Every great artist or brilliant creative I know has a routine. A friend who’s job is to constantly create the most fresh and relevant art, has a routine of browsing PinterestFlickrVimeo and other aggregation sites every Tuesday through Thursday morning for 30 min when he get’s into the office.  Another friend who is a songwriter, makes a commitment to write a song (or portion of a song) every single day.

Regardless of your area of focus, the better your discipline, the better you will become. When I used to own Playback Media, making content on a very regular basis, I was most successful when Imade a routine out of my Saturday mornings. I would get up around 8am, drive to my local Starbucks (I preferred to be outside if possible on a spring or early fall day). I’d always find a great fresh album, and I’d spend the first 30 minutes finding inspiration. I’d scour PinterestBehanceDesignspiration and Abduzeedo, looking for color ideas, patterns, textures and design styles that inspired me in some way. But I would always limit it to 30 minutes. This can become a worm hole. Set an alarm and get out of inspiration mode.

Then, I’d just start creating. I had a rule at first, that I wouldn’t spend more than an hour and a half on any one specific design. This would often help me avoid hitting a creative block or a design issue, and I always felt the pressure. Early in my design/animation career, I found that if I got too invested and hit a road block, I’d likely throw the baby out with the bath water. So if I was happy or frustrated, after an hour and a half, I’d hit save, and move on.

This was my Saturday morning routine for almost 3 years (when I was in town). It was a great way to keep my creative muscles working out and I found that the more I did it, the better I became at design and animation. I wouldn’t get bogged down with not knowing how to do something, as I’d just go watch a tutorial, but all of that would be constricted to the window for that design.

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The more regular my creative routines, the better I became at design and animation.

You see a creative routine can add incredible value to your craft. Rarely we realize the benefits until we’ve been in a routine for a few weeks or months. Here are a few of the things I found to be true:

  • A creative routine will force regular creative workouts.
  • A creative routine will make starting from scratch less daunting.
  • A creative routine will build patterns of creating, not just consuming.
  • A creative routine will force you to become better at your skill or craft.
  • A creative routine helps you think less about process, and more about the product.

Do you have a creative routine? If not, Consider thinking about one. It may include getting up and making your favorite cup of coffee in a very specific coffee mug. It may not include coffee at all, and rather be a process you take in at night. Regardless, I’d highly recommend a creative routine, otherwise creativity will become an afterthought in your schedule.

I highly recommend a creative routine, otherwise creativity will become an afterthought in your schedule.

Luke McElroy's Creative Potential: Principles for Unleashing Your God-Given Calling

I just finished my most recent bookCreative Potential: Principles for Unleashing Your God-Given CallingIt’s without question my single favorite project I’ve ever worked on. I’d encourage you to check it out and see what other’s have to say about the book as you explore how to maximize your own creative potential.

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