Monthly Projects: An Attempt to Get Back On the Horse

As of tomorrow, April 1st, I’ll be embarking on a monthly project for the next five months. This is yet another gimmick I’ll be employing in order to become a more prolific artist. My art practice has suffered pretty terribly since October, when I went from part-time to full-time at my job. At the end of a full work day, after I’ve finished making and eating dinner, I often have very little energy or desire left to try to be creative, so I need to set up some external motivation again. My open-ended “make something a day” technique has not been yielding much other than knitted items (mostly because I can do this in front of the TV), which is not really pushing my creative boundaries or inspiring portfolio-worthy work.

So, upon the suggestion of my very smart husband, I collected all of the project ideas that have been relegated to the back burner and wrote them on slips of paper. On the first day of the month I will draw one from a hat, and that is the project I will work on for the next 30 days, ideally completing it by the end of the month. My April project has already been assigned by Uppercase (for Work/Life 3), but May through August will be ruled by fate. After that it will be time to take a break and assess how well this is all going.

Weekly progress will be posted right here on the blog in order to keep me somewhat accountable, but I’d also love to hear feedback from other folks during this time. Are you working on something similar? How do you motivate yourself to keep doing creative work at the end of a long and tiring day? Please share your experiences and thoughts below.

Wish me luck!

Wussify Your Way to Success

I’m trying to be a more prolific crafter without adding any stress to my day. Being stressed just makes me procrastinate.

A couple of years ago as part of New Year’s resolution, my husband (who is already much more prolific than I) decided to try to change his habits by adopting a “make-a-thing-a-day” routine for just 30 days.  If it wasn’t too difficult, he would extend the project to three months, and so on.  More than two years later he’s still doing it, which means that since he made that resolution he has made no few than 800 pieces of artwork.  Today one of them got chosen for an art show in Prague!

The task has always seemed daunting to me.  I’m afraid I will fail, even within the 30-day trial.  But this is the time of year when I make my annual resolutions, so I’ve been trying to figure out ways to make a-thing-a-day easier to accomplish.  Here are some rules I’ve come up with for myself:

  • I can make anything.  It doesn’t have to be “crafted.”  I can make a ten-second drawing or write a two-line poem.
  • I can copy someone else’s work.  I’ll still get technique practice and new ideas from doing this, and as long as I’m not selling what I make or adding it to my public portfolio, I figure there’s no harm done.
  • I can make a project from someone else’s instructions or from a book.
  • I can substitute half an hour’s work on an existing project, like the sweater I’m knitting or the cross-stitch I’m trying to finish.
  • Craft/design work for clients counts.
  • I can make something I’ve already made before.
  • I cannot make two things one day in order to skip the next day.
  • I do not have to post the results of any day’s work if I don’t like it.
  • A project is finished when I am done working on it.  It doesn’t have to be complete.

These may seem like total wuss rules, but I think I’m more like to continue making something every day if I feel excited and confident. I can always ramp up the challenge later.  Whether this works despite my wussifying remains to be seen.  I’ll let you know next month.

Have any of you ever set creativity goals that you’ve successfully accomplished?  Please share in the comments!