Lost your creativity? Try Creative Sprint

Emma Evan's Sprinter Story

March 2016 I discovered Creative Sprint by chance, through a Facebook group - called Make Art That Sells - somebody had put a link on and I was intrigued and took a look.  I have to say it is one of the best things I have done.  Art is something I am good at; I have always had a passion for drawing, designing and creating things. However in recent years through bereavement, life threatening illness and depression I thought I had lost this skill.

Creative Sprint has been instrumental in reawakening my creativity - and given me the confidence in my own ability to develop my own art work again.  My favourite day of my first ever sprint was Break Something and Create Something Out of the Parts and the Oreo owl I created is my most popular post to date.

Recently I have completed Skull-A-Day Creative Sprint in honour of Noah Scalin's original celebration of skulls.  I enjoyed this challenge and tried not to draw the skulls but make them out of different things. Really liked day 14 #educatedskull, I think I will do more work in the future using this technique.

Creative Sprint has changed the way I look at things and I can see that there is a creative solution to problems in everyday life.

Yes I would recommend doing Creative Sprint and this is what I would say to a new sprinter is what I wrote for one of the days of reflection, “Lost your creativity? Try Creative Sprint. Just do it, use your imagination, learn to trust your own ability, do not seek perfection, but go with the flow. Have fun- you never know where your journey will take you…"

Check out more of her work here.

Just go for it

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Eve-Marie Allen's Sprinter Story

I have joined in the Creative Sprint a couple of times and because I really enjoy the challenge of creating without the need for perfection, just the need to create, the Skull-A-Day Creative Sprint was a perfect opportunity. I come from a fashion design and made to measure background so perfection is aimed for, to get the garment to fit and hang properly everything must be right, and exact, and I felt this was my art , and I have been very fussy when I create anything. To create without the need for perfection is extremely freeing, and lots of fun.

In order to combat that feeling of perfectionism is realizing that I should stop, anywhere in the process, see if what I am creating really needs me to keep going. I've realized that sometimes less is more.

I live in rural Northern New Zealand and like the company of creatives I have joined with while sharing on Instagram and Facebook, and I have loved Noah Scalin’s Skull-A-Day for a very long time.

My favorite day during the most recent Creative Sprint was the day I got a skull tattoo- it was unexpected but so very welcome and the timing was fitting I thought.  

During the Creative Sprint, I learning to think outside the box happened really quickly, as each day in a Sprint is so different. Outside of the box becomes the only way you can react, and I enjoyed being made to think.

The most unexpected day was selling one of my pieces, a wood cut print, which made me very happy. Creating the woodcut was something that I would like to do more of, I had so much fun making it.

My advice is to just go for it, don’t overthink, don’t stress or worry, just create without need to be perfect and you will surprise yourself.

Thanks heaps, Creative Sprint. It’s been great fun and I look forward to more!

Check out more of her work here

Turning daily projects into longterm practices.

Katie Cowden's Sprinter Story

I joined the Skull-A-Bration Creative Sprint because I've always loved skulls, and doing art challenges always inspires me. Previously I've done 100 days of tiny doodles, 2 weeks of hearts leading up to Valentine's Day for several years, and 365 days of self portraits.

During the Skull-A-Bration Creative Sprint, my favorite day was the day I embroidered a skull. I was on a road trip with friends to go see an exhibit at The Museum of Fine Arts Houston and I finished just as we got there.

The most challenging was the day I did a gold leaf skull. I'd only used gold leaf once before, and I went through several attempts before I did one that turned out the be recognizable. 

The most unexpected thing that happened is that my art teacher mother participated with me. We live in different cities so she texted me photos of her project every day and I included them on my Instagram. It was a really fun experience to share with her, and since we ended up in the same place at the end of the month, we got to do a collaborative piece.

As I went through the project, I realized how much I miss painting. My day job as a freelance laser cutting artist and my own jewelry line don't leave me a lot of time for making art for fun, but the days where I made myself sit down and do a more complex painting were the days I was happiest with my work.

