For many, the New Year is a time to make resolutions. These often involve responding the excess of the Christmas holiday season to eat healthily or exercise more.
This may have been the time of year that you first thought about signing up for your course with OCA. A new year with new plans and goals.
We asked for some ideas for creative resolutions for 2018 to make it the most productive year.
1. Make time to work
Think what works for you in your day/week. Find slots of time and try to stick to them. If necessary book them in your diary like you would a meeting or appointment. Ensuring that family and friends understand that you are studying and respect your working time is important – after all they would understand if you were attending a college one evening a week.
2. Do first, think after
Start work, don’t analyse or reflect on what you are doing. Write that first sentence, take a photograph, draw a line in a sketchbook, play a musical note. Don’t hesitate and dive straight in.
3. Push out of your comfort zone
If you are visual arts student, go to a music concert or read literature/poetry that you wouldn’t normally access. If you are music or creative writing student, go to see some textiles or illustration. If you work in two dimensions, go and look at some three-dimensional work.
Cross the boundaries and see where that takes you (and remember to include the experiences in your learning log).
4. Get organised
Find a system that works for you to track your progress. Diaries, wall charts, whiteboards all can work. Set yourself deadlines to pace your workload. Be realistic and allow for busy times and setbacks.
Creating a good pace on your course is very motivational as you can create a rhythm to your work. Track what you have done – there is nothing like crossing ‘to dos’ off a list to make you feel a sense of accomplishment.
However, do avoid the trap of spending hours and hours creating beautiful time planners without actually doing any work …
5. Give all ideas equal consideration
Never reject an idea at first. Teachers often say there are no such things as stupid questions … the same principle applies to ideas. Sometimes the ideas that lurk around in the background become the most fruitful.
Use the time on the course to experiment, to play, to take risks with your work. Often students focus on the final outcome and describe a seemingly linear approach on to how they got there.
The creative journey is often anything but linear and will twist, turn and sometimes frustratingly you end up at a dead end. Remember to document this work journey. It is often the process of producing work that we gain the most from, rather than the outcome.
6. Backing up
If you don’t have a back-up system in place then start one NOW. Not tomorrow or the day after … It is one of those neglected tasks that gets relegated and neglected, with the thought it won’t happen to me … but if data failure does occur (and it does) you will be kicking yourself for not taking action.
There are many options – cloud based, external hard drive, NAS drives, USB sticks, DVD. Whatever you choose to do, the advice from IT professionals is to use two different sources to back up to. So, what are you waiting for, get your files on your computer organised and regularly back up images, word documents and other computer files.
Don’t forget about web based content – blogs/websites. If you are typing directly into the blog/website – a simple way is to copy and paste the information into a format you can save elsewhere.
7. If you fall off the wagon …
It happens, we make a resolution and we don’t stick to it. First of all, don’t beat yourself up about it. Second, dust yourself down and start again. Think why it didn’t work and make adjustments.
In the words of Samuel Beckett:
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Happy Creative 2018
Many thanks to Andrea for compiling this post and to the tutors and students who have contributed their resolutions. Add yours below or on this student discuss forum thread.
Also published on Medium.