Setting Creative Goals for the New Year

January 14, 2017

I’ve already spoken about my overarching goal for 2017, but also wanted to share my creative goals– to hold myself accountable, but also give an example of what yours can look like too!

Setting creative goals has become a great way for me to keep up the momentum of my creative pursuits. My goals this year can be split into two main groups: staying inspired and maintaining productivity.

creativestay lettering calligraphy setting creative goalsPhoto by Heidi Lee

Setting Creative Goals for Staying Inspired

Staying inspired revolves around learning new skills and avoiding creative ruts. In the past few weeks, I’ve made moves to learn (or improve): lettering & calligraphy, playing an instrument, wood burning and embroidery. If you see a DIY that you want to try, or have been wishing you knew a new type of skill, just do it. Take that class, order a beginner’s kit, watch a YouTube tutorial– you won’t regret it.

I’m also trying to surround myself with the inspiring work of others. I follow very talented illustrators, photographers and other creative folks on social media. I listen to music for an hour (minimum) each day. Perhaps most importantly, I read. Since I started working full time about 3 years ago, I’ve found it a lot tougher to keep up with this hobby. At one point I stopped reading altogether, and could literally feel my creativity drying up.

Books have always been my primary source of inspiration– since I started out as a writer, I’ve gotten pretty good at taking everything a book teaches me (new ideas, narrative structures, uses of language) and translating it into whatever other medium I’m working in at the time. This year I’ve vowed to read as much as possible, and to not hesitate in buying a book I think I might like. I’ve recently gotten into Emma Straub and Paul Coelho (quite the combo of authors to read simultaneously), so I’m feeling pretty good about keeping that up for a while 🙂

creativestay lettering calligraphy setting creative goals

Some easy tips for staying inspired:

  • Try Spotify’s Discover Weekly & Release Radar playlists for new music every week; to stay current and explore your own taste more
  • Social media can be a curse but it can also be a blessing. Spend some time finding and following those whose work inspires you. Watch how their work evolves over time
  • Pick up one of the unread books sitting on your shelf. You bought it for a reason!
  • $10 will buy most of the beginner’s tools you need for a single craft. Charcoals & a notebook, a wood burner’s kit (I’m seriously trying it soon), some cardstock and pens. Budget for your creativity– it’s an investment in yourself.

Setting Creative Goals for Maintaining Productivity

When it comes to maintaining creative productivity, well, that’s a little tougher. I know from experience how hard it can be to hold yourself accountable. But like eating well and exercising, I’ve found that maintaining multiple creative outlets keeps me feeling refreshed and happier.

CreativeStay has become my favorite way of being held accountable year-round. If you don’t have some type of blog or digital way of tracking or sharing creative progress, I would highly recommend buying a notebook and making a weekly or monthly goal of doing, say, 5 creative things. You don’t need to specify what those things are if that limits you– just use this goal as an impetus to spend your quiet moments creatively.

Some ideas for how to creatively spend downtime:

  • Go for a photo walk on your own street
  • Pick up an instrument, or treat your voice as one
  • Go to a bookstore and buy the first book that piques your interest
  • Spread out whatever craft/office supplies you’ve got and make a card for your best friend/significant other
  • Browse the internet for an online or local class. Don’t be afraid to go by yourself!
  • Scroll through Pinterest and buy the supplies for the first DIY that catches your eye

Remember: Never be embarrassed if you’re learning something new. Embrace it! It makes things more fun, and is also something to be proud of.

creativestay lettering calligraphy setting creative goals

Thanks for following along– I hope you experience, make and do inspiring things this year!



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