Friday, December 30, 2016

Embarking on Month-Long Creative Retreat

I'm embarking on a month-long creative retreat to start a year of making art off on the right foot.


creativity, creative retreat, blog break, logo, watercolor logo, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

For a while now I've been feeling the need to step back from the internet. The internet can be a wonderful source of inspiration and information, but it can also be the means for unhealthy comparison and an easy waste of time. Although I love my blog, it takes a lot of time to post 2-3 times a week. Between my Sketchbook Conversations series, my monthly artist interviews and the release of the winter issue of Artful Blogging magazine, I didn't feel I could step away from my blog in order to take a break.

Until now.

For the month of January I'm off on a creative retreat. I'm unplugging and will be away from my blog and social media for the entire month. My shops will remain open and I'll also be checking my email daily, so if you need to get in touch with me, have no fear, I'll still be around.

Each day I plan to spend as much time as possible making art. Working in my sketchbooks. Painting. Playing. Maybe even sewing. I'm entering this without an exact plan with the thought that my creativity will lead me in the direction I need to go.

My words for the year are

word of the year, creativity, art, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

and

word of the year, creativity, art, nourish, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

This Creative Retreat will help me to do both.

Would you like to join me? You don't have to commit to a full month, but even a weekend of unplugging and focusing on creativity will help to nourish your spirit.

Here are some ideas to help you craft your own retreat:
  • Set intentions for your retreat. Are you going to make art? Write every day? Learn something new? Sew? Read? Be clear on what you want to gain from your time away in order to make the most of it. If you've chosen a word or words for the year, measure your plans against them so you stay on track.
  • Turn off all notifications on your computer and your phone to avoid distraction.
  • Limit the number of times you check your email throughout the day and stick with that limit.
  • Get plenty of rest; drink plenty of water and eat healthy, home-made meals (cooking is one of my favorite creative activities -- you get to eat the results!).
  • Slow down. You really don't need to constantly rush through your day. Take your time. Breathe. Pay attention to what's going on around you.
  • Stop multitasking. Focus on one thing at a time.
  • If you're not already keeping a journal, start one. If your journal is lying forgotten, re-commit to it. I find that starting my day even just writing one page makes a big difference to my mood and my creativity. And be sure to jot down a Joy List each day as well, whether in your journal or in a special, dedicated book.
  • Make sure you have all the supplies and tools that you need. You may want to take a trip to the art, fabric, stationery or craft store to stock up. Make your shopping trip an occasion and take time to enjoy the outing! Don't have local options? Brew some coffee or tea (or whip up some hot cocoa) and spend some time on a leisurely virtual shopping trip. 
  • Looking to try a new technique or learn a new skill? Commit to a class (or classes), either in person or online (Skillshare, Creativebug and Craftsy are good places to start).
  • Need some more inspiration to help nourish your creativity? Stop by your local library and hunt for art and craft books to bring home. (And take a look through the cookbooks while you're at it... ). If your local library doesn't have a large collection and/or you've already perused all its titles, search for books somewhere like Amazon and then request them from your library as a hold or on interlibrary loan. (Looking for recommendations? You can read all my book-related blog posts here).
  • Check in with yourself throughout the retreat and make changes to your plan if necessary, whether it be how you schedule your days, what activities you'll be pursuing or how many days you'll be devoting to your retreat... once you've begun you might find that you want to adjust things to better suit your needs.
calendars, art print calendar, watercolor calendar, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Have fun and be sure to tell me about how it goes!

Thank you, again, for being here reading these words. I so appreciate your encouragement and support. May 2017 be a wonderfully creative, peaceful, love and joy-filled year for each of us! See you in February!


24 comments:

  1. This is such a great idea! I'm going to try it, with the goal of making art and journaling every day, decluttering and starting a new book. I definitely need to back away from the Internet and detox my diet too. Thanks for the push!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jessica!

      Detox and declutter are good words and good intentions for beginning the new year. I love the chance for fresh starts (and never just wait till January to initiate them, either!).

      Wishing you a Happy New Year that's filled with creativity and joy!

      Delete
  2. I will miss you Anne but understand your need to retreat. I have retreated myself - out of the blue for the whole of December from my blog and now feel refreshed to start again in January 2017. It will do you the World of good. I look forward to catching up with you again in February and look over some of your older posts again too especially the sketchbook series. Take care of yourself and have a very Happy New Year! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to know that you're feeling refreshed, Simone! I hope that you will continue with your painting and sketching, or simply keep following your inspiration. You never know where it will take you!

      Happy New Year and all the best in 2017!

      Delete
  3. I love your ideas! It's so hard to develop even the most simple daily practices. I really want to commit to daily journaling. Thanks & enjoy your month!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Juliet! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you've been journaling daily, or at least working toward it. I think we need to be easy on ourselves if we fall short of our intentions. Journaling can be so satisfying, though, that once you're on a roll...

      Wishing you joy!

      Delete
  4. I do like this idea. I have thoughts about doing that and getting my book finished. Thank you for inspiring me so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Hanna! I hope you had a great month. Getting your book finished sounds like a wonderful goal (and a lot of work!). Maybe you've gotten a big chunk of it finished? If not, go easy on yourself. Some things take more time than others!

      Wishing you joy!

      Delete
  5. Love ❤️ I set this intention for myself and unplugged on Christmas Eve - more so driven by burnout. I love the idea of calling it a creative retreat - it brings focus and clarity to my intention to bring back time to create. Just love!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Sarah! Thanks for stopping by! I hope you were able to do some unplugging during January and that you had plenty of time to create! Giving ourselves time for both is so important!

      Wishing you joy!

      Delete
  6. Wishing you a rich and fulfilling creative retreat, Anne! Looking forward to new observations and artwork from you in February! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Judy! I hope your year has been off to a good start and that it's been joyful and creative!

      xo

      Delete
  7. I had a long comment to your post and just lost it, Anne. How does this happen? Basically, I want to say I'll be thinking of you and while I may not take off a whole month, I will continue to back off on so much internet time. I do think it can be a time killer if we're not careful. Hugs, Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, computers... they sure can challenge us sometimes!!

      I hope your year has been off to a great start. Backing off on the internet (or at least limiting our time on it) can be a great way to add more time into our days. I'm going to try to bring that with me as I continue throughout the year.

      Hugs back. :)

      Delete
  8. This is such a wonderful idea Anne. Like nature, people can benefit from "fallow" times to let what's underground in our minds put down roots and grow. Winter is a great time for exploring within. May wonderful new projects spring forth from your creative retreat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I think we all need a rest, but it's so hard to do in today's world. We're so removed from what's natural and necessary.

      I hope your year has been off to a great start with plenty of creativity and joy!!

      Delete
  9. Thank you for the article. I love your idea. You are very creative.

    - Gustavo Woltmann

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I hope your year has been off to a wonderful start!

      Wishing you joy!!

      Delete
    2. You are welcome Anne. I wish the same for you. :)

      - GustavO Woltmann

      Delete
  10. Looking forward to your return, Anne. Miss you!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I missed you, too, Judy! I'm glad to be back!! :)

      Delete