A while back I bought a small Alocasia Amazonica for my daughter. She loved that the leafs were purple on the back, purple being her favourite colour. She is four, and clearly knows about the important things in life; surround yourself with pretty things.

It sat beautifully on a dresser in her room for a long time. It had plenty of indirect light, just enough water and grew very nicely. Then it started to look a bit sad. Nothing serious, just a bit off. Then it began looking very sad, the leaves got brown spots, and it was totally droopy. I left it for quite a while, thinking “Maybe it will sort itself out”. I am not sure why I thought that, but I sort of hoped it would just get used to it’s small pot, and stop growing. Like a bonsai, right?

In order for it to survive, I had to give it more space

But eventually I had to admit, that if I wanted it to survive I had to give it a bit more space. And it was at the nick of time! One of the stems had died, leaving only two sad, brownish stems, and I was convinced I had left it for too long. But I crossed my green thumbs, gave it water and light, and lo and behold! Not long after a new stem came crawling out from the dirt. A brand new beautiful leaf unfolded. And not long after I noticed another tiny new leaf coming out from the new stem. Success!

Getting stuck in the daily grind

And it got me thinking. When did I last re-pot myself? When did I last give myself space, and a chance to grow new leafs? For the last long while I had been getting more and more stuck in the daily grind. Not that I have a particularly complicated or overly busy life, but I have a daily routine that doesn’t really get changed, ever. And don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of routines. A day with a young child is much easier with routines, but I was feeling stale in the middle of it all. I wasn’t doing anything just for fun, just for me, just for the sake of it. All work and no play.

Some work and some play

I had to do something about it, so I decided to draw. I love drawing, I just never do it. I have all the excuses: I’m too tired, it is too late, I don’t know what to draw, I only have an hour. You know, all the usual stuff. So I made a plan: I’m going to draw ten nudes the next coming weeks. I didn’t have a set deadline as such, but I decided to draw every day, for as long as I could. If it was half an hour, that was cool. Two hours, even cooler. And I could have drawn anything. Nudes was just what I decided on, because I wanted to practice drawing skin and poses.


And it worked. Knowing that I “had” to sit down to draw after kiddo was in bed, gave me so much freedom. The structure of having a plan for how to spend my time made it so much easier to be creative. Having a plan for what to draw made me more creative. It also made me more productive, but without stressing me out, because it was still just something I was doing for fun. If I missed one evening it was fine, I just got going again the next. I was re-potting myself one drawing at the time. And the extra bonus of this exercise was that I started opening up for other ways to break the routine, to give myself space and some fresh soil.

Having a creative routine broke up the practical routine, which made me feel so much better and a gave me a growing stack of drawings to show for. A total win win. So here’s to routines, I wouldn’t want to live without them!

You can see the drawings here.

Originally published at www.thehappinessdetective.com