Work/Life Balance

My 30-Day Challenge To Make Myself More Creative & Focused

By | Thursday, May 11, 2017

Hi hello, everyone! Lauren here reporting for spring challenge duty! You might have already read Chelsea’s post about her challenge of getting ‘fit’, and Holly’s challenge of decluttering while moving. Well, at long last, I’ve finally sat down to write my own spring challenge post. As the three of us chatted about our respective goals for the month of May (although, I’m starting mine a bit late, so it will extend into June), I thought about how I could turn casual creative hobbies of mine into more substantial side projects.

I love learning new skills and design techniques, and if you read my Skillshare post from a few weeks back, you know that online learning is definitely my jam. But, as I spend an increasing amount of time on the computer for work, leisure, AND learning, I’m beginning to feel like I’m at maxXxXx capacity for the number of hours per day spent staring at a computer screen. What I crave more than anything is quality time throughout the week where I can get off the computer. Running outside is a hobby of mine, which provides a necessary escape from being “plugged in,” (and what I initially thought I could turn my challenge into). But, as I thought about what I really miss doing most, my thoughts turned to my old creative college sketchbook.

It’s a beaten and battered looking thing that currently sits on the bookshelf of my childhood bedroom at my parents’ house. When I was visiting them a few weeks back, I noticed it on the top shelf, and took it down to rifle through. I was honestly a little floored by how much I had managed to produce back then in school between lectures, homework, social activities, class projects, and a part-time job. Go college-version me! I kept that sketchbook for about two years, and what originally began as a class assignment, meant to document sketches and keep creative juices flowing, turned into a full blown addictive daily habit. (I was ultimately graded on the content of the sketchbook, which looking back on it feels a bit odd…but, I think our professor wanted us to stay accountable to it.) Each day, I would doodle, paint, sketch, collage, make patterns, or practice typography — all techniques were open to me. I hadn’t chosen one particular path for my major at that point, so I was dabbling in it all. I didn’t feel self-conscious about the work I was making because it was just for fun! And, that mentality actually ended up making what I was putting in better. Sometimes, I would collage and doodle for hours in that notebook, losing myself in the pages because of how much I loved doing it.

Fast forward to now, me as a 27-year-old working professional. I’ve found that after work I’m more inclined to socialize with friends, cook or bake something, or watch TV or movies to unwind. I don’t make a lot of creative stuff in my spare time — I consume a lot of content by way of TV, online media, magazines/books, etc. However, I do still work on hand lettering (as you can see below):

But, it’s more of a casual hobby than something I really do every day. Instagram accounts I follow, like this one and this one, are so inspiring because these women produce such a consistent, high volume of creative work, which I find to be admirable and exciting. It makes me remember my old ways and feel ~nostalgic~.

So, enter my very own spring challenge! What will I be doing exactly?? Trying my best to recreate the version of my 20-year-old college self, and making at least one entry into my creative sketchbook every single day. I’m not setting strict guidelines as to what I create, it just has to be pen/pencil on paper, me and my sketchbook, no phone or distractions around (unless it’s a nice glass of red wine nearby, heh.) I’m going to try my hand at old techniques I used to love exploring: cutting and pasting magazine clippings together to make interesting visual landscapes and collages, creating patterns, hand lettering, and watercoloring.

You might be asking why I chose this challenge as opposed to, you know, going Whole30 or training for a half marathon or something. Well, as much as I think physical fitness is important, I do miss flexing the ol’ creative muscle that I used to so effortlessly. And, strangely enough, I found that being so diligent about making art everyday made me more aware of my surroundings, more confident in my abilities, more productive, and more engaged with the creative community. Along the way, I will also be forcing myself to share weekly snapshots of what I’m doing to encourage myself to put imperfect work on display for people to see. Instead of being self-conscious about things not looking #Done and Ready To Share, I’m going to throw that anxiety to the wind!

I’ll be sharing progress and a halfway progress report on my spring challenge here on the site as well as on my Instagram. So, stay tuned!!!

Image via Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.