Do you have a carving style, do you approach carvings the same each time or do you rely on a magazine or video to work through the process? Reference material is always worth utilizing and many of the carvers I have come to know still to this day go back to reference material whether it be a video, book or magazine in the carving process. At least the ones that are continuing to grow as carvers will say so. One thing they don't do, they don't rely on them to get through the process, there's the difference.
Woodrow Kroll of Back to the Bible says he gets a new bible each year or two. he then at times after reading and making notes in his new bible will go back to last year or the year before and review what was marked in the previous bible. Many times it is similar and many times it is completely different due to new circumstances in his life that have changed his perspective and his walk. If this works for Gods word in our lives then it could also work in something as simple as carving. On a side note many believe in making notes in their bibles and many don't and that is for everyone to decide on their own. I to this day am not comfortable with this, for me, if this is God's word and it is then there should be a certain reverence for it even in the form of a book. After all when Moses came to the burning bush he was told to remove his sandals, he was standing on holy ground. this is just me and everyone forges his/her own path in his/her own way. I just can't write on His book, it's just not in me.
So back to carving, I try not to take my carving to serious but honestly I get caught up in it's importance too many times. I know guys who are successful carvers who never sell a single carving and some that carve and sell just enough to keep fresh wood and tools coming in. A few even get out of the red, not many. Bottom line is we all carve for the joy of carving first and then if we find a way to do something with our carvings that is icing on the cake.
Bottom line try to pick some milestones in your carving and look back at the previous months, years, whichever, and see if there is any progress being made in both the finished piece and in the carving process. Also in the variety of carvings. I was once told not to continue to carve the same subject (Santa ornaments) or sooner or later I might loose interest, not only in the subject but also with carving itself. That would be a loss for anyone who enjoys the joy of carving.
Carpe Diem carving