Doing these daily creativity projects has demonstrated my creative range and ability to stick with a long term project. In my personal life, it gave me a calm and pressure free way to start my day and get my brain flowing.

There were even few laser cut designs I created during this challenge that I'm definitely adding to my regular jewelry line. Since then I have been inspired to paint more, and work on more longterm daily projects even when I think I am too busy.

Check out more of Katie's work here.

Creative Sprint makes the world a little smaller and a lot happier.

Shelli Mosteller's Sprinter Story

I stumbled onto Creative Sprint after posting several of my Daily Creativity Journal/365 entries online. I was a little intimidated at first, because I’m not a visual artist. But I found my own way to spin things and had a great time. I did my most recent Creative Sprint during my busiest work season, when I’m in full production mode. It seemed like a crazy idea at first, but I wanted some non-work-related creative time where I could just play.

My absolute favorite day was Collaboration Day. The best part about Creative Sprint is connecting with people I might never have met and seeing the amazing things they do. To collaborate on fun projects with these new friends, some of whom live far away, is even better! I loved the ongoing conversations I had with sprinters all day, plotting and planning. I even got to make a sing-along video with a friend who lives in a different country. Such a positive, affirming day. And I learned something important--my favorite way to connect with people is by playing together. I think I knew that, but now I KNOW that. Creative Sprint makes the world a little smaller and a lot happier.

My most challenging day was the "Tear up something you made and make something new from the pieces" day. Most of my projects were temporary, so I didn't have a lot of stuff sitting around. What I did have was a cute little bird collaboration I did with two sprinters. It just sat on my kitchen table, looking at me. Tear it up? Do I have to? My day job requires me to tear down and repurpose designs and ideas all the time with my team. But we're usually in the same room and I can soften the blow with a cookie or something. I felt like a jerk, but I tore up that adorable bird and made a little heart. I apologized to my cohorts, who totally didn't mind and it ended up being somewhat of a second collaboration. Stay flexible, don't get too attached to the work. Check!

In my job as a Creative Arts Pastor, I plan, plan, plan. I plan every little detail I can imagine and I do it as far ahead as possible. I’m constantly living 3-6 months ahead in my mind. That’s impossible to do during a Sprint, because you have no idea what the prompt will be each day. What? No planning?? I decided to embrace it this time and work as quickly as I could, doing the prompt as soon as I read it, if possible. I thought it would drive me crazy. Guess what? It was actually pretty liberating. Surprise! Don’t overthink it.

My one piece of advice for a new sprinter is to enjoy the game. It’s supposed to be fun! We're playing a game together. We're not prepping for an exhibit at an art gallery. Well, maybe some people actually are and that's cool. But for the most part, we're playing a game that gently jiggles all the creative pieces around in our brains. Some sprinters make art for a living, others for fun. Some can draw and paint, others dance and write poetry. Some of us make things with googly eyes and styrofoam. Doesn't matter--everyone belongs. We all get to play and the most interesting part of the game is seeing what all these completely different minds come up with, using the same prompt. Don't compare, overthink, or fret. Just play. Everyone else will be very glad you did.

Creative Sprint opens my mind to trying new things without a huge fear of failure. The steady stream of daily prompts creates a readiness that trickles into other projects as well. It makes my brain more flexible. But the biggest impact the Sprint has on my life is that it helps create new friendships. I’m a people person. My daughter says that I approach life like a dog, where everyone is a potential friend. That may be true, because I love seeing the variety of artists and the array of projects they create. I love cheering them on and being amazed by their efforts. So the very best part about sprinting is making a new friend who builds robots, another who can sing the periodic table, one who finds faces everywhere, one who sprints with her kids, one who builds shacks, and on and on.

Creative Sprint for the win!

Find more of Shelli's work on Instagram and YouTube.

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Don’t be shy. Try!

Beth Nyland's Sprinter Story

I am a daily practice junkie, thanks in large part to Noah Scalin and his Make Something 365 journal (as well as writing practice challenges such as NaNoWriMo and NaPoWriMo). When Noah and Mica started coordinating #CreativeSprint, I was an early adopter. Why not?!

