On/Off Purpose

“Ineffective practice is unfocused and meandering. It has no particular goal and because of that it achieves no particular goal.”

Paul Foxton, Learning to See

The #100dayproject sounded straightforward: commit to doing one thing (of my own choosing) for 100 days, and revel in my productivity. Keep going for a few more 100-day blocks, and I’ll have established a new creative habit and be a couple of steps closer to becoming prolifically creative. Easy.

A year ago (already!), I started a new exercise habit: three intense 20-minute sessions on the rowing machine every week. I started on a Tuesday, so from there worked out a weekly schedule. The time of day didn’t matter, and I could reschedule if I had to. I kept a fitness diary, making a note of any exercise I did (even brisk walking around the shops counted!).

My purpose was to get fit. I’d previously joined a running group, but found it too competitive and got bored. I also tried a Pilates class, but managed to trigger a dormant shoulder injury, and had to give it up. Rowing was on my own terms.

After 14 days of forcing myself to draw something, anything, so I could tick the #100dayproject box, I stopped drawing. It got to the point where I was doodling James Norton and Robson Green in Grantchester, because I’d spent most of the day procrastinating.

Then I stumbled upon this post by Paul Foxton at Learning to See, and I understood why I’d failed. I didn’t have a purpose. I mistook other people’s dreams for my own (easy to do when people talk with such enthusiasm), and not really thought about what I wanted to achieve.

My purpose is currently quite vague – to wear out my pencils so I can buy new ones.  It’s not profound, but it’s a start.  I know what I don’t want to do, and I suppose there’s a purpose in that, too.

Footnote: Thank you to artist and blogger Crystal Moody for writing On Purpose which helped me put my own thoughts into perspective. If you’d like to develop your own creative habit, visit Crystal Moody’s A Year of Creative Habits website and join the community.

WordPress Prompt: Purpose

The post On/Off Purpose first appeared on Filbert & Smudge.


7 thoughts on “On/Off Purpose

  1. Great post. I am not an artist, but can transfer this into other areas. I recently bought a zentangle book to challenge myself to draw just a little:)


      1. Thank you. I love what you said about “a purpose that excites us.” Feel like that is just coming back into my life after a long hiatus…


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