MANW Week 5 Check-In and Get Organized in February

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Hello challengers! It’s the start of a brand new month, and that means I’m kicking off a new theme. In January, my year-long MANW initiative started with a month of playing and experimenting with different art forms. Out of that, I had fun playing around with new jewelry design techniques, watercolor, lettering, and a few side projects that had been lingering–plus I’ve also generated some plans for what I refer to as Operation: Muchness.

I hope you enjoyed January’s theme. If you got off the horse, keep in mind that’s pretty natural–especially this time of year. Many people break New Year’s Resolutions for a variety of reasons.

When a goal isn’t met, I find it’s usually because the initial goal was too:

  • complicated
  • unrealistic
  • time-intensive
  • frustrating!

Often, goals require preparation. Or, in other words, you have to subtract something in order to add that new behavior in your life. Plus, if your personal life goes wonky, your goal needs to be so simple you can refocus and redirect your attention even in smaller chunks. According to this article, it takes 66 days to form new habits. I’m of the mind that its closer to 100, however, or three months. Why? Well, consider that the best way to achieve a goal is to break it up into smaller, more manageable chunks or milestones. If your new, desired behavior requires more time than expected or winds up not working for you, you’ll know that’s the case within that first month. Then, you’ll need time to make adjustments to ensure your revised goal will work for you.

Regardless of whether or not you embraced January’s PLAY theme, I hope you figured out what was and wasn’t working for you so you could make room in your life for more art.

February’s Theme: ORGANIZE

February’s theme is all about getting your art supplies, files, etc. organized, and I’m going to provide tips throughout the month to help you clean and sort your materials. This tactic will help you assess what you have in order to make room for the new art that you’re making. It’s also a way of assessing your own inventory; this is important to do from time-to-time, if you plan on making money from your art or wish to revive old projects and see them across the finish line.

As a heads up, I’m planning on embracing some artistic challenges this Fall, like and Inktober for my monthly themes. Organizing now will help you get used to your new processes, too, before you wrap your time making art if you decide to take another challenge later on.

Creative Challenge: Why Organize?

To get started, the first step will be to narrow down your personal goals for organizations. Why do you want to get organized in the first place? What do you want to do with your space? What do you want to obtain? Make more use out of? Get rid of?

If you have a lot of supplies and projects, or you feel you’re so scattered you have no idea where to start, this is a great time to free-write and get in touch with what you want.

More questions to consider:

  • Can you list/name the art projects you haven’t finished yet?
  • What do you need to finish your projects?
  • When was the last time you used your art supplies?
  • What do you keep buying more of?
  • What can’t you never seem to find when you need it?
  • Do you have excess lower quality art supplies that don’t quite work for what you need?
  • Do you have space available for storage?
  • Do you have space to make art?
  • Of the spaces that you do have, how are you using them now?

Thinking more deeply about storage spaces and inventory is one way of setting goals. For example, I have beads I’ve purchased over the years that were for patterns I liked. I also received some beads as a gift, and others because I thought they were cool. Now, my beads are partially sorted into CraftMates Lockables containers for easy access; others are in see-through vinyl bags in larger containers. Right now, I have no way of knowing or remembering everything I wanted to make; I found an extra bin of beads last night, where I separated out the beads by type for the pattern.

In other words, I have three storage systems going on and inventory I haven’t quite figured out yet. For patterns, I have two systems; hard copy and digital. But, I can’t look at my beads and go, “Oh yes, I have enough to make this.” That leads to buying more beads, guessing the colors I need, and a lot of potential waste.

I have a few reasons why I want to organize my jewelry components. They are because I want to:

  • reduce buying supplies I don’t use
  • make better use out of the supplies I do have
  • use lower quality supplies for learning new techniques
  • reduce the time it takes me to set up and clean up
  • make better use out of my storage space

From these answers, you can start to see the roots of an organizational wish list I’ll customize according to the space and materials I have. Before I start re-arranging or setting up yet another process, I now understand what I want to accomplish. That “why” is pretty important, because without it I’m just cleaning and sorting to make more space. Instead, I need to focus on usable space and systems that will help me make more art.

That’s it for today’s post. I hope you’re continuing to make art! If you want to check in, you can comment below and tell me how you’re doing. What’d you think of January’s theme?

    Mood: I am a focused grasshopper.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Funny story… I drank loads of green tea thinking it was herbal. So, a lot. Whoops!
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Hour of yoga
    In My Ears: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 23 – Allegro (Part L1)
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Inquisition
    Book Last Read: Research materials for work.
    Movie/TV Show Last Viewed: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    Latest Artistic Project: Make Art Not War 2017 Challenge and Rules
    Latest Releases: In Volo’s Wake for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. Read my end-of-the-year list of releases for an overview of what I’ve put out for 2016.
    Current State of Projects: Read my latest project update. New project update coming this month!

Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

Want to Interview or Hire Me? Send Fan Mail?

Would you like to hire me? Because my projects and manuscripts are in flux, I am always open to discussing new opportunities with publishers and studios. As a full-time writer, I spend a portion of my time seeking new gigs–so don’t be afraid to reach out. If you’re interested, please e-mail me via my Contact Page. I typically reply to work-related e-mails within one-to-two business days.

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Keen on sending fan mail? I am also happy to engage with readers and fans. Please note that I am unable to reply satisfactorily to certain types of queries related to the companies I work for due to the agreements I typically sign. If you have a question about a TV show or a line of books, the best way to get your answer is to contact the studio or publisher directly.

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