Why a Lettering Routine is Important
Let me put it out there - I am not fond of routines. I always like having options and variety. When things get too comfortable, I don't feel at ease. It feels like something is missing.
BUT... why am I saying that a lettering routine is important? I will get to that in a while.
I have been lettering every day for at least a year now. Even if I miss certain days, I still make it a point to make up for them. Realistically, I'd say it took me around 3 months of daily lettering before it became a norm - before my body started to look forward to the nightly sessions.
Some studies show that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Some articles show that the average is between 2 to 8 months. I believe that each one of us has a different clock, but doing it regularly will eventually make it automatic - whether it is 21 days or 3 months.
Here are some benefits that I got out of my lettering routine.
When I stick to a schedule that I do every day, it is easy to get in the zone.
Starting to draw used to take ages. I would stare at the blank page for minutes and come up with nothing. There are still days when I take more time to start, but that has now lessened considerably.
Routine is an acquired taste. The more I do it, the more I love doing it.
Like I mentioned at the beginning, I dislike routines. I would be the one to question why we need to follow a daily routine - like waking up at a certain time or keeping to a schedule. However, it has transformed me. The more I keep to my lettering nights, the more I look forward to going home, and the more I plan what I will letter next.
Even when I don't feel like lettering, the routine will kick me in the face.
It does not feel right when I miss the schedule.When I am sick, I will feel guilty for sleeping through the night. And so, even if it is a draft or a simple practice, I would easily allow 30 mins for that.
Lettering is like exercise. The more I do it, the easier it becomes.
Because I letter every day, the words become easier to write. The shapes become easier to draw. My muscles would remember the strokes better. Writing becomes more blissful. Like exercise, learning takes a lot of effort. The beginning always takes time and conscious actions. But as I went along, I am building muscle memory. It just becomes easier.
Most importantly, routine helps me build character. Specifically, patience and self-worth.
Showing up every day is no easy task, especially the first 3 months when there were no clear outcomes. My work looks terrible. I am afraid to show it to anyone. One month in, and it does not seem to be working. Others took only a month and got nice results. However, it's not happening for me. Despite that, the daily mantra of following the routine helped me stay grounded. It certainly helped me to become stronger. I regained my self-worth when I started seeing results because I follow a schedule and because I do it every day. It took a lot of patience and determination. Until now, it keeps me motivated to be present and to improve daily.
You see, a lettering routine helped me more often than I dislike it.
There is always resistance at the beginning. However, I am happy to say that I am past that stage. Once you get over that first hurdle, it will turn from something that you hate, into something that you love. The reliability of the routine is something that I miss a lot, especially when there are unexpected things that make it difficult to show up - like late night work calls or sickness. Having a lettering routine is important to build yourself up, and to continually improve your work. Stay patient and determined. Results are not immediate. Put in the work every day, until one day, things will just fit.