I wrote 535 words of fiction today, and then came up with this Blackout Poem for my “mini art”:
Taking inspiration from Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work.
Artists need habits. Let me clarify: artists need good habits.
Good habits involve making art every day*, and not getting all caught up with the mundanities of life like cleaning the house and doing laundry and when are friends coming over and oh god the flowers need arranging** AND I MUST DO ALL THE THINGS RIGHT NOW, and then procastinating on making art and thinking that it’s okay this one time because hey, I’m being productive, so that has to count for something, right? I’m making my house clean. I’m making my clothes stain-free and fresh smelling. I’m making preparations for a visit from friends. I’m making beauty by arranging flowers for the dining room table. I’m MAKING, so that’s good enough. Right?
Yes, we have to live in the real world (on occasion), and often that means having to do Grown-Up Things like vacuuming the floors, taking out the trash, and scrubbing the bathtub. However, that does not mean that the Grown-Up Things get to take all of our attention and energy. They may take a lot, but they cannot be allowed to take it all.
This was my situation in April. Sure, there were Events Beyond My Control, but I succumbed to the chaos and to doing the Grown-Up Things. Yes, the house needed cleaning before guests arrived (so they didn’t think we live in a dump), and yes, I needed to do the laundry (so I didn’t have to go out and buy more underwear). The crux of it is that those Events and Things really did not require all of my attention and energy. Hell, they didn’t require that much time, either. And yet, I let them.
This has to stop.
Mini Art Month is my answer.
Mini Art Month is my challenge to make (mini) art every day for the month of May. “Mini” means something small, like a haiku or a paragraph in a story or a Blackout Poem*** (it could be origami or a sketch or a flower arrangement or a bar of a new song, if you’re not a writer). The goal is something creative every day.
So take 15 minutes today and make mini art.**** See what happens after a month. I know I’m curious to see what the month and its mini artwork brings.
*Because you are an artist. What does an artist do? She makes art. There is nothing in the etymology of “art” that indicates house cleaning. (This is something I have to continually remind myself. It’s not just you.)
**I really did not need to arrange flowers because nature does a darn fine job on her own, honestly. I just wanted to prettify the table, which was procrastination of the worst sort. Note to self: arranging flowers is not Making Art for me. It may be for you, though, and that’s awesome.
***I’ve been playing with Blackout Poetry lately, and while it seems silly, it ends up feeling satisfying because it only take a few minutes and voila! Art. Blackout Poetry = take newspaper or a printed page of something, pick out words that make a poem (to you), then black out the rest of the text. It combines the best of quick art and violent marker scribbling.
****This is another reminder to myself. Really, it’s not just you.