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

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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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