of submission deadlines. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about: I’m neck deep right now in putting together a summery scarf pattern for a magazine publishing in June.
I think opening a pattern shop, whether that’s on this site or Ravelry or somewhere else or all of the above, would be a good idea. I can’t always give away designs for free (but don’t worry – I’ll still be posting free patterns here on the blog regularly!). I’d also like to release an eBook independently to try my hand at that whole design and production process. Am I a glutton for punishment? This list of goals has me seriously wondering…
7. Just one word.
Speaking of wanting to give myself a boatload of work, I’m only going to say one word about this goal because I’m afraid to jinx it: book. Ok a couple more words for clarification: a physical book with pages and pictures and a publisher and all that.
Blog content! Your favorite!
8. New Series: Knewbies!
Don’t worry, all of these goals do NOT mean the blog will be on the back burner. Based on feedback from last summer’s reader survey, one of the things you’d like to see more of is knitting tips for beginners. You guys also said you’d like to see a stitch of the week-style video series. After thinking about that for a bit, I came up with something I’m calling knewbies.
Knewbies is going to be short little video lessons & blog posts on the nuts and bolts of how to knit from scratch, with new lessons once or twice a month. My initial vision: one post/video on how to do a new stitch, and a free, beginner pattern that uses primarily that stitch so you have something to practice it with. I think this will be fun! More will get posted on this as I think of it.
8a. Do more videos
Knewbies will help with this, for sure. But I want to do more videos featuring advanced stitches and requested stitches from viewers and readers too!
9. New tagline
No one probably cares about this, but I feel like I need a better tagline. I might need to have a contest for it or something. Right now, I’m feeling like “Make it. Knit it. Own it.” is a little vague. Let me know if you agree/disagree/have ideas for a new one!
10. Listen to you guys more!
After last summer’s reader survey, I dropped the ball on answering a couple of “ask me anythings” that were sent to me. My apologies! :( In the last two months, I’ve been really on top of reader requests, especially for things like video tutorials (the kitchener stitch video and last week’s brioche video for example).
Since yarn crafting is such a personal journey, I want to know more about what you guys want to see. If something doesn’t make sense in the way I’ve explained it, let me know. Everyone learns in a different way, and when you’re learning how to tangle yarn in three dimensions ( a.k.a. in real life), blog posts and yes, even videos, tend to flatten what you’re trying to learn visually, which can be frustrating. Whatever I post, I’m going to put a ton of work into producing, so why not help a knitting sister out if she’s stuck?
This brings me to the reader survey. I did one last July, and if you’re a big reader of blogs, I know it’s totally reader survey season right now. I just really want to check in to see what you’d like to see on Hands Occupied this year. More knit alongs? Less? More videos? Less? More personal posts? I’ll be posting that survey in the next week or so, and will have prize boxes up for grabs for those who fill it out. They’ll be fun, I promise! ;)