It's been almost a year since I started doing the Daily Sketch Challenge over at Outcast Studios
and about half that since I started "Rockie's All-Request Weekends" for my friends on Facebook to recommend weekend sketch topics. I've been at it nearly every day. (I missed one day while I was on vacation.)
There have been a few people who have told me that my dedication is admirable.
Mostly, my dedication is just well-developed. It's been hitting the gym. Hard.
Being dedicated is a choice.
|Reach for the stars|
Dedication, like anything else, is a skill that can be developed.
Your brain is physically affected by choices you make. Over time, neural patterns are reinforced. Every time you choose to stick to something, even if it's hard (maybe especially if it's hard) you're exercising your persistence patterns. Every time you let yourself slack off or quit, you're exercising your slacker patterns.
It's a choice, every day, but every day it's easier to make the same choice as the day before.
The 20-minute workout
Developing a routine
- Make a choice to be dedicated to improving your craft. Make this choice over again every day. Choose to make an investment in your muse, and in your own improvement. (You're already doing this, whether you're aware of it or not. Every day, you're either choosing to do your thing or to not do your thing.)
- Make a commitment. If you're a set scheudule person or not, make it the same time every day, and don't let anything steal that time away. I'm not a set schedule person myself, so it's not the same time every day for me, but there is always at least 15-30 minutes somewhere between the time I wake up and the time I go to sleep that "I'm an artist right now" takes over.
- Make yourself accountable. Even if it's just posting on Facebook or Twitter "I'm doing this new thing every day". When I started doing the daily sketches but before I was consistent with it, I did have friends call me on missing a day. If that's what it takes for you, then that's what you need to do.
The more often you repeat steps 1 and 2, the stronger your tendency will be to continue doing it. Eventually, you'll get to the point were step 3 isn't needed much, because you start to be accountable to yourself and your muse, and that's enough.
Sure, there are days when I'm tired, or I have a headache, or I have to do the laundry. I just tell my tiredness, or headache, or laundry that it will have to wait a half hour until I'm done practicing. Because I've got a consecutive days of sketching streak going.
Seeing the results
And, of course, persistence pays off. Drawing #1 is a sketch from November 2010, and drawing #2 is one from August 2011.