If I have learned anything this month, it’s this:
You can’t rush creativity.
This month, my personal challenge was to put aside some time each day to get creative. I wanted to encourage myself to get back into art and to try out some new DIY projects. However, despite sounding like a fun way to spend time, I made art into a frustrating activity that had to be completed at the end of long work days and on weekends. Creativity became the challenge.
Essentially I had stifled my own creativity. But at least I’ll take away some realizations. For one, creativity isn’t something you can plan. At the beginning of the month I complied a delightfully long list of potential projects – lists being my personal favorite inspirational tool. Unfortunately, this list stood as a sort of insurmountable mountain of tasks. With the sunlight dwindling, snow storms, and -30 degree weather, I didn’t feel like working on projects when I could curl up with a good book (the Hunger Games), enjoy a hot bath, or spend time with friends. How could I possibly be inspired to start the longest list of tasks ever?
The second thing that I cam to realize was the variety of different projects that could count (even loosely) as art. I could dance to music, bake cupcakes, doodle on my computer, and even day dream – I mean those count as art, right? In fact, the work I do as a salesgirl, arranging sweaters on a table, or as a research assistant, creating graphs with just the right level of contrasting colors, these are artistic tasks too. At least in the sense that not everyone’s final product will be visually appealing.
There is art and creativity in everything we do.
The third thing I learned… Well I would like to say that it was to relax and let art happen. But it obviously isn’t that (yet?). I was so upset about my lack of follow-through on my art projects this month that I couldn’t think of anything to write last week. I felt so much pressure to live up to my challenge that I stifled my own creativity. And a positive feedback cycle ensued – the more I worried, the more stressed out I became about my challenge, the less I could accomplish. Perfect. I can see now that I just need to step back from life and stop stressing the little things.
So what about the rest of the month?
I’ve decided to just relax. To stop thinking so much about every little thing that I could/should/would be doing if… well you get the picture. I’ll leave myself free to enjoy art if and when I want to. And blog about other stuff in the meantime.
Have you every over-thought a personal challenge? Have you ever stood in the way of your own success? I’m pretty sure it happens to all of us from time to time.