So Close….

After Christmas, the temptation is strong to just coast to the New Year. It’s still the holiday season and there’s no need to do any real work (as a creative) between now and then. Is there?

Yes and no.

What’s that supposed to mean?

Yes.

The hard push is done. Holiday orders and commissions have been sent and received. There is still work to be done, but the stressful part is done. It won’t hurt anything to let a few things slide.

No.

Do you really want to be playing catch-up when January gets here? Or do you want to have as much of 2018s work done as possible so you can start on 2019s goals?

(Notice I didn’t say resolutions. We’ll talk about that difference later on.)

If you watch Evan Carmichael on YouTube or follow him on Instagram any at all, you know he’s a major advocate for starting today. Start now. Start where you’re at.

Once upon a time ago, I would have been in the “let it slide” camp. Not anymore. Let’s all promise ourselves to start NOW.

Question of the day: What are YOU starting?

My 2019 Planner Setup

img_20181220_2107511501491200035.jpgI thought about this one for a while. I wasn’t going to post about it, but I’ve had several people asking about my planner, so here it is.

I’m using a Bullet Journal/traditional planner hybrid as my main planner. I’m also using Fresh Start 2019 by Amber McCue to help me get things set up the way I want them to be and 5 Second Journal developed by Mel Robbins and her team as a supplement to my planner. (I talked about the journal in a separate post a couple days ago.)

For my actual planner, I’m using a Carpe Diem A5 6-ring binder (in one of my signature colors – purple) with a printed calendar insert. Before that, though, there are several other sections with dot grid paper.

Section 1: Contact info/medical info/emergency contacts.

Section 2: 2019 words/goals, mentor notes, 90-day plan, monthly reviews, quarterly review.

Section 3: Trackers (personal and business)

Section 4: Idea log/brain dump/notes to self Section

Section 5: Calendar Section. This is where the pre-printed calendar with a week on two pages lives.

Section 6: Info for contacts (email, phone, address, industry, etc.)

I also have a thin notebook in one of the pockets that’s for my content calendar. I’ve already started filling that in.

Note: I don’t put my to-do items in my planner unless/until I have a specific date or week for it to be done. These dates are either external (appointments) or internal (self-assigned deadlines). I use my NNL (Now, Next, Later) lists in Trello to hold all those.

One thing I think is important to remember is your planner is for you. No one else has to see it. It doesn’t have to be pretty/perfect as long as it works for you.
So this is what I’m using for 2019. I’ve actually already started using it and it seems to be working well. It’s easy to adjust if not. If you want more information on setting up your own DIY planner, check out my book, Create Your Own DIY Planner, or email me about a consultation.

5 Last Minute Gifts for Creatives

DSCN3878You need a gift and you need it fast. But you don’t know what to buy for your brother/sister/friend/cousin who is creative/artsy/a writer.

Settle down. We’ve got you covered. Here are five ideas you can pick up just about anywhere.

  1. A notebook.
    This is a staple necessity in any creative’s toolbox. There can never be too many notebooks. If all else fails, a plain one will do. If possible, though, get a pretty one. You can find them inexpensively at places like Walmart and Dollar General (or other department/dollar stores).
  2. A package of pens.
    This is another necessity. Your favorite pen runs out of ink just at that crucial moment when lightening strikes and you KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt what your next masterpiece/opus will be, but you needed to make a note to yourself.
  3. Colored pencils.
    These are fun and not exactly a necessity, though they can certainly be helpful.
  4. A sketchbook.
    Depending on what the person you’re buying for does, this might be another staple item. It’s almost as handy as a notebook for just about everyone, but probably handier for visual artists and designers.
  5. A gift card. Everyone likes a gift card to their favorite store. Your creative friend is no different. If you know them, you know which store sings their name in a siren call that’s difficult to resist.

Counting today, there are five days before Christmas. Maybe you can find a gift idea from this list.

Give Yourself the Gift of Creativity

There is something to be said about buying something for yourself from yourself. It’s not selfish (unless absolutely everything is for you). It’s taking care of yourself.

