GOOD

One Is Not Enough: Why Creative People Need Multiple Outlets

The most interesting, creative people I know express themselves in a variety of ways. I used to do it myself.

I can still remember the satisfaction I took from dragging a crayon against a particularly toothy piece of paper in a coloring book when I was very young. Unlike the cliché, I was trying to stay in the lines, but even then, it was the creation process that gave me the most pleasure, not the results. A year or so later, I began to draw freehand, and from that point on no blank page, post-it note, page margin, envelope, or napkin was safe.

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How I Learned to Be Creative

I wasn’t always the type to design my own envelopes, sew my own skirts, and hold an annual craft day for friends.


I wasn’t always the type to design my own envelopes, sew my own skirts, and hold an annual craft day for friends. Until a few years ago, I equated creativity with Charles and Ray Eames or Martha Stewart, thinking they surely had been born with some sort of mutated gene equivalent to the ones that give someone red hair or small feet. I wanted that gene, but I never imagined I could have it.

The process of learning otherwise—of developing my own creative gene—grew out of desperation. A new pair of pants was too long, and I needed them altered in time for an unexpected date that night. Without a sewing machine or serger, let alone the sense to know that’s what I should use, I learned to make my first few stitches by hand. I had no idea how to work a needle or thread. The home economics requirement had long since vanished by the time I went through middle school, so I had never cut my teeth on the easy stuff like pillowcases and coasters. But with a little patience, some YouTube hand-holding, and my desire to wear pants that fit, I started sewing.

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The GOOD 30-Day Challenge: Art Every Day

We're using March's challenge to dare ourselves to make time for art in our lives.


Art is essential. If you haven't reached that conclusion on your own, consider some evidence: Science shows that exposure to art is correlated with enhanced abilities in math, cognition, and vocabulary. Studies also show that art has the potential to make people better citizens of the planet. In a 2005 report by the Rand Corporation, researchers wrote that visual arts "can connect people more deeply to the world and open them to new ways of seeing."

We agree with those conclusions. To that end, we're using March's GOOD 30-Day Challenge to dare ourselves to make time for art in our lives. Below are 31 ideas for incorporating art into your month. If you'd like, you can try to do all 31 tasks in a week, or take your time and space them out. Either way, every time you've completed a task, come back to this page and check off the one you've done. At the end of the month, we'll tally up all the actions to quantify how much more artistic everyone got in March.

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