125 Comments
Nov 1, 2022Liked by Austin Kleon

Well, for a number of years I tried NaNoWriMo and suck majorly at it every time - maybe three days? So instead I'm trying to sew for at least 30 minutes a day. I've been away from my art quilting since my husband died 18 months ago. I just spent an hour in the studio two days ago and it felt wonderful. Here's to 30 days of sewing and completing commissions!

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I'm so sorry about your husband, but I'm so glad you're sewing!

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Sew your heart out every day this month and dedicate every stitch to your husband. Do it with love and may that end product keep you warm with sweet memories and a love made visible to yourself. Blessings to you as you heal from your husband’s passing. I’m rooting for you! And if you choose to fill a blank book with your loving memories of your husband, more healing will take place.

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Carol, thank you, that is so very sweet! And I've already sent off a book draft about the hospice experience with my husband. Avery stitch, starting today - thank you!!

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Infinite blessings to you! Move in positive directions and the universe will hold you safely in the palm of its hand. Experiment, experience and explore. My thoughts are with you.

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I’m so sorry for your loss and I hope coming back to quilting will bring you peace.

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Nov 1, 2022Liked by Austin Kleon

I feel like this is what I needed this morning as well. Woke up with leftover feelings of dejection which isn't fun. I write scattered prose and poetry here and there but I might try to tackle writing this quasi autobiography/maybe self-help book idea I've had for a while about having Inattentive ADD not only when I was a kid but now as a young adult at 30. I've looked and looked but never can find a book that's not just for parents and also is funny & a relatable book that I'd want to read and feel comforted by. That or just a YA fiction book. Who knows? Anyway, thank you! ~

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"write the book you want to read!" :)

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Tried and true statement! I'll try :}

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Just wanted to let everyone know that once I got off work and came home I started writing towards this book! Half of it is introduction but I have 300 words and counting which is something. Thanks again all <3

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Hope you're still writing, or will start again! I very much want to read that book. I am much older than 30 but have had the same experience.

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I actually started the day I wrote that comment and quickly fell off the motivation train (whoops). But I was thinking about getting back into it so reading your comment is actually perfect timing, thank you! I've been told to just start writing and edit later so I will start back again and hopefully have something to share. thank you <3

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If you've been looking for this book, that means other people have been looking for it too. You should definitely write it. Good luck!

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Aw thank you. I'd like to think other people are looking for it too. I've never attempted to write a book seriously before but maybe now is the time. Thanks again for the encouragement.

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Do it! Anything that you're dealing with (being a 30 y.o. with inattentive ADD, for instance) other people are dealing with as well, and they're also looking for a book that's aimed at them. Moreover, since it's not a topic that's been widely addressed, you'll get more interest from agents, who are always looking for fresh material.

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I've never thought about it like that, about agents and their interest. I hope that that's true! Again, thank you for all of this free and kind advice.

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Early September I took a 1000 day challenge :). It's called the Ray Bradbury Challenge, and it entails reading 1 poem, 1 essay and 1 story every day for 1000 days. One month in, it's way more challenging but way more rewarding than I had initially thought.

I'm also documenting my progress (to keep myself accountable and share interesting finds with others). If anyone's interested, you can follow it here - https://fictitious.substack.com/s/ray-bradbury-challenge

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I LOVE THIS. Oleg you inspired a whole blog post, thank you:

https://austinkleon.com/2022/11/01/ray-bradbury-on-feeding-your-creativity/

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Nov 1, 2022Liked by Austin Kleon

That's super cool! Hope more people get drawn to this.

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OMG! I'm interested Oleg, but not this month! Or next . . . maybe I'll join you next September! I subscribed . . . so I'll let myself be a lurker on your ambitious and inspiring commitment!

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Thanks for your words of encouragement:)

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Where do you find all your short stories?

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Some online, some in collections, magazines, anthologies.

