So I’m six months into Year 2 of Making Something Every Day. I’ve missed a few more days this year already than I did last year. I felt the pressure of not letting up last year. Not slowing down for any reason for fear of losing momentum. I’m much more laid back about it this year because I know that I’m going to keep doing it. Because, well, I’ve already done it once.
I set my goal for this year of continuing 20 minutes a day but with a couple of rules. Cut down on the yarn posts. Pretty sure that one is a bust but hey, something I can keep working on! And to finish 4-6 canvases/larger pieces this year. That one, I’ve got. In fact, I’ve sold four pieces and finished eight total. I currently have three for sale on my mantel. Hint, hint if anyone is interested.
A friend asked me to post a few thoughts on the 20 minutes a day process. So here’s a few of those.
Creativity is a practice.
I’ve heard that all my life but the past year and a half have really and truly chiseled that into the granite of my brain. I tweeted this at the beginning of May:
It occurs to me that an artist’s work is repetitious in the same way school children’s work is repetitious. Practice, practice, practice!
— Misty Granade (@mistyg) May 1, 2014
When I studied art history in college, I was always a little bit intrigued/annoyed by the repetition in the body of an artist’s work. Why does this happen? Can’t they see that they are essentially making the same thing over and over again? Don’t they want to do things differently? These are the questions that I’ve kicked around off and on for a large part of my adult life.
What I’ve seen happen in my work over the past 18 months is a slow variation over time of things I’m interested in, skills I’ve mastered, skills I’m attempting to master, and a very large helping of, “Ohh! Look! Pretty!!” I do wonder if other artists are structured with this process. If it’s something they work on deliberately or something that evolves for each of us organically. All I know is that I work a little bit every day: trying new things, keeping what works, doing the things I know to do and then repeating the process. I can attest to it coming more naturally now. I think I’m a bit more creatively/mentally flexible so that once I start, the next thing comes more readily. I love that part!
20 minutes is more time than you think.
I started with the 20 minutes because I thought it would be a slice of time I could give up from all the other things that consume my day and still feel like I was accomplishing something. There are very few days that I work longer than 30 minutes on the current art project. So if you are interested in starting on a project, I very highly recommend 20 minutes a day to start out.
After 18 months, I’ve made 13 finished paintings, several zine style books and notebooks, and a vast number of ATCs and postcards. 20 minutes a day is over 120 hours in a year. While that’s not a huge amount of time compared to say, the time I spend making dinner every day, it is over the course of the whole year. Everyone has 20 minutes that they can free up to do something they love. And now I just feel like I’m plagiarizing this Onion article.
Making Something Every Day is my retreat time.
I know I’m going to get that time in sometime today. And tomorrow. And the next day. Maybe it will be early and I will be really fresh and energetic. Maybe it will be mid-day when I am more apt to be thoughtful and a bit more leisurely. Maybe it will be late and I will be more introspective and moody. Anytime of the day that I get to go do art feels like a little mini vacation. It centers me and lets me de-stress from what the day is dishing out. Yes, it is creativity on demand but on my terms and on my time so even when the art I make isn’t very good it’s still time well spent.
Making Something Every Day is good for my kids.
I want my kids to learn that doing the things you love require practice. Sometimes all of your life practice. And that it’s ok to wear many hats. Maybe you don’t make a living being an artist. But being an artist on the side can make you a better worker at your regular job. I want Eli and Liza to grow up thinking that spending time working on something that you are passionate about is a pretty fine way to spend your weekends and evenings instead of just watching endless amounts of TV. Also some of my best creative times are with Liza in the office with me. She can be working on her own thing or we can be working together but it’s so fun to have her as a partner in craft.
Making Something Every Day has allowed me to connect with people.
Posting art every day on the internet is a risk. I am showing people who I am. It’s personal and real for me. I hope that folks connect with the journey even if they aren’t crazy about my particular style of art. People have been encouraging and warm toward this process. I’ve had a lot of good conversations with people about what I’m doing and their creative journey as well. I’ve had several people tell me they look for my posts every day. I’m grateful that I get contribute to people’s joy in this way.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this or your own creativity practice!