Creativity Calendar Challenge

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt 

Well, the very idea of doing one scary thing every day is in itself kind of a scary idea, so that’s my scary thing for the day. I thought about it. LOL. 😉

But it wouldn’t be a bad idea of we were able to commit ourselves to doing one scary thing every week. And I don’t mean scary like “bungee jump” or “hold a tarantula,” I mean scary like “Woah, that was kind of a big step for me.” Scary, like challenging ourselves to do something new, be creative, step outside our every-day-ho-hum-drum boxes.

Lots of people are truly afraid of being creative. They don’t know where to start, or what steps they want to take, or they’re preemptively afraid that the outcome won’t live up to their expectations, so they do nothing. I like to think of myself as a creative person, but then today I nearly had a fantastic little meltdown in the outdoor gardening section of Lowe’s trying to convince myself to JUST BUY THE DAMN PLANT AND GO HOME AND PLANT IT AND WATER IT ALREADY! But I kept convincing myself that whichever poor little plant I chose to bring home would keel over dead within a week — a waste of time, energy, and money. Well, it took an hour of wishy-washily circling the gardening department before I rapidly plonked a strawberry pot and 5 small succulents in my cart, flagged down an employee to heft a bag of potting soil for me, and careened in to the check out line before I could change my mind again and chicken out.

I got home, I ripped open the bag of potting soil, popped each succulent from its plastic container, mauled the roots around a bit, and potted those darn things in record time. And you know what? They’re kind of cute. And even if they don’t live for more than two or three years, I think I can keep them going at least that long.

Last night, out for a friend’s birthday, over craft beers, the conversation skirted around the idea of the higher-order satisfaction creating something can give you, like baking cupcakes compared to, say, the lower-order satisfaction of cramming cupcakes somebody else made in to your face. There’s a satisfaction that goes along with taking a countertop full of ingredients — flour, butter, eggs, sugar, flavorings — and winding up with an entirely edible, probably pretty tasty, result — and if other people come along and eat your cupcakes and then make the “oh my god yummy yummy cupcakes”/”it’s so yummy, i’m going to die” face, then that’s all the more satisfying. And it’s a better satisfaction than just letting sugar push your happy buttons, because in your head you’re like, Hey, I’m not a total failure. Go me! (Don’t lie, it’s what goes through your mind — admit it.)

So, still flying high on the “successfully put a plant in a pot” success, I want to start a hybrid experiment/challenge for myself: Do at least one totally gratuitous creative thing every week.

I’m hoping this will be a good way for me to reflect on my talents & abilities, especially in stressful or trying times. Even if work makes me feel like I’m being sucked to the bottom of a whirlpool, I can spend a few hours crafting or creating something and feel proud and accomplished when I look on my finished product.

I say “gratuitous” creative thing, because some people would argue that daily cooking is a creative endeavor that not everyone can excel at, but for me making dinner is just another one of my daily chores. Baking something new and rewarding, or cooking or baking something for someone else, though, would be creative because it is extraneous to my daily rota and also a chance for me to share the fruits of my labors with others.

To help me keep track of my creativity, allowing me to reflect on it and see it in a more immediate and real way, I’m just making entries on a Google-account calendar I named my “Creativity Calendar.” Sometimes I forget when I’ve been creative, or I don’t realize how long it’s been since I created something completely for the pleasure of creating. I went back and jotted down dates when I know I did something that qualified, like bake a new recipe or visit the museum (I feel experiencing art is a form of creativity, especially when you do it with a friend and have a discussion about the art or craft on display).

Right now I’m challenging only myself, but if anyone wants to join in, then hey, the more the merrier. Leave a comment with a link to your blog so we can come cheer you on!

See you next week!


CREATIVITY CALENDAR for the week MAY 7-13 2012

  • made Jim’s grandmother’s cookie recipe for the first time
  • baked a new bread recipe
  • potted some plants

CREATIVITY CALENDAR for the week APRIL 30-MAY 6 2012

  • took a vegetarian Indian cooking class at the BCAE
  • did a few hours of cross stitching while Jim was volunteering at a youth camp

CREATIVITY CALENDAR for the week APRIL 23-29 2012

  • went to a session at The Paint Bar, “Giant Sunflower”
  • baked a new-to-me cake recipe
  • visited the museum to see an exhibit on colonial embroidery with my mom

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