This part at the beginning made me nod my head very hard: “Sometimes we focus so much on getting great at something that we miss the opportunity we have to get better.”
But then I kept reading, and I was like, hold up. This is just… overly complicated. There's a way simpler “formula” for getting better at one thing in a month.
Here's how it goes: Just do lots of that thing in a month.
That's it, dude. All it takes to get better at something is to do it lots, and the way to get yourself to do it lots is to commit to doing it lots. Which isn't necessarily an easy thing to do, but it is simple.
Sure, you can spend some time figuring out how to define “better”. And sure, you can spend some time getting in touch with why you want to get better at it. But honestly? Enough thinking about it, and just start doing it. You can figure out the whys while you're at it, or after you've done it.
There's something stuck in your brain, something you desperately – maybe secretly – want to get better at. The only thing you need to do is just show up. Stop thinking about it so much you never do it.
Get ambitious and commit to doing or making that one thing every single day for a month. Or commit to doing or making it a few times a week for a month. Anything less than that isn't really making a commitment to get better at it.
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I've spent years making something every single day, and in doing that I've gotten better at making lots of different kinds of things, and way better at trying new things. Hell, I've even gotten better at getting better at things.
This month, I'm training for a 5K. How I'm doing it? By making sure I show up for the workouts. I could wax on for ages about why I'm doing this at this particular time in my life, and why I've gotten further into the training than I have any of the other times I've tried, but really it comes down to not thinking about it. I don't need to justify myself, I don't need to justify my methods, I don't need to dig deep into what kept me from doing this all the other times I've tried. I just need to do it.
What's nagging at you that you want to get better at? Will you show up for it?
Learning how to carve stamps is one of my favourite things to come out of my Years of Making. Stamp carving is like the opposite of knitting and crocheting – you can sit down for an hour or two and create a stamp you can use over and over again pretty much forever. Compared to making things from yarn, it's practically instantaneous! And it's fun.
And, let's face it, it's also practical. I've designed a thank-you stamp for making cards to send after my kid's birthday. I've made outlines of shapes to use in my bullet journal or to layer over all sorts of stuff in my art journal. I've made a stamp of the title of Stamp Camp – so meta! And of the tiles in my cousin's bathroom. (Ok, that last one isn't practical at all. But it sure was fun.)
You can also access some of the class as a free trial to see how the platform works and to get a feel for what's offered in class. So no risk! Give it a try today and let me know if you have any questions.
Now that summer is finally over (heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest notwithstanding), I'm getting back into my cooking groove. I don't enjoy cooking enough to be bothered to do much of it in the heat and frenzy of summer, but as soon as school is about to start, all I want to do is make food.
Starting with my kid's favourite kind of snack to take to school: muffins. I love making muffins. They're so easy, and they freeze well. So even if the kid decides he's sick of one kind after taking them to school all week, I don't have to force him to take them for a second week because I'll have put a half dozen of them into the freezer. Then I can make a different kind, and thaw the first kind after a few weeks when he's forgotten he was sick of them.
The ones I just made are a modified version of the Kitchen Sink Muffins in The Best Homemade Kids' Lunches on the Planet. (Lots of the recipes in this book are for sandwiches, so not exactly earth-shattering. But the kid enjoys flipping through it and telling me what he wants to eat, so I love having it around.) This recipe has no egg in it, so it's easy to make it vegan if you're so inclined (one of us is lactose-intolerant, so I always bake non-dairy).
If you read my Friday newsletter, you know my college roommates are visiting for a few days. It's only the second time in fifteen years that we've been in the same place together.
And as you do when you've been friends for over twenty years, we got to chatting before the visit about getting matching tattoos. Diamonds, which last forever just like our friendship. Aw. And also, the ridiculous thing that inspired this trip is… a Neil Diamond concert.
The thing is, our styles are really different. I, especially, struggled with the idea of a diamond. I'm not so big with the shiny sparkly things, and also the ethics of diamonds are just deeply problematic. But I love these women, and our friendship is forever.
Somehow, I got to thinking about compass roses, and whether I could really stretch the diamond concept into the four points of the compass. I didn't even realize at the time that I put a compass rose into the branding of my business a few months ago. There's something about this symbol that's stuck in my head these days. Something about adventuring, getting lost and found again, staying grounded while taking risks.
Leave it to the amazing Sam McWilliams to put a diamond perfectly in the centre of a compass rose tattoo. One look at her sketch and I was like yes. This is the one.
In my love of traveling, in my love for friends near and far, I know where I am and who I am and which direction is my personal north. This design on my arm forever, with the diamond at its centre that matches the diamonds my beloved friends have inked on themselves, is simply perfect.