I love a good challenge for the start of the year, especially a year feeling as if it was in a bit of a hangover after the intensity of 2020.
BUT, the plan for creating during the summer season is different than the article I wrote earlier this year, 21 Ideas for Creating this Year.
Crafting a plan for summer creativity is NOT about the article I wrote previously (see link above). 21 Ideas for Creating in the New Year focused on more energetic, challenging creative pursuits: digging out the hobby you loved, taking a class, trying something new, trying something you are afraid of, etc.
If you started one of those things, keep going!
Use the summer season for tending work. Tending work has a different rhythm. Instead of the satisfaction of starting something new and exciting, the joy of tending, summer work is the satisfaction of making progress, advancing in skills, or moving towards the completion of the project, taking care of the parts that may not be as fun, but are essential.
If you have not thought about what creative projects or hobbies you might like to tend to this summer, here are some questions to help you consider and move quickly towards a plan for summer creating.
4 Questions to Identify What to Create This Summer
What would be life giving to you this summer? Answer the following questions quickly!
Are you in need of rest?
Are you in need of fun?
How much time have you spent in nature these past several months?
Doing a bit of restorative creative play + being in nature is like a double whammy for finding some rest and restoration, even if your summer schedule is filling up.
Would alone time be lifegiving or are you craving the exuberance of gathering + creating sessions?
Don't think too much about this! You know what you need!
Let's make a quick plan on what to do and how to do it so we can start creating 😊
Let's identify what you want to do for your summer restful & fun play.
Here are some ideas for summer creating projects / hobbies. Hopefully, if none of these catch your eye, they provide a springboard of other ideas.
• Doodling & Pattern Design
I started creating repeating patterns of flowers at a watercolor gathering with two friends last month. It was so much fun to talk and create lots of tiny flowers randomly across the watercolor paper It looked as if they were floating along with a gentle breeze. It was lovely to do something without doing a lot of thinking.
• Coloring Books
Working in a garden, whether it's a vegetable, flower or herb garden is a delight to the senses (and a great workout). If it's relaxing, take time to photograph your progress, sketch and paint the growth of the beautiful plants.
• Painting a series of flowers, plants, stalks like a botanical journal
Consider committing to one thing this summer, just for the next few months (i.e. flowers, herbs, vegetables, etc). Paint the flowers in your garden, then paint them again from another angle. Bring nature into your life through your creating.
• Embroidery / Cross Stitch
Perhaps it's a bit hot for quilting or knitting, but cross stitch and other needlework is rejuvenating, easy to pick up and easy to learn a new stitch or two if I'm feeling like I want a bit of something new.
It's a great hobby to take with you on the road. Unlike painting, gardening and other hobbies, embroidery is easy, compact, and rarely makes a mess!
• Scrapbooking / memory books / journals / photo journals
Whatever you like to call it, summer is a great month for gathering pictures, mementos, cards, and notes and putting them together.
3 Steps to Creating Consistently this Summer
Now that you've identified what you are going to do, it's essential to develop a plan.
1. When are we going to create?
How will we get this done so we avoid the "what in the world did I do all summer?" Let's be honest, most of us have more to do than time to get done, so we'll have to prioritize and schedule just a teensy bit.
Release yourself from the pressure to create all the time.
We need consistency, but we don't need to constantly be doing something.
Once a week is a good goal to aim for. If you are including others, a monthly gathering where everyone brings their creating and gathers for a few hours is quite nourishing.
2. How can you make the doing easier? Can you gather all the supplies in a "summer creating basket" to be ready on the go?
Do you need to plan anything to make this easy? For example, I keep the dish towel I'm currently working on in a gallon size ziplock bag along with several colored threads, and scissors. That way I can grab it and go, taking it along with me if I have a few minutes without having to worry about one more thing to pack.
3. After you've planned and scheduled, be intentional about the time you have, even if it isn't as much as you want.
Summer work, tending work, is important.
Creativity is important.
Being in nature is important.
Seeking restoration and rest is important.
Next to studying God's word and talking with Him, there are few things more restorative than spending some time in nature while creating.
I use the word "nature" very loosely. That may be watching the sunset with my big window open, listening to the birds. It may be going outside in the evening when the breeze shows up (and with my bug spray on) and painting, reading, or doing a bit of embroidery outside.
So go easy on yourself if you don't have the environment, you want or the skills you think you should, or the time you want.
We are going to do what we can with what we have in this beautiful season of summer and it's going to be good.