An Open Letter to 2017

Over the past week, I spent some time thinking about priorities and goals for 2017. I’m excited about all of that (and my new Bullet Journal is ready to roll with action steps for January!), but I don’t want to share that here right now. Instead, I’d like to share an Open Letter that I wrote as a playful look at my thoughts on the year ahead. If you were going to write a letter to 2017, what would it say?

I hope 2017 is treating you well so far!

Dear 2017,

Since this is the first time we’re meeting, I’d like to take a minute to introduce myself: I’m Nicole. I’m a human, and I live on earth. We can chat about more details later if you’d like.

I know you’re new here, so let me be among the first to welcome you. I’m glad you’re here, but I’m also finding it a little hard to believe. Did you arrive more quickly than any of the previous years? In a way, it seems like it. Isn’t time weird?

There were some things I liked about 2016 . . . and some things I didn’t. I imagine it will be the same with you. What are your strengths and weaknesses? If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be? What’s your least-pleasant feature? I’m looking forward to learning more about you. I have some other ice-breaker-type questions for you, but I think I’ll save those for another day.

I’ve prepared a brief list of suggestions for you, and you can let me know if you’re willing to cooperate. I hope we’ll become fast friends, but I’m also willing to work around it if you prove to be a little bit more strong-willed. Here’s my list:

  1. Stay around as long as possible. Take your time, allowing your days to feel long and luxurious. Stroll your way through the year, no rush. The slower you move, the more time I’ll have to make memories.
  2. Try to be the kind of year I’ll later come to describe as fun, successful, transformative, the best, or possibly epic. Try to avoid being described as painful, laborious, worst-ever. Definitely do whatever it takes to never be compared to a train wreck.
  3. Here are some things I enjoy, so if you have any say in the matter, please be full of these things: family time, growing friendships, spiritual connection, walks in nature, engaging books, creative projects, work that feels rewarding or worthwhile, good music, laughter, pizza . . . and clarity.
  4. Here are some things I don’t enjoy very much, so if you have any say in the matter, please avoid bringing these my way: arguments, isolation, existential angst or free-floating anxiety, injuries, work that feels tedious or meaningless, grating sounds, bad smells, lima beans . . . and confusion.
  5. Don’t be a meanie.

Ok 2017, my new favorite year, thanks for reading this letter and for your kind attention thus far. I look forward to hanging out with you more sometime soon, like . . . now.


christmaschallenge-fFor a quick final update, I wanted to report that my Christmas Challenge was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed creating daily doodles and seeing the creativity of the other participants! If you’d like to see the results, search the hashtag #12creativedays on Facebook or Instagram. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

If you click “Follow”, you’ll be notified each time I post. My regular schedule is a weekly post [usually] every Monday & sometimes I add a mid-week “Collecting Creativity” post about other creative topics. I’d love to share more of my creative adventures with you!

Bonus! Collecting Creativity – 3

2016 Caldecott Medal Winner
When I was a child, I loved to draw. And I loved good stories . . . so I especially loved books that had good stories side-by-side with amazing drawings.

I remember being in Library Class in Elementary School and looking for the books that had the shiny Caldecott Medals on the covers because I knew they would have beautiful illustrations . . . even before I knew the word “illustration.”

The 2016 Caldecott Honors were awarded earlier in the year, and I wanted to take a minute to “collect” them in this blog post as a way of stopping to think.

I’m in the middle of trying to wrap up a certain illustration project that I’ve been feeling “blocked” about, so that’s what led me to think about the Caldecotts tonight. Sometimes looking at other amazing illustrations can help to inspire me, as long as I don’t allow it to fill me with insecurities . . .

Why do creatives so often do that to themselves? Why do we play the comparison and envy game that paralyzes creation and productivity?

I’m not sure I’ll ever have a complete answer to that question, but this is a little reminder (to myself & to you) to not get sucked into it.


I had dinner with a friend tonight & she told me about an Artist she knows of who breeds insects, then dips them in paint (or ink?) and lets them wander around on a surface to create artworks (have you seen this video of maggots making art?) . . . Now, I’m not making a statement pro or con about that particular process, but I AM telling you–if he can have a successful time selling artwork in that unique method, you can probably find your own way too.

Here are the Caldecott Honor Books for 2016:


As you may or may not know, my regular schedule is a weekly post every Monday. I’m also sharing bonus content related to creativity in this series called “Collecting Creativity.” If you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, you may want to do so by clicking the link in the sidebar!

Love & Friendship

Today, I saw a refreshingly clever film called Love & Friendship, based on the novella Lady Susan, written by the acclaimed (and often-film-interpolated) Jane Austen. I draw your attention here so that you’ll consider seeing it. Since this blog is primarily about creativity, I had to tell you that this is one of the most creative films I’ve seen in quite some time.

I went into the film knowing very little about it, wanting to be surprised by what would unfold . . .  and I was, mostly pleasantly, as this was no ordinary plodding period piece. Clever cinematic choices and spot-on acting married perfectly with Austen’s sharp wit.

If you get a chance to view it, do . . . and then tell me what you thought!

(Some of my friends and co-workers could attest to how rare it is for me to recommend a movie, so that may add to the endorsement here. 😉 )

If you’d like to read more about the film (with perhaps some spoilers), here’s a thorough, raving review from the Telegraph.


And just for fun . . . this cute little travel journal features a quote from Austen’s Northanger Abbey and is available for purchase from Bookishly.