Has it Been a Year Already?

ALERT: Win a free book on creativity! Details below.

I launched The Artist’s Road a year ago. I didn’t know what my intentions were with it, not on a conscious level. So I welcomed readers with this:

You’ve stumbled across a project of self-indulgence. This blog will chronicle my renewed path, an artist’s road toward an art-committed life.

As it turns out that’s been a pretty good prediction on my part. All I knew when I launched it was that if I were truly to commit to living an art-committed life, by proclaiming that to the digital world I’d be more likely to hold myself to it. I’ve spent much of my adult life allowing my creative self to stagnate. It’s easy to do, because being true to your creative self requires a lot of work and sacrifice.

For any readers who have been curious, the banner photo for this blog comes from this picture, which I took during my cross-country US road trip while driving I-80 from Cheyenne, Wyoming, to Rock Springs. Yes, it's not wise to operate a camera and a motorized vehicle simultaneously, but as you can see, it's not like there was a lot of traffic.

Over the last year I’ve stepped down from my CEO post with a D.C. nonprofit, launched a freelance writing business, begun taking my first-ever creative writing courses, and started an MFA in Writing. And I’ve thanked my wife and children (repeatedly) for indulging me in this reinvention.

I’ve written about the amazing creatives I interviewed on a cross-country U.S. road trip last year, and passed along inspiration and tips they shared with me. I’ve passed on wisdom I’ve learned in my MFA studies. And in an effort rich with irony, I’ve shared with readers my difficulty I have with sharing information about myself.

I write each post hoping my readers will have some sort of takeaway–a creative tip, a word of encouragement, a sense of community. But writing this blog has given me all of those things. I am so grateful for the fantastic individuals I’m now connected to as a result of this blog, and its companion, Twitter.

Ultimately, the path I follow in my art-committed life is mine alone. But it is so much easier to follow with the support and encouragement of family, friends and peers.

Now to the good stuff! One lucky commenter below (drawn randomly) will win a copy of a great book on creativity. The winner can choose one of these three: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, or Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation by R. Keith Sawyer. Please post your comments by the end of the day on Tuesday, October 25th. Good luck!

59 thoughts on “Has it Been a Year Already?

  1. Patrick, Happy Anniversary!

    I can still remember when I found your blog because I was so excited to hear you were planning to write a book about your road trip interviewing creative people in 35 states. 🙂

    You’ve certainly made good on your promise to recommit yourself to the creative life – some pretty big moves in that direction, as well as the act of blogging about it, which helps the rest of us.

    Thanks for the contest. I’ve already picked out the book I would choose if I win – it’s one I’ve been curious about for a while.

    Cheers & Champagne ~ Milli


  2. Really, a year already!? Time does fly. I am so happy you took this plunge into blogging and more importantly to join Twitter.

    If it wasn’t for that leap of faith, I am sure we would have never met online and then in person.

    Again, I am grateful for that connection and also your voice in this wild thing we call creativity 🙂

    See you this weekend!


  3. Wow, Patrick, you’ve had quite a year! Congratulations on your blog anniversary and on the creative path you have chosen. I, too, am grateful for the connections that have come about as a result of the work you’ve done here.


  4. Patrick,

    You have shown more about yourself than you think, and even that little bit tells of your bravery and new openness. Lots of us are weirded out by letting people see the “real me.” Maybe Mr. Bacon can help you!

    Keep up the good work!



    1. Hi Andrea, Mr. Bacon is a great help. His fearlessness about sharing himself (beyond that, he thrives on sharing) works wonders to prod me. Thank you for pointing out that many of us are “weirded out” by it!


  5. Happy one year anniversary! It’s nice to get to know a little more about you, and I’m very happy to learn the story behind the banner photo (I’ve been *very* curious, really!). I’ve greatly enjoyed reading your posts, and I hope to win one of the great creativity books! Julia


  6. Happy anniversary!

    It has been a real joy connecting with you here, on my blog, and on
    Twitter. I love walking this creative journey with good company and yours is very god company.

    Here’s to all the creative things that will be part of your journey for the next year.




  7. Congrats on your 1-year blog birthday, Patrick!! You were there to support me on mine, now I’m here to support you on yours. 🙂 I think what you did (stepping down from your non-profit CEO position) is very brave, especially in this economy. I hope to someday be able to do the same type of thing, with my creative writing (I’m not a CEO, but still …). How are you liking the MFA program?



    1. Hi Shari, I recall your anniversary well, and it was an inspiration to me to keep going. The MFA program has been sublime in that I can see so clearly how my writing is growing, yet painful in how demanding the workload is. Like anyone, my creativity ebbs and flows. At the start of this semester I was bursting with inspiration, and now I’m drawing blood from a stone, but the deadlines don’t ask me where I’m at creatively. All told, however, I love it.


  8. I love a good blogiversary, as Robin calls it. Congratulations! I’d like to commend you on how well you’ve lived up to the term “committed.” You are such a reliable source of great insights and links. I have really enjoyed getting to know you and always look forward to your posts.


    1. “Blogiversary” is a great word, and I’m not one to welcome slang additions to our language (my children know not to say “ginormous” anywhere within my earshot). You’ve been there almost since the beginning of this blog, Sue, and your support means a great deal.


