Back in January of this year I decided to re-invigorate a habit that I’d been neglecting for a long time, and start writing more frequently. You’re reading the results of that effort right now: after more than eight months of daily (with a small break for summer fun) blogging resulting in over two hundred posts to this space.
Daily habits seem trivial, but in my experience become a drumbeat of steady progress towards getting stronger, faster, better, or simply more attuned to the nuances of an effort.
Over that aforementioned summer break I took up a couple more daily habits that have been fitting into my waking routine and are starting to show progress and results.
The first of those habits has been a daily body strength workout, involving a minumum number of push-up and sit-ups and some other equipment free exercises. None of it is a proper workout, but the payoff after two months of, say, thirty push-ups every day has been a cumulative progress towards some creaks and groans that were developing after eighteen months of working from home during the pandemic.
The second (and more interesting) of my new daily habits, and something I wrote about a couple weeks ago, is that I’ve dug into my old (and bought some new) art supplies, and dedicated myself to daily sketching.
If the day has been busy and my time is short, might just draw a simple thing like my car keys, a pen sitting on the table or any other curious object laying around the house. Ten minutes with a pen and a paper.
Or, if I have more time and inclination, then all that inspiration from reading, watching, and absorbing the work of other artists around the theme of rough watercolour sketching turns into a more elaborate project. I’ll snap a photo, dig through my travel pictures, or prop up my notepad out and about in the city and draw a small scene.
The habit of exercising my artistic soul every day has paid off.
The work that I was doing a month ago was not terrible, but it was markedly weaker than just a few weeks of practice has left in its wake. (I won’t even post those early sketches.) I won’t claim to have found some kind of greatness or unlocked a hidden talent, but I am starting to get a feel for my own style and building a great deal of confidence around things I can bring to life on the page. I can only imagine that this will steadily improve over the next months and beyond.
All that (plus two hundred blog posts and some improved upper body strength) from a little daily dedication to a simple idea: habit building.