Getting all listy… I’ve mentioned it a few times…
I have been toying with doing a dedicated, group, CMP-inspired, list month for a while. Every month, as the new month approaches, I think I will do it in the coming month as a community project. And then a few things get in the way. I run out of time trying to make some cool graphic (because, really, I can not keep up with those of you who do cool graphics). I fear no one will do the challenge (because, really, silence can be tough and a failed group challenge is somehow like being alone on a playground). As April approached, I went through the same mental motions. I was closer this time to setting this up and announcing it in advance. But ultimately, I didn’t.
Here’s what happened in list form:
- I told myself, “April will be the month.”
- I considered and reconsidered lists of list prompts.
- I told Tammy, “I’m going to do lists” (and asked to share her awesome Top 10 Lists piece).
- I considered the kind of cool graphic I would need.
- I didn’t make a cool graphic in time.
- I worried that no one else would play along.
- I envisioned others doing the most amazing lists.
- I wondered if I can fill in my own lists.
- I debated about 5 or 10 responses.
- I thought about list challenges I’ve done before.
- I checked out a list making book and a checklist book.
- I skimmed most of the list making book. (It is not related.)
- I contemplated the why of “these” lists (and how they differ from other lists).
- I looked at my prompts with a critical eye. Some are really surface-oriented. Some are tougher.
- I rearranged and reorganized to try and balance the list so that getting started is easy.
- I posted a bit of a teaser in the Creativity Matters group. (No one noticed.)
- I worried (in advance) about how ugly my lists often are.
- I doubted myself, my creativity, my substance.
- I included the list book in my March 31 late-night sketch photo. (These are the mental games I play with myself.)
- I let March 31 slide by without a formal announcement. (I didn’t have all the eggs in place.)
- I let April 1 open without a podcast about getting all listy. (I didn’t have time.)
- Tammy agreed to explore lists, too. (Yay!)
- I am sitting down this morning to make a list of things I need or want to accomplish/tackle in April — creatively. But that is an entirely different (kind of) list.
- There are far more than 30 lists to make.
- I realize this could go on a while.
- I accept the challenge.
- I wish I had started on Jan 1 with a year of lists.
- I think there is something freeing about lists.
- I think I may do dozens and dozens of lists.
- I want others to do this with me because while it isn’t difficult… it can forge community and connection.
- I need connection.
(I could go on.)
A List –> April List –> A-List –> myList
Despite 1-31 above (or because of 1-31), I am going to do a month of lists. Tammy of Daisy Yellow
is also going to get listy. I invite and encourage you to join us.
The lists for April will be simple lists. They are designed to be fast, easy to do, and enabling. Each short list is a way of distilling life information. As part of your own record keeping and creative journey, lists can be important tools and anchors. Lists can also provide personal insight. As a community, these simple lists offer a way of connecting and getting to know one another in different ways, a way of rounding out what we share beyond simply how we apply paint or pen and ink. These simple lists may seem to rest on the surface of our individual lives, and yet they may also help us reach out beyond our surfaces to find (unexpected) levels of connection, similarity, understanding, and knowing.
I know many of you are doing other challenges in April. There are numerous possibilities, and I mentioned several in Episode 229
. (I am doing #Sktchy30 since daily Sktchy sketching based on Sktchy photos is how I am spending my creative energy right now. I think I am going to start drawing the people I know who are on Sktchy. Be prepared! I recently drew someone based on a posted photo, however, and the person didn’t recognize herself when she saw it. So you may never really know if I draw you!)
No matter what you have lined up for April… I don’t think a list challenge will sink you. Really!
I believe you can respond to each daily list in 5 minutes or less. The daily list response does not need to be artful. It doesn’t have to be beautiful. It can be in a box in the corner of a journal page or on a plain index card. Or, you can use the list prompt for something more creative.
How many items go on a list? I have waffled about this, personally. I initially thought 10. But I do think 10 can sometimes be intimidating. 10 can be difficult. The onus of 10 might cause you to pause or freeze midway through. 3, on the other hand, is too few, too short. You can’t get past the easy answers with 3. 5 may be the Goldilocks winner of the list challenge. But, ultimately, it should be a number that works for you. I am going to try for 10, with a mental benchmark of 5 as a core response and 10 as a stretch goal.
I have all 30 list prompts lined up. These are basic (life) lists. You will not be asked to reveal your deep, secret, interior self. You might be asked to rummage around in your memory or look ahead to the future. Or, many days, you will be asked to simply list something from your own life, reality, favorites, journey. You can reveal as little or as much as you choose.
List making is so intriguing and so powerful, that I may go beyond 30 days. Maybe you will, too.
These lists are not, for the most part, to-do lists. They are not, in total, checklists. Some lists may seem to-do oriented. Some may seem checklist oriented. But some… are simply lists. Out of the dozens, hundreds, or thousands of possible answers for a list, what makes your top 5 or top 10?
Are you up for it? Say yes! To play along, follow the list of list prompts. I’ll post the prompts in the Creativity Matters group
at Facebook, at Instagram
, and here on the blog. Tag your lists with #cmpList
so I can follow.
What Do I Do?
Check each day for the list prompt. I am not going to post them all at once, at least not initially. (I think the temptation would be to do them all right away!) You can approach your list responses however you choose. Just jot down your answers on a piece of paper, index card, or in a sketchbook, planner, or journal. (The back of a receipt works fine, too.) Your answers may be one word. Or you may have a sketch response. Or you may want to annotate your list with additional information. However you choose to respond is fine. Do what works for you.
My advice? Let your answers to the list prompt inspire the format and shape of your response.
To get the most community value for your participation, take the plunge and share your work. In the sea of filtered photos and still life beauty at Instagram, it is okay to post a handwritten list. Do it! Tag your lists with #cmpList so I can find you and follow. Share in the Creativity Matters group, too, or in the Daisy Yellow Circle, or on your own blog. We are real people. Each little list is a slice of reality… a little glimpse of you.
Full disclosure: I have explored lists before with individuals as part of smaller exchanges. Some of the list prompts I do this month, I may (probably) have done before. The beauty of this kind of list challenge is that it forces (allows) you to check in with yourself at this point in time. Your answers today may be the same as a year ago. Or maybe not. Either way is interesting in terms of self-awareness and self-understanding.
There are many examples of great list-oriented work from the creative communities. Tammy and iHannah, for instance, did this List Journal Project
in 2012. And Tammy created an awesome “10 Favorites”
list of lists in her response to a Wonder 31
prompt, shown below.
Last year for ICAD, there was a Top 10 prompt, too (#6). I think that was my only list for the series, but I clearly remember making it.
April List #1: Favorite restaurants
(On some level, this one seems so surface-oriented that I hesitated to use it t kick off the April List Challenge. But it is also not scary. Really. Interpret it as broadly as you wish!)
(Note: You may have noticed that I’ve been trying lots of different image apps for adding type to images without resorting to my computer and Photoshop. I haven’t found the perfect solution yet, but I am content to keep experimenting for a bit to figure out how to achieve what I want. Ultimately, I wasn’t able to do what I wanted or fine tune the overlay the way I wanted with #AdobeSpark.)
Daily List Challenge Prompts
View all CMP List Challenge prompts here.
Note: links provided to books, tools, and other resources on the Creativity Matters Podcast website may be affiliate links for which the podcast would make a (very) small amount of money if the item was purchased. Links are provided for convenience to help you find/see/explore the books, tools, and resources I talk about.
Using the library, when possible, is always my first recommendation.