It’s that time of year again, when we start to think about where we’ve been and where we might be going in the months ahead.

I both love and don’t really love this time. I do love to look back over the year just gone, because I’m always surprised to see I did more than I thought, but another part of me resists the idea of planning ahead into next year.

However, with a business to run, and a growing inventory of paintings and creative dreams, I find it is actually helpful to create a soft and flexible framework to guide me in the coming months. The creative mind often resists structure, but we also know that total freedom can be just as daunting, if not more so.

So we walk a tightrope {sometimes falling off, in my case, and perhaps yours!} between the two, sometimes feeling we’re totally on it, sometimes flailing about in the dark and the chaos. Such is the life of an artist!

To make it all a bit easier and more focused in a lighthearted and fun way, I started making a ‘non planner’ – a short series of pages that offered a container for noting down significant events and experiences of the past twelve months, and to project forward in a relaxed way to the year about to arrive.

Each year it gets marginally more sophisticated, although I am not brilliant with the graphic design and technical side of things so sometimes there are charming quirks to the whole endeavour. 🙂

Anyway, I find it helpful, and having made it freely available to anyone who would like to use it, I’ve observed that others do too. If you’d like a copy, simply click the button below to download this year’s ‘non planner’.



A few thoughts on how to approach it

Sometimes creating a little ritual or intentional space around the process can really help to focus your mind and reinforce the importance of your creative life to you.

I like to light a candle, make a coffee, perhaps put on some soothing music {current fave}, and get out my calendar so I can go through month by month what I did, what I felt worked, what didn’t, and so on. I also refer to my blog post archive and Instagram to remind me what I’ve been up to.

Afterwards I always feel satisfied; it’s so worth spending a little time on this, even if the extent of your ‘planning’ for next year is ‘make more art’.

And if you’d like to share how you use it on Instagram, feel free to use the #happyartistmovement hashtag and tag me @taraleaver.