I am in the middle of writing a song a day for 29 days, as part of a group I started online called the February club. The idea is that anybody can join, and commit to making or doing one creative thing a day. I suggested that people keep it to 30 minutes or less, and stay in the same medium all month. However, people are using it in whatever way works for them. The interesting thing to notice about myself is that I am judging my work as good, bad or mediocre. Other people are posting on our site that they are just creating, not judging. Well, boy do I judge! So from now to the end of the month I'm going to work on ways to let go of that "inner judge". I'll let you know how it goes! Meanwhile, you can read the article below about the benefits of daily, time-limited creating.
A small group, but open to anyone. We are playwrights, painters, songwriters, poets, charcoal sketchers, story-writers, sax players and potato printers. At least for the month of February. And we are creating one piece a day, within a limited period of time, usually about 30 minutes. What's it like to do this? Here's some quotes from our process blog:
"I tend to stay with something for weeks or months or years. This process of moving on is really good for me." - Deborah Schwartz
"I like having a time limit. Doing a clay sculpture, then just letting it go...no time for judgment, just creation." – Molly Forsythe
"I have been writing. What I like about this February thing is that it's part of my consciousness to create something new every day. Even a little poem while I am eating lunch seems like a special thing to do." - Amy Tai
"I have been drawing for just 15-20 minutes a day (usually just before bed), but it's the best thing ever! The small commitment is just what I need to get into the flow of it again, and remind myself that I haven't forgotten everything I knew. I'm not intending to keep anything I draw, just do it for practice. That makes it much more freeing." – Maren Granstrom
There are five benefits I can think of right away:
1. It helps strengthen the discipline muscle. You make a commitment, you stick to it. It's not a huge time commitment per day, either, so it's not a difficult commitment to keep.
2. It helps with a feeling of success. Do you know that feeling of, "I'm not writing! (Substitute your art here). What is wrong with me? I am a failure as a writer." All of a sudden, you're doing it! You can make a plan, and stick to it, and do the artwork that you choose. You actually are that sort of person.
3. It helps let go of perfectionism. You're creating so many things, and in such a short amount of time, how could you be attached to each small thing you make? Part of this process is to make something, then put it aside and make something new the next day. You're not welcoming in the judge or critic, who spends time revising, editing, crossing out, crumpling up and throwing away. You don't have time for that, you must move on.
4. It helps with creative flow and inspiration. This month is about generating stuff, not about completing and publishing/showing/performing. It's a time to put those anxieties aside, to get into the creative flow, to feel that excitement and inspiration bubble up inside. To say, "Go for it! What have I got to lose?"
5. You can practice “switching.” This means you can quickly switch from your busy mind, involved with practical details (usually called left brain), to your creative mind, which is more open and fluidic (usually called right brain). Many times we might feel like we’re not in the mood to create, or we need to have a long chunk of time to get in the right frame of mind to create. That’s not necessarily true. This useful skill allows you to drop right into creative mode for a limited amount of time.
Start your own!
If all that sounds up your alley, you can start your own group of daily creators for a month. Call it whatever you like. The group part is important, because there's a sense of community effort, you are accountable to more than yourself, and you can hear how it's going for others. You can set up a website that's easy to invite people in, who can write and respond to each other. (I recommend using a wiki, available from pbworks.com.) It may be fun or hard, and you may find other benefits that I didn't mention. If you think of it as an experiment, you can hold it lightly and not get too attached to outcomes. If you do try it, I'd love to hear about it. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!