Five Artistic Challenges to Boost Your Creativity

//Special guest post by Steven Ray Morris//

Getting motivated is tough, but the only way to motivate yourself is to just do it. Since working full-time often allows us to shirk off our personal creative goals, I got in the habit of signing up for various artistic challenges to help give me the motivation I needed to get started. Notably NaNoWriMo helped me write my first novel in a month, and during the RPM Challenge I wrote and recorded an entire album in a month. These challenges are tough, but they make you feel good too encouraging me to continue creating even after they were over. So here are five artistic challenges I want to share with you that will boost your creativity!

1. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)
Month: November
I’ve written more in detail about NaNoWriMo, but the gist is: 50,000 words in 30 days. Go. Now. Well November 1st actually. Started in 2006, it has grown into a worldwide event with more and more books being published from this competition all the time. I’ve completed NaNoWriMo the last three years in a row and now it’s an annual tradition for me. It doesn’t matter if you have outlined beforehand or only have an inkling of a story, once you hit the ground running there’s no stopping you.

2. Inktober
Month: October
Make a drawing in ink and post a photo or a scan of it with the hashtag #Inktober and that’s all you need to do to participate. In the true blazing spirit of creative challenges, Inktober encourages unbound creativity. Whether you are an auteur or an amateur, it’s all about
getting ink on paper (and sharing it on social media of course). Don’t hesitate, this one starts soon and keep some extra pens around just in case!

3. RPM Challenge
Month: February
Write, record, mix, and master an album of songs in the month of February sounds pretty daunting, but the RPM Challenge is very flexible. Recording some demos? Jam with your band? The only rules are that you need to create 10 songs or at least thirty-five minutes of original music. Easy right? I used it to record a
true blue record and it was completely exhausting, but so worth it. No second guessing yourself. Just follow the guitar, or the ukulele, or the piano, or the kazoo. It’s all up to you!

4. Hourly Comics Day
Month: February
On February 1
st you must draw one comic every hour of the day you are awake. As someone who doesn’t draw this sounds bonkers, but the format is entirely up to you! Again, like all the challenges, it’s really designed to be stretch your creative muscles but within the limits where it’s still fun! My friends who have done it can’t speak highly enough and the results are always surprising and fruitful.

5. 13 Days 13 Shorts
Month: October
Halloween is the best time of year right? 13 Days 13 Shorts is a small festival meant to fulfill your craving for all things spooky. On October 1st festival runner Omar Najam (of 2 Broke Geeks) assigns themes, be it ‘witch’ or ‘pumpkin spice latte,’ to the thirteen days leading up to Halloween. All you need to do is pick a theme and sign up and then make whatever you want! People have written short stories, made videos, drawn comics, and even written songs (I wrote and recorded a song for all thirteen days last year). Spook it up!

Steven Ray Morris  Steven Ray Morris is an author, musician, and an okapi in his next life. He co-hosts a podcast about cats called The Purrrcast and can be found at your local stand-up comedy show. 


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