Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Year, New Blog - Here's the plan!

Hello! And a Happy New Year to you!

Isn't it exciting taking the wrapping off a brand spanking new year? It's like a big blank canvas for us colour in with life! Perhaps placing the canvas of 2010 proudly in a prominent place, or if 2010 wasn't the best year, sticking it under the bed, or throwing it out with the left over turkey and brussel sprouts.

Anyway, welcome to my new blog! It's kind of a replacement for my tumblr blog I've experimented with this year. Though I'll still keep tumblr ticking over due to it's usefulness at auto posting RSS feeds to twitter/facebook etc, I won't be hanging out there much. I'll be here instead!

So, this blog is more of a 'life' blog. A more casual place that I've been seeking to write about this, that and whatever. It'll be more personal rather than professional, though there will no doubt be a crossover at times.

Hello 2011!

I can't tell you how overly excited I have been about meeting and greeting this new year. I've realised I get more excited about the prospect of a new year compared to Christmas, despite the festivities, present giving/receiving, films and frolics of the season. New Year's Eve doesn't have the same build up or hype as Christmas. The shops don't start displaying New Year presents or food in October, and if you search around you might just find a Happy New Year card amongst the Christmas cards. New Year's Eve is over so quickly!

Really it's just a second of time as we say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new. But I relish that second. I treasure it. I try and stretch it out to more than one second and savour it. That's one of the reason I love to stay in on my own on new years eve, so I have the (mind) space to enjoy it, to reflect on the old year and make plans for the next. That's just what I did last night. It was perfect.

I spent the hours before the change of year plotting out my plans for 2011. These are made up of ideas I've been mulling over for a while, so there aren't really any spontaneous decisions in there, not that there shouldn't be!

I should really acknowledge 2010. It was pretty bliddy good.

Well, it did get off to a not so good start with my Dad passing away in Jan, which I blogged about here if you fancy a depressing read. I will write more about that subject sometime as it will be a year since he passed away in the next few weeks. It was awful and traumatic and I wish he was still here, yet it has also brought a change in me in that I am even more determined than ever to squeeze every drop out of life and make the very most of it.

Highlights of 2010 include the 4am Project going from strength to strength and securing funding from 4ip & Screen West Midlands, giving my first lecture at Birmingham City University about the 4am Project and social media, taking part in my first debate (also at Bham City Uni) on the subject of photographer v terrorist, spending a month in New York city, and in December securing a role at Talk About Local! And between all that I have dipped my toe into a consultancy role with regards to social media and was also offered a place as a consultant for a very big project (which I had to decline due to timing), been interviewed about what I do and how I do it, photographed my first wedding, and I'm sure there's more that is escaping my mind at the moment. Anyway, it's all been good.

So what does 2011 hold in store? Um. A lot! I don't know if I've been a tad ambitious with my plans, we shall see what I can fit in! And as I like to say, and really believe, if you write things down, you get things done! Here we go...


For the next 5 months I'll be working 4 days a week with Talk About Local. I'm still over the moon to be working there and the team is really great (and I'm not just saying that because they might read this! :D) I'm looking forward to getting stuck in more to the hyper local world and contribute to it as well as add to my knowledge. I was in New York when I saw the position pop up on twitter and set my heart on it.

Photography: I am keeping this running albeit on a downsized scale. It is a passion and one that I don't want to drop. I've been thinking about wedding photography for the last couple of years and dipped my toe in the water last year. Having tested the water, and enjoyed it, I want to roll out wedding photography this year. It will also fit in very nicely with my Talk About Local work as most weddings occur at the weekends! Perfect. So, now is a good a time as any to make this announcement. I'm working out the finer details at the moment, but whilst I get established as a wedding photographer I will be offering a super duper priced package, of which there may be a limited number. So if you, or anyone you know are beginning to think about your wedding photographer for this year, give me a shout and let's talk!

Consultancy: People seem to like what I do and want to know how to do it, and I have been getting more requests this year for help. This is an area I would like to develop. Tell me what you need and I'll tell you if I can help you.

I'm thinking about setting aside a day every month or every two months for free consultancy. I've had help in the past and I'd like to be able to 'pay it forward' so to speak. However, this would be for individuals rather than big businesses. As a one woman enterprise I know how hard it can be to get things off the ground and up and running when you are doing everything on your own. If you have an interesting project or idea then let me know and we'll see what we can make happen.

So, that just about sums up work. The priority will have to be paid work. Time will be of the essence this year and I simply won't have the free time as I have done. That might sound obvious to some but as a 'free'lancer there's a lot of requests to do work for free (and I've stopped using the word freelancer now). My priority is practical, we all need to keep the roof over our head. There's only me bringing in the bacon in this household. I quite like the idea of skills swapping, but that has to be mutually beneficial and both parties have to have something the other person wants. When I didn't have the cash when I was starting up I paid for one of my websites in gifts that valued about £400 as I had lots of amazon vouchers saved up. That worked out well.

Which leads me to the next goal...


There just isn't enough of this is there?! I don't think I know anyone with too much time on their hands. I feel lucky in that there is only me I have to think about, no partner/husband/kids but even then I could do with a 10 day week and it still probably wouldn't be enough.

I think I'm a pretty good time manager and this year I want to perfect it. I'm quite literally aware of every hour that passes that I could be putting to good use. I hate wasting time, and can even get quite resentful of sleep sometimes lol.

