Loggin' Creativity

7:48 PM

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. 

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14 Creative Thought(s)

  1. Laure...this is very interesting. I've had exercise logs in the past, but never a creative log. I think this is more my style!

  2. Thanks for the smile, Kelly, this is waaay more my style too than an exercise log! ;•)

  3. Very interesting thoughts. So neat that you and your friend were thinking along the same lines. It will be interesting to see the month when you are done.

  4. Hmm, very interesting. I will check out the link, thanks. Well, how creative am I? I seem to spend most of my time on the computer these days, either fiddling around with photoshop which I am FINALLy getting to grips with (had the programme for years, mind) and creating blog buttons etc. But does that really count? Creating with paper, paint, glue etc... I feel I'm sadly behind myself. I really need to get back to basics!

    Unfortunately, I don't have a studio and work out of my front room - with my husband sitting close by, the TV on - every excuse and distraction you can think of not to do any artwork! Aaaah, rats....

  5. Teri, I could not have been more surprised when she brought it up! I too thought it was pretty neat. So far I have a 62 day streak going! Yay!

    Susie, I hear you. It is so easy to be busy, not so easy to be creative in the areas that feed our souls. The computer is my friend/enemy as it provides me with contact to the world and steals all my time as payment for that contact!

    I am amazed you do not have a studio given the great work I see on your blog and that wonderful book you just gave away! You must be doing something right to be able to create like that without the studio! You'll find a way . . . you're too inventive not too!

  6. What a helpful post Laure! Thanks for sharing... I'll give this one some serious thought.

  7. this is so cool and it looks really neat too - I love organizational things, keeping track and writing lists, this is such a pretty list.

  8. What a helpful post. Thinking about giving it a go. It will be a reality check.

  9. Kim, hi, and thanks for visiting! It is very much a reality check. You can being to identify patterns as to when you make it to the studio and when you don't. Please let me know if you start one!

  10. I was excited to see your art log posted here. I too started one this year -- at the beginning of the year resulting from the examples that Margaret had posted. I'm really having fun with it and it is motiviating me -- I want to be able to fill in my square for the day with 'some' color -- and I have fun deciding what the color will be for the day -- usually a color that I usedt that day. However I find myself in the middle of a dry spell. But.... tomorrow is another day!! Better think about what I'll do tomorrow (after work....).

  11. What fun this is. Anything we use to keep us producing is alright by me and I am going to try it. Sure beats the chart I have by the bathroom scale. I think I will trade this chart for the weight chart. That's creative. Ooh, my first block colored.

  12. Hi, Claire and Pat, hope you'll both start a log - they're fun and they are quite motivational!

    Pat, thanks for visiting, and you know, I'd throw that "other" log out too!!

  13. Maybe this is just what I need~ I had never heard of it before.

  14. Just saw you post this on Facebook. It sounds like a great idea for a New Year's resolution.


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