Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday's Tips #12

Last week I interviewed Arlene of Spirit Essence Art and she told us about the 100 in 100 challenge that she's participating in. It was a great interview, and if you missed make sure you go back and read it! I realize that some thing like that may be a bit overwhelming for many of us though, so this week I want to talk a little about some smaller challenge options :) Well, one in specific, I'll have more for you next week!

The Personal Challenge

That's right, this challenge is for you, from you. Why? Because YOU know yourself best. You know where you want to grow, you know what you want to learn, you know what you struggle with, and most importantly, you know best what you can reasonably accomplish! Let me share a story with you...

Just over a year ago I was looking at my shop and my jewelry and evaluating where I was at. It was the middle of the Christmas season and I knew that sales were likely to dry up after the new year. Which in turn meant I wouldn't be able to go shopping for new supplies as often! At that point in time I was making a few bead woven items here and there, but the majority of what was going on-line was my other forms of jewelry. The main reason for that was that I was still SUPER slow at bead weaving.

I decided that I needed to focus more on my bead weaving. Not only does it cost less to purchase the supplies since I use mainly seed beads; it also takes up lots of my time! It's also something I really wanted tog get better at.

So I challenged myself. I wanted to get at least one bead woven item done a week. At first that was HARD to do! Then I noticed, as I got more consistent in the time spent, I was getting faster. It also became more of a part of my routine. If I don't spend time with a needle and thread in my hands every day I feel a little lost!

Since then I've come a long way. It's not uncommon for me to produce 2 or 3 bead woven items in a week, especially if I'm not doing much else that week, and I've learned a lot of new styles! I no longer stick to a strict challenge, because I don't need to. It's now just a part of my life.

So what should you do when setting up a personal challenge/goal for yourself? Here's some things to think about as you get started:

1. What are you dissatisfied with in your art work?
2. What can you realistically do to change that?
3. What challenges are you likely to face in trying to accomplish this goal?

Now, having thought that through, set yourself a SMALL goal. You don't have to shoot for the stars! You can, I won't stop you, but remember it's much easier to start small and then add on. So maybe you want to do a painting every day like Arlene is. You can also start out by saying, "I'd like to do a painting every day, and that would be awesome if I achieve that, but lets start by saying I have to finish 3 a week, and go from there." Starting small and building on it is much easier :)

Not the type that stays motivated on your own well? Don't worry - I have more ideas for challenging yourself! Stick around and we'll talk about it next week.


BeadedTail said...

Congrats on your success with your personal challenge! I've been trying to complete at least one new piece a week but sometimes life and work (and the internet) get in my way. I just need to shift priorities and complete and succeed at my own challenge!

Splendid Little Stars said...

When working for oneself, it can be hard to be motivated. Setting a schedule/goal can help to overcome that. I look forward to the day when I get back into crafting. (right now, it is difficult.)

memoriesforlifescrapbooks said...

I love the idea of challenging yourself. Afterall...no one else knows you better!

Dawn N said...

It's always hard for me to try a new idea because of the time issue. It takes so long to get the bugs worked out. I think I'll try my own personal challenge- to attempt one new design or technique a month.

Meghann LittleStudio said...

What a great idea! Good for you for accomplishing your challenge goals, that is great :)
I'd like to do a blog feature on you (maybe a feature trade) and I was also wondering if you would be interested in being a part of my once-per-month newsletter featuring reputable Etsy shops. Do you have a new item or special you'd like to promote? It's free and you'd get a copy to send out to your mailing list. Let me know about the feature and newsletter and you can email me at: Meg(at)littlestudio(dot)ca

beadsandblooms said...

Sage advice! I'm one of those often overwhelmed by the big picture so I have to constantly set those smaller goals for myself. Perhaps that's my personal challenge - taking things one step at a time. :)

Nothinglikeit said...

What a perfect topic! Challenges are what keep up going and make us better artists. They don't always come from outside and sometimes the ones we set for ourselves are the best (and the hardest).
I've got a 10 days gallery show coming up in early October so I'm super motivated to paint at the moment! My big challenge is not only to focus on quantity but QUALITY. Let's also hope the creative juices keep flowing!