Why start a Creative Habit?

I could write five different articles about the benefits of creative habits because there are a multitude of benefits. I'm just going to focus on a few benefits in this article to encourage you to start a creative habit of your own. First, a habit is performed regularly without even thinking about it. It is non-negotiable like brushing your teeth. There is no deciding to do it or not. Non-negotiable. Second, habits reduce decision fatigue. After making many important and non-important decisions every day, it is easier to do the things that have become a routine, a habit with no need to recreate the wheel.

Someone commented on one of my Instagram daily photos saying, "You just keep doing it. #determination." At first I was a little confused. Why would I not keep creating every day? What is the big deal?  It made me think about how you can build any habit so it feels weird to not do it. I guess that is the definition of a habit. Something you do on a regular basis. For about two weeks over the winter holidays in 2015, I took a break and did not make my daily fabric art square. It felt really weird. I felt like I was floating without my creative habit as an anchor in my daily activities. My daily creative habit has truly become non-negotiable.
I want to have an impact on how people see their creativity and discussing creative habits is the most powerful way to easily start creating more. The term creative habit describes something that helps you and builds you up, not like New Year's resolutions which may have the opposite affect. The bonus of a creative habit is that creative self-expression can actually be relaxing and fun. It's not about being perfect. It's really about joy. 

Fabric selection for Fractured Blue Sky series, 2015.

The motivation behind starting a creative habit is to discover your creative potential. It provides a sense of purpose and a source of playfulness. It’s not what you do, how you do it, or where you do it. These are just details. The important part is the dedication to yourself, the commitment to yourself. Once you commit, you will figure out what you want to try and then experiment. Be curious. Momentum builds on momentum. Seven days to 14 days to a month to three months to year. If you look back, it’s has become just a habit.

A habit helps you create more because it reduces decision fatigue. So what is the deal with decision fatigue? After making a 100 decisions a day, it gets harder to decide on things. In this case, habits are your friends. Setting a habit means you have a set time and place to do an activity. You probably know what you are going to be working on. So many of the decisions have already been made. You usually have a habit trigger like after breakfast or after the children are in bed. You have your materials ready. You know how much time you have available. Just create. Then come back the next time and start again.

I have set up my whole system of the daily squares and the 25 day square pieces to avoid decision fatigue. The idea of an overall 25 day theme gives me a structure.  So many of these big decisions are made up front but it still allows me the flexibility to enjoy creating every day. Each day has some freedom and some constraints.

Selection of 9 daily squares for Fractured Blue Sky series, 2015. Notice the variety given the constraints of color and design.

I pick the fabric to use for the 25 day theme up front and have it all washed and starched. I pick the general outline of a design.  Every day I deliberately push the boundaries of these themes by playing with the designs and mixing up some of the design and color choices to add variety to the finished 25 day piece. I have my studio all set up so I can get to work as soon as I get there. I have routines set up to organize the studio before I leave each day. Clutter is not my friend when I am in the studio.

To make your creative habit stick, set it up to be non-negotiable and make as many decisions as possible up front to reduce decision fatigue.

If you want to run a creative habit idea by me, you can contact me here.