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How to overcome procrastination?

September 14, 2017

    There are days when it is more difficult to start painting again.  I love painting so much so it should be natural and easy to carry on, shouldn't it? Well, sometimes I have a feeling it is the fear of creating bad artwork stops me from taking the action. Sometimes I take too long breaks from painting and it is simply more difficult to start again.

What to do next? How to get out of this bad habit? How to motivate myself to take another action? I found a few ways that work for me and I hope you try them too if you struggle with the same thing.

 

     The first one is my favourite. I take smaller pieces of card and I start experimenting. I play around with everything I can find to create interesting marks. I used different media, different tools. Basically I have fun and let myself be completely out of control. I sometimes watch a video on youtube to see diverse ways of mixing colours with different media and then try to use a similar language with my own work.  This changes my approach completely and brings the element of fun as I have no idea of the outcome. The above images represent my recent trials of working with ground coffee, glue, acrylic and oil mixture. I have sketched a few compositions to make sure I know where I want the mixture to go and then just painted over some part, After a few trials I was so excited I could not wait to paint it on to the canvas. This experiment doesn't have to be a finished article. It is simply a way to get you excited again about the creation process.

    The second way is completely different. I run a journal where I write down all of my ideas about my next paintings, new techniques I would like to try, developments to my open projects and products I want to create. Then I make myself a coffee, sit down comfortably and read off the ideas that I have recorded. I choose one thing that is either the most important or the one that speaks to me. It works every time and very soon I find myself working hard again.

        The third way of dealing with procrastination is connected with feeding my mind with the "right thoughts". I believe we should have a vision of our future as an artist, its almost like a long term plan. Where do I see myself in the next 5 years. I have this plan written and I would advise you to do the same. Setting yourself goals is essential to remind you from time to time why are you doing this. If I struggle to take action then I read my plan, sometimes add to it and ask myself "what can I do today to help me get there?" I don't have to wait long until my mind suggests to me what should I do next. It is helpful to set yourself a deadline for specific actions. Everything starts in our head, hence it is crucial to pay attention to our thoughts. In fact this method applies to other goals we want to accomplish. Sometimes I hear from others: "I don't need a plan, they never happen" or "I prefer this unpredictable way of working and I paint where I want to". Personally I think I can accomplish twice more by planning and some of you may of heard that the best way of predicting the future is simply by creating it. 

I hope you find this helpful and you may try the same ways of dealing with  procrastination. If you have other ways, please share with me as I am always open to new ideas. 

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