Art is hard.
It often looks easy from the outside.
‘I could have done that,’ says Jane.
‘But you didn’t,’ says Peter.
A true artist is not born. They are certainly not made overnight.
Art is the result of a series of events that came together thanks to a commitment.
A decision made by the artist or practitioner to show up every day, and to put something to paper.
Many never make the art they are capable of.
Many will never realise the music that is quietly humming in their souls.
Sometimes, art erupts out of a rush of excitement and joy in the artist — from a moment of insight. That works.
But there are times when we need to be there for the work, and our mood fails us. We aren’t feeling it.
This requires an added pinch of tenacity.
It means understanding that it won’t always come easily.
We need to remind ourselves of why it can be hard. That it is not always easy.
This understanding, delivered visually, helps me a lot.
So I made some drawings (with a brief explanation for each) to remind me of the reality of making art. I hope they fire you up too.
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My most impactful improvements have come out of experiences that didn’t feel great at the time, but changed me in little but also dramatic ways.
You need to be ok with getting it wrong (often). Looking bad.
Saying the ‘wrong’ thing.
Writing crap articles.
Making awful videos.
Looking like a doofus.
Sometimes behind closed doors.
Sometimes in public.
You absolutely must push the boundaries to become outstanding.
Get busy… …(working on what matters).
Life is too short for ‘pretending’ to be busy.
Focus on the challenges that continue to stretch you.
Make good art.
Prioritise your priorities.
Do what matters the most every day.
The best time to make art?
When you don’t feel like it.
This will separate you from the pack.
Train yourself to get good with acting when you’d rather be somewhere else.
This is discipline that most avoid, but that the few winners are honing while others chill.
Imagine what you’ll make when you do feel like it.
Man this one was hard.
My eyes feel like they are bleeding and my hand is a claw.
I did not want to do this, but I made a self-promise to put something out there every day.
I’m no where near 100% happy with this, but I just want to move on and ship, so I can move on to the next thing.
Consistency is hard but worth it over the long haul.
If you’re struggling… Break things down.
What’s the next easiest, smallest step?
Momentum and clarity will follow.
I was struggling with writing today, until I broke it down into it’s ONE BIG IDEA. From there, the writing flowed again.
Don’t be scared to be ridiculous.
Ridiculously out of the box.
It’s all perception anyway.
It might just change everything for you.
I’ve spent about 47% of my life ruminating on stuff I can’t change.
That was dumb.
Creating new things is a better place to put that energy.
All it takes is stopping yourself when you ruminate, and redirecting your attention to things you CAN change, make, or create.
Mistakes give you the DATA you need to tweak, update and keep going.
You WILL succeed if you keep going, even if it feels awful, and you hate it all.
Stay with something, and you’ll start seeing links; gaining new experiences that feed into what you’re doing; start making little wins which will turn into big ones.
Don’t intentionally do what makes you happy.
Do what builds your value.
That’s all it is.
You will be happy when you realise that doing what you love will be difficult.
Focus on getting great. (A constant work in progress).
Not on trying to impress others.
Not on being happy.
Happiness comes when you aren’t looking for it.
If you signed up for pursuing your passion, you must understand that at least 50% of the work will suck.
Yes, it will be tedious. Yes it will be boring and repetitive. Yes, your hands and your muscles will hurt. Yes, you will get angry and depressed.
But it’s part of it. The highs are not without their lows.
Creativity is dead without the resistance that comes with it.
I wouldn’t be where I am had I not realised this.
I would be 10x further if I hadn’t reacted to my perceived stresses and kept going when it got really hard.
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Feel free to use these drawings for your own content, with attribution and a tag.