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Are ‘creative’ prompts helping my creativity or hindering it?


I make every effort to do something creative each day, I keep a Moleskine planner which I fill with a different ‘arty’ thing every day so I will at least do that page if nothing else.  For this I have no rules, I just paint, stick or draw what I like, consequently some days are all the details and some are a wash of paint.

Usually I manage something extra in the creative genre,  but I have been noticing more and more that this ‘something else’ is often a prompt or an idea from someone else.  What’s wrong with that?  Prompts are great for creating ideas and the accountability which often comes with prompts – share on Instagram or to a website for example – will usually keep the momentum going for as long as the prompts are there.  This is usually a monthly process and every month of this year so far  I have had at least one prompt based challenge on the go.

I have noticed that most of my recent arting has been prompt or tutorial based, in fact almost all that I am doing at the minute follows some ‘challenge’ from the great world of the inter webs. Not a bad thing, I am consistently creating which is my personal goal and I am being pushed to sketch or create something I may not normally.  All good.

However I am beginning to wonder if it is all good.

The trap I feel like I have tumbled into, paint brush in hand, is that whenever I create it is someone else’s idea getting me started.  Of course I can take these starter points and go where I like, but the niggle in my mind has begun –

Don’t you have any ideas of your own?

How am I going to develop my own style if I just follow along with everyone else?

Do I have any ideas of my own?

Do I?

I think I do and I like to think that I add my own spin onto the various prompts/challenges/classes I am taking and using in my work.

But am !?

Currently I am doing the September sketch challenge set out by the Sketchbook Skool which is a list of daily prompts to sketch from and post on Instagram using a group hashtag. I am up to date with this and I have done all the days but I have not posted them on Instagram. Why? I don’t know.  I think I am getting very aware that my Insta feed is all my art goings on and nothing else, and who wants to see my bad sketches anyway.  Hi inner critic, how are you….

Also I am loving the Creative Bug September daily challenge which is a book making daily class hosted by Faith Hale and it is fantastic, I am loving it and again, keeping up, doing it every day, looking forward to the videos and not posting to Instagram.

Then there is the Get Messy Art Journaling community which I like to stay active in and keep up with at least some journaling each week.  Again I find myself using the tutorials for my journal and not so much my own ideas.

As I write this I am realizing that all of this is my inner critic being a big jerk (phrase unashamedly stolen from the wonderful book by Danielle Krysa).  Of course anything that keeps me creatively active is a good thing and I like to think I always add my own spin to the challenge at hand.  I am sure my style is developing, it is just being very shy and not presenting itself just yet.

My problem seems to be that I am expecting my style to leap out at me and declare itself in some dramatic way.  ‘Look!  I am here, I am your distinct style!’

In reality it is probably just hanging out in the vintage book section wondering when I am going to notice because it has been there all along.

Do you have your own fabulous style?  Do you recognize it? Does it recognize you? Are you friends?

I want to be friends with my style when I meet it, maybe we can share a sandwich.

Happy Thursday x





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I live in St Louis, MO, but I am originally from Lincoln, Great Britain. My family and I have lived in the Mid West for over 15 years now. My blog is where I blog and chat about all kinds of creative stuff.

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