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New Year's Resolutions for Illustration and Design

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In the countdown to 2011 I've been thinking about the things I have achieved over the past year and the things I would like to achieve for the next. While I haven't made a New Year's Resolution for some time (let's face it, they're only made to be broken!), I've compiled a short list of creative themed resolutions with a view to a bigger, better and brighter creative output in the year to come.

Blog More

"Regular blogging/writing" is a resolution that's easy to make, but hard to keep. You may have noticed that I'm forever writing about how I have to tend to my personal blog more, and I'm guessing I'm not the only one. One of the benefits to maintaining a blog is the traffic. Without regular updates a blog will quickly lose traffic and start to look abandoned. A well maintained blog will attract subscribers and link backs and, over time, attract clients. So while this is one of the hardest resolutions to keep, it's also a really good one to make.

Earn Some Pocket-money

You're never too old for Pocket-money! In freelance terms, Pocket-money is money that you've made on top of your income which should only go towards having fun! A few ways to earn some extra cash are...

  • Sell Prints: Online or by consignment
  • Run a Digital Storefront: Print on demand services such as Zazzle and deviantArt Prints Shop are popular choices

Be Organized with Tax and Invoices

If you're a freelancer, keeping up with invoices, expenses and paperwork is a massive pain! Make 2011 easier by keeping a regular paperwork schedule. Set aside an hour or two a week for paperwork and you will save days of messing around later. This is a must on my resolution list as the only thing I hate more than paperwork is running around and freaking out.

Illustration by Bucket'o'Thought

Implement a File Naming Convention... That Works!

If you're like me, you will have files all over your computer that can only be found by remembering weird things such as, I saved the file as, "green_finished_14.ai" in the "stuff 4" folder within the "things to keep" folder on my desktop. 2011 is going to be my Year of the Naming Convention. I have lost way too many files due to bad naming. If anyone has a good way to name and organize files I would love to read about it in the comments!

Carry Business Cards

I'm ashamed to admit that more than a few times during 2010, I've run into potential clients and not had a business card to hand them. While a hand scrawled email address on the back of a coaster is unique, it's not going to make you memorable for the right reasons. Even if you don't have a business a small card with your name and contact details is surprisingly handy. If you want to make a resolution that's easy to keep, this is the one!

Learn a New Skill

This year I started to learn a bit about CSS, next year I want to remember it. Learning a new skill is not limited to things that can help you in your creative life, other items on my (over ambitious) list are, learn a new language and take a dance class. All new skills feed into the creative process and can help you unwind after a day hard at work. A happy Creative is a productive Creative.

Have an Eye Check

Yes, this is a weird one. But I'm way overdue for an eye-check and I'm pretty sure I need a stronger pair of reading glasses. For our Australian readers, you can get a free eye check once a year, all you need to do is show the optometrist your Medicare card. Good eyesight is a must. If you suspect you may need glasses, go and get your eyes checked. Glasses are so much better than blurry designs and eye-strain headaches!

Network - The Old Fashioned Way

I'm guilty of spending way too much time behind the screen and not enough time "chatting" for real and I would like to encourage everyone to join me in some old fashioned networking in 2011. While "Social Networking" is a fast way to make a few quick contacts, people you meet in person can become life long contacts, valuable clients and great friends. Get out and meet the people in your neighborhood!

Do You Have a New Years Resolution?

Do you have any New Year's Resolutions? If so, we would love to know about them. Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.

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