Get crackin’ on your creative career in 2018

It’s hard to believe that it’s already December. It’s true what they say: time flies when you’re having fun, and I’ve been having a ton of fun with Creative Quibble this last year. But December, for me, is a time to buckle down and get serious about what I’ve accomplished in the last year and what I want to accomplish in the year ahead. It helps that my birthday is in January, so the new year always feels like a new start and a chance to redefine my goals as I get older and, ideally, wiser.

Last week, I was interviewed by Rikki Ayers of the Own Up Grown Up podcast about being a freelance writer and teacher on Skillshare. The episode focused on the business aspect of freelance writing: the challenges and the opportunities that come with going your own way. Listen to the episode here.

For the rest of the month, I want to capitalize and build on that episode to zero in on building a creative career, and specifically building a plan for the new year that will help propel that career. So if you’re in the throes of creating that kind of career, or if you’re considering making that shift, stick around! I have plenty of ideas that I can’t wait to share with you, but in the meantime, feel free to share your own advice in the comments!

Here’s to making 2018 the best and most productive year yet!

How to use Happy Planner stickers when you don’t have a Happy Planner

Sometime last year I became addicted to watching planner videos, or Plan With Mes, on YouTube. For those of you who are blessedly unfamiliar, Plan With Mes are exactly what they sound like – you watch a girl (usually) plan her day or week in her planner.

There are several popular types of planner in this mysterious and ever-expanding online community. They actually turned me on to the Passion Planner, which I’ve been using since the beginning of the year. But one of the more popular planners is the Happy Planner, a product of Me and My Big Ideas. It’s a discbound weekly system whose main attraction is the plethora of stickers it comes with.

Well, not “comes with.” You have to buy them. And buy them I did.

Happy Planner stickers are incredibly attractive. They’re super colorful and chock full of positive reinforcement in the vein of “You got this, girl!” or “Today’s the day!”

So I bought two packs, coming up to a total of around 2000 individual stickers.

It’s a lot of stickers for someone who does not, in fact, own a Happy Planner and has no intention of purchasing one in the near future. I’m pretty happy with the Passion Planner, and for a while I was using the stickers in that planner with varied results.

One of the better outcomes…I quite like how this turned out.

Starting this month, however, I’ve begun incorporating bullet journaling into my organizational system. A bullet journal is essentially a DIY planner – you can find everything you need to know about the system here.

As I began my bullet journal, I thought about how I could create some visual interest in what is otherwise generally just a plain notebook with to-do lists in it. I wanted to incorporate my stickers, but without the vertical physical structure of a planner, I wasn’t sure how I could make it work.

I came up with the following solution: take a scissor to it.

Essentially, what I’ve done is I’ve cut up the solid box stickers into thin strips, similar to decorative or washi tape, and used those to introduce an element of color into my journal.

If you’re feeling really fancy (or you have a fun-shaped hole punch) you can cut out shapes.

I also cut out some of the individual elements in each sticker sheet to include on my pages. I store a small collection of the pieces in the back pocket of the journal.

The fun thing about this is that it gives me more freedom to mix and match the colors, instead of feeling married to the original color scheme on the sheets. For example, on the Fourth of July I wanted to go with a red, white, and blue theme, so I pulled out some red strips and some blue strips and went to work.

The decorative element has been really helpful to me in encouraging me to use my planners. Being able to see something bright and colorful and fun has made it so that I’m excited to see what I’ve got going on each day, rather than dreading it. They can also serve a functional element as well: the headers are useful, and the sticker strips can be used to block of areas or mark a new section or day.

So embrace your stickers is what I say. You can’t argue with results.