Plans, Resolutions and Letting Things Go
In 2021 and 2022 I tried a lot of things. I signed up to a few new portfolio sites, ones that you have to pay for, and then decided they weren’t for me. I tested out some social media planning tools, but decided that I’m better off just doing it myself, without automation. If I want to plan out my Instagram grid I can just do that in Photoshop, Illustrator or even Procreate, no fancy expensive tools needed. I did lots and lots of online training courses, some better than others, some worth the price I paid, some definitely not. And I spent far too much time looking at other artists’ work, comparing myself to them and thinking I was no good. I also took on some quite stressful and demanding commissions, ending up working through the nights to make the deadlines…
In the autumn of 2022 I was very, very tired. I was also feeling a bit lost and quite despondent, but I knew a whole lot more about everything than I did in 2020. I probably didn’t need to spend quite so much money on training, but some things you have to try before you know. I’m probably better off sending my portfolio around to potential clients myself, rather than paying lots of money to someone to host my portfolio and rely on them marketing me. I know which platforms I like now and which ones I want to avoid. I’m not saying I won’t want an agent if the right one comes along, but for the time being I’m happy being single. I also see a style emerging, and a client base that appreciates that style. I spent two years looking for inspiration outside of myself, and I ended up feeling lost and powerless. 2023 I have promised myself to look inward more, appreciate myself and how far I’ve actually come, and work with what I’ve got. I don’t need any more classes or art materials, not for a while anyway. I have more ideas than I know what to do with and the work is coming in, so clearly there’s a market for my style.
The Idea Jar
I’ve been collecting ideas for years, I’m sure you have too. I have lists on my phone, I have lists in notebooks, in the pockets of my journals (you know the clever little fold out pockets at the back), sketches and bits of torn out pages from newspapers because there was something that inspired me in some way. I have ideas stashed away, literally, all over the place. But you know what? I never look at them. They’re hidden away, and I never feel like tracking them down. That’s why I decided to make myself an idea jar. It’s like my own little lottery. I’ve started going through my lists of ideas, writing them down on these colourful little bits of paper and stuffing them into a jar that I will keep on my desk. That way, if I feel I need some random little project I can pick one out and just do it. Little nuggets of inspiration to spark my imagination when I hit creative blocks.
The Artist’s Way
My husband gave me the new edition of Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist’s Way’ for Christmas. (I may possibly have mentioned to him that I gave my old copy to one of my daughters and that it would be nice to have a new one…) I love the new cover and I’m sure I will treasure it for years to come. It’s probably ten or fifteen years since the last time I worked my way through the book, and I’m not sure if I ever managed to do all twelve weeks even once! This time I couldn’t wait to get started and I’ve already done the morning pages for seven days now. It’s amazing what comes up when you do this exercise, and I’ve promised myself that this time I will work my way throught the entire course and I will never, ever give up on morning pages again!
At the back of the notepad that I write my morning pages in I’ve put this four page document that I printed out years ago. It’s a collections of quotes and some questions and answers that I compiled as a kind of personal manifesto. The idea is to read it every morning to remind myself of where I want to end up. One of the quotes says “Never sit down at your desk without a clear list of priorities.” If you want to get a lot done without stress I think the key is good planning and preparation. I’m well on my way to having the first quarter of 2023 prepped and planned out, with scheduled time for rest, recovery and fun!