During the summer I started painting landscapes. I had time on my hands because of loss of work due to the crisis. Best time ever, honestly. I’ve been saying for years how I would love to do more personal work and it took a crisis to do it. I took some online courses, created two paintings I enjoyed and then after a few months jobs started coming in again, so I neglected painting I have started, but haven’t finished a painting since.
Building a habit
Whatever you want to do, you have to make it a habit.
Whether you want to go out for a walk every day, want to write at least one chapter of a book you’re eager to write, or whatever you want. A habit is something that becomes part of your identity. It becomes so ingrained in who you are that you hardly have to think about it.
To get to that point you have to do it every day without missing a day.
I told students at each workshop that if they want to get better at something, do it every day and don’t make an excuse for missing one.
It takes 66 days
I read somewhere you had to do something for 40 days to see progress in your creative work. I dived into that a bit further for this newsletter and came across James Clear’s article How Long Does it Actually Take to Form a New Habit? (Backed by Science). Here he states that it takes exactly 66 days to form a habit. I also recommend his book Atomic Habits, by the way.
Handy tracking sheet
Being a visual person I need some way to track it, maybe that works for you too. I created a printable PDF for you so you can easily keep track of your daily habit. Download it below and print it out, then hang it somewhere in plain sight so you are confronted with your progress.
There are two sheets on one page. Mostly because I wanted the sheet not to be too big but this way you can create two new habits, continue after you filled the first one, or give one to a housemate 🙂
Skill > talent
Many think that creativity is a ‘talent’. Nonsense.
Creativity is something we are all born with. All humans are born creative, and I’m not talking about painting or writing poetry. We all have ideas thus we are all creative. Once we start developing it, we gain a skill. The more you do it, the bigger it becomes. It’s like a muscle you are training. Chase Jarvis states in his book Creative Calling that being creative is as essential to humans as breathing.
Making creativity a habit
So, here we go… You want to incorporate something in your life? Make it a habit for at least 66 days. Within those days you will see lots of improvement in your skill.
Want to get better at drawing? Draw something, doesn’t matter what, 66 days, every day. Use a little sketchbook and compare day 66 with day one. You will see the progress!
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All text and images © Marloes De Vries