For those of us pursuing creative goals, it’s common to find ourselves falling into a groove where we focus on the same things, grind away at the same projects, and work toward the same goals over and over again. And while there is a lot of value in becoming an expert in one or two specific areas of your creative endeavors, we should remember to take regular stock in what we’re doing and seeing how it aligns with our overall plans.
Businesses file quarterly and annual reports on the state of their revenues, growth, challenges and successes, and this practice may be a good one to emulate for our creative endeavors. While not every creative worker makes a full-time living at our work (many of us don’t charge for our creative work, or gain in ways other than money), taking a step away from the day-to-day to create a full report to ourselves on what we’ve accomplished, what challenges we’ve faced, how much money and time we’ve spent and what our direction is going to be going forward can help spark the next wave of creative pursuit.
This type of reporting, in the business world, has to happen at specific times of the year, and this may be a good model to follow, so that we don’t only take stock when things are going well (or conversely, when things are seeming dire). Often, the state of the business just means that things are going well, we are on task, and to continue on the path we’ve chosen. However, without at least a somewhat objective overview of what we’re doing, it can be easy to either focus on the grind of building our creative works or the dreaminess of thinking about all the other types of art that we could be making.
It can also feel a little bit antithetical to the creative process, forcing our creative projects into a business plan, especially if this isn’t a significant source of revenue. While using the terminology of a quarterly report, remember there is no need to use the format of a traditional business to take stock of our own work, especially if the only audience is ourselves. Use your creativity to find a way to break down the work that you’ve done into an understandable format that allows you to figure out new directions, find the successes, focus on the challenges, and grow as an artist.