You’re showing up to the studio every day, you’re making art and you feel like you’re on the right track, but do you ever wonder if you’re making the right kind of progress to get to where you want to be?
It’s wonderful to create freely and without restraint but there does come a point where despite the creative joys of free artistic play, you really do just need to buckle down and get things done. Specifically, the right kinds of things to get you to where you want to be. Enter creative goal setting.
Creating some big goals is about getting real with your art. It’s about setting yourself up for success and making a solid plan to get there. It’s a great process to go through every 6-12 months and it all starts with some big picture thinking.
Get out of the every day and think big! As artists it’s easy to get trapped in the details of our daily busywork and to-do lists. But every now and then you need to give yourself the chance the dream. Answer these three questions to get started:[list style=”arrowblue2″]
Think long term (at least 5 years) and dream big. The answers to these questions will be your starting point. They will be the basis for your goals and ultimately for what you achieve as an artist, so take your time and dig deep.
Once you’ve answered these three questions distil your answers down to one paragraph about your ideal life as an artist. Try to say it in no more than three to four sentences. This should sum up who you are and who you want to be as an artist – think overarching, long term and optimistic.
Dreams are great but they’re nothing without action. It’s time to set some real goals about how you’re going to get there. You should set some big goals every 6-12 months and include everything you need to do that year to move closer to living your ideal life as an artist.
You can have as many big goals as you see fit but as a start anywhere from 5-10 is good. Any more and it’s potentially overwhelming, less and you might be setting your bar too low.
Make your goals specific and measurable. If you want to grow your art sales, by how much? If you want to experiment with new mediums, which ones specifically and how?
A goal without a deadline is unlikely to be completed in any kind of reasonable time frame (read possibly never!). By setting deadlines you get your mind working towards a date for completion, meaning you can pace yourself with your work and really start to get things done.
Set a deadline date for every goal on your list spreading them out over the year based on how big each goal is and how they’ll all fit together.
Even with specific goals and deadlines it’s easy to get lost in the busy-ness of day to day work. To avoid potential goal disaster create a list every single week where you write up a set of small doable tasks that will move you closer towards achieving your big goals.
Make each task specific and easy to achieve within the week. It could be as simple as drafting an email to send to someone or as big as completing an entire artwork.
Having a big dream, goals and weekly tasks really mean nothing unless you commit to stick to them. I find that often when I’m setting goals for my creative work I’ll be incredibly optimistic and excited when creating them only to have my plan derailed (by myself of course) within weeks.
To avoid a similar fate stick your weekly task list somewhere highly visible in your work space and get accountable by finding a friend to keep you in check! Tell your friend about your plan and ask them to follow up with you on your progress once a week. These two things alone will up your chances of success big time because they make your goals real and ever present.
Follow these five steps and you’ll be setting yourself up for achieving big things. The progress we make on a daily basis might not seem like much, but over the span of a year or more it’s huge. Make every day count by setting some big goals for your art and see the difference it makes.
Do you set goals for your art, or are you a free spirit running with the tides?
What works best for you? Share your experiences with us in the comments.