Tag Archives: struggle

One year later… (considering a blog relaunch)

I keep randomly thinking about how I want to draw something. Nothing in particular, just something. In fact, I keep having random memories from the time that I took that Saturday morning drawing/charcoal class at MassArt a few years back, and wanting something like that again. It was helpful because it was 4 hours long – where are you going to go? You just have to stay there and do it!

But, life being what it is, I find that I tend to let the creative ventures fall by the wayside instead of being a priority. I have to work, go to the gym, food shop, cook, do laundry, take a shower, a number of other chores and responsibilities (shit, I still have to finish my taxes! arghhh) and by the time I actually sit down at the end of the night – well, I just don’t want to do a damn thing except watch something on Netflix and cuddle my kitties. So even the things I have to do are hard to squeeze in, let alone things I simply want to do. And the weekends? Well, that’s my time to spend with my partner and my friends, or else be completely lazy. I might get some creativity in then, but not always. I know, I know, I’m just full of excuses. But when being creative neither pays the bills nor gets the chores done…

So, what kinds of things would I do with time set aside to be creative?

  • Sketching, with pencil or charcoal
  • Knitting & crocheting
  • Bookbinding
  • Playing piano
  • Writing

What this leads me to is that I think I may attempt to revive this blog (almost exactly a year since my last post, ha), because it might help give me the impetus to actually make that time in my day to do something creative… The question is, do I make it open-ended (just do something everyday, no matter what it is) or more specific – like a particular medium (charcoal, knitting, etc), or a theme, like the guy that does a skull everyday in some form or another?

Please share your thoughts and ideas! I am going to ponder of this myself for the next few days. I have a number of other things I am trying to achieve aside from this project, but I think that if I commit to doing something creative, no matter how small, every day – I will be better off for it and it will help me in other areas of my life.


I Could be More Creative, If Only…


I Could be More Creative, If Only…

I wanted to share this link, which was sent to me by Emily, about struggling with creativity. I would say I am personally going through a bit of a creativity crisis right now. She and I had some long talks this weekend when she came out to Boston to visit me, about the concerns that I have about being in school and whether I feel that I am on the right path. I’ve definitely been overwhelmed, so at the very least I am going to take the summer off from the program so that I don’t get completely burnt out. Where I will go from there, I am not sure yet…

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


Day 39 – Horse Chess Peice

Ok, so it was too overwhelming to try to go back and catch up on all of the days that I had missed – but I don’t want to lose my grip on this project completely. It means a lot to me and not doing it has felt like a loss. Even though I thought it was frustrating at times, I think I still looked forward to finding out what I was going to come out with every day, and all of the steps that it took to get there.

As I mentioned in my last few posts, I have had an issue I’ve been dealing with so I basically was too distracted to put my focus into extraneous things. This past weekend, though, I visited some close friends (including the fabulous Emily) and I finally felt inspired to start up again. I decided to skip what I’d missed and just start where I am now.  So, I did this piece over the weekend while visiting. I will continue to try to get back to a daily status, but I’m not going to beat myself up when I have other things to tend to. Que sera, sera.

Horse Chess Peice

Day 36 – A Microphone

One of the hardest parts of this daily challenge (and I’m sure my fellow 365ers would agree) is having to be creative every day. Normally, I would choose to do creative work only when I felt I was in an “inspired” mood – but this has forced me to come up with something whether in the mood or no.

I was thinking it might be slightly easier for those that have a theme, but then you would still have to find a fresh way to represent that theme each day, so maybe it would actually be harder? Maybe the 365 bloggers out there who have a themed approach can chime in on that one…

In any case, I think that this forced creative juicing might be one of the biggest benefits from the project as well. I would definitely like to build up my brainstorming skills. If I want to be a successful graphic designer, I will have to think of solutions in the moment, not just when I’m “in the mood.”

It’s frustrating, to be sure. But I also see the value in it. Or at least that’s what I will tell myself after I waste time struggling to find a subject, try to do it, not like it, and then start the whole process over (which is what happened last night)!


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

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.