When I discovered lettering in the fall of 2012, I immediately wanted to learn more. As a matter of fact, I still remember the exact piece that started it all.
During those first couple of years, I couldn’t get enough of lettering. I spent every minute I had studying letterforms, dissecting other people’s work, practicing and reading books. I think I was borderline obsessed.
Having a day job didn’t deter me either. I used to spend about a half hour in the morning and a couple of hours in the evening deliberately practicing. Weekends were also filled with even more lettering. I made it a point to practice because I saw all of the amazing work being shared by lettering artists I admired online, which only pushed me more.
With all of this said, the driving factor behind learning was the fact that I made time. When you love doing something so much it becomes second nature—you go on autopilot, which is exactly what I did. There was never a question about what I wanted to do. I just did it.
I’m telling you all of this to show you that there’s time to learn and practice lettering even if your schedule might seem full. You just need to make it. None of us have more than 24-hours in a day, which is why I’m going to share with you a few tips that can help you make more time for lettering.
Start with Why
You might not know your goals in the beginning and that’s perfectly fine. I didn’t have a specific goal in mind when I started other than I just wanted to learn more. But if you find yourself not progressing fast enough because of lack of time or motivation, write down why you want to learn lettering.
Doing this should give you a place to start if you’re not sure about your goals or why you want to learn lettering in the first place. If you really love it, you’ll make the time to practice regardless of outside factors. Sticking to your goals will also make the process of saying no easier.
Say No More Than You Say Yes
It’s true. You can do a lot more if you’re not saying yes to everything.
Some of the things you can start saying no to are:
- Pro bono work
- Going out
- Social media
- Staying up late
If these things aren’t helping you get to where you want to be, say no. Really, I mean it. Whether you like it or not, making time starts with saying no to everything that’s taking you away from your goals. Once you begin to limit the amount of things you’re saying yes to, you’ll realize how much time you’ve had all along.
Go to Bed Early
Why is it important to go to bed early?
Well, it’s a fact that people who get between 6-8 hours of sleep are generally more productive during the day. If you’re not getting at least 6 hours every night, then you’re probably not functioning at your full potential, which means you’re not utilizing your time effectively.
One way you could get in the habit of going to bed early is by setting a reminder. I did this for a while last year so I could get 6-8 hours of sleep. I had it set at 9:30 p.m., which was my cue to wind down. That meant no more screen time on my phone or laptop. If you have kids, you know the importance of a night routine and how crucial it is to sleep.
When you love doing something so much it becomes second nature—you go on autopilot.
Wake Up Early
If you’re going to bed early, then that means you could probably start waking up early, too. This is actually a benefit of getting a full night’s rest and it’s all because you let your body recharge.
If you have a day job, you could spend up to an hour practicing your lettering skills before you hit the road. Doing this can actually speed up the learning process if you’re also spending a couple hours at night. Even if you don’t have a day job, I recommend waking up early because:
- You’ll see a difference in your productivity
- You’ll get more done with the time that you have
Have a List of Words
Use your sketchbook or an app to store a list of words to pull from. This will save you time from thinking of words when you’re practicing. By doing this regularly, you’ll build a library of words to choose from and in turn, it will allow you to make time to focus on honing your skills.
Make it Part of Your Routine
Once you’ve established your goals as well as figured out your why, you’ll be able to make time for lettering without questioning it.
I challenge you to start taking action toward these steps today.