One of our goals at RogueMark Studios is to cultivate creative practice. Even though we’re professional artists, animators and writers, we struggle to schedule time for creative work outside of the office. Creativity doesn’t just happen randomly. It takes intentional structure and effort.
If you intend to “be more creative” this year, here are some tips from the RogueMark team.
1. Stay in the chair. (Bethany, Scriptwriter)
The biggest challenge to creative practice is resisting distraction and “staying in the chair.” When it comes to actually sitting down and doing the work, your mind goes everywhere all at once. Aren’t there dishes to wash, emails to send, a grandmother to call, taxes to file?
Maybe there are, but they can wait. Now is the time for your creative work.
Set a timer for yourself--start small, maybe 15 minutes. Silence your phone. Keep your butt in the chair the whole time, no matter how much it pains you. This is the starting point to “making.”
When 15 minutes of “staying in the chair” feels easy, increase the time. Remember, growth comes from discomfort!
2. Schedule time. (Abby, Owner & Graphic Recorder)
Now that you’ve gotten your butt in the chair once, do it again! If we’ve learned anything about creativity, it’s this: it deserves (and requires) structured time. You can’t reach 10,000 hours, or even 500 hours, if you don’t set them aside.
At the beginning of each week, pencil your “creative practice” time into your calendar before you schedule anything else. And then do it! (The amount of time doesn’t matter nearly as much as the consistency and repetition of your routine--it can be anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour.) If you need guidance in your practice, consider signing up for a class or making a list of online tutorials to work through.
If you put aside a little time every day for creative practice, you’ll be surprised by how natural and habitual it will become. Take it step by step, day by day. You’ll see the results.
3. Keep a sketchbook purely for exploration. (Marisa, Animator)
You know the sketchbook. Creamy paper, smooth spine, just the right amount of bend. But because it’s so lovely, it remains untouched and unused, as if your words and drawings might ruin the pages.
Forget “preciousness”--the point of a sketchbook is to create, not to admire. Keep a cheap or medium-grade book purely for exploration. Don’t worry about making anything perfect; just let your mind wander and experiment. Make a mess! When you forget about perfection and preciousness, you’ll produce more than you can imagine.
4. Keep your inspiration handy. (Daphne, Animation Intern)
You never know when inspiration may strike. Or fail to strike. Either way, an inspiration board is tremendously helpful! Pinterest is a great resource for creators of all kinds who wish to discover new techniques, tutorials and mediums, as well as organize their inspirations. You can make specific boards for style references, writing prompts, DIY dreams--there’s no other platform that allows you to catalog your inspiration so easily.
Whatever type of creator you are, keep inspiring work accessible and visible, either pinned to your wall or “pinned” on your computer. The next time you’re sitting there, uncertain of what to make and twiddling your thumbs (no judgment, it happens to the best of us), remember that you have a collection of inspiration at your fingertips.
5. Find a creative community. (Eliza, Art Director)
The life of a creator can be a lonely one. Who among us hasn’t heard that insidious voice whisper, "I'm just not good enough"? Self-doubt is paralyzing, especially when you’re lost in your work.
These are the moments when you need a creative community the most. Whether it’s a friend you’ve known all your life or an artist you follow religiously on Instagram, there’s a certain energy among people who create. They get it - the highs and lows, the triumphs and failures, the confidence and insecurity of being an artist. A creative community fosters a space for support and inspiration that can’t be found elsewhere. They become your personal cheerleaders in those lonely moments of insecurity and doubt.
Embrace this community, both for support and creative growth. Share your work and seek their feedback. You’ll become a better creator for it.
Thanks for reading! What are other suggestions you have for structuring (and scheduling) creative practice into your routine?