I’m the sort of person who embraces creative chaos and wears it as a badge of honour, my husband jokes that I leave a trail of destruction in my wake, but this year my new year’s resolution was to be more organised and three months in I think it’s starting to work.

Disadvantages of ‘creative chaos’

Creative chaos might be a cool artistic image but it doesn’t help you move forward and it doesn’t help your health. Some of the disadvantages are:

  1. Yoyo-ing confidence – When you work as an artist you ride a rollercoaster of believing in yourself at your best and your confidence plummeting for no particular reason at your worst. If you don’t have a plan this can lead to you stop working and hibernate
  2. Making yourself ill -If you work in disorganised bursts of creativity, you’re more likely to overdo it and make yourself ill, then spend time recovering when you could be making art
  3. Making the same mistakes – Sometimes you can work yourself into a vicious cycle of repeating mistakes and getting down about it if you don’t step back and evaluate what’s going wrong at regular intervals. It’s really hard to get a sense of perspective unless you stop and analyse your work. Not doing this can lead to more frustration and feeling like you’re never going to get anywhere (and maybe giving up)
  4. Not being able to move forward – If you haven’t worked out what’s wrong, you’re less likely to try the new things that might be the ideas that work for you; help you sell, get into a gallery or feel more satisfied that you’ve found your style

Using a planner

Since January I’ve been using The Maker’s Yearbook, a planner aimed at artists and crafters that incorporates social media support and mini business challenges. It’s written by Nicola Taylor, a fine art photographer and former stockbroker.
It can be very difficult trying to make your work, market it and try to sell it but I find that writing it down makes me feel less self-conscious and like I’m doing a set of tasks for someone else rather than being embarrassed at blowing my own trumpet. It helps to:

  • Break up your goals month by month
  • Break up your tasks to achieve those goals on a weekly basis, three tasks per day
  • Analyse what you’ve been working on monthly to see what has worked, what hasn’t and supporting ways to help you to make changes

There are lots of planners around for artists, crafters and small business people. Here are a couple of others:

You don’t even need to buy a planner, the principles apply in goal setting challenges like 90 day goals, which you can read more about and download templates
 Or use bullet journalling, in which you write out your lists and goals by hand. There are hundreds of ideas for bullet journalling on Pinterest.

Problems I’ve identified

I’ve learnt a lot about how to organise myself better and more besides:

  • I wasn’t painting anywhere near as many hours as I thought I was
  • I was spending far more on art materials than I thought I was
  • Having a goal broken down into steps really helped me to pull myself up and get on track to work towards something tangible
  • I identified who might like to buy my art
  • I don’t actually have any ready-to-sell products (I am hoping to build up some stock of paintings, prints and cards and re-launch my etsy store)
  • I can achieve more than I think if I put my mind to it

Setting my goals

I’m looking forward to using my book to motivate myself to paint a series of paintings, improve my website, make some products to sell, organise more lessons and maybe put some lessons online. It’s very motivating!

If you have a planner or a way of organising your work, let me know how well it works for you!

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