First of all, can I get a HAPPY NEW YEAR over here? 2013 was a hearty mix of highs and lows, but overall I am so thankful for everything that happened and I feel closer than ever to my dreams and aspirations. One of those being, to be creative, free, and fulfilled every damn day. I’ve got most of those down pretty well, and as a blogger and graphic designer, you’d think that creativity is coming out of my toenails. It is, sort of.
See, the thing is that even when we make creative routines, our mind gets used to them. It’s up to us to constantly shake things up and work our brains in new and innovative ways. I may know WordPress and Photoshop like the back of my hand, but the last time I read a book? Uhhh. The last time I discovered new music? *long pause* The last time I dusted off my film cameras and took photos of my world? Well, you get the idea.
Bottom line: if we’re not trying new things, we’re letting our minds sit stagnantly.
I finished 2013 with a hunger to explore, learn, and make more. So this 2014, I vote that we stretch ourselves in fresh, freeing ways. That’s why I decided to start The Creative Collective — a year-long initiative designed to help the both of us learn, grow, and have a freakin’ blast doing it.
So what IS this Creative Collective you speak of?
It’s based on the idea of community and creation. I’ve planned out 23 creative activities for 2014 — all you have to do is show up and get your groove on. In order to participate, just check out which activity is coming up next (full list is below!) and follow the prompt. Then, on the date beside the activity, I will host a link-up where you can share what you made or your experience with the activity through a blog post, Instagram photo, etc. The link-ups will be on the first and third Wednesday of every month, starting on January 15th, but you’re welcome to do your mini-project anytime before the link-up date! I spent oodles of time thinking of each prompt, with the goal to make a year that is balanced, ridiculously fun, inexpensive, and meaningful yet not overly time-consuming. I hope you’ll join me as we stretch our minds in 2014. Because let’s be real, whether your daily routine calls for calculators or confetti, we all have room to try and make new things.
Each prompt is below — are you game? I’ll see you creative folks back here on January 15th to share your posts and photos of what you made!
January 15 // Think of a word that you want to focus on in 2014.
Find a piece of paper, cardboard, old pizza boxes, whatever, and write your word out. You can include photos, magazine clippings, paint splotches, random household items, or anything, really, that embodies this word to you. Make it colorful, if you like. Then hang it somewhere in your house or bedroom where it can inspire you and help you maintain your focus throughout the year.
February 5 // Create a playlist of new music.
February 19 // Anything-Goes Art
Walk around your house and collect anything that appeals to you — memorable ticket stubs, the extra buttons that come with clothing, confetti from New Years that’s still stuck to your dining table — along with some basic craft supplies you have on hand (paper, glue, paint, etc) and create something. Don’t worry about making a masterpiece. This activity should not be stressful. Allow your mind to form connections and breathe in new ways. Use an old newspaper as your canvas, if you’d like. Glue things upside down. Work with reckless, uninhibited abandon. (If you made a playlist from the previous challenge, now would be a great time to play it! Don’t forget the wine!).
March 5 // Take a Skillshare class
Skillshare classes are normally about $20 or less and offer a wide range of things, from “Bartending Basics” and “Styling Your Space Like a Pro” to “Modern Calligraphy” and “Night Photography.” Seriously, if there’s a creative skill you want to learn, Skillshare probably has it covered in an inexpensive and time-friendly manner.
March 19 // Become a Pseudo-Bartender
Create a new cocktail recipe. Give it a fun name and serve it to your friends if you can!
April 2 // When Pinterest Comes to Life
Scroll through your Pinterest pins — if you have a “DIY” board, all the better (if not, I have plenty for you to peruse right here!). Find something that excites you, that you should totally be in your house and not just a picture on a screen. Make it.
April 16 // Planting Dreams…Or Just Plants
Go to a farmers market or large plant store. Buy one plant that inspires you, along with one plain pot. Decorate the pot however you’d like. Make it you. As for the plant, become an expert on how to take care of it. Do as much research on your plant species as you can. Then care for it and watch how your research gives it a full life. Alternatively, you could buy a bag of seeds instead. If you choose this route, I recommend researching your plant before purchasing it, to make sure you are equipped to give it the proper care (i.e. indoor vs. outdoor, light, pot size, etc).
May 7 // Hunting for Photos
Go on a photo hunt and create a themed set of at least five photos. Some possible theme ideas: life/death, innocence, shapes, or certain colors.
May 21 // Interview someone.
