I am not one for making New Year’s Resolutions. The last one I made was when I was thirteen years old. I thought I was very clever and said, “My resolution is not to make any more resolutions.” And I’ve actually held stubbornly close to that for over, um, 27 years.
“After all,” I tell myself, “time is just a human construct, and the universe doesn’t care if we assign this revolution around the sun a different number from the last.” But assigning that number helps us organize these strings of events that constitute our lives.
And art can help us reflect on those events—in the moment and later when we look back at what we’ve done.
Make no mistake: This post is not about New Year’s Resolutions (though our next three posts will be all about resolutions). This post is about creative challenges—setting one up and knocking it down.
My challenge is always keeping an art journal. I go through about six of them a year—if I do less, I kind of let myself down. They get filled with collages, sketches, Polaroids, photo proof sheets, prints, and a rather obsessive habit I have of making portraits on hotel keycards. A lot of it is crap. But I’m always doing it. Sometimes something good comes out of this kind of creating.
But you can also do a photo-a-day challenge. And not just a “well, I pretty much always put a photo of my cat/lunch/Starbuck’s misspelling of my name on Instagram every day” but a real, consistent, purposeful photo to represent every day. Keep those photos in an album on your hard drive or phone.
You can do a collage a day or a drawing a day. Or maybe every week. Or every day that starts with an S.
Or write a Haiku
Words on page like falling snow
Spilled ink on the page
(Yours will be better.)
Just keep creating. Always. And it goes without saying all this material is great fodder for your next book. Or your first one.