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Daily Habits + #GridsGestures

Back in April, I wrote about Nick Sousanis’s call for week-long participation in a #gridsgestures hashtag as part of a reflective practice of structured, comics-inspired, sketch journaling. I participated throughout the week and found it a valuable escape from text-centric practices into more visual, rapid thinking. When the week ended, I felt like continuing, so I ended up setting myself an open-ended challenge to keep up the practice for as long as felt right. Over that time (during which I’ve kept up an almost perfect record, with a couple of days off thanks to carpal tunnel) the hashtag itself has fluctuated from active to near-silent and back again, but I’ve kept up the practice of posting in public as a daily Twitter ritual.

I’m not someone who picks up habits easily: even in my exercise, which I try to be fairly committed to, I’ve found that having a clear upcoming goal with a deadline is the only way to keep going. I’ve tried actually maintaining a daily journal before at different levels of earnestness, particularly while traveling, and I have boxes full of the mostly-empty  shells of past resolutions. Natalie Houston shared three steps for creating habits earlier this year: understand why you want to start the habit, clearly define a realistic target, and track your actions. These were definitely things in the back of my mind when I started getting interested in #gridsgestures, and there’s the added element that’s important for me: it’s a consistent, constrained habit that fits easily into the day. It’s also one that gets more interesting (to me, at least) in bulk as a record of the past six months, which helps in fighting the main thing that stops me from sticking to habits–fatigue.

Practicing visual communication is something that can be useful regardless of your discipline, as it can influence everything from the composition of slides to drawing on the whiteboard. There are lots of ways to pick up something like this for a sprint with the added pressure of a public community for accountability. There are a number of hashtags where people take on creative resolutions: I particularly recommend following #100DaysofDrawing, and this month there’s also lots of talented people doing #Inktober, a (somewhat) thematic month of ink drawing. Writers often find motivation in November through NaNoWriMo and its many themed variations of writing sprints.

As I keep going with #gridsgestures, it will no doubt continue to morph further and further from Nick Sousanis’s initial prompt while keeping the essential focus on daily reflection.

What are your daily creative practices, and how do you sustain your habits? Share your practices in the comments!

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