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Blog post #162 – Change

Well, it might seem a bit obvious but like it or not we are all living with constant change these days. Rather than fear it we really do need to learn not only how to embrace it but make it work for us, too.

There are lot of good blogs and bloggers out there who deal with change such as death, moving house, a messy divorce, redundancy etc. and coping with it on a large scale. If you are looking for that kind of information, that is not what I am offering here. What I am advocating is that we try and look at change from a positive, not a negative standpoint. I want to encourage you to embrace change in this way, which should give you more control and, ultimately, a better outcome.

The way I am going to do that this year is by seriously thinking about what I want to happen for me and my art business this year. What do I want to achieve? When do I need to get certain things done and how I am going to make that all work for me? This isn’t a five-minute process; you need to sit down with pen and paper (or a laptop etc.) and write down what your dreams are, what you are able to make happen and then figure out a time frame for all this to occur. Hold yourself accountable.

For me, 2021 was full of change, much of which I had little or no control over and even that which I could control, wasn’t just about me as these areas also affected others. Having a real influence on things was simply not possible. 2022 will be different for me and I started planning for that back in November.

So how will I approach this and what lessons can you learn from my approach? Firstly, I will be using the trusty planner again. I made a new one for 2022, which I love already, and as I was able to use one for most of last year (by that I mean I missed out on about five weeks in total due to moving and coping with family losses) I know I can do it and I realise just how valuable having it is.

In my planner I list weekly what I need to get done and either cross off a completed item or move it forward to the following week so that it doesn’t get forgotten. If you want to know more about using a planner or bullet journal, please look through the blogs I posted in December 2020 and at various times throughout 2021.

This year I have printed the pages; previously I stuck printed templates onto blank pages, which made the journal rather fat. Having realised for myself just how valuable it has been I intend adding new elements too, but I will see how that goes before sharing with you.

Became large and difficult to handle with so many additional pages stuck into the original journal

Other changes I intend to make concern my ability to produce artwork. In the past I have spread myself too thin and honestly been flattered by the many requests to teach my skills to others. Don’t get me wrong; I have loved every minute of teaching and next year I may go full throttle at it again but for 2022 I do not plan to do any teaching as I want to focus on my art.

For 2022 I made a new preprinted pages version which should be far easier to use this year

I was unable to create large artworks during the lockdowns. This was due to lack of working space; moving house; and losing my studio. I still have a piece to do, commissioned early in 2020, which I haven’t had either the headspace or working space to create it in. Oh, and it is for a friend so I will admit I am very scared that whatever I make they may not like but won’t feel comfortable telling me and this might damage our friendship.

Yes, like everyone else I have periods of self-doubt as an artist. So, I am going to make four versions of this piece for my friend to choose from and, because I have been so tardy, I intend to discount it hugely. Construction of my studio is due to start at the end of January so by the end of February it should be ready for me to use. Once this happens, I can move out of my husband’s office and have peace and quiet to work in both an office and a working space for my painting, printmaking and journal making, too.

Because that is a few weeks away and I need things to move in the right direction, I am planning classes to attend, booking studio space with other artists, and arranging exhibitions so that I have to make work. I have sorted out in my head where I need to get to and am now working towards navigating to that destination.

So, what is a good way to do this for yourself? Well, like me you need to decide where you want to get to. I know that there are several projects I must complete this year, some of which are time critical. If I don’t complete them this year that will change the pathway I am setting for myself over the next ten years.

Working out when I need each stage of those projects to be completed; planning and documenting it in my journal; and then (and this is probably key to it all) sticking to the plan means that I know that what I want to happen will happen in 2022.

I know this works because I have been there before. I have suffered from extreme procrastination and know how to deal with that. I have also suffered from a complete lack of confidence and have found a route out of that, too. I know that by showing up every day to make the plan work, it will work, I will have brought about those changes, and they are the changes I want to happen.

Like this opportunity which just fell into my lap

One caveat here, having this plan doesn’t mean that I have closed myself off from interesting detours. The time-sensitive stuff must happen, but there are lots of other things in the plan which are more flexible and provide opportunities to experience something unplanned.

This comes about by saying yes to as many things as you know you can handle within the flexible part of your plan. For instance, some years ago I decorated animal statues for charity. One of the charities has asked me to decorate a hen this year. I can do this, and I know how quickly I can do it, too. I also know that by getting involved with a project like this, other doors may open to opportunities I couldn’t even imagine. There are some elements of change which I don’t want to control as they can throw new, wonderful opportunities my way, but the basic plan is down on paper, and I know what can and can’t be done in between times.

So, decide what you want and then figure out how to make that happen but always be open to opportunities which could just spark something wonderful in your art life.

I wish you all the success you wish for yourself in 2022.  Let’s make it a brilliant year.

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