Invitation: Join Me in Art Every Day Month 2014

Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month. (I’m Not sure why it is national since it is on the internet, but who cares, right?)

The idea behind Nanowrimo is you write a 50,000-word novel in a month.

50,000 words is not too long, but it is enough to account for something. It’s a novella, basically.

And why November? I don’t know. I guess you have to start somewhere.

I always thought it was a neat idea, but I’m not a fiction writer.

Sure, I blog, and I would like to write a book at some point, but writing fiction is just not for me. So I dismissed the Nanowrimo idea. I mean, I’m proud of my friends who do it, but writing a novel is just not my thing.

But about five years ago, it came back up again in my mind, and I thought, “hey what if I take that same Nanowrimo idea and apply it to making something visual?” I figured I would make something every day for a month, and I called it “30-in-30” for 30 pieces of art created in 30 days.

So I made something every day for a month, almost every day, mostly photographs taken with my somewhat new DSLR or a really awful little camera phone. I only did one painting.

The experiment turned out okay. But I think what I should have done was have a tighter focus on the whole endeavour. I should have spent more time painting. I think I was afraid of it for some reason. I didn’t really have the space at the time, either, since we were living with my parents.

The real problem was I cheated.

What I did was I would go out on my lunch break and take photos. Some days I would get a lot of good photos I could be proud of, say, 4 or 5 in one session, and call it a day.

I said to myself, “All right! I have four days’ worth!”

So of course, I wouldn’t do anything for the next seven days. I didn’t reap the benefit of the exercise.

It’s like with physical exercise: you can’t do four day’s worth of, say, running, and then not run for four days.

For one thing, you’ll injure yourself.

Secondly you don’t get the benefit of doing the work. You get better at something by doing it regularly and continually, not a whole lot at once. (Tweet that.)

A commitment for November 2014

Art Every Day Month by Leah Kolidas. I knew I wasn’t the only one to think of this sort of thing, so I was excited to find an already existing community around this idea.

So this year, I am going to commit to Art Every Day Month 2014.

But now I know if I want my AEDM14 experiment to be a success, I have to have a couple of goals so I can see some kind of change once the month is over. Unless I have measurable objectives, I’ll flounder and get bored and frustrated like I did before.

Goals for AEDM 2014:

  1. I want to get better at painting. I feel like my “painting muscles” have atrophied. I’m just out of practice.
  2. I want to build my body of work. I feel like because I have not done much work the past few years I have not lived up to what I am probably capable of. I have not progressed to where I think I should have by now. I don’t think I’ve produced the amount of work I think I should have produced by this point in my life. (Granted, I’ve been doing some other very important work: raising three small children.)
  3. Finally, I want to use this as a tool for building my email list. This is probably the most important thing from a marketing perspective. It’ll be a great way to build my tribe and extend my reach.

So for a month, people who subscribe to my email list or RSS Feed will have something fun to look at every morning. I hope it is something they’ll enjoy. I know I’ll enjoy it, too.

What I won’t do

As interesting as the small daily painting format is, it is not for me. It’ll only lead me to burnout. This is because I like to paint big.

I want you to join me!

I think it’ll be a very rewarding way to spend my time, and I want to invite you to do the same. I know I will have to work hard at getting up early every morning and getting in the studio to knock something out before I head in to my day job, but I imagine plenty of you out there will do the same. After all, our writer friends will be working on their novels before the sun comes up, too!

Or if you’d just rather see what I make that’s fine, too.

Will you join me? C’mon! You know you want to.