At my day-to-day job, I have to prepare a weekly report for the boss I report to. Contained in this report are the major activities I participated in during the week, the things I expect to accomplish next week, and how those activities line up against my yearly goals and the goals of the organization.
While I often see artists showing off the work they’re making in various formats, I wonder how many of us formalize the process of reporting on our completed activities, upcoming activities, and how they line up with our overall goals as artists? Since most of us are self-employed as artists (even if we are employed by other businesses for our primary incomes), I think it would be a very interesting exercise to hold ourselves accountable for making work and building skills and materials in order to accomplish our goals.
What would a weekly report for artists look like? Since we’re reporting to ourselves, I think it’s a very personal decision, but here are some suggestions for reporting on your artistic endeavors:
- Works completed
- Works in progress
- Prep work completed
- Tools and materials ordered or purchased
- Works in progress to be completed
- Works to be started
- Tools and materials to be ordered or purchased
- Classes, lessons, or tutorials in progress or to take in order to sharpen skills
- Practice sessions scheduled
- Draft work/sketches/doodles to review for new ideas
One of the most alluring traps artists fall into is believing that creative work “just happens” and that the muse either shows up or not. By treating our work like we treat our jobs, we can add some discipline to the process of creation, and also be able to look back upon the work we’ve completed to feel a sense of accomplishment. It also allows us to align the day-to-day work of creating art with our overall goals. Are we selling the work we’ve made? Is there some skill we’re lacking that we’ve consistently put off building because we haven’t made the time for it? Is the art we’ve made up to our standards, and if not, what will be necessary to elevate it?
Whatever the path you take towards growing as an artist, remembering that creativity takes as much discipline and effort as it does talent is always advisable. Go out and make something wonderful!