Traveling for the past 2 weeks has left me both invigorated and overwhelmed. Think drinking Red Bull while doing Yoga. I've set up the rest of my year's work based on these past 12 days. I've got about 5 calendars (thanks to the amazing swag given at the Altitude Design Summit) surrounding my desk and have just started piecing the puzzle pieces together for my company, blog and other creative work I'll be embarking on. It's quite easy to feel like you are drowning from creative over stimulation and hard to just start somewhere. So here I am. Starting somewhere. Bear with me as I jot down the only way I can get my head around how to proceed.
Step 1: Get a glittery pen and a calendar
I've made a list of giant goals that I want to reach. These are the big, honking, life/work changing goals that I need to reach this year. (new clothing collection, new website, new studio) They've been given a date and placed on the calendar with their completion date. (I did this with a big fat glittery pen because nothing motivates me more than glittery ink)
On a separate paper I wrote down each goal with a list of people that can help me achieve this. I was fortunate enough to stumble into an Erin Loechner resource party at Alt. A genius idea that she came up with to get people to ask for help in the most encouraging way possible. Asking for help is such a difficult thing to do but really, I've found that if they can help you- they probably will.
Giant resource party I attended at Alt 2012. Photo by B.A.D. Photography.
Step 2: Write a list of things that you want to try and put them on a calendar
Whether it's learning to book bind (which I totally am getting into thanks to Allison Chapman and her Igloo Press workshop at Alt) or paper cutting (also a fabulous workshop) if you want to try it, set up a time and a place to do it. Remember that trying out new things inspires creativity. Book your year around fun learning experiences so that the cool, creative juices flow all throughout the year.
Book binding class at Alt
Step 3: Set up an "ideas" club.
Doesn't have to be big, it can be a small group of people that you are comfortable bouncing ideas off of. Meet at least once a month and really encourage each other to stay on target with your goals. These are the people that will hold you to your deadlines and cheer you on as you approach the finishing goal. These are the people that can give you advice and inspiration. These are also the people that can tell you that you are nuts and you smell a little funky. The point is to surround yourself with people that believe in you, period.
Step 4: Organize a daily schedule
Having that weekly schedule front and center is key as well as a routine. Figure out what time of day you are most creative in and WORK IT. I find I'm most creative in the morning, so when the kids go to school- I get cranking. If you have little kids, set up some babysitting time once a week for a couple of hours. No babysitter, swap with a friend. Watch her kids one week and then switch. There is always a solution. Remember the resource party- this would be a great place to ask for help from your circle of friends.
Step 5: Find a guru
There is nothing more motivating than watching someone you admire achieve their goals. Whether you know them or not, looking up to them will provide enormous amounts of pep that you'll need to stay motivated. One of my favorite bloggers is Bri Emery from Design Love Fest. Every single time I go to her blog I get all yippee, skippy inside. It's just full of win! (I almost passed out when I met her by the way.) Make a list of all those people that will make you almost pass out and contact them. Let them know that you love what they do and thank them for being a source of inspiration in your life.
Bonus step, but really important: Have fun, take risks.
Life is a lot of hard work so having fun while doing it can make all the difference. An amazing amount of opportunities will present themselves to you, every day. If you're not aware, you'll not notice them. They'll pass you by and not present themselves again. Get a little uncomfortable. Step outside your comfort zone. Most importantly, laugh at yourself because only then will it be ok when other's do.
The most uncoordinated photo booth shot at Alt. Clearly my favorite!
Photo by Smilebooth