Every time I participate in a month-long sprint—or even a year-long marathon of daily practice—I discover ideas, techniques, and angles I know I would otherwise leave untouched. The first time I participated in #CreativeSprint, my theme was words. As a writer, that was my comfort zone. On the most challenging days of that Sprint, I noticed that I responded not with words, but imagery. Could it be? This writer has a visual side? What an eye opener!

This past Sprint, in April 2017, I chose no theme whatsoever. I wanted to be open to possibility, letting each day’s prompt inspire a unique response. As the month went on, very few of my works included words; most were visual. And my favorite day, Day 16, was a particularly challenging visual assignment: recreate your favorite work of art. Standing at my kitchen counter with an unsophisticated collection of nubby colored pencils, I attempted to interpret a piece by Georgia O’Keefe. Guess what? It’s not bad!

So #CreativeSprint has surprised me with opportunities to play—and even succeed—in new forms of creative expression. My comfort zone is still words, and I’m delighted when the prompts take me to poetry; but I’m much more courageous now about risking my time and energy on other forms.

The enduring lesson I take from every Sprint is this: Don’t be shy. Try! What’s the sense in stopping short of creative action? What do we have to lose?

I give this advice to my consulting clients, my writing students, my children, and anyone who will listen to me yammer on about creative practice: Quit being so guarded. Try stuff. Share what you make, and then move on and make some more. It’s all forward motion, and by god, we need the momentum.

Find more of Beth's work on Instagram 

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Don't underestimate the power of a simple idea

Kimberly Begeal's Sprinter Story

The reasons I participate in Creative Sprint seem to change each time. I'm a "slightly seasoned" Sprinter since I've now joined in three times. The first time, April 2016, I was intrigued by just seeing how I would respond to a daily prompt.  The second time, October 2016, was because I had so much fun being part of a creative online community. This April 2017 Sprint, I joined to challenge myself to see what I could create in the shortest amount of time each day while remaining true to how I want things to look. The next time around I am finally going to try my hardest to finish the whole 30 days.

    My favorite day for the April 2017 Sprint was Day 10, be inspired by a poem. I was vacationing that week at the beach. In typical "Me" fashion, I had been collecting (hoarding) random shells because I liked the perfection of their imperfections. I placed two of them together and it was the beginning of a dress. A few more shells and a piece of plastic garbage I caught blowing around on the sand and there appeared Annabelle Lee by Edgar Allan Poe...in less than 10 minutes of work.

    The most challenging day was definitely Day 7, use something sticky to create today. I was traveling in the car for the whole day so resources were limited.  I pulled a small piece of gum out of my mouth to play with while I thought.  There in front of me was the beginning of a teeny turtle using my gum. Working very small is hard for me because of a frustrating hand tremor,  but I was in a Creative Sprint frame of mind.  This brings with it a determination that helped me through something that would usually force me to do another project.

    Participating in Creative Sprint often brings out many surprising and unexpected things.  Perfect example, I was cleaning out my desk and was going to throw away a bag of very old rubber bands.  Instead, they turned out to be the perfect medium for creating a real fast and easy face for that day's prompt.  Never underestimate the usefulness of anything when you're doing Creative Sprint!

    Something new I tried in this last Sprint that I would incorporate into future work was using multiple pieces of the same kind of item into one creation. A habit of mine is to gather quite a few pieces of a type of something that I like, so I found it very gratifying to find a use for the shells, jewelry pieces, leaves, or decorative paper clippings (to name a few) that I have stashed. It wasn't even anything intentional while I was working on things. I just happened to notice a pattern this time when I looked back over my work.

    Of course, I highly recommend joining in on Creative Sprint.  If you are new to it, my advice is to Not Overthink!  Make friends with the first ideas that pop into your brain after reading that day's prompt. Then, simplify them if necessary.  Some of my favorite creations/posts are pieces I spent the least amount of time working on!

