Not Starting from Scratch


This Week’s 20 Minute Club Minutes:
A Mix of Sun & Clouds

Last week, I talked about doing automatic drawings as a good 20 Minute activity, and this week, I used one of those drawings as a starter for a new drawing in my weather series.

Because, as I mentioned in Ernest Hemingway’s Productivity Technique, it’s so much easier to respond to something than to start from scratch with a blank sheet.

So I set the timer and started a new weather drawing on top of one of last week’s automatic drawings, and basically kept going until it was done.

It’s about 37″ x 42″ and I call it “A Mix of Sun and Clouds.” I like how last week’s automatic drawing peeks through and adds some depth and warmth to the image on top.

I also realized how my most recent weather drawing, that I didn’t quite resolve, really helped this one just kind of flow. That’s the benefit of returning to your work and being present with it even when it seems to go nowhere.

(Or, in my case, it went somewhere, and I learned a lot, but it wasn’t exactly a success on its own.)

It was worth the discomfort.

And of course, our successful pieces are really a result of all the work that came before, good or bad. I know this intellectually, but it’s nice to be reminded by actual experience. It’ll help me the next time I’m slogging through a difficult impasse with a project I care about.


And now, as promised, I will share 5 Self-Appreciations as part of the weekly 20 Minute Club Minutes because taking the time to appreciate yourself is a key component to keeping your creativity going, getting on your own side, and honoring your process.

And while it may make you feel self-conscious or uncomfortably aware of how hard it is to come up with 5 self-appreciations, that’s all the more reason to practice doing it.

To set a good example, I’m sharing mine here. But I want you to know that it’s not that easy for me either–and I’m doing it publicly!

Seriously though, I hope you try this too because it really does help turn your head around.

(And you brave ones who can share your self-appreciations in the comments too will be doing a great service for shyer readers who need more help believing in themselves and their creativity possibilities. Please join me!)

So with eyes closed and hand on my heart, this is what I came up with this morning for my weekly self-appreciation:

  1. I appreciate my perseverance.
  2. I appreciate how willing I am to be out of my comfort zone.
  3. I appreciate how much progress I’ve made problem-solving my latest digital collage project (which is figuring out how to make them bigger.)
  4. I appreciate that I did #3 with minimal freaking out.
  5. I appreciate how I’m peeling off the thin, translucent multitudinous layers of my self-doubt as they reveal themselves to me. (Picture a red onion.) And while it’s frustrating to see how layered and nuanced these layers are, I appreciate that I’m actually making progress on letting them go.


Your Turn!

How did your creative week go? Did you use the 20 Minute Technique? Did you come up with some self-appreciations? Please share! I love to hear from you.

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  1. Sherry says:

    Hi Sarah, just exploring your site this am. You are sooo creative and talented! I love your collaged vase video and will explore more and more. Your digital collages are wonderful, as are the weather series drawings.Thanks for turning me on to your site and the wonderful ideas you have for creating. Have a great week!

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