Ready for a New Year
I did as much as I good to get ready for the new year and to close out 2017. Preparing and recording my final episodes (286 and 287) of the Creativity Matters Podcast in December helped me think through some of my year in terms of creative projects, successes, hallmarks, highs, and lows. Putting together my year-end sketchnote was also helpful in terms of really pulling things out of the pile. (In both approaches, I thought through the monthly markers for the year because there were clear areas of focus or formal challenges in many of the months.)
I did as much as I could to get ready for January 1. I have notes. I set up a basic January tracker. I’ve been hitting the items that I think, right now, have some “daily” merit or might be the hallmarks of a 365. That I have, possibly, more than one 365 in the works is a bit of a surprise. But I know not everything will last even the month of January. I also know that I want to have room this year to tick off some different boxes and to “do” some of the things that have gotten pushed aside or squeezed out or are on what I am starting to think of as my bucket list of projects. In some cases, my bucket list projects are my most “I want to” projects but are the ones that don’t happen because I give priority and focus to smaller, daily projects that feel more manageable. I want to build in space this year to explore some of these bucket list ideas… but already I know that I am setting myself up for a full year of smaller, day by day creativity, a year that may not invite stopping and giving time and focus to individual “big” projects. The fear of feeling stalled while I work on bigger projects ties in with my thoughts in 2017 on daily versus WIP. 2018 may not be a year in which I can wrangle the bigger projects. My work- and home-life do not leave much extra room. One thing a day may be all I can manage on most days.
I did as much as I could, but I have had company in the last few weeks and was back to work on January 2 with the crunch that comes with after taking a week off. The first few days of January have left me feeling unmoored and unsettled. I see people with plans and goals and maps for the new year, and I feel unfinished. I still haven’t “gotten down” all the things that I think I already know I want to manage, set up, run, orchestrate, and try in this year. My list of notes is overwhelming, and yet I know it doesn’t contain everything that I really do plan to do or target or tackle. So this weekend, I need to do some of that, even as I start digging in and moving ahead.
My word of the year decision for 2018 lingers, too. That is not atypical for me, but it always leaves me feeling a bit adrift. I have a few possible choices… and I am having trouble choosing.
In thinking about my year, I came up with a set of questions that I thought you might also find helpful. These pair up as a logical follow to my year-end creative review questions. This set of questions is specifically for planning your creative year. Nothing you write here is set in stone, but your answers to these questions may help you see the big picture of your year or identify the direction you want to take or changes you may want to consider.
Sorting Out My Plan for a Creative Year
- What is your topmost creative goal for the year?
- Are you doing a daily or 365 (total) project? If so, which one?
- Do you have other “daily” creative tasks/goals planned? List them.
- Do you have “weekly” creative tasks/goals planned? List them. (“Weekly” means you hope to do x once a week.)
- Do you have “monthly” creative tasks/goals planned? List them. (“Monthly” means you hope to do x once a month.)
- Do you plan to participate in any monthly challenges? List them by month.
- What projects or explorations do you plan to do (other than any 365 or monthly challenges)? List them in order of interest or planned sequence.
- What projects, not yet listed, are bucket list projects that you would like to and/or “might” work on this year?
- Of your bucket list projects, which one is more important to you?
- Is there an area, material, or medium you would like to explore? (If so, what?)
- Do you plan to take classes or workshops this year? If so, list them.
- If you have multiple “daily” creative goals, look at your list and estimate how much time they might take (all together).
- Is this amount of time possible in your day? (If not, return to the “daily” list and really look closely at what you want to do daily versus, for example, weekly or monthly.)
- How do you “feel” when you look at your list of projects? (If your list inspires anything less than positive thought and excitement, you may need to reevaluate your list!)
- Does your list of projects and goals/tasks allow room for discovery, flexibility, and “new” projects that will arise? If not, look closely at your list to make sure you have flexibility.
- What one goal can you meet this month to make you feel good about your creative life? (Repeat this question every month.)
- What is your word for the year?
- How do you summarize your creative life or art to someone else? (1-3 sentences.)
- How does that summary make you feel?
- What makes you happiest or brings you the most satisfaction in your creative life?
- What would you like to change about your creative life?
- What steps can you take to bring about that change?
- How will you keep yourself on track this year to meet your goals for your creative life?