From the Archives: Art Journal Every Day: 5 Tips on Making Time
May 25, 2018
If you're new to Art Journal Every Day, there is a short introduction here. All of the previous posts can be found archived here. Remember, it's just ten minutes of nourishing your creative self every day! No need to finish anything or even like it. If you've done some art journaling this week, use the hashtag #artjournaleveryday so that we can all take a peek. Even if you're not on social media, you can see everything (from twitter, pinterest, instagram, and facebook) that uses that hashtag here.
This is a repost of a blog post from 2014.
One of the things that I have said over and over again is that you just need ten minutes a day for art journaling. In my class "30 Days in Your Journal" I show exactly how ten minutes can add up. I've also done multiple posts that share pages created in ten-minute increments. (Here's one of my faves that includes a video of me working each day.)
Now let's talk about making those ten minutes happen. Here are five things that I think help:
Do it early in the day.
Every day starts with the best intentions, but it doesn't always end the way I expect it to. I've learned that it's best if I start my day with my art journal to ensure that it happens. The later in the day I wait for those ten minutes, the less likely they are to happen.
Don't try to create great art.
Pressure can be good. After all, they say that necessity is the mother of invention. But pressure can also be paralyzing. Don't let yourself stare at that page. Just plunge in and try something. If it doesn't work, great! That means that you've learned something. I think of my art journal as a place for experimentation and risk taking, not a place to create beautiful finished art. This really helps me just play and actually use my ten minutes for creating rather than thinking and staring and wondering.
Leave your art journal lying around.
I never put my art journal away. It's always sitting on my desk or the floor (in my studio the floor is like a really big extension of my desk -- you can tell when I'm insanely busy because the floor starts to fill with stuff). By leaving my art journal out it (a) reminds me to open it up and play and (b) allows me to wipe off excess paint, glue in a torn piece of paper from another project, stamp off excess ink, test out a new stencil, etc. I'm always amazed at how quickly my art journals seem to fill. It's because I use my art journal as a place to collect everything that is excess in the rest of my art life. It's kind of an artsy trash can. And like any trash can, you want to have it out and ready for use at all times. Remember, the ten minutes in your journal doesn't all have to be in one block -- two minutes here, five minutes there, it all adds up!
Don't answer your phone.
I always hate it when I'm in a store at the counter and the salesperson answers a phone call while dealing with me. Here I am, having taken the time to come in in-person, and the sales person is giving priority to the customer on the phone. Really? Just because the phone rings doesn't mean you have to answer it. Your journaling time should be sacrosanct. Ignore the phone. Ignore the kids (or have them work with you). Ignore the pets. Those are your ten minutes to nuture your creative soul. Protect them.
Give yourself a break.
So you missed a day. Or twelve days. Or a month. Who cares? The daily habit of art journaling is easy to make and easy to break. Never let art journaling become an obligation or something that makes you feel guilty. If you feel guilty not doing it, walk away for a while. Art journaling is meant to nourish and create joy. If it's not fun, why are you doing it? I often find that a break makes me super excited to come back and play. It re-energizes my creative batteries! Now if you don't want to give up the art journaling every day habit, but you still find yourself feeling grumpy about your journal, consider a supply break up. Break up with your normal art supplies and try some new friends on for size. It may be the creative kick in the pants that you need.
I love my art journal. I know that art journaling every day has made me a much better artist over time. How about you? Do you art journal every day? How do you make the time?
P.S. If you liked this article you might also enjoy my 2012 post "5 Ways to Make Time for Art." Some of the tips are similar, but believe it or not, the only overlapping tip is about making art in the morning! So, you get 4 additional tips for making time in that post!