Creativity Log and Sketchbook
I had lunch with a dear friend last week who also happens to be a very successful artist. We did a lot of visiting as well as talking "shop". She is very generous with her ideas and thoughts on being an artist and building a career. One of the things that came up in our discussion was using a creativity log. You can see it beneath the sketchbook in the image above.
I first saw and heard about the idea on Flickr from Margaret Storer-Roche. My friend saw it during an art league meeting. We both felt the idea had merit and both gave it a whirl (unaware that the other one was trying it). This creativity log is meant to track how many days out of the month you are creative (not necessarily the amount of time). The cool thing about this is that each artist determines the definition for what is creative.
In my case, I have two definitions: 1) is to create something new on the computer as in design work; and 2) to fully engage in the creation of a piece of artwork regardless of the stage. For me that engagement can be 10 minutes or 2 hours, just so long as I fall into my project and forget about the world. If I am creative just on the computer, I mark that day with vertical lines. If I worked on a piece of art, I paint the square a solid color. If I do both, I go with a solid box as artwork trumps computer work (for me). If I am not creative, I leave the box blank.
What fascinated me is that in talking with my friend I learned that we had both stayed up late or chosen not to do something so that we could go to the studio and create just so we could mark off that day's box! We both leave the charts out where we can see them to help motivate us and we both found that they had been tremendously helpful in getting us to make art on those days "where you just don't feel like it."
If you are struggling with motivation or a lack thereof, give it a whirl. If you want to see just how much time you spend creating, try tracking your days. I've tried several different systems, but this one has been the best by far. And if you try it, remember that you set the definition to creativity - it can be a creative meal, a creative piece of writing, it can be anything you want it to be! Just be honest with yourself as it is your tool and yours alone.
In the image above you will also see my sketchbook. I started a sketch of a Carolina Wren yesterday that I promptly messed up. Tonight, I'll be going back to the studio to fix my mistakes and get going on this piece. I have an experimental idea in mind. Not sure if it will work, but my sketchbook is the place to try it. The other reason I photographed my creativity log with my sketchbook is that the sketchbook is often the place I go to really be creative without fear of failing.
Creativity doesn't have to be a full-blown production. Small counts too! Failures count. Mistakes count. And, sometimes small pieces, failures and mistakes teach me more than the full-blown productions. I hope you'll give this a try! If you do, let me know - we can compare notes as the months go by.
P.S. Even Chris (my hubby) knows that when I say "I have to go to the studio, I have a box to paint" that I'm going to put my creative time in so that I can fill my little box and he understands.