Today's post is by Lori Woodward, regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. Lori is a member of the Putney Painters, an internationally known group of a dozen artists who paint under the direction of Richard Schmid. She has held workshops at Scottsdale Artist School, and has been represented by galleries throughout New England. Lori spoke on art marketing for the Oil Painters of America National Show and convention in 2012. As a writer, she has authored more than 60 articles for American Artist Publications, and she is a co-author of "Watercolor, Step by Step", a Walter Foster Publication.
As I took a look at what I accomplished in 2013 and what I want to work on in 2014, I dug up some older New Year Resolution lists. I'm going back about 5 years. It's easy for me to look backward because I've kept journals for over 20 years.
I like to read magazines from back to front. I've never really figured out why I do that - it just feels more comfortable turning the pages that way. Likewise, I'm stepping back in time to discover what items show up in my thoughts and on my lists continuously - but things I keep putting on the back burner. In this post, I'm proposing making a list of things that never got done. You can join me if you like by making your own list.
The important thing is that your list, whether in your head, iPad or notepad - represents who you are and what you truly want. These wants are not necessarily "shoulds", but things you've dreamed of doing for a long time. Of course, I'm not talking about anything immoral that would hurt others or anything that is irresponsible. Rather, I'm suggesting you list things that you never gave yourself permission or enough focus to get done.
OK, so here goes: Make a list of ten or fewer things that you talked or dreamed about doing in the last 5 years - but didn't. If you still want to do them, write them down. Then, narrow that list down to 5 things that still feel important today. My list includes stuff from my personal life and business life. For this exercise, avoid listing new ideas, just look at old lists and eliminate resolutions that no longer fit. You can look at new "wants" later if there's room and desire for them.
Below, I'll show a couple of items from my list. Keep in mind that your list may not look anything like mine. The important thing is to keep it relatively short and filled with things that you WANT to do. Again, I'm assuming you're a responsible person and take care of things and people you really need to.
Paint a few larger works for entry into national competitions and shows.
Paint old furniture and designs on fabric. (This is entertaining and relaxing.)
Write a series of Ebooks.
Make giclee prints from my best paintings.
Then I asked myself these questions for each of the items above... measuring the answers in categories of high, medium, or low.
Why do I want to do this?
What is the level of difficulty?
How much time will it take per week/month and for how long?
How much money will it take?
How much income potential?
How much satisfaction will I derive?
How much Emotional Support?
Below are the answers to one of the items on my list:
Series of Ebooks:
Why - Shares useful info with others while giving me some passive income. Passive income frees up time.
Level of Difficulty: High (it's just not that easy for me)
Time Allocation: High at first, low later (about 10 to 20 hours a week while writing/editing)
Money invested: Low (Very little other than a computer editing program and camera)
Income Potential: Variable (Income depends on how well my ebook sells. Hard to predict)
Satisfaction Level: High (helps others and I've been wanting this for a long time)
Emotional Support: High (don't know anyone who says this is a bad idea)
Now let's look at an item that was a past resolution, but deleted from my current list. I removed it as a "been there, done that" for now. Besides, it keep me from doing the things I truly want to accomplish.
Teaching Workshops: (deleted from 2014 list)
Why? Because I'm a good instructor and have ample experience. Brings in extra income.
Level of Difficulty: Medium. (It's not that difficult to create the curriculum, but is difficult to instruct a large group of students)
Time Allocation: Medium (Time goes into designing the workshop, but isn't ongoing)
Money Invested: Varies: (depends on travel requirements)
Income potential: Varies: (depends on school, and number of students registered)
Satisfaction: Medium: (I enjoy it, but it's exhausting)
Emotional Support: Medium to High (depends on whether student feedback is positive)
If working through a list like this appeals to you, then go for it - but make sure it's your list, your wants, your situation. You can include non career items, as well, and feel free to add categories to the question list. The whole idea is to clarify how much time, emotional energy and money you will have to devote to get it done. The questions make you think about why you want the potential rewards and what it'll take to "get you there". Keep in mind that you may have to "sacrifice" some of your other wants for a time, so you can find enough time to focus on the most "Wanted" items.
Interestingly, doing this exercise made it clear that I can't possibly write ebooks and paint full-time - at the same time. I can do them serially though. Maybe you can juggle better than I.... Let me know if you decide to try this, and if you make any discoveries during the process.