Halftime thoughts for #CreativeSprint

When midnight strikes tonight, I will be halfway through #CreativeSprint. This one-month challenge, compliments of Noah Scalin and Another Limited Rebellion, has drawn me back to the daily practice of making things.

Halftime is a good time for reviewing what happened at the start of the game. So here are a few thoughts.

Themes are my comfort zone.

I set out to complete 30 assignments with no theme. I wanted to experience a month of spontaneous, random creativity. On day one, I made an origami butterfly from a neon sticky note. I called it Bright Flight.

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Feeling smart, and knowing that April is Poetry Month, I followed on day two with Red Thread.

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Within 24 hours, I had pigeon-holed myself into a theme. All my projects would rhyme. How clever!

Most days, rhyming has been a fun but entirely unnecessary addition to the challenge. Some of the rhymes came easily and contributed to the fun of the month-long exercise. Tie Eye. A Buck that Clucks. Bling Thing. Blaze Maze. Salk Talk on the Sidewalk, with Chalk.

Often, the rhyming constraint forced me to move past a gut response to the day’s prompt. Since I believe the most creative solution is seldom the first one that comes to mind, I’m glad rhyming pushed me into different territories. Messy Dressy. List with a Twist. Roma Poem-a. Buckle-Down Crown.

But a few times, the challenge to incorporate rhyme resulted in a forced activity that may not have been as fun or inventive as I might have pursued without constraint. That’s not the spirit I intended when I set forth on this #CreativeSprint. In retrospect, I see that I could have ignored the theme. I could have followed the muse more honestly. Super Powers in a Box of Flowers. Handmake a Snowflake.

And then yesterday, I forgot all about rhyming.

I nearly forgot to make anything at all. As my husband and I sank into our comfy chairs for an evening of parallel play—reading and web-surfing—I remembered that the day’s prompt was to learn something new. Jim agreed to teach me a couple of chords on the guitar. Neither one of us was excited to undertake this project so late in the day. But the mini-lesson gave us a few minutes of fun together, and I found myself wondering why I’ve never before asked him for a little instruction. Now I know how hard it is to play that instrument, and I have even greater admiration for his skill as a musician.

I was so relieved to have fulfilled my daily commitment, I hastily posted the one-second video clip and didn’t even think to give it a rhyme. (Thinking on it now, nothing springs to mind anyway. Not much rhymes with “awkward.”)

Freedom is mine to find.

Nobody said I had to create a clever rhyme for each day’s activity. No one forced me into this limited way of responding to the daily prompts. I did it myself, probably out of habit and that blasted word, “should.” (Well, as long as I rhymed the first two days, I should just follow the pattern.) Ouch!

So as I enter the second half of this game, I’m giving myself a little locker room speech. Part stern talking-to, part motivation:

Stop penning yourself into such a tight container. Let yourself color outside the lines. Ignore the lines. Erase the lines! Patterns can be fun, but surprises can be a helluva lot more interesting. Shake things up. Scatter them all over the place. Make things that make you happy.

That’s all. Now get out there and play!

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