my creative resolution

Watercolor, Illustration, Surface Design

Back to Daily Creative Habits

8 Comments

Back to daily creative habits. Shells in the sketchbook.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve done minimal drawing and painting. Periods like this seem to be a pattern for me. I think about doing creative work all the time, but I put everything before it – even binge watching shows on Netflix. It’s not creative block. I have tons of ideas. I just can’t seem to make myself pick up the sketchbook or sit down with my paints. And as the days go by it gets harder, and harder.

Experience has shown me that these periods can be avoided if I maintain the habit of drawing daily in my sketchbook. So today as I finally grabbed my sketchbook – I made the commitment to draw in it everyday. Other than making the time, I don’t put pressure on myself to make the results great. I know if I do the work, and play around, good things will come. I already feel happier after drawing these shells that I collected recently.

I first learned about the power of habits when I read Gretchen Rubin’s book, “Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits – to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life.” Back then I had also fallen out of the habit of being creative. I learned from the book that it was harder for me to be creative because I had to make the conscious decision to do it. It was an internal willpower battle every time and was no longer something I did without thinking.

Creative Habits and Gretchen Rubin's book "Better than Before"

Rubin perfectly states it here,
“When we change our habits, we change our lives. We can use decision making to choose the habits we want to form, we can use willpower to get the habit started; then – and this is the best part – we can allow the extraordinary power of habit to take over. We take our hands off the wheel of decision, our foot off the gas of willpower, and rely on the cruise control of habits.”

Read Better than Before.

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Author: Eileen McKenna {my creative resolution}

Web and Print Designer living in New York. I blog about painting, illustration, and designing patterns. Inquires are welcome.

8 thoughts on “Back to Daily Creative Habits

  1. Interesting post, Eileen! I know exactly what you mean about having the ideas but not actually doing anything to make the art….sometimes at this time of year I think it’s because I am just too exhausted to do any of them justice! But you are very right, habit is what keeps us all coming back and I feel as if a part of me has gone missing if I neglect my art time for more than a few days! I will also say that someone once told me it takes 30 days to firmly establish a new habit, so, if that is true, we all have to persevere for quite a while to make it stick! 🙂

    • Thanks Hilda. Yes I’ve heard that too. But I have the annoying habit 😂 of doing something for a month or so and then saying, “I don’t feeling like it today” and throwing everything off! Sometimes I’m creating like a mad woman and other times I’m barely doing anything. Maybe that’s just the way it is for me. But I get itchy during those off times. And I don’t like to let them go too long.

      • Lol! Me too! I do that thing that throws it off 😉 I think, really, it takes me much longer than 30 days to make it stick and I have found I have more success with new habits IF I am not too strict about it and allow some wiggle room….For instance, I have a rough rule of thumb that I will do art on 5 days out of every 7 and mostly that works for me. I also think the problems come when we stop having fun with it and it becomes too much like a chore for whatever reason…I do also tend to swing between being highly productive to doing barely anything, one often follows the other and I often find that a change of medium will often kick me back into action…

  2. Yep. You’re not alone Eileen. I hate going too long without working in my sketchbook because it does get harder to pick it up. Fortunately, I’m in a pretty good groove right now. Hope you can stick with it!

  3. Pingback: Daily Creative Habits – Take 2 | my creative resolution

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