Staying Accountable with your Lettering Goals
Having goals is like a compass that guides you where you want to go and where you need to be. It sets the tone for what you need to to to get to it. So if you decide that this year will be your best lettering year yet, you probably have some thoughts on what to do. But how do you make sure that you are accountable? Here are some ways to stay on track.
Set a routine that you can easily follow.
An hour a day can help make you a better letterer. If you don't have enough time - whether you are busy with your work or school or family, even a short 30 min block will do. Even if it is only a small chunk of your time, doing daily drills is a lot better than spending a single 4-hour session during the weekends. Doing things every day, especially when you are doing it consistently in the same time slot, helps cement the knowledge and the experience. It's the same as when you are studying for exams. Cramming at the last minute only does so much. Reviewing every day will help you remember the concepts and theories better.
Block the time you choose on your calendar and set a reminder at least 15 minutes before.
Doing a meaningful practice every day is important. By meaningful, I mean doing things deliberately, with a goal and an end in mind. You can make a weekly calendar of the mini goals for the week. You can start with the most basic ones to help you remember each letter takes, or if you are already confident with the forms, you can try putting words together and practice lettering using different styles. Here are some ideas to help you get going:
- Practice the alphabet (serif, sans-serif, script, decorative, etc.)
- 1 word a day for each letter of the alphabet
- Quotes that inspire you
- Lines from songs, movies or book
Plan ahead so you don't need to waste time thinking what you need to do when the alarm sets off.
Let your family and friends in on the fun (plan).
Let the people around you know what you are doing (or planning to do), which mainly helps when you are living with them. By knowing your plan, they can remind you of what you need to do every day. They can check up on your progress or push you when you are feeling unmotivated. There will be an external force that will help you stay diligent in your routine. Having them to support you means that they can understand if you need to be alone during the time you are practicing. There will be fewer distractions that you need to take care of.
Share your work online.
Similar to the concept of letting your family and friends know of your plan, by sharing your work online, there are more people who can see your work. The theory is that the more people looking at your work, the bigger the push for you to follow the plan. Sharing your work also allows you to document your progress and you can easily see how far you've gone or what else you need to work on as you look back on your past work.
Mark your successes.
For each day that you do lettering, mark your calendar with an X or a checkmark or a stamp to note that you were successful that day. It's important to always be reminded of your successes, and so it's best if you can see the calendar where you work. As long as you showed up for your daily practice, you are successful. It does not matter if the output is good or bad. You don't need to share it if you don't feel it's good enough, but know that you did well by doing what you needed to do. When you look at your calendar and see the string of X's, you will be pushed to not break the chain. No matter how small you think the effect is, you will be pushed to keep on going. You will have the motivation not to miss one day.
By setting a routine and having a plan, you only need to show up. It helps you remove any other distractions. When the alarm rings, you know it's time to start lettering. Before long, you will start looking forward to that alone time, that moment when you are at your best, doing lettering without distractions.