Photograph by Carrie Brummer Copyright 2010

The teacher in me feels it’s time for review.  There is no test in real life, but you can take a moment to think about if you are achieving your goals.  Let’s look back at previous Artist Strong posts and see what we have learned and outline strategies for creative success.

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: A CALL TO ARMS

Post a “call to arms,” something that inspires and motivates you, in a visible location in your home.  Incorporate reading this into your daily routine.  It will act as a constant reminder that you desire more for yourself and have begun a plan of action to realize this dream!

My call to arms: you already read it.  It was the first post to ArtistThink.  Everett Bogue’s recent post on his site Far Beyond the Stars says everything I need my “call to arms” to say.  I want a constant reminder of the power I have to direct my future! (You share this same ability, everyone has it.)  It is now by my bedside so I can read it as I wake in the morning.  Each day I start with this fresh, inspired dialogue to motivate me.

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: CREATE MEASURABLE TASKS

Create measurable tasks to meet your goal. Check in on your goal-setting monthly to see if you are holding to your commitment. Share it with others who will help hold you to your goals.  Consider an online venue or close family or friends.  Consider co-workers!  For me, my students are a great group to share my goals about art with because I feel beholden to them. I want to be a good example for them. And when you finish these tasks or reach smaller goals give yourself a reward. It is additional reinforcement that you are doing something special and deserving of your attention and time.

What are you doing still sitting here and reading this?!  Go!  Only you can take action to achieve your goals and dreams.

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: ORGANIZE YOURSELF

Think about what you can do to better organize your goals.  Do you need a timetable?  Do you need to organize while you are brainstorming?  Determine your needs and find the tools (preferably free!) to help you meet them.

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: FIND INSPIRING PEOPLE; TALK TO THEM!

Consider speaking with people in your life who are inspiring.  Ask them about their strategies for success and see if any resonate with you.  Take immediate steps to use at least one!

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: DOODLE

The next time you feel stuck, pull out your journal or sketchbook and play. Don’t judge yourself. Doodling takes no skill except your desire to play and a drawing implement!  Don’t think about what you are making, just draw.  See what happens.  At worst, you have a fun and interesting piece of art.  At best, you will be the next recipient of a MacArthur.

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: FACE YOUR FEAR

Looking for further reading on the art of inspiration and the fear artists face?  Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland offer a frank reflection upon the nature of artmaking and the shared fears many artists feel.  It also offers real strategies and advice on managing those fears.

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: SELF-CARE

Consider researching how different cultures care for themselves physically and spiritually.  Try applying some of their practices to your life!

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER

Write a list of characteristics a good quality of life has for you.  Compare it to the actual choices you make.  Do they match or is it time to work smarter?

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: LAUGH MORE

How can you incorporate more laughter into your life? Make a list of things that make you smile or laugh. Start using one of these activities in your every day routine.

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: TAKE A DIGITAL SABBATICAL

Consider taking some time away from the internet, or check your email only once a day.  How much time do you waste checking email when you could be out at the beach, BBQing with friends, or out for a bike ride? What other things could you be doing (or accomplishing) instead!?

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: BEND THE RULES

Switch something around or bend the rules in your art.  See if you gain new perspective or ideas from this rewiring activity.  Trigger some new ideas and become the next Oldenburg or Mueck (who as far as I know, have been healthily rewarded for breaking the rules).

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: LEARN ABOUT TED PRIZE WINNER JR

If there was ever a post to share with others, this is the one.  Please spread the word about this amazing Creative and spread the wealth of knowledge that we all have the power to make a difference.

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: MAKE REJECTION YOUR FRIEND

Find ways to positively reinforce moments of rejection.  Do you have that go-to person who always makes you smile?  Is there a bike ride or walk you take when you need to center yourself?  Think of something constructive and positive that gives you time to grieve but also encourages you to use this “no” to get you to your “yeses!”

Now, looking back, have you taken any of these actions?  What can you do today to work towards that dream of yours?  Don’t let it waste away.  You WILL regret it.

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