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I just finished Inktober, which was HARD but it meant my notebook was open every day, and that was all that mattered. I'm going to try keep that momentum up!

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Me too!

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I've been thinking for a long time that I'd like to do a drawing every day--nothing fancy, just something for fun. I'd been pondering a 100-Day project, but maybe I'll start with 30 days and see where that gets me. Thanks for the push, Austin!

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do it!! :)

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Nov 1, 2022Liked by Austin Kleon

I dread the clock’s changing every year in November. I wish I could instead prepare for nanowrimo. I’m gonna try. Imma put pen to paper every night this month I usually dread so much. My nephew took his life a little over a year ago and I’m going to try to bring him alive on the page. There’ll be no failure. Only effort expended.

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Nov 1, 2022·edited Nov 1, 2022Liked by Austin Kleon

Wow, Carole. Oh I’m sorry to hear about your nephew. About 30 years ago my best friend took his life in late November.

And believe it or not, in my first NaNoWriMo 5 years ago, I brought him back to life. I asked myself what if he had not killed himself that night in his car on the golf course. What if something happened that shook him out of it.

To my surprise, a big white wolf showed up and scared the shit out of him! The adventures then began.

I wish you well on your journey. May you go with courage, Grace, and peace!

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Thank you.

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My condolences — I hope you write, write, write!

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Imma try. So many emotions and no road map to steer through the dark night. I’ve always loved getting lost in the pages of a book. Maybe it’ll shake things out a bit.

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I'm sorry for your loss, Carol. As a young man, I flirted with suicide for more than a few years, so I can imagine and have empathy for the pain your nephew must have experienced. And yours and your family's for your missing him.

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I’m so glad you weathered the storm. Been there myself. The world is a better place with you in it.

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That is so great to hear. I've been happy to be alive and happy to be me for many years. I don't think I've ever had the thought . . . that "the world is a better place with me in it". Thank you for helping me think that!

I'm so glad you weathered the storm of that "self-pain" . . . The world is a better place with you in it!!! . . . and . . . the world will be a better place with your book in it.

I heard a very inspiring talk by C.A. Soper at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society conference in June, titled "Choosing Survival: The Evolution of Life Worth Living" . . . I've been reading his book: The Evolution of LIFE Worth Living: Why we choose to live (2020)

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I have, several years in a row, tried to do the inktober or other October art challenge and have failed. I thought I just didn't have the stamina, but that's not true. In 2021, I completed a 365 day phenology challenge that I gave to myself. I was tracking the animals and birds in my yard and neighborhood. I tracked the weather, the moon cycle and the about of day light for every day of the year, plus the last week of 2020 (a practice week). The last 5 weeks were very challenging. The world had gone dormant and I was tired as the holidays approached, but I persevered. So why couldn't/can't I complete a 30 day art challenge? I think the answer is that the prompts didn't stimulate my mind. Or ideas would come at times when I couldn't sit down and create. So I stopped and thought I was a failure. This year, I took Mike Lowery's Getting Paid to Draw class. Before signing on I took his Procreate class that's available on Skillshare to see if I liked his teaching style. He's a huge advocate of drawing every day. He shared his blob drawing process and I started making blobs in the morning creating things from those blobs. It was easy, fun, and didn't take a lot of time. There was also a Sketchbook Revival series that I happened upon about that time and learned a bunch of fun sketchbook activities. I was having so much fun and trying new things and before I new it, I was making art of some kind every day. I'm still doing it. I have found that when I start my day with a creative pursuit, even a page of blob sketches, I am more creative all day long. This year, I have written 5 picture book scripts, created a dummy with final art for a young reader graphic novel and am now working on the art for an older picture book script. I feel like the incremental daily drawings have been playful and unattached to a big outcome which frees my mind up to just create and have fun even when it's a project I hope to have published some day.

