Facing A Challenge With A Challenge

December 12, 2017

For creative professionals, staying enthusiastic and inspired all day every day can be a struggle – especially if you spend time being creative in your personal time outside of work. As a graphic designer who enjoys painting and drawing on the side, it’s exciting when I finally have the time to be my own client. That is, until I realize I feel “creatively snuffed”, so-to-speak. So how does one stay inspired amidst the daily grind? And how does one overcome and avoid the ever-looming creative block?

Research has shown that a consistent theme among successful creatives (particularly writers and artists) is the power of pattern and routine. Habits are an important factor when it comes to our willpower and motivation because they remove the roadblocks that typically impede our capacity to do the work. By having a consistent schedule to adhere to when it comes to making and doing, we give ourselves permission to make junk along the way – an important part of the creative process.

Over the last several years, pairing routine and creativity in the form of daily challenges has become an incredibly popular trend. There are all sorts of blogs and social media platforms that encourage you to participate by sharing your work on a daily basis, thus building a community of support at the same time. Instagram is a particularly accessible place to seek out challenges if you search different hashtags. Some users even “host” monthly challenges throughout the year and often share a word or two as a thought-starter. The great thing is that the internet is a vast place, so you can easily find a challenge of interest or be inspired and customize your own.

Below are a couple of my favorite challenges that I like to follow and that I’m looking forward to trying in the coming year:

Daily Drop Cap:

Who knows who actually started this challenge, but Jessica Hische brought it to fame in 2009. What started as a little side project ended up jump starting her career. This one is pretty straightforward: create a different drop cap letter everyday until you go through the entire alphabet. Then repeat as many times as you want. (Search: #DailyDropCap.) 


A 31-day challenge created by Jake Parker, it started as a way to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits and has since grown to a worldwide endeavor. During the month of October, Jake shares a one-word prompt to inspire your daily ink drawing. This past year included words such as “swift,” “mysterious,” and “juicy.” (Search: #Inktober, #Inktober2017, etc.)