Monthly Archives: February 2011

Deadline!

So the first monthly theme for the year is due in a week. We got the date a little wrong in the original post — the first Monday of the month is actually 7 March.

To give you some idea of what you might be able to do for this theme, here’s a work-in-progress on the theme by Pseudo Rhys, who’s a Monday Projector from way back. He calls this “Reducks”.

Hope you’re all having fun with the theme — happy creating!

Soph

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Monday Project Motivation

I decided I’d copy Mr Sketchy and write here about some of the reasons behind the Monday Project — and more specifically why I personally am involved.

Before we started the MP blog a few years ago, Kate and I both spent an inordinate amount of time whinging to one another about how difficult it was to stay motivated to actually produce anything. It is difficult, to be sure, but there comes a point where whinging about its difficulty is just another form of procrastination.

I rarely find myself lacking ideas. Inspiration is everywhere. But I’m an impatient person; I want to do it all right now. Choice is not usually a good thing for me. If I have to choose, I’m likely to want to do everything, so I’ll spend huge amounts of time and energy trying to work out how I can do that, end up feeling frustrated or disheartened, and then do nothing at all. Not ideal.

Similarly, if I do manage to start something, I often find that about halfway through I come across another, completely different idea and am plunged into uncertainty about whatever it is that I’ve been working on all this time. Again, not exactly conducive to getting much done.

Hence the Monday Project. And its deadline.

Each time I’ve been at uni (I’m a sucker for punishment, and keep sending myself back there), I’ve found deadlines incredibly useful. With one looming, I have to actually make a choice about what I’m going to see through to completion, because I have to hand something in. And so I finish things (not always happily or well, but that’s another matter entirely). I have to admit that there’s additional pressure with the Monday Project, being one of the organisers. (That’s a good thing.)

A good friend of mine and I have recently re-started trying to do three creative writing exercises a week. Last time we did this (about six months ago), we also spent a lot of time talking about how difficult it was to let go of that fear that you’re producing something crappy, and just go ahead and do it anyway. She started using a typewriter so that it wasn’t as easy to delete something she deemed a mistake, and I tried to force myself to type up my handwritten notes faithfully. Funny thing was, we discovered that by producing writing of varying success levels we were able to highlight things in our writing that we needed or wanted to improve on. Equally, we were both pleasantly surprised to discover some skills we didn’t realise we had.

Avoiding doing something because you’re afraid you’ll be bad at it is really just missing out on an opportunity to develop your writing (or painting or drawing or playing or whatever) skills, as it turns out. My Dad told me recently that one can not call oneself an expert at anything with any less than 10 000 hours of experience or practice in that field. No skipping from novice to expert — which irritates me greatly, since patience is not one of my strong points, and you can’t hurry 10 000 hours.

I recently moved house and, among other things, I learnt that I’m much more a hare than a tortoise. I can get in and get lots of things done quickly and with lots of energy, but after a while I run out of steam. I lack the stamina of one of my old housemates, who worked tirelessly from 6am to 10pm each day of the move. To bring any kind of creative project to completion you need stamina. The Monday Project and its deadline have helped me work on that.

Which is not to say that something needs to be completely finished for you to post it here as a response to the monthly theme (I can assure you my pieces usually aren’t), but hopefully sharing it will encourage you to work on something you might otherwise give up on — and maybe even continue working on it after we’ve posted it here. Mr Sketchy also mentioned being encouraged to work on themes and ideas he might never have otherwise. Like my friend and I doing creative writing exercises, I’m hoping that the different themes and ideas will help me learn more about skills that I have already as a writer, as well as learning more about — and pushing — my limitation.

Of course, this month’s theme is Redux — the perfect opportunity to return to an older project and maybe inch it a little closer to completion.

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Filed under monthly project, motivation, redux, Uncategorized, writing

Why I’m taking part…

Last week the Monday Project re-launched, and a new project theme is up and running for all that wish to take part.

As you may or may not know, I’m helping Soph and Kate organise things this year, but I thought it may be worth explaining why. And no, it’s not because I thought the MP blog would benefit from the spelling mistakes, typos and wanton disregard for grammar and readability that most people expect from my ramblings. Not at all.

I originally joined the Monday Project, because it can be really hard to keep up with being creative. As someone who does enjoy just relaxing and doing nothing, watching movies, having the odd drink, having the odd drink with friends, and doing all those boring things like work (including the occasional freelance job) and paying bills, I often find that months have gone by without allowing myself a couple of hours just to sit down and draw.

By joining the Monday Project, I found it easier to schedule myself an afternoon or two a month to motivate myself to be creative again.

Another unexpected bonus was how much I would end up drawing things I would rarely come with on my own. The Monday Project themes will often lead me to draw subjects that were totally different than the typical illustrations I used to create just for myself. I would often still use my own styles and techniques, but would end up with an image completely unlike the work in the rest of my portfolio.

Something else I’ve noticed, is that when getting involved the projects, I started to take a little more notice of the creative things around me. In truth, most of my submissions to the Monday Project were done in one or two afternoons. For me, it was a great way to experiment, and to take things I had seen recently… exhibitions, posters, books, movies, and even ads… and try to adapt what caught my eye into that submission.

And of course, I’ve met some really interesting people being part of the Monday Project.

So when real life meant the first Monday Project went on hiatus for a while, I really did nag Soph about it… Repeatedly. I found again without the deadline, I was, once again, going back to months at a time going past without me putting pencil (or pen) to paper. And at a certain point, I realized there was only so much I could nag other people, before putting my money where my mouth is, and actually offer to help out.

I’ve found the Monday Project to be a fun and rewarding collective to be a part of. So really, that’s why I’m excited about the site being re-launched.

Mr Sketchy

Cross posted at Mr Sketchy

 

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Filed under rambling, self promotion

Theme: Redux

Monday Project Theme: Redux

Welcome everyone! Ready for a new year of themes to inspire the creative in you?

To celebrate the relaunch of the Monday Project, we thought we’d go with what we think is a very appropriate theme for the month: “Redux”.

(thanks to http://www.yourdictionary.com for the definition)

It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot in literature and film talk.

We thought it was appropriate for the first theme of the revived Monday Project, and the first theme in the new space. But it also has the potential — for all of you who want to ease yourself back into the swing of things — to be an excuse to dust off that old bit of work, and approach it again from a fresh angle.

Still, don’t let that stop you from creating something new.

Don’t forget if you’d like to share your ideas and your progress on the theme, drop us a line or leave a link in the comments to this post.

Remember above all else, have some fun.

Responses to this month’s theme should make it to our inbox (themondayproject85@gmail.com) by midnight Monday 1 March. We’ll do our best to make sure they go up within the week.

If you’ve got your own blog or online space, feel free to post your response up there, but remember to let us know it’s there, so we can link to it. If you’d prefer just to send us a file, that’s fine too (try and keep it small, if you can!), and we’ll post it up here.

And if you have any ideas for future Monday Project themes, please drop us a line.

Happy creating!

~ Soph, Kate and Mr Sketchy

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