Have you done the Facebook 10-year challenge?

People have been posting pictures of what they looked like 10 years ago compared with now, to mark the turn of the decade.

Well, around this time in 2009, my world was about to be turned upside down by the arrival of my first child, James, who is 10 on January 4, 2020.

His sister arrived two years and two weeks later – her birthday is on January 18 – and shortly after returning to work from second bout of maternity leave, I was offered voluntary redundancy.

It was the kick-start I needed to launch Creative Calligraphy and if you read my review of 2019, you’ll know things have been on the up, business-wise, ever since.

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Looking ahead to a new decade

The start of a new year, and indeed a decade, is always a good time to pause, take stock, reflect and, traditionally, make resolutions for the year ahead.

I’ve gotten into the habit of making some business-related ones, but at the moment, I can’t really think of anything that I need to change.

So, I’ve set myself some creative challenges – and obviously bought myself some little treats to spur me on!

1. Set aside some time to be creative

One of my ‘problems’ is that I don’t get enough time to play around and experiment.

Most of my calligraphy is writing for a purpose, whether working on commissions or demonstrating letter formation in workshops. I can’t remember when I last did something for myself.

So, I’m going to try to sit down with my paper and pens more often – and perhaps get around to having a go at modern calligraphy and brush lettering!

My nib subscription from Meticulous Ink means I’ll have something new to test out at least once a month for the next five months.

Obviously, I had to buy a matching practice pad and I have some hand-made watercolour pans from Nibs, Pens, Ink and Things to try.

There’s also four packs of Herbin’s seasonal inks to get through thanks to a Cult Pens competition win, so there’s plenty of motivation there.

2. Try other creative pursuits

I follow lots of lovely north east creatives on social media and many of them run their own workshops in a range of disciplines that I’d love to try, but something always seems to get in the way.

In 2019, I did a candle making workshop with Alkamy and a watercolour floral class with KLB Design House and I loved them both, so I’d like to do more activities like that. I’ve already got Embroidery with Hello! Hooray and screen printing at Northern Print on the radar.

It’s always interesting being on the receiving end of a workshop and seeing how other tutors approach things, so I could call it work-related research really!

3. Learn new business skills

I’ve fallen out of the habit of networking, other than the monthly Colleagues on Tap co-working session that I co-host in South Shields.

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Again, I see plenty of exciting events and learning opportunities advertised, but they always seem to clash with something else, so I’m going to actively seek some new things out and get them in the diary before anything else interferes with them!

I’ve already booked the Talking Point of Business Conference in June.

4. Read more books and listen to more podcasts

We’re taking the kids and my nephews to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in February, so I’ve made a start on the Harry Potter books.

Don’t worry, I’m not intending to squeeze the whole lot in between now and then, but I am trying to make a point of reading books not my phone, particularly in the evening.

I’ve also got a stack of podcasts saved that I really need to get around to listening to!

5. Reclaim my evenings

In a similar vein, I do have a habit of checking e-mails, messing about on social media and tying up loose ends in the evening, once the kids have gone to bed.

It’s not very healthy and is a habit I’d like to break in 2020.

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