I admire those that have committed to a daily creative practice and keep to it. People like Crystal Moody and Charlie O’Shields and so many others. But I can’t do it. I’ve done it for short spurts – 14 days for Valentine’s Day or 17 days for St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve done numerous consecutive days in my sketchbook but inevitably I break the chain.
I’d like to say, “I don’t have the time,” but that isn’t entirely true. I do have other things going on that take a lot of my time – my family, which includes my 3 kids, and my design and marketing business. But I also find time to binge watch Netflix shows, so time isn’t the whole problem.
I get very focus on whatever project I’m working on. It may be painting, or my sketchbook, or it may be a new website I’m developing, or getting the kids ready for the start of the school year. I’ll have blinders on and that project will be what I do when I have a minute to spare. Sure I’m still multi-tasking all the other stuff, but it can be hard to mentally squeeze something else in. Lately my creative practice feels scattered, like it hasn’t been the focus in a while.
It’s not that I’m not a disciplined person. I run 3 days a week. Eat fairly healthy. I am very disciplined about my work. I work from home for myself. So I guess I need to be.
I know from Gretchen Rubin’s book “Better than Before” that it’s easier when something is a habit. We do it without thinking. There is no internal willpower struggle to do it. I put on my running clothes and sneakers when it’s time to run. I may not be happy about it all the time, but I get out there and do it.
I was briefly in the habit of sketching with my coffee while I waited for the kids to get dressed for school. I’d sit down with my coffee, grab the sketchbook without thinking, and start doodling any everyday object I could find. It was great, and it would get me thinking of things I’d like to paint. This 5 minute habit encouraged more creativity. But inevitably one day I wouldn’t feel like it and the doodling would become only occasionally.
Being creative makes me happy, but right now I feel like I’m only doing the bare minimum. I know a daily habit is very effective for many people. I also know it’s not my personality. Some days I want to dive into creativity and other days I want to, or have to, dive into something else. For me it doesn’t have to be daily, but I need some kind of structure and routine to make sure the creativity happens.
I read in Rubin’s book about bundling habits. Adding something to an already established habit. That’s what I’m going to try now. On the days I go running, I’m going to create. As I get ready for my run, I’m going to set up my supplies. I’ll get the process started and when I come back from my run, I’ll “dig in” and get creative.
How do you make sure your creativity happens?
14 thoughts on “I’ll admit it…There aren’t any daily creative habits going on here :(”
I am retired and my boys have left home. So that part is easy. I don’t watch a lot of TV. I do have a small sketchbook and mini painting kit with me at all times. So waiting means sketching. I have not missed a day in nearly 3 years. I have a blog but only post once a week as it is time consuming. Time that I could be sketching. You are doing great to sketch at all with a family at home. You need to be congratulated 😊
Thank you Carmel for the positive feedback 😊
I find that as much as we’d love to have daily time for art, sometimes life just gets in the way. My goodness you surely have a lot on your plate right now, so try to relax. I shoot for 3 or 4 days a week, and any more than that is a plus! It should feel fun and rewarding, so take a deep breath and even if you have only 5 minutes, add a few lines to your current work in progress. It will get there! 😘
Thank you Carol! You are right It should be relaxing and even a few lines is progress. Thank you 😀
Haha…I don’t have a creative habit either! I do it when I feel like it, and I have all the time in the world as I’m retired too. At present, I’ve not been doing much photography stuff on my new Win10 smartphone, as I’m learning how the phone functions first before using the camera, and I’ve downloaded onto it some entirely new image editing programs that also require learning. And, most of those use icons to tell you what to do, without any tooltip as to what it could be; so that is a huge learning curve too. But, when I do have a go, I’m enjoying the process! Eileen, just do what you can when you feel like it — the enjoyment of the doing should be fun! You’ve got enough on your plate…oy! 😀
You are so right! I need to take the pressure off and enjoy! There are so many things I want to try and learn but as you point out learning takes time. Thank you 😊
Life gets overwhelming! My biggest go to on days where my time is limited is to go small. I do many Art Prescriptions on index cards. For me even 15 minutes serves as a dose of art.
You are right that even a 15 minute dose of art does the trick. Working small is a good tip when time is short. Thanks Beverly!
I was actually in between jobs when I started Doodlewash and had more time during the day. I painted daily for 6 weeks and then wondered what would happen when my new job started and how I would fit things in. My solution? Happy Hour…hehe…every day after work, my happy hour is now always spent painting and I refuse all requests from friends for meeting up during this time and suggest a lunch instead. It’s part of my evening ritual during the week, and then I can sort of do it whenever I feel like grabbing time on Saturday and Sunday. But yeah…I did make the call to be fierce about protecting my personal creative time. And it’s still happy hour of course, as you know they’ll be a glass of wine nearby! Lol
Thank you for your honesty Charlie! It’s discouraging when you think everyone else can squeeze it in, why can’t I? It makes sense that you established your habit and then made it work on a tighter schedule. And it’s very smart that you protect that time. I do the same with running and plan appointments, etc. around the times I run.
I should also mention that it’s great that you’re committed to running. One person once told me if I did situps as much as I painted I would have ripped abs! 😊Lol
Ha ha 😂
Hi Eileen–I’m like you; try my best but my creativity never seems to fit a linear plan or schedule. Topiary vs. wild flowers, I suppose! 🙂
I’ve been listening to Gretchen Rubin’s podcast and she says when it comes to habits to a certain extent we have to embrace the way we are. So maybe we aren’t meant to be so structured and scheduled. Maybe we are most creative by not doing forcing that. Whew! Now I don’t have to feel so guilty about it. 😄