I've spent some serious thinking time over the past few months planning for 2016. As we start the new year, I'm a big believer in themes, not resolutions. Resolutions are absolute. Themes are flexible. They create a framework and allow for growth, for learning, for discovery.
My thoughts have been circulating around the concept of transparency, on the word openness. On the actions of sharing, participating, discovering and enjoying, done in a way that feels natural and unrestrained. I've also been thinking about the opposite of openness: secretiveness, reticence, reserve. It seems to me that the underlying competitiveness and rapid pace of the world we live in drives most of us to be unintentionally secretive, to build walls around ideas and to accomplish small things individually, but ultimately, do less together as a whole. Which leads to the question- is this how we want it to be? It feels stagnant.
This year, in year three of The Merchant Home, I sense a change ahead, and want us to work in the pursuit of brightness, originality, and building together. This winter, an online friend (whom I'd describe simply as a creative sparkler) posted this well-loved passage from Paul Arden. It's worth reading in its entirety, and begins with the statement: "Do not covet your ideas. Give away everything you know, and more will come back to you.". Not a new quote to me, but the timing was right. I saved it in my Evernote and in the back of my mind, where it sat alongside soundbites from conversations with my brother and doodles from my sketchbook.
I've revisited the idea frequently in the weeks since, and am feeling excited by the potential of what embracing openness brings: curiosity, newness, imagination, connection. It's so simple. And why not share? Every week, we receive more submissions, find more beautiful things, and read more valuable words than we could ever need here for our own uses. It seems there is more than enough to go around.
So in setting a theme for 2016, openness it is.
With that, I invite you to join The Merchant Home for our #YearOfOpen. Read on for the full scoop!
What is the #YearOfOpen?
A year-long initiative, hosted by The Merchant Home, encouraging and exploring openness, transparency, sharing, and conversation amongst the creative community.
What to expect:
In all honesty- we're still figuring it all out! The timeline of a year affords us the space to let this initiative grow organically.
To start, we'll begin sharing some of our resources and expertise, while looking to our community for robust conversation about what it means to be open. We'd love for you to share what you're doing to embrace openness in the new year, and in turn, we'll share with our audience.
In the early spring, we'll be releasing invites to a new online community for the #YearOfOpen, where ideas, links, and documents can be shared, and most importantly, conversations can be had.
As this all gets going, we'll refine the #YearOfOpen homepage to be a one-stop shop for sharing, submitting, and exploring the project.
And to cap it all off at the end of the year, we'd love to put out a beautiful, thoughtful publication documenting the year, with content sourced from the #YearOfOpen community.
What we're bringing to the #YearOfOpen:
1. Resources and expertise. Trade secrets are secrets no longer. As a start (and to show our seriousness about this endeavor): here's a quick list of every vendor we launched our shop with. (We'd love for you to continue to support their work and our partnerships by purchasing through The Merchant Home).
2. A dose of reality. We're pledging to be more transparent about our successes, failures, and most importantly, how we're learning and growing along the way. Behind the scenes, it's not all pretty pictures- but we promise we'll continue to share plenty of those as well.
3. In-studio and online programming. We're thinking events, workshops, and conversations centering on openness in all sorts of forms.
4. A home for the community. Our social network is over 115,000 awesome people strong. Let's work together to get real conversations and ideas flowing. We'll be reposting and re-sharing your contributions to #YearOfOpen. Later this spring, with your help in getting this initiatve going, we're planning on creating a collaborative online space for the #YearOfOpen. Register for your invite here.
What we're asking of you:
1. Let us know you're interested! Sign up to receive periodic updates about new resource lists, the launch of our online community in the spring, #YearOfOpen programming at our studio, shared documents, and any other publications.
2. Participate using the #YearOfOpen hashtag on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We'd love to see how you're embracing the spirit of openness in your life and creative work, and we'll be frequently reposting and sharing on our own feeds. Ideas for things to share- noteworthy reads, inspiring websites, new resources, quotes, sketches, process work....etc.
3. Help us grow by inviting your friends. We don't have a fancy referral program, but we're banking on the fact that you'll love the #YearOfOpen concept enough to naturally share with your own network.
4. Submit for sharing. We'll have several targeted submission events through the year, where we'll be gathering resources to share with the #YearOfOpen community. (Think: community-recommended vendor lists, crowd-sourced shopping guides, tips and tricks of all kinds). Have something newsworthy we should know about or an awesome idea that you want us to share? Contact us through this form.
You've made it this far! We'd love to have you participate in our #YearOfOpen. There's so much we can do, learn, and explore together this year, all in the spirit of openness. Let's get going.