It is the end of one of my favourite months of the year, November, and I’m starting to look ahead to the coming new year. What will it hold? Will I have way too many ideas again and overwhelm myself with too many options? (Well the answer to that will be a loud yes, the trick will be in keeping it all moving rather than spluttering to a halt).
I’m starting to think that’s alright, I’m not like my treasured friend Tina who sets big goals and over achieves them. I set big goals, but maybe too many, and achieve some, miss others. We’re just different. The important thing is the doing, actually having goals and doing the work that’s needed to achieve them.
I have conversations with people who are working in administration in some organisation and are looking at me, at market, making my living from what I make and they idealise it, thinking it must be some wonderful life full of satisfaction. Well there is a lot of satisfaction from it but it is really challenging and often frightening.
Let’s be frank, as an artisan I’ll never afford property in Sydney, even on the outskirts now. My next rental leap will result in me leaving Sydney as $650+ per week is unrealistic (for everyone I think, but I know for sure, for a self employed artisan). My income fluctuates through out the year and through every month.
Full time employment is far more predictable in terms of hours and income. It is safer. You are able to go out shopping. I think employees keep the economy ticking along, as long as they are involved in it. Artisans and artists spend very little money because they have to be so careful with it.
So while I’ll be planning how to improve my financial position in the coming year while doing work that I love, I think for those who are doing work that pays for their lives but are lamenting the lack of creativity, they should have a look at a plan for making every day creative.
Figure out which areas of interest you want to explore in the coming year and map them out, set yourself creative goals and get doing.
So in January I’ll be writing up my calendars and planning trips and activities. I’ll be checking out the state art galleries websites – like the Art Gallery of NSW, Victoria and maybe even Queensland and South Australia. I’ll also check out the National Art Gallery of Australia too. I’ll look at what exhibitions they have when and look to see where that fits with my calendar through out the year. I’ll add post it notes to my calendar about which exhibitions are on and then during the year I’ll keep an eye on cheap flights. I tuck away $20 here and there to save up for a day or two away – cheap flights and accommodation under $100 for the night, air port transfers and transport. Because an interstate trip can easily cost $400 I make sure my local galleries and museums are high on my list as well as the National as I have family and friends in Canberra to visit too.
My aim is to get to about 3-5 exhibitions per year. I find that they refresh my spirit and open my mind. So too does going to places where other artisans gather and show their work – so markets are ideal. I need to mix things up.
Some years I try to do a creative evening course. One year I did a black and white photography course, another year I did an amateur theatre play and that resulted in a life long friendship that I’m constantly thankful for.
My logic is to try to do something every month or two, so it adds up to about 5-8 things per year. That’s a good year. That’s how I live a creative life. Sure, I make my living from the jewellery I make. I live an artisan life by definition. But I couldn’t sustain that over 15 years without finding my own way to live the artist way. I’ve had to renew my spirit with things that I love. It’s figuring out what you love that makes the difference. Trying different things, exploring and doing, understanding what lights you up and doing more of it is the secret. So make a list of ideas and jump in.
For me, doing things regularly during the year add up, I can look back at the year and feel that I did something with it (within my budget) that gives me joy, that has me feeling like I actually lived the year rather than worked through it with 7 day weeks.
But this is only achieved when I plan things out and am open to new ideas and opportunities.
By doing creative things I’ve not only made life long friends, fallen in love a few times and visited beautiful cities I’ve also started painting, designed entirely new ranges, felt like I’ve been adventurous, had my heart sing with the shear beauty someone’s been able to create, found perfect presents for treasured friends, had big laughs over silly things with friends and even held regular lunch groups at art gallery cafes. Now that makes every day creative.