Back when I had great intentions about being creative and doing things like writing, sewing, painting and improving my skills, I always struggled to know where to start or to get going. I needed to make a habit but was without direction or purpose which made it really hard to create and maintain momentum.
A great way of cultivating a creative habit is to take part in a some kind of challenge. The first one like this that I took part in was Nanowrimo – National Novelling Month. It was a mammoth challenge (50,000 words in a month!) but the accountability combined with my stubbornness kept me writing until I had met that goal. Once those words started flowing, I found it hard to stop, and hard to imagine why I hadn’t made the time for it before that point. Breaking 50,000 words down into 30 days actually works out at a much more manageable 1667 words per day- and that was something I could do.
Since there’s a few challenges like this coming up (and ongoing) here are some of my favourites to get you started down that path of making a new creative habit.
Write 31 Days is a 31 day blogging challenge running through October- the challenge being to write on one topic, one post a day for a month. Your topic can be as specific or broad as you like- I wrote for 31 days about what I was learning about being intentional, and sharing life that way. There are so many participants, and so many subjects that you could do.
Not a blogger? You could set up a blog for the challenge – see my post here- or write it elsewhere. In a journal, a notebook, on facebook- just write everyday. Once the words begin, you’ll be well on your way to creating a new creative discipline.
Nanowrimo runs through November, and as I outlined above is a month long challenge to write 50,000 words of fiction. It seems like a crazy, crazy challenge- but it’s only a month, you can rewrite it later if it’s rubbish, but it’s such a great exercise if nothing else. Not into fiction? Embrace the challenge but write non-fiction, or adapt it to suit. The important thing is to keep writing!
Journalling challenges- there are lots of places to get journalling prompts if you want to get writing with pen and paper but don’t know what to write about. Hello Neverland often has journalling prompts over on her instagram, and plinky has an interesting selection of questions to stimulate your writing.
Letter it challenge– #letteritseptember is running at the moment- and Jenny Highsmith releases a new list of lettering phrases each month so that you can practise your handlettering and share your images with other participants. It keeps running through the year- so jump in wherever you are and get creative with those letters! This is easily manageable in just a few minutes if you’re pushed for time one day, and is a great way to connect with others.
Kristin Schmucker periodically hosts #lampandlight challenges, to read the Bible every day for a month. Posting images of your quiet time or Bible or journal can keep you going and remind others who are taking part. But more than that, the hashtag is used by loads of women throughout the year, so it’s another great way to keep accountable to stay in the word. Why not make a commitment to read the Bible daily, even if it’s just a verse, and share a picture?
Makewells is currently doing 365 days of sketchbook pages, which is endlessly inspiring and beautiful- and there are lots of 30 days challenges floating around on pinterest for 30 day or even 365 day photography or drawing ideas.
Doodleaday is another instagram based challenge, just to give you a focus for some creativity. Once you’ve done your doodle, you may find you want to carry on!
Not on instagram? A lot of people also post their instagram photos to twitter, facebook and more- so just snap a picture and share it on whichever platform using the same hashtag.
Often just jumping in and having a sense of accountability and a community supporting you in your new creative habit makes a huge difference to continuing it. I’ve often intended to read more, or draw more, or write more, but it wasn’t until I participated in a challenge like this that it actually happened and became a habit.
Do you have other challenges you like to do that I’ve not listed? Which ones have you done before?