I’ve spent the last two weeks pondering my last post, hemming and hawing about whether to do it or not. And then on Monday, December 7, it rained so hard here in Portland that it unsettled even life-long Oregonians like me.
The rain caused one problem after the other:
- A large puddle flowed into our basement,
- the downspout broke over my head and dowsed me with gallons of frigid water,
- I fixed the downspout and the block that made the gutters overflow,
- I poured our last bag of bark dust over the ponds gathering around the downspout,
- I traded out towels every 15 minutes to soak up the swirling pool of water in the basement,
- That evening, I washed the towels, but when I tried to dry them, the dryer broke,
- tiny, ravenous ants invaded three rooms of our house by the hundreds (even crawling on our toothbrushes);
- and of course all the other stuff that must happen in a typical day had to be done too: meals made, toddler tended, dishes washed, board books read, toys picked up (16 times), and so forth.
I forced a smile through all of it; I told myself I could handle; I started to shout “What the f—?!?” but instead changed it to, “Bring it! I can handle it!” And I did.
In the midst of all this is when I decided to commit to drawing every day for 365 days. I started my creative challenge on December 7 because life is never going to make way for art, at least not until the artist proves her desire and willingness to go to the mat for her ideas.
I mean, I can keep sitting around and daydreaming of new projects for Carrot Condo, or I can go draw.
And as Monday showed me, I never actually sit around. Life gives me all kinds of completely legitimate, important, useful, even challenging and satisfying tasks to fill more than seven days a week, none of which include drawing or writing.
Monday’s storm felt like a big, arrogant Greek god swooped down and wagged a finger at me all paternalistic, and said “How much you want this, girlie?” in a tone that sounded more like, “See? I told you. You’ve already got more on your plate than you can handle, so forget this whole creative thing.”
That made me mad.
So, it’s done. I’m committed. And, I’ve already missed a day. But so what? I’ve got 6 more sketches in my notebook than I would have had if I’d not sat down in the middle of the tempest to draw.
You want to join me? Here are my guidelines if you want to follow:
- Draw (or whatever you choose to do) every, single day.
- Doesn’t matter what I draw or how long or how well; I just have to do it.
- If I miss a day, I get right back on track the very next day.
- There is no working ahead; this isn’t for cute Instagram pictures but for forcing art into every day of daily life until it’s as much a part of my routine as the dishes and laundry.
- I have to report on occasion to stay accountable. I’ll use this blog and my Carrot Condo Instagram account and the hashtag #365daysofpractice because it doesn’t look like anyone’s using this so we can find each other easily, and because practice in order to develop a healthy habit and further transform into the people we want to be is what this is all about.
You could do anything for 365 days that is realistic and adds fulfillment to your life:
- eat veggies
- read a chapter/poem
- do something helpful for someone else
- memorize a word in a language you don’t know
- listen to a new-to-you song, band, or album
You can start whenever you want. Will you let me know if you decide to do it? I’m deeply curious about what you’ll take on for 365 days, and we can encourage each other to keep going when it gets tough.
You can post a comment here, you can email me (trista AT carrot condo DOT com), or you can message me in Instagram (link is to your right if you’re on a laptop; at the very bottom if you’re on a iPad/iPhone).
The more of us engaging in something thoughtful every day, the less impact these “storms” will have. Right? Good luck!