It’s that time of year again. We all sit down in the cold of January and make our lists, set our intentions, and vow to finally conquer the novel that’s been brewing inside us. The ball drops, and we whip out a fresh notebook.
And then you hit a stumbling block.
Maybe you run out of steam after you word-vomit your plot onto paper. Maybe you get sick, get stuck, or just don’t feel like staring at a screen for one more second. Maybe, by the time you read this, you’ve already called it a wash.
That wouldn’t be uncommon. According to a recent study, 80 percent of Americans give up on their New Year’s resolutions by the first week of February. That’s a lot of blank Word docs and empty notebooks collecting dust.
The problem isn’t necessarily the resolution itself. With the rise in popularity of pastel-colored planners, bullet journals, and personal development books, we’ve gotten much better at analyzing our dreams and breaking them down into bite-sized chunks. But what we haven’t come to accept is that we need to build an action plan around our strengths and weaknesses. Basically, we need to be ready for when we inevitably mess up.
Below is a step-by-step guide I’ve used with my workshop students to plan and stay the course while they work on everything from sketches to sweeping novels. We’ll start by looking at why we’re after certain goals in the first place, map our way around potential roadblocks, and take a quiz to determine how to use our strengths. The process works, if you’re willing to work for it.
Step One: Reclaim A Sense Of Safety
We first need to reacquaint ourselves with…ourselves. We already have all the answers we seek within us, and our physical, mental, and emotional states are constantly sending us feedback. This step asks us to trust this feedback completely — even if it doesn’t make sense at first. Click here for prompts.
Step Two: Let Your Joy Set You Free
Take a closer look at what truly brings you joy. Work in a different creative medium to search back through your memories and experiences to pinpoint the last time you felt joyful and identify the common thread between them. Click here for the prompts.
Step Three: Be Your Own Authority
The goal of this exercise is to learn to trust yourself fully without any external validation whatsoever. This is important—knowing where your pain comes from and where your joy has the potential to lead you will keep you rooted into your creativity throughout the year. Click here to download the map-making activity.
Step Four: Identify Your Superpower
Now that you’ve gotten reacquainted with your own inner voice, it’s time to allow some outside perspective. Click here to take this personality-style quiz to determine your creative superpower.
Step Five: Your Art Is Your Awakening
Using what you know about your pain and joy, strengths and weaknesses, begin to thread together how each of these parts of you influences your creative work and how you approach your goals. Click here for the prompts.
Step Six: Plan Your Resilience
To reach our goals, we have to embrace that we’ll stumble. And we have to be prepared for it. In this step, we’ll integrate all of the information you’ve learned about yourself into a resilience plan. Click here for the goal-setting sheet.
Step Seven: Be The Light
At the end of the day, we often need a bigger purpose to keep going when things get hard. This final step asks you to take everything you know about yourself and your art and answer this question: How can my creativity heal the world? Click here for the prompts.
Andrea Hannah is an award-winning storyteller, essayist, and author. She leads transformative workshops on creativity and life. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter (@andeehannah) and at www.andreahannah.com
Author: Andrea Hannah Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Author Bio: Andrea Hannah is an award-winning author, essayist, and workshop leader. She teaches on living a healthy creative life at her Wild Heart retreats and writes on creativity on Twitter and Instagram (@andeehannah). Link to website: http://www.andreahannah.com