Posted: Sunday, October 29, 2017
Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
- Self-initiated projects are fun, but it’s okay to reprioritize them if you have to complete something that you’ve committed to do for someone else.
- Reprioritizing something doesn’t mean you’re giving it up forever; you’re just giving it up right now.
Have you ever had an art school project or a freelance project for a client that was due, but the thought of completing it (or even starting it) wasn’t as appealing as doing a character design contest or illustrating something for social media?
I think it’s safe to say that we all have.
I think why it’s so appealing is that it’s fake work. It’s a sneaky form of procrastination. When you’re just loafing and playing video games or watching a movie you know you’re procrastinating. However, when you’re creating something that really isn’t for anything other than your own satisfaction instead of on actual (paid-for) work; it feels like progress. This is the Creative’s version of jogging in place; you’re doing a lot of work, but not really going anywhere.
The reason I bring this up is because for an entire year I was planning what I was going to draw for Inktober this year.
Inktober is a 31-day drawing challenge created by Jake Parker. The idea is basically what it sounds like: draw one picture a day (preferably in pen & ink) everyday during the month of October and post it online somewhere.
I had a good start and a lot of self-imposed challenges to make it more interesting and I got about 9-days in. I then got a few urgent and big client work and had to make a decision to abandon the challenge. Abandoning it wasn’t something I wanted to do, but I realized that even the 30-40 minutes I was spending on each drawing was not the best use of my time.
I bring this up for a two reasons, one of them is that I want to stay accountable to those that I’ve announced that I was going to take part in the Inktober challenge. When there was a huge lag in my progress people wondered what happened; there was an expectation of sorts. I abandoned this challenge, but I did so in favor of being responsible. I would probably say a more apt description of what I did was reprioritize.
The other reason I bring this up is because I want to encourage you to think more about time and responsibility. The most difficult thing about being a working professional Creative is that you have to make professional decisions. It’s counter to how we think (for the most part); we excel at daydreaming. I would venture to say even when we’re doing projects we like and that are dream projects there is some other personal creative venture that is lulling us away like a Siren at sea.
If you have to give something up to get something done, or reprioritize it for later, you’re doing a good thing. You’re doing the responsible, professional thing.
Postscript: Below are all 9 days that were completed for Inktober 2017. The theme I chose was iconic horror monsters/villains from film and television.