Whether it is NaNoWriMo, PiBoIdMo, SkaDaMo, etc., November seems to be the month for commitments to creative exercise. I failed at NaNoWriMo in the past and committed to PiBoIdMo and SkaDaMo this year. But I am easily distracted. And without somebody holding my feet to the fire, by day 4 I am already behind in both. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am no good at these things. They feel like a race. And I’m too old and fat to be racing anybody – in any venue. What I really need is my own exercise in self discipline (should that be hyphenated?)
On a whim, October 1, 2011, I decided that for that month I was going to create a monster every day.
And I was going to post it on Facebook. I was not going to post something I had drawn before. I was not even going to use something I’d drawn before as a starting point. At least not consciously. I was going to start with a blank slate and a blank mind. Every day the monster was going to be considerably different from the day before. I posted my intentions with the very first monster. I knew by announcing what I intended to do, my friends would hold me accountable. I posted a new monster everyday and would get dozens of likes and comments. By day 4 or 5, people would get impatient if I had not posted a monster by early afternoon. If I missed a day, which I did once or twice, folks were rewarded with double monster days. In the end I had 31 monsters—some of them pretty good—and healthy sense of accomplishment. So I did it again in October 2012. I had more accountability, more adulation, and another 31 new monsters. Stories hovered near by some of them. In fact the monster from October 20 that year was the inspiration for BUNNIES!!!, my first sold picture book manuscript. I just completed all the illustrations and sent them off this weekend.
By the time I started October Monster-A-Day this year, I had a ready audience. I was ready for the challenge. I was ready for the adulation Each new monster was received far greater than in previous years. I got many more likes and comments, and many new friend requests or people following me. I think part of the success was I had added another element to my exercise. With each monster I wanted to provoke/evoke some feeling or emotion. Whether joy, sadness, fear, loneliness, I wanted the viewer to be moved. I think I was two-thirds successful.
By November 1 I was short ten monsters. What was different this year? Why couldn’t I create 31 monsters like the previous two years?I’m fairly certain the only thing that kept me from finishing all 31 monsters is that this year I had paying work. And deadlines. Unlike the previous two years.
I am always impressed and so proud of my friends that enter into these challenges, whether they finish or not, whether their work is brilliant or compost. But I know now, for me, that committing to these challenges when my plate is already full is asking for disappointment.
I do plan to finish monsters 22 through 31. Hopefully before Thanksgiving.
Hey, what about a turkey monster…?
You can see this year’s October Monster-A-Day here: https://www.facebook.com/kevan.atteberry/media_set?set=a.10202072955406753.1073741833.1273111090&type=3