The 30-Day Challenge: Starting a Creative Habit

I am a huge fan of creative challenges. A couple of months ago, I started one on Instagram, known as the 100 Day Project. I made a commitment of sorts to create something everyday for 100 days. I felt I needed to jump start my own creativity. In all of my efforts to spread creative confidence, I’ve lost a little of my own, neglected my own creative expression. I thought this 100 Day Project sounded like a great idea. And for a while, it was.

The only trouble is, I don’t have the time to commit to doing the kind of art I’d like to do each and every day. For me, I think 100 days is a little too long. I understand that the idea is to really cement a habit, to keep us creating long after the challenge has ended. I love that idea. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep my creative energy flowing daily for that length of time. I didn’t finish. I’m not even sure I made it past a few weeks. Personally, I prefer a shorter challenge. Give me 30 days and I’ll try anything. This seems like a more manageable goal and I’m much more likely not to give up. When the end is easier to see, I’m more likely to keep my momentum going.

A 30-day challenge can work just as well as longer challenges to jump start your creative habit and get you working on creative exercise. You’ll find that if you spend 30 days working on something creative, your brain will be primed to continue, ready to take on more creative projects or think more creatively in your daily life. Not only that, taking on a shorter challenge means that you can change it up. Finished with your first challenge? Keep going with the same theme or try something brand new!

I’d like you to think about trying a 30-day challenge. This challenge can really be anything that you’d like. If you’re interested in stretching yourself through visual art, make a commitment to create something visual every day for 30 days. Just one month. It’s achievable. Maybe you’d prefer to knit every day, or cook something new, or take a picture. Maybe you’d like to write poetry, sew something, or whittle. It truly doesn’t matter what you choose to do. A 30-day challenge can be completely unique to you.

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Obviously, if you really want to set yourself up for success, it’s best to start easy, with small projects that don’t take too much time, especially if your life is busy and hectic. It’s also best to choose a 30-day stretch that doesn’t happen to be your busiest time of the year. When I embarked on the 100 Day Project, I found myself trying to create something every day while suddenly homeschooling at the end of a school year. For me, that was not the best time to hope for success. I think I knew I would fail when I started. Though, even a failed challenge has rewards and boosts creativity. There is more than one path to success here.

My absolute favorite 30-day challenge is NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. This takes place every November and there is a fantastic online community, so you can take on this challenge at the same time as thousands of people from around the world. Basically, the challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s an average of 1,667 words per day. Depending on how quickly your ideas flow, this can seem like a whole lot of words each day or a reasonable amount.

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I have participated in NaNoWriMo several times over the last ten years or so. I have enjoyed the experience each time. What I love about the frantic nature of the challenge is that it doesn’t allow time to stop and think too much. It doesn’t allow time to sit and ponder too long over word choice. It forces you to write quickly and move your story along, whether you’re happy with the results or not. Sometimes, we need this kind of push to get our creative juices flowing. We need to remember that nothing needs to be perfect when we first get started. That’s what revision is for! If you think you might like to try a novel writing challenge, I highly recommend NaNoWriMo. I’ll post a reminder about the challenge when we get closer to November.

If writing really isn’t your thing, the same concept can be applied to many other creative disciplines. You can create your own challenge or join an online community of like-minded souls, of which there are many. If you’re interested in visual art and you try creating a piece of art every day for a month, it doesn’t have to be a completed work of art. It doesn’t have to be anything more than a quick sketch, just something to get your pencil and your mind moving. If you want to try for something larger, make an attempt at creating a piece of visual art that you add to, day by day, over the 30 days. I actually like that idea. I might give that one a go.

What kind of 30-day challenge could get you interested? What would you like to learn? What do you wish you were doing more of? Decide on a creative outlet and pick a time. Embark on a 30-day journey. Let me know how it goes and get in touch if you need encouragement!