If you want to give yourself the gift of creativity, I can help you with that.

I have three books, Devoted to Creating: Igniting the Creative Spark in Everyone; 80 Creativity Tips; and Journal Your Way to Creativity.

Devoted to Creating is a book of devotions centered around creativity. Each one has a verse, short story, prayer, and creativity tip. It’s available in print and on Kindle.

80 Creativity Tips contains tip, exercises, and techniques to help you tap into your creativity. There are photos and pages for you to doodle or take notes. It’s also available in print and on Kindle.

Journal Your Way to Creativity is a 90-day self-guided program to help you uncover your creativity and use it on a daily basis. It is available on Kindle as well as in print, but considering the format, I would recommend the print version so your prompts and journaling are in the same place.

These are just a few ways you can give yourself the gift if creativity. If you would prefer coaching or courses, send me an email and we’ll talk about what would fit your needs.

Plan Your Writing Schedule (video)

Last week, I shared a video from Sarra Canon of Heart Breathings. This week, I’m doing it again. She has good information for writers, no matter how long you’ve been at it.

In this video, she talks about setting up your writing schedule for 2019 and being realistic about your goals.

Planning for 2019

Creative Commons via catchingcourage.com

It seems strange to think that there are only two weeks left in this year. I actually had to check the calendar after I typed that. Yes. Two weeks.

The other day, I was thinking that it was early to be planning for next year. When I look at the calendar and realize that, though? It’s not too early at all. In fact, I kind of feel some pressure being applied.

But… I’m good.

I don’t have everything in place that I want for 2019, but who does? Not only am I not that organized, I don’t want to be that rigid.

My planner setup for the year is in a purple Carpe Diem A5 6-ring binder. I’m doing a hybrid method using a traditional calendar (week on two pages layout) and Bullet Journal methods. I’ve been giving it a trial run for the past couple months and it’s working out great.

I already have my goals lined up. I will be tracking them per quarter so I’ll better know where I stand with what I’m wanting to do. I won’t share them here just yet. I will let you know some of them as they come along because it involves new books, courses, and reviving my podcast.

It’s more than keeping on keeping on. It’s growing and improving and loving what I do so that I will have more things to share with you, too.

Have you started planning for 2019 yet? What kinds of content do you want to see here (or hear on the podcast) that would help you reach your goals?

My Writing Process

ecrireA couple days ago, I told you a bit about my editing process, so now I guess I should tell you about my writing process.

This is a more difficult post to write because the process is more involved. I’m going to try to summarize it, though.

I tend to go through five steps, though I don’t think of them like this at the time.

  1. Idea Generation
  2. Stewing
  3. Prepping
  4. Writing
  5. Editing

What happens in each step of the process?

Idea Generation
I keep a notebook with lists of ideas or summaries of something I want to do. Some of these “notebooks” are files in my computer, though I am a huge fan of keeping a notebook nearby as often as possible.

Stewing
When I find an idea that I want to work on, I walk around with it my head for a while. How long varies. For one story, I walked around with the main character telling me all about herself for two weeks before she finally told me her name. That story was started, but it hasn’t ever been finished. It will be in the not-too-distant future.

Prepping
Otherwise known as planning and research. This is where I figure out if it’s nonfiction or fiction, poetry or prose, long or short. And I do some preliminary research if it’s something I don’t know much about. I limit my research time, though, because I could easily spend too much time doing that and very little writing.

Writing
This step is pretty self-explanatory. I will do extra research from time to time if it’s needed. This step also generally takes the longest.

Editing
We already talked about this on Tuesday, but it’s worth including here, too. I view editing as part of the creative process as well. In my writing phase, I get the bones of the story/article/post down. Then in editing, I often add new content, so it’s a mashup of editing and writing. In general, it’s shaping.

Sometimes I will listen to music as I do this. Again, it’s something with little or no lyrics and often the same type of music I listen to while editing.

What does your process look like?