I've been thinking a lot about goals this week. Previously these posts have been a bit nonsensical and lacking direction, so I'll attempt to be a bit more focused here. As a relatively disorganised person, I often find that making lists and setting goals is a good way to get everything straight and simplify what lies ahead.

The division of time can be a bit tricky when your goals include those that require time, but offer small immediate return. I find it easy to be organised with work-related tasks, perhaps due to the fact that most come with a clearly defined deadline or expectation of when the job will be completed.

Creativity is a little bit harder, as developing one's skill has no deadline or expected timeframe. Even the conclusion of such things is flexible, as we rarely know if the time we put in will result in greater skills, or be a fruitless pursuit. Perhaps it's the way with many creative endeavours; I've heard many artistic friends lament their failures, which often appear to outnumber the successes. It can be an uphill battle sometimes, but defining small goals can be a way to measure progress, if any is to be had.

It's why I wanted to make a weekly blog of creative thoughts and doodles. In a way, it signposts a progression of sorts, even if it isn't immediately apparent. So far it's motivated me to spend some time doodling while I relax at the end of the day, which I feel is a better use of time. I'd rather watch a movie and have a few ideas drawn out on paper by the time the credits roll, than nothing at all.

Environment is another big one for me, as I've always felt the benefit of having an ordered space to work in. Maybe it's because I view my thoughts as disorganised and chaotic at times, so it helps to fill the visual landscape with order and simplicity. I'm by no means the tidiest person in the world, but when I have the time to do clean and tidy my space, it's like a weight has been lifted ever so slightly.

It's hard to feel the soft soothing cool of grass under your feet when the lawn is littered with garbage. By the same token, I find it hard to access and organise thoughts and ideas when all I can see is a mess of a cluttered room.

So there are small goals that help, like cleaning up or making a space neat. They're somewhat preliminary as they serve to prepare for creative work, rather than manufacture the work themselves. Somewhat harder goals might be to 'draw something every day' or 'flesh out that idea you had once upon a time to see if it will work'. These end up on lists, all organised and sorted so that they are easily accessed and ready to be used. I only put due dates on work tasks with a deadline, all the rest remain as a collection of thoughts that I felt were worth remembering at the time. It adds order to the process and effectively removes a thought of value from the melange of noise that clouds any focus.

Often goals may never come to fruition, as they're a loose concept when it's for personal development, and I consider creativity as an element of personal development. The rigid requirements of work tasks no longer apply when the task is personal and attached to a desire to improve, rather than a need to perform.

So why set goals at all if they are not to be taken seriously or followed to the letter?! I like to think of it as a nudge in the right direction, as when I come across a thought on my task list, it prompts me to explore that idea. It focuses the noise for a moment and invites a clarity that helps the progress I desire.

Knowing I will post here weekly means that I'm reminded to consider the creative, instead of getting lost in the escapism of leisure. It can be all too easy to drift off with a film or a book, and look back on the week to realise that nothing valuable had been accomplished.

Certainly, the actual accomplishment varies all the time, but at least there is progress being made towards an attempt at progress. I'd much rather have tried to do something than become frustrated by a lack of focus that distracted me away from a goal. I mess it up all the time and often end up spending hours away from creative goals, so any improvement or progress is welcomed.

It doesn't really matter what the goals are or how they are achieved; being able to see even a small amount of progress is satisfying in itself. Staring at a blank canvas does nothing for the painting, so pick up the brush and start making marks. After all, there are no rules, the world is open, and everything is a possibility. I don't know where it might take me, but I'm happy to gain some creative progression where I am able.

Over the next few weeks I aim to produce more doodles and thoughts, as I also aim to start working on some paintings again. It's been a while since I've found the ability to do so, but I think this is a good time to see what might come of it. I hope there will be some creative progress made and some skills developed further, but as a minimum I think I'd just like to try.