If you’re like me, 2021 was a year of dormancy. In the midst of a long Covid-hindered season, I saw music gigs dry up, conferences cancelled, speaking engagements go away, and other opportunities get pushed off into an uncertain “to be determined” future. Even my will to create became lackadaisical and my passions lukewarm. There were times when I thought, I hadn’t touched a piano in a week. Indeed, inspiration was a scarce and meager commodity this last year.
But I don’t want to settle into the Covid malaise. If you are indeed like me, you want 2022 to be a year of creative expression and unbounded prolificness. If anything, the world needs the voices of artists creating and expressing more than ever. So I thought it would be helpful to artists of faith to compile a short list of common-sense “resolutions” you can incorporate into your new year.
Resolution 1: Get Inspired. Make it a point to visit a museum or art gallery. Go to a play or a concert. Read that novel that’s been sitting on your nightstand. Discover a new musical artist on iTunes. Find some venue you can experience that will inspire you to take your art in a different or deeper direction.
Resolution 2: Get Challenged. Take a music lesson or an art class or an acting class. Find a YouTube video that teaches you a new technique. Go to an arts conference. Learn a new musical instrument. Do something that will challenge you to be a better artist this next year.
Resolution 3: Define some Goals. It’s pretty difficult to get anywhere unless you know where you’re going. Prayerfully define some meaningful and attainable goals for you and your art in 2022. Your goals could include producing a new CD, a new series of paintings, a new website, a new youtube channel, or a new way of looking at life. And put some deadlines on your goals as well. (I’ve blogged previously on the importance of deadlines as a means of inspiration.) And as you define these goals, remember that it is not just the goal that is important, it is the journey toward that goal.
Resolution 4: Encourage Others. Make 2022 the year that you become an advocate for other artists of faith. Foster the heart of an encourager, especially when you are around younger artists of faith. Be free with your compliments and with your promotion of others. Not surprisingly, you’ll find that as you advocate for others more, people will advocate for you.
Resolution 5: Become Known. Join a book club, dance troupe, literary group, band or musical group, dinner rounds, or other arts group. Join a safe community where people know you beyond the artist persona you hide behind. Perhaps it’s time that you get out of your solitary art room or bedroom studio. Take a chance and be known—artistically and personally.
Resolution 6: Give Yourself Away. Find a way to use your artistic gifts to serve others. Be a part of a benefit concert. Volunteer in an area where you can serve away from the spotlight. Give away some of your art for free. Offer your artistic gifts (and your time) to your church. Be kinder. Be less me-centric. There is nothing quite so satisfying as voluntarily giving yourself away to others. Make 2022 not about you.
Resolution 7: Hold Yourself Accountable. A natural tendency for artists is to live a life of proclivity but not necessarily a life of purpose. Find someone (preferably another artist of faith) with whom you can hold yourself accountable for the resolutions you create this year. Don’t beat yourself up for not meeting goals, but don’t let yourself slide back into the malaise either. Together, be resolute in your resolutions. And may your 2022 be inspired, purposeful, and prosperous.