(You can find the German version here.)
365 days are over. And I have been creative on each and every one of them. I can hardly believe it.
Before I start writing down what I learned, what I liked (and what I did not like) I want to thank all of you who read and commented this blog, who clicked the „Like“ button when I linked my articles on Facebook, who talked to me about my project when we met, and who gave me a feeling that I am not the only one who finds this project important. And I want to thank everyone who I collaborated with on certain projects. And thanks to those who inspired me. First lesson: Obviously this project was not only about my own creativity but about collaborations and exchange with other creative people.
What I learned
1.) Time does not matter. If it is something besides work that really drives me. In the beginning I was afraid that I could not handle my work, my private life and this project – how could all of this fit in a 24 hours day? Turns out that it was no problem at all. I think the reason was that I really wanted to stick to my plan and be creative every day for a year because it was as important (and sometimes even more important) to me as my work. And people who have worked with me know how important my work is to me and how I burn for my script consulting projects.
2.) Work-Life-Balance. This is a really awful word, but it was a stunning side effect of this project. After seven years of living basically only for my work as a script consultant, 2011 was the first year this felt different.
I never had anything in my life that was nearly as important to me as my work, which I do with a lot of passion and excitement. But when I think about last year I have the feeling I only worked half as much as the years before. Which cannot be true because financially I had about the same income as in my years as a workaholic.
I think it just felt this way because the Be Creative project was as important for me as my work. Sometimes even my top priorities were my creative projects. Also 2011 I had not a single moment when I felt burnout symptoms creeping up, which was a first after seven years of feeling totally over-worked every few weeks. This balance of work and (creative) life is new to me, and personally it was probably the most important lesson I learned this year.
3.) It is not about being perfect. I can be rather perfectionist, especially when it comes to work related issues, because I think you should always try to achieve the best possible outcome considering the time, skills (and restrictions) you have for a project. Which can sometimes lead to excellent results, but also to a bit of pressure (which can be a good thing!). So with the start of my Be Creative project it was all about drawing, painting and other skills – without having been to art school once in my life. As a kid I learned a lot about aesthetics from my parents (both are photographers) and some drawing skills from my mother, but that was it. Panic! Turns out: From minute one of the Be Creative project I did not care if something was technically „perfect“ or not. Why I achieved this despite my huge need for being perfect I have no idea. I think that the process of being creative was more important to me than a perfect result. Also no one ever complaint about a „wrong“ line in a drawing or painting. Also there was no client who demanded specific things, and there was no money involved. So I never felt the pressure of having to be perfect. And this was a very liberating feeling.
What I did not like
Of course there were some drawbacks during this 365 days.
1.) Lack of inspiration. During summertime there were a few weeks when I felt totally uninspired.
My problem was not that I lacked the motivation to continue with my project. On the contrary. But I just did not have ideas that felt interesting enough. Everything I did seemed half-heartedly and mediocre. Somehow this creative block vanished after a few weeks, but it was a really hard time. What helps a lot during such times are series like the Retro Edition or the stories with Anouk – it makes it a lot easier to keep going if you can always fall back on another installment of such a series.
2.) Sleep deprivation. I am not a morning person and usually I stay up late and do not go to bed before 1 a.m. This is why I rarely worked on my Be Creative projects during day but most times at night. Also there is no ringing telephone and the work from my day job is already done. But somehow I got into the strange routine of finishing my Be Creative projects at 2 a.m., and also I could not fall asleep immediately afterwards (maybe there is some kind of anti-sleep-hormone that is released when you get into the zone during your creative work? I have no idea…). This is why I did not get my 7 1/2 hours of much needed sleep, and that happened almost each night last year. So the dark circles under my eyes are so strong that i cannot even hide them with the magic Touch Eclat concealer. Sigh.
To be continued….
I do not want to stop. All the experiences I had this year were so fantastic and opened so many creative and personal doors for me that I really want to continue my creative journey. But the rhythm will change. From now on I will do a weekly project called „Be Creative 52“.
I do not know yet how this will change the postings on the weblog. I think there will be a posting with the weekly project each Sunday. During the week there might be small postings with teaser images, and I might also write about artists and projects I like, things that inspire me, and so on.
By having a slower pace I hope to carry out some of the projects I could not do last year because they were too big for making them within 24 hours. Often these projects are collaborations with other creative people (and this is definitely something I want to emphasize this year) and it is about projects that need preparations like writing screenplays or to learn and practice a new skill.
I hope you will folly my creative journey this year as well and/or are starting your own creative project. See you soon!
P.S.: By the way, there have been some complaints about the title. Some people seem to feel patronized by the title „Be Creative“ because they do not want to be told what they should do. So to clarify this misunderstanding: I chose the title as an affirmation for myself. I am a person who needs a call to action in order to get going. And I also got feedback from other people who started their own projects because they read the title „Be Creative“ on this blog. So no offense meant! – Everyone is different and should do whatever feels right for them.