Congratulations! That's a great start. Starting is typically the hardest part.
Getting started is typically the hardest part because we aim for perfectionism before putting anything out there.
We tend to want everything in perfect order before we start. Trying to be sure that everything is in order tends to be a hindrance in getting started. When you start you can make corrections along the way, and its better to learn from experience. I say this because it becomes easier to teach another person and prevent them from making the same mistakes. You'll find ways to make things work, you'll learn what didn't work.
So, you've made the proper arrangements to get 2-4 hours of time blocked in for your practice sessions. On your schedule its every Monday through Friday from 5:00 am to 7:00 am - oh wait is that too early for you? OK lets change that to pm.
Now its time to start your routine.
First things first, you have start by saying no - you can read more on this in my previous post. Just know that it leaves room for you to do other things (like practice). It leaves room for better opportunities (like meet ups). Allows room for more time for the things you really want to do.
Routine for hand lettering
Know what you are practicing. It takes more than showing up. You have to have some things set in place:
- What will you be practicing?
- Whats the goal of this practice session?
Be sure you are deliberately practicing.
Take your time, start out slow. You want to build muscle memory.
Have you heard of 25 minuet focus time?
This method, also known as pomodoro technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals - traditionally 25 minutes in length. This is separated by short breaks. The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility. So maybe you don't have three hours of practice time a day. Pull out your android or iPhone, put it on airplane mode and set a timer for twenty five minuets. Feel like twenty five minuets isn't enough?
I'd gradually work my way up to 90 minuets. Block it out on a calendar. Treat yourself like a meeting. The best time to do something for yourself is in the morning. Less interruptions occur because everyone else is still sleeping. Know that you are important, and start your day off doing something for yourself - like a passion project.
Iterate In Public.
For my alphabet series, I chose an ornamental style to explore with illustration. I sketched out blank blocks to know how many pages were needed for the letters. Originally I was going to post a.b.c.d.. and remembered that Instagram posts the latest images first. I even posted the wrong letter. But rather than delete the post, I left it and went ahead and numbered the letters so that I could remember what day I was on.
One of my cousins even called me out (over the weekend) - noticing that I didn't finish my last challenge (the 100 day project) but its all good. That public accountability is needed, and now that I've started my 365 day challenge, its been going well. As of today we are on day 23/365 - only 342 days left.
A Key Point Regarding Time
Everyone doesn't have the same amount of time to practice. Do what works for you. I am an early bird - and I've been that way for years. I prefer to get my work done in the earlier part of the day. I also prefer to do something for myself before delving into work for other people. However, not everyone has the luxury to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to do something for themselves. They may be married/have a significant other to spend time with, have children, be in school, work multiple jobs in order to make ends meet, or have a demanding job that takes all their energy away. Each individual has different circumstances to overcome. Do what works best for you!
As you practice you are building your reputation, consistency, and reliability. These all have an effect on your brand. If you are in for the long game, you aren't focused on immediate results. You know that in order to see results it will take time, dedication, and consistency.
The scheduled breaks you have on your calendar are not places to fill with more stuff. Some stuff can wait. And you have to remember to say no to some good things so you can have the opportunity to say yes to great things.
Slow and Steady wins the race. It also prevents burn out!
Remember The Reason Why You Are Doing This.
Maybe it's a hobby, a skill you are learning, or a side hustle that you want to be more. Maybe to build extra income, switch careers, or build knowledge somewhere. You have your reasons and that should be kept in the forefront. It will help you to keep at it with your practice sessions and stay motivated when you don't feel like doing the work. Back in January I wrote about my morning routine. You can read more about that here.