Welcome to 2024! As we begin this new year, you may be thinking about setting creative resolutions. However, with that comes some challenges. Writing and creating are so broad that it could easily get overwhelming to think about starting new goals or setting them. Here are some pointers to help get you started.
Learn more about your art form! Public libraries and reputable online publications are great resources. The more you discover, the more room for new ideas and methods of practice there will be. Learning about the lives and works of artists who came before you can also be helpful. Even if you think you’re already a bank of knowledge, there’s something out there for everyone. Nobody knows it all!
Revisit Your Old Works And Analyze Them
Be kind to yourself in doing so. Recognize how far you’ve come. Try to remember that each and every shortcoming is room to improve, grow, and experience…not a personal failure!
You could surprise even yourself. You may find habits you want to break or have broken over time. You might think of ways you would want to write the piece now compared to its original pen time. It could also help in reaffirming methods you want to expand on or continue using in your works. In looking at your works with a grounded, more well-rounded view, it will help give you direction!
Ask For Help
Don’t be afraid to go to other creators with your questions! Ask others about their own goals. Ask others if they know about any helpful mentors or workshops you could pursue. Ask others for honest critiques of your work. This should not include just praise, by the way. Everyone can improve somehow. On the other end, it shouldn’t just include the negatives either. You want to look for a bit of outside perspective on both sides.
Be Intentional, Be Consistent
I know this is said a lot, but setting small stepping-stone goals that are easily digestible will get you a lot farther than immediately going for that large leap. It is harder to keep going and establish consistency when you have such large aspirations.
Don’t be afraid to achieve smaller, “easier” things too. Honestly? I hate the terms “easy” and “difficult” when it comes to creative tasks. Any creative endeavor is worth celebrating. No creative endeavor is a small feat, and it’s important we acknowledge that.
Even something you wrote in 5 or 10 minutes is worthwhile. It is just as much a culmination of your blood, sweat, and tears as something that took months to write. That may be controversial to say, but I truly believe it. Some of the most profound pieces I’ve written were done in this amount of time. Often, I feel we sanitize and over-polish our thoughts if we sit on a piece for too long.
Another aspect of this is to be deliberate with your practice and time. 5 to 10 minutes of writing that serves a particular function and healthily challenges you will offer worlds more experience than 5 to 10 hours of writing just to write. (Not that writing for the sake of writing isn’t fun or completely valid on its own, of course)
Get Comfortable With Your Voice
Arguably, the key element to any creative work is the artist’s voice. Maybe one of the things you want to get comfortable with first is that expression.
I’ve been writing since I knew what on Earth a pencil or pen was, and this is still something I admittedly struggle with.
Because we’re so used to living with our own voice, we’re often the harshest critics of it. The first to cringe at it. However, the reality is that we truly are the only ones who can express our ideas in their purest form. That is powerful.
Work on getting familiar with what you sound like, both internally and externally. Your voice is your power. That very thing we like to pick apart is the same thing that drives us. The heart and soul of what we do.
Before you go setting any crazy goals or seek out “improvement”, get cozy with who you are and where you are now. Respect your lived experiences. Respect your person. You deserve that much.
Wishing you the best in 2024! Good luck, and I can’t wait to see where we all end this year off. I believe in you!