I wonder if the monthly challenges feel too tied to the approval of others and that's where I would get too in my head about what to create? I share some of my work on social media, but I keep a lot of it to myself. I don't want to worry about what others think about my play time and my bigger projects are shared to a limited audience of critique partners, agents, and editors for now.

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Good luck to everyone who starts a new 30 day challenge!

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This is a big YES! My 5 separate 100 day projects (same thing, longer commitment) literally changed my life! I lead groups in them now- it’s positively addicting to watch people build their own amazing body of work and get better and better!! Thank you so much for all you share Austin! I’m so grateful!🐘🌸🌈

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addictive is a good word — you basically want to hook yourself on what you want to do!

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I know a great life coach, who does that. Oh wait, it’s you! Ha! And Hey!!!

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Sounds cool. What was the project related to?

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Nov 1, 2022Liked by Austin Kleon

I'm in a big transitional period in my life right now, so I'm gonna give myself space to deal with that instead. But some success stories: in 2017 I did Inktober (or rather a spinoff called Drawlloween), and 31 days of small drawings on cue cards turned out to be exactly what I needed to build a drawing habit. 5 years later, I put "make art" on my daily to-do list and it's the item I have the best success rate with (better than "brush my teeth").

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What a great way to begin a new month! About a year ago I had a dream in which someone asked me, "Is this where you do something creative every day for a thousand days?" Because of who was asking (my friend's son Drew), I realized it would be drawing. I would love to say that I have done one a day since then. I have not. My tally is in the back of my journals and I believe it could be helpful to have a larger version on my refrigerator. I do not have small children. I have the luxury of being retired. I do still have some set time commitments. What i have recently learned is that if I don't do what matters sooner, I won't do it later. Right now, in addition to the drawing there is getting outside. Just back from a walk where I drew a small skeleton in my neighbor's tree.

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Thank you for sharing this, Helen. I have had a similar experience in that I had a dream that prompted me about a project. My dad passed away 25 years ago. In his last few years of life, I encouraged him to write down his memories. He wrote about his life in two notebooks, which I now have. My vague plan has been to scan them, transcribe them, add more details where I can, to “do something” with them. Last year I dreamed that my father was waiting for me to tell his story. I’ve still been slow to work on it, out of fear of failure maybe? But that dream has been speaking to me. Anyway, I think I will use November to do a 30 day challenge of working on this project everyday. Read, transcribe, research, something that moves me forward. Thank you, Austin, for giving us this nudge!

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Thank you for writing this, Tina. A powerful dream. My sense is that the only way you could fail is to do nothing. I really like that he is waiting for you to tell his story.

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I’ve always wanted to improve my drawing ability and I’ve been thinking of it these last few days. I’m going to go buy another sketchbook while I need to kill time before my flight back to LA. I read through most of the comments and saw a theme of loved ones passing and I think of my brother who passed of a drug overdose in March. He loved to draw, graffiti, and tattoo so I plan to honor his memory with this new project.

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So sorry about your brother. ❤️

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Oh, this is really lovely, Munro. Sad to read about your brother.

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Nov 1, 2022Liked by Austin Kleon

Yes. I will take the challenge. Thank you for this essay.

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I think I'll try your 30 day challenge. I'm not sure yet what I'll focus on but I like the sound of doing this. I did a 30 day art challenge during the pandemic and it was amazing how motivating this was and what I was able to create. Here's to November!

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Nov 1, 2022Liked by Austin Kleon

I tried it once before. It was some years ago - I don't remember what happened but I am left with a vague and good impression. This time, I'm going to mostly write notes from an imaginary autobiography of a famous jazz player who "coincidentally" recounts some of favorite memories from my life, as if they were his. We'll see where he / it goes. Thanks.

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Nov 1, 2022Liked by Austin Kleon

While I still have a drawer full of leftover Halloween candy, I can commit to "not eating crap" for my 30-day challenge ... holidays be damned. Do it now, and I can do it.

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LOL! ... and YES you can!!!

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