See Ya Later, 2016!

How Was Your 2016?

I’ve heard a lot of people express that they’re really ready for this year to be over, hoping that 2017 will bring some better news. Others have had an amazing 2016, full of memorable life events and fabulous experiences.

Wherever you fall on that spectrum, here’s something for you:

I’ve put together this free, printable “worksheet” you can use for a simple chance to stop and reflect on some positives and some areas of opportunity from the year. It’s a grid of 16 themes from 2016. In each block, write down the first thing that comes to mind. My intention if for you to be able to complete it in as few as 16 minutes. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be!

I know this is a bit of a personal thing, but I’ve listed #dearyear16 in case you’d like to post your reflections on social media. I’d be interested to see your thoughts!

If this worksheet isn’t for you, maybe you can do something similar in your own way.

If you need more space, feel free to break out and write more in a notebook or journal.

If any of these topics feel particularly important to you, make the time to consider them further or set some goals for the future.


The image above is a small image file for reference. You can download a higher-quality PDF to print at this link: See Ya Later, 2016!

christmaschallenge-fIn other news, my Christmas Challenge is well underway, running now until Christmas Day, and I’ve been so blown away by the creativity of the few people I’ve seen participating. If you’re interested in checking it out, remember you can search the hashtag #12creativedays on Facebook or Instagram . . . and it’s not too late to jump in and create some things for the challenge. No pressure to hit all 12 days – just do what you can!


This will be my last regular Monday blog post for 2016, so I’ll leave you with my best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and joy in the New Year! I hope your 2016 has been great, and I’m looking forward to sharing even more creativity with you in 2017!

❤ Nicole

Would you like to click “Follow” to be notified each time I post? I promise you’ll never be bombarded with spammy e-mails. My regular schedule is a weekly post [usually] every Monday & sometimes I add a mid-week “Collecting Creativity” post about other creative topics.

How & Why I Do a Monthly Recap

I love the benefits of doing what I call a Monthly Recap where I set aside 15-30 minutes at the end of every month to write about how things have gone that month in several areas.

But Why?

It’s a very simple practice but one that I’ve seen make a big difference for me.

Gratitude for the Good: Taking time to pause & reflect has helped me to celebrate some of the good things that have happened throughout the month (which can otherwise sometimes get lost in the shuffle of the busy everyday).

Awareness of the Ugly: The Recap also challenges me to be honest with myself about ways that I can continue to improve and grow. I’m less inclined to just sweep things aside and trudge ahead blindly into a new month that’s set up to repeat poor patterns.

To be clear, what I’m sharing here is only my personal method and thoughts. I’m sure that I’m not the first person on the planet to ever do this type of exercise, so if this format doesn’t seem right for you, feel free to research further for other options or to improvise your own method.

Here’s The Basic How:

  • At the end of the month, grab your journal or any paper and pen, or if you prefer, open up a document on your computer or tablet. I prefer to keep this in my Bullet Journal. I like writing it out by hand and having it in the same place as my other monthly journaling.
  • Write down headers for important areas of your life, leaving some space between each one, enough to write a short paragraph. Here’s my most recent set, which you’re welcome to share, or you can choose what seems applicable to you: Spiritual Life, Family, Friends, Work, Health, Side Projects, Summary.
  • Write a short paragraph under each header, noting ways you’ve been successful or not so successful in each area throughout the month, lessons you’ve learned, or things you want to try differently next month. I usually keep each paragraph to 3-5 sentences, which forces me to be direct and not ramble and also keeps the process short enough to not be terribly tedious. If I find that one particular topic is a lot more dense in a given month, I may take an extra journal page afterward to write some more thoughts on that topic.

That just about wraps up this quick note about doing a Monthly Recap. Is this something you do? Something you’d like to try? How was your October? I’d love to hear about any of these things, or anything else on your mind, in a comment below.

Happy Recapping & Happy November!
❤ Nicole

Would you like to click “Follow” to be notified each time I post? I promise you’ll never be bombarded with spammy e-mails. My regular schedule is a weekly post every Monday & sometimes I add a mid-week “Collecting Creativity” post about other creative topics.

Today’s Featured Image is used under Creative Commons Attribution License from Walt Stoneburner

2 Creativity Topics, Semi-Related

After sharing some thoughts about Autumn last week, I heard several “Favorite Parts of Fall” stories from you — how fun! If you have more, I’d love to hear.

Tonight, I’m writing this blog post between trying to get some other things done, so you’re getting just 2 quick blurbs on semi-related topics . . .

1. Random Musings About My To-Do List:

(This is the introspective part of this post, so feel free skip to #2 if you’d like something more academic.)

When the days grow dark early and the nights get frosty, I find myself increasingly tuned in to things I want to accomplish. The energy of the cool fall months steadies my thinking, propelling me forward toward the end of the year. I can hardly believe we’re nearing the end of October — Halloween is only a few days away!

Here’s a quick peek at the creative projects I’d like to complete before the end of 2016:

  1. The Pirates’ Pizza Party – A collective children’s book project that I’m working on with some co-workers & friends.
  2. #1000amazingwomen – This is a personal illustration project I started earlier this year but lost track of over the summer.
  3. Completing the Logo Re-Design for EBFC – We’re a couple of rounds into the design for this logo & I’m not sure what’s next.
  4. Illustration/Design for “The Christmas Game” – I’m just getting started with the development of these designs and am excited to see where it will go. I’m hoping to make fast progress so that a version of it can be available for Christmas.

This list doesn’t include about a hundred other things related to (in no particular order) the holidays, my house, family, friendships, travel, church, volunteer work, personal development, etc.

So time isn’t necessarily on my side, but I feel the pressure driving rather than discouraging me. At least for today.

2. An interesting study I came across this week:

Plos One published a paper called “Modelling Creativity” in which 90 creativity-themed academic works from over 60 years were assessed for recurring themes, yielding a list of 14 factors contributing to the creative process.

The study is complex, so I wouldn’t expect that you’d want to read it all, but check it out if you’d like, take a look at this list, and let me know what you think. I’d like to dig into this a little deeper.

This paper describes a unique approach to developing a suitable model of how creative behaviour emerges that is based on the words people use to describe the concept.

14 Factors in the Creative Process (not all required, not necessarily flowing in sequence):

  1. Active involvement and persistence
  2. Dealing with uncertainty
  3. Domain competence
  4. General intellect
  5. Generating results
  6. Independence and freedom
  7. Innovation and emotional involvement
  8. Originality
  9. Progression and development
  10. Social interaction and communication
  11. Spontaneity and subconscious process
  12. Thinking and evaluation
  13. Value
  14. Variety, divergence, and experimentation

And now it’s time for some assorted questions of the week . . .

Does autumn spur you to productivity or tempt you to hibernate. Do you have a challenging to-do list? Any creative problems you’d like to discuss? What do you think is the most important factor in your creative process? What’s your favorite color of autumn tree? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts in a comment.

Wishing you a productive and creative week,
❤ Nicole

Would you like to click “Follow” to be notified each time I post? I promise you’ll never be bombarded with spammy e-mails. My regular schedule is a weekly post every Monday & sometimes I add a mid-week “Collecting Creativity” post about other creative topics.