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Why planning is vital for artists

Sheila Chandra - Thursday, July 26, 2018

Give your creative projects the best chance of success with some serious career planning. Here are some reasons why creative career planning is vital, and how it will make you a better artist long-term.

Planning helps you harness your subconscious mind

An artist needs to know where they’re headed and your plan is your map. Most artists realise that their subconscious minds do a lot of the work. But, your subconscious needs to know why it’s making the effort. Planning helps you harness your subconscious mind’s powers when it comes to moving forward in your career. Tell it where you want to go, how you think you might get there, and watch it work for you!

Planning helps artists create more efficiently

Every serious artist has a creative vision for their work, and this vision comes to life through hard work and planning. Your work is like a story that you’re creating. Planning your creative work helps you work out why, where, how, who, when and what. This can clarify your vision right from the beginning and make your work sharper, better angled and ultimately more saleable

Planning your workspace gives you more time and energy

Having an organised workspace allows an artist to work more efficiently. When everything has its place, you’re not wasting time and energy searching for things. How incredibly frustrating it is when you have an idea bursting out of your imagination and you can’t find the tools to capture it! The solution to this is setting your tools out around sensibly set up and personalised workstations.

Try writing down all your common tasks and gathering the tools you’ll need for each one in a specific workstation – so that everything’s within arm’s reach. Setting your workspace ahead of time and workstations that are tailored to you specifically, means that you won’t waste energy making those decisions later while you’re in the flow of your creative process. Keeping your materials within reach and giving everything its own place saves any artist valuable time throughout the day and makes their work more effortless. And more time and energy is what every artist needs…

Planning makes an artist more open to opportunities

Artists is often presented with unexpected opportunities i.e. the kind of “right time, right place” offers that are unpredictable. It might be an offer to meet another famous artist, or a chance to be part of an exhibit. Though it seems counter intuitive, planning can actually position you to make the most of these opportunities. First, because you can see the big picture, and recognise them when they arrive. Secondly, because your work schedule is efficient so it can accommodate the unexpected. You can see where there is time to squeeze in a meeting. Maybe you’ve even been efficient enough to put ideas, canvases, songs and ‘dream idea’ projects on the shelf for just such an opportunity? Planning in advance – though it sounds boring -  will ironically will make you more spontaneous and available when those once-in-a lifetime opportunities arise.

Planning gives an artist clarity and focus

As an artist, being able to focus on your work is crucial. Planning gives an artist a solid foundation and the clarity to see exactly what they need to do and why. This will pull you through the difficult times when you’re tempted to work on something unimportant or slack off. Let’s face it, you work alone, and resistance, distraction and stress will challenge you and often feel like enemies. The best way to overcome them is to use your planning to maintain focus. If you are clear about what you want to achieve, and you have a plan of how to achieve it - then these enemies won’t stand a chance.

Planning allows an artist to feel in control

Stay in control by using calendars, making lists, organising storage, creating workstations and planning your projects. It’s empowering and it’s practical. Some artists fear that doing this will make them less creative. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes creativity has to ‘swirl about’ unhampered. But contain it like snow in a snow globe. It’s much prettier and more useful in there than all over your workspace!

Having an organised approach allows you to truly focus on your creative work. Being disorganised is exhausting. Not knowing the difference between which tasks are important or urgent can lead you to make bad decisions or wasting time – both will affect your career trajectory. There is a sense of calm that comes from knowing that everything is under control and mapped out. Planning will give you more control, time, energy and focus to become a better artist.

 

If you’re an artist who needs help with planning, time management, motivation and career infrastructure, you might benefit from creative career coaching. Email me at sheila@sheilachandra.com for a free 30 minute consultation to find out if I’m the right coach for you…

 

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