Tag Archives: goals

Time, and the Economics of Posting

So, it has become clear to me that I really can’t commit to a daily update at this point… just too much going on. I had decided to relaunch this blog during a relatively slower week at work – I work at a college and it was Spring Break, so things were uncharacteristically quiet. As soon as things picked back up again, I found I was not as free to think about this as I’d hoped.

Rather than give up the idea again, though, I am going to just be realistic and start small. Maybe posting once a week is a good start… I could pick a particular day of the week and try to commit to at least one blog post on that day, and anything above that is great but not necessary. In that post I will note and discuss all of the creative things I did over the preceding week, including photos.

Plus, I was thinking about how if there is something bombarding a persons inbox or facebook wall every day, eventually that person will start to think “eh, I’m too busy today” or “ugh, again?” – yes, I say this from experience because I have had those thoughts myself! It’s supply and demand, really. If there is less supply then the demand may increase, and the value of the item (posts in this case) might increase as well – depending on the perceived value of the posts to begin with, of course. Yes, I am justifying my decision using economics! =P

For my blogging friends – what is your process? How have you set up your goals so that you can keep up with blogging and remain consistent, yet engaging?

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What is “something” exactly?

So far, I think I am most interested in moving into the realm of just making “something” every day. Not a specific medium or theme, just – something. Anything. But what does that mean, exactly? There have to be some kind of parameters in place, or else this just won’t work. So, I am going to define “something” as one of the following creative acts:

  • Working on a knitting, crocheting, sewing or needlepoint project
  • Creating a sketch/drawing/painting using pencil, charcoal, pen, colored pencil, pastel, paint, etc.
  • Working on writing of some kind – even if it’s just coming up with ideas and outlines – such as fictional stories or poetry
  • Taking a creatively framed photograph, or series of photographs
  • Designing using graphic design software or tools (such as using my Wacom tablet or Adobe software)
  • Creating a recipe of my own design when cooking or baking
  • Writing and/or recording original music using sheet music, the keyboard, or computer software
  • Writing a blog post about something other than one of these other items (that’s right, blogging itself will be considered a creative act, if it contains my original thoughts about a topic)

Of course, there may be other ways in which I am creative on a given day that don’t fall into this list, and I will be open to finding new ways to expand my horizons and discover new formats, so this is not an exhaustive list. I just wanted to start with something, a list of ideas to get my creative juices flowing. When I feel stuck, I will have somewhere to look to say “just do one of these things” and not have an excuse to skip a day.

On that note, I decided to set up a “Creativity Bag” that would contain the tools for some of these kinds of this – kind of like how I keep a gym bag in my car so that I can’t really get away with not going to the gym, seeing as I have everything I need easily available to me. It’s the same concept – I have a bunch of tools for creating in one place so that all I have to do is grab it and decide which item(s) to use. Currently, my bag contains: the scarf I am knitting (and related items), a sketchbook, a box of pencils/charcoal/erasers etc., a notebook for writing stories and poetry, and one of my favorite pens.

What do you do to get creative? How do you stay focused and motivated? These are obviously topics for posts unto themselves, but I am just wondering what some of the basic tools are that others use to get started and keep themselves going.

Blast from the Past

Hey everyone! I know, I kind of lapsed with my blog here and disappeared. To be honest, that is one thing about me that I don’t plan to do but seems to always happen. You can ask my closest friends, I tend to go away now and then – but I always come back! A character flaw, I guess, but I’m working on it.

I am now in my Spring semester and I’ve already had like 6 or 7 weeks of classes, so I have some things to post but I need to work on them some more first. We have off this week for Spring break, so I am trying to catch up and finalize some work but I’ve been having a lot of trouble concentrating. I guess part of it is that working full-time and then trying to switch gears into creative mode when you get home at night is a struggle. Also, I have a lot of other things I want to do that compete for my time.

This actually came up during a recent class because we were discussing “How To Steal Like An Artist” (I’ll include a link for those of you who haven’t read it yet). One of the items on the list is “Be Boring (it’s the only way to get work done)” and I know that it’s true but it’s hard to say no to spending time with people that I care about. It’s all about the balance I guess.

How do *you* do it? How do you strike a balance between accomplishing your goals and finding time to relax and strengthen the all-important social ties that keep us healthy and motivated?

