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The Art of Summer

Summertime brings inevitable changes to our daily routines. Whether it’s the longer days, kids out of school, vacation plans, or simply the warmer weather, you may be finding it difficult to focus on your creative work. Here’s how to get the most out of the summer months without losing creative momentum.

  • Use the outdoors to your advantage. If your creative work is portable, take it outside. Paint outside, play music outside, work on your laptop outside. Allow yourself to soak up the intensity of summer and invite the season to permeate your creative work. For those in northern climates, summer is gone in the blink of an eye — so get out there and enjoy it, while being creative to boot. Click here for more on making the most of the outdoors.
  • Chose a creative goal to complete before autumn. Consider the framework of your summer and decide on a reasonable objective. Your goal might be “finish five chapters in my novel,” “complete three canvases,” or simply “be creative every day.” Share your goal with others, as accountability will help you stay on track. You might also consider an external endpoint, such as a contest deadline, to add focus.
  • Set a minimum daily requirement. Summer seems to require an extra dose of flexibility — and the last thing you want is more “shoulds” in your life. That said, it’s helpful to set a “bare minimum” daily requirement as a target. Being creative every day keeps the pump primed and will make it much easier for you to resume your regular creative practice when the time comes. So decide that no matter what, every day you will write 100 words, sketch for 10 minutes, sing for half an hour — whatever makes sense.
  • Take a creative staycation. If budget and/or logistics prohibit going on a creative retreat, make your own. Pick a long weekend, design your own program, and send the kids to grandma’s. Your retreat can include a trip to a museum, a long solitary walk, browsing art magazines or an inspiring book, and of course, plenty of creative practice.

This article originally appeared in the June 2011 newsletter of the Creativity Coaching Association. Reprinted by permission.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Daily goals don’t always work for everyone. Sometimes life intrudes, like you get sick, and with a daily goal, you’re instantly behind — a big stressor. A weekly goal can be better because you’re focusing on what you get for the week rather than the day, so you can write 200 words on one day and 1,000 on another and not fall behnd.

    July 6, 2011
    • Good point, garridon. This may simply depend on how you frame being “behind.” For me, if I target a daily word count and miss it, I don’t fret about that because tomorrow is another day, and I can try again. When I have a weekly goal, I sometimes leave the whole thing for the last minute, thinking “I’ll have time” — and then, as you point out, life intrudes and I miss the weekly deadline. When several weekly “misses” add up, it can be disheartening. So what works for me is to have a daily target but to be OK with the fact that it’s just a target. The target helps me stay focused on what’s important: regular practice.

      July 6, 2011

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