Up until recently, if I were to have used a sentence containing the words ‘daily’, ‘creative’ and ‘practice’ it would have almost certainly also contained the words ‘never going to happen’. When it comes to creativity, my process would be best described as sporadic or spontaneous. I’ve always wanted to cultivate some sort of daily creative practice, but I feared that by setting parameters or committing metrically in some way to creating consistently, that I would feel burdened and uninspired by the whole process.
I’ve often admired the commitment and consistency of some of the daily painters, sketchers, calligraphers and other creatives on my Instagram feed. Here are a few rabbit-holes of inspiration for you to fall down. (You’ve been warned!)
100 Days of Birds – @charlotteduffydesigns
Daily Watercolor Paintings – @joycharde
100 days of collage – @nullsie
Make Art Everyday – @blendastudio
Daily Letters – @bysarahkimRecently, I decided to play the game for just 7 days, to ‘dip my big toe’ into the world of daily creative practice. I figured a week was achievable even if I was finding myself feeling pressured, constrained and uninspired by the experience. So, for one hour each day, I set a timer and sat down to paint a bird.
Painting the birds was enjoyable, but the real magic was in the unexpected insights that presented themselves during the process..
1. Time slows down. I am convinced that time slips by faster when I’m sitting in front of a screen. An hour of painting felt like a good old fashioned hour. You know, the way an hour used to feel when you were a kid. A reallllllly long time. I was surprised at what I could achieve in this hour.
2. The crowds gather around. People love to see work in progress. During the challenge, two of my daily paintings were featured on larger Instagram accounts. This lead to an influx of new followers, and attracted a supportive, encouraging audience.
3. Blank page phobia loses it’s grip. Ok, so not entirely.. But those fears that bubble to the surface whenever you’re confronted with a blank sheet of paper grow weaker each day. There’s only 1 hour on the clock, so the bolder and braver the brushstrokes, the better!
4. You can’t use up creativity. I’m guilty of ‘hoarding’ creativity – if that’s even a thing. Sometimes I’m not sure where the next idea or inspiration will come from, so I stockpile, stash and store as though I might never feel a creative urge again. It turns out though, that the more you use your creativity, the more you have. If you sit down to create, the very process of creating leads you to new ideas, and the momentum continues to build.
5. The stars don’t have to be aligned. The dishes don’t need to be done or the bed made. There’s not a necessary sequence of events that must take place before you’re presented with ‘permission to create’. There’s no need to wait until everything feels ‘just right’ before you begin. Just start.
6. It doesn’t have to be good. I didn’t like every painting that I produced, but learned that it’s possible to enjoy the process of painting and creating regardless of how it turns out. It’s all about the process. Often I’m creating with an end result in mind, with expectations about how it will turn out, so creating without this pressure made me feel so much more ‘present’ in the process.