Learning Resolutions: Read, Write, Draw

At the end of every year we list a few things we resolve to resolute. The most common are lose weight, exercise more, quit something or start something else. Whether we actually list them or not, we all have them in some degree.

Assembling a list of resolutions for our professional lives does take a bit more forethought as it will (should) directly impact the direction and strategy of your company or your role in it. Giving this more thought I wanted a set of resolutions that would benefit me both professionally and personally.

I’m going back to the basics. My top three resolutions from 2015 are those I struggle with the most when it comes to managing the time to do them and more importantly, finishing them. In no particular order, here they are:

1. Read more – I like to read. In fact, I love reading all sorts of things out of curiosity. For instance I might be sifting through email newsletters and come across an article that interests me. While reading the article a related book is mentioned and referenced. I click the link and now I’m at Amazon.com with it staring at me with a ridiculously inexpensive Kindle price of a few dollars. Having a Prime membership and one-click purchase, the book is downloading to my Kindle before I even realize what I’ve done. Then it dons on me that I have new book to read. That’s when things fall apart. I want to read it. I bought it. I need to read it if for any other reason to justify the purchase. Though for some odd cosmic reason I can’t seem to get into a daily reading habit.

Reading Plan: The first thing is I have come to a realization that I can’t read a book in one setting. I just don’t have the mental focus. I get too distracted in wandering thoughts. To combat this weakness I need to exercise so I’m starting with 10-20 minutes every morning. The 10 minute swing is to allow for good stopping points. I certainly don’t want the timer to go off in the middle of a paragraph! From there my goal is to reach one hour of reading a day within 90 days and finish a book before I buy another.

2. Write more – I like to write. In fact, I have hundreds of articles, blog posts, and short stories that I’ve started. Not finished. Key word here is finish. The problem I see in myself is a combination similar to reading where I get distracted easily, but also that I don’t have good writing structure. I really have to consciously think and plan how something is going to ‘read’ before I write. I know a lot of people who write exceptionally well and seemingly effortlessly. You may be the same #envy. I also know writing more will improve my structure skills and hopefully more ideas will surface.

Writing Plan: Similar to reading, I need a fixed time to write. In my convoluted mind I figure if I read first and then go write I can keep both of these tasks in the same block of time. All totaled should be no more than 45 minutes, right? More importantly it’s about finishing what I started to write about so if it takes two or three mornings the goal is to stay on task. If this works out as I’m planning I should be able to publish a weekly blog post and even get ahead a few weeks.

3. Draw more – I love to draw. I draw a lot. In fact, if you know me you know that I draw every day as it is. It’s a habit I’ve had for as many years as I can remember. So much so that I have a dedicated sketchbook for everyday use, one by my nightstand for those middle of the night inspirations, and a pocket sketchbook I never leave the house with. The challenge I’m posing to myself is more drawing, not sketching. Honestly, I sketch more than I draw. Big difference. Something for another conversation (see, there’s a blog post right there!). Similar to writing I have multiple sketchbooks with hundreds if not thousands of sketches. Majority of which no one has ever seen. My goal is to complete those sketches into full production drawings. In many cases I’ve sketched ideas with the end goal of it being a t-shirt or poster design.

Drawing Plan: My creative juices are firing on all cylinders late at night rather than first thing in the morning when it comes to sketching and drawing. Furthermore, if I intend on converting these sketches into workable vector art for mass consumer consumption that takes time. It’s best I devote this time to the late evening when email, calls and general daily interruptions occur cease to exist. Because these take more time I’m going to conservatively commit to one a month. What? I got weekly writing assignments as it is. And combined with all that reading where am I going to find time to eat and sleep?!

These three resolutions for me are designed for my professional life, but all truth told they are for personal gains as well. I don’t have to tell you that the mere act of reading and writing will only produce long-term benefits. Even though I’m naturally passionate about drawing every day, I’d argue it’s equally beneficial for everyone to pick up the daily habit of at least sketching.

Follow my blog at http://nuggethead.net/blog or on Twitter @learnnuggets to keep me accountable and on task. See you in 2015!

P.S. Notice above that the “P” is capitalized in the word Plan? That’s by design. By capitalizing that letter it makes the plan that much more official.

Kevin Thorn is the Chief Nuggethead of NuggetHead Studioz where he creates and consults on learning, illustration and training.