Welcome to Week 8 of my Artist’s Way Adventure. If you are unfamiliar with this new series, take a look at The Artist’s Way Adventure – Prologue and then come back here later.
Week 8 is titled “Recovering a Sense of Strength”. Once again, these naming conventions have partially ruined my experience with The Artist Way. I know this is a strange complaint, but before I felt extremely connected to each of the titles. Now I am shrugging off the titles and forgetting them halfway through the week.
The chapter discusses the reason why most artists feel ‘weak’ and ‘unaccomplished’ and then give methods as to how they can build their self-esteem and inner artist up. It also reminds the reader that while it is awesome to dream big, you need to break that huge project into tinier more manageable pieces.
Gain Disguised as a Loss
Everyone has regrets. I know I do. Sometimes while I sit on the train or am in the car driving, I think about the decisions I made in life. I was never forced to do anything, I usually was given a choice and I tended to pick the safest and easiest road.
When it came to picking a high school, I went to an all-girls Catholic school. Did it have an amazing art program? No. Did it have the latest technology to help me with my goals of becoming a great artist? No. However, it was a small school, which was something I was accustomed to growing up. It was a place that one of my friends was going. It also had no boys so I did not have to fear rejection since I already had a taste of heartbreak in the 7th grade. Thus this made it the “safest” choice.
History repeated itself while picking out a college after high school. I did well on my SATs, kept a good grade point average, and generally was an ideal candidate for a lot of universities. However, I feared rejection. I did not want to put in the work to create a portfolio showcasing what I considered my “mediocre” art. This was why instead of applying to colleges that were dedicated to the artistic mind, I instead applied for a small college nearby my home. It was not a public college, but it was not meant for artists. It just so happened to have a Creative Arts and Technology department.
Did I lose opportunities by taking the “safe road”?
However, I would not be the person I am today, sitting on this comfortable coach in the city where I work if I did not make the choices I made. I learned a lot of skills, met a ton of people, and became the person I was by thriving in small environments where I got the individual attention I desired. I learned how to be a jack-of-all-trades with an adaptable work-ethic because I went to schools that were small and required students to learn a bit of everything instead of going down the route of specialization.
When things go wrong and you are not happy, the chapter urges you to question “How?” instead of “Why Me?”. Take matters into your own hands, if you do not enjoy your journey then take small steps to create a new path.
Filling the Form
This part of Week 8’s long chapter was as I mentioned previously, taking a huge task and breaking it down to smaller ones. It means to stop thinking about your big projects and just get started on something.
I covered the concept of “Filling the Form” in my article, 5 Ways to be Productive & Stay That Way. In that post, the second point, Simplify is all about taking your giant scary accomplishments and creating a staircase of sorts to climb up to that goal. Honestly, I feel the whole post is useful, but if you want to just read over that second point, you will understand what “Filling the Form” in this chapter means.
Luckily my years doing graphics for print, working on animations during school, and managing productions at my current place of employment has taught me the importance of pre-production to increase my production. It is just as important to create a storyboard for your two-minute animation as it is to actually animate it. It may not feel very accomplishing to simply write a script for your animation, but when it comes time to create your character in Adobe Animate and then rig it, you’ll know what important joints you need rigged and which ones you could just save time not doing because your animation doesn’t have a need for it.
Thanks to my realization during Week 7, creating a Wunderlist for my tasks instead of having to reference my tasks in my book helped me a lot. I was able to do some tasks while on the train to and from work and I did not procrastinate as much.
The tasks this week were pretty strange and long. I understand the point of the tasks was to dig deep within yourself to see what you truly want, what you want to accomplish, and who you are but goodness… The first task had six subtasks underneath it! I am not entirely sure if this was to teach the reader the importance of simplifying since it broke down the huge task of Goal Search into six smaller to manage chunks, but goodness!
Tasks six through eight were enlightening as well. I mean I know I enjoy working, it is one of those things that my family and friends complain about from time-to-time, but seeing how even my Ideal Day had work incorporated in it was eye-opening. Due to the bad weather during the weekend, I was not able to spend one festive aspect from my Ideal Day into my actual day as I originally wanted to, but I worked around it.
Week 8 overall was strange. I did learn from it, but I still feel a strange out-of-body experience going through the motions of the week. Even my artist date of taking a peaceful walk through the city instead of taking a subway didn’t help to immerse me into the week.
I am not sure if it is because of all the self-reflection this week required, or maybe the fact that my tendency to ‘lose the flame of passion’ after my initial start is taking effect. Regardless, it was nice reading a chapter and knowing that I’m headed towards the right direction. A lot of the concepts in this chapter were not new to me and knowing that I already put a lot of these ideas into actuality makes me feel good.
Are you struggling with connecting with these chapters? Do you feel as if the Artist Way is slipping away from your fingertips and into a dusty bookshelf? Do you need extra motivation? Feel free to comment or tweet your responses to Twitter, I would love to hear from you!