Friday, February 16, 2018

Writing My Artist Goals: 2018!

Graphic of blue skies with scattered clouds with foreground of land and telephone pole in silhouette.  Mountains in distance. Let's talk about goals.

While moving about the art room, my eye spots a simple sheet of paper.  At the top, it's titled 2015 Christy Sheeler Artist.  To anyone else, it might be just another list.  It is my list of art goals for 2015.  I quickly read over the list and feel amazed at what I was able to accomplish in that one year's time.  

So then I turn my head and see another list.  It's pinned to the bulletin board on the wall.  It's title:  2016 GOALS for Christy Sheeler Artist.  You caught that...not 2017.  There were no artist goals for 2017.  Well, 2018 needs some goals! The process and result will give me something to work toward for myself, the artist.

Let's get this process started!

Defining a goal

According to Merriam-Webster, goal can be defined as the end toward which effort is directed.

Synonyms for goal include: aim, ambition, aspiration, design, dream, idea, ideal, intent, intention, mark, meaning, object, objective, plan, point, pretension, purpose, target

White sheet of paper on bulletin board with 2016 Goals for Christy Sheeler Artist

A view of my bulletin board with assorted papers and photos.

Inspiration for Goal Writing

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which me must fervently believe, and upon which me must vigorously act.  There is no other route to success.
-Pablo Picasso

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
-C.S. Lewis

Outstanding people have one thing in common:  An absolute sense of mission.
-Zig Ziglar

File folder labeled GOALS and previous years' goals.

Why write down yearly goals?

I need direction.  I am easily distracted.  It begins with one task which turns into switching to another task.  "Oh, I need to put this away."  "Where did that list go?"  And months can go by without remembering to figure out how to learn a new social media platform...Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook...  I need more structure; organization that helps me function better.  Having a list of lofty plans and major milestones has made it possible for me to go after the hard things.

Something I read a few years ago really gave me a serious nudge to be serious about being more intentional with my goals.  Artist Habits of Mind-A Great Planning Tool for 2014 written by Rob Levit (title is linked) gives the challenges to

"engage and persist...make a list of what you'd like to accomplish in 2014-personally and professionally.  What opportunity would provide the greatest reward-financially or in terms of professional satisfaction-if you engaged and persisted in its accomplishment?"

GOALS file folder, Goals from 2015 and 2016 and Artist Habits of Mind article.

On the list for 2015 is written:
  • Re-commit to the blog.
  • Personalize the layout.
  • Make a list of goals for the blog.
  • Apply for Adsense.
  • Get accepted for Adsense.
  • Weekly post-Thursdays
  • June to October: 14 paintings completed
  • Facebook Artist Page created
  • Etsy shop opened Sept. 1, 2015
  • Business cards designed
  • Banner & Icon designed for Etsy, Facebook
  • Photographing artwork at home (learn how)

There's more but that gives you the idea... I think the 2015 list of goals is a rewritten one.  It's too neat and organized by when the goals were met.  I think the original must have been messy or a collection of notes.  I'm grateful to have some record to look back on now.

Don't get me wrong.  It wasn't easy.

Many of the items on the list were difficult.  Really hard.  I was at my wit's end, searching for answers, learning new information and trying again.  I can remember feeling like my brain couldn't take anymore.  I vented to my family.  I talked out loud to myself, to the computer screen, to the dog.  I just couldn't quit because it mattered to me.  I wasn't going to be defeated.  And yeah, there were a few times when a victory meant me doing a silly dance and yelling, "I did it!"  My family looked at me a little funny.

Sometimes, I just needed to set that goal aside and get back to painting artwork for a while.  I had to get back to the joy of creating before it all got to me.  There's got to be balance in the process.

What art goals would you make?

Your goals don't need to be like mine.  They should reflect what you would like to reach toward for yourself as an artist.  Start where you are at and begin to write what would mean a lot to you.  What are your dreams for moving forward with creating artwork?  What in your mind should go along with it?  These are yours and there's no wrong way to go about it.  Just pick up a pen and write as you consider what you wish you were doing in your little art world.  What would be a really big deal to you?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Asking another artist advice about purchasing new art supplies.
  • Checking locally for an art class you might enjoy.  Sign up.
  • Find an artist on YouTube to subscribe and follow.
  • Find an artist on Facebook to like and follow.
  • Figure out how to get on YouTube.
  • Ask someone to help you get signed up for Facebook.
  • Sign up for Pinterest and learn how to use it.
  • Create your own boards of art tips on Pinterest.
  • Subscribe to an art magazine.
  • Create some art with a child.
  • Frame one of your paintings and hang it on a wall.
  • Create a space at home just for making art.
  • Read an art blog once a week.
  • Take more photos for creative purposes.
  • Get familiar with Instagram and start sharing photos.
  • Start an art journal.

