Start Your Creative Habit: Daily Journal

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Shay + I both have creative habits that are long established and part of our routine. From painting, to collage, to writing, to trying our hand at any creative language that calls out to us - we love + test a lot of new ideas.

One of our favorites, and most simple, is our daily journal practice. This quick, loose, no rules, no expected outcome exercise gives us a chance, daily, to play and to explore. For us, it’s become an addiction that reminds us to connect with our creativity for a few moments each day. If you’re looking to build your creative habit - and enjoy the many benefits creativity can bring your way, this (IMO) is the way to start. For a few minutes each day, you can practice the process, connect to the calm + joy that comes from creating something and fire the neurons in your brain that bring more innovative thinking your way.

As with any new habit, starting a daily creative practice takes a bit prep + pep. Our best tips, here:

1. Set a timer, keep it short.  Start with short daily doses of creativity. Most days, I do mine first thing, with a cup of coffee or tea, for 10 - 15 minutes. Other days, if I’m not feeling so creative first thing - I’ll sneak it in right after lunch. My set up is in a corner in my kitchen, so meal times are a gentle reminder to me to make it happen. Find a time that works for you, set a timer and keep it short and consistent. Eventually you’ll find the benefits so great from this little sliver of time, you’ll find yourself carving out more time in your schedule to make. Start small, start doable, start today.

2. Do it for the process, not the outcome. The goal of a daily practice, or any creative habit in our book - is to simply enjoy the process. Creative practice increases joy + purpose, invites connection and reflection. It quiets anxiety and reduces stress. By quieting your mind and focusing on the process, you’ll experience these moments of joy and fun daily - which will begin to carry over into the rest of your day. That’s the point. The outcome? The actual art you make? Sometimes will be terrible. Other times will be great. But that’s not for you to concern yourself with. Focus on the process, the benefits and let the outcome just be.

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3. Make the set up special.  For us, we get inspired to create by working with beautiful quality supplies that make us happy just to be using them. For each of us, that means high quality paper versatile enough for sketching to painting. Tools for marking from watercolors, Indigo Ink, markers and sketching pens. We each display our supplies visibly in curated arrangements and make them part of our decor. If that doesn’t work for your home, find a spot that keeps them neat, organized and grab-ready. The set up should be an easy invitation to calm your mind and start your practice. If you’re scurrying about looking for materials daily, you're less likely to enjoy the process and switch into happy creating mode as quickly. So pick a spot, gather your materials and make it inviting.

4. Set a goal for your practice. I am on a mission to increase FUN and decrease work. I approach much of life as work, with a crazy to-do list, usually forgetting to enjoy myself as I go through the tasks. Creating daily, is an easy connection fun and joy to this and reminds me to slow down, and enjoy the moments as they go. For me, color is an instant shift into my happy place, so I focus on color exploration and interesting combinations in my daily journal. Shay, a more disciplined artist, works her way methodically through different mediums and expressions so that her style is always pushing and evolving. Whatever your intention, get clear on it, and remind yourself of that each day as you begin your work.

5. Keep a bank of inspiration. Start a folder of coasters, cards, gift wrap, magazine swipe, photos, anything that inspires you. Curate a Pinterest board to catalog color combos or art that speaks to your soul. I use both methods and reference them often when I’m stumped for an idea. My work never looks like the inspiration, but it’s helpful to have a starting point - especially when you’re new to the practice.

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We think that, like us, once you start - you’ll find the time well spent. The calm, the joy, the beauty that this little practice invites into your life will color the rest of your day. Leaving you inspired, looking for beauty and sharing your passion with others. Go! Get started! We can’t wait to see what you make.