Ok, here’s the link that I mentioned – enjoy!  How To Steal Like An Artist

 

On Blogging

I haven’t really posted any of my “asides” lately, and just focused on posting my sketches. There is actually a reason for that, and one that I have been rolling around in my mind for about a week – letting it settle into my subconscious until some kind of solution or decision is formed for me. I guess writing this post means that has finally happened.

I gave my blog URL to my professor at MassArt, and then… I panicked. This was maybe a week or two into the project and if you’ve been with me that long you might remember that my sketches in those first few weeks were *ahem* less than ideal. But it was a good decision, because it forced me to think in terms of “if my professor could see this, would it embarrass me?” No, seriously, I think that is a good thing! It’s the accountability aspect of this project that will keep me going. If I were trying to do this in the privacy of my own home, just for myself, then I would most likely have stopped by now. I don’t like to admit that about myself, but there it is. So, having a blog where I publicly post my sketches and, more importantly, having an audience that expects decent work from me, is crucial.

When I saw my professor the following week, she commented that it seemed like I was spending more time writing than drawing. She didn’t say it in a negative way but matter-of-fact, and said that maybe that was something to think about (which it has been). She was totally right, and when I looked at my work I could see it was glaringly obvious. So the question became, do I stop writing and focus only on the sketches?

I’ve decided that answer is no – but, I should make sure that my sketches are the priority and that the majority of my time should be focused on that. So, I will still write sometimes, because to be honest I really love it. I didn’t expect to, but I’ve missed it in the past week. I will start writing my occasional asides again, but keep it in my mind that they are second fiddle to the drawing. If I want to write an especially long post, I will just have to spend more time drawing that week!

The thing that finally pushed me to write about this was a post by another new blogger, which was recently chosen to be featured on the Freshly Pressed section of WordPress. In it, she talks about what she has learned and I (along with a couple hundred other new bloggers!) found that I related to it. And it seemed timely, considering I was questioning what I wanted out of this experience. Rather than sum it up here, I’ll just link to it so that you can read it in it’s original form:

3 Things I've Learned From a Month of Blogging Today marks one month since I started this blog, so I decided to take a minute and reflect on what I’ve learned in the past month.  I’ve posted every week day since I started, which I find amazing.  Quite a few people read what I write, which I find even more amazing.  And some even share what I write with their friends, which I find amazingly amazing.  Mostly, I’m shocked at how easily I’ve fallen into this process and how much I value it. But I … Read More

via Dendrochronology

Day 30! – Woman, Looking Over Her Shoulder

Wow, I made it to 30 days! My first challenge to myself is accomplished! =) I decided to try something harder last night, to celebrate reaching this goal. It’s a woman I found in a magazine ad, who was looking back over her shoulder at the camera. It was in black and white, so I was able to study the shadows and lighting pretty well. Her eyes are not even… I’m finding that to be one of the harder things for me. Also, it was more difficult to do this in pencil than charcoal, but I think it worked out ok. Here she is:

image

Now starts the next 30-day stretch, with the added goal of at least 15 minutes a day spent on each sketch. I am feeling pretty encouraged by getting this far and I really do look forward to the next phase!

Day 28 – Bird

I don’t actually know what kind of bird this is (any ornithologists out there?) but I wanted to draw a bird. No real reason… maybe because the Spring has begun. Although today it doesn’t feel like it. In any case, I looked up a photo online and used it to work from. I was very tired, so it is not *great* but I still spent more time on it than I had in the earlier sketches.

I am thinking that my new goal for the next 30-day period will be a 15 minute minimum. Obviously I’ll shoot for longer, but I feel like if I force myself to get into it for at least 15 minutes, that will make it easier to keep going because (hopefully) I will get absorbed in the details by then. I don’t know if 15 minutes is enough time to make that happen, I just picked it arbitrarily, so we’ll see. I will probably increase the minimum each month, as well.

Day 24 – A Dolphin!

Well, as the title says, last night’s sketch was a dolphin (I decided to start naming my posts more than just “Day _”). My boyfriend and I were watching an awesome documentary on dolphins last night and I decided to find a picture of one and try to sketch it. I also tried to spend more time working on it than I have been in the past, to build up toward my next goal, so I worked on it while we were watching the show. Of course, I kept getting distracted by all the “whoa!” moments, because dolphins are so amazing. I am especially fascinated by the fact that they can create their own new moves and jumps. Due to poor planning, I was not able to fit his tail fin onto the page… I was bummed when I realized that. But he was fun to draw!

