The Artist's Planner

Today's guest post is by Sara Schnelle. She's very productive all week long as a data entry technician for a wage law firm. During the afternoons and weekends she keeps busy painting large canvases and small wooden boards with images about women's work, spirituality and perceptions. Her art has displayed in and around Portland, Oregon. She has lectured about women's art history at a local university. Sara's studio is in Vancouver, WA and you can view her online gallery at: Schnelle Studios.

Often an artist's journal serves one purpose: sketching. However, it can do so much more. The artist's journal can serve as a research notebook, idea log, and planner. Have you ever had a great idea for an artwork that you've never started on? Or had an idea and never wrote it down and when you went back to start on it, you found that you couldn't remember what it was? It's happened to all of us. What had a place to store those notes and sketches and ideas so when you had the time and inspiration, you also had a place to remind yourself what you want to do, the steps to do it in, and with what materials and accompanying research ideas? Would having such a place help you to not only organize your art but help you create a finished product that matched up with your goals? How about having a place to store pictures of your artwork to keep and admire even long after the art has sold or displayed in a gallery? Well, you can. The artist's planner tells a story. And it records each accomplishment from start to finish.

Sense-ical Writing: Putting Your Senses into Words

We're all born with five senses: seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling. All too often we can get too caught up in our daily routines to really see, hear, taste or smell the world around us. Whether you're reconnecting to your self after a long day of work or writing a more realistic picture of your world in your work, our senses provide a great tool for journalling. You can also expand your writing by including bits of each sense into your prose. We experience the world through our senses, allow them to show through your writing as well. Use the following exercises to expand your senses. Writing about how you experience the world can teach you just how much you rely on each sense. Pick a few exercises or a sense and record your thoughts down in your journal.

Write Every Day

I do a lot of work with self-improvement and creativity in and around my website at [], and one really common "wish" I hear from friends and readers is constant: "I wish I could have the energy [ability/ skills / ideas] to write every day." Congratulations. I've granted your wish. Gather close. I'll tell you the secret. This is it. I won't mess with you.

Quick Tips: Five Fun Ways to Use the D*I*Y Planner Hipster Tab Card

Greetings everyone! I figured that after a book review that it'd be time to get back into some zany new uses for a planner templates. This week, I present to you 5 unique and different ways you all can (ab)use the D*I*Y Planner Hipster Tab Cards. I chose this template because I think there's a lot more these cards can be used for than just dividing and separating a series of index cards. Read on to see what other ways you can use these cards.

Getting Ready for Art: Organizing Your Artist Space

Many people think that you don't need to be organized to create art. For these people, art happens naturally by grabbing canvas and paint and "doing it". However, if you ask any artist, you'll find out that this isn't always the case. I know for a fact that if my studio isn't clean and tidy, all my tools and materials organized and out where I can reach them when I need them, I cannot work on any project. A disorganized workspace tends to stifle my creativity and leaves me feeling like I cannot do anything. Recently while perusing, I stumbled upon this book, Organizing Your Craft Space, by Jo Packham. What prompted me to purchase this book was the idea that it focused solely on how artists, from scrapbookers to quilters, can organize their space to maximize their time spent on creating their art. I also liked how it went into a multitude of art styles, rather than focusing on just one art. If you've always wanted to organize your art space or create a perfect place for starting a new craft, then this book is for you.

A Tale of Two Decks

Once upon a time there was a brand new package of blank, unruled 3x5 cards sitting quietly on a shelf. One day, while it was idly contemplating the true nature of the rectangle, a customer came along and snatched the deck of cards off the shelf. Needless to say, the 3x5 card deck was taken back a bit -- suddenly finding itself tossed about with assorted pens, pencils, and other paraphernalia in a big, plastic shopping cart. The customer proceeded to toss them all onto a conveyor belt thing and then handed over some money to another person. The card deck and its new companions were then bundled quickly into a plastic shopping bag. The customer tossed the shopping bag over their shoulder and headed out the door whistling a happy tune, pausing outside the door to retrieve a dog on a leash that was waiting patiently for the customer's return. As the customer stepped off the curb into the parking lot the little deck of 3x5 cards wondered foolishly would would happen next...

Use a Story Map to Improve Your Plotting

Story MapImagine yourself in a movie theater. The screen fills with a young man in Philadelphia jogging around, asking out a girl, punching some cow flanks in a meat packing plant, and then hopping into the ring to fight some other guy. That's how boring Rocky would be were there no conflicts and no changes of situation for our hero.

When writing a story, you have an obligation to fulfill: your main character(s) must experience the events you lay before them, and they must react to the conflicts those events provide. Further, the state in which your focal characters find themselves must be either improving or degrading, as a means of moving the story forward towards a conclusion. Without that, the reader is merely being dragged along a flat line towards an ending that they can see a mile away.

Refueling the Muse

You’ve been writing faithfully in your journal for months now. Making handmade bound journals for all your friends and relatives on their holidays and even been sketching daily doodles in your HipsterPDA. You’re a creative person and everything you do has a unique twist that’s unmistakably your style, down to the socks you're wearing. So what happens when the muse battery runs dry? What are you supposed to do when you go to your studio, fully intent on knitting a new pair of socks, or writing a story, and instead of being met by your muse... you feel your body slump in the chair and all you think you can do is google for zombie videos for hours on end.

Sounds like your muse is running on empty. Time to take a break and recharge. Read on for more ideas on how to refill those creative batteries when you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom or the muse has gone on vacation and left you alone with nothing better to do.

The Art of Agile Plotting

Story Idea cardOne of the oldest tools in the arsenal of writers is the modest and unassuming index card. It's used for jotting notes, sharing phone numbers, creating bibliographies, capturing ideas, making lists, and --heck-- even making indices. (Who would have thought?) But one of its primary uses, especially for people structuring stories, is in creating a plot outline. A pen, a table top, and a small stack of cards are all that's needed to turn a mish-mash of incongruent or half-baked ideas into a plot that's tight, logical and well-developed.

Have you ever come up with a concept for a story, video or presentation, but didn't know how to begin? Read on....