If you’re a creative person, chances are that you’re always looking for ways to up your game and improve your creative skills. Creativity is often likened to building muscle in your body. One sure fire way to supercharge your creativity is to challenge yourself. Challenging yourself helps you grow your creative muscle, so to speak.
I know. Nobody really likes challenges. It’s something we make ourselves do or circumstances make us do. Because let’s face it. When you challenge yourself, you get out of your comfort zone. And it’s called “comfort zone” for a very good reason. Right? Yep!!! Because it’s a pleasant place to be. But you can’t say that when you challenge yourself.
Challenges can be tough. They can push you beyond what you think you’re capable of. And they do interrupt your life in ways that you don’t necessarily want your life interrupted. Having said that, the benefits you get when you challenge yourself are “A” a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!!
Benefits of Challenging Yourself
For starters, when you challenge yourself:
- You accomplish more than you thought you could possibly do
- You’ll increase your self-confidence
- You grow by progressively taking on bigger and more difficult challenges
- You’ll be able to manage fear better because of the experience you gain when you challenge yourself
- You learn new skills and hone in old ones
Point #5 is so true in my own creative journey. The first time I went on a publicly stated challenge was when I did my “Stitch the Sketch” series. For this series, I challenged myself for 52 weeks to create a piece of work each week using stitching as a form of a design element. By the end of the year ( I actually went on for 62 weeks), I’d developed and mastered my thread shading techniques.
I’m not going to lie. There were times when I didn’t have the time, the energy or motivation to create another piece for that series. But I decided to see it through to the very end. And I’m not disappointed. It totally changed my way of creating art. It took me in new areas I hadn’t dreamed about and opened opportunities for me that I’m still enjoying.
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” ~Fred Devito (fitness trainer)
I think the meaning of this quote is brutally obvious. If you want to change, challenge yourself. If you want your artwork to get better, you’ve got to challenge yourself. That’s what I want for myself and for you too.
My 30-Day Drawing Challenge
So, I decided to embark on another challenge. Rather than a weekly challenge, I’m upping the ante this time around. I’m doing a daily challenge. (By the way that’s what happens when you keep challenging yourself, you end up trying bigger and harder things). I’ve challenged myself to draw a minimum of one sketch every day to create designs for a new series that I want to start.
I’ve been posting my progress on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #DrawwithClara (follow me on social media to see daily updates on my challenge.) It’s unbelievable!!! I’m already halfway through my challenge. Some of the designs I’ve got so far are definitely going to be turned into textile artwork. My head is still reeling with ideas about how to execute the designs. But I try not to let techniques interrupt my flow when I’m drawing. I’ll worry about execution later.
I record a video of me drawing every day. I’ve been told “it’s magical” watching these videos. Below is an example of my #DrawwithClara videos. Click to watch it.
Finally, if you want to challenge yourself and take your creativity a notch higher, there’s no better time than now. You’ll never ever not have some fear or trepidation about taking on a challenge. There will never be a perfect time in your life when you’ve got all the time you need to play. The perfect time to rise up to the challenge is now. Don’t wait for inspiration. Don’t wait for motivation. All you need is discipline. Discipline to consistently show up even when you don’t feel like it.
“I’m not always inspired but I have incredible discipline. I can show up hungover. I can show up full of energy. Jetlagged. Full of doubt. Anxious. Scared. But I show up and still get my hands dirty and still get going”.~ Mark Bradford (American painter)
Look at that incredible list of emotions: self-doubt, fear, anxiety, loss of energy. It’s a myth that only superhumans accomplish big things. Every human feels these emotions. But pace-setters don’t let their emotions stop them from reaching for the stars. Don’t let them stop you either.
PS: Follow me on Instagram for daily updates on my #DrawwithClara challenge.