Ten (doable) New Year's Resolutions For Creative People

David Lidbetter - Till Tomorrow

If the dawn of a new year is a good time to reflect on your goals and dreams and on the steps you're taking to achieve them, then surely the dawn of a new decade is even better. It's time to shake off bad creative habits, discouraging thoughts, and lethargy. Whether art is your hobby or your career, here are 10 achievable resolutions you can make to add life and light to your creative process.

1. Say Yes. If someone wants you to put a piece in their show, say yes. If someone asks you to go to a gallery opening with them, say yes. If you're asking yourself if you really have the energy to get into the studio today, say yes. Even if an opportunity or event seems intimidating to you, the very act of saying Yes to it will make you stronger.

2. Turn off the Self-doubt. Nothing kills creativity like discouragement. Don't let criticism bring you down, whether it comes from within you or from the world at large. Don't second-guess your creative choices; you can always make changes later. And don't let rejection deter you. Some of the finest, most successful authors and artists in history have some of the largest collections of rejection letters.

3. Carry a sketchbook, and make sure you use it. Doodle, sketch, jot down ideas, dreams, random conversations of strangers. You never know where these little gems of inspiration will lead you.

4. Schedule creative time. Maybe you work full time and art is a hobby; maybe you're a full-time artist. Either way, it's important to work creativity into your schedule. Whether it be several hours each afternoon, a few minutes before you go to bed, or a couple hours on the weekend, try to set aside time just to create. You'll find that once you start working regularly even your off hours become creative, as you continue to contemplate your work even while you're walking to work or washing the dishes.

5. Schedule a screen free time. Sure computers are useful, and we've come to rely on them for almost every aspect of our life, but they can create a noisy, distracting world in your head. Set aside some time to put down the phone and shut off the computer. Let yourself be bored, let yourself listen to the quiet. Allow yourself to notice what's in the real world all around you.

6. Look at art. Look at art you love, look at art you hate, look at work by artists you've never heard of before. Look at your own art, to remember all that you have achieved. If you can get yourself to a museum, that's ideal. If you can't get to a museum, go to a library or bookstore and browse through the art books. Follow museums and galleries on Instagram and Facebook. Follow local artists on Instagram and Facebook. Follow Artspan on Instagram and Facebook. Your feed will be full of beauty and inspiration to balance all the bad news and pettiness that somehow seeps in.

7. Submit. Maybe you're not sure your work is ready. Maybe you've had some rejection. Sometimes it's hard to share your work with the world; sometimes it's hard to face the criticism and neglect. But it's also one of the best feelings in the world to share your work with others, to feel that glimmer of hope every time you send something out. Submit to local galleries or submit to online magazines and blogs. Apply for residencies and grants. Set aside a little time in your schedule to keep up-to-date with opportunities for artists. 

Here are 11 places to submit work online

and 10 magazines that accept photography and art submissions

and 10 sites to search for resources for artists.

8. Exhibit. You've submitted your work to local galleries and well-known art blogs, and hopefully you've got a solo show in the best space in town. But if it hasn't worked out like that for you, find other ways to show your work. Ask if you can have a show at the local library or chamber of commerce. Ask if you can hang your work at cafes, doctors' waiting rooms, and realtors’ offices. Create a website for your art, and post links to it everywhere. Start your own blog, Instagram profile, or Facebook page for your art to link to your website. Have openings in your home--display your work and the work of your friends and serve wine and cheese. Print cards of your work to leave in coffee shops and lobbies.

9. Try Something New. Buy a new kind of paint or clay or marker. Try a new technique. Use a new lens for your camera. Experiment with a new color palette, a new perspective, a new font, or a new spice. Step outside of your comfort zone and see what new worlds you discover.

10. Spend time with other artists. One of the best ways to foster creativity is to talk about creativity. It helps to share your joys and disappointments with others who are striving for the same thing that you are. Discussing your creative process can help you to unlock inspiration and imagination, to overcome stumbling blocks, and to solve creative conundrums. If you stay in touch with your artistic community you can learn about opportunities to make, view, and share art. You can get a group of friends together and visit a gallery, or have a drink-and-draw evening. From the comfort of your home you can join Facebook groups or other online chat groups for artists.

Set up an Artspan site and join a community of thousands of artists.

Tracy Baker-White