Tips to get ready now for a creative new year

A view of the artist's drawing table with a watercolor in progress and various tools.

Keep your current project out and ready to go so you don’t waste time getting set up!


Part 1: Organize your studio or office this week so you can work next week

Are you looking forward to spending more time on your art in 2014? Why wait ’til January 2 to get going?

Before you can make art you need three things: a place where you can work, dedicated time for work and most important, a work mind-set. The first two are logistics. The third one is the battle against what Stephen Pressfield calls Resistance. Let’s tackle these separately.

If one of your goals for 2014 is to spend an hour a day making art or writing, get your workspace organized now. Then when you wake up next Thursday and stumble to your drawing table with a cup of coffee, you won’t waste precious time searching for pencil and paper before you can begin doodling.

Here are 7 things you can do between now and January 2 to organize your creative work space:

  • Clear your desk. Lay out a fresh sheet of paper and whatever drawing, writing, painting tools you need. We’ll organize all the other stuff later. The most important thing you can do is to set up a dedicated spot where you can leave your current project out and ready to go all the time. If you have to use a multi-use area, like the kitchen table, set up a little box or basket with all your tools and notebook. After cleaning the kitchen after dinner, set up your project box so it will be waiting for you in the morning. If you plan to write or draw during your morning train commute, keep your notebook and pens in your lunch satchel or briefcase all the time.
  • Sort your pens and pencils. Go through all your pens, markers, pencils, etc. Test each one and throw away every single one that doesn’t work. Organize the survivors according to your needs—by color, function (calligraphy vs. writing), etc.
  • Separate your office paperwork from your paper art files. You can organize the office stuff later.
  • Cull old art supplies, tools and materials you no longer use. All that stuff you’ve been saving for someday? Someday is here and you still haven’t used it. Give it to an art school. The students will use it all up in no time.
  • Thin out your art book library. I like to go through my bookshelves every year and donate a box or two to the local library or art school.
  • Organize and thin your art paper stash. I’ve never met an artist who wasn’t a paper and ephemera fiend.
  • Get rid of old artwork. This is the tough one, because you have a real emotional attachment to every one of your creative babies. Keep the pieces that relate to what you are doing now, and/or the ones that were the result of a special mental or technical breakthrough. Destroy or recycle the rest and free up physical and mental space for the great new stuff you’ll make this year
  • Organize your office paperwork and files. Do you really need the start-up disk and warranties for your long-gone 1st generation iMac? Honestly?


Now your studio is organized and ready to go!

Next: Setting aside the time to create.

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2 thoughts on “Tips to get ready now for a creative new year

  1. Pingback: Tips to get ready for a creative new year, part 2 | Wrenaissance Art

  2. Pingback: Tips to get ready for a creative new year, part 3 | Wrenaissance Art

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