Year of Creative Habits

Crystal Moody in Springfield, Missouri is creating a Year of Creative Habits. She explains that it is, "a project inspired by artists that write about creativity like Twyla Tharp, Julia Cameron, and Austin Kleon. I have 4 rules for myself: 1) choose one creative habit to focus on 2) do it everyday for a month 3) share my progress/effort 4) reflect on the month and make changes going forward. My goal is to find and develop creative habits that work for me."

Why did you decide to do this project? I often found myself looking at cool stuff online wishing I was cool too. I spent way too much time admiring others' creativity. I rarely took time to create something myself. I looked at my four-year-old daughter's drawings and I was completely amazed. I wanted to be more like her. So I set up this project for myself. This is my year of creative habits.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? This project has completely taken over my thoughts. It has changed my daily routines and opened up many doors...such as being invited to show my work in an art show and asked to illustrate for specific events and causes. It's changed how I view myself and what I see as possible.

"You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine." John C. Maxwell

Follow Crystal's year HERE.

365 Unbroken Lines

Beatrice Dietel in Leipzig, Germany is creating 365 Unbroken Lines.  She explains the project as, "Sketches without taking the pen from the paper. The sketches depict anything that comes to my mind or catches my eye: people, objects, ideas for later drawings or paintings, exceptional moments of the day; all in all, absolutely anything, sort of like a visual diary. I don't intend to create masterpieces, I just want to practice on a daily basis."

Why did you decide to do this project? The first issue of the German magazine 'flow' contained an article about '365-day-projects', a concept which I found really interesting. Actually, one of my new years resolutions for 2014 was to do at least one sketch in my diary every day to get some regularity into my drawing, but as always I was too lazy and didn't feel any 'imperative' to implement my, perhaps hastily formed, resolution. I therefore hoped that this blog and project will give me the regularity I desire and offer me an opportunity to train my eye and creativity alike, as I would like to improve my drawing and my artistic output in general. Fortunately, 'flow' also offered a list of 116 ideas for 365-days-projects from which I picked one to carry out. I wanted to start a project that would help me stop being such a perfectionist, as I never finished anything I started.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? I've become way more enthusiastic about doing art again and finishing something on a regular basis encourages me to become better and to produce more, even if it's not perfect. I'm also considering to apply for an art college. This is something I always wanted to do but thoughts like 'I'm not good enough/not talented enough/not creative enough' kept me away from it. Fortunately, this is slowly changing. Another thing I realized is that I already have some kind of style and that really surprised me!

Follow Beatrice's lines on her blog HERE and on Facebook HERE.

Make 365 Somethings Follow-up

Beth Nyland recently completed her yearlong Make 365 Somethings project. She explains, "I began making things on May 1, 2013, which was my 44th birthday. I finished on April 30, 2014, on the eve of my 45th. I chose 'words' as my theme, and for the most part stayed true to that focus. At the start, my daughters (ages 8 and 10 when the project began) intended to participate; but when daily discipline became more than they could manage, they opted in just occasionally, sometimes to help me and sometimes to make their own creations."

What are the biggest lessons/skills you learned from doing your project? Whenever I tell people about Make Something 365, the first thing I say is, "I can't believe I never missed a day." I was prepared to give myself a day's grace here and there, but that just wasn't necessary. This was a lesson in self-discovery: that when I'm truly invested and interested in the work, I do have the stamina and discipline to take on something big. I surprised myself!

I also learned that although my comfort zone is writing, I enjoy playing with visual art. Word art, photographs, infographics, doodles, drawings, collages, and more. As much as I love to write a poem or define a character or describe a scene, giving tangible form to an idea brought tremendous satisfaction -- especially when the creative effort took place at the end of a full, stressful day. (Maybe this is because business writing is my day job, and a visual project served as relief from that routine.)

Finally, I learned that I have things to say about writing. Many times, to adapt the day's prompt to my theme of "words," I made something that communicates my feelings or knowledge about writing: a visual metaphor about writing and brushing your teeth; a pie chart about my writing process; a list of essential writing supplies; a description of a writer's uniform; a poem about the moment before writing begins. Now, when friends, colleagues, clients, or students say I should write a book about writing, I believe them. I do have things to say.

In what ways did the project change your life? Practically speaking, during the 365 days, the project changed my rhythm and routine. In order to get the "making" done, other activities went by the wayside. Some were good omissions, like watching TV (now I watch less and read more). Other things suffered a bit, for lack of attention. So, in the weeks since I finished the life-changing year, I've had to reclaim a few priorities ... like healthy meals, laundry, and evening conversation with spouse and kids.

As for lasting, life-changing effects:
  • Through daily practice, I strengthened my creative muscles. And those muscles have memory. Now I'm quicker to think of solutions to problems, new angles on writing projects, even suggestions for my children when they're bored. I'm seldom "stuck" or at a loss for ideas.
  • Because I shared every single day's creative work on my blog, Facebook, and Twitter, I gained the support of an encouraging community. Friends and strangers were curious about the project, and their interest inspired me to keep going, stretch my skills, try new things. I engaged in conversations I never would have had if not for the project, and I gained friends who will be in my life for years to come.
  • I know now that my creativity is a unique asset. Not everyone can or would make something every day for a year. I did it, and I loved the process. So now I confidently tell clients and prospects that creativity is a distinct value I bring to my writing, consulting, and teaching. Not a single person has argued or questioned this assertion. In fact, they agree. As a result of my year of "making," my creative communications business, Spencer Grace, has grown.
  • Without question, I gained confidence as an artist. Not long ago, I shied away from introducing myself as a writer. Now I own that title, and I claim it proudly.

Now what? Now I'm applying all these learnings in my daily life, in my work and in our home and as a parent.

I also plan to return to a regular schedule of posting on my blog ... but not daily. During the 365 days, I shared my creations every single day. Even the flops and fails. When I return to regular blogging, I expect to post once or twice a week, giving myself time to develop ideas, make adjustments, and EDIT.

Finally, I will be sharing Noah Scalin's book with all the creative spirits I know. I'll talk about it. I'll recommend it. I'll give it as a gift. But not my copy. That one holds a special, permanent place in my library. It's mine.

Read Beth's original 365 interview HERE.

See all of Beth's projects HERE.

[365] Prints & Patterns

Esther Jongste in Boazum, the Netherlands created the [365] Prints & Patterns project...

Why did you decide to do this project? The reason why I decide to start my 365 project was to discover if there was enough inspiration available to make a career shift and to become a professional surface pattern designer. And at the same time to improve my skills and express myself.

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? From the start I felt pretty much at home with the process in creating something every day. Even on days where I hadn't a clue where to find inspiration for the challenge of the day, I came up with something reasonable.

For example: to create a pattern about a dream [day 27], seems to me quite difficult. While thinking about the process and the experience of dreaming, slowly the creation revealed for my eyes. You can read and watch the rest of the story HERE.

After, round and about, forty editions, my mission was accomplished and I knew there would be enough inspiration every single day.  And that moment was the turning point where I decided to exchange my 365 project into a new project: becoming a professional in surface design.

A series of e-courses at Pattern Observer followed and with that, the courage grew to make it all happen.

Since the beginning of 2014 my EM | Surface Design Studio is a fact. I developed a portfolio and a website tuned to the textile design industry as relevant tools to get into business and be successful.

To support my business activities I am planning to start a new blog. The main goal is to show what my inspiration sources are. By joining the 'make something 365 & get unstuck' project I now know that inspiration can be found always and anywhere.

That your project will bring you, where you want yourself to be.

See all of Esther's prints and patterns HERE.