5/26/2011 03:51:00 PM Posted In , Edit This 10 Comments »
I've read many times that if you want to develop a new habit, doing it for 21 days in a row will cause the behavior to become habitual.  I believe that's true for most of us most of the time.  I've tried it and, indeed, I did turn something into a habit.  After looking up the word "habit" in my trusty (albeit old) Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, I was surprised to find that the definition I had in mind was the 7th in a list of 9!  It was preceded by:   clothing;  a costume characteristic  of a calling;  bearing;  bodily appearance or make-up;  the prevailing disposition of a person's thoughts or feelings;  a settled tendency or usual pattern of behavior; and finally, the one I had in mind - a behavior pattern acquired by  frequent repetition that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance.  OK, that was more than you wanted to know.

Anyhow, thinking of building new habits led me to wonder about how long it takes to lose a desired habit if the behavior is interrupted for one reason or another.   I've never seen any research about this, but I'm guessing it takes a lot less time than 21 days!   I've talked about this general topic before, but here I am again struggling with the same issue.   Some of you know I was quite sick for about 6 weeks plus more time to reach a full recovery.  During much of that time I was literally unable to pick up a pencil to draw (not to mention use my treadmill).  That said, I've been physically healthy enough to do both for at least 3 weeks now, but have done neither.

Every day I tell myself that I'm going to start drawing again.  Every day I don't do it (never mind the treadmill - that's another matter completely!).  The supplies are all out on my drawing table, and I often hear them softly calling to me .  I feel guilty and uncertain of my ability to draw anything.  And because I've not been drawing or painting, I've also not been posting to my blog.

So, here's what I'm going to do.  I remembered an ink drawing I started years ago  of a wonderful face.  I was trying out a method new to me - using nothing but tiny dots.  Yesterday I looked for that drawing and found it after a relatively short search.  I'm hoping that by only making dots (what's so hard about putting a dot on a piece of paper?) I might get back in the saddle.   (It just occurred to me that here I am posting without drawing one thing, not even a dot .... what a chicken!)   Wish me luck, please.

Here is the drawing I started all those years ago (it's probably been at least 12!), and I'll post more as I go along.  My goal isn't necessarily to finish it, but rather to just start drawing.   Besides, I may need him again sometime in the future to lead me back to the drawing board!


Vicki Holdwick said...


It is so good to see you on the blog again.

And I love Mr. Dot man - looks like it takes a lot of patience.

I was hoping giving you some of the Khadi paper would get you into the art room, too.

Can't wait to see you next week,


Unknown said...

Nancy, good luck getting back into the sketching saddle. I would have thought it more daunting to pick up something where I'd left off, expecting a similar facility with hand and eye, than to start something fresh? The main thing is that you have made a start by digging out this promising sketch. Hope it doesn't drive you dotty ;-)

Now I have to get motivated to do some sketching too.

Anonymous said...

So pleased to see you around again! I know just what you mean about procrastination and the building of habits. Deciding to join the EDiM has been really good for me and although I am some days behind, I am in fact doing some sketching each day. I look forward to seeing your 'dotty man' come to life!

Anonymous said...

Nice to see you back, Nancy. I'm sure just doing the dots will get you started again. There's something about just zoning out that allows your creative brain to kick in. Let us know how you get on :)


Sandra said...

I agree, dots are a great way to get a project back on track. I'm discovering that recovery is not just the body healing, but the ability of the mind to focus. Reading a book can be challenging for a while. May you continue to get well.

Timaree said...

I haven't been around for a long time - longer than you were ill and recovering! Glad you are feeling better though and ready to get back to drawing. Dots would drive me absolutely bonkers but whatever will work should be what you do. I think I am going to take Alisa Burke's watercolor class that starts on June 1. Classes are what get me moving again. And I think it only takes 2 days to lose a habit. That's been my experience at least.

Unknown said...

Thanks for talking about how to develop the "Drawing Habit". I recently was told if you change one habit you can change your life. I like the sound of that. I do think from my experience, the repetition of daily drawing is what develops our drawing skills. I am so glad you are feeling better and back to drawing. You sketch of the face looking out seems to me to mean that it is looking in the right direction to continue on the drawing path. Happy continued drawing!

Cathy Holtom said...

Mr dot man really does look like he needs some attention, go on Nancy you can do it!
Thanks for your comment too, if ever you want to come over you're always welcome to stay with us(:

Alex said...

I wish I have a drawing habit instead of just hobby =) I can blame on my day job all day long but in the end of the day, it's me that I should be pointing the finger at.
Anyway, it's nice to see you get back to what you started long ago

Alex said...

Oh yeah, I will try to sketch something tonight as well!