Tuesday, 10 October 2017

A LESSON IN THE POWER OF CREATIVE HABIT


I started a creative project a couple of months ago called The 100 Day Project. I had watched other creative people document their experience completing the project, and decided that there was a lot of potential within the project to learn and explore. As a maker who always loves a good creative project, I decided to set myself up to start the journey. 

You may be curious what the project is all about. Essentially, you choose something creative to do for one hundred days in a row that is based within a preset parameter. The project can look so many different ways for different makers, but the general principle is that you are doing the same creative thing for one hundred days in order to establish some sort of habit. It is important to set a tight enough parameter that you have a clear focus when you start each day, but have enough space within that parameter to explore and find at least one hundred different ways to tackle it. If you can think of at least ten different ways to attempt your daily challenge right off the bat, you should be fine to move ahead with it and start.


When I began, I decided to base my project on pattern-making within the Adobe Illustrator program. I am in the process of learning how to use Illustrator, so I thought this would be a great way for me to get familiar with the program. I created a standard template within Illustrator that is four inches tall  by six inches wide, established that it just had to be some sort of pattern, and set myself up to begin. My parameters are tight enough that I have a place to start every day, but open enough for that each day's pattern can manifest in a variety of different ways.

I am currently over three-quarters of the way through my project. Today marked day seventy-seven, meaning I've hit the "under one month to go" mark. There have been so many beautiful things come out of this creative challenge. so I wanted to share some of the things that I have been learning. Today, I really want to talk about the power of the creative habit.


I first read about the idea of the creative habit in a wonderful book by Twyla Tharp. Her book essentially argues that creativity does not manifest from some divine inspired place, but instead is built through oodles of hard, dedicated work. She believes that we shouldn't sit around waiting for inspiration to hit us, but instead, we have the potential to tap into inspiration simply by building habits around our creative practices that just get us going. In other words, we will find meaning and inspiration by actually doing instead of by thinking about it. Our ability to harness our creativity comes from the action of actually creating.

When I first read these ideas, I was taken aback. Everything I had ever believed about creativity was rocked. But at the same time, it motivated me in a new and empowering way. If this was true, it meant that everyone had the potential to be creative, but it just required the effort of developing skill. Skill through habit.


This is exactly what The 100 Day Project is all about. Making daily creative acts a habit in order to improve skill, create inspiration, and explore some untapped potential. Being seventy-seven days in, I can honestly say that this daily act of creating has become second-nature. I'm constantly finding sources of inspiration throughout my day, I'm prioritizing my artistic urges, and I'm making time (even if only ten minutes) to make something. You wouldn't believe how this has inspired me in other creative endeavours. It's also challenged me in the pursuit of perfectionism, but I'll save that talk for another day.

Some days, my pattern is intricate and beautiful. I've taken up to an hour to create a little piece. But other days, my pattern is simple, predictable, and easy, as I've only had fifteen minutes to spare. But the point is that it is completed. I've made something. I've made something everyday for the past seventy-seven days.


I haven't decided what to do with the final patterns. I've compiled them in a document to at least get them printed, but from there, I don't have a finished product in mind. I'm okay with that though. Like I mentioned, this isn't meant to be a perfect, finished product tied up with a neat little bow. This is all about the process. The end result is more of a bonus.

I have more lessons that I've learned on this journey to share soon. Hopefully you'll feel inspired to tap into the potential of the creative habit by starting a project of your own. If you do, I'd love to hear about it!

#100DaysOfPatterns

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