  9. Happy Anniversary to The Artist’s Road and you, Patrick! Congratulations on how much you’ve accomplished in such a short amount of time. I’m continually enriched and encouraged by your work, grateful for getting to know you as well as connecting with other fellow readers/creatives of your blog – here and on Twitter. Thank you for sharing so generously of yourself and your creative journey. You da man! 🙂


  10. Congrats Patrick!
    Thanks for taking us along on a year of brave and interesting adventures in writing, in finding great resources and in making art.

    At the library, I just found Twyla Tharp’s “The Creative Habit.” Now I think I’ll have to buy it (and copies for fellow writers). Also I keep “Writing The Break Out Novel Workbook” by Donald Maass next to my keyboard as I draft my 2nd and 3rd novel.

    You do give me, your reader, a gift in each post.

    Out of curiosity, where do you keep your writing resource books? And do you have a system for finding them? Mine are busy outgrowing their bookcase.


    1. Thanks for the support!

      What funny timing the universe has. I was just talking with my wife about a bookcase we’re going to add next to the one next to the desk. On that small bookcase now I have about a dozen books on grammar and style, about an equal amount on creativity, books I’m reading for my MFA, a few creative non-fiction anthologies, and bins of writing magazines. Many other books that inspire me are right now in stacks in a nearby storage room, and I fear sometimes I’m not motivated to go through them. They’re not always as much on point, but I’m inspired by good literature, inspiring CNF biographies, collections of maps, and books on modern culture and society. I’d like to have a mix of a few of my favorites on that new shelf.

      Oh, and I have a number of titles like that on my Kindle, but I find when I don’t see the bindings I forget I have them. There are many advantages to e-readers, but that is a disadvantage for me.


  11. Patrick ~ I continue to be inspired (and nudged) on my own creative path seeing you courageously paving the way. Thanks once again for sharing your journey. AND congratulations on your continuing reinvention!


  12. Congrats on your blog anniversary, Patrick…and more importantly, on your decision to reinvent your life! That takes courage, and an understanding family.
    I know it’s probably an illusion, but…it looks like you are driving on the wrong side of the road in that photo! =)


    1. Thanks, Cynthia. I am driving on the left, but that stretch of I-80 has the eastbound lanes on a separate strip of pavement, downhill to the left. There were so few cars both in Wyoming, however, I feel like I could have driven westbound on the eastbound stretch.


  13. Congrats on a year, Patrick! I discovered you later in your one-year journey, but i’m so glad I did. I find your change in career and your dedication to creativity and process very inspiring. My one-year is coming up in a few weeks. Still trying to think about how I want to celebrate on the blog.


  14. Linda

    I can’t believe it’s been a year, either. I just found your blog and am reminded of my own cross-country road trip last September. I stopped in 10 cities to listen to stories from people who are making a difference in their communities. It was a heart-filled journey and a life changing one as well. My greatest regret at this time, while enjoying your stories, is that I only immersed myself in the experience and didn’t write about it enough.


  15. Wow, Patrick! What an amazing year. It’s always inspiring to me to read about people who left a certain career path in pursuit of a more creative one. You’ve accomplished so much in such a short period of time, and I can’t wait to see what you do next!


    1. Thank you, Natalia! That’s very encouraging to hear. Writing this post was helpful for me in giving myself a bit of perspective on what’s happened this year, rather than being focused on the immediate — a freelance deadline, etc. So glad we’re connected now.


  16. Happy Blogiversary, Patrick! You’ve had a stunning year and look at how many people you’ve touched! I’m so glad we’ve connected online and then in person at Vermont. You know how I feel about VCFA – a wonderful community of writers. Like family.

    I can’t wait to see where the next year takes you considering how much you’ve already accomplished in year one!


    1. Hi Sion! Your comment means so much to me. You are like family now, the VCFA connection a part of it but our overlapping creative paths perhaps more so. I too await with anticipation what you’ll do in the coming year!

      BTW, I’m working on a 20-page personal essay for the next VCFA residency. This might be cheating, but I’m using the spine that Baldwin uses in his “Native Son” essay — his placement of recollection, scene, cultural observation, etc — for my own essay. The topic is different, of course, being a “personal” essay, but his structure was so incredibly masterful, I have shamefully “borrowed” it! 🙂


      1. Oh, Patrick, that’s wonderful! I’m so glad you were inspired by Baldwin. He is my literary hero as you know; “borrowing” his masterful ways sounds like a brilliant idea to me!

        I’m actually looking to dive into another project soon and wanting to “borrow” the structure of a great work, too. You know, help me with at least *some* of the work!

        Good luck with the essay. Looking forward to seeing much more of your work in the future!


  17. Patrick, your choice of living an art-committed life was truly courageous.

    Thank you for sharing your adventures; for emotionally moving us, entertaining us, and causing us to consider; and, thank you for revealing your spirit to us—one post at a time. From where I’m sitting, it’s evident that your wish to contribute to the creative community through storytelling is being fulfilled on a daily basis. (Plus, just look at all your admirers and supporters 🙂

    Skills and bravery worthy of praise, I say.

    Happy Birthday, Patrick/Artist’s Road!
    Vive la réinvention!



    1. Hi Terre,

      Thank you so much for this. I really am glad we’ve connected through Twitter, and I don’t think anyone has been better at promoting the creative writing pieces I’ve had published this year. Thank you!

      With readers like you and the other commenters above, it is a bit easier to share through storytelling.


  18. Pingback: Dare to be Boring « The Artist's Road

  19. Asp

    Hey Patrick, it’s Casey. Really glad to see that you’re pursuing your own creative path. Now that I’ve found you here, I look forward to witnessing how your journey unfolds….


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