Fanning the Flames
When is a Challenge Too Challenging?
I love the concept of artistic challenges. 365 Days of Art. 30 Days of Crochet. National Novel Writing Month. Bullet Journal With Me. Doodle Every Day. They all sound like such fun, don't they? But they can actually stifle some people's creativity with their expectations and rules.
If you're like me, you don't always play by the rules. I hated doing a journal for some classes in college simply because it forced me to write when I didn't always want to. I would turn in pages with "I don't have anything to write today" on them and get a poor grade, which made me want to do that even less. I'd start most artistic challenges and never finish them. I either ran out of ideas or felt constrained by a list of provided prompts. I felt like they had nothing to challenge me with and I was a failure because I couldn't succeed in doing them. I got annoyed with myself (because we're often our own worst critics) for not finishing them. But I then decided to look at why I really never finished them, and you know what? it was because I don't like following other people's rules. (Not a surprise...)
I heard about this thing called Inktober. Apparently, your challenge is to do an ink sketch a day during October. My initial reaction was "Don't bother, you won't finish it." But then I took a step back and said to myself (not out loud), "So what?"
That's right. So what?
It's not the end of the world. I'm not a failure. It actually doesn't matter if I finish a challenge or not. So I said (yes, this was a whole internal conversation), "Do it the way you want to. To heck with the rules." So I did. Could I do a sketch a day if there were no other rules? I actually didn't find out until a few days in that there's an "official" prompt list, but I chose to ignore it and keep drawing whatever came to mind whenever I felt like it during the day. And you know what?
Not playing by the rules is working!
It's nearly mid-October, and I've produced a sketch a day so far. Some are far better than others, but i told myself the results don't matter as long as I did it. Honestly, I don't like some of the ones I've done. But once I was able to say that I was going to do it my way and the results don't matter, it freed me to come up with ideas and accept them.  I've drawn my breakfast, a jar of ink, a sword, a cupcake, a ghost, and more. The one I'm happiest with to date is below, sketched quickly while googling images of tattoos. I think I'll keep going for now since I'm having fun with it.
And if I don't finish, that's perfectly okay too.
Are you feeling overwhelmed or like your creativity is stifled or blocked?  I can help you with that. Contact me and together we will find new ways of getting inspired that work for YOU.
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Fanning the Flames, copyright 2019 Meghan O'Connor, all rights reserved.
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Keynote Creativity Coaching  •  PO Box 7053  •  Albuquerque, NM 87194

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