Tip #3: Do the exercises! (Even the ones you don't like.)
Here's my top reasons why:
- The exercises have been designed to help you step-by-step. If you do them, you really will improve your skills.
- They're much cheaper than the tuition and travel expenses of taking a workshop--and easier too. You can wear your pajamas if you feel like it!
- Exercises can help you to create--and stick with--a dedicated creativity schedule. You choose the best time of day or night to take your private class.
- You never have to worry about what to write or paint next. Doing your exercises eliminates the blank page or empty canvas forever.
- Doing an exercise you don't like, or at least some of it, helps you to understand what it's like working freelance or under editorial direction.
- Exercises force you to explore and get out of your comfort zone.
- And you might like them more than you thought you would once you're finished.
- Which might also give you a whole new direction for your creative work, one you never considered before.
- Often an exercise can expand into a published or salable piece of work.
- Just like changing a recipe, it's fun to tweak an exercise, adding your own touches and giving it a unique, personal twist.
- You can take exercises to your writing groups. The exercises can be the foundation of "assignments" for your group to do in-between meetings, or they can be used for freewriting sessions together at the actual meetings. They can even be the reason a group meets.
- Completing a series of exercises is an excellent way to build your confidence and rack up your creative achievements. You can say to the world: "See? I stuck with it and (wrote, painted, learned to play a musical instrument, made a new dinner set, opened an etsy jewelry store). I did it--and I can do much more in the future too!"