A few days ago my daughter shared a post with me that went something like “January is the free trial month of the year”, I quite liked that way of thinking of it, because the month just seemed to go on forever and at the same time I couldn’t seem to get anything done that I wanted to.
Now that the “free trial month” is over, it’s really time for me to make a proper effort to get to work. I’ve been at this for many years, but have always had something else that was more important, raising and homeschooling my children, being a good wife, getting better at art, learning more. The truth is there can be many important things in one’s life, and while I can’t do everything, I can do more than one thing, I just need to let go of my perfectionism, comparing myself and my journey to others and get to work.
It occurred to me that I might not be the only one in this boat and maybe by sharing what I’m working on, whether I succeed or fail, it will encourage someone else to keep going. Also, I’d like to be more intentional about my planning and follow through and putting it on my website and even my social media felt like a good way to keep track.
Let’s get to it…
Things I’d like to do in February
There are a few things I’d like to focus on this month, the most important being to say out loud (and online) what it is that I actually do. It’s probably a bit weird that I feel like I need to be more specific about this, but it ties into staying in my own lane and embracing my own journey. I broke what I want to focus on this month into categories – products, content, social, creating and learning.
I’m an artist and I create illustrations and surface designs, but then I use those designs to create notepads, journals, cards & envelopes, colouring pages and more. These are the products that I would like to start sharing, not just the illustrations and surface patterns, but also what I make with them.
I have a few finished products already and I also have the digital files available that I will make available for purchase for the people who would like to make the products themselves.
So the three things I want to focus on when it comes to products are:
- Show the products (physical and digital) I already have available
- Make more products with older and new designs
- Upload the products to my shop
Writing and filming content is not my strength, but I do like to share my knowledge, my thoughts and my skills with others, so this month I am going to aim to write one blog post a week and to film one short video per week. For now I think I will focus the blog posts on what I’m working on in my business and thoughts I have about my business and the videos will be short drawing tutorials.
I don’t know if I will be able to manage one blog post and one video tutorial per week, but I want to try and see how it goes, at the end of February I can reevaluate and decide how to proceed.
Consistently posting on Instagram and Pinterest (which I know is a search engine more than a social media app, but I chose two apps to focus on for now) is something I need to work on a lot. I have ideas, lots of ideas, but when it comes to creating and posting I overthink it and end up just not posting at all.
My idea behind posting on Instagram regularly is to share what I do on a daily basis as well as sharing my art, my stationery, my processes, etc. and build a community with people that enjoy what I do. I hope this will include other artists, people who like to make things as well as people who like what I do and make and would like to purchase my products and designs.
On Pinterest I would like to share my blog posts, tutorials and products (and freebies from time to time) and for that to drive traffic to my website, YouTube channel and shop.
I will not be focusing on the numbers this month, the goal is consistency, to plan my posting and to post consistently.
When I say creating I mean my drawing as well as bookbinding. Like most other people trying to figure out their routines and schedules, I also struggle with balancing everything and a lot of times I get so focused that I forget to actually sit down and draw or make something just to practice or experiment. So this month I would like to make time to do a little bit of that.
- Take part in a drawing/doodle challenge
- Challenge myself to create more new work for my portfolio
- Challenge myself to experiment with different types of bookbinding methods and styles
I won’t be sharing much of this anywhere for now, this is sort of a challenge to myself to get into creating more often and not be so focused on the end result. I will share when I feel there is something that will be helpful to share, but for now I just want to see how it goes.
This is another one that is more for me to help get me into the habit of continuous learning and improvement. This month I want to focus my learning on anatomy drawing, pencil and graphite drawing, Procreate and bookbinding. It’s still a bit broad and probably a bit much, but as I’m still trying to figure out what is going to work for me, this is my starting point and I will tweak it as I go…
Things I won’t be doing in February
As a person who takes on too much, gets overwhelmed and then ends up procrastinating and getting very little done, I have decided on a few things I won’t be doing this month. It might not be necessary for everyone to do this, but I already have a bad habit of overestimating what I am able to do, I also need to be careful when it comes to my mental health, so making sure I know what I won’t be doing is just as important as knowing what I will be doing.
No newsletter for now
I just can’t seem to get the sending newsletters/emails right. There are multiple reasons for that, but I think the biggest one is just that I get overwhelmed by the amount of emails I have to work through everyday because that is apparently where you get the good content. While that is true to an extent, I delete way more emails than I actually read. Yes, there are definitely a few that I won’t miss and I read every time, but while I’m still figuring things out I don’t want to add to the clutter in people’s inboxes.
I do want to still give away helpful resources and freebies from time to time, for now I think I will do that via my blog, Pinterest and Instagram. This is probably the opposite of all the advice out there, but it’s what I’m comfortable with right now. If I regret it later I’m okay with that.
No comparing myself and my journey with others
This should probably be a given, but it isn’t always. My focus is to make friends, build a community and share my work, I’ve been at this for a long time and I’m still in the beginning. I know why, but I also know that there’s a reason for being where I am. I’m embracing my journey, where I’m at and building a business and community the way that feels good to me. The minute I start comparing myself and my journey is when I start doubting myself, where I am, where I’m going, what I’m doing and it will stop me in my tracks.
I will stay in my own lane
This is probably very similar to not comparing myself and my journey, but it’s different in that I also want to remind myself that I don’t have to follow all the advice out there. Yes, sometimes we get advice that is really great, it just won’t work for us, our situation or our personalities. Other times the advice is just bad. By staying in my own lane I mean I will look around and take in what I need to, but I will keep my focus on where I’m going.
I will also not think or believe that I have to things the same way as people that I admire, the reason I admire them is because they do things in a way that is true to them, they stay in their own lanes.
Give myself grace
I will do the best I can every day. Some days things will work out great, other days it just won’t, but every day I will give myself grace.
And there you have the things I want to do and not do in February, I’m excited and grateful that I get to keep trying. Let me know what you are up to in February, I’d love to know.
Chat soon friends, Riëtte xx