PART II: A SYSTEM FOR CREATION
This is part two in a three-part series on seasonal planning as a creative entrepreneur featuring my annual planning workbook, The Creative’s Almanac.
Surprisingly enough, with the plan outlined in Part One (if you haven’t read part one, go do that quickly or this post won’t make much sense!), you now have a system for creation.
But I’m creative, you say. I don’t need a ‘system to create’, you claim. My creativity comes and goes – there’s no possible way I could use a ‘system’ for my creative genius, you declare.
Oh my friend, do we ever understand each other.
Let me give you a quick peek into my last decade as a testimonial for the necessity of having some kind of creation system.
Ten years ago, I was 20 years old. Smack dab in the middle of college, dreaming all the big dreams while focusing on school work and perfecting my violin playing. My ultimate vision at that time was to be a professional musician, traveling around the country with my violin, composing, and performing original pieces, having a blast, and living out the Starving Artist story.
Junior year I meet Olivia Diercks, my duo partner in The OK Factor. We start writing together and completely ignore our schoolwork for the next two years. We graduate, kick TOKF into high gear with summer tours, song ideas, and in-home recording sessions. We’re living in different places, taking other jobs, making things work.
Eventually, we’re living in the same place, continuing to write and play gigs when they come up, generally hustling for the sake of hustling because that’s what we think will help us go places. We come up with project ideas, we execute. We quickly burnout. We do it all over again.
We alternate between full-time performing and part-time performing + part-time teaching + part-time side hustles for about 5 years. By the time I turn 29, I realize that I had accomplished my “ten-year vision.” I was absolutely living the Starving Artist story, making ends meet with creative pursuits and generally loving it, minus the burnout and lack of cash flow.
But the truth is, I had achieved that vision several years earlier. I was living the Starving Artist life but had never updated my vision once I reached it. I was applying a “throw it at the wall and see if it sticks” approach to my life, and was surprised when it worked and extremely disappointed when it didn’t.
I had no system. No map. No plan.
I have a sneaky feeling that if I had applied some of this short-term action aimed at long-term vision stuff, perhaps things would look different right now for The OK Factor.
(Except then 2020 happened, so really there’s no point in speculating.)
Bottom line: a system of creation is your short-term action plan. It provides you with stable projects and goals for the next 90 days. You give everything you’ve got towards those goals and re-evaluate at the end of 90 days to make a new short-term action plan that will either redirect your path or move you along in the same direction.
Without it, you’ll be throwing things against the wall in perpetuity.
Not to mention, you’ll have no idea what your own growth and success should look like and you’ll constantly compare your status with everyone else around you. We’ll talk more about this all-important piece of the puzzle in part three.
Ready to craft your own seasonal plan for your business? Head to the Market to shop!