30 days ago, I took on a deranged assignment of committing to being creative everyday for the month of March. The reason this is a deranged assignment is because I am one of the most consistently inconsistent people you might ever meet (there are reasons for this inconsistency but this is not the post to get into that – maybe someday I’ll tell you why). I am pleased to report that barring 2 days in March when I was out of town for my cousin’s bachelorette weekend in Vegas, I followed through on my creativity commitment. Along the way I’ve had many insights about my own process and what gets me going. Here are my “Aha” moments of the past month:
(1) Not all creative products need to be profound. Sometimes they don’t even need to be “good”.
Some days all you can really manage is some poorly drawn pictures of birds (I drew an asymmetric peacock last night). And that’s ok. We get too caught up in the need to make everything we do “mean something” and in the process we end up making nothing. Why not keep the fire burning by churning out something light and fun and easy so that you’re ready to receive and create when inspiration rains and pours?
(2) The Taste Gap as explained by Ira Glass in this excellent video below.
We’ve all experienced this in some form or the other. The feeling that you get when you realize that what you’re making is not good enough for you to appreciate. Sometimes it spurs you on and sometimes it makes you quit. Knowing that this gap between my taste and what I create is inevitable and will take time to bridge has allowed me the space to make whatever I please. No judgments. Everything is art and everything is a step forward in the right direction
(3) There’s always time to be creative. And being creative may add time to your day.
There’s a certain order I’ve always followed in my day to day activities: (1) get stuff done (2) self care (Self care can be anything – exercise, rest, eating right, feeding your soul). This month I chose to put self care through creativity ahead of my productivity. And it actually helped me get more done!
(4) Take time to get inspired.
Don’t just be in awe. Take the time to understand your favorite artists and their creative process. What makes them tick? How can you get there? One of the days after I sent my sister a picture of a zentangle I had made and she shared with me her realization from my 30 day challenge – “This is demystifying art for me. You send me a picture and it looks lovely. Then I zoom in and I see that it’s made up of these simple strokes.” Every artist got to where they are by putting in significant time into honing their craft. If we would take time to learn from each other instead of comparing and judging we’d be a lot closer to our artistic goals.
(5) Choose your audience wisely.
And because I cannot say 10 words without quoting this woman, I’ll have to end this post with one of my favorite Brené Brown quotes: “Share your story with those who have earned the right to hear it.” Being creative is an intensely vulnerable process. It can empower you when met with compassion and empathy and it can kill you when met with judgment and destructive criticism. If you’re vulnerable to how your art is received by others then by all means share with those who understand your intentions and are with you every step of the way. And if no one has earned that privilege yet? That’s ok too! Some of my best work this month is buried deep in my journal and may never see the light of day. I’m happy that inspiration presented itself to me and even more thrilled that I followed through and channeled it.
A big thank you to my husband, family and my friends for encouraging me every single day this past month! Here’s a roundup of everything I created this past month. Special shout outs to Lisa Congdon’s fabulous daily drawing challenge and sketchbook explorations classes on Creative Bug and my dear friend Carrie Hilgert for her video on Soul painting.