The Ambition/Reality Gap

Like everyone else, I sometimes feel discouraged when I look at my work (here and elsewhere). I’ll think “this is crap, you’re never going to go anywhere in design.” Now before you say anything, let me say: I know, this is normal, I am at the very beginning of a long journey. If I work hard, every day, I can get somewhere. Maybe not fast, but that’s ok. It’s about the journey, not the destination! I really do believe that, it’s just that sometimes I have to remind myself of it.

The professor of my Saturday class at MassArt told us last week that this drawing class was just the equivalent of sticking your big toe into a lake. While that might seem overwhelming to some, I was encouraged because it meant that I had lots of time and experiences ahead of me to develop skills and find my place. I didn’t have to feel like I was supposed to know a whole slew of things already. And I feel like I’ve done pretty well with my first toe-dip.

When I was in high school, the coach of my swim team used to call us the “pop-tart generation” because we expected to see immediate results. He tried to instill in us some patience and persistence, slowly chipping away at our personal goals, measured in less-than-seconds.

I think about that term a lot, actually, because it really does sum up a lot about us. We start our days with pop-tarts and breakfast bars, not a sit-down meal of eggs, bacon, toast, juice, etc. (or whatever else – doesn’t have to be meat and dairy!), and likewise we expect everything else to be so easy. Our news and information is instant, accessible almost constantly via smart-phones and computers. I’m not even going to come up with more examples,  because I know your brain is already coming up with more for you… it’s a mindset that permeates our lives.

So it seems to me that when many people start something new that takes a lot of practice and practice and practice and…. practice, there is a temptation to say “to hell with it” and find something easier to do. I am willing to bet that you can think of either an example of that in your own life, or the life of someone you know.

We all look at someone that has mastered something and think “wow, they must be very talented,” and maybe they are, but they have spent countless hours of practice either way. I think most of us can achieve just about any skill if we just took the time to understand how it works and…. to practice.

I am going to be the first to say that that (practice) has never been my forte. I am unequivocally a standard model for the “pop-tart generation,” and I struggle with the starting and stopping of projects all the time (the ADD doesn’t help). That is what I think I am feeling I am up against when I think about the lake I am just dipping my toe into, that I plan to swim in one day. I have no choice but to commit myself to some kind of discipline, over an extended period of time, if I don’t want to sink.

On some level, is that really the challenge to myself that I am posing here?

For a really good reminder/reassurance that it is ok to be “crap” in the beginning, check out this article (which is what put this whole post topic in my head): It’s Normal to Take A While Before Your Work Is as Good as Your Ambitions.

Day 23

image

I didn’t really draw a study of anything last night… I just made up a little space scene, lol. It’s supposed to be a lighthearted break, but I’ll go back to more focused studies tonight. One more week and then I’ll enter the next phase of my challenge! Any suggestions on what my next goal should be in terms of how long I should set for myself each day/night?

Day 20, plus updated goals

Ok, so yesterday was Day 20 in my challenge. I’m getting close to my initial goal of 30 days, and I plan to push myself another 30. Looking back over my work thus far, though, I have to say that I’m feeling a little… sheepish. I know I can do better work, I’m just not putting in enough effort each day to do something worthwhile. If I want to do a quick sketch now and then, fine, but most days I should be creating something that I’d be proud to show off.

I think that as I enter the next 30 day period, I should up my challenge to myself – to make more time for these things and go deeper, use more of the skills I’ve learned. That’s essentially what I’m doing this whole project for, to hone skills. So I have a few days to plan out what my new guidelines to myself will be, but I think it will prob be a challenge to increase the time and effort spent on these drawings each day. Maybe I’ll start small and increase the goals in each 30 day period. We’ll see. Baby steps.

Anyway, here is a quick sketch I did last night in a tiny sketchbook. One is a mug that was on the table, the other just a made up flower thing in my mind. Again, not really anything I’m proud of, but it’s something – and in the end, just accomplishing this whole quest is my ultimate goal!