At the start of every year for the past however many, I’ve started a creativity challenge. I mean, who hasn’t? And like most people who make new year’s resolutions (because even a “creativity challenge” is a NY resolution), I quit pretty early into the new year.
And I’m always left with a sinking, gaping feeling, and the question: Why? Why do I continue to torture myself with this promise to follow through on a list, a project that requires more than I’m obviously willing to give?
Tonight I shot a quick message to a new friend who’s helping me navigate the world of Human Design.
Me: “I wonder if you can help me make a decision.
Me: “Well for a few years now, I’ve started creativity challenges. You know, a photo a Day… But I simply don’t last. I mean, I’ve lasted maybe a week max.”
Me: “But I keep coming back to them. I’m just so drawn to them. I want to stick to something and really stretch myself, you know.”
A: “Someone else’s rules are ‘here’s the thing now do every day’.
Me: “I don’t think I EVER want to do something everyday, but isn’t that how you get better at things?”
A: “Practice is one thing.”
Me: “I wonder if I’m using the challenge as a form of practice.”
A: “Maybe don’t measure against someone else’s stick? Maybe a week is enough. Then another week after a rest.”
Me: “A week sounds doable.”
A: “If it’s still interesting. So maybe don’t say no to the challenge topic. Say ‘we’ll see’ to their schedule. And stopping when enough is enough is great, imho.”
You see, as Projectors, we’re non-energy types. Working a 9-5 for us can be a struggle because our energy levels are inconsistent. We require rest. Some say we need naps, but I’m decidedly anti-nap. Rest, though, that’s a definite. This basic concept is helping me redefine what it means to have depression. If only I would rest when I’m beginning to feel a drop in energy instead of persisting. It’s that persistence when I’m sick with a cold or just moody, that got me here in the first place. Resting while sick is really where the gold lies. But that’s another story.
Schedules and consistency don’t come naturally to me, unless it’s something I really want to do – like when I was at uni, or studying coaching. Sure, I showed up to my jobs on time, but I didn’t wear a watch (this is pre-cell phones), and I was always late to meetings (because I didn’t want to be there!)
Just reading back on that makes me want to slap myself in the face and say “grow up, Jo. We all have to do what we don’t want to do sometimes. We have to deal with life’s challenges and show up for meetings, we have to sweep the floor and wash the dishes, cook meals, visit our parents and fix their tvs.”
You just have to deal with the daily grind of life. Right?
Well, I’m starting to wonder if plowing through isn’t actually for chumps.
Who said that we have to do things we don’t want to do? I’m talking about the big things here, not whether I wash my hair today or tomorrow, or if I get take away or cook dinner. I’m talking about plans. Like going to the wedding of a step-cousin’s grandson. Going to a meeting that is going to annoy the fuck out of me and give me nothing of use in return. Read a book that will help me (insert verb). Watch season 7 of a show I’ve hate-watched for the last 2 seasons.
I’d rather go to a movie, a farmer’s market, read a book I want to read, run my business from bed, pour a couple of soy candles, knit a blanket for my dogs…
And so, Plans. You can take them. The minute I make a plan, all I want to do is find an excuse to skip out on it. And I’ve skipped out on plenty! Pre-payment is not a guarantee that I’ll go somewhere or do something.
And so what of these creativity challenges?
I’m drawn to them like an ant to honey. Every time I start one, I have this sense that I’ll become more creative, that I’ll have something to look back on and say “ah, look what I did there – so cool”, like I’m proving it to myself, or to others. Instead, they lay shattered, a series of broken promises, more reasons to hate myself and call myself an uncreative loser. I look at Gretchen Rubin’s Year of Happiness Project
– why can’t I do that? Or Julie Powell’s Julie/Julia project when she decided that her life was monotonous so she would cook every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) by Julia Childs. Or who spent a year living by Oprah’s advice.
These women STUCK to things. Like, they really stuck to their projects. Why can’t I do that? Am I lazy? Unmotivated? Or just a Projector?
I wonder if there’s a way to break through. Can a Projector do something big, like these women have?
I might start small then. Take on Andrea’s advice and start with 5 days. I’ll start tomorrow. I wonder what I’ll do…