The Monthly Goalpost for August: Something for Nothing

On our submission journey we may be so focused on the outcomes and the tasks that get results, we forget the bigger picture: we are creative people. Caught up in reaching goals each month, it’s easy to forget to keep your creativity alive and well.

watercolor sketching just for the fun
watercolor sketching just for the fun

This month I’m going to set some creativity goals alongside submission goals. Care to join me?

You may use your writing skills to revise a text or your illustration know-how to create a dummy book but what about creating something from nothing or, better yet, something for nothing? Do something you aren’t particularly good at doing—switch paths— if only for a few hours.

Creativity goals are for fun, for filling the well* and for a little serendipity.

vacation plein air painting
old well in Brittany

Make a mess. Do a bit of collage: tear out images from magazines and catalogues that catch your eye for whatever reason: you love the color; that dude is hot; that dress is so-not-me but so beautiful, you’d love to live in this landscape… anything! The least artistically inclined among us can pick out images and use scissors and glue. Rip, cut and paste up a new way of looking at things.

Go to a museum or exhibition. Take a tiny sketchbook and fill it with quick sketches of everything: art work, museum workers, and other visitors. Or write quick profiles of the people you see. Eavesdrop. Write a short scenario based on people depicted in the art work. Or if you choose a museum of natural history, write snippets of stories based on dinosaur bones or stuffed buffaloes.

Whatever you do, make it a goal— a priority this month. You may discover something new or something old that was left behind in the push to be published. You may have a much needed breakthrough on a work-in-progress. Or maybe you’ll just enjoy an afternoon soaking up all the delights life has to offer while you make your creativity a priority.

Something for nothing might be just what you need to return to your work with an added vigor. Then get back to your monthly goals: writing, revising, sketching, drawing, mailing out queries, refining thumbnails…

Push your work forward in some way this month but don’t forget to nurture the artist in you! What do you do to keep the creative wheels turning? What’s your favorite way to fill the well? Comment here or if you’re part of the private Sub It Club Facebook group, tells us how you’re doing over there. If you’d like to join our Facebook group, send a request.

*Julia Cameron discusses “filling the well” in her book The Artist’s Way and on her website.

3 thoughts on “The Monthly Goalpost for August: Something for Nothing

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  1. Great post, Dana. How many of our favorite writers are also excellent (amateur) musicians, painters, gardeners? My downtime creative “hobby” is knitting. Projects can be done in a few weeks — and no revisions required!


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