Friday, December 19, 2008

A Breather (and then dive in again)

Yesterday morning, I looked out of the window and discovered we were in a cloud! So I stepped out the front door, with barefoot children following, and walked around the corner to take a photo.

Yesterday, I also took a breather from creating. I sketched some ideas, I made some lists and researched some ideas, I worked on packing up an order, I posted and I even wrote a little installment in my group story project, but I didn't make any new products. Hmm. Looking over that list I can see that I did a lot. It was a day where I thought I did nothing but surf the internet and it turns out I was still working, still making, still producing. That's very interesting. I'm trying to find ways to relax and not work so hard... without guilt and anxiety.

ANY WAY, funny segue. While I'm trying to relax, I've just taken on a new project. The Portfolio Project, it's called, and it's the brain child of Jen Lemen and Jen Lee. The idea is to commit the next 12 weeks to creating a body of work-- a portfolio.

It's up to each individual who's playing to define what that body of work should look like. 50, even 100 paintings? A publishable draft of a novel? 15 great poems? Morning Pages every day? 84 photos? Some will be great, some will be not so much.

This reminds me of a couple of the projects I have done lately, nanowrimo, AEDM and my own personal challenge where I did a Flying Girl everyday, and ended up continuing on for about 2 and a half months. After taking on those projects, there has been a transformation in my life and in the way I interact with the world. Not the very least being the absolute explosion of my creativity.

If you come on my blog and say, "Oh, she's so creative. I wish I was that creative. I could never do all that stuff," I would just like you to read back in my archive a year or two or three. Or four. In fact, my first entry here is when I was pregnant with my 3 year old, and bemoaning the fact that I was unable to create. That drought continued on for three years, until I took up the project of regaining my creativity. Since March. And most of this huge output of art and writing? It's all since Summer. If I can do it, you can do it. You can do YOUR version.

For me, I think I'd like to take the Portfolio project and have it take me from my previous work, most of which was done in my journal, or in the privacy of my writing corner never to see the light of day, to work that is designed to be shown, to be sold, to be published.

I've said it before. 2009 is, for me, The Year of The Business Woman, and my business is the creative.

What about you? What do you want next year to be about for you? Would the Portfolio Project help you get there? Do you want to play the game of the Portfolio Project with us? Join in. Everyone's welcome.

Some things to think about for the beginning of the project, from Jen Lee's Podcast, and elaborated on by me.

Accountability: How will you be held accountable for doing the work. Will you blog about it? Will you have friends join and work with them? Will you tell your family about it and have them bug you for the rest of the 12 weeks? Will you start your own little workshop once a week where people come to share their portfolios in process?

Definition: Define what you want your product to look like at the end of the 12 weeks. How many paintings/poems/pages/photos? Be specific, give a number, not a subjective state. Plan backwards. That means take the number of products you want to have in your hand and divide by the number of weeks/days. That's how much you have to do each week/day. Don't forget to be realistic with that number.

Schedule: Look for time in your daily routine to get your Portfolio Project done. You can't get it done without building in the time. I personally found time at the end of the day, while watching my wind-down tv for the night. That's when I painted (which is why I lost my down time, but that's something else I have to work out). But maybe you can find some free hours (haha) or more likely, maybe you will have to rearrange your routine to get things done. For instance, do you REALLY need to check all of the blogs in your googlereader in one sitting? (Rowena, I'm talking to you.) Also, look for short blocks of time in your day. You'd be amazed at how much can get done in a mere fifteen minutes. Maybe you can tuck your project into your already busy day, but more likely, you will need to shake it up. Ask for time from family. Get a babysitter. Give up the weekly meeting with the girls. Sacrifice something on the altar of your creativity. (no, no drama there.)

and lastly
Just do it. It will never get done if you don't just do it. Commit. Sit down at the computer. Pick up your brush. Steal those ten minutes every morning for your morning pages. Carry your camera everywhere. Close that door on the world and open up the one inside of yourself.

In the wise words of I really don't remember who:

Writing is the fine art of applying ass to chair.

Get that ass in gear.

So you wanna play?


Kate Lord Brown said...

Brilliant idea - look forward to seeing your 09 portfolio x

Marta said...

Well, I think I'm in. I've got my big show in April and I'm tying each picture to my novel--so come April I should have my novel rewrites done and the art ready.


Sugar said...

THIS is why I love coming here to your blog. I feel inspired! That portfolio challenge is just the catalyst I need to get going. Nothing like public commitment to make you move forward.

I remember your posts a year ago. I remember pulling for you... that you would come through the feeling that you couldn't create now that you were a mom. I was pulling for me, too.

Natasha said...

I am ridiculously excited and inspired...this is something I want to do but need to sit down go through all the goals I've set and things I'm trying to do better and see where I can make this all work....I love this...thank you for the bomb under my ass!

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