Friday, December 30, 2016

Artistic ADD and Goal-Setting for 2017

Artistic Attention Deficit Disorder. It really is a thing, and I understand that I am far from the only artist who is afflicted with it. Now that the holidays are winding down, 'tis the season for reflection and redirection for 2017. My only "resolution" this year is to not fall victim to AADD as often as I have in the past. I've just recently taken a workshop on goal-setting through the Textile Design Lab and it has given me some great ideas on how to stay on-track.

The first major task is to examine what worked and what didn't this past year. Did you have goals for this year? If you didn't have formal goals, just look back at what you accomplished.
  • What brought in the most income? 
  • Did you spend a lot of time working on one area that didn't perform as expected?
  • What worked well for you? It might be what brought you the best ROI (Return on Investment, be that monetarily or time-wise).
  • Which one thing did you work at that brought you the most satisfaction?
For me, this was supposed to have been a transition year. I retired from my job at Richeson's in order to paint, teach and venture into a long-held passion for textile/surface design. In retrospect, that was at least one too many major goals. So this year, I will focus on design, but continue to do commissioned paintings to maintain an income stream. And I will never again neglect to factor in what may be going on at home. We had a lot of unexpected and major family changes and challenges this year and it really threw me for a loop career-wise. I think if I had just one or two major goals, I would have spent a lot less spinning my wheels and be able to focus in the time I did have. I would urge you to not only have a Plan A for the coming year, but devise a Plan B as well, just in case.

Now to configure the plan for 2017: Pick one - or at most two - major goals for the year. Do you want add 2 galleries to those that sell your work? Enter competitions? Get into art licensing? Seek out commissions or public art projects? Teach?  Design for a specific industry? Then add in some minor goals that will help your business, such as participating in 2 life drawing or plein air sessions each month, expanding your social media network, etc. Things that will help grow your business, but won't hurt the business if life happens and you simply don't have time.

Once you pin down your year's goal(s), think about breaking it down into monthly (or even daily) tasks. This needs to include whatever you need to do to keep your business running.

  • Daily/weekly social media marketing tasks. 
  • Accounting/bookeeping/inventory duties once a week (this will help you avoid spending two weeks sorting through that box of receipts and invoices for the tax guy. You DID save them all, didn't you?
  • How many paintings or designs do you need to generate every month?
  • Website updating.
  • Don't forget "Continuing Education". Plan to take an online or in-person workshop or class to keep growing as an artist.

Really think about everything, write it down and do your best to keep on track as you move forward. I bought a whiteboard for my studio and I've broken down what I need to do on a monthly basis and divided that into weekly tasks. It can be incredibly satisfying to draw a red line through the things I've completed.

I'm looking forward to the adventures and challenges 2017 will bring. No matter what happens, chaos will almost certainly not reign in my creative endeavors because THIS year, I am more realistic and optimistic thanks to the mental and corporeal goal-setting I've done for my creative business.

Happy New Year to you all and remember always to Live Out Loud.

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