Perhaps someone with a career you’re fascinated by or a family member whose past you’d love to learn more about (don’t make the mistake of not learning about your family before they’re gone!). You could even interview a blogger! Bonus points if you’re able to take editorial photos of your interviewee to include with your write-up.
June 4 // Be a Tourist in Your Own City
Visit your city’s tourism website. Find a suggested activity, place, or event and do it. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive — even just visiting a local park or that hot dog stand that everyone raves about is good enough for me.
June 18 // Walking Thoughts
Go for a walk (30 min+). Bring a notepad or your phone (turned on airplane mode to avoid receiving contact from others) and jot down all of your thoughts. This might be difficult at first — “what am I supposed to think about?” you might wonder. But keep strolling along. Look at things. Smile at strangers. Try not to think about work or your to-do list — free your mind and see what seeps in. You might be surprised what you end up thinking about! Don’t forget to write it all down. 🙂
July 2 // Pet Portraits
Draw a portrait of your pet (tip: look at a photo as you draw instead of at your actual pet). If you don’t have a pet, draw a portrait of someone close to you, even yourself.
July 16 // A Change of Perspective
Think of an area of your identity where you are part of the privileged or “dominant” group. Write a diary entry or PSA from the perspective of someone from an opposite group. Discuss what makes your life both difficult and beautiful. (For example, if you’re heterosexual, write from the perspective of someone who is not). Some identities to consider: your gender, religion, sexual identity, race, ethnicity, nationality, ability status (i.e. disability or not), etc. Let this activity be meaningful. Don’t allow yourself to feel ashamed or guilty for your privilege — these are not constructive emotions. Instead, hone the experience of others so that you can become more empathetic and open-minded.
August 6 // Quote Art You Heart
Choose one of your favorite quotes and create some sort of art using it. Here are a few ideas of my own to get you started. Need quote ideas? I’ve got a list of my favorites for you, too!
August 20 // Watch a documentary.
‘Nuff said. Alternatively, you could watch some TED videos!
September 3 // Mystery Chef
Go to the grocery store and spend no more than $10-20 on a medley of ingredients — anything that catches your eye, especially things that seem odd or that you’ve never eaten. Go home and make a meal with your new ingredients. Do not use anything you already own except for spices and basic things like oil or butter. Do not follow a recipe, either. Allow your intuition to kick in. Chop things in funny shapes. Enjoy the mystery in your concoction.
September 17 // A Random Word Story
Visit this Random Word Generator. Click “2” to receive two random words. Write a fictional story that uses this word. The story can be any length, big or small.
October 1 // Get Out There and Be Creative
Find a creative event or establishment in your area and attend. Some ideas: a farmers market, a museum, a flea market, a Creative Mornings event, etc!
October 15 // No Tricks Here: Just Read!
Read a book. Write about your book once it’s finished — maybe a review, lessons it taught you, or a list of your favorite quotes from the book. (By the way, this is one of the longest gaps we have until the next prompt so you have nearly 3 weeks to finish a book…you can do it!!). 🙂
November 5 // Artist Impersonation
Do you have a favorite artist? Either way, find one whose works you really love and try to replicate one of their pieces or make something in their style. It doesn’t have to be an exact copy, of course. Just try to think like them and channel their inspiration. You are not limited to canvas art, either. Sculptors, ceramicists, installation artist — whatever!
November 19 // Create a “freebie” and share it.
You could make an iPhone wallpaper, desktop background, art print, stationery….anything! NO experience necessary (newbies encouraged!!) — in fact, you could even edit your favorite photo using PicMonkey by adding a fancy pants quote and deem it a desktop background. Easy peasy, yo. If you have a blog, share it with your readers! Even if you think it sucks, people will appreciate your honest creation.
December 3 // Future You
Using FutureMe.org, write a letter to your future self. This neat website allows you to draft up an email, schedule a date into the future, and have it be sent to you on that date, no questions asked. I’ve been doing this since high school and it’s fun and interesting to receive meaningful letters from your past self. Write about how 2014 went. Were you creative? Who was important to you? How did you grow? What did you value? What do you envision for 2015? But hey, this is your letter — write whatever you want!
December 17 // Choose Your Own Adventure
Think of your own creative challenge this time! Maybe you’ll DIY your own holiday cards or create a ‘zine for your friends. Create anything that catches your fancy. Most of all, have fun. Be present in the moment. Release fear, breathe passion.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments!