How to Work Around Sick Days (Hint: Stop Feeling Guilty!)

Guilt isn't a creative block we can easily push aside, but it's worth facing because we SHOULD NOT make decisions based on guilt. The issue I felt with guilt during the first week I was sick brought me back to my mindfulness practice, and what I learned is this: guilt has no purpose. I am making conscious, purposeful decisions about my creative life, so there's no room for guilt. Or I should say there is not room for guilt to step in and make my decisions for me. And I don't think guilt should make your decisions for you either.
 

I write this post, in part, for myself as well since I am very guilty of the scenario I am about to share:

A creative gets the flu. All right. This happens. We're human too, or so they tell us. So the creative calls her day-job boss and lets him know she won't be into work that day. Creative can barely get out of bed she is so sick, she explains. Creative hangs up the phone, pulls the laptop from the bedside table where it has been sitting, opens it up, and starts working on her novel, blog, course, or *insert creative work here.*

Stop right there. This creative is too sick to get out of bed and go to work, so instead she is going to work?

 

Reality check: Are you taking care of yourself just as much as you care for your business? (<<< tweet that!)

 

Why do so many creatives, myself included, feel like they can never take a day off writing/editing/social media/marketing/blogging/etc.? And why, when we are so sick we can't work on our creative tasks, do we feel guilty? When I was a teacher, I didn't feel guilty if I couldn’t teach because I was sick (although I wasn't a fan of the whole not-getting-paid-thing). I never felt guilty when I worked at Macy's and had to call off sick. It didn't eat at me that all those clothes that needed to be cleaned out of the dressing rooms might have to wait until the next day. So why does it eat at me, and I suspect other creatives as well, when we don't create for a day or (gasp) two?

 

THE GUILT TRAP

For those of us who consider ourselves creative entrepreneurs, there's probably two reasons why we're willing to call in sick to the 9 to 5 but not to our creative businesses.

1.       We work from home

2.       We're the only employee

It's one thing to recognize I can't get out of bed and stay alert enough to drive to work and teach my classes, but I can write while lying in bed with my eyes half closed, so I should, right? It's possible to engage on social media and work on design projects from home. We're not required to shower and dress to do this. It might take us more time than usual, but we can muddle our way through our creative work because it's happening in our home, and we're home anyway, so why not? Aren't we responsible for our creative businesses? Don't we love our creative businesses? We probably feel like we should work, and many of us probably want to work.

For most of us creative entrepreneurs, we're also the only employee, and you know what that means: If I don't do it, it doesn't get done. If I don't write, then there aren't any blog posts. There aren't any new novels. If I don't create my designs, no one else is going to come into the "office" and take care of them for me. If I'm not active on social media, my accounts will remain sad and empty until I finally do get back into the social media game. When we're the only employee, there isn't anyone else to do the work when we're sick, and for many creatives, even those who still need that day job to pays bills, if we don't create, our businesses don't grow.

Due to sickness, I was out for two weeks in April, and I have to admit, I was angry. I was angry because work needed to be done. I felt lazy. I was spending hours in bed each day doing nothing. And when I did work, some of the simplest tasks took for-EVER. The first week, I was in the middle of a launch and had to cancel some activities I had planned for that week. I simply couldn't do it. And yes, I did the exact opposite of what I believe we should do when we're sick: I beat myself up over it. Plus, I pushed myself to work regardless of how I felt, which only resulted in me being sick longer since I wasn't taking care of myself.

I'll say it: This was stupid. This was really, really stupid.

By the end of week one (after crawling around my apartment, attempting to get work done), I wised up. I cleaned up my attitude, and I reevaluated my goals. I didn't decide to become an entrepreneur so I could punish myself. I want to work for myself so I can have freedoms like the ability to take time off to heal. When I was a teacher, I wasn't full-time, so when I couldn't go to work, I didn't get paid. Yeah, there were days when I was so sick, I couldn't speak, yet I would go to work anyway and attempt to teach. Not the life I wanted for myself, yet here I was, treating myself like that again—Insisting I work regardless of how sick I was.

 

REALITY CHECK

To say the least, I needed a reality check. I trimmed down my to-do list and focused only on the tasks that were the most important. Did this mean tasks that both needed to and I wanted to get done fell by the wayside? Yes, it did. Did it mean I had to pick up the pace once I was feeling better? Oh, yeah. Definitely.

But during week two, I felt loads better because I was treating myself like a human being again, and I didn't feel guilty about the work I wasn't accomplishing.

Guilt isn't a creative block we can easily push aside, but it's worth facing because we SHOULD NOT make decisions based on guilt. The issue I felt with guilt during the first week I was sick brought me back to my mindfulness practice, and what I learned is this: guilt has no purpose. I am making conscious, purposeful decisions about my creative life, so there's no room for guilt. Or I should say there is not room for guilt to step in and make my decisions for me.

And I don't think guilt should make your decisions for you either.

 

Guilt should NOT make your decisions for you! (<<< tweet that!)

 

 

PLANNING AHEAD OF TIME (3 WAYS TO PREPARE FOR SICK DAYS)

I hope my voice isn't coming across too intensely in this post, but I'm passionate about creatives giving themselves a break. There are so many other things and people in the world who try to bend us with guilt—we shouldn't be doing it to ourselves. But I admit, even when we get sick, yes, the creative biz still has to run. So here's what you can do to prepare for those sick days/weeks (because chances are, we're all going to face them):

1. Stay ahead of the game. One thing that saved my butt was that I had my blog posts already written and scheduled for the two weeks I was sick, so I didn't have to worry about creating new posts. I prefer to stay a month ahead of my blog schedule and it's a productivity tip I suggest to anyone who feels overwhelmed with their editorial calendar. I also always schedule some social media ahead of time, so I had enough planned out that my social media accounts didn't look empty for two weeks.

 

Do this: Keep your content calendar planned out at least a month in advance + make time to work on posts, projects, and tasks ahead of schedule.

 

2. Have a "Slow Day" list. I got this idea from Kara of bohoberry.com. She created a list of tasks she will do when she's having an off day. Whether she's tired, overwhelmed, or sick, she still has a plan in place of what she can accomplish. Remember to keep this list full of tasks that don't require too much mental or physical energy (you're trying to heal, remember!) such as: clean out email, ask questions in Facebook groups, journal about goals and biz plans, etc.

 

Do this: Create a list of tasks you can still accomplish on slow/sick days. AND create a master list of things you'd love to get done at some point. THEN, when you're having an off day or week, you can pull tasks from these lists and work on them.

 

3. Focus on your mission. What's the purpose of your business? What do you want out of it? And what tasks are going to get you there? When you're sick, you can't do everything, so prioritizing your to-do list to include the tasks that are most important—aka the tasks that will keep you on the path towards your mission—will help you avoid overwhelm.

 

Do this: Journal about your business WHY. Once you have a clear picture in your head about what exactly you want, write this down someplace you'll see it every day. On sick days, reread that statement and remind yourself that if you could only do two things today, what two things would take you in the direction of your goal? And the other tasks? Put them to the side until you're feeling better.

 

I propose that as creatives we stand up for our employees (us) and let them have sick days. Let their minds and bodies rest so they can heal. If we aren't kind to our employees, they are going to get burned out and then we'll really be in trouble.

What do you do on your sick days?

 

Bring Your Own Creativity July 2016

July's Prompt   Make a gift for someone - many of us give gifts around the winter holidays, but now it is time give someone a gift out of the blue in the summer.   There were so many directions I could have gone with this prompt, and part of me didn't want to paint something because I painted in last month's challenge, but in the end, I decided to share a bit of what goes on in my home every month: birthday card making.
 

How did your July #BYOCreativity challenge go? I admit I was a little preoccupied with the launch of Operation: Procrastination Shutdown and only got around to finishing my July project last week. But that's all right. One of the goals of this challenge is to make time for creativity. The other goal: make your creativity your own! It is a BYOC party after all.

Read last month's post to learn more about Bring Your Own Creativity.

July's Prompt

 

Make a gift for someone - many of us give gifts around the winter holidays, but now it is time give someone a gift out of the blue in the summer.

 

There were so many directions I could have gone with this prompt, and part of me didn't want to paint something because I painted in last month's challenge, but in the end, I decided to share a bit of what goes on in my home every month: birthday card making.

Each month, I make and send out a birthday card to all the women in my church. I could buy the cards, but it feels more special to make them.

What I Use

  • Watercolor paper
  • Watercolors
  • Large brushes
  • Embossing "ink"
  • Embossing powder
  • Stamps
  • Heater

Let's Get Crafty

1. I start with painting the background of the cards using the watercolors. (TIP: Tape down your watercolor paper so it doesn't warp while it's wet)

2. After the paper is dry, I use a paper trimmer to cut out the cards. (I buy my envelopes at Hobby Lobby, so I trim the cards to fit in these.)

 

 

3. The next stage is a bit of an assembly line. Each stamp goes onto the embossing ink pad first then onto the card.

4. Next, I dust embossing powder on the wet embossing ink and use the heater to melt the powder.

 

 

5. And I left the final step out of the pictures, but I write a note on each card, seal them up, and mail them at the first of each month.

How to Join the Challenge

1. On the first of each month, all those joining the challenge will share the month’s prompts (you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram for August's prompt).

2. Spend as much time that month brainstorming and exploring using any creative outlet to express the prompt (remember, this is a creative challenge, so run with the prompt any way you want).

3. And by the end of the month, share your BYOC project on your website or social media. If you use Twitter or Instagram, remember to include the hashtags #BYOC or #BYOCreativity, so everyone in the challenge can see!

I can't wait to see what you create!

 

Productivity Hack #4: When Motivation Isn't Enough

In “The Daily Entrepreneur,” S. J. Scott writes, “You can’t always rely on desire alone…your efforts will fail the first time you’re busy or not feeling well. Instead, you need to take action—even when you’re not in the mood.”   Wanting to achieve a goal is good.   Having a clear purpose as to why you want to achieve this goal is better.   Creating a system that will ensure you achieve this goal is best.
 

Last week, I mentioned knowing your why is a key element to productivity success. Having a clear understanding of why you are aiming for any goal can help you stay focused and can motivate you on those “tough” days.

 

And you should know your why. But…

 

Self-motivation isn’t enough. You still need to take action.

 

In “The Daily Entrepreneur,” S. J. Scott writes, “You can’t always rely on desire alone…your efforts will fail the first time you’re busy or not feeling well. Instead, you need to take action—even when you’re not in the mood.”

 

  1. Wanting to achieve a goal is good.
  2. Having a clear purpose as to why you want to achieve this goal is better.
  3. Creating a system that will ensure you achieve this goal is best.

 

Did you know, roughly 20% of people admit to procrastinating (70% of students identify themselves as procrastinators). And a study in 2008 showed 40% of people have suffered financial loss due to procrastination. It might be tempting to brush off procrastination, but it’s a real problem.

 

I’ve struggled with my own procrastination demons. I also have good intentions, and usually, I really, really want to make it happen—but I’m human. Like S. J. Scott suggested, as soon as I get sick or something big comes up, all those good intentions fly out the window.

 

Self-motivation isn’t enough. You still need to take action. (<<< tweet that!)

 

Productivity Hack #4: Habits

 

But that doesn’t have to be the case—for me or for YOU. Why? One word: Habits. I have been obsessed with habits and habit stacks (or a series of habits—routine) for over a year now, and I have to admit: I still freaking love these things.

 

(I even wrote an entire post about habits and habit stacking, which you can read here >>>)

 

Why do habits help?

 

When something (inbox zero, writing 500 words, blogging, spending an hour on social media, self-care, or crafting any creative project) becomes a habit, you create/work on good days, bad days, sick days, vacation days, etc. Why? Because it’s a habit. It’s something you do Every. Day.

 

And just like you brush your teeth or wash your hair without having to think about it (because they’ve become habits), you can become someone who creates every day and someone who works towards their goals every day by implementing creative habits.

 

 

I just completed and launched my latest eCourse, Operation: Procrastination Shutdown. It took me three months to write, edit, design, beta test, and publish this course. There were days where it would have been easy for me to say, “Not today. I’m just too busy; I’m too tired. I’ll just work on this lesson tomorrow.”

 

But I have a good relationship with productivity. We’ve been working together for years, so I know my productivity and creation game-plans will be there for me whenever procrastination comes knocking—and believe me, procrastination shows up on my doorstep all the time.

 

 

And because I know how great it feels to create when I want, not when procrastination says I can, I want every other creative to take back their time (it’s precious—what has procrastination done to deserve your creative time?).

 

And that’s why I created this eCourse—to guide creatives through a process that will give them the tools they need to overcome procrastination, so they can get back to what really matters: their creativity. (Want to find out more about this course? Just click here >>>)

 

What has procrastination done to deserve your creative time? (click to tweet)

 

I want to hear from you! What goal are you currently working on? What can you do this week to achieve that goal?

Productivity Hack #3: Know Your Why

In that post on journaling and mindfulness, I mentioned I had been spending hours each week on Twitter, yet traffic to my site via Twitter was minimal. So why was I spending so much time on Twitter? Well, I thought I “had to.” You know, because that’s what “everyone” says small business owners should be doing.   Does that sound like you at all? I can’t count the number of times I’ve caught myself doing something simply because a blog guru or a successful creative entrepreneur said I should.   The problem with doing tasks that have no purpose is that they wreak havoc on your productivity.   Click through for your 4-step action plan!
 

When you hear the word, “Productivity,” do you associate it with the question, “Why?”

 

It’s all right if you don’t. Most of the time, we’re more focused on What? and How?

  • What I am working on?
  • What am I creating?
  • How am I going to make it happen?
  •  How will I reach my deadline?
  •  What steps do I have to complete?

It’s easy to skip over that Why, and not too long ago, I was the same. I was much more worried about what I needed to do and how I was going to find the time to do it, I forgot to stop and ask myself, “Why am I doing this task/project?”

 

As it turns out, I was wasting a ton of time on tasks that didn’t move my business forward—they didn’t have a purpose (a Why).

 

A few months ago, I wrote a post on how journaling has helped my mindfulness practice.

 

(Mindfulness is my word of the year, btw…you can read all about this decision here >>>)

 

In that post on journaling and mindfulness, I mentioned I had been spending hours each week on Twitter, yet traffic to my site via Twitter was minimal. So why was I spending so much time on Twitter? Well, I thought I “had to.” You know, because that’s what “everyone” says small business owners should be doing.

 

Does that sound like you at all? I can’t count the number of times I’ve caught myself doing something simply because a blog guru or a successful creative entrepreneur said I should.

 

The problem with doing tasks that have no purpose is that they wreak havoc on your productivity. (<<< click to tweet!)

 

Productivity Hack #4: Know Your Why

 

I know you’ve heard this one before: “Busy is not the same as productive.” But if being productive isn’t being busy, what is it?

 

STEP 1: KNOW YOUR END GOAL

 

Productivity means you are doing and accomplishing the things that propel you forward. For a creative business, this can translate to: Tasks that move you towards your business goals. If you goal is to earn $5,000 a month by working with clients, then your most productive tasks will:

1. Put you and your business in front of potential clients.

2. Convince/persuade potential clients to schedule a consultation with you.

3. Lead those who have a consultation with you into becoming paid clients.

4. Make you the best freelancer in your niche so these paid clients come back to you and refer you to others.

 

Simply put, your most productive tasks will push you towards accomplishing that business goal of earning $5,000 a month.

 

So your first step is to decide what you want to accomplish (what is your overall goal?).

 

STEP 2: WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO REACH THIS GOAL?

 

Your second step is to make a list of everything you do each day, each week, and each month.

 

Let’s just keep using the example from above…

 

Each day, you:

  • Pin 20 articles
  • Tweet 5 times
  • Post to Facebook 3 times
  • Post to Instagram 1 time

 

Each week, you:

  • Write + publish 2 blog posts
  • Create + publish 1 video
  • Send out 1 newsletter email

 

And each month, you:

  • Update your services page
  • Make small changes to your website layout/design
  •  Add 2-3 materials to your resource library

 

(Okay, so I’m not going to list out every little thing you may do, but you get the picture…yes?)

 

If you want to move away from busy to productive, then you need to know what activities/tasks/items you are doing.

 

STEP 3: DOES IT HELP YOU REACH THAT GOAL?

 

Now that you have a list of all your tasks, your next step is to write down WHY you do each one of these goals.

 

Why do you write two blog posts each week? Why not five? Why not one?

 

Why are you on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest every day?

 

And as you are asking (and answering!) your why for each task, also ask yourself, “Does this task help me reach my goal?” Remember, you already have your goal written down. Look at it again:

 

Does writing two blog posts each week help you reach that $5,000-from-clients goal? Can you drop down to writing only one blog post a week? Or should you write more blog posts each week?

 

Does your video content lead to consultations more often than your written content does? If so, maybe you need to start doing more videos and less blog posts each week.

 

Do you get any clients from Twitter? If not, why are you still using Twitter? If yes, why aren’t you using it more?

 

Don’t skimp on this step. You owe it to yourself and to your goals to know if what you are doing is leading to your goals.

 

Every action you make either 1) moves you towards your goal or 2) does NOT move you towards your goal. (<<< tweet that!)

 

STEP 4: TAKE ACTION

 

Finally, take action on what you just discovered. Get rid of any tasks that you have just identified as not being productive so you have more time for the tasks that are productive.

 

Once a quarter (or at least twice a year), go through this process again:

 

1. Write down your goal.

2. Write down every task you do that relates to this goal.

3. Identify why you do each task and ask if each task truly does help you reach your goal.

4. Eliminate the tasks that do not and keep the ones that do.

 

Learning how to identify and understand your why is a huge step in my anti-procrastination course, Operation: Procrastination Shutdown. In addition to helping you understand your relationship with procrastination and helping you create an action plan to overcome your personal procrastination challenges, this course teaches you how to engage a productive creation process.

 
 

At the end of each day, you should be able to look back and say, “Yes, I worked towards my goal today. Yes, I am closer to accomplishing this goal today than I was yesterday.” And Operation: Procrastination Shutdown is the course that will make this happen for you.

 

So now when you hear the term, “Productivity,” does the question, “Why?” come to mind?

 

Productivity Hack #2: Cut the Negativity

Like it or not, you only get so much “energy” each day. You can waste it on negativity, or you can spend on creating badass content and pursuing your passions. Are there any areas in your life you can cut the negative from so you can focus on what really matters?
 

I had a strange experience last week. Well, to be honest, it was overwhelming and slightly mortifying when it was happening but now it just seems ridiculous that I allowed a negative situation to knock me down so hard.

 

What am I talking about? Last week, a host of a Facebook group, I’ll call her Jane, opened up a discussion on some of the events that are happening in America right now. Normally, I would ignore a post like this but I was so overcome by how negative everyone in the group was being, that I wanted to be positive (like cheerleader style, “We can hang in there and get through this, guys! All together now!”).

 

Big. Mistake.

 

Jane, did not want that type of comment, and I was shut down—and not only shut down, I was humiliated. And I have to admit, I was angry. I was angry with myself for even trying. It’s Jane’s group, she has a right to go negative if she wants, and it’s not my place to rock the boat—and I take responsibility for that. Everyone was going one direction and I went the other, and the group didn’t want that.

 

But I was also angry—okay, pissed is more accurate—that I was treated that way for being positive. As someone who suffers from depression, this is a confusing message: usually, people are trying to get me to be more positive. And I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t write that morning. I didn’t get half the things I planned on doing that day done. Honestly, I crumbled. It took me hours to finally get back in front of the computer and work.

 

Quickly, I think I should add that I’m all for creating even when I feel like crap. If I stopped creating every time I was upset by something, I wouldn’t get much done. But you know? Negativity does affect me; however,  I can control negative environments, elements, and people, so that there is less negativity in my life.

 

You only get so much energy each day. You can waste it on negativity, or you can spend it on creating. (<<< click to tweet!)

 

So before I started my work, I left Jane’s Facebook group. This wasn’t the first time I had been met with negativity in her group or even by her, and this incident finally convinced me I needed to leave. And you can think this next step is extreme, but I also stopped following Jane on all social media (since she was one of the first entrepreneurs I discovered when I started my business last year, I was following her on pretty much every social media site I use—not anymore).

 

Now, could I have just ignored Jane? I could, but removing negativity completely is better for productivity than just trying to ignore it.

 

And that’s my challenge for you today.

 

PRODUCTIVITY HACK: CUT THE NEGATIVITY

 

Where in your life can you eliminate (or at least cut down) negativity?

  • Family for friends who criticize you for being a creative or running your own business. (I’d first try to explain to them why creating is so important to you, but if they make you feel like crap about yourself, chuck them. There are better friends out there waiting for you.)
  • A job that makes you sick to your stomach to just think about. (There are a ton of jobs out there—you don’t have to work at one that makes you feel like this.)
  • Bullies or “trolls” on social media and your site. (Delete them. Block them. Monitor your comments on your blog.)
  • Social media. (If you’re a biz owner, you can’t ignore this completely, but you can choose to not go on social media until after you’ve completed your most important task(s) of the day.)
  • Email. (Don’t check it first thing in the morning.)
  • The news. (Yes, I think you should know what is happening in your community and your country, but you can wait until the workday is over to watch or read the news.)
  • And any other person or environment that makes you want to pull your hair out.

 

Like it or not, you only get so much “energy” each day. You can waste it on negativity, or you can spend on creating badass content and pursuing your passions.

 

Are there any areas in your life you can cut the negative from so you can focus on what really matters?

 

Take Control of Your Productivity

Productivity Hack #1: Self-Care

PRODUCTIVITY HACK #1: RESPECT YOURSELF AND YOUR TIMELINE   1.  If you say you’re going to get up at 6 am tomorrow and work on blog posts for two hours, do it. 2.  If you promise to make time each day to learn something new about your niche, choose the time you’ll do this, and treat that time as sacredly as you would any other appointment. 3.  If you want your project done in six weeks, create a timetable detailing every step and task and that needs accomplished and when you will accomplish each item. YOU are the boss, so be kind to yourself. Treat yourself and your time well. You wouldn’t waste your 9-5 boss’s time, so why waste yours? You wouldn’t tell your boss she’s an idiot or she’ll never be good enough, so why are you telling yourself this?
 

I’ve spent the last three months working on a new course, Operation: Procrastination Shutdown, and the companion free email course, which also focuses on overcoming procrastination so creatives can get back to what matters most: creating new and valuable content on a consistent basis.

 

Needless to say, productivity has been on my mind quite a bit.

 

But recently, a friend made this comment to me that forced me to look at productivity in a new light. She said, “I don’t know why I can get work done for my boss or coworkers, but I can never meet my own deadlines.”

 

The moment she said this, the word, “Self-care” popped into my head. Self-care. Respecting one’s self.

 

Why don’t we respect ourselves and our timelines as much as we respect someone else’s?

 

We’d probably never tell our bosses to screw it if they wanted us at work for a 7 am meeting (I definitely wouldn’t), yet many of us won’t make time to write for ourselves or our businesses at 7 am.

  • We wake up early for someone else, but not ourselves.
  • We work when we are sick.
  • We work when we are tried.
  • We honor our appointments and obligations to someone else.

 

So when it comes to our own creative projects and our own creative businesses, why aren’t we treating them as well as we treat someone else’s work?

 

PRODUCTIVITY HACK #1: RESPECT YOURSELF AND YOUR TIMELINE

 

1.  If you say you’re going to get up at 6 am tomorrow and work on blog posts for two hours, do it.

2.  If you promise to make time each day to learn something new about your niche, choose the time you’ll do this, and treat that time as sacredly as you would any other appointment.

3.  If you want your project done in six weeks, create a timetable detailing every step and task and that needs accomplished and when you will accomplish each item.

