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When the path is clear to me, the project gets done

I’ve been musing about several projects… Why is one at completion, another a bit of stop and go, and a third feeling both exciting and daunting?

What’s your style of working?

Do you live the adage, “How you do one thing is how you do everything?”

Is your style of work the same across the variables of

  • size of project
  • timeline
  • complexity
  • need for research
  • collaboration
  • perhaps, final approval? 

While I can make generalizations about how I work, I chafe at the literal meaning of the saying.

As I complete a project today that I started in September, I am making time to reflect… as it’s my intention to teach folks how to do what I have done. I want to be able to support them through the peaks and valleys of the process and so I am taking a magnifying glass to my journey. I think it’s also helpful to me to stand back and look at how I do what I do—there are lessons in it for me. 

When I realized how many photos I had taken of the process (who doesn’t love a photo essay?) I decided to quickly make an annotated visual timeline —such fun taking this walk down memory lane!

How do you review and reflect on your projects—appreciating and celebrating what worked well and learning for the future about what might be done differently?

Honestly, I don’t always take enough time for such reflection… Note to self, build in the time!

For my other projects, I’ve discovered…

My fifty stories/sketches about experiences with patients… I have 50+ more about my reflections

The one-page visual I am creating around how chaplains work in a hospital grew out of a need I saw in (you guessed it) my chaplaincy work… In my effort to address the need, I decided to create a useful resource for patients in hospitals (and their family members). As it turns out, this is just a bit complicated to achieve in a visual storytelling style, on one page—there’s a lot I want to say! So this project is a bit of “stop and go” as I navigate my thoughts about how to share information in a fun, accessible, visually appealing style. As time marches on, (and I do love a deadline), it will be done in just over a week so that I can put it aside, review it again in 10 days or so, make any minor revisions needed, and enjoy sharing it at the Graphic Medicine conference.

Here for Good, my graphic memoir project feels a bit like reaching through the fog at times. since I started the actual work of writing and drawing. I have never told a story this big or this long nor am I very familiar with the genre. I have lots to learn and do and sometimes I am uncertain as to my path:

  • What do I do first?
  • Which tasks can be done simultaneously? 
  • Which books will support my process? 
  • How might a mentoring group work for me? *SAW—Sequential Artists Workshop
  • Shall I seek an accountability buddy?

As you muse about my stories, what have you realized about your way of working and playing with projects?

I’d love to hear how your style or styles of work both enhance your experiences and also get in the way—there’s always something to be learned! 

286 hours…A Time of Transition 

I am about to complete, a long, intense, and deeply satisfying internship. Now is the time of transition for me. The change—from being in the hospital seeing patients and in-class wrestling with thoughts, feelings, and questions—will end next week though I have been on the emotional roller-coaster of the ending for a week or so—that’s transition.*

I sat with my preceptor on Wednesday and said, “I am still here and I already miss being here.”

Do you ever have those feelings? You’re still in the experience and yet mourning its end?

And then in class last night, I also welcomed the change of pace that will occur as soon as I am done, as it’s been just about 35 hours a week of placement, classes, readings, and papers—in addition to my everyday work that I also love, and making time for family, friends, and self-care.

The true dichotomy of wanting to continue the experience and also the sense of peace (and relief) that settles in when a “chapter” is complete… 

Have you had experiences and feelings that are similar?

What is it about certain experiences that makes them qualitatively different?

Happily, in my class, I was assigned the last slot of the semester for the delivery of my presentation/“Didactic & Dialogue.” I took the opportunity to tell the story of my lived experience over the months in pictures and words…what I learned about myself, people as individuals and in relationships, life, death, pain, suffering, happiness, connection, power, self-care, silence, the systems within which I was working (hospital, department, university, and class/group), and more. It felt big. It was big.

While I do a lot of reflecting on my learning and life through drawing my thoughts, wonderings, opinions, and plans, I don’t often do so religiously. Over the course of 16 weeks, I filled a notebook and then culled over 100 ideas that I want to explore more deeply. I’ve started creating diary comics to further process and then share my musings…  I think I will discover even more through this process and perhaps it will become a graphic memoir. 

This finite timeframe certainly made it easier for me to capture the dynamic and multi-faceted nature of this great adventure though I am taking with me a newfound love of creating containers around experiences and finding simple ways to memorialize them.

I’d love to hear the ways in which you choose to capture aspects of your life and how you carve out time and space to reflect upon your journaling, drawing, artwork, or… I hope to hear from you!

 

*My favorite resource on this topic is Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges.