January 18, 2008

Pay Yourself First


You know how all those financial gurus talk about the importance of paying yourself first? The idea is that if you genuinely value your future plans as they relate to your money, you should put your money where your values are and move it into those accounts connected with your dreams as soon as you get paid, before you do anything else (like hit the ATM). Bonus points if you can automate it.

What about your time? If you did a time-audit of your life, really looked at the ways you spent your days, would the results map onto who you think you are? Or who you want to be?

I like to think of myself as a creative person, but it took my participation in last year's Thing-A-Day project to understand how important setting aside time every day is to my development as an artist.

I'll be doing it again this year. It's not easy. 30 or so minutes of creativity every day for 29 days. Surrounded by folks whose "creds" as artists are much more impressive and/or "real" than mine. But the community was terrific and inspiring, and some of the work I completed last year really helped move me forward creatively, so... I'm in. Gulp.

(Last year we were encouraged to assign ourselves weekly themes,
which definitely helped me focus my energies.
My four themes last year were: imagined histories,
true-life stories, snailmail, and get outside.
I'm open to suggestions...)



8 comments:

Nancy Bea Miller said...

It sounds very interesting. I have a few questions though. Do you have to stick to one medium? Do you have to pick a weekly theme (which sounds confining to me)? Do you have to complete a discrete "thing" each day? If I am working every day on a painting and show the daily progress would that count?!

Jenn said...

I should totally do this. Maybe I can turn one of my ranting, expletive-filled inner monologues into a slam poem.

Shelley said...

Dear Friends, there is no "have to" about thing-a-day... the hope is that you'll post every day, but ongoing notation of progress on a bigger project would certainly qualify.

To get a feel for what it was like last year, you can check out the archive here.

AscenderRisesAbove said...

i really want to do this... but I can't say for sure that i will actually complete it. what think you?

ascenderrisesabove.com/wordpress

Pam said...

Thanks for the tip, but my thing a day for the next couple of weeks is going to be looking at SE Asia! WOOT!

Doing something like this was one of my New Year's resolutions last year. I failed. Scaling it back to a month is a good idea. Or once a week, even...

Shelley said...

Dear Ascender, depending what else you've got on your plate, you might find that the month-long challenge structure isn't for you, but you have to realize that MANY people don't achieve their goal of a post every day (something you do so beautifully already), and that because of the decentralized nature of the beast, everyone pretty much gets to define their own success in this enterprise.

Some of my favorite contributors last year were favorites just because they gave me a new way to think about things, not because their output was amazing in and of itself.

So... do it if you think it will help you give yourself a nudge in a direction you want to be going, or don't, if you think you're good to go with your existing commitments. From a purely selfish standpoint I'd love to see you "play along"... but no matter what, it's all good...

polkadotwitch said...

thanks for passing this along! over the last several minutes, this has been me: oooh. yeah! no. why not? OK! yes! nah. sure! uh-uh. absolutely!

then i just signed up. i have had GREAT experiences with two "do-it-every-day" project in the past (nanowrimo 2006 and nablopomo 2007).

so now, this is me: a poem on themes? watercolors? collage? american sentences? life stories? i would like to pick one ...

AscenderRisesAbove said...

is it too late to sign up? feeling better. thanks for your supportive note!