Updated: Oct 9, 2020
We all know if we practice a skill we will improve. So why is it so darn hard to stay motivated to practice when we know the end result will be good? Yet it never fails, my motivation for practicing wanes and the thoughts in my head can be put into the "I don't wanna do it" column, or "I will do it later" column each day. I see practicing much like sticking to a diet. You know you need to do it. You know it is good for you. But it is so easy to let excuses slide in and take over.
I have been on a mission to do something creative everyday. I am not perfect at it but I have learned a few tricks I can share with you to do what you know you need to do when you find you are struggling to keep focused on your coloring practice. So put down that piece of cake and hear me out.
Trick One: Join an online challenge group. Sometimes motivation can be just as simple as "everyone else is doing it so I want to join in too". Have you ever tried a 30-day practice challenge or 100-day event on your favorite social media platform? It is easy to stay motivated in these challenges because you see everyone in the group posting the projects they are working on. Something triggers in your brain about how easy they make practicing look so you know you can do it too. When you are a part of these events you are exposed to some new tricks or techniques that will inspire you to try out for yourself. There are several different types of group challenges floating around on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Pick any social media venue you are comfortable with, then search for things like art challenge, or coloring challenge, or 30-day challenge, etc. You will see many types of groups out there. They are all free to join and you will likely meet a new artistic friend as a bonus.
Trick Two: Collect inspiring photos. If social media is not your thing, and you like more of an introspective approach, consider creating a collection of inspiring photos to keep you motivated and kick start your creative juices. There are great online sites like Pinterest that encourage organizing collections of pictures--making it easy for you to store thousands of pictures in one place. And if you are more of an introvert that doesn't want to share your boards on Pinterest, don't worry, just make them "private" and they will be for your eyes only!
Another alternative for creating a collection of inspiring photos is to organize your photos in your cellphone, tablet, or on your desktop computer. Take five minutes each day to search a topic on the internet that interests you (i.e., wildlife, portraits, or food illustrations), no matter what your interests are there are plenty of pictures on the internet. When you come across a photo that inspires you save it in an "Inspiration" album. The inspiration could simply be the colors in the photo or it could be the composition that peaks your interest. If it makes you smile save it and store it in your Inspiration album. If you really want to get fancy tag these photo collections with a word that describes the reason you are collecting it. Tagging the photo with keywords that make sense to you will make it easy to find in your Inspiration album in the future when you need inspiration. As an example, you don't know what to color but you want do something happy then search for the photos that have the tag "Happy" on them. You focus your energy and time on looking at all of the photos that are in that vain. What will happen is that one thing will spark another and another then you will see . . . poof you got an idea and the motivation to get started on a project.
Trick three: Talk it out with your coloring Practice Partner. If social media is not for you and you are just not that organized to keep an Inspiration album of photos for yourself, I'm sure you are wondering what else can you do? If you feel you need to talk it out with someone then I suggest finding a motivation buddy. It can be another artist you met in an art class, or maybe it's someone you met online in a Facebook group. Find someone that you can set up a weekly call for 30 minutes to just talk about what projects you both are working on. I can say from experience that this was a great motivator for me. I had a regular call each Saturday with my practice partner. This motivated me to work on my project because I knew if it was Wednesday and I had not started on something I wasn't going to have anything to share after my partner tells me all about the work she has done during the week. In addition, every time we chatted on the phone about our projects and we would also share pictures of our work with each other. Our 30 minute call usually lasted a couple of hours because I got so energized by what I was learning from her, or she made me think about what I was doing and encourage me to try things in a different way. I always hung up the phone excited to try my new project for the week or go back and make changes to my current project. I always found our chats helpful in shining a light on my practicing journey.
Those are just a few things I do to get myself out of my "I don't wanna do it" funk and pick up a pencil and start having fun.
Practice doesn't have to be painful, it just has to be plentiful.
If you find yourself stuck with no motivation to get going try one of these methods maybe it doesn't work for you exactly how it worked for me, but you could probably morph it into something that does work for you. Like my mom would always say to me when I would say I was stuck or unmotivated to do something, "Don't plant yourself in this feeling. You are not a tree, you can pick yourself up and move."