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Compounding Creative Habits


I'm still working on this theme of compounding small, daily creative habits. I want to share this magical idea and show you how you can benefit from it too.




Let's just jump in feet first here.

What skill do you want to master?


Drawing? Song writing? Writing short stories? Pottery? Sewing? Even just being more creative in general...


Building up a substantial body of work can take yearrrrsssssss and years and years.


Ok, now that we feel hopeless and that precious time has been wasted, let's see what we can do about this problem, right now. Instead of looking at the MASSIVE picture of having mastered our skill and being rich and famous for it, let's work backwards and start with today. What is the ONE THING you can do right now that you can practice to get you to that future skill?


Let's avoid 'shiny object syndrome' and just stick to that 'one thing'.


Making the time

I understand that everyone's day looks different and I'm not going to tell you to set your alarm for 5am to squeeze it all in. Be conscious of the little snippets of day that you can cram your creative practice into. Can you find a way to make yourself accountable?


Do you have 5 minutes whilst your food is cooking? Or whilst your tea is brewing? Can you scribble something out whilst you're waiting in a queue? In fact, your ideas might be even better if they're influenced by your temporary surroundings!


-- An idea that I love is to make something small everyday for a loved one's lunch box. Write them a joke, draw them a picture, tell them a short story and then pop it with their lunch (or stick it to the fridge) as a little surprise for later. A great way to create a daily deadline for yourself and to share your idea with someone else. --


Simply think about it.

Can you just simply think about your creative ideas whilst you're brushing your teeth? A bit of advance planning for when you do have the time to create. Can you create that brain space on your commute? Making use of that idle time and not filling it with podcasts and music.


Why I started a creative habit

I wanted to do something more meaningful with my time when I was off sick. I knew I'd be off for a minimum of 8 months and I didn't want to spend that time time scrolling through social media and having nothing to show for it. I wanted to do something that was relaxing and mindful and that was a way of expressing how I was feeling as well as a reminder of the good things or little stories that came from my day. I started my drawing journal and gave each page somewhere between 5 minutes and 2 hours a day.


A pink sketchbook full of drawings and notes, open on a shelf
My Drawing Journal on display at HOME, Manchester

Shortly after I finished the journal, it was accepted to be a part of the Manchester Open exhibition at HOME, Manchester. I never expected it to become a public piece of work and felt really proud to see it on display.


I'm now on drawing journal number 4 and I don't plan on stopping any time soon.





Go and be creative!

Our time, energy and attention are so important, a creative practice can help to protect them and can encourage you to be more mindful about your day.


Enjoy being an amateur in something, you don't have to share it with the world and you don't have to be perfect at it. Enjoy the satisfaction of small steps towards your bigger project.


Have a bit of fun, test new ideas, express yourself and enjoy the feeling of accomplishing something small every day.


What one small thing could you do every day that will build up to a bank of ideas to work from in the future?



EVEN MORE IDEAS!

  • Join my mailing list and I'll send you a list of 30 prompts that will spark some ideas for you (as well as regular monthly ideas and the occasional story).

  • Create a Pinterest board of things you love that you can refer back to, I use my Dwelling and character boards quite often to get some fresh inspiration

  • I love this TedTalk by David Litchfield about drawing everyday


  • We've had John Kenn Mortensen's book Sticky Monsters on our shelf for years, Mortensen finds time around bringing up his twins to make a drawing on a sticky note - and then made a book from them.

An open sketchbook surrounded by ink and pens


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