As I mentioned last week, Serena and I are doing a Q&A on starting a creative challenge September 5-9. So it got me thinking who would even be interested in starting a creative challenge? And what exactly is a creative challenge? A creative challenge is simply where you challenge yourself to create something over a certain period of time. There is an infinite amount of possibilities. It isn't so important what you do. It is just important that you start something.
In my mind, it would be good for everybody to set up a creative challenge for themselves. I speak from experience. When I started the 100 Day Project making improv fabric art every day two years ago, I had no idea how this daily creative challenge would totally change how I see myself and how I create. Before this creative challenge, I would jump project to project with no real plan to try new things or learn more about myself as a creative artist. After this two year experience, I feel I have pushed myself to learn new ways of using color and design to express myself. Working in a series every 25 days has provided a much needed structure and framework for me to explore new color combinations and new design themes. I may not always know where I will end up with my art but at least I have a general direction.
What about people who don't even consider themselves creative let alone use the "artist" word? These are all just labels. The important thing is to do something. To create. Creating is a word about doing. Honestly, our culture can be geared towards consuming. As wonderful as reading and listening to podcasts(which I do on a regular basis) can be, it can be passive. It may get you thinking about things in a new way and learning stuff. I'm all for learning stuff. But sometimes you need the feeling of power in your life that comes from creating something unique made by you.
Some people will say, “Well, I can't draw or I can’t do this." Well, I can't really draw either. The point is to try something that interests you. And keep going till you find what really, really interests you.
Creating is a doing. It's not a feeling. It is a word about action. In a way, I think it is the doing or the activity that brings the power to these creative challenges.
But how do I get started? I don't think I have any talent. First of all, I would not agree with that. Everybody has some interest in some subject. You are deluding yourself to think you have no interests. Talent is overrated. If you are interested in something, you will put in the the time to learn it and get better at it.
If you are at a loss of where to start, I think one of the easiest things people can do is a photo challenge. Most people have cameras on their phone. Take a daily photo of something that has meaning to you. Set up a creative challenge to take a daily photo for three weeks. Yes, it can be that simple. The point is.. it gets you doing. You make a commitment to yourself that you will do something every day for a period of time. The amazing thing is that when you're done and you look back, you are going to find patterns. You might realize that at the beginning you really weren't so good at it. But the more you do it, the more you will refine your technique. The more you will learn. The more you will want to keep doing it. You have become a creator.
If your interest is in cooking, you can do the same thing. Pick something to do and do it for a certain period of time. Did any of you see the movie where a blogger cooked every recipe in Julia Child’s cookbook called Julie &Julia? That was a whopper of a creative challenge. It holds zero interest to me. I would never do anything like that. But we all have our own interests.
If your musically inclined it could be learning 10 measures of a new song every day or making playlists of your favorite songs in Spotify. If you are someone who is interested in creating order, it could be organizing your living space for 30 minutes a day for a month. If you're someone who is interested in knitting, it could be just sitting down and doing it for 30 minutes for 21 days.
You get the idea. This is not rocket science. This is just a way to get you to create on a consistent basis.
What about those who are afraid of failure? Welcome to the club. You may hate what you decide to do. Then you can cross that off the list. No harm done. Start another one. Set a shorter time. Maybe just seven days. Keep cycling through ideas. You will eventually find one because you will become more in tune to what you like. You don't necessarily know unless you try. It's kind of like a treasure hunt. You could call this a hobby or you could call this developing your creative side. It doesn't matter what you call it. It's the doing of this that brings a sense of power and honesty and being who you really are.
Hopefully this has sparked some questions about how to get started. Ask your questions through email or comments on this article or on Instagram.
As a reminder, our Q&A session will be held on Instagram the week of September 5-9, 2016.
We have a question theme for each day:
Monday, September 5: How to get started
Tuesday, September 6: How to make it doable
Wednesday, September 7: How to make time
Thursday, September 8: How to stay motivated
Friday, September 9: How to use what you learned
Go ahead and send the questions anytime before that week if you want. We will be answering the questions relating to the daily topics in the afternoon on this days.
Not on Instagram? That is ok. We will answer the question on Instagram and then email the written responses back to you.
You have a few days til the Q&A starts on September 5, so start thinking about your questions!
Find Serena @sirensfinds on Instagram and firstname.lastname@example.org for email. Her website and blog are at sirensfinds.com.
Find Kathleen @blueskyquilter on Instagram and email@example.com for email. My website and blog are at kathleenwarrenstudio.com.
To access the Spotify playlist for the series Moroccan Basket, click here.