There are many reasons why you might be feeling unmotivated when it comes to lettering. It’s natural to have peaks and lulls in your enthusiasm, but if you feel like you’re stuck in a bit of an extended rut, read on.
First off, I totally get why you might be feeling meh or bleh. You feel like you’re not improving fast enough – you think that your lettering always looks the same. If you’re an Instagrammer, seeing engagement starting to drop off is a massive downer and it makes you start questioning whether the quality of your posts is on the decline. Maybe seeing other people’s amazing work, post after post, makes you compare yourself to them, and we all know that the comparison game is never fun. I’ve got a separate post on how to deal with the times when you hate everything you make. Or maybe it’s just that you’ve been super busy, not been posting as often as you’d like, and you start thinking, ‘well if I haven’t posted in this long, a few more days won’t make a difference.’ Whatever the reason, here are my top tips on how to stay motivated for longer!
1. Have a lettering playlist that gets you in the zone
You will have your own preferences, but if you don’t, try searching youtube for ‘rainforest sounds’ or ‘running water’ when you feel like listening to something relaxing, or ‘motivational speeches’ when you want something more energising.
2. Join a lettering challenge
There are heaps on Instagram and even accounts that are dedicated solely to reposing lettering challenges. Most are 30 day challenges, but if you’re time-strapped, there are weekly ones too. You’ll be given a prompt, which takes away the hassle of trying to come up with something to write.
3. Try some fun, new techniques
I've done a bunch of videos on fun and easy ways to decorate your lettering. My favourite technique would have to be using a toothbrush to flick paint whilst creating space for lettering using masking tape, or paper and a ruler.
4. Set aside time just for lettering
Getting into a routine will make you more likely to stick to it. It’s like exercise. This can even be when you’d usually be sitting on the couch or in front of a computer watching TV shows. You’re multi-tasking and time-saving!
5. Buy new lettering tools every now and again
There’s nothing like a shiny new toy to get you excited about lettering again. It doesn’t haven’t to be expensive. Daiso sells brush pens for a couple of dollars. My favourite Daiso pen has to be this one with the gold flowers and refillable cartridges. It’s super juicy and it creates nice size variation between thick and thin strokes.
6. Start a theme
My current one on Instagram is flourishing in circles (#flourishingincircles) where I try to come up with as many different ways as I can that relate to it. You want to come up with one that’s not so broad that it’s overwhelming, and not so narrow that there’s limited number of variations. Feel free to do flourishing in circles too if you’re stuck!
7. Stop before you get too frustrated and come back to it the next day
On the days where you’re just not feeling it, do 80% of what you intended to do, then come back to it the next day. It will give your brain a chance to come up with new ideas/ refine it/ piece it all together whilst you sleep, without you wasting hours trying to get that last 20% finished on an off-day.
8. Ask for feedback, often
We don’t easily see our own incremental improvement, so we need to turn to family and friends who don’t see our lettering as often, for feedback. They are the ones who will give us the encouragement we need to hear, as well as honest areas for improvement. It’s when you see improvement and know you’re getting good at something, that you start liking it even more, which makes you invest more time into it.. and tadaa, that is how motivation is created! If you don’t have family or friends, you can ask me. Just email me, or Instagram me.
9. Carry a brush pen and small notebook wherever you go
Turn waiting-time into productive time, e.g. when you’re on a flight and there are no good movies to watch, when you’re waiting for that friend who is always late to brunch, when you’re in the waiting room at the dentist and need something to distract you, when you’re waiting at a red light.. (okay just kidding about the last one).
10. Set goals
We all know the importance of goal-setting for motivation. Often the hardest part is coming up with what goals to set. I like to start with yearly goals, then work backwards to fill in monthly goals, weekly goals and daily tasks. I track it all by keeping a journal. I’ll share my structure for it once I’ve stuck with it for a while longer. It’s great to start off with things that are measurable, like ‘Practise lettering for 30 minutes, three times a week’, or ‘Send out two hand-lettered birthday cards every month’.
Leave a comment if you already do any of the above, and if you have any other motivational tips that can help others on their lettering journey!