A Clear-Minded Creative Challenge: Four for Feb

January 31, 2011 — 40 Comments

There are exactly four weeks in February. With it being a nice short month, it’s the perfect opportunity to set yourself an achievable goal and commit to completing it.

If you have trouble sticking to your goals, it’s important to keep this one as simple as possible. All I’m suggesting you do is commit to taking part in one creative activity each week for the month of February.

It can be as simple as sticking to one blog post a week. Now that might sound laughably easy, but in the past I’ve gone for weeks without updating my personal blog. I committed to updating this blog twice a week in January and although at times it was difficult to fit it in, I’m delighted to have achieved that goal. Of course one month isn’t a long time but it’s a good start and it’s helped my confidence.

Some suggestions

Here are some other ideas for what you could do each week so that by the end of February you have four concrete creative tasks completed:

  • One painting or drawing a week
  • Write one new song each week or spend an hour a week practising a musical instrument
  • One photography project a week (see the 30/30 project for a nice example)
  • half an hour of knitting
  • Write one chapter of a book
  • Write a poem

Obviously the options are endless and you’ll no doubt have your own idea of what you want to focus on. It could even be something that’s not creative in and of itself, but something that helps you get more clear-minded, such as committing to going for a walk somewhere different for an hour a week (the fantastic Bindu Wiles wrote a great post about exploring/aimless wandering on her blog) or it could be learning a new skill to help you fulfil your longer term creative goals.

Set yourself up for success

The whole point is not to over-estimate what you’ll be able to achieve. Keep it very simple so that you’re setting yourself up for success at the end of the month.

Maybe next month you can build on that success but for now you want to make it as foolproof as possible (we all know unexpected events can come up that will stop us achieving what we want).

It’s also important to make this goal something you really want to do, not something you feel you should be doing, or you just won’t have the motivation to complete it.

Let yourself eat cake!

Reward yourself. You know you want to!

Visualise yourself at the end of February having completed your goal. How will you celebrate? Try and come up with a small but satisfying way you can reward yourself, such as going for a nice lunch or buying yourself a new book. Cake is another valid option..

Make the pledge

Here’s a pledge you can print off, sign, and stick on your wall to remind you to do what you’ve planned – or you might prefer to set aside a couple of hours each week in your calendar/add a weekly reminder.

Will you take the challenge?

Let me know in the comments if you’re up for taking part and if so, what you’re going to commit to, even if it’s something you’re already doing regularly (keeping momentum up can be just as hard as starting something new). Feel free to email me with your finished projects and you may even see your work mentioned in the weekly newsletter.

Milo

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This article was written by Milo McLaughlin and published on www.clearmindedcreative.com. Milo is a copywriter, multimedia content producer and creative coach based in Edinburgh Scotland. He is the founder of Clear-Minded Creative, which provides inspiration, support and practical advice to help talented people forge a new path in life.

40 responses to A Clear-Minded Creative Challenge: Four for Feb

  1. I am definitely going to sign up to this! I pledge to knit for 20 mins a day (or 2 hours a week). I’ve just found the perfect knitting pattern so can’t wait to start :)

    here’s what I’m going to knit: http://www.etsy.com/listing/62822271/sammie-the-sock-monster-knitting-pattern

    • Excellent. Glad I mentioned knitting now! Sammie is a cool dude. Not sure about his socks though, he would suit some funky trainers better.

      • Me too! Yes, he’s very cute. Apparently he has socks because he gets really cold feet, but maybe it’s cause trainers would be harder to knit ;)

  2. Okay, I’m in. I’ll be in Iraqi Kurdistan in a few days’ time, and if I can’t find something to write about that, I’ll be horrified. So I’ll aim to write something every week, though it might not always be a finished piece. I often don’t get a whole lot of alone time while travelling, so that’s the thing that’s most likely to get in the way of completing something.
    Nine recently posted..Repurposed

  3. Wow I can’t wait to read about it Nine! I’m guessing you might be taking some photos too? Whether something is ever ‘finished’ is subjective anyway so I’ll let you off ;)

    • You know, I seem to have really lost momentum in terms of taking photos over the past few months. So no guarantees, but I’ll do my best – especially as I may go hiking in the mountains!
      Nine recently posted..Repurposed

  4. I’m in :D

    I won’t pledge anything in particular because I know how my brain works, but I will do something creative every week in February.

    Great idea.

    Nutty
    (edge, off it, flying, learning)
    Gumnut recently posted..My Creative Neighbourhood – All the colours of the rainbow

  5. This is brilliant! Setting short-term goals. Four for February sounds doable. I pledge to come up with at least four sellable photos, so I will definitely check out the 30/30 challenge.
    Kim recently posted..Grace and Four Blocks to Openness

  6. Thanks Kim, really glad you can take part. Look forward to seeing your photos!

  7. Howdo Milo!

    Count me in.