So, I'm setting myself a time table this year. This might sound really regimented and maybe it is, but if I want to fill this year with all my plans, or at least have a good attempt at it, I need to be disciplined and organised.

Social Life

Hmm, I've not been brilliant at this in 2010. I've had my nose to the grindstone. Though that's the thing, when you are doing things you love and that interests you the time goes by so quickly and it doesn't feel like it's work - it's fun! So this fun stuff has kept me from having fun with friends. I just need to tweak the balance a bit here. I never get bored of my own company or get lonely but I know it's healthy to be social too! And I never regret going out or seeing my friends so that will be scheduled into my diary.

Decision making

I don't dither too much in making decisions, and I can't think of a bad one I've made this year. Nothing really stands out. So, I'm going to go with my instinct more (it's there for a reason!) and become a more efficient decision maker. This will include not being hesitant in saying no, and only saying yes to things that are of real interest to me.

Self Development

For some reason I've got a hankering to know more about websites and how they are designed and built. What goes on behind the scenes to make a website work. How do the websites work with the hosts? How's it all connected? Can you host websites yourself and not via a website company? I can do bold and italics and embed a bit of html - whoop! But I would like to know more. So this will be a 'spare time' activity and I'll probably start playing around with it around the summer time. It's not a priority but something I'd like to do. I've had some offers of help with this (thank you!) and a skills swap offer too, so that'll be brilliant.


So including the improving my social life bit, I need some more 'play' time. I'm thinking holidays and short breaks here. I want to spend a long weekend with my best friend around Easter time. I also want to spend a long weekend with my cousin, aunt and uncle in the spring. I'll be liaising with BMI Baby about possible press trips and destinations. And my absolute can't miss trip will be New York again.

Going to New York for a month was one of the best and worse things I've done. I can't describe my love for that city. I pine for it. I had the best time there, felt so at home, loved the attitude and energy. It was very liberating, and I simply must go back there. I can't not. Everything I will do this year will, in some way, contribute to me returning to the city that has stolen my heart (damn you New York!).

Must buy

There's only one thing that I can think of that I really want to buy this year, which will also help towards work, and that is an iPad.


With a full on year ahead I need full health. I eat well enough and (usually) get enough sleep, but I could do more.

I went for a tentative few runs in December which I enjoyed, and then the snow came and I lost the urge. But I need to move more. I'm actually going to try hula hooping class soon (don't laugh!) so maybe I'll get that bug. But in some ways it's not the will that is lacking but the time, and exercise gets pushed to the bottom of the list. So that's going to be scheduled in somehow!

I've managed to lose about 30lbs since last August. This was motivated by my upcoming trip to NYC as I wanted to be in good health to enjoy the experience and all the walking around I knew I would be doing. I still have more weight to lose, so I want to continue with this. I do feel better for it and can feel the benefits. I initially set myself a goal of 40lbs but I am already looking beyond that. Keep up the good work Karen! ;)

I seem to have developed some food intolerance's to wheat/gluten/dairy. I still haven't figured this out and will no doubt blog the progress here. I've always been able to eat what ever I have wanted, now it seems I can't. I have been to the doctors and I'm not too happy about their suggestion of just eating what I think makes me ill. So it's going to be a long, tentative process as if I am to eat what makes me ill, I need to have the time set aside to actually be ill as the 'attacks' are quite severe and make me good for nothing.

Sundays will be 'me' day! Yep, I'm going to schedule a day just to chill out and relax and not make any plans. I might be a little flexible with this depending on the alternatives on offer and I may find that every other Sunday is enough to recharge my batteries. 'Me' day will pretty much consist of simply relaxing, catching up on films/tv, painting my nails and putting my feet up with a glass or two of wine!

'Life' blogging. I've got my professional websites and I've been wanting a space just for everything else and this is it. As I mentioned, I've tinkled about with tumblr, but it hasn't met all my needs, so here I am. I'll update this as sporadically or regularly as I feel like, but I am happy I have a place for 'everything else'.

And I think that's all!

Whew! So basically work hard, work smart, get a social balance, work on health and continue self developement and get back to New York.

Who knows what 2011 will bring! There might be things that throw me off course, I might change my mind about a certain area. Or think of more things!

And now is a great time to say THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me, given me advice, believed in me (especially my mum!), and commissioned me for their work. Thank you for making 2010 a great year.

I'd love to hear what you have planned for this year! Have you blogged about it? Do you bother with New Year resolutions or goals?

Drop a comment, or tweet me!

Wishing you all a wonderful 2011 xxx


Unknown said...

I love your enthusiasm for life. Its made me think about what I need to focus on in 2011. Look forward to reading your blog and be inspired.

Ged Hughes

Karen Strunks said...

Thanks Ged! I'm going into 2011 with all guns blazing. Get yours fired up too! Let me know how you get on :)

Unknown said...

Hooray, Karen! I am psyched to see your new increased presence in the blogosphere ... have to admit I was only able to skim this as I have to get out the door to church, but I foresee great things for you ahead and appreciate you sharing all of this with us!! I haven't blogged about my resolutions yet--been focusing on saying goodbye to 2010. Here's one of my "goodbye 2010" posts:

Happy New Year!!

Karen Strunks said...

Hi Paula! Thanks for dropping by! Nice to see you. I think it's important to acknowledge and say goodbye to the past year as well. I'm off to read your post now :) x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...