Inspire July: Creative Challenge Recap

creative challengeIn July I ran my first creative challenge and it was a lot of fun. Incredibly challenging, but a lot of fun. This is what one of the participants had to say about her experience:

All in all, I've had a blast. Not all of them had been winners, but I've felt a definite sense of pride at what I've accomplished. It was something to look forward to everyday in July. 

I'm really glad a few people were inspired to look at their days a little differently during the challenge. I know it certainly stretched me and I learned a lot. Here are some things I thought about throughout the month:

  • It really hit home how important it is to take creative action every single day. Whenever I missed one prompt, it was harder to do the next day. It honestly felt like training a muscle and as soon as I stopped working on it, it would stop giving me something in return.
  • It also showed me how small those creative actions can be. It takes less than a minute to snap a photo, post it to Instagram, and add a hashtag. But somehow, telling that simple, small story opened something up inside me. It made me wonder, what else can I do? One of my posts inspired me to do a sketch and another one inspired me to create some collages. Others reminded me to share what I was learning with the world or to spread a little sunshine.
  • Having other people do the challenge along with me was a big motivator since I knew they would be watching and wondering what I would post next. I didn't want to let them down or leave them hanging so I tried harder than I might have if I was doing it alone.
  • Sometimes the posts came easily, and sometimes I had to step out of my daily routine to find something that would work. If my day didn't seem to have an opportunity for creativity, I had to make one. That's a really important lesson, I think. We can't wait for inspiration or creativity to find us. We have to make it happen.
  • Most importantly, it helped me see my world differently. To me, this is how we learn to be creative, by looking at the ordinary with fresh eyes. It linked things up in new ways, helped me draw comparisons and create metaphors, and added significance to the seemingly insignificant. Like the participant said above, this fresh awareness gave me something to look forward to every day. It made me wonder, 'what will I discover today?'

Thank you to the small but dedicated group of people who played along with #InspireJuly. You inspired me and made it all worthwhile, and thanks to your effort you can look forward to many more creative challenges in the future. If you didn't keep up with the challenge as it unfolded, I've collected the majority of the posts in the following Storify. Enjoy, and I hope you'll join in next time!