While catching up with my friend Julie the other day, we talked about daily habits that we were both trying to maintain—journaling, drawing, and meditating. I was struck by her embrace of digital tools to not only track the habits through an app, but also journal and draw via iPad. I realized that I have become a stickler for the analog way of doing things: journaling in notebook 1, sketching in notebook 2, checking off completed habits in my bullet journal (notebook 3). There is a rote pleasure in going through this routine every morning all before I open my computer, at which point my attention is completely lost to Slack and email and pending work tasks.
The last time I wrote creatively was during a two week stint last summer working on the rough draft of a novel; every morning I made a matcha latte as motivation and convinced myself that typing half-nonsense until I reached 700 words wasn’t torture. I’ve been thinking about this lately as I’ve kept up with daily sketching, which takes roughly the same time1 but feels both enjoyable and like an accomplishment. Was writing that difficult or loathsome, even for a first draft? Or was it that I was unable to immerse myself in the joy of creating on the computer as I can on the page?
By engaging in craft hobbies like punch needle or sewing, or even putting pencil or brush to paper to make art, I’ve witnessed how much the tactility of these practices is teaching me about myself. I tend to rush in everything I do to mark something as done. On the computer I can’t sense the effects of my speed, but on paper or fabric I can see the haste in loose pencil marks or uneven stitches. I’m also experimenting more with materials and organically discovering my preferences over time. Best of all, working analog means there are physical objects looming about that serve as reminders, whether it’s a notebook or painting or half-finished textile piece.
Digital creation won’t be going away, nor should it! The process is much more flexible, quick, transferrable, and polished.2 It’s almost a requirement for finishing up work for a lot of mediums. But I’ll be sticking to analog first, rooting in activities with amplified touch, to feel closer to and freer in what I make.
Other things on my mind:
I started a 100 day project to use my sketchbook more (see above). Each day’s spread is limited to three colors and have a theme. Working with limitations makes each day a lot easier to tackle! I’ll be posting each week on IG and will try to share more updates here.
Currently reading Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler. It is very obnoxiously written by a smart Brooklyn media person and I love it. I also love Oyler’s NYT piece from 2018 on what it means to call art “necessary”, if you haven’t read it!
Watching Run On, a very witty romantic comedy kdrama, via Netflix. The dialogue is *chefs kiss* and I’m sad that the English translations don’t do it justice (ironic since the main character is a film translator).
TATBILB 3 > 1 > 2. Agree/disagree?
About an hour.
Even my illustration at the top of this newsletter was made digitally. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