Drawing Daily doesn’t Have to be a Big Deal
Drawing everyday can sound like a huge, insurmountable project. So big that the very thought of it is so overwhelming that we never even try.
But it doesn’t have to be the massive ordeal we often envision it to be. It doesn’t have to consume huge amounts of time or energy. It really doesn’t.
When I joined the Making Art Everyday Challenge, I started with a tiny commitment of 10 minutes a day. That’s all.
I could do more if I wanted and usually did, but my minimum investment to fall back on was 10 minutes. Whether I finished my sketch in that time was secondary.
By keeping my commitment small I disarmed my fear of starting, and of being uncomfortable.
I couldn’t create a masterpiece in 10 minutes, so that pressure was off. My drawing was rusty after years of creative inactivity, so I knew starting again would be hard and uncomfortable. But I knew I could stomach being uncomfortable for 10 minutes at a time, so it felt way less scary.
Now, 18 months into the project, I still fall back on that 10 minute rule when I’m struggling.
It’s better to uphold the habit with a tiny commitment, than break it because you decide you have to go big or it’s not worth doing at all. This all or nothing thinking prevents us from moving forward. Unless conditions are ideal and we have large blocks of free time we decide we “don’t have the time”, so we do nothing. But lots of small, imperfect blocks of time add up too.
Keeping my small daily commitment even on the worst days signals to my brain that I keep my promises to myself. That in turn strengthens my motivation to keep going in the long run.
When committing to a daily creative practice, we need to make sure the practice is sustainable for our energy levels and lifestyle.
It is so, SO important to start small and simple until you build up steam and start wanting to do more.
And you can usually start a lot smaller than you think. If you have five minutes a day to scroll your phone, you have five minutes in which you can make a tiny drawing instead. It can be a rough sketch. It doesn’t have to be a finished drawing. It doesn’t have to be good.
You can do a tiny sketch in five minutes, while waiting for your coffee. You can pick up your iPad or sketch pad instead of scrolling your phone. You can sketch for 20 minutes while re-watching your favourite show. You can doodle in your lunch-break (or during tedious meetings). You can doodle in ProCreate pocket on your phone while waiting for the bus.
Starting small allows you to engrain a habit and build momentum over time. This is much more effective than trying to willpower your way through a huge act of creation that will leave you exhausted and burnt out.
You’ll resist trying the same thing again anytime soon and that will raise your procrastination levels through the roof. It’s a vicious cycle.
Don’t sabotage yourself by thinking that drawing daily needs to be a huge commitment. Tiny commitments can grow into big things. Trying to go too big, too soon is a recipe for overwhelm and disappointment.
Start small. Even smaller. Let it be easy. And watch the magic unfold.