That sounds weird, especially when I type it out, but it's true. I've come to realize over the past couple of years that something about achieving my goals scares the crap out of me. Why else would I have been stuck in this rut for so long?
I don't mean a creative rut. I don't feel lacking in that area at all right now. I am brimming with inspiration, and spending every possible minute in the studio pouring all of my love and vision into my work.
What I mean is a business rut. A career rut. I might just be edging my way into my late 30's, and looking back quite a bit, and feeling that extra pinch of where I want to be in the next few years. I might also be feeling a bit of regret or guilt or something that I haven't gotten further than I have so far. (This is not to put down where I HAVE gotten, because I know how hard I've worked to get here)! I definitely have been seriously inspired by Danielle LaPorte's Firestarter Sessions (check her out--she is seriously awesome!).
So, with all of these things combining to kick my butt into high gear, I've created a new system to keep myself on track and I thought I'd share (selfishly, if I share it all here then I am extra-accountable!). Feel free to adjust it technologically if you want. I am a visual/tactile learner and remember-er, so no matter how many times *someone* keeps telling me to use my iPhone calendar, it doesn't work for me. I write notes, day-planner stuff, essays for applications, journal, most everything by hand (except blog posts for some reason, and thank whoever for that). If something is extra-urgent, I'll even put it directly on the palm of my hand!
Probably one of the biggest, scariest things for me is applying for all of the incredible opportunities that I find on the Regional Art & Culture Council's website, on Art Deadline's List, and other such places. I get all excited when I look at them, and open a hundred tabs on my browser so that I can look into them all and apply, and then the boogy monster takes over my brain and convinces me that I'm not qualified or something. It is ridiculous.
So I got a pretty purple notebook, and titled it "Making the Magic Happen: Art Show Applications." The purple notebook and fancy title are absolutely necessary to the system ;)
From there it's easy. Every month, I write something like, "January 2010 Goal=3 applications." Then I write down each opportunity I applied for, the date I applied, and the date I got accepted (or denied, but let's not focus on that). So far I've already been accepted to the Buckman Art Show & Sale (this is the 1st time I've applied without the comfort of auto-acceptance since Indigo is no longer a student there)! Everything else I've applied for so far--juried shows, residencies, etc.--has a notification date a couple of months down the road. But I'll let you know when I find out!
The second thing I've had a big struggle with is marketing. Fun, right? I've got some online things covered, like facebook and twitter, but I've had a lot of actually very fun marketing ideas running around my brain for an embarassingly long period of time and I haven't done them yet. Plus I have a lot of new ideas from the FireStarter Sessions and brainstorming. Long-term planning is intimidating to me, so I am working in month-long chunks. I've decided that Tuesdays are marketing days, so every Tuesday for the month I write down what marketing project I'm going to work on that week, until my month is planned.
Finally, I still use my day planner but instead of writing so much in it, on Tuesdays I just write "marketing" and on Wednesdays I just write "studio." That way I don't feel so overwhelmed by having so many lists of tasks right there. Maybe I am weird to not want it all in one place, but it stresses me out. I'd rather have the simple "marketing" there along with appointments and bills to pay instead of a daunting list. Then I just look at my marketing calendar to see what I have to work on that day.
Well, now you either have some ideas and inspiration to get yourself motivated, or you just have some insight into how my artist-brain works. If you think it's really crazy, maybe keep that to yourself, 'k? *wink*wink* Actually, I'd love to hear what you think, answer any questions, and especially to hear about the systems you use to keep yourself in check. What are they?