It’s well known that you need consistency and focus to create a habit. But there are other considerations and along the lines of deliberate practice, you need to choose one thing only.
Choosing that one thing has in turn other considerations and so on.
A friend of mine invited me to do a 100 days project.
We decided to do one thing repeatedly.
I decided to draw imaginary animals. Inspired by a book by Carla Sonheim and by a stash of art supplies that have been lingering in my drawers since 2006.
Each day, one animal, using mixed media: from pen to watercolours, collage, pencil, acrylics, etc and using multiple types of paper.
I have a number of goals:
- Try to stop being so precious about my drawings. Amateurs are like that. We make one drawing and we want accolades. I want to make one drawing and put it on a pile, and the next day make a new one.
- I want to develop the discipline of showing up even when I don’t feel like it.
- I want to experiment with my supplies, learn what materials go together, which papers support which mediums, which brushes make certain kinds of strokes, which pencils are better for sketching fast and which for finer more detailed drawings.
- I want to see how creativity finds me. And by the fourth day as I doodled I had one first idea of where the project could be headed. But I don’t want to focus on that. I just acknowledged the “muse” and kept drawing.
Some of these drawings are so messy and muddy, some will be worse, but seven days into it, I know there is something breeding.
The Space for Creating
Somewhere in the last couple of years, I decided I wouldn’t wait anymore for the “time to be right”.
We all know the deepest desires are sprinkled all over our history. If you go into your journals, your blogs, your photos you will find them in their purest form.
Even if you go through the magazines you’ve bought, or your pinboards, everything is bursting with desire, and not the material kind, but the desire of doing.
I often wonder why we postpone what we want to do the most. The easiest answer is because: work comes first, kids come first, career, etc.
Talking to a friend who dreams of working with vintage furniture to renovate and remodel, she kept saying: maybe, one day. She works full time, she has two little kids, she gets up at 5:00 a.m. each morning.
Is the desire strong? will she ever do it? She’s good at it. She re-upholstered chairs in her home and they’re beautiful.
I tell her, it doesn’t have to be a full blown project. You can take ONE day a month to do a small piece. Take that day.
Maybe she would be unable to do a 100 days project, but she could do 12 chairs a year.
At the end of the year, if she wished to take it further she would have a body of work to start from.
This isn’t advice
If I’d read this a year ago from someone else. I might have nodded in agreement but it wouldn’t have made me embark on 100 days of imaginary animals.
This happened because I didn’t want to wait until retirement, which is when most people embark on their creative endeavors.
But mostly, I was inspired by this tweet.
Remember that woman on her 100th birthday, said her one regret was not taking up violin at age 60. “I’d have been playing for 40 years”
— Seriouspony (@seriouspony) July 21, 2014
If this doesn’t make you start doing what your personal history has been trying to get you to do, then I don’t know what will.