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Use the following 10 tips to get a handle on your next twelve months:

  1. Pick a distant target date for the completion of a big project—say, Mother’s Day for the completion of your suite of flower paintings. In your mind’s eye, slowly move through the calendar year toward your target date, experiencing the generous and even vast amount of time at your disposal between the present moment and your completion date.
  2. Think about getting seven decks of cards and laying them all out on your living room rug. The cards in front of you amount to a year’s worth of days, give or take a few. Let the magnitude of this amount sink in. Experience the wonderful availability of time.
  3. Do a little simultaneously picturing. Picture you creating in your workspace. Simultaneously experience the fullness of a year. Connect these two rich feelings into one feeling of abundance.
  4. Picture in your mind’s eye the amount of creative work you’d like to accomplish in the coming year, mentally calculate how much time that allows for each project, and then write out your goals for the whole year on a one-year calendar.
  5. Carefully count the number of days separating two holidays, for instance the number of days separating New Year’s Day and the Fourth of July, and envision starting a large project on that first holiday and completing it by the second.
  6. Picture a single month in your mind’s eye. You might picture the calendar page for January, say, and mentally pencil in a slew of creating days. Be optimistic and fill that month with your creative efforts; and then in your mind’s eye move on to February, then March, and so on.
  7. Create a backward timeline, or several backward timelines, from important dates in the coming year, like the two gallery shows that you know about, the delivery date of your nonfiction manuscript, deadlines for grants and residencies, and so on.
  8. Create a backward timeline, or several backward timelines, from important goals that you intend to set for yourself in the coming twelve months. Say that you decide that you want to have six new sculptures done by June 1, before you leave for your annual vacation. Figure out how much time that allows for each one and transfer that information to your three-month calendar.
  9. Think through the contours of the year. Are you busy teaching for three months and then freer to create the two months thereafter? Calculate in your mind’s eye how much work you’ll tackle in those busy months and how much more work you’ll tackle in those freer months.
  10. Create an actual, full-year, oversized calendar, maybe made up of twelve large sheets of paper that fill a whole wall. On those big sheets, you would mark workshop dates, conference dates, contest deadlines, and the like, and your creative goals as well. You might use this instead of your three-month calendar or in addition to it—using it in addition is not over-kill as you really can’t have too much organization!


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