    I suppose I better get shooting some 30/30 projects to tart up ye olde flickr group AND the new website page I made.

    So I pledge to a 30/30 project each week and to make the site look at least half as pretty as yours does

    John

    • Good to hear John, and thanks for the kind words – the new 30/30 site looks v. promising!

      I definitely intend to try a 30/30 project myself soon but am building up to it by trying to take photos more regularly to begin with (albeit on my phone!)

  8. Great idea Milo I’m going to go with 1 hour of sketching every week- if I commit to actually completing a painting then I’m likely to fail to get started due to an excess of perfectionism!
    It is in the diary and it will be done…

    • Perfect Dee, no point setting yourself up to fail, and at least you’ll have four sketches at the end of the month that you might not have otherwise! Thanks for commenting :)

  9. Dude, I’ve suggested to the design team at LEWIS that we get involved too. So, there’s 5 of us in for the challenge. There’s no decisions of what we’ll do, but we’ll have a bunch of creative stuff to shout about at the end of Feb.

  10. Just printed out the sheet and signed up to write one song a week. This is a great idea :) It’s far too easy to come back demotivated and drained from a day at work and forget what is actually important to you in life. Winter has left me feeling like a zomboid and this is the kick up the ass I need!
    Good luck everyone with your various projects! Axx

    • Nice one Aileen, can’t wait to hear them!

      You might need to see the new songs as works in progress though, as opposed to trying to have four completely finished songs by the end of the month which seems like a pretty major task (I usually do lots of different versions before I’m happy with a song I’ve written).

  11. Great idea! I will commit to writing my website freebie/manifesto (I have it meeekly outlined… but that’s all so far)- my working title is 7 Steps to Living Fit, Confident and Creative.
    It’s already the end of the first week of Feb so I better get cracking!

  12. An outline for my next novel by the end of the month! And if anyone wants to follow along, the pieces will be going up on http://www.writteninsight.com for review. This is an Interactive Novel – I’m doing the entire thing in public and I want your feedback along the way!

    • Hi Kirsten, sounds great, delighted you’re up for the challenge! That’s really brave sharing your novel as you’re writing it, I will follow the process with interest.

  13. Hey Milo,
    Love this idea! I just committed on Tuesday to painting for at least 15 minutes a day, and posting something from the painting sessions once a week on my blog.

    Here are the rules:

    * Free of expectations.
    * Free of preconceived notions.
    * Totally open to the experience and the flow.
    * “Preciousness” is not allowed.
    * “Destroying” previously painted pieces by adding to them is encouraged.
    * And once a week, something gets posted, regardless of how I feel about it. (Though I am allowed to share those feelings.)

    I’ve been loving getting back to my daily painting! :)

    So happy to see so many people tagging onto your challenge and doing their creative stuff!
    Melissa Dinwiddie recently posted..Technology Gremlins- Migraines Secret Prezzies

    • Great guidelines Melissa. You definitely have to throw perfectionism out the door if you want to get stuff done in such a short time-frame. Will keep an eye out for the results!

      • Throwing perfectionism out the door is exactly the point! You’ll also notice that the rules do not include *completing* a piece. Just that I get in there and play around in the Creative Sandbox.

        My personal painting style involves painting and sewing and playing with multiple small canvases at one time, which works really well for this challenge. I can work on whichever canvas is calling to me, and if one feels “finished” there are still several more in process.

        :)
        Melissa Dinwiddie recently posted..Creative Challenge- Fifteen Minutes for February

  14. Just completed my week one contribution. I’m selecting a tune that made me love tunes then making a poster for each one. You can see the first one here:

    http://baldboss.tumblr.com/post/3165959163/four-for-feb-01-indian-rope-by-scott-walker
    Baldboss recently posted..My Top 5 Artists Week Ending 2011-1-30

  15. Right, have recorded the start of a demo. Having overcome that obstacle, I pledge to have started work on four song demos by the end of Feb, heeding your wise words about not being too ambitious or aiming for perfection.

    I will reward myself by quaffing a tasty beer and curry – or else follow the Blythe school of self gratification.
    Iain recently posted..City Tonight

    • Excellent, good call. Hope you will share these demos at some stage! Yes beer and curry is a reward worth working for. What Blythe does in his own time is his business ;)

  16. milo! i missed this when i wrote a post this week :)

    • Very relevant and timely Elliott. You considering signing up to this one? Just a month, not a whole year.. Although admittedly it’s not very specific.. I leave that up to you!

  17. Have uploaded 2 weeks of pics as I missed the first week:

    Week 1 – Paris – http://polrugby.tumblr.com/
    Week 2 – Optimus – http://polrugby.tumblr.com/

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

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