For the second part of my Focus series, I want to talk about how I’m embracing my word of the year and applying it towards my art, and the creative process.
I think all creatives can agree that, be you an artist, a writer, a photographer, what have you – the creative process can be a rough road. There are many forms of the below text floating around the interwebs so I’m not sure of the original source, but this method about sums up the creative process of every single piece of art I make.
The initial burst of inspiration leads to YES! THIS IS AWESOME! I start sketching…Hmmm, this is tricky. Realize my sketch sucks donkey butt…this is shit. Realize I am a failure as an artist…I am shit. Continue working and get it right…this might be ok. Finish up and realize, oh, THIS IS AWESOME! Even when I like the end result, it’s a mental battle to get there.
Getting started can be absolutely brutal. And I feel like it is so freaking important to learn to push past the shit stage. It’s hard. I still don’t always do it. I abandon sketches or drawings, or erase them furiously which can often lead to this gem of a creative process:
I can’t tell you how many times in the past I’ve sat down for a ‘sketching’ session and it somehow turns into a ‘scroll Instagram for an hour’ session.
But this year I want to change that. I want to actively work on pushing myself through the starting point; to silence that inner voice constantly berating myself. Am I going to have shit work sometimes? You bet. But that is OKAY. Accepting that is a huge part of focusing on my art this year. Learning to make peace with the fact that not everything we do has to be perfect, or even all that good, can be difficult but ultimately so productive, and so beneficial to the creative process (and one’s sanity!)
Other than focusing on getting through the process, I also want to focus on actually finishing pieces. I know this sounds like a huge DUH, but I am notorious for starting art projects and then abandoning them for no good reason. (Long time readers may remember some Avengers oil paintings I started last year? Yeah, still unfinished…they are on a shelf with so many other unfinished works…) I’m holding myself to completing pieces this year. Finishing something, even if you end up not liking the result, can be such a great feeling. Take pride in knowing you completed something, regardless if you’re unhappy with the end result.
And lastly, I think the best thing that applies to anyone’s creative process is finding what works for you. I feel like you can read so many things about productivity, or the creative process, and they will each say something different. Get up early! Listen to only this kind of music while you work! Walk backwards in a circle before you start! But ultimately, if it’s not working for you, it’s not going to be helpful. Me? I’m not a morning person. I’m never going to be. Therefore, I don’t make time to work on art in the morning. I feel most inspired and motivated at night, so that’s when I make time for art. My kiddo is in bed by eight, and I can spend the next four or five hours creating away. That’s what works for me. Find what works for you!
What’s your greatest struggle with the creative process? How do you overcome it?
FOCUS is my One Little Word for 2016. This series shares the ways that I’m applying it each aspect of my life, personal and professional.