It's been about a week and a half since I finished the Creative Challenge Week here on the blog, and I've taken it easy since then, giving myself time to think about what the experience of committing to making something small every day for five days in a row was like for me. After mulling it over, I do have a few thoughts I want to share, plus a question for you. In case you missed it, you can go back a bit and read about my call for Creative Challenge Week.
A few observations about the experience of holding myself accountable for creating something every day during the Challenge:
- I tend to obsess over thinking about what I am going to make, making it hard to actually get to the making part. Remember, thinking and doing are two different things!
- I tend to believe that there is a "perfect" or "best" idea and this cuts me off from trying things that sound fun or interesting out. Instead, I tried to aim for "good enough".
- While it seemed tough to find time to make something every day initially, I actually discovered that it was less about finding a huge uninterrupted chunk of time to create, and rather steal a few minutes here or there throughout the day to draw, write a poem, snap a photo, etc. In fact, on the Monday Challenge day, I took my shadow photo during my brisk walk from the subway to the dentist office. Stolen moments add up!
- It felt good to announce my intentions on social media, as it helped hold me accountable to sticking to the schedule.
- Often the thing you set out to make at the start doesn't look like the thing you make by the end, and this is really cool to experience. For example, I set out photographing bicycles in Cambridge, thinking I would create a bicycle collage, only to find that my spontaneous shadow photo was what I wanted to share. Be prepared to be surprised!
- Many of the activities that I was drawn to were outside my normal area of art, the theatre, which is something I did not expect. Get outside of the creative box.
Realizing that my creations from the week were not plays or set designs or performances or much related to theatre at all got me thinking about an earlier blog post where I talked about the important of getting outside of your own creative genre to recharge and discover something new. For me, this concept not only makes sense on the page, but in real life play as well.
In fact, I enjoyed the drawing day so much that I started to think about how long it had been since I had gotten out my sketchbook. My paints. My easel. Too long.
When was the last time I wrote poetry?
Or walked around the city, with the sole purpose of taking photos?
It's been easy for me to make creativity all about the theatre or when I do choose something else to play with, convince myself that I have to be good at it, really good at it, make it into a serious pastime, and share it with other people to be judged worthy.
What if I decided to start drawing again as a hobby? With the sole intention of enjoying myself and taking a little creative vacation from my theatre work? In other words, folks, a HOBBY.
This summer, I want to actively start trying out some different hobbies to see if I can find one that helps me to relax and take a much needed break not only from my day job and my daily life, but from my theatre work itself. Some hobbies I want to try out are:
- Learning some basic Italian (I have started using Duolingo and it's really fun!)
- Needle felting tiny animals (aren't they adorable?)
- Making my own cards and stationary
- Watching more classic Hollywood movies
- Setting a goal of reading a new author every month
I think it would do me a world of good to give myself the freedom to make something without the pressure of needing to put it onstage, share it at a conference, or even necessarily share it with anyone else if I don't want to. Of course, I would love to be able to share some thoughts about this ongoing experiment with you all, to see what new creative or life insights it might bring forth. Experiments are so helpful in allowing me to reexamine how I am living my day to day life and what I might want or need to tweak to find a deeper sense of peace and joy. It's all creative living, isn't it?
What about you? Do you have a hobby, one that isn't linked to your creative work or projects? I would love to know if you have any ideas that you think I might have fun trying out, especially if they are inexpensive, or better yet, free!