Creativity to make you happy

Zabby Allen Instagram Best 9 2016

In the past I was always hesitant to set a resolution for the year ahead, for fear of setting myself unrealistic goals and not sticking to them, like I'd watched people do so many times. Last year though, I started a new tradition of spending some time at the end of the year to sit and go through all of the things that happened to me in the past year and make a note of all the best bits. Since becoming freelance and now being in the early stages of setting up my own little creative business I think it's also really important to set some goals too.

This year I decided to edit my new tradition a bit, after I saw an instagram post by Emily Coxhead in which she wrote a short summary of her year in the form of a poem. I was inspired to have a go myself and actually found the process really cathartic. I found myself re-reading my poem several times on New Year's Eve and smiling to myself about what a fantastic year I've had. Of course there were low points too, I wouldn't be human if there weren't, and sometimes I found myself feeling a bit guilty for having such a good year when so many people seemed to be having a terrible time, but ultimately I think it's important to focus on the good bits and celebrate them, so that's what I've done.

Zabby Allen Poem 2016

So what were my goals for 2016 and did I manage to achieve any of them?

  • Improve on this blog: Well, sort of. I planned to post less frequently but with more of an emphasis on quality, which I think I stuck to. In 2017 I'd like to use this blog as more of a visual scrapbook, recording inspirations and writing articles on subjects I find insteresting. I have a few ideas up my sleeve, I just need to find the time to write them! One thing I'm really proud of this year is my Crafty Critters series, in which I interview creatives who share photos of their work and their pets on intagram. I've had such a blast chatting to so many lovely creative people for the series so far and I'm really excited to continue it.
  • Schedule my time better and give myself proper days off: I could still work on my scheduling a bit. Since I'm freelance and I generally work for at least 3 companies a week, as well as trying to fit in my own work on the side this is always a bit of a tricky one. However, in 2017 I am aiming to try and stick to more of a routine, working for the same company on the same day each week and trying to get up at the same time each day. This year I started running in the mornings again, which is good motivation to get out of the house first thing and get on with my day. I work from home so having that fresh air first thing does me good (although I'm not always that keen on the thought of going out in the cold).
  • See my family more: This one is tricky and I think I'm going to rollover this goal to 2017 as I think it's really important... I only managed to go up to Scotland to see my Mum once, but one of my highlights of this year was her coming back down to London to see me. Previously she'd only been back down South since moving to Scotland once for my graduation so it was such a treat to have her here, show her my new house and the changes to our home town and treat London like tourists. She even treated me to a night in a hotel! My Dad lives in Somerset so that's the opposite end of the country, but I've made it down there a few times and was also really pleased to be able to visit my Aunty in her new home in Cumbria twice!
  • Make Girl Planet something really special: I am SO proud of what we've achieved with Girl Planet this year. When Leona of Lucky Dip Club asked me if I'd like to edit this little publication in her monthly boxes I was over the moon. It's been so inspiring for me to be able to talk to so many wonderfully talented and creative women around the globe and it's also done my design skills a world of good. - Read more: I did a fair bit of reading this year, but still not as much as I would have liked. Again, it's finding the time to stop and unwind on my own that I find difficult. I'm still strugling my way through reading Game of Thrones which I started in October, wish me luck!
  • Stop being a scaredy cat and sell something: I'm so pleased to be able to cross this one off. I sold out of my first proper product - a glittery blobfish pin which was a bit of a mad idea and I even raised some money for charity in the process. I've since launched a few other products, including two more pins.
  • Walk more: Room for improvement here too! I got KP an ordnance survey map and a Wild London booklet from Herb Lester for Christmas though, so we're off for a New Year's Day walk shortly! Having George (our dog we share with Kurtis' Mum) around so much this year has been such a treat though and I've loved being able to walk him in local parks I used to take my childhood dog Reethi to when I was growing up.
  • Move: This was probably my biggest goal of 2016 and I'm so happy we achieved it. Since living in London is insanely expensive, the most viable way for us to achieve this was to move with two of our close friends, Sam and Remi and I'm so glad we did it. We found a fantastic house with a garden for George and a whole room for my studio in an area I love. The thought of moving my huge hoard of belongings again in 2017 fills me with dread, so I'm hoping we can stay here a little longer!


  • Give mysef time to draw and develop more products: Now that I've got over the first hurdle and successfully sold a few things, I'd like to work on a more developed product range and release some new products. I need to start by using my time off wisely - going out and seeing things, taking walks, going to museums, drawing for fun. It's so easy to get stuck in a rut of scrolling through social media and not taking some time to be by yourself. I have a few product ideas I'd like to develop so I'm planning on focusing some time on this in 2017.
  • Improve this website and blog: By the end of the year I'd like to have a fully integrated shop on this website (hopefully with the help of my web dev brother Thom). Etsy has been great so far, but I think it's good to be selling on a few different platforms and not rely too heavily on someone else's product. As I mentioned previously, I want to use this blog in a more organic way, documenting things that inspire me, a digital scrapbook.
  • See my family more and explore more of the UK: As you will know if you read my reflections on 2016, my family are now spread out across the country! The bad thing about this is that I don't get to see them as often as I'd like, but the good thing is that it gives me an opportunity to explore new areas of the UK when I do see them. I also need to make a start on that book I've been planning with my Grandmother, Tobygran who turns 88 today and is probably the most inspiring and interesting person I know!
  • Make use of my bookbinding skills and perhaps develop some workshop ideas: I did Book arts at uni and my favourite part was always the process of binding a book. The only time I ever really use those skills now is to make presents for friends or family and I'd like to be a bit more creative with that in 2017. I always facied running a workshop, so depending on how my practice goes, this is something I'd like to explore!
  • Read more, go to more exhibitions, go to the cinema!: Find the time to do the things I love and use my time off wisely. Be inspired, get outside!

Phew! I'm feeling pretty excited for the year ahead now. I'm really excited to be starting the year off with a trip to Poland with Kim, Vicky and Hannah at the end of January. I'd love to hear your resolutions too so send me a link on instagram or twitter.

Happy New Year!

Tagged: Small Business Posts