Last month I attended my twelfth Creative Mornings event here in Raleigh. The carefully selected speaker for January's featured theme, Language, was Nicholas Sailer, a writer and film director who also executed the inspirational and creative 365-day project - A Story Each Day.
Nicholas shared the challenging process behind his A Story Each Day project - in which he committed to writing a short story everyday for the entire year of 2014. He gave an amusingly honest recount of how challenging it was to work all day, only to take the grumbling metro back to his closet of an apartment in NYC and muster the energy to craft a short story each and every night. Some nights when he was feeling particularly drained and uninspired, all he could do was type the words - "write, write, write...." over and over until his creative spark ignited once again. He admitted that not every short story he wrote was exceptional and that in fact most of them weren't. However, writing a well written short story everyday wasn't the point of his creative exercise. The intent was to commit to practicing writing everyday, no matter what. And so, even with all of the challenges he experienced amidst the daily grind, he knew that the sacrifice was worth it - if only to find his own voice.
I love this quote, he shared.
"If you want to speak a language fluently, you have to practice everyday."
It's so simple and obvious that we need to make time to practice our own language, whatever it might be, everyday. It's worth the sacrifice and time commitment because without language we cannot express ourselves, listen to others or connect to the world around us. In order to be our best selves, we need to practice own language as often as possible. We need to pencil it into our calendars and make it happen.
Nicholas' daily project inspired me to start my own project. The intent is to encourage me to practice my own language with a little more consistency. Motivated by Liz Gilbert's book Big Magic and the possibility that my new idea might slip away into the universe if I didn't act on it quickly, I got started pretty much immediately. With the clearest realization that making is my language, I created a MAKE EVERYDAY logotype and off to Home Depot I went to fetch a larger-than-life white pegboard that I'd later learn would have to be cut several times before it'd actually fit into my fixed width sedan. After arriving home with my materials, I hand cut each letter and affixed them to the pegboard spanning four feet wide to create a physical board to hold my smaller scale creations.
Because the idea for my project didn't happen until after January 1st, I got a late start. I'm still working to define guidelines for what constitutes making everyday so the lines don't get too blurred and I can follow through with the project in its entirety. After all, I do have a history of making exceptions for myself out of convenience. Don't we all?
I'm hoping that I can stay motivated by remembering Nicholas' story about the violinist - who expressed that on days when she forgets to practice, it feels like something is wrong. I also feel like something is wrong when I forget to make everyday. It's a part of me.
To help me stay on track, I've outlined some guidelines below while also allowing for lots of flexibility and freedom because, let's be honest, I don't just want more rules to follow.
- Start date: March 1, 2016
- Earliest end date: December 31, 2016
- Make everyday
- Can be 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional
- I've also defined Making as the following: writing, origami, woodworking, sketching, model-building, physical house projects, etc.
- Be disciplined. Allow for flexibility.
I know this project is going to be really tough for me but I'm looking forward to sharing my progress with you along the way. I'd love for you to join me and commit to practicing your own language everyday. Whether that's running, completing a Japanese lesson, gardening, writing, or dancing, I hope you'll reflect on what makes you tick and do more of it.