Everyone is always so eager to set New Year resolutions, only to fall into the all-too-familiar backwards slide that leads to it being promptly dropped in favor of keeping old, easier habits.
I realized that was a very real hurdle when I made a resolution this year – it actually wasn’t all that different from the one I made last year: working on improving my artwork. The main difference is I decided to focus on just doing something creative every day. It could be a doodle, a digital painting or something grand and extravagant – it didn’t matter what “quality” it was, I simply had to draw. I’ve always been impressed with people who can do something creative at the drop of a hat. I want to be able to do that, too.
My thought process was that, by forging out this pattern of desired behavior, I would eventually default to it with greater ease and could build upon it.
Already, I knew that I would need to give myself some leniency and I was prepared and gave myself an out if I absolutely couldn’t – I didn’t want to assign negative feelings toward my work or make it a “chore.”
Armed with this new plan, I proceeded to work at it. I did manage to draw almost every day since I started, some days more productive than others, but I have to admit that I feel so much better. I did fairly well last year with simply striving to improve, and I’ve compared my pieces between then and now, and I feel I’ve made good progress.
Despite that, I failed to recognize it somewhere along the way and my determination stalled out around August. There were expectations I imposed upon myself, a certain quality I felt constituted being “valid,” and so I just stopped drawing so much if I couldn’t give it hours of my undivided attention.
By contrast, this past month has been liberating. I can be loose and craft a rough concept of something, and before I get frustrated with it, I can stop and then revisit it the next day and work a little more if I am so inclined. If the mood strikes me, I can dig into it for hours and hours, but the option to stop before I get drained is there – which is something I didn’t allow myself before.
Another change I adopted this year is that I have a chat group with some friends for accountability. We all have different goals, but we all report in about how they’re going. Knowing we’re all in this together motivated me pick up the pen on some days. Having a support system made up of friends who want to see you do well is absolutely a game-changer.
So far, I am happy to report that my progress has been great this year, and I think I’ve given myself the foundation I needed to make some positive changes.
Standard reporter Nikki Childers can be reached at 473-2191.