    Since joining in on the Creative Sprint process, I notice that I have highly improved my ability to not underestimate the power of a simple idea.  Much can be done with just starting something somewhere.  From now on I will not look back at my bad habit of dropping ideas I thought unworthy.  Instead, I'm looking forward to what will happen when I just press on with determination...Thanks Creative Sprint!

Find more of Kimberly's work on Instagram.

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It feels good belonging and participating in a community

Jim Johns' Sprinter Story

Deciding to do the Creative Sprint was a big decision filled with all of the emotions that I would have on the first day of school. Excitement and anxiety over the unknown. How will I do? What will the assignments be like? Will the other kids like me?! But this wasn't compulsory. I could opt out! I decided to jump in because I wanted to stretch out of my comfort zone. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. I am grateful that my wife and daughter were willing to join too.

Looking back on the Sprint, it's hard to pick a favorite day out of so many memorable experiences! One day does stand out. The prompt was "create something using an old map or something that ends up looking like a map." My wife was sitting on the floor flipping through an oversized hardback atlas. She was looking for inspiration and I saw the images upside down as I was walking in front of her. The upside down image of North America and Central America looked like a ridiculous creature. That was my favorite day because I still enjoy looking at the picture I made.

The most challenging day was when we were asked to create something inspired by another Sprinter. Oh, how I struggled to choose from so many talented Sprinters! Ultimately, I chose my daughter's Sprint pieces and tried to do something like her. It was late and trying to make an image of a bird using Elmer's glue was frustrating and humbling. It was so tempting to hold it back, or keep working on it until I liked it more. Reluctantly, I posted it and went off to bed. That is the beauty of the Sprint, and something first time Sprinters should know: The prompts and opportunities to create are there every day. Make the most of the day, take the prompt and create!

As the Sprint continued, I was surprised how quickly I felt supported by the online community of Creative Sprinters! It doesn't matter if it's being accepted at school or Creative Sprinters from around the world, it feels good belonging and participating in a community.

Looking ahead I want to continue working with prompts because they offer me a much needed daily practice and without the self-sabotaging expectation to create the coolest thing. Letting go of high expectations was liberating and allowed me to approach the Sprint with a sense of play.

The Creative Sprint was such a rewarding experience because it changed the way I view myself and my ability to create. It feels like I was able to make use of potential that was waiting to be tapped.

Find more of John's work on Instagram.

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Always looking for potential projects

Rosanne Hansen's Sprint Story.

In December 2015, I discovered 365: A Daily Creativity Journal: Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life! by Noah Scalin. It is filled with daily prompts to help guide your artistic journey. I thought to myself, ‘you could do this; make art every day for a year.’ 

After completing my first Daily Creativity challenge in January 2017, Creative Sprint has given me guidance to continue my creative journey.

My favorite day of this Creative Sprint was Day 20: Make 5 of the same object and leave them behind for others to find. I really liked this challenge because it was an easy way to share my art with multiple people. I hid small origami balls around the school I work at and a few other places in town. It was fun to go back later and see which balls other people found.

My most challenging day was Day 28: Collaborate with a fellow Creative Sprinter. I was going to be out all day dress shopping, so I decided to collaborate with friends instead. We ended up making a zoo out of straw wrappers at lunch. The creation part also ended up being a challenge as straw wrappers are hard to work with when you have a limited supply.

The most surprising thing that happened this month was that I only kept five of the projects for myself. During my Creative Marathon up to this point, I had kept nearly every project, as I looked back over my posts from this Creative Sprint, I realized that I had disposed of, eaten, or given away most of my projects. This turned out to be a great surprise for me; less to store!

I tried a few new things this month, but the one that stands out to me the most that I would like to try again is galaxy egg painting. Rather than dying eggs the traditional way, I painted an egg using a paint brush and food coloring. I loved how it turned out and can't wait to try it again.

My biggest piece of advice is to stick with it and share your work. Making a project everyday may be frustrating at times but the compliments you get from sharing your work are worth the frustration.

The Creative Sprint experience has caused me to be more aware of my surroundings, always looking for potential projects. It has also encouraged me to branch out and try new things.

Find more of Rosanne's work on Instagram

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