Summer is coming up fast now, and it’s the perfect time to get creative.
If you’re like me, you make lots of plans and projects. But it’s easy to find yourself at the end of the summer and you’ve only made a start before getting distracted.
I love summer. The sun, the warm days, the green, the butterflies and birds. Time to slow down and enjoy the sunshine and long days.
Time just has a way of drifting pleasantly into the breeze. Too many summers have slipped away. I always have intentions to do something meaningful. Devote time to writing, painting, photography, or other projects. But I always miss the goals.
Our projects are diaries of a sort. Returning to them years later, you are transported back to the time of creation. Even sensations like touch, sound and smell can come rushing back.
It’s important to have these creations to mark time.
However, without any plan or focus, everything gets pushed off until time has run out. It’s easy to let it happen year after year.
So, this year I’m doing things differently.
I’m going to design some creative projects for this summer and stay accountable.
Anyone can do a creative summer project. It’s perfect for children and adults. It can give creative and artistic growth, enjoyment, and fun. And it inspires your future creative efforts.
Now is a great time to start pulling together your ideas.
Creativity needs planning
We often think of creativity as something spontaneous like a bolt from the blue. That might happen now and then, but real creatives know you can’t wait, you can’t leave it to chance.
Creativity is way too important and too valuable for that.
You often need a plan, a practice, time scheduled for creativity.
I’m using a few strategies to help me out with my creative projects so I don’t go off the rails. If I leave it to chance, I know little will be accomplished. So here are a few practical preparations to help us out of this hole.
Brainstorm and pick your ideas
I start by thinking of some good ideas for projects. We need some good possibilities to narrow in on, so I start with a few questions.
- What do I feel like doing?
- What would be fun to try or practice?
- What can I imagine sticking with through the summer?
It’s really important that you find something that you really want to do. Something that fills you with joy and new energy. Let these questions focus your mind on what you most want to do.
Decide your time frame
It’s important to be clear about how much time you really have.
Sometimes we have less than we think we will have, and that’s when things tend to go off the rails. Set the bar low. Having more time is no problem, but if you have high expectations, then it’s easy to get disappointed and drop everything.
- Do you have all summer to devote to creative projects or only a few weeks?
- How much time in the day do you have for your creative projects?
- When will your start and end days be?
- Or will the projects be open-ended?
If you know you only have 10-20 minutes a day to devote to creative projects, that’s still enough time to make progress, and more importantly, it’s perfect for building a habit.
Planning it out
Planning can be fun. It’s a point where you build your energy and excitement, both of which you need to carry you through.
It’s helpful to sketch out in your mind or on paper what exactly you are going to do and how you will do it. What you will need and where you will work.
These are among the important considerations in your plans. There may be others unique to your project, so think as many as you can. And be flexible, it’s hard to plan for everything.
- Do you need a workroom?
- Do you need a place in nature to go?
- Do you need any special equipment or materials?
- How much will it cost?
- How will you handle distractions and interruptions?
This is another fun step. Supplies and materials can be a source of inspiration. I only have to look at my colors of paints and threads to get ideas dropping in.
Consider what new materials you might need too. Have them on hand so you minimize interruptions in your creative flow.
This is something I see many people forget.
It is important that you set your mind for creating, and it’s as important as making sure you have the right supplies.
- let go of the inner critic
- staying focused on the fun
- allowing yourself to make mistakes and learn from them
- to keep showing up
- keep the inner fire burning
I work on all this, but I fail a lot at remembering them. I get so critical of myself and don’t allow for mistakes. This is how you block your creative growth. Everyone I’ve seen that sticks with their creative interests gets better at them with time and practice.
So, don’t let the early results bother you. Staying focused on fun and play always helps me, and I hope it will help you too.
I love having a few notes or thoughts about a project later on when I go back. A little time reflecting over what you have accomplished is helpful as well.
You may want to leave yourself a few notes about what you might do differently next time, or what you learned along the way.
It is also helpful to keep a few notes about what you are doing too. Certain types of projects you might want to repeat in the future, and it’s very helpful to have lists of materials and steps handy.
Keep the excitement going
I’ve learned over the years of doing creative work that this has to be part of your mental preparation. It’s too easy to fall off and never finish things. There are always times when I struggle through a project.
This hits hardest when I have not planned for how I will deal with slow down, failures, difficulties, or the sheer amount of time things can take.
You need to have an idea for how you will deal with setbacks and delays. You have to find your own inner motivation, desire and passion. And you need to know how you will keep it going day after day.
For me, I usually decide it’s important to finish things. I want the result. I want to be able to move on without something hanging over me. It’s fine to decide to retire projects, but do it with intention, not neglect.
I also remind myself to enjoy each step, to have fun, and to enjoy watching the project grow.
So now, back to the ideas
Do you have a list yet? If not it’s time to make one.
Here are a few on my list…
- A daily walk with the camera to take pictures and write a few notes and observations. At the end of the summer I will select the best, get them printed and set them in a book with some of the notes I made.
- Painting. I want to get back to where I started with painting, pictures of nature in watercolor and acrylic.
- Working on my novel everyday. I started fiction writing in the summer, so I associate summer as a time to do a lot of writing.
- Design and work on some embroidery projects. Here I am keeping things more flexible on purpose because I need to allow my designs time to develop, so they are high quality.
- Collecting natural materials and doing something with them. I don’t know what yet. It depends what I find.
Time is short. It’s time to narrow down things down and decide what feels most important.
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