I did it 15 weeks in a row, minus a few days. Toward the end it was an automatic part of my morning routine, I didn’t even need to think about it.
Then I took a break for the holidays.
Now I’m discovering that it’s much easier to drop a habit than it is to bring one back, so these past few weeks I’ve been returning to the tools that helped me build my practice in the first place. They obviously worked, so I thought they might be useful to you, too.
If you’ve been thinking of implementing a regular creative practice, these are five great ways to help you get started:
- Start small. Don’t go in with the pressure of making art every day forever. Treat it as an experiment. Set a goal with a finite amount of time; five or seven days in a row is a good, doable target. Then, one day at a time, meet that. When you’re done take a look at what worked, what didn’t, and set a new goal.
- Experiment with your schedule. On office days I go to the studio first thing in the morning, on days I’m at home, I’m more flexible. Experiment with the best time of day for you to focus on creating, and with the length of your sessions. Notice what works and what doesn’t. Shift where you need to.
- Prepare things ahead of time. If you’re like me and moonlighting at an outside job (ahem), do what you can ahead of time. Prepare your painting surfaces, transfer your photos from your camera, brainstorm your writing topics for the week… That way when time is at a premium you’ll be able to make the most of it. This type of studio prep work is also great for those days when your creative mojo may be on the low side; it’s forward movement that doesn’t necessarily demand too much energy.
- Practice self-compassion. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day, life happens. Just go back to it the next day. If you find yourself skipping a lot of days, try shifting your time of practice or the length of your creative sessions.
- Reap the rewards. Thanks to my regular studio practice I declared more pieces complete in 15 weeks than I did the previous two years. Every session was an opportunity to learn, practice and get better at what I love to do. Reflect on what you learned during your experiment about your craft, your process, your resistance. What small – or big – successes came about? Acknowledge and celebrate forward movement.
Are you up to the challenge?
If you’ve been thinking about it, give it a try. Experiment.