Five steps to planning your creative year
Need a bit of help bringing your creative vision, purpose and goals to life? Try making a creative calendar!
Throughout my writing career, I've had the incredible privilege of working with some of the most effective leaders in the U.S., U.K, and Australia. But as unique as each leader was, they all had one thing in common: A commitment to forward planning.
Top leaders often have a three-year plan, a one-year plan and a month-by-month plan for themselves and their organisations. This helps them and their amazing teams to prepare for busy times and make plenty of room for fun.
Over the years, I've learned to carry the principle of planning into my creative life. So, at the start of each year, I sit down to develop my annual creativity calendar. My creativity calendar helps bring my creative vision, purpose and goals to life. It gives me the perspective and focus I need and puts me in charge of how I use my time.
Here's how to plan your creative year:
Start with your life rhythms. Begin with the obvious big-ticket items. Jot down birthdays, holidays and other regular personal events that form the rhythm of you and your family's life.
Add your creative goals. What are the significant creative milestones, events or opportunities that are important to you this year? For example, note down the date you'd like to release a new piece of writing or art, or when you might like to attend a creative course.
Identify energy drainers. These are the items on your to-do list that you have absolutely no motivation to complete and that you're most likely to procrastinate on. What energy drainers are you aware of and when do they typically occur? You'll need to make time to tackle these head-on. As the great writer Mark Twain once said, "Eat that frog at the start of your day!"
Make time for fun. This is so important. Plan some pick-me-ups in your calendar to keep your motivation and energy levels up. This might be a holiday, a trip to a day spa or some other treat. I like to use these as rewards for achieving my creative goals throughout the year.
Reflect. Take a look at your calendar and remember that it's there to guide but not govern you. If you feel overwhelmed when you look at your schedule, consider delegating or deleting some of your tasks. Most importantly, make sure your calendar paints the big picture of what success looks like to you.
Finally, whether you prefer a physical diary or a digital app, make sure it's one that you love and feel excited about using. I'd recommend a diary that gives you an annual, monthly and weekly view of your priorities, so you can enjoy ticking things off!
Here's to bringing your creative vision, purpose and goals to life in 2021.
Victoria Hall is an English-born writer and illustrator with a passion for anything gothic, eccentric or quirky. She is the creator of three picture books for children, Penny Prickles at Coogee Beach, Eggy Peggy Has Lost Her Leggy and The Fairy Beasts. For more info on Victoria, check out her bio here.