The Power of Creating Every Day
Besides my morning routine, one thing that has changed my life significantly this year is a practice I developed back in February, when I participated in 28 to Make, a free program offered by my favorite online learning source, CreativeLive.
Each morning, for 28 days, the program sent participants a prompt to make something creative. The type of artwork changed depending on the day. Sometimes it was more drawing-related, sometimes it was lettering-related, etc. Every time I finished a day’s prompt, I shared my work on social media and blogged about it, which was all part of the program’s end goal—to encourage us to develop a daily habit of creating work and then sharing it online, and to keep this going for an entire month.
THE DAILY PRACTICE
After the month was over, I noticed I was thinking differently as I went through my day. Solutions to problems started coming a little easier, and design concepts were a little more cohesive as I fleshed them out at my job.
So I took what I did during the first week of 28 to Make and ran with it. The prompts from that first week—doled out by one of my favorite illustrators, Kate Bingaman Burt—all revolved around drawing, which I’ve loved for as long as I can remember. But it had become a muscle I wasn’t flexing nearly enough in my regular life. 28 to Make gave me the kick in the pants I needed.
I started making a drawing every day. Then I created an Instagram account to share the drawings and called it “Daily Illo.” Doing this meant I created accountability for myself—if anyone actually enjoyed these drawings every day, I’d feel responsible for maintaining the ritual.
In my second week of this I decided to draw a ticket stub for 10 Cloverfield Lane that I found in my pants pocket. When I put it on Instagram, I tagged anyone I could think of who was affiliated with the film in my post. The next day, the film’s director asked for a print of my drawing. I had experience with screen printing, so I knew how to make one fairly easily. This got the ball rolling, and soon I was screen printing other Daily Illos for other customers. I’ve had several sales so far, and all of this has now led to a business my wife and I are starting. We hope to launch it on Etsy in the next few months.
I had no idea that Daily Illo might attract a growing audience. It’s now getting a good amount of engagement both online and off, as many people in my “real life” have told me they’re sharing Daily Illo with their kids and relatives to inspire them to create, too. That means other people, people I don’t even know, are now creating something every day, just like I’ve been. How cool is that?
All of this came about from putting aside just 10 minutes a day to make something.
What’s 10 minutes a day if it means you’ll start thinking more creatively? I can’t predict whether your daily creations might lead to a side-hustle or not, but I do know that if you take a month to try it (you can still sign up for 28 to Make through CreativeLive here), you’re going to see real results.
HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED TO DO?
So what does “making something” every day mean, exactly? Well, it doesn’t have to mean drawing—I’m not suggesting you set up an easel and paint a still-life. Just take five to ten minutes to come up with something simple. The goal here is quantity, not quality.
Chances are, you’re already doing this and just don’t know it. Think back to yesterday: Did you spend time coming up with the perfect outfit that morning? Congratulations, you created something! Did you cook dinner for your family? Again, you’re already doing this.
The trick is to be conscious of the creativity that goes into these activities. If you’re aware of it, you’re going to put a little extra passion into what you’re doing and that will live with you as you move through the day, showing itself in other situations.
Do whatever you can, as long as you’re making something.