Tuesday, November 3, 2015

goals

I have to put 600 more words to page today. I also have three lettering challenges to participate in, and I'm leaving home in about 45 minutes to attend the first of three illustration classes in Edmonton. It's going to be a big day.

The writing goal comes from Sean McCabe, who produces short, excellent, self-improvement videos at http://seanwes.com/tv/. I've taken the goal on because writing is good for me. I want to do it more often than I have been doing. I want to move past the procrastination, the excuses, the doubt, and the fear of failure.

Having goals, I realize, provides some structure to my day. In fact, that's probably the biggest benefit I've noticed: I don't waste time moving aimlessly from one task to another, only to find at the end of the day I haven't really accomplished much. I have to fight distraction and stay focused. I feel good at the end of the day, even if I haven't completed everything from my list, because I know I've done the best I can.

I'm 50 years old and I'm telling myself it's not too late to start something new. Certainly that's one advantage of turning to art: nobody is going to refuse me entry into the field because entry depends entirely on my own efforts.

I experience moments and periods of doubt, and I've mentioned those in previous posts. But I have enough life experience to know that doubt can pass, that it can be overcome with effort and faith in myself. Every good letterer I've listened to has talked about practice, and practice is something I can do easily. I just have to make it a goal. And I have.

Two things frighten me, however; the first is the travel Sean and I will be doing as of the 22nd of this month. As excited as I am about spending time in Amsterdam, Johannesburg, and Rome, I am anxious about how little time I am likely to have for practice. My goal for that period is to have one hour a day to do something relevant; I hope that doesn't prove unreasonable or unattainable. I'll probably make it a morning practice to avoid the expectations of others.

The second source of anxiety will be more permanent: the work that I will be returning to in January 2016. Being at home full-time has provided me with incredible opportunities and advantages that will no longer be available to me once I'm working 40 hours a week. Again, I'll probably be limited to an hour a day. That's not much.

Sean McCabe has another practice that might help, however, if I can get my employer - who is unknown at this point - to agree to it. McCabe takes a sabbatical every six weeks. He works for six days a week, takes one day off, and after six weeks of that he takes a full week off. It amounts to the same amount of time worked and time off, but that full week of no professional obligations allows him to give significant attention to other interests. It's refreshing, and it's brilliant.

One way or another I want to stay on this path. I don't want to lose my way or forget how much lettering and Zentangle and creativity mean to me. If that were to happen, I would lose a valuable part of myself that has taken several months to cultivate and encourage.

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