Every journey begins with a single step and is comprised of those steps. One after another. 160 days of drawing so far. I didn't skip a day. Not even once. Even a small thing counts and right now I'm trying to increase it with drawing being an activity and not a means to a finished work.
I had some fears which have been difficult to define. The first was the initial motivation. I thought that I had to wait for inspiration and when it came, the end result usually sucked because I had no skill. The motivation to draw again came when I got a sketchbook as a gift. It was small enough to fit in my pocket and I had the need to fill it. I thought that it was expected of me and that I had no excuse to leave home without it. Failure was not an option. This is different from graphics-tablet drawing because the tablet stays home because of the day job, and afterwards, when the evening comes and you're home again, you always claim you're too tired.
The second fear was a blank canvas. I was doodling for some days (two weeks tops before receiving the sketchbook). The blank canvas fear is something really messed up because it stopped me from drawing even before beginning. Every mark I made looked wrong. To overcome this, I did a test run in a discardable notebook and if it looked OK, I repeated the steps in the sketchbook and was satisfied enough. The ballpoint pen works great because you cannot erase the mark and it makes you repeat the line with the "wrong" one as a reference what not to repeat. After some time, I stopped doing the test runs and drew directly.
The third one was the topic of the drawing. I found a list of 30 topics and was drawing things left and right with what I felt comfortable with. I combined topics from other lists because I felt that I wasn't up to the task of some more difficult things. This was a challenge for a month but when it ended, and the sketchbook was not filled, I knew that I had to continue and keep filling it. The sketchbook has around 200 pages but I decided some time ago to make this a 365 challenge. Just the other day I drew around 3-4 AM because I wouldn't allow myself to skip a day. The topics varied from everyday objects to animals and recently humans. I'll probably move into portrait drawing soon.
There is no concrete recipe. You just do it and keep doing it. All the things like developing a skill of drawing a wide range of values, doing the drawing from life or following some tutorials is not a means to get you to draw superbly. You have to want it. Thing is, you make a drawing and you immediately know what is wrong, or even when you don't, you know later. Or even if not then, then a second pair of eyes can help. If you feel that your values are wrong, you improve them. If you feel like the forms are wrong, you improve them. I haven't tried to finish a piece yet. This might come later. The most important thing is experience. You draw because you feel the need to draw. You take part in the activity of observation and leaving a mark on a paper. A friend said that the result of such experience is a drawing. It does not need to be perfect or even good. It's just a drawing. A record that you did something.
A funny thing is that you keep getting worse every day because you just keep piling up bad things. That's because every new drawing you do makes the previous one look bad.
Keep doing it. Keep being bad. It'll be OK.
Listening to: Beta Band - Dry the Rain
Reading: Eugene Wolff - Anatomy for Artists
Eating: Stir fry tempeh