Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Last Butt-Kicking of 2007

Successful people believe that they have the internal capacity to make desirable things happen.

This is perhaps the most central belief shown to drive individual success. People who believe they can succeed see opportunities where others see threats. This comfort with ambiguity leads people to take greater risks and achieve greater returns.

Successful people tend to not feel like victims of fate. They believe that they have the motivation and ability to change their world. They see success for themselves and others as largely a function of motivation and ability, not luck, random chance or external factors.

Okay, folks. Here it is. My last friendly butt-kicking of 2007, for artists, writers, moms, and anybody else who reads this blog. I don't pretend to be the most successful person in the world, but I can say that I'm happy with where I'm at as a brand-new 26-year-old. I'm better off this December than I was last December. If I've made the same leap by next year, I'll be happy next year too.

I'm a big believer in goals, so for me, setting New Year's Resolutions seems pretty obvious. I tend to write down my resolutions right before the New Year and then modify them throughout the year as I meet them. And I do tend to meet them. Want to hear some of mine from last year's resolutions?

1. make my living entirely from art again this year (despite a ghastly October that had me eating way too much spaghetti with no sauce, I did this) (and I had a set money figure that I wanted to meet for myself to count as "making my living", which I'm not going to share here, so don't ask, you nosy buggers)
2. get a contract for one of my novels (regular blog readers will know that LAMENT is coming out in Fall '08)
3. get into American Academy of Equine Art's exhibition (didn't do this but got into the Colored Pencil Society of America's International Exhibition instead).
4. teach more workshops (the Detroit branch of the CPSA flew me out there to teach a three day workshop in March, which was very fun & I've been asked to do a series of 5 workshops in Northern Virginia in '08)

For me, there's no need to convince me about the value of New Year's Resolutions. Setting goals works, because it makes me accountable. How can I be successful if I don't know what I'm supposed to be trying to do? With that in mind, I've dug up some useful goals links for the wafflers amongst you to read before setting your goals. Setting bad goals is worse than none at all, so make sure you're doing it right.

Make Your Goals Specific
The Mindset of Successful People (scroll down to get to the good part)
Hokey Article about Visualizing Goals

The most important thing is to make your goals specific. "Make Money with my Art" is a crummy goal. "Make xx,xxx" with my art is a better goal, because you'll know when you've achieved it. And if you only make x,xxx amount with your art, you know how far you still have to go, and you'll stretch to reach it.

The next thing is to make your goals something that you can mostly do under your own steam. Don't put "Achieve world peace" (which is another sucky non-specific goal by the way) unless you think you can do most of that on your own.

And the next important thing is to not make your goals too easy. Sure, you can throw in some gimmies. But throw in some stretches there. You risk not making them, but you also include that chance that you might. And if you don't put them in there, I can guarantee that you won't make them.

And finally, show them to everyone. Remember that accountability thing? The more people that see them, the more real those goals are. You have a reason to achieve them, to prove yourself to others as well as to yourself.

With that said, here are my top ten goals for 2008.

1. Make 75% of my income from my art. (I have an actual dollar amount that only my family knows).
2. Make 25% of my income from my writing.
3. Shift my art income to 75% prints, products with my art on it, and workshops and the rest from originals.
4. Get a contract for at least one other novel and the sequel to LAMENT.
5. Learn to play my two favorite O'Carolan pieces on my harp (this is my gimmie, but I wouldn't make time for it unless I put it on the list).
6. Visit New York City with my husband (and maybe my toddlers).
7. Inspire at least one other person to go full-time with their art.
8. Comfortably run a mile by the end of the year (this is another gimmie, but like the other one, I wouldn't feel like I had to do it unless it's on this list).
9. Get into the studio to record a lament for LAMENT & build website for book with the tune as a download.
10. Land a good literary agent.
(11). Get my dog Ginger to stop smelling like fish.

Looking at that, I'm sure I'm missing some things, but I'm going to jot them down as I think of them. And you know what I'm doing right at this moment? I'm taking that list, using a beautifully fat and smelly Sharpie to write them on a piece of cardstock and taping it next to my desk where I can see them every day. And I can't wait to start crossing them off.

Let's see your goals, folks. Post a comment here if you've put your goals up on your blog, or if you're afraid to do it that publicly, feel free to email them to me (portraitswithcharacter AT if you want me to help you feel accountable.

Happy New Year! It's going to be a good one.


Rose Welty said...

I may regret this,:D
but you may send butt-kicking my way.

Kathy C said...

Thank you Maggie for your suggestions. As I am contemplating my resolutions for this year, I thought, hmmm...maybe Maggie will have some ideas. BINGO!

Being specific is the goal I have for creating my list this year. A goal to create specific goals...I think I am on the right track.

Eero said...

I've set quite a list of goals for 2008 and only one Resolution. My goals span several different areas of my life, so I'll just name a few art ones...
* Make 100 artworks in 2008. This comes down to 8.3 a month. Given that I made 38 finished pieces in 2006 and 31 in 2007, tripling the number is a fairly realistic high point to jump for. Also, this includes painting, photos, drawings, etc. If it's good enough to frame and show, I'll include it.

* Apply for 10 art grants. I got 2 in 2007 (a 100% success rate!) and the experience was wonderful---as was the money!---so I'll go for more.

* Renovate art studio: I need shelves, storage and more work space!

* Set up full art website.

* Finish all old art projects that are still worth it. (I have a sub-list on this one...)

Good luck to you in 2008!

Jeanette said...

I have goals for 2008 and a review of 2007 as well, because you can't move ahead until you know where you've been.

My specifics are the 'meat' of my plan and will evolve as the year unfolds along with my life.

mona said...

Greetings Maggie, I have been reading your blog for a little while and I especially enjoy your writing style. Plus your artwork is stunning. My goals are listed on my blog,

Ann said...

Happy New Year Maggie! I did post my goals on my blog yesterday but of course I should have stopped by here first. You are inspirational as usual. Thanks for the great post.

Anonymous said...

Great work and advice! I saw your art in Richmond last year and I'm glad to see that you are indeed still kicking butt!

Katherine said...

A great set of goals as per usual Maggie.

You are one of the most goal driven people I know - so I also know you'll find a way to make them happen.

Laura said...

Maggie, I've been reading your blog for some time now and it never fails to make me laugh which isn't always easy;) Anyway, I just wanted you to know that you can consider my butt well and truely kicked - I have put my goals for all to see on my blog, a first for me.

All the best for 2008.

Maggie Stiefvater said...

Rose, you will never regret a Maggie butt-kicking!

Kathy, that's very funny!

Eero, I find the art grant thing intriguing. I've never applied for any as I figured they were impossible to get!

Jeanette, very wise and very true.

Mona, Ann, Anon, thanks.

Katherine, I am intensely goal driven! Without them I get absolutely nothing done.

Laura, it was a pleasure kicking your butt. ;D You do absolutely wonderful work.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the year-end butt-kicking. It worked... I actually made a list of goals. With number-type qualifiers. :D

Tania said...

Scary, but here goes...
I'll say, "Thank-you" now, because a couple of my goals make me think I might be feeling decidely less grateful later in the year!

Melanie said...

Thank you so much for sharing this... it was inspiration for me to sit my hiny down and do it! I will, I will!