It is no secret that I have been struggling creatively for (at least) the last year. Any time I get overworked or overwhelmed (which seems to be a constant state lately) being creative is the last thing I want to do…but probably the best thing that I could do for myself. When I am able to carve out the time to bead or doll or pin insects, I feel better during and after making the effort to create something that didn’t exist before. Creation is so ingrained in my personality that I become depressed when life takes me away from this aspect of myself.
For the last few years I have contemplated a “365” project – doing something creative every day of the year. I have seen friends participate in several, and been inspired by their motivation to keep going on this commitment that they made to their own creativity. Really, that is what the appeal of a project like this boils down to for me – you are committing yourself to your own creativity for an entire year. I have no qualms admitting I am super intimidated by the thought of this! But at the same time, this is the best way to make sure creativity is practiced and kept alive, rather than festering away under household chores and errands.
So I decided to start small for now. I saw Amy Tangerine’s review of Creative Sprint: Six 30-day Challenges to Jumpstart Your Creativity, by Noah Scalin and Mica Scalin. I bought the book the same day (darn you Amazon Prime…it’s like shopping with an enabling best friend), and couldn’t wait to crack into it. I read more reviews online and watched this interesting interview with co-author Noah Scalin while waiting for the book to arrive.
The introductory pages of the book further detail the main goal of creating a true practice of creativity. This has resonated with me for years, ever since one of my instructors in community college described his yearlong journey in learning how to draw (medical diagrams of all things). We practice driving, cooking, yoga, music and everything else that we wish to become better and excel at… why not practice creativity? It has always bothered me when people comment on something creative with sentences like, Oh I could never be that good, or I would never have the patience for that… You just need to carve out the time and practice! I feel like this book is a cheerleader for that mindset, something I am in need of right now.
So, how do you do a creative sprint? The book breaks it down to three steps. Create something every day – Share your work – Reflect on the experience. To help facilitate the your daily creations, the book is broken into six 30 day challenges as the title proclaims. Each thirty day stretch has a theme, and each day has a prompt. You can interpret that prompt how ever you need to, and in what ever medium you have at hand. Snap a picture when you have created, or share a poem, or show a friend – however you share is up to you. At the end of the 30 days, look back at your body of work and reflect. What things did you try that you have never done before? Did you stumble across inspiration and create in a new place?
The theme for the first 30 day challenge is Dream Small – if any challenge was right up my alley, this one is. All of the prompts for this challenge revolve around inspecting the small parts of your world, studying them, and finding inspiration in them.
This is the start of my first day of the Dream Small challenge. To fill the page with small things I started with some of my tiniest stickers (Pipsticks anyone?), then made some small doodles and drawings. I have two lists of words that are either small things I like or words I like that are small things. I even wrote with my finest tipped Micron pen, normally relegated to earring card price tags. I am still working on filling the page, but however I choose to do that, I will make sure each and every thing is synonymous with small – to me. I hope to have more progress to report to you soon! Watch my Facebook page, as that is where I will share my creations …at least when they are sharable!
It is too early to tell if this will really help me build up the creative stamina for my personal 365 challenge, but I am optimistic. If you would like to sprint along with me, the book can be found at any fine book seller! There endless other ways to practice and broaden your creativity, but if you are creatively spent like me, you may have some success with the coaching and encouragement this book provides. I highly recommend watching both of the videos I linked to earlier, simply because that is what got me excited to try this challenge. I will let you know how it goes!