One of my fellow vendors at Portneuf Valley Farmer's Market, Paige of Gumption put out a challenge at the end of April for 31 Days of Gumption in May. She challenged her fellow artists to make something for every day in May. Here are 31 things I learned over the course of the month.
1. Go with what delights you! I had been itching to get moving on a more consistent basis, so instead of working on a visual art project over at Creative Moves: Creations, I chose to do a movement phrase every day for the project.
2. Set yourself up for success. We had a new gate installed, and I found out that propping my phone on a table we have outside and using it as a background worked great for filming phrases. I quickly decided on using my phone and posting to instagram so I wouldn't have to worry about setting up a camera, editing, sharing etc. Knowing that I could just quickly film and share something without a lot of set-up was the key to getting my butt in gear on some days.
3. Don't worry about getting everything perfect before you start. A day late getting started? Still wearing pajamas because you work at home, and frankly that's just how you roll some days? FILM AND SHARE STUFF ANYWAY!
4. Give up all or nothing thinking. Just because you miss one day, you really do NOT have to decide that you are a failure and give up forever. Just move on and keep making stuff!
5. Allow yourself to make stuff you are not super thrilled about. Eh, get it done. Some days you are gonna love what you made, some days you are gonna feel like Captain Mediocre. Share that stuff anyhow.
6. Let yourself try something a few different times until you get something you are satisfied with. (I did this a lot with the couple of tap things I filmed, being both out of practice in that style of dance combined with being able to really hear missed sounds on the video, I allowed myself do-overs until I was happy.
7. Have a THEME! Or a problem to solve! Some days I would have an idea and theme of where I was heading, like "how slow can I move" or "connecting the dots."
8. DON'T worry about having a theme and just move/create/do. Think of it as doodling, if it helps!
9. Sometimes ya gotta just push through. I did more than one phrase that just involved feet or hands or arms sitting at my desk when I realized it was ten o'clock at night and I hadn't done anything yet. Once or twice I had emotionally rough days, but let that inspire me. Even though I was tempted to give up, I just took a little time to get SOMETHING up.
BUT (this is becoming a theme)
10. Give yourself a break when needed. There were a couple of days where I just wasn't feeling well, so I let it go for the day. I did some makeups, but once again, not holding myself to standards of perfection was a good thing and a lesson I seem to have to learn over and over and over again.
11. Let yourself be vulnerable. There were a couple of emotionally rough days. I let myself express that and say that (I don't always do that! I like people to think I am always strong and happy dangit! Even though I am definitely not always strong and happy, and I have people in my life who love me anyway!) It ended up being good for me, not just as a creator and performer, but as a human being.
12. Let your self be silly! I am an often silly person, and sometimes I think I should restrain this impulse to make "Serious Art" (Don't worry, it usually passes. ;)) So I let myself do silly muppet wiggles, and dance with a towel in honor of Douglas Adams.
13. Dogs are good and you should embrace having them make guest appearances.
14. CROSS THE STREAMS! I did one silly little thing when it was late at night, I still needed to get something up, and I was at my clay worktable. So a doodle with clay and movement with fingers it was!
15. Ask for help. One day I asked my supportive partner what I should do for my movement phrase, and he said, "wiggle it just a little bit?" And one of the favorites of the project was born.
16. Change things up. Sometimes moving to a new location can spur new ideas. On the final day when I was hoping to get to the full 31, I looked around and found another place to film and that helped.
17. Don't be afraid to get distracted and change your plan. When I started, I had an idea in the back of my mind that maybe I would take all the movement phrases and put them together into one movement piece by the end of the month. I abandoned that plan quite quickly, as I found I was more motivated to explore whatever little side streets and alleyways that took my fancy, and not worrying about making things that would fit together was working better for me. There are still some bits and pieces that I may expand on and try to join together.
18. Be prepared to let stuff go. This is related to the previous one. While some of the phrases are worth exploring and expanding upon, some of them are and will remain movement sketches.
19. Sometimes ya just gotta go upside down!
20. Sometimes ya just gotta hug a tree!
21. Ideas can be simple and still worth exploring
22. Procrastination is a thing. Be aware of that tendency but forgive yourself for it.
23. Momentum is also a thing. Once you get started, sometimes it's easier to keep going.
24. Even if you only work on something for five minutes, that's more work than you otherwise would have done.
25. Tap is hard. (I knew this already, but was reminded.)
26. Tap takes work but is also really really fun. (ditto)
27. Practice is good.
28. Let go of perfection, do the work. I knew this already. I still apparently have to learn it, over and over and over again.
29. Let go of perfection, do the work
30. Let go of perfection, do the work
31. LET GO OF PERFECTION, DO THE WORK!
Hello, I'm Julie and Dance owns my soul
Wanna help me make more art? Support me here:
More performing arts