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.
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
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.
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!