Oct
22

It Really DOES work!

By

Every Friday I write the 20 Minute Club Minutes–because using a timer for what I call the 20 Minute Technique can keep your creative momentum going in your busy, time-crunched life–20 minutes at a pop.

Please join in and share your 20 Minute Experiences in the Comments–good/bad, it’s all fair game, because sharing your experiences about the process is a great way to figure things out and increase your creativity.

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Stuck has a lot of nuance and can really sneak up on you.

There are the familiar stucks such as, “I’m stuck in a rut and need to try something new” or the “I’m stuck and can’t bring myself to make anything anymore.”

But there are lots of variations of stuck even when you’re productive.

Because each new curve along the winding path of a project is usually also a new challenge. And sometimes you just want to pull over and let the other cars pass.

I realized yesterday that this had happened to me. That a very large collage drawing I am supposedly “working on” had actually been started oh, several months ago now, and I hadn’t touched it since.

And even though I have it hanging up in my studio, it was starting to blend into the scenery and I wasn’t really benefiting from having it up anymore because I’d stopped “seeing” it.

The reason I had come to ignore it is because I was stuck on what to do next.

AND, I was kind of invested in getting it right. It feels important to me as a “piece” because it’s exploring an emotional/important topic for me and I care a lot about the end result.

So.

I cared about it A LOT, I didn’t know where I wanted to go with it, AND I was afraid of messing it up.

I looked at my timer and knew what I had to do.

20 Minutes

I set the timer, turned on some music, pulled up a chair and just sat and looked.

Looked with all my not-knowing. Not knowing what it needed. Not knowing what I wanted it to do. Not knowing if I could “resolve” it.

Not-knowing. Not-knowing.

And then suddenly the top corner of the piece called to me and I stood up, looked for my charcoal and then grabbed a grey pastel instead and added some new marks. And then some more after that.

Gradually, my slow, relaxed “adding”gave me more information and I suddenly could see a little more clearly what I was trying to say/explore.

Interesting, I think, in response to these new glimpses. Who knew?

And I find that thought funny too because, it is my artwork after all, but still, I’m not always the driver.

“Who knew?”

I’m smiling at this point because the process always delivers if I’m willing to show up.

And then the timer went off. I worked a tiny bit longer and let myself stop.

Now my drawing/collage is in a new place. There’s still a lot of not-knowing, but it’s new not-knowing and that feels good.

Because I’m engaged with my piece again and seeing the process of trying to create it to completion as a gift to myself rather than as a test I need to pass.

Ahh. Always such a relief to make that shift.

The 20 Minute Technique really does help you get through the hard.

Appreciation

Appreciating yourself is an important part of the 20 Minute Club because it helps you keep your creative momentum going.

Carving out the time to create is important of course, but it’s not enough. Getting (and eventually staying) on your own side is a critical factor for helping you take bigger risks with your work, get yourself out of a creative rut, or just enjoy the process more.

Taking the time to remember to appreciate yourself and all your efforts (big or small, creative or not) is a powerful way to make this happen.

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Here are my five self-appreciations for this week:

1. I appreciate that I finally got my video and free trial offer out into the world. Yay! I’m so excited.

2. I appreciate how much I’m learning by attending local networking events–even when I’m kind of uncomfortable or a little shy.

3. I appreciate that I took a badly needed break when I needed one, instead of waiting and making things worse.

4. I appreciate that I had a conversation that I thought would be hard, and it was easy.

5. I appreciate that I sneaked in exercise several times this week even when it felt like there was just “no time.”

Your Turn

How was your creative week? Good? Hard? Do you have a timer yet? Are you remembering to appreciate yourself–the little things as well as the big? Please leave a comment, I love hearing from you!

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Comments

  1. R.M. Koske says:

    This week’s 20 minutes was interesting. I noticed something new and am pretty sure it will be important or useful but don’t know what it means yet.

    Friday nights are “creative reward” nights, to reward me for the effort I’m making to get my housework under control and made routine. As usual, I went in and started the timer without any clear idea what I wanted to work on. I poked at three different sewing projects, but all of them were either fairly uncreative to begin with (altering a fitted bedsheet to better fit our oddly-sized mattress) or uncreative but necessary detail-wrangling. Things that I don’t mind particularly but they’re not especially exciting or fun either. A couple of minutes into the third not-fun task, I looked down at it and thought, “What the heck am I doing? This is supposed to be a reward, and it isn’t fun at all.”

    I put the sewing away and got out my collage materials, and I really played and had fun for the rest of the 20 minutes and a little more.

    Today, I worked on the bedsheet for 20 minutes quite happily, and then I did a little bit of creative sewing too.

    What I noticed was this: since sewing is my chosen art, I need to be aware of the utilitarian stuff that accumulates on my projects list. Hemming trousers and altering bedsheets and the like. I need to be aware of when I’m trying to cram something like that into my creative time. Maybe I need to pay someone to do it instead. Maybe I need to just keep it separate from my creative time, or do it when the well is low and I just want to move my hands. Or I could find a way to make it creative and fun anyway. Hemming pants, I don’t know about, but the bedsheet thing – I could make that fun. All I have to do is decide to bother. It took about two minutes to think of a way to make it fun and now I’m actually getting a bit excited thinking about it.

    Like many of my 20 minute realizations, it’s subtle and minor and will probably make useful and nearly-invisible changes in how I approach my work. Cool!

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