YOU are the boss, so be kind to yourself. Treat yourself and your time well. You wouldn’t waste your 9-5 boss’s time, so why waste yours? You wouldn’t tell your boss she’s an idiot or she’ll never be good enough, so why are you telling yourself this?

 

If you want to manage your time, meet your deadlines, and accomplish your goals so those dreams of yours turn into realities, then you have to stop thinking of your creativity as a side project or a hobby—think of it as a job instead. A job where you show up and put in the work day after day.

 

I can tell you this: you show up every day, and productivity won’t be an issue for you for much longer (<<< tweet that)

 

Still think procrastination is a challenge you need to overcome? Hey, I get it. I’ve been there—sometimes I still go there—that’s why I created ecourse: Learn the steps you need to overcome procrastination so you can consistently create new content for your audience.

 

ENROLLMENT:

Now Open!!

 

What are you going to do this week to step up your productivity game? Tell me in the comments below :)

Bring Your Own Creativity June 2016

Summertime is the time for parties. What better way to party than to have a BYO...However this party is a Bring Your Own Creativity. Take the prompt and complete it in whatever way your creativity speaks to you and makes sense. June 2016 Prompt: Create something that represents summer (if you are not currently in the middle of summer, be inspired by whatever season you are currently experiencing).
 

Back in May, Katy McCullough from Greens and Blues Co. reached out to me to join a creative challenge this summer: Bring Your Own Creativity (BYOC). And as of writing this, the others joining the challenge are:

·         Jenn from The Spare Room Project

·         Julie from In Tandem

·         Allie from Allie Explores

·         Gabrielle from A Life of Gab

I jumped on the challenge right away. One of my favorite things about creativity is how different it is for all of us, and Katy’s challenge wanted to highlight just that:

“Summertime is the time for parties. What better way to party than to have a BYO...However, this party is a Bring Your Own Creativity. Take the prompt and complete it in whatever way your creativity speaks to you and makes sense.”

June’s Prompt

 

Prompt: Create something that represents summer (if you are not currently in the middle of summer, be inspired by whatever season you are currently experiencing).

 

It is definitely summer where I live (Palm Springs, CA), but I was able to visit my grandparents in Colorado this month. When I think of summer, I think HOT (it was 125 F on Monday!), and my grandpa loves the desert…so I decided I’d paint him a picture of the desert and use it as my BYOC project.

 

I started with this stain glass window from the student I center I work at during the school year. My first attempt was a bit rough, but I was focused on getting the image on paper. The second attempt was almost the winner. I had it already framed and ready to go, when at the last minute, I decided I didn’t care for how heavy my hand had been.

So two days before we left for Denver, I put on Tarzan (because who doesn’t love to paint while watching Disney, right?) and ended up with this panting as my final project:

Summertime is the time for parties. What better way to party than to have a BYO...However this party is a Bring Your Own Creativity. Take the prompt and complete it in whatever way your creativity speaks to you and makes sense. June’s Prompt: Create something that represents summer (if you are not currently in the middle of summer, be inspired by whatever season you are currently experiencing).  

I used watercolors for everything except the pink flowers on the smaller cactus. For the flowers, I started with Tim Holtz distressed marker in Picked Raspberry, the brush side. Then I mixed a bit of red watercolor and blended it. The watercolors I used came from this set by Kuretake and I used a mix of different shape brushes from this set I found at Joann’s.

How to Join the Challenge

1.       On the first of each month, Katy and all those joining the challenge will share the month’s prompts (you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram for July’s prompt).

2.       Spend as much time that month brainstorming and exploring using any creative outlet to express the prompt (remember, this is a creative challenge, so run with the prompt anyway you want).

3.       And by the end of the month, share your BYOC project on your website or social media. If you use Twitter or Instagram, remember to include the hashtags #BYOC or #BYOCreativity, so everyone in the challenge can see!

Just because June’s almost over, doesn’t mean you can’t join the challenge. And if you missed June’s prompt, join us for July and August. Stretch those creative muscles and push yourself to fit in creative moments this summer.

Will you be joining us?