The other day, I was listening to an episode of my favorite podcast, Creative Pep Talk, about overthinking. Like most of his episodes, host Andy J. Pizza took the topic in a different and more profound direction than I was expecting: making creativity a habit, and treating it as such.
There’s a whole slew of literature out there these days about building, maintaining and breaking habits. (Atomic Habits, anyone? Actually, Triggers was more my speed.) But for some reason, until I listened to this episode, I had this disconnect between creativity and habits.
When I sat with this, I realized that I had a whole collection of notes on the topic of habits (from books, courses, articles, etc.), and I was curious about how these lined up with what Andy was talking about. Sure enough, when I processed those notes and started putting them into theme buckets, I realized it could all apply to my goal of making creativity part of my everyday life (instead of hoping I still have energy for something creative after the kids to go to bed).
When all is said and done, the steps to build a new habit are pretty straightforward:
- Choose ONE habit to build
- Set a timeframe
- Make the habit easy to do
- Reduce the steps to do the habit
- Tie the habit to another habit that’s already set
- Boost your motivation
- Make a commitment that’ll cost you
- Make it a group effort and/or get advice from a friend who’s had success with this habit
- Change how you talk to yourself about your habit
This was on my mind last night when I was sitting down to write. I knew my book writing would benefit from a boost of fresh creativity, but I wasn’t sure exactly what habit I could or should build in that regard.
Then it dawned on me.
One doodle a day for 100 days.
It’s bite-sized and doable even when life goes sideways. The only thing I need for it is a piece of paper and something to draw with (or the digital equivalent). And bonus: It uses a different part of my brain than writing does, which serves as rest and recuperation for the writing part of my brain.
So this is what I’m doing, and I’ll post the doodles on Instagram.