Paralysis, fear and adrenaline

January is a strange month for me, full of ups and downs, paralyzing fear and adrenaline-fueled excitement. I can honestly say I hate and love NEW YEAR BEGINNINGS in equal measure.
If it’s been a good year then I clap myself on the back and have a sip of wine (always advisable when doing this exercise) as I remind myself of some of the sales I’ve had.
And that’s when the paralyzing fear kicks in. . . Because now I have to start all over again. Last year’s successes are gone, which means last year’s money is looooooong gone, too. The income column in my spreadsheet reads NIL. And to make things worse the recession is just getting worse.

So I take another sip of wine. And then I start planning..

  • My basic financial goal is to make the same as the previous year, but I always plan to make a little more.
  • My career goal this year is to continue to grow my profile and attract new collectors and admirers.
  • My professional goal is to create a number of paintings over the course of the year that I think have moved me forward as a painter, which ensures my work is evolving and continues to excite me.
  • And my personal goal is to make sure I can fit all that I need to do into a regular working week, and not to take on anything that will mean having to be away from home for long periods.

12 month plan

  • In my notebook I draw twelve columns, one for each month of the year.
  • Then I draw a number of rows, one for each of my income earning activities, such as Art School classes, Art Workshops, gallery exhibitions, painting workshops, online sales etc.
  • This gives me a grid, with a box in each month that corresponds to each income earning activity.
  • I then start to fill in those boxes, starting with my annual “main events.”
  • These are the important ones; the ones that I expect to generate the most income from: Art workshops, exhibitions
And with that, my simple twelve-month calender shows painting commitments for March, May, June, October, November and December. In a glance, I can come up with an estimate of the number of new paintings I will need to create each month.
I still need to add my series of summer painting workshops to the calendar, making sure that they do not clash with any major painting commitments. I try to place them so that they will not interfere too much with my painting schedule.
And finally, I add any new projects or opportunities that I might want to take on.
This year I hope to have a gallery show, so I’ll provisionally mark that in for June?. This will include some of my limited edition prints, so I make a note that I will need to order and frame a collection of prints for this if the show goes ahead.
And with that, my plan for the year is finished, drawn up on a single page in my notebook.
Just like that, the paralysing fear is gone.
Unfortunately, now it has been replaced by blind panic. How am I supposed to get all this work done in just twelve months?!?
But we’ll leave that for another day. . .

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