If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say “I’d love to do xyz, but I don’t have [insert excuse here]” I wouldn’t need to work.
I can count on one hand the number of people in my university classes who stuck with film-making and writing. I was one of them. Now I earn my whole income from creativity, whether that’s producing videos, photography or writing.
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Well this is the tough love blog post for the start of 2017.
If you want to achieve your creative goals, you gotta set some and stick to them.
Simple as that.
You can have as much talent in the world, but if you ain’t actually doing anything with it, then the person who you perceive as less talented but has committed to their plan has more chance of success.
Last year I wrote about the terrifying act of making resolutions. I made one goal. Write a novel. I did it. Let’s face it, I kicked ass.
This year, I’ve upped the ante by buying a MiGoals planner. I have a lot of goals for 2017.
I’m a stationery nerd and I’d checked out a number of goals planners before buying this one at the Big Design Market in Melbourne. It’s awesome. The diary asks you about your passions, your goals and then gives you the diary pages to plan out how you will achieve these goals.
You can use all the digital tools you want, but you can’t dismiss an A5 diary in front of your desk as easily as a phone notification. It’s there. It’s meant to bother you.
Us creatives, sometimes we can be a bit airy-fairy, getting lost in the la la land of our creative brains. Putting your goals down on paper makes them tangible.
So how do you set your creative goals?
Break it down
What I like about the MiGoals planner is that it asks you to set goals, then break them down into realistic tasks. Big goals can be daunting. Take writing a book. You have this big, daunting mess of 70,000 words looming, and you have to get from nothing to 260 pages. Break it down into little parts. I broke my novel down into research, planning, writing and editing phases. That way you can tick these things off along the way. Gold star.
You can see my plan to write 12 short stories broken down below.
Hold yourself accountable
One of the reasons I always write a goal setting post each year is to hold myself accountable to my readers. If it’s on the blog, it’s out there. I’ve got to do it. No excuses. It would be a bit embarrassing if I came back at the end of the year and said nope, didn’t do it (without an extenuating reason). Sure, life happens, but if your excuse for not doing what you want is bingeing on TV shows, then you probably need to set some goals with a friend and make sure you’re doing something towards them every week.
Why do it? You sound like one of "those" people
Goals don’t have to be huge, like fix climate change. They can be simple things, like spending time with a friend each week or planning an overseas trip. For me, I feel deeply unsettled if I’m not doing something every day towards my goals. I feel empty. Digging away at those little goal nuggets leaves me satisfied that at 5pm I can switch off and take a break. I haven’t wasted a day. It makes me legitimately happy to look back on the things I’ve achieved. It’s been hard work, lots of slog, but I did it. I chose the hard road.
So what are my goals for this year?
Here’s that accountability bit. Some of my goals for this year include:
- Writing 12 short stories in 12 months
- Writing a new blog post every week
- Exercise 3 times per week>
- Read 52 books
- Sell the novel I wrote last year
- Set up passive income streams through stock photo sites
I really want to encourage you to take that first step and put one thing down on paper now that you want to do this year. What’s your goal for 2017?
About the Author
Kat Clay is an award-winning photographer and writer from Melbourne, Australia. Her novella, Double Exposure, was published in 2015 by Crime Factory. Her video work has been featured in national TV news programs and publications, and she’s written for The Victorian Writer, Literary Traveler, Travel Weekly, Matador Network and Weird Fiction Review. She loves inspiring people to be more creative in everyday life.
[In post photo credit: Kat Clay]