The Art of Business: New Year's Resolutions for Creative Professionals
In the headlong rush that is our lives today, the start of another year is a better time than most to sit down and take stock. Here are ten uncommon resolutions you might try on for size.
1. Create art for art's sake. Way back when, you had a dream that went something like this: I love art, I love drawing or painting. I love scribbling my name on building walls. Wouldn't it be great if I could get paid for it? Make money doing this all day long? And lo and behold, it is happening (or will soon). But then came the reality: bidding for jobs, inane clients, shallow marketing jargon, and ugly stock photos! It's not all bad, but it's not the pure, unadulterated feeling of creating art for art's sake -- that joy you felt when you scribbled a pen drawing on a 3-hole punched piece of ruled paper in the school cafeteria. So find the medium closest to your heart and work like a fool creating something totally wonderful with no intent of selling it, ever.
2. Do pro bono work. Somewhere out there is a community or non-profit organization looking for someone to redesign their Web site or create a logo. They might need a new brochure or a sign outside the door. Find the organization that moves you and volunteer your services. The work might be mundane but the cause will be noble. You'll leave the world a better place and feel better for it.
3. Commit to environmentally responsible solutions. As designers of physical stuff, we can help this old stressed earth by cutting down on waste and toxic products, by making smart choices, and by eschewing extravagance. There are tons of ways to do so cheaply, efficiently, and creatively. Start with Heather Castles' excellent article "66 Simple Ways to Be Green". You may become an expert in green design and pick up a few environmentally-aware clients along the way.
4. Thank the people you work with and for. We are lucky people: we get to do what we love, and people pay us to do it. Or if they don't pay us, they assist us with services and products. Thank them. Thank them sincerely, not just now with a holiday card, but through the year as you work alongside them. It's a nice thing, gratitude. It's free and it makes everyone feel good. The world should be full of it.
5. Thank the people who put up with you. Let me guess, some mornings you're a little grumpy. Sometimes when the cash isn't flowing, you're a little prickly. Sometimes clients and vendors drive you up the wall. And who catches the flak? It's the people you love. So thank them for putting up with your foul moods and erratic behavior, your zany theories on art and the metaphorical eraser crumbs you leave behind. Because without those people, nothing would be worthwhile.
6. Reconnect with the love of art. There's a reason you got into this business, and chances are it wasn't money. It was your love of art, how it moves you, what it means to society, and why you're so driven to create it. Make a commitment to reconnect with the passion that got you started. Take an afternoon off and walk through a museum or a neighborhood filled with murals. Find a group of people who'll talk about art ideas and theories. Remember what drove you into the graphics world to begin with, and go home again.
7. Teach someone. Maybe it's a niece or nephew, a kid down the street, or a class full of second-graders. Maybe it's a great-grandmother at a senior center or a mentally disabled person. Somewhere in a radius of 10 miles there is someone who wants nothing more than to soak up your knowledge and stand in the shadow of your success. Teach someone art, because someone taught and inspired you, because it's too wonderful a love not to pass on, because no bond is as endearing as that of teacher and student. It survives us, and those we teach, and those they teach as well.
8. Decide where you want to be professionally in one year. At some point you've go to focus on the biz, and now's a good time to do it. Think of where you want to be professionally exactly one year hence. Be reasonable, or better yet, don't be reasonable. Visualize where you want to be, doing what, with whom. Now firmly plant that vision in your imagination. Write it down and affirm it every day. As someone once said, "We can never surpass our wildest dreams, if we don't first have wild dreams."
9. Create a road map to success. Dreaming it is the first step, making it happen comes next. Create a plan that includes every task you need to perform along the way to your vision. Mark the major milestones on your calendar and keep to your plan all year long. Carpe diem! Success only happens for those who make it happen. The clearer you are about goals and tasks, the better chance you'll have of success.
10. Believe in yourself. Give the gift that keeps on giving: a little self-confidence. You've made it this far and you can tackle the next challenge, and the challenge after that. As naïve and Polly Anna-ish as this might sound, so many disappointments and failures in life stem from our inability to believe in ourselves. So give yourself a gift -- the benefit of the doubt -- and you'll be rich beyond any measure of money or fame.
Happy New Year.
Liked This? Read These!
If you want to show your game-night buddies how much you love Swiss design, don't feed them cheese—play with Helveticards instead! The Helvetica typeface and strong, simple Swiss design make this $10... Read More
Just in time for New Year's resolutions, a new survey may shed light on why we always focus on the same things each year when it comes to making our resolutions. The survey conducted by Harris... Read More
It's hard enough pitching yourself to one prospective client, but at some point you may have to face three, five, or -- heaven forbid -- seven people all at the same time. Yes, the opportunity to... Read More
As 2005 draws to an end, www.CareerWomen.com advises that now is the time to plan for 2006 career goals. In addition to creating holiday shopping lists, take the time to create your own career... Read More