Closer view of 2015 Art Goals in artist's handwriting.

I missed my time in the art room.  The year 2017 was not like I expected in many
ways.  There were challenges that I couldn't imagine coming my way.  My family
had to adapt to some big changes.  I had to be flexible and strong in more ways than
one.  So if I look back at what took place, I could honestly say these were true:

2017 Goals Christy Sheeler Artist

  • Hold loosely to my own personal ambitions
  • Be ready to set down the brushes for a while
  • Be strong and flexible
  • Stretch and do yoga
  • Go to bed early
  • Listen to beautiful music at work
  • Create art with a child
  • Do crafts with a child
  • Laugh and play with children
  • Just breathe and let the anxiety pass by
  • Listen more
  • Think carefully before I speak
  • Keep dreaming about making art
  • Answer emails from the blog
  • Check comments on the blog
  • Look for the beauty in nature
  • Watch artist videos
  • Follow artists on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest
  • Buy my domain name:
  • Remind myself that I am still an artist.

My 2017 Goals written in retrospect.

Added to the list:  Remind myself that I am still an artist.

Writing My 2018 Goals

So it's time for me to write my 2018 Christy Sheeler Artist Goals.  Maybe a few
can be conquered...but it's okay if none of them are completed.  If I focus in on
where I'd like to go with my art, it helps to have it all on paper.  My mind will be
brought back to what I had hoped to do and I'll get excited again.  I'll start working
through the smaller steps necessary.  I'll start tackling one step.  And then one more
step.  Then another.  It's not so overwhelming and I'm moving forward again.

And at some point, a goal gets its checkmark with a date added.

And I feel exuberant.  No one else will get it like I do.  It will be a reason to do a funny little dance and shout "Woo Hoo!"  

I'm going to take the time to go sit and think...relax and let my mind ponder this.  I'll write it down and soon I'll let you have a peak.  These things take time.  Hm...first on the list is...

2018 Goals - Christy Sheeler Artist
  • Clean, organize, declutter this mess of an art room!
  • Write on the blog more frequently.
  • Write:  Hollyhocks Post
  • Write:  Cherry Blossoms Reveal
  • Write:  Baby Lambs Reveal
  • Write:  Sparrow On Fence Watercolor Progression
  • Write:  Sand and Surf-Black Sand Beach on Maui
  • Write:  Taking Time To Stretch in the Art Room
  • Paint:  Hollyhocks
  • Paint:  Sand and Surf
  • Paint:  Waterfall
  • Take more photos for beauty's sake
  • Create more tutorials for the blog
  • Become more active on Pinterest
  • Become more active on Instagram
  • Put some paint to paper and just enjoy it.  Play.
  • Learn how to spend small amounts of time in the art room
  • Make time to go to the art room
  • Watch an instructional art video every week
  • Look through an art catalog.  Make a wish list.
  • Make an art order.
  • Bring out my travel art supplies.
  • Find another location for displaying and selling my artwork.
  • Paint 2 new work tables.
  • Move antique table to downstairs.
  • Bring in and arrange 2 new work tables.
  • Create art with kids once a week.
  • Sketchbook in bag at work?

Writing out my 2018 Goals at my art table.

2017 and 2018 Goals are written out on white paper.

2017 and 2018 Goals are written out on white paper.

There's a few thoughts I'd like to add here about my approach to these goals:  there's no guarantee that they will all be accomplished.  I've learned to give myself grace and be okay with some (or a lot) going undone.  My purpose in creating this yearly list of hopeful aspirations is to give myself vision, intent, and direction.  If many of these are scrapped, I can add them to 2019's goals.  I can also just completely ditch any of these that I find not as important in the long run.  It's my list.  It's not a measure of my performance.  It's not what defines will not determine whether I'm making the cut as an artist.  It's just a piece of paper with some ideas I had right now.

I hope that helps take off a bit of pressure as you think through whether you are drawn to creating your own goals for this present time in your life with art.  It's an adventure to step out and declare for yourself what you'd love to do for you art wise.  Feeling adventurous?  Are you tempted to be bold?  Try it.  Just begin.  Later, you have all the options...rewrite it, scribble through what's not important, write a date when you reach a goal, make extra notes, and make it completely yours.

Maybe keep it at ten or less if that makes it less daunting right now.

Let me know your ideas for goals and how it feels to get them written on paper.  I'd be so thrilled to hear how you're inspired to declare your intent for this year...who cares what month it might be; just start now!

Have a great week or month...not sure how soon I'll be back with fresh posts.  I need to be more reasonable with my self-expectations for what a blog post ought